Stole My Thunder

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To have attention or credit for an idea taken away from you


In the early 1700s, English critic and playwright John Dennis devised a new method of simulating the sound of thunder for his play Appius and Virginia.  The play was deemed a failure and its run at the Drury Lane Theatre was cancelled but Dennis’s invention caught on and was used in other productions without his permission, prompting him to protest.  His exact words are unconfirmed but it is generally accepted that he said something to the affect of:  “They stole my thunder!”

Source:, Theatre Database, Cambridge Encyclopedia


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