Steal someone's thunder


The story that lies behind 'stealing someone's thunder' is that of the literary critic and largely unsuccessful playwright, John Dennis. In 1704, he invented a new method of creating the sound of thunder for the production of his play, which wasn’t received well and the method was soon afterwards used in a production of Macbeth. Dennis was less than pleased at having his idea stolen and this account of his response was recorded by the literary scholar Joseph Spence and later quoted in Handy-book of Literary Curiosities in 1893.