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(escucha el audio más de una vez para familiarizarte con los términos que
se introducen y explican)
a powerful force of nature. In fact, a lightning strike carries millions
of volts of electricity.
Scientists say a bolt of lightning strikes somewhere on Earth every
second. That is a lot of energy!
Think how wonderful it would be if we could capture lightning and sell
it in a bottle. Sadly, that is not something you or I can do, at least
The phrase "to catch lighting in a bottle" means to capture something
powerful or difficult. Then you are able to control it and perhaps show
it to the world. This is where the "bottle" part is important.
We can also use "to capture lightning in a bottle" to describe an
extremely difficult or unlikely success. Or you can simply call
something elusive, fleeting and brilliant "lightning in a bottle."
So, something elusive is difficult to define or to identify. "Fleeting"
means to be here one minute and gone the next. Something fleeting is
hard to hold onto. It is hard to catch or even define. It’s as if it's
For example, once I worked on a theater project and the experience was
like lightning in a bottle. The performers -- all gifted and friendly --
became like family. We spent every day together. The material we
performed was funny, yet difficult. And every night the people who
gathered to watch us perform were wonderful. Experiences like that do
not come along every day.
So, we often use the term “lightning in a bottle” when talking about
something creative. But not always.
In the world of sports, players and teams have also been known for
catching lightning in a bottle. Anything physical that is "lightning in
a bottle" can be described as a rare feat. Climbing the top of Mount
Everest is considered a rare feat of endurance.
Sometimes we use this expression to describe something that it is
difficult to do and use it as a simile. A simile compares two things and
begins with the word "like" or "as." For example, getting all the
scientists to agree on a subject for the conference was like trying to
catch lightning in a bottle. They all wanted to talk about different
As you may have noticed, we either use the verbs "capture" or "catch"
for this expression. "Catch" is less official sounding.
Language experts do not know exactly where this expression comes from.
Some say it may have started with Benjamin Franklin -- the American
diplomat, businessman and inventor.
Ben Franklin is known for a scientific experiment involving electricity
and lightning. As the story goes, Franklin once flew a kite in a
lightning storm. He had hoped that lightning would strike the kite as it
flew high in the sky. He thought the electricity would travel down the
string to a metal key at the bottom. Then the plan was to catch the
electricity in a glass jar.
But that didn’t happen. However, it did lead to the invention of the
lightning rod and the understanding of positive and negative charges.
So, you can’t catch real lightning in a bottle. But hopefully, during
your lifetime you’ll have the experience of catching a little of your
own lightning in a bottle.
We’ll end the show with a final usage of this expression. It is not that
common but probably worth noting. "Bottled lightning" can also mean a
very strong alcoholic drink.
volt – n. a unit for measuring the force that
moves an electric current bolt – n. a lightning stroke; also “thunderbolt” brilliant – adj. very impressive or successful : brilliance – n.
the quality or state of being brilliant rare – adj. not common or usual : not often done, seen, or
happening feat – n. an act or achievement that shows courage, strength, or
skill endurance – n. the ability to do something difficult for a long
time : the ability to deal with pain or suffering that continues for a
long time kite – n. a toy that is made of a light frame covered with cloth,
paper, or plastic and that is flown in the air at the end of a long
string jar – n. a glass container that has a wide opening and usually a
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