lightning rod

noun
|Updated on: 6 Jul 2018

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.

Recent Examples of lightning rod from the Web

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.

First Known Use of lightning rod

1773

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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LIGHTNING ROD Defined for English Language Learners

lightning rod

Definition of lightning rod for English Language Learners

  • : 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


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