10

They both seem to mean "quick as lightning". What are the nuances between them? In what sort of context would they be used? Are they interchangeable? etc.

8

According to this Chiebukuro post, 電光石火 can be used to describe something that is so fast that it's as if you don't even notice it, and can be used for greater exaggerations than 疾風迅雷, and that it's often more suited to shorter distances within arm's length.

示{じ}現{げん}流{りゅう}の電光石火の[太]{た}[刀]{ち}が、相手の[脳]{のう}[天]{てん}を[切]{き}り[裂]{さ}いた。
"The sword of lightning speed of Jigen-ryū cut off the top of the opponent's head."

ジンギスカンの[軍]{ぐん}[勢]{ぜい}は、疾風迅雷の[勢]{いきお}いでホラズム軍を[撃]{げき}[破]{は}した。
"Genghis Khan's military forces crushed the Khwarezm troops with a force as quick as lightning."

Consulting the 四{よ}字{じ}熟{じゅく}語{ご}辞{じ}典{てん} from 学習研究社:

電光石火:

非常に短い時間のたとえ。また、[動作]{どうさ}がすばやいこと
"An analogy of an extremely short period of time. Also, something where movement is quick."

  • 電{でん}光{こう}: 稲{いな}妻{ずま} (a flash of lightning).
  • 石{せっ}火{か}: The fireworks of flint.

Both 電光 and 石火 are an analogy of an extremely short period of time.

疾風迅雷:

勢いや行動がすばやいようす
"A state where force or actions are quick."

  • 疾{しっ}風{ぷう}: Refers to wind that's blowing at a furiously fast rate.
  • 迅{じん}雷{らい}: Refers to furiously roaring thunder.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.