someone steals our thunder, we are usually intimating that they
have taken the accolades for an accomplishment that was rightfully
ours. The phrase
"stealing my thunder" sounds quite fanciful, and seems
to be stating that someone has been louder and bigger, and more
noticeable, than our self. Strangely
enough, the words originally started in a far more literal
the early 18th-century, the poet John Dennis attempted
to stage his own play. It
was so embarrassingly unsuccessful that the repertory actors
refused to perform it. The
actors did however admire, and keep for regular use, the other
creative effort John Dennis invented for his stage production –
the sound of thunder.
Dennis discovered that shaking a sheet of tin could produce the
sound of thunder. It
is a very effective imitation and has been used regularly since
Dennis was in the theatre on a night when his sound effect was
used in a play which was not his own.
The audience applauded the unusual sound.
This applause, so lacking during the performance of his own
staged work, provoked John Dennis into saying, “They won’t act
my tragedy, but they steal my thunder!”
San Carlo Theatre, Naples, Italy
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incredible!! I would never have thought that. I used to
work on the stage and I don't ever remember anyone knowing where the
term came from.
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