Posted by: Dutch | March 5, 2010

Flash in the pan


Something that shows great promise, then disappoints by being over too quickly.


Ross Perot’s political career turned out to be a flash in the pan.


Flintlock muskets have small pans to hold the gunpowder fuse. Sometimes the gunpowder in the pan would flare up without firing the gun. That would be a “flash in the pan”.


Derives from the early gold prospectors who would literally see a flash of light as they panned for gold, but who would often fail to find the nuggets on closer inspection. See the related expression “pan out”.

–  Thanks to Nina Zhito


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