Catch lightning in a bottle

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Catch lightning in a bottle is an American idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the phrase catch lightning in a bottle, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To catch lightning in a bottle means to accomplish a nearly impossible task, to trap something elusive or fleeting. This is usually but not always in reference to something creative. Often, the term is used to explain the difficulty of accomplishing something, in the simile like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. A simile is a phrase that is a comparison between two things and begins with the word like or the word as. The origins of the idiom catch lightning in a bottle are rather murky. Some attribute it to Benjamin Franklin and his electricity experiment, in which Franklin flew a kite in a thunderstorm in the hopes that lightning would strike it. He was attempting to collect electricity in a Leyden jar.


The first 12,000 bottles of Patrón hit the market in 1989, but it was hardly lightning in a bottle. (Forbes Magazine)

Still, attempts to relive the magic on Guero and The Information register as compelling reminders that even if he never catches lightning in a bottle again like he did on Odelay, Beck is still a once-in-a-lifetime talent who’s earned the right to do whatever the **** he wants. (Willamette WEekly)

“Going to Duke is about giving her the absolute best chance to extend the game … capture lightning in a bottle,” said Hicks Neal, whose wife was diagnosed the first Friday in May with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the same type of cancer Sen. John McCain has. (The Daily News Journal)