steal someone's thunder
Based on a 1704 quote from John Dennis, a literary critic and minor playwright, who invented a novel method for creating a sound effect for thunder. The play in which he first introduced this method flopped, and the next play shown in the theatre was Macbeth. When the staging of Macbeth used his technique for simulating thunder, Dennis was reported in the press as jumping up and crying "How these rascals use me! They will not have my play, yet steal my thunder."
- (idiomatic) To appropriate someone's ideas or information, typically in order to look better at that person's expense.
1855, Jno. E. Vought, “Editor's Table (letters)”, in The Knickerbocker: Or, New-York Monthly Magazine Volume 46, page 101:
- There are several upstarts, who, without the genius to invent a style, have been copying yours, and trying to steal your thunder.
1898, Boot and Shoe Recorder - Volume 33:
- It also serves to give someone else an opportunity to steal your thunder if he considers there is any amount of thunder in it.
- (idiomatic) To detract from someone's accomplishments or glory; to undermine.
2011, Chuck Thompson, What Should You Do Before the Tribulation Age of 42, ISBN 1462884539, page xxxix:
- I'm in no way, hoping for any such disasters to take place. Nevertheless, I know that they will and I shamefully admit I didn't want those events to steal my thunder. Literally, I want to finish, publish, market, and distribute this book around the world first.