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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a flash in the pan

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Readers might be left wondering: How do I know if it's a flash of genius or a flash in the pan? (May; Columbia University Press; $29.95)
Insider's spy reports: "Not just a flash in the pan gimmick, had the dancefloor packed before taking a breather and having a few drinks with a man who really knows what he's doing, Radio City's Pez Tellett."
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.
"I felt that two-bagger was a flash in the pan," recounted Waddell.
"The good thing is that he's not a flash in the pan. He's come through the ranks and held his own in the first team
We intended for our race issue to open up dialogue, not to be a flash in the pan. So we will try our best to be consistently aware of racial pitfalls, but we cannot guarantee that we will never offend anyone.