set the Thames on fire

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set the Thames on fire

  1. (idiomatic) To achieve something amazing; to do something which brings great public acclaim.
    • 1816, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Borders Classics 2007, p. 27:
      The baronet will never set the Thames on fire, but there seems no harm in him.
    • 1925, GK Chesterton, ‘The Ultimate Ultimatum of the League of the Long Bow’, The Collected Works, Ignatius Press 2005, p. 402:
      Do you remember when you jumped into the water after the flowers? I fancy it was then you really set the Thames on fire.
    • 1985, Tom Waits, ‘Anywhere I Lay My Head’:
      My head is spinning round / my heart is in my shoes, yeah / I went and set the Thames on fire, oh / now I must come back down.