a flash in the pan

flash in the pan

Someone or something whose success or popularity is short-lived. With only one hit song, it was obvious that the young pop star was going to be just another flash in the pan. The new startup created a lot of buzz, but it ended up being just another flash in the pan, out of business after just two years.
See also: flash, pan

a flash in the pan

COMMON
1. If an achievement or success is a flash in the pan, it is unlikely to be repeated or to last. In the days following Beckon's victory, the British establishment has gone out of its way to try and dismiss the result as a flash in the pan.
2. If someone who has had a success is a flash in the pan, their success is unlikely to be repeated. Hopefully now I'll be taken seriously, I'm not a flash in the pan. Note: You can use flash-in-the-pan before a noun. Hers is no flash-in-the-pan talent, but a major and mature new voice. Note: This expression has its origins in the way that an old-fashioned gun worked. Pulling the trigger produced a spark which set light to a small amount of gunpowder held in the `pan'. This in turn lit the rest of the gunpowder. However, if it failed to do so there was just a `flash in the pan' and the gun did not fire properly. `Hang fire' has a similar origin.
See also: flash, pan

a ˌflash in the ˈpan

(informal) a success which lasts for a short time and is not likely to be repeated: He scored a lot of goals early in the season, but hasn’t scored any since, so it may have been just a flash in the pan.This refers to an old type of gun. Sometimes the gunpowder in the pan (= a small container at the top of the gun) exploded but failed to set fire to the gunpowder inside the gun with the result that the gun did not fire a bullet.
See also: flash, pan
References in periodicals archive ?
Downing has come in for considerable stick from the crowd and on the moan-ins and message boards in recent weeks, accused of being a Big Time Charlie, a flash in the pan Alan Moore figure who peaked too early and of lacking passion and commitment.
Whether this is a flash in the pan, I don't know,'' said Anthony O'Regan, a political science professor at Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen, who has scrambled to incorporate the crisis into his curriculum.