Lightning Never Strikes The Same Place Twice

Meaning:

An unusual event or situation that’s unlikely to happen again to the same person.

Example: I witnessed a robbery at a gas station, and now I’m afraid to ever set foot near one again. However, lightning never strikes the same place twice so it will probably be okay if I do go back… plus I need gas for my car.


Origin:

Here is the origin of it.

The origin of this idiom most likely comes from a myth—one that says lightning never strikes the same place twice.

Dark clouds fill the sky, flashes of bright light accompanied by the booming sound of thunder can be heard for miles—a storm approaches! In the blink of an eye, lightning descends from a cloud and strikes a spot on the ground, but will that same spot ever be hit again? Not according to the myth mentioned above, but contrary to what this proverb says, lightning can hit the same spot twice. 

It is said that every second, lightning strikes the earth’s surface about 100 times. With that in mind, I’m going to make an analogy: Have you ever heard of darts? It’s a game where players throw a bunch of, uh… darts at a board and they score a certain amount of points depending on where they land. Well, it would only be a matter of time before a dart lands on the board in the same location as another dart. Similarly, then, with so much lightning hitting the surface of the earth, it would only be a matter of time before it struck the same place twice (or very close to it), even if the odds of it happening are unlikely.

Anyways, the earliest recording I could find of this idiom is from the mid 19th century. It is printed in The Melbourne Daily News newspaper, June 1851:

“Lightning never strikes but once in the same place.”


Example Sentence(s)

  1. Our car broke down on our way to get groceries, so we had to borrow my brother’s old van and use that instead. Lightning never strikes twice, so hopefully this clunker can get the job done.

Note: Did you know that the average bolt of lightning is said to have around 5 billion joules of energy? That’s enough energy to power the average home in the U.S. for about a month and a half. Pretty neat! Anyways, the above is a phrase related to the weather, and there are others like it on here, so if you have an expression that you’re looking for, feel free to explore further.