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Definition of "lightning rod" []

  • A grounded metal rod placed high on a structure to prevent damage by conducting lightning to the ground. (noun)
  • One that attracts and absorbs powerful, typically negative feelings and reactions, thereby diverting interest from other issues: "[His] business dealings have become a lightning rod for criticism” ( Walter Shapiro). (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "lightning rod" in a sentence
  • "A day after that thumping Bush dumped his secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who had become a lightning rod for all the dissatisfactions surrounding the Iraq War, and installed in his place the consummate Washington insider, former CIA director Robert Gates."
  • "Three miles away the soaring lightning rod of Pad 39B, designed to protect space shuttles from lightning strikes, provided a sight line toAtlantis."