dry lightning (P.S.)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jul 8 15:20:08 UTC 2007

I assumed when I first heard the song that the reference of the
expression is to a phenomenon with the appearance of lightning that
somehow doesn't quite constitute actual lightning because of falling
short in some feature (unknown to me), on the model of dry humping.
So on that model there would be no presupposition that dry lightning
is literally drier than the real thing.


At 11:03 AM -0400 7/8/07, Laurence Horn wrote:
>At 7:40 AM -0700 7/8/07, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>All electricity is equally dry, but according to Rick Reichmuth,
>>_Fox & Friends_ weekend meteorologist, "dry lightning" is the kind
>>that starts a wildfire by striking dry leaves. I don't have the
>>precise quote, but it sounds as though it's a recognized term.
>>   Kind of a poetry thing.
>>   JL
>I know it only from the eponymous Bruce Springsteen song:  etc.
>I threw my robe on in the morning
>Watched the ring on the stove turn red
>Stared hypnotized into a cup of coffee
>Pulled on my boots and made the bed
>Screen door hangin' off its hinges
>Kept bangin' me awake all night
>As I look out the window
>The only thing in si*ght*
>Is dry lightning on the horizon line
>Just dry lightning and and you on my mind

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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