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

catch lightning in a bottle

To achieve or succeed at doing something that is incredibly difficult, unlikely, and/or elusive. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. The playwright caught 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 catch lightning in a bottle with an upset win over the number one seed.
See also: bottle, catch, lightning

lightning doesn't strike twice

Something that's very extraordinary and unlikely to happen will never happen to the same person twice. (Said especially of tragic or unfortunate events.) I know you're scared to go back on a plane after that crash, but lightning doesn't strike twice.
See also: lightning, strike, twice

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

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

lightning doesn't strike twice

or

lightning never strikes twice

You say that lightning does not strike twice or lightning never strikes twice to say that someone who has been very lucky or unlucky is unlikely to have the same good or bad luck again. They say lightning doesn't strike twice but it did with Wanganeen following up his match-winning form with another great performance. It was as if Sara was somehow protected by the old `lightning never strikes twice' rule. Note: You can also say that lightning strikes twice or that lightning strikes again when someone does have the same good or bad luck again. Lightning struck twice as he scored again — his fifth goal in three games over the Christmas period. Then, several years later, lightning struck again. Her other son Stephen died suddenly at the age of 13.
See also: lightning, strike, twice

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: lightning, rod, something

like lightning

or

like greased lightning

If someone does something like lightning or like greased lightning they do it very quickly. I ran across that room like lightning and pushed back the curtain. He spotted the gap and was through it like greased lightning.
See also: lightning, like

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