Lightning vs. Lightening

At dinner we ask each other what we learned during the day. Today I will say I learned the etymology of “lightning” and how it relates to the word “lighten”:

USAGE Years ago, the phrase it is lightening (as in 'thundering and lightening') was contracted to it is light'ning, which eventually became further shortened to it is lightning. In modern use, the word lightning stands on its own as a noun ( : did you see that lightning?) and a verb ( : it looks as if it's going to start lightning). Today, in the context of electrical storms, lightening would likely be considered a misspelling of lightning, rather than a variant spelling.


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