flash in the pan

Definition of flash in the pan

a failure or a poor performance, especially after a normal or auspicious start; also, a person whose initial performance appears augur success but who fails to achieve anything notable. From 4th pan, n., sense 3 - part of a flintlock. Occasionally, the powder in the pan of a flintlock would flash without conveying the fire to the charge, and the ball would fail to be discharged. Thus, a good or even spectacular beginning that eventually achieves little came to be called a flash in the pan.
the flashing of the priming in the pan of a flintlock musket without discharging the piece; hence, sudden, spasmodic effort that accomplishes nothing.
- Knight.
See under Flash.

See also: Flash Flash Pan

Related Words

failure, loser, nonstarter, unsuccessful person
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-flash in the pan-
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