steal someone's thunder


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Related to steal someone's thunder: take with a grain of salt, whole nine yards

steal someone's thunder

Use or appropriate another's idea, especially to one's advantage, as in It was Harold's idea but they stole his thunder and turned it into a massive advertising campaign without giving him credit . This idiom comes from an actual incident in which playwright and critic John Dennis (1657-1734) devised a "thunder machine" (by rattling a sheet of tin backstage) for his play, Appius and Virginia (1709), and a few days later discovered the same device being used in a performance of Macbeth, whereupon he declared, "They steal my thunder."
See also: steal, thunder

steal someone's thunder

If someone steals your thunder, they do something that stops you from getting attention or praise, often by doing something better or more exciting than you, or by doing what you had intended to do before you can do it. It's too late for rivals to take advantage. They couldn't steal our thunder. Note: You can also say that someone steals the thunder from you. I think O'Connor will steal some of the thunder from Read, as his book is out first. Note: This expression may come from an incident in the early 18th century. A British playwright, John Dennis, invented a new way of making the sound of thunder for his play `Appius and Virginia'. However, the play was unsuccessful and soon closed. Soon afterwards, Dennis went to see a production of `Macbeth' by another company and found that they had stolen his idea for making thunder sounds. He is said to have jumped up and accused them of stealing his thunder.
See also: steal, thunder