An event or situation that is unlikely to happen again to the same person.
You have probably experienced a thunderstorm before. Dark clouds in the sky, rain falling to the ground, bright flashes of light followed momentarily by thunder. Well, once lightning descends from a cloud and hits the earth in the blink of an eye, can it strike that same place again? Contrary to what this expression says, the consensus seems to be that lightning can strike the same spot twice.
The origin of this idiom sounds like it comes from a myth that says lightning never strikes the same place twice. 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.”
- Our car broke down on our way to the grocery store, so we had to borrow my brother’s old van. Lightning never strikes twice, as its said, so hopefully this clunker of a vehicle won’t break too.