Why do We Say Steal Someone’s Thunder?

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English-Language Thoughts

Like soap opera, this phrase is one of those little bits of language which seems quite bizarre when you really look at it. But like soap opera, most of us don’t really look at it like that, because we’re so used to it.

And also, I think, like soap opera, it just feels right. For me I think that was because it seems somewhat classical, ancient. Maybe it’s because it makes me unconsciously think of aspects of Ancient Greek myths, like the story of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods, and Zeus’ thunderbolts.

Despite its classical feel though, the phrase is actually relatively modern, and its origin can be traced to a very specific point.

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