Italian Word of the Day: Tuono (thunder)

Only a couple of days ago, we published an article about the word for lightning (fulmine) so it would be remiss of us if we didn’t talk about its partner in crime tuono (masculine, plural: tuoni) which is the word for thunder in Italian.


Tuono derives from the verb tuonare (or the old literary variation tonare) meaning to thunder or to rumble. It mustn’t be confused with the similar sounding tono (tone) with which it shares the same derivation, the Latin word tonus.

In its most literal sense, tuono refers to the loud rumbling or crashing noise heard after a lightning flash during a storm.

Il rombo del tuono segue il bagliore del lampo.

The rumble of thunder follows the flash of lightning.

Lightning storm with dark and thick clouds over a field
Sento i tuoni in lontananza. = I hear thunder in the distance.

However it can also be used figuratively to describe the thunder, roar or rumble of something that produces a deep, resonant sound such as a cannon, volcano or an oncoming train for example.

Hai sentito il tuono del cannone?

Did you hear the roar of the cannon?

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