The clamour for a new posting revealing the origin of a well known phrase or saying has been totally absent, but here’s one anyway. I came across it just this very day, and it’s one of my favourites. It may be apocryphal, but we won’t let that spoil the enjoyment.
Back in the day
an unsuccessful playwright called John Dennis invented a machine for the theatre that recreated the sound of thunder. This was probably before the age of patents etc, so when he went to see a play and – from the rumbling sound coming from off-stage – he could tell someone had stolen his idea, he is said to have risen and cried:
‘That is my thunder, by God. The villains will play my thunder, but not my plays!’
Hence the saying to steal one’s thunder.