lightning rod


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 Etched into one wall was a 13-foot-long procession of almond-eyed deities, led by Hadad, a storm god who was identified by his three-pronged lightning rod and headdress with a five-point star. New York Times, 12 May 2022 The issue of masking is a political lightning rod ahead of the midterm elections and one the administration has not sought to aggressively fight since mask mandates have already been lifted in much of the country. Cheyenne Haslett, ABC News, 20 Apr. 2022 In the world of music, when Marin Alsop became the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s music director in 2007 — the first woman to head a major American symphony — a conductor became a lightning rod. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2022 Coming Home became a lightning rod in discussions of veterans' issues and the resources available to soldiers returning home, as did two other films of the late 1970s, Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 25 Apr. 2022 The issue of short-term rentals has become a lightning rod in coastal communities. oregonlive, 9 Apr. 2022 Critical race theory, an academic theory that's been taught at the collegiate level for decades, has recently become a lightning rod in conservative politics. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, 6 Apr. 2022 California’s famous 1970s-era cap on property taxes, Proposition 13, has long been a lightning rod in the state’s housing wars. Lauren Hepler, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Feb. 2022 Although Comcast has been a lightning rod in Washington, D.C. at times, the CEO is promising to leave no doorbell unrung in the hunt for new pipelines into America’s living rooms. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 28 Jan. 2022 See More

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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Time Traveler for lightning rod

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The first known use of lightning rod was in 1773

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Dictionary Entries Near lightning rod


lightning rod

lightning stone

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Statistics for lightning rod

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lightning rod.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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