One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A thunderbolt, especially (in later use) as the attribute of the Roman god Jupiter; a symbolic representation of this (in art, on a coin, etc.).
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in William Fulke (d. 1589), theologian and college head. From classical Latin fulmen lightning that strikes, thunderbolt, also in figurative use from fulgere to shine + -men.
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