flash in the pan

noun phrase

Definition of flash in the pan 

1 : a sudden spasmodic effort that accomplishes nothing

2 : one that appears promising but turns out to be disappointing or worthless

First Known Use of flash in the pan

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flash in the pan

from the firing of the priming in the pan of a flintlock musket without discharging the piece

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The first known use of flash in the pan was in 1706

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