Flash in the pan

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Flash in the pan : Phrases


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


Joe Clark'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.

Alternative: 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.

Related Phrase :
Pan Out

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