Fifteen minutes of fame


      • temporary or brief fame
        Refers to a short period of time in which someone becomes well-known or popular, but their fame quickly fades away

      • fleeting success or recognition
        Describes a situation where someone experiences a brief moment of success or recognition, but it is short-lived and does not lead to any long-term achievements

      • warning against seeking fame
        Serves as a cautionary tale against seeking fame or attention, as it is often short-lived and does not bring lasting fulfillment or happiness

    Examples of Fifteen minutes of fame

    • The viral video of the man playing the piano in a subway station received fifteen minutes of fame when it was shared on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

      This idiom refers to the temporary sudden rise to fame or popularity that a person or an event receives due to media attention. The phrase "fifteen minutes" originated from the book titled "The Age of Anxiety" written by the American sociologist William H. Whyte. In the book, Whyte used this phrase to describe the amount of time a person can enjoy their newfound status before they fall back to obscurity. In this example, the man gained instant popularity due to the impressive performance which spread like wildfire on the internet, grabbing the attention of millions of people.

    • Jennifer, the talented singer from a small town, won the local talent competition and received fifteen minutes of fame, which led to her getting offers from record labels.

      This example explains how an individual, who may not have been famous before, can experience sudden fame through a particular event, which caught the attention of the media and the masses, giving them a chance to showcase their talent.

    • Mary, the internet sensation, landed a gig as the host for a popular talk show only because of her fifteen minutes of fame earned from her ubiquitous makeup tutorials on YouTube.

      The idiom in this example indicates how social media and viral content can bring about instant fame, leading to opportunities and success. The person who may have started for the sake of fun or sharing knowledge has the potential to become a celebrity, overnight.

    • The artist, who sold his paintings for years, saw an overnight success when his work was selected for an exhibition in a prominent art gallery, giving him fifteen minutes of fame that turned into a lasting career.

      This example demonstrates how a chance opportunity can propel a person into the limelight, providing them with an opportunity to prove their worth and potentially establish a respected career. Although the phrase "fifteen minutes" highlights the short-lived phenomenon, it does not mean that the fame cannot continue if people recognize and appreciate the individual's talent.

    • The internet sensation of a funny cat video went viral overnight, earning the owners a brief fifteen minutes of fame.

      This idiom refers to the fleeting nature of sudden and temporary renown or notoriety, often resulting from a one-time event or circumstance. In this example, the unexpected success of the video briefly thrusts the owners into the spotlight, but their fame is likely to fade as quickly as it appeared.

    • The winner of the local talent contest was granted fifteen minutes of fame as she was interviewed backstage and had her picture taken with the judges.

      This idiom can also be used in less grandiose contexts, such as in reference to the brief periods of celebrity or exposure enjoyed by less prominent individuals, public figures, or events. Here, the contest winner is granted a short window of media attention and attention from the public, after which her fame will begin to wane.

    • The author of a bestselling novel became a household name for fifteen minutes, thanks to a series of scandalous revelations that rocked the publishing industry.

      This idiom can also be employed to describe the sometimes fleeting nature of fame or success, as well as the ways in which scandals or controversies can quickly elevate or destroy a person's reputation.

    • In an effort to promote their latest product, the company created a viral marketing campaign, hoping to bask in fifteen minutes of fame and increase their sales.

      This idiom can be applied to a variety of situations, including commercial and promotional endeavors, in which success is often fleeting and dependent upon the ability to secure and sustain attention in a crowded and competitive marketplace. The company in this example hopes to capitalize on the phenomenon of viral marketing, assuming that the sudden popularity of their product or campaign will lead to a surge in sales and boost their reputation in the short term. However, they must also be conscious of the fact that such fame is often temporary and easily overshadowed or supplanted by other, more compelling or novel offerings.


    The idiom "fifteen minutes of fame" is most commonly used to describe a temporary or brief period of fame or recognition. It can also refer to fleeting success or a warning against seeking fame. In all cases, the emphasis is on the short-lived nature of fame and the idea that it is not a lasting or meaningful achievement.

    This idiom is often used in a negative or sarcastic manner, implying that the fame being achieved is not significant or valuable. It can also be used to mock someone who is seeking fame or attention, suggesting that their efforts will only result in a brief moment in the spotlight.

    Origin of "Fifteen minutes of fame"

    The origin of the phrase "fifteen minutes of fame" is often attributed to the artist Andy Warhol, who famously stated in 1968 that "in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." However, the concept of temporary fame has been around for much longer and can be traced back to ancient Greek literature.

    The phrase gained mainstream attention in the 1980s when Warhol's prediction seemed to become a reality with the rise of reality television and the increasing focus on celebrity culture. Today, it is often used in popular culture and media to describe the fleeting nature of fame and the obsession with achieving it.

    Overall, the idiom "fifteen minutes of fame" serves as a cautionary reminder that fame and recognition are not always as fulfilling or long-lasting as they may seem. It also highlights the societal fascination with fame and the pressure to constantly seek attention and validation.