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'Electric Eel' digital condom promises to make sparks fly in the bedroom.
The Independent

I know that it's possible to make sparks fly by inducing arcs between a conductive thing of some sort and a ground, but I don't understand the way 'to make sparks fly' using a condom.

Can anyone explain what precisely it means and whether there are expressions that fit better that situation?

References cited by The Free Dictionary say that 'if sparks fly between two or more people, they argue angrily', thus I don't understand how this applies to the situation evoked by The Independent.

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    "When two people always argue, we say they make sparks fly. We also say that two people make sparks fly if they are very creative and get very excited and creative when they are together." (Source: The Bable Times post)
    – None
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 21:17

1 Answer 1

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It's just an idiom.

  • When two people always argue, we say they make sparks fly. We also say that two people make sparks fly if they are very creative and get very excited and creative when they are together.

  • When two people are very attracted to each other, we often say that sparks fly between them.

In the physical world, sparks often fly when two bits of metal strike each other, or two objects are moved against each other creating a large amount of friction. That's usually where the negative, "people who always argue" connotation comes from.

We also say that sparks fly between two people that are attracted to one another. They are very passionate, and one could imagine the air between them having that dry electric quality that the air has right before a lightning strike.

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    I think it's actually very rare to use the plural sparks fly in the positive sense of people being attracted to one another (because of the standard friction, arguing idiom). More usually it'll be the singular, along the lines of a spark flew between us. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 23:48
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    @Fumble - I agree that positive usage is probably less common; however, I'm guessing that the writers found the pun too irresistible when composing a headline for the 'Electric Eel condom'. We both know how headline writers are notorious for impregnating their words with clever puns.
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 10:02
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica I have never, ever heard of a single spark flying either literally or metaphorically. I just ran "sparks flew" and "a spark flew" through ngrams and this is what it looks like: books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Astralbee
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 20:46

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