What are some grandiloquent, or simply better, ways of expressing "an idea/thought suddenly came to me", or "an idea/thought struck me", or "I was struck by an idea/thought"?


6 Answers 6


I had an epiphany.

(a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization)

  • 2
    Why not Eureka?
    – Pacerier
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 5:53
  • Why not, @Pacerier?! All in one word! :)
    – shermy
    Commented Jun 3 at 6:28

An "Aha!" moment.

Or, "I had a sudden insight."

Or, "It finally dawned on me!"

Or, "I experienced a paradigm shift."

Or, "Suddenly, all the pieces fit together in one moment of inspiration!"

Or, "A revelatory moment."

Or, "An intuitive perception."

Or, "A mental breakthrough."

Or, "A eureka moment."


If you are writing primarily for everyday communication (e.g. email or chat), then always find the simplest language, while still being professional. In this case, you can simply say something like:

It just hit me, ...

It just struck me, ...

If you are writing longer form and want to be more expressive/stylistic, many of the answers above are great.


An idea just popped into my head. From Cambridge Dictionaries:

Something that pops into your head/mind is an idea that you suddenly have
(He jotted down story ideas that popped into his head.)

  • 2
    This has the potential for a good answer. If, and only if, you explain why it is a good expression. Please add some objective source and an explanation. Have a look at the help center to find out about good answers.
    – Helmar
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 16:28

brainwave (ODO)


2 [USUALLY IN SINGULAR] informal A sudden clever idea: then he had a brainwave

More example sentences

I was fingering my car keys, wondering if my perverse appetite would last all the way to Tesco's and back, when I had a sudden brainwave.

Anyway, as she went on and got more and more into it, I had a sudden brainwave.

Those words hit Rick like stones, a brainwave and an idea quickly ensued.


A light bulb moment

Informal a moment of sudden inspiration, revelation, or recognition
[from the cartoon image of a light bulb lighting up above a character's head when he or she has an idea]

Related to the concept of light providing an answer, is the noun

illumination "In a moment of illumination" TFD

  1. spiritual or intellectual enlightenment; insight or understanding

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.