A Sound of Thunder

a sound of thunderThis story by Ray Bradbury is one of the most popular Science Fiction stories of all time. What is the most dangerous thing about time travel in the distant past? According to this story, it is not being eaten by a dinosaur but doing some small thing that may change the future. In the story five men travel back in time to kill a T-Rex. One of them s when he sees the huge monster and steps off a specially prepared path. Because of this, they return to a very different world. The last thing the man hears is a sound of thunder.

Pre-Intermediate Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Pre-Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1200 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

There are also three words that are in our word list but have a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used:

  • In the first line of the story we are told that the sign on the office wall seemed to to be moving under a thin film of warm water. Here the word means a thin on or over the surface of something. The word is used with its more common meaning later in the story in the “Time was a film run backward.”
  • The man in the office talks about “Taking you back sixty million years to shoot the biggest game in all of Time.” In this case the word means animals that are hunted.
  • When Eckels first sees the dinosaur he cries out, “I’ve met my match.” The word here means someone or something that is equal to or as good as another person or thing.

Intermediate Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1800 word list are: , bacteria, , bullet, butterfly, caveman, , , , dinosaur, , , helmet, Inc., , nightmare, oxygen, , , , reptile, rifle, roar, safari, shiver, , , , , , , , thunder, whisper, , and yard.


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(n: panic pl panics) A state or feeling of great fear that makes someone unable to act or think normally. (ความตื่นตกใจ) 3000

ancient(adj: ancient) 1. Of great age; very old. (เก่า) 2. Of, coming from, or belonging to a time that was long ago in the past. (โบราณ) 3000

bacteria(n: bacterium pl bacteria) Any one of a group of very small living things not able to be seen except under a microscope, some of which are germs and cause disease. (แบคทีเรีย) 5000

bone(n: bone pl bones) The hard substance forming the skeleton of man, animals etc. (กระดูก) 2000

branch(n: branch pl branches) An arm-like part of a tree that grows out from the central part. (กิ่งก้าน) 2000

breath(n: breath pl breaths) The air that you take into your lungs and send out from your lungs. His breath smells like garlic. It was so cold I could see my breath. (ลมหายใจ) 3000
(phrasal verb: hold your breath) To stop breathing for a short time, such as when you dive into water or are scared about something. (กลั้นหายใจ)
(phrasal verb: take a deep breath / breathe deeply) To take a lot of air into your lungs. (หายใจลึก)

breathe(v: breathe, breathes, breathed, breathing) To move air into and out of your lungs; to inhale and exhale. He was breathing hard from running. (หายใจ) 3000

bullet(n: bullet pl bullets) A small piece of metal or another material that is shot out of a gun. (กระสุนปืน) 4000

butterfly(n: butterfly pl butterflies) An insect that has a long thin body and brightly colored wings and flies mostly during the day. (ผีเสื้อ) 4000

caveman(n: caveman pl cavemen) A person who was part of a group of people who lived in a cave in prehistoric times. (มนุษย์ถ้ำ) 8000

crash(v: crash, crashes, crashed, crashing) 1. To damage something (such as a car) by causing it to hit something. She crashed the car into a tree, but no one was hurt. (การชนกัน) 2. To make a loud noise by falling, hitting something, etc. The glass crashed to the floor. (ตกลงพร้อมเสียงดัง) 3000

dinosaur(n: dinosaur pl dinosaurs) One of many reptiles that lived on Earth millions of years ago. (สัตว์จำพวกไดโนเสาร์) 3000

election(n: election pl elections) The act or process of choosing someone for a public office by voting. (การเลือกตั้ง) 1000

helmet(n: helmet pl helmets) A hard hat that is worn to protect your head. Soldiers wear helmets when fighting. (หมวกกันน็อก) 4000

(adj: incorporated or Inc.) Formed into a legal company, often used in the names of companies. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated; Merriam-Webster, Inc. 3000

joke(n: joke pl jokes) Something said or done to cause laughter. She meant it as a joke, but some people took her seriously. I heard a funny joke yesterday. (เรื่องตลก) 2000

mud(n: mud, noncount) Soft, wet dirt. His shoes were covered with mud. (โคลน) 3000

narrow(adj: narrow, narrower, narrowest) Long and not wide; small from one side to the other side. The bridge is too narrow for large vehicles to cross. (แคบ) 2000

nightmare(n: nightmare pl nightmares) 1. A dream that frightens a sleeping person; a very bad dream. (ฝันร้าย) 2. A very bad or frightening experience or situation. 3000

oxygen(n: oxygen, noncount) A chemical that is found in the air, that has no color, taste, or smell, and that is necessary for life. He died from lack of oxygen. (ก๊าซออกซิเจน) 4000

reptile(n: reptile pl reptiles) An animal (such as a snake, lizard, turtle, or alligator) that has cold blood, that lays eggs, and that has a body covered with scales or hard parts. (สัตว์เลื้อยคลาน) 12000
(adj: reptilian) Like a reptile. The bird was reptilian in appearance. (เกี่ยวกับสัตว์เลื้อยคลาน; เลวทราม)

rifle(n: rifle pl rifles) A gun that has a long barrel and that is held against your shoulder when you shoot it. (ปืนยาว) 5000

roar(v: roar, roars, roared, roaring) 1. To say loudly or shout; to make the loud sound of a wild animal (such as a lion). (คำราม) 2. To make a loud deep sound. The cannons roared. (ส่งเสียงคำราม) 3. To make a loud deep sound while moving. He roared past on his motorbike. (ส่งเสียงอึกทึก) 6000

safari(n: safari pl safaris) 1. An overland journey to see or hunt animals. He went on a safari in Africa last year. (การเดินทางไกลเพื่อล่าสัตว์หรือท่องเที่ยว) 2. A group of hunters on safari. 8000

scream(v: scream, screams, screamed, screaming) 1. To suddenly cry out in a loud and high voice because of fear, pain, surprise, etc. 2. To say something in a loud and high voice because you are angry, afraid, etc. (กรีดร้อง) 3000

shake(v: shake, shakes, shook, shaken, shaking) To move back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements. (สั่น) 2000

shiver(v: shiver, shivers, shivered, shivering) To move back and forth or from side to side slightly because you are cold, afraid, etc. (สั่น) 5000

silence(n: silence, noncount) 1. [A period of time] when there is no sound. The teacher asked for silence in the room. I find it hard to sleep unless there is complete silence. (ความเงียบ)
(adj: silent) Used to describe someone or something that is not making noise. (เงียบ)
(adv: silently) In a silent way. (อย่างเงียบ ๆ) 3000

thunder(n: thunder, noncount) The loud, deep rumbling sound that follows a flash of lightning during a storm. (ฟ้าร้อง)
(v: thunder, thunders, thundered, thundering) To make a very loud, deep noise. (ส่งเสียงดังคล้ายเสียงฟ้าร้อง) 3000

tight(adj: tight, tighter, tightest) 1. Fitting very or too closely; [of clothes] fitting very close to your body. These shoes are too tight. (คับแน่น) 2. Flat or firm from being pulled or stretched; not loose. Pull the ribbon tight and make a bow. (ผูกแน่น) 3. Fastened, attached, or held in a position that is not easy to move. The lid is too tight. I can't open it. (แน่นหนา) 2000
(adv: tightly) In a tight way. The shirt fits too tightly around the arms. Hold on tightly to the railing. (แน่น)

whisper(n: whisper pl whispers) A very quiet sound, especially something said. (การกระซิบ; การส่งเสียงเบา ๆ)
(v: whisper, whispers, whispered, whispering) To speak or say something very softly. (กระซิบ) 5000

yard(n: yard pl yards) 1. The area of ground around a house, usually covered with grass or plants. (สนาม) 2. An area of enclosed (fenced) ground used for a special purpose. (ลานบ้าน) 3. An old British unit of length equal to three feet or 0.9144 meters. (หลา) 2000

film(n: film pl films) 1. A special material that is used for taking photographs. (เยื่อบาง ๆ) 2. A story, play etc shown as a motion picture in a cinema, on television etc.; a movie. (ภาพยนตร์) 3. A thin layer on or over the surface of something. A film of ice covered the sidewalk. (คราบ) 1000

layer(n: layer pl layers) A single thickness of a material that lies over or under another. (ชั้น) 3000

(n: metaphor pl metaphors) A comparison between two unlike things that share similar qualities. A word or phrase for one is used to refer to the other in order to show or suggest that they are similar. The comparison is indirect in that it does not use the words "like" or "as". He was drowning in paperwork. He's a tiger when he's angry. (อุปมา) 7000

game(n: game pl games) 1. A physical or mental activity or contest that has rules and that people do for pleasure. A card game. Party games. (การละเล่น) 2. (noncount) Animals that are hunted. Wild game. (สัตว์ป่าที่ถูกล่าเพื่อการกีฬา) 1000

match(n: match pl matches) 1. A short thin piece of wood with a special tip that produces fire when it is rubbed against something else. He lit a match. (ไม้ขีดไฟ) 2. Someone or something that is equal to or as good as another person or thing. She has finally met her match at arguing. (คนที่เท่าเทียมกัน) 3. A contest between two or more players or teams. A soccer match. (การแข่งขัน) 1000

avalanche(n: avalanche pl avalanches) A large amount of snow and ice or of dirt and rocks that slides suddenly down the side of a mountain. He was buried/trapped by an avalanche. (หิมะถล่ม) 10000

buffalo(n: buffalo pl buffaloes) A large wild animal like a cow with long horns that point to the back. (กระบือ) Examples include the Asian and African water buffalo (ควาย) and the North American bison (กระทิง). 7000

crop(n: crop pl crops) A plant or plant product that is grown by farmers. This year the farmer grew a fine crop of rice. (ผลผลิตที่เก็บเกี่ยว) 3000

curse(v: curse, curses, cursed, cursing) 1. To wish or say magic words so that trouble or bad luck may fall upon someone or something. (สาปแช่ง) 2. To use bad or violent language; to swear. (สบถ)
(n: curse pl curses) Something or someone believed to bring trouble or bad luck. (คำสาป) 4000

delicate(adj: delicate) 1. Easily broken or damaged, requiring special treatment or careful handling. The cup is very delicate, so please handle it carefully. (เปราะบาง) 2. Attractive and made up of small or fine parts; dainty. The fabric has a delicate floral print. (ละเอียดอ่อน) 3000

fountain(n: fountain pl fountains) 1. A device or structure that sends a stream of water into the air in a garden, park, etc. The crowd gathered around the fountain in the plaza. (น้ำพุธรรมชาติ) 2. The water coming from such a structure. It was so hot that he stood under the fountain to get cool. (น้ำจากน้ำพุ) 5000

fox(n: fox pl foxes) A small wild animal that is related to dogs and that has a long pointed nose and a bushy tail. (สุนัขจิ้งจอก) 4000

mist(n: mist pl mists) A cloud of water in the air close to the ground, which makes it difficult to see a long way. (หมอก) 5000

paradox(n: paradox pl paradoxes) Something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Global warming will lead to the next Ice Age (ปฏิทรรศน์) 5000

plead(v: plead, pleads, pleaded, pleading) To ask for something in a serious and emotional way; to beg. He pleaded with her, but she would not change her mind. (วิงวอน) 4000

pollen(n: pollen, noncount) The very fine usually yellow dust that is produced by a plant and that is carried to other plants of the same kind usually by wind or insects so that the plants can produce seeds. Bees carry pollen from flower to flower. (ละอองเกสรดอกไม้) 9000

signal(n: signal pl signals) 1. Something (such as a sound, a movement of part of the body, or an object) that gives information about something or that tells someone to do something. They communicated with each other by using hand signals. (สัญญาณ) 2. A message, sound, or image that is carried by waves of light or sound. The phone signal is not very strong here. (ส่งสัญญาณ) 2000

(n: species, plural) A group (of animals etc) whose members are similar and so closely related as to be able to breed (have young) together. (สายพันธุ์) 3000

spit(v: spit, spits, spat, spitting) To force something [such as food or liquid] from your mouth. (ถ่มน้ำลาย) 3000

spray(v: spray, sprays, sprayed, spraying) To put (something) on a surface or into the air in a way that produces a stream of small drops of liquid. (ฉีด) 3000

sterilize(v: sterilize, sterilizes, sterilized, sterilizing) To clean (something) by destroying germs or bacteria. The dentist sterilized his instruments before seeing the patient. (ทำให้ปราศจากเชื้อ) 7000

swallow(v: swallow, swallows, swallowed, swallowing) To take (something) into your stomach through your mouth and throat. (กลืน) 3000

swamp(n: swamp pl swamps) An area of soft wet land that is often partly covered with water and has many trees. (บึง) 5000

police whistlinggirl whistling(n: whistle pl whistles) A device through which air or steam is forced to produce a very high and loud sound. The policeman blew his whistle. (นกหวีด)
(v: whistle, whistles, whistled, whistling) 1. To produce a very high, often musical, sound by forcing air through your lips or teeth. He whistled a happy tune. (ผิวปาก) 2. To make such a sound with a whistle or by passing quickly through the air. The bullet whistled past his head. (ทำให้เกิดเสียงหวีดหวิว) 3. (of the wind) To blow with such a sound. (พัดให้เกิดเสียงหวีดหวิว) 3000

This series of half-hour radio plays was produced by Brigham Young University for the U.S. National Public Radio Network. Ray Bradbury was very excited about it and personally provided an introduction to each episode. The series is highly regarded for its original sound effects and musical scores. This is episode 8. To download the mp3, click here.

A 24 minute film from the ‘Ray Bradbury Theater’ American TV series, with personal introduction by Ray Bradbury. This is episode 6 of Season 3. To watch online, click here. To download the mp4, click here.

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