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26 March 2012

Common expressions #1: "to have a lightbulb"

In American cartoons of the 1950s and 60s the convention for illustrating pictorially the fact that someone had suddenly had a bright idea was to show a glowing light-bulb in a thought bubble right above the thinker's head. I witnessed something similar at the monthly networking meeting of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce last Friday in the Sheraton Palace Hotel on Tverskaya-Yamskaya.
     The special occasion was the introduction of the new Moscow Director, Alan Thompson, who comes from Edinburgh and is an old friend. I will say more about him and his organisation's activities in future posts, but for now, I want to show for the benefit of my Russian readers what you might expect to see if you were to be standing in front of a British businessman at the moment when he has a good idea. Look right! (Remember with all images, you can click on them to expand them.)
    The gentleman in the picture has not just had a bright idea, he has, as we say colloquially, "had a light-bulb"!


  1. We, Russians, tend to be more general in such “have a bright idea” situations. We just call that “illumination” (озарение) and don’t need a halo to prove it.

    Aliona Vanova

  2. I thought it was known as a 'lightbulb moment'