What Does Lightning Never Strikes The Same Place Twice Mean?

Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice Meaning

Definition: The same bad thing is unlikely to happen twice.

A shortened form of the full expression sometimes appears as lightning never strikes twice.

Origin of Lightning Never Strikes The Same Place Twice

The idea behind this idiom is that lightning striking something is rare and unexpected, generally speaking. Scientifically speaking, however, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Lightning strikes are quite frequent and usually are preceded by obvious meteorological events such as storms.

In this specific idiom, the idea is that lightning is rare and random that it is highly improbable that it would strike in the same location twice. However, this too is incorrect. Lightning often strikes the same place twice, especially since lightning is drawn to metal and high locations. Regardless, the idiom remains common despite the science behind it being disproven.

lightning never strikes twice in the same place This idiom likely originated in the book Thrilling Adventures of the Prisoner of the Border, published in the year 1860 by P. Hamilton Myer.

Lightning is the focus of other English idioms as well, e.g., you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than (some improbable event).

Examples of Lightning Never Strikes The Same Place Twice

The dialogue below shows two women who are discussing going to the gym.

Mila: Are you ready to go to the gym?

Betty: No, I’m never going to the gym again. Last time I was there I fell off the exercise machine and hurt my foot.

Mila: Well, that is unlikely to happen again. Lightning never strikes twice in the same place!

Betty: Okay, I’ll give it one more try. But if I get hurt again I’m never going back!

can lightning strike the same place twice This conversation shows two friends who are discussing the bad experience one of them just had.

Tom: I just tried to ask out Shelly and failed miserably.

Ben: Try again! It will go better the next time.

Tom: No way. I don’t want to embarrass myself a second time.

Ben: Remember that lightning never strikes twice. You’re guaranteed to have a better time if you try again.

Tom: I’m not sure that applies here.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about sports.

  • People who believe that lightning never strikes twice in the same place have never been to a Millbrook volleyball game. –Winchester Star

The second excerpt is from an article about literal lightning.

  • They say lightning never strikes twice, but it did in Singapore on Wednesday (Jan 18). A rare video of lightning striking a tree at the Sim Lim Tower carpark was uploaded on Facebook by delivery driver Fahrol Razi on Wednesday. –Straits Times


The phrase lightning never strikes twice means if something negative happened once, it won’t happen again to the same person.