lightning rod

noun

Definition of lightning rod

1 : a grounded metallic rod set up on a structure (such as a building) to protect it from lightning
2 : one that serves to divert attack from another
3 : one that is a frequent target of criticism or focus of controversy she has become a convenient lightning rod for voters' discontent with law-and-order issues— Aric Press et al.

Examples of lightning rod in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Game of Thrones was a lightning rod for controversy throughout its eight-year run, and many fans have second-guessed the choices made by showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "This Book Will Change How You See ‘Game of Thrones’," 16 Oct. 2020 Imposing a statewide mask mandate has always been a political lightning rod and has distracted from the real goal — containing the spread in the hottest hot spots. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Robert Gehrke: The governor’s new coronavirus action took too long, now we have to hope it works," 14 Oct. 2020 Some of Palantir’s contracts with the U.S. government have been a lightning rod for activists and its own employees. Washington Post, "Silicon Valley surveillance company Palantir to go public on New York Stock Exchange Wednesday," 29 Sep. 2020 Fred Wilpon was the tone setter, Katz was the financial expert and Jeff Wilpon, the bulldog administrator, became a lightning rod for frustrated fans who accused him of meddling too often in baseball affairs. David Waldstein, New York Times, "With Wilpons Set to Cede Control, the Mets End an Era of What-Ifs," 27 Sep. 2020 Few members of Congress have been as much of a political lightning rod during the storm-heavy Trump era as Ilhan Omar. David Marchese, New York Times, "Ilhan Omar Is Not Here to Put You at Ease," 18 Sep. 2020 Off the court, Thompson was both a role model and a lightning rod. Joseph White, Houston Chronicle, "Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78," 31 Aug. 2020 Ocasio-Cortez is far from the first lightning rod politician to be tagged as a campaign villain in Texas and beyond. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "As AOC preps to speak at Democratic convention, Texas Republicans have already cast her as campaign bogeyman," 18 Aug. 2020 Her confirmation hearing in 2017 became a lightning rod for conservative outcry after California Sen. Dianne Feinstein questioned whether or not Barrett could separate her religious faith from her duty as a judge. Johnny Magdaleno, The Indianapolis Star, "5 things you need to know about Amy Coney Barrett, a possible Supreme Court pick," 19 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lightning rod.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lightning rod

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for lightning rod

Time Traveler

The first known use of lightning rod was in 1773

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Statistics for lightning rod

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lightning rod.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lightning%20rod. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for lightning rod

lightning rod

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lightning rod

US
: a metal rod that is placed on a building and connected with the ground below to protect the building from being damaged by lightning
: someone or something that attracts criticism or gets blamed when things go wrong

More from Merriam-Webster on lightning rod

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lightning rod

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lightning rod

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