flash in the pan

noun phrase

: a sudden spasmodic effort that accomplishes nothing
: one that appears promising but turns out to be disappointing or worthless

Examples of flash in the pan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Might Trump prove to be a flash in the pan who disappears like the Cheshire cat without even a smile in Alice in Wonderland? Armstrong Williams, Baltimore Sun, 8 Mar. 2024 But for those working in the Irish film and TV sector, these recent achievements — however stellar — aren’t just a brief flash in the pan moment, but rather the culmination of a movement that’s been ascending for some time. Alex Ritman, Variety, 4 Mar. 2024 But what they aren’t known for is their impact on long term brand engagement, their ability to be more than a flash in the pan memory past Sunday Night, or (most recently) their deep alignment with the emotions and value systems in the Traylor SwiftCeVerse. Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 Still, there was understandable skepticism about whether the trial would be a flash in the pan that led to companies slowly ushering their staffers back into a five-day week once the pageantry ended. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 22 Feb. 2024 But the news does show that the game may be more than just a flash in the pan viral sensation as sales continue to grow. Andrew Webster, The Verge, 31 Jan. 2024 Is Washington a flash in the pan or a future problem? Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 5 Jan. 2024 The duo’s appearance together in South America comes as a source close to Travis told PEOPLE that the romance isn't a flash in the pan. Kirsty Hatcher, Peoplemag, 29 Nov. 2023 Others worry that the bag will be a flash in the pan. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 21 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flash in the pan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near flash in the pan

Cite this Entry

“Flash in the pan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flash%20in%20the%20pan. Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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