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Last updated at 12:49 BST, Thursday, 20 September 2012

To steal someone's thunder

A thunderbolt lights up the sky above Munich, Germany.

A thunderbolt lights up the sky above the city of Munich, Germany. Photo: Peter Kneffel/AFP/Reuters

Today's Phrase

If you 'steal someone’s thunder', you take the attention away from them, usually to your own advantage.

For example:

Sam stole my thunder when he said he'd done all the work. It's not true – I did most of it!

Please don't steal my thunder by announcing your engagement tonight. I want to tell everyone that I'm pregnant.

I was telling a joke and he just interrupted me to tell a different one. He always steals my thunder.

Don't confuse it with

Do you know the difference between the words 'thunder' and 'lightning' in English? Lightning is a flash of very bright light in the sky caused by electricity, whereas the loud noise that you hear afterwards is called thunder.

For example:

I enjoyed the storm last night and managed to take photos of the lightning. My dog hid under the table because he's scared of thunder.

Interesting fact

The spark of lightning can reach over five miles in length and can raise the temperature of the air by 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightning doesn't only occur in thunderstorms, but also in forest fires, volcanic eruptions and even snowstorms. One of the most dangerous places to stand during a thunderstorm is under a tree, and talking on the phone isn't a good idea either!

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