lightning


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lightning in a bottle

An incredibly difficult, unlikely, and/or elusive achievement or period of success. (Usually used with "catch" or "capture.") Primarily heard in US. The playwright caught lightning in a bottle with his first play, taking the world by storm and thrusting him into the spotlight of fame. The rookie team, such underdogs in this championship, are trying to capture lightning in a bottle by upsetting the number one seed.
See also: bottle, lightning

capture lightning in a bottle

To achieve or succeed at doing something that is incredibly difficult, unlikely, and/or elusive. Primarily heard in US. The playwright captured lightning in a bottle with his first play, taking the world by storm and thrusting him into the spotlight of fame. This rookie team, such underdogs in this championship, are trying to capture lightning in a bottle with an upset win over the number one seed.

lightning fast

(hyphenated if used before a noun) Incredibly fast; too quick to keep up with. Did you see that martial arts expert? His kicks were lightning fast! My brother has a lightning-fast wit.
See also: fast, lightning

lightning quick

(hyphenated if used before a noun) Incredibly fast; too quick to keep up with. Did you see that martial arts expert? His kicks were lightning quick! My brother has a lightning-quick wit.
See also: lightning, quick

(as) quick as lightning

Incredibly quickly or speedily. Did you see that martial arts expert? He threw those kicks as quick as lightning! Quick as lightning, Mary finished her exam and raced out of the classroom.
See also: lightning, quick

(as) fast as lightning

Incredibly quickly or speedily. Did you see that martial arts expert? His threw those kicks as fast as lightning! Fast as lightning, Mary finished her exam and raced out of the classroom.
See also: fast, lightning

faster than greased lightning

Extremely fast. Wow, that car just blew past me—it's faster than greased lightning! When I take tests, I'm faster than greased lightning, so I'm sure I'll be the first one done.
See also: faster, grease, lightning

go like lightning

To move very quickly. Come on, kids, go like lightning out to the car, or else we're going to be late!
See also: lightning, like

lightning rod

Something or someone that becomes the focus of others' criticism or blame. Primarily heard in US. The CEO became a lightning rod for criticism when his company laid off a third of its employees.
See also: lightning, rod

Lightning never strikes (the same place) twice.

Prov. The same highly unlikely thing never happens to the same person twice. Jill: I'm scared to drive ever since that truck hit my car. Alan: Don't worry. Lightning never strikes the same place twice. It's strange, but I feel safer since my apartment was robbed; I figure lightning never strikes the same place twice.

like greased lightning

Rur. very fast. Once I get her tuned up, this old car will go like greased lightning. He's a fat kid, but he can run like greased lightning.
See also: grease, lightning, like

like hell and high lightning

Rur. very fast. The snowmobiles came zooming down the trail like hell and high lightning. The powerboat sped up the river like hell and high lightning.
See also: and, hell, high, lightning, like

*quick as a wink

 and *quick as a flash; *quick as (greased) lightning; *swift as lightning
very quickly. (*Also: as ~.) As quick as a wink, the thief took the lady's purse. I'll finish this work quick as a flash. Quick as greased lightning, the thief stole my wallet.
See also: quick, wink

like greased lightning

  (old-fashioned)
if someone does something like greased lightning, they do it very quickly I mentioned work and he was out of the room like greased lightning.
See also: grease, lightning, like

a lightning rod

  (American)
someone or something that takes all the blame for a situation, although other people or things are responsible too (often + for ) In a harsh economic climate, raises for teachers have become a lightning rod for criticism.
See also: lightning, rod

Lightning does not strike twice.

something that you say which means that a bad thing will not happen to the same person twice I know the crash has scared you, but lightning doesn't strike twice.
See also: does, lightning, not, strike, twice

as quick as a flash/wink

  also as quick as lightning
if you do something as quick as a flash, you do it very quickly Quick as a flash, he snatched the book and ran out of the room.
See also: flash, quick

lightning never strikes twice in the same place

The same misfortune will never recur, as in Go ahead and try your luck investing in options again; lightning never strikes twice. This saying is based on a long-standing myth, which has been proved to be untrue. Nevertheless, it is so well known it is often shortened, as in the example. [Mid-1800s]

like greased lightning

Also, like a blue streak; like the wind; like blazes. Very fast indeed, as in He climbed that ladder like greased lightning, or She kept on talking like a blue streak, or The children ran like the wind when they heard there'd be free ice cream. The likening of speed to lightning dates from the 1500s, and grease was added in the early 1800s to further accentuate the idea of haste. The first variant, blue streak, also dates from the early 1800s and alludes to something resembling lightning. The wind in the second variant has been a metaphor for swiftness since ancient Roman times. The blazes in the last variant, first recorded in 1925, alludes to fire or lightning.
See also: grease, lightning, like

quick as a wink

Also, quick as a bunny or a flash . Very speedily, as in He was out of here quick as a wink, or She answered, quick as a bunny. These similes have largely replaced the earlier quick as lightning, although quick as a flash no doubt alludes to it (also see like greased lightning), and quick as thought, now obsolete. The bunny variant dates from the mid-1800s, the others from the late 1800s.
See also: quick, wink

greased lightning

1. n. strong liquor. This greased lightning of yours nearly blew my head off.
2. n. something fast or powerful. That kid can run like greased lightning.
See also: grease, lightning

lightning rod

n. someone, something, or an issue that is certain to draw criticism. Why write such a boastful introduction to your book. I will just be a lightning rod for criticism.
See also: lightning, rod

faster than a cat lapping chain lightning

Another old Southern expression, this one meaning very fast indeed.
See also: cat, chain, faster, lap, lightning

catch lightning in a bottle

Try to do something that's impossible. The phrase has been attributed to the baseball manager Leo Durocher, who may have originated or simply liked to use it. In any event, it's an apt metaphor for something that no one can do (unless “lightning” refers to lightning bugs, another name for fireflies).
See also: bottle, catch, lightning
References in classic literature ?
The lightning flashed for a third time, and his face leaped upon me.
The clouds are dangerous for us; they contain opposing currents which might catch us in their eddies, and lightnings that might set on fire.
At the same moment the lightning flashed into the room through the ill-closed shutters; the roar of the thunder burst over the house, and shook it to its foundation.
The landlady set it down to the lightning, which flashed into the room again at the same moment.
ye'll find Miss Blanche a bit baulder than to skirl at a flash o' lightning, that gait
In the year 1793, [12] one of the most destructive thunderstorms perhaps on record happened at Buenos Ayres: thirty-seven places within the city were struck by lightning, and nineteen people killed.
Priestly has described some imperfect siliceous tubes and a melted pebble of quartz, found in digging into the ground, under a tree, where a man had been killed by lightning.
I love all who are like heavy drops falling one by one out of the dark cloud that lowereth over man: they herald the coming of the lightning, and succumb as heralds.
Lo, I am a herald of the lightning, and a heavy drop out of the cloud: the lightning, however, is the SUPERMAN.
I want to teach men the sense of their existence, which is the Superman, the lightning out of the dark cloud--man.
The steep incline of the street ran with water, the thick fall of rain enveloped him like a luminous veil in the play of lightning.
He came to rest in the roadway of the street at the bottom, lying on his back, with a great flash of lightning over his face--a vivid, silent flash of lightning which blinded him utterly.
Your ears ought to be better than other folks' at any rate, if you make so little of the chance of being struck blind,' he said, retreating from the door and shading his eyes with his hands as the jagged lightning came again.
No wonder,' said the man, 'with this lightning in one's eyes, by-the-by.
Sometimes one would look up to smile to another, or to snuff the feeble candle, or to glance at the lightning as it shot through the open window and fluttering curtain, or to listen to some louder peal of thunder than the rest, with a kind of momentary impatience, as if it put him out; but there they sat, with a calm indifference to everything but their cards, perfect philosophers in appearance, and with no greater show of passion or excitement than if they had been made of stone.