a light bulb goes off in (one's) brain

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a light bulb goes off in (one's) brain

One is suddenly struck with an ingenious or inspired idea, insight, or revelation. In this expression, the phrasal verb "go off" means "turn on" or "become active." We spent hours trying to come up with a solution, when suddenly a light bulb went off in my brain. I kept feeding him subtle hints about the truth of the matter, waiting for a light bulb to go off in his brain.
See also: brain, bulb, goes, light, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
We find that the light bulb goes off, that they see freezing is "nature's pause button,'" Henry explains.
This blinding revelation of the ponderous incompetence of bureaucratic government came just a few weeks after Obama confessed that ''what we're also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.'' Another light bulb goes off, this one three years after passing a law designed to force millions of Americans to shop for new health plans via the maze of untried, untested, insecure, unreliable online ''exchanges.''
It is like a light bulb goes off in her head during the last few chapters of the book as to the part she plays in the postapocalyptic world.
Sometimes her reminders are things I've heard for years and one day the light bulb goes off. For instance, when you're balancing at the barre, you should connect your inside shoulder and your outside hip energetically.
Show them a 3-D image, however, "and all of a sudden the light bulb goes off in their head and they can understand it.
It's kind of like all of a sudden a light bulb goes off in their head, and they're like, 'Oh my gosh, I understand how I learn.'"
When Joe Antrim explains his foundation's program to the community, he says "it's like a light bulb goes off over their head."
Then go and have a look at the Red Cow roundabout and see if a light bulb goes off in your brain.
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