I'm looking for a term for a curious situation that I've found myself in a couple of times.

  • A person discusses a new concept/invention.

I am a part of that conversation or simply overhear it.

  • I think 'wow, what a great idea, I wish I'd thought of that!'.

  • I subsequently discover that I misinterpreted their concept/invention and to my surprise 'my' idea is better than theirs (more generalized applications of the solution, much more efficient, a complete 90deg turn in logic and/or reapplication of concepts in a new setting, for example)

Is there a term for this seemingly out of the blue inspiration?

A kind of mental catalyst?

I believe that it is more my idea than the other person's, but in attempting to catalogue the life experiences that gave me the building blocks to make that unconscious conceptual leap, I'm often left wanting.

I am not looking for basic synonyms of 'inspiration' or 'epiphany'. Hopefully something more attuned to the specific circumstances I've described.

It's possible no such term or phrase exists.

(A tangential example of a more specific term would be 'staircase wit', which relates to the predicament of thinking of a perfect reply, but too late.)

  • @EdwinAshworth I'm hoping that there's something specific to this occurance. While you're right that it may feel like a bolt out the blue, that can also be said about surprising but unrelated events Nov 7, 2023 at 0:51
  • @HippoSawrUs that describes a lucky event that you can take advantage of. While it applies, it's not exclusive to this situation. Nov 7, 2023 at 1:36
  • @Lmar Latrell - No, that's not what it means. It means "to further develop or expand upon an idea or plan to its fullest potential" (TFD, idioms). It's a football analogy. Nov 8, 2023 at 0:48
  • “in attempting to catalogue the life experiences that gave me the building blocks to make that unconscious conceptual leap“ Could this be translated into English please?
    – David
    Dec 7, 2023 at 20:45
  • Your Muse found its voice! (But that doesn't mean you were aMused or beMused! :) Dec 7, 2023 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


While this term seems idiomatic enough to have many google results, I'm finding exactly one definition that I'm not writing myself...

creative spark - an intangible talent or method that allows an individual to create significant non-obvious value at a point in time. This is an elusive element of thought and work that is the difference between creating obvious work items with regular value and revolutionizing something to create unusual value

Or, just

spark - to kindle, animate, or stimulate (interest, activity, spirit, etc.)


“This made me think…”

would seem to be an acceptable way to express the idea in English.


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