lightning rod

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

a lightning rod for something

mainly AMERICAN
If someone is a lightning rod for something such as anger or criticism, they are the person who is naturally blamed or criticized by people, although there are other people who are responsible. She has become a lightning rod for criticism of the administration. He told the Palermo court he was an innocent lightning rod for Italy's many crime problems. Note: You can also just call someone a lightning rod. She was the party's chief manager, star campaigner and also its lightning rod. Note: A lightning rod is a long metal strip, one end of which is fixed on the roof of a building, with the other end in the ground to protect the building from being damaged by lightning.
See also: for, lightning, rod, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In 1780-1784, a lawsuit about lightning rods gave M.
To quote a retired lightning rod salesman, "Lightning rods are a true insurance policy through prevention, rather than dealing with the damage after the fact!" He also pointed out that loss from lightning damage is second only to auto accidents.
For Roland Barthes it was the premiere question of narrative itself, and it is posed in remarkable ways by Helen DeWitt's second published novel, Lightning Rods. The story repackages the quintessential American myth of the plucky entrepreneur who overcomes all obstacles in a rise from obscurity to wealth and fame, a personal success that brings with it--according to the myth, at least--social progress.
Given this view, the "lightning rods" become the force that reinfuses capitalism and blesses the American economy.
Golfers, or people holding portable metal lightning rods in a vast open area where their own body is the tallest object, are also one of the top groups who became victims of lightning strikes.
"The problem with lightning rods is they attract lightning," explains the engineer.
Richard is equally fond of cupola attachments: lightning rods, balls, wind vanes or arrows, directionals (fixed indicators of N-S-E-W directions) and pendants (ornamental glass pieces hung from lightning rod holders).
He said he was sorry to disturb me, but as he was passing he noticed that I needed some lightning rods. I said, "Yes, yes--go on--what about it?" He said there was nothing about it, in particular--nothing except he would like to put them up for me.
Two men who have become lightning rods for the current controversy, Michael Ingham, diocesan bishop of New Westminster, and Frank Griswold, presiding bishop (primate) of ECUSA, quickly did what was asked of them: they expressed regret for the consequence of their actions, but not the actions themselves.
Cables have been installed to help support the weight of the limbs, lightning rods are used to protect the tree during storms, and the Sentinel is trimmed and fertilized every other year.
These award-winning films did double duty, serving both as lightning rods to draw conservative fire (while more subtle indoctrination went on under the radar) and as highly educational pieces for the young boys and girls who could view these TV movies apart from their parents.
The Ladies saw Kathy Rivett triumph over Leanne Tanner (both Ford Escorts), followed by Jonathan Chappell (Fiesta) taking the honours in the Rods and Anthony Green winning the Lightning Rods. Chris Wood was triumphant in the caravan race, and Daniel Bigmore in his Ford Sierra was the winner in the Demolition Derby.
The Aoyama Technical College in Shibuya, for example, is a bizarre construction whose creator, Makoto Watanabe, has set himself the task of "analyzing the self-organization of Tokyo's urban systems" through a sci-fi montage of poles, lightning rods, water tanks and posts that creep almost organically over the building's surfaces.
LEC also replaced about 50 existing lightning rods with Spline Ball Terminals, which screw into existing lightning-rod sockets.
These large-scale radomes range in diameters from six to 18 feet with optional turn-key ac-cessories, including lightning rods, mounting risers, a lifting harness, access doors, landing lights, heating and air conditioning.
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