Where does the expression “like greased lightning” come from and What does it mean?

The expression “like greased lightning” means lickety-split; like a blue streak; like a bat out of hell; with extreme rapidity.

Although this has the appearance of typical American exaggerated hyperbole, nevertheless the earliest printed record of use is in the Boston, Lincoln, and Louth Herald, published in Lincolnshire, England, the issue of January 15, 1833: “He spoke as quick as greased lightning.”

We must have taken it to our own bosoms shortly after its coinage, however, for it flourisheth here like the green bay tree.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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