Difference Wiki

Electric vs. Lightning: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 11, 2023
Electric refers to anything related to or operated by electricity, while lightning is a natural electrical discharge of very short duration in the atmosphere.

Key Differences

Electric is an adjective describing anything powered by or related to electricity, like electric cars or electric currents. Lightning, on the other hand, specifically refers to the natural, atmospheric electrical discharge seen during storms.
Electric can also imply excitement or high energy, as in "the concert had an electric atmosphere." Lightning, however, is always associated with the weather phenomenon characterized by a bright flash and typically thunder.
The term electric spans a wide range of applications, from technology to sensation. Lightning, conversely, is solely a meteorological term, describing a specific and powerful natural event.
Electric can be used in various contexts, like electric engineering or electric appliances. Lightning is primarily used in the context of weather and climatology, describing the flash of light in the sky during a storm.
Electric conveys a broader concept related to electricity in general, whether it's about electric fields or electric energy. Lightning is a more specific term, referring only to the natural phenomenon occurring during thunderstorms.

Comparison Chart


Pertaining to electricity or its application
A natural electrical discharge in the atmosphere


Broad, covering anything electrical
Specific to a weather phenomenon


Technology, sensation, energy
Weather, meteorology


Can imply excitement, innovation
Associated with power, suddenness

Example Usage

"The electric car is charging."
"The sky was lit up by lightning."

Electric and Lightning Definitions


Exciting, thrilling.
The crowd's response was electric.


Flash of light caused by electrical discharge.
The sky flashed with lightning.


Electrically powered.
We switched to an electric stove.


Referring to a type of weather phenomenon.
Lightning is common in summer storms.


Pertaining to electricity.
She's studying electric engineering.


A natural electric discharge in the sky.
Lightning struck the tree during the storm.


Operated by electricity.
The electric fan kept the room cool.


Characterized by high speed and suddenness.
He moved with lightning speed.


Producing a sudden sense of excitement.
The news created an electric atmosphere.


Sudden and powerful, like a lightning strike.
Her decision was as quick as lightning.


Also e·lec·tri·cal (-trĭ-kəl) Of, relating to, producing, or operated by electricity
Electric current.
An electrical device.


An abrupt, discontinuous natural electric discharge in the atmosphere.


Of or related to sound created or altered by an electrical or electronic device.


The visible flash of light accompanying such a discharge.


Amplified by an electronic device
An electric guitar.


Is electric only used for power-related contexts?

Mostly, but it can also describe excitement or energy.

What exactly is lightning?

It's a natural electrical discharge in the atmosphere, usually during storms.

What does electric mean?

Pertaining to or operated by electricity.

Can electric describe feelings?

Yes, it can describe a highly charged, exciting atmosphere.

Can electric refer to vehicles?

Yes, like electric cars that run on electricity.

Is lightning hotter than the sun?

Yes, a lightning bolt can be hotter than the surface of the sun.

Is lightning always dangerous?

It can be, due to its high energy and unpredictability.

Does lightning only occur during storms?

Primarily, though there are rare exceptions.

Is it safe to be outside during lightning?

It's safer to be indoors due to the risk of lightning strikes.

Is electric energy sustainable?

It can be, especially when sourced from renewable resources.

Can lightning strike the same place twice?

Contrary to the saying, it can and does happen.

How fast is lightning?

Extremely fast, occurring in a fraction of a second.

How is lightning formed?

From the buildup and discharge of electrical energy in storm clouds.

Can electric currents be dangerous?

Yes, especially at high voltages or amperages.

Are electric guitars actually electric?

They use electricity to amplify sound.

What are electric fields?

Regions around a charged particle where electric forces are exerted.

Why does lightning cause thunder?

Thunder is the sound made by the rapid expansion of air around the lightning bolt.

Are electric vehicles becoming more common?

Yes, with advancements in technology and sustainability efforts.

Can electric appliances run on batteries?

Yes, if they're designed for battery operation.

Do all electric devices use a lot of energy?

Energy usage varies widely among different devices.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons