Out of the blue

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Out of the blue is an idiom that has been in use for over one hundred years. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase out of the blue, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Out of the blue means suddenly, without warning. Something that is out of the blue comes as a complete surprise. The idiom out of the blue is actually the abbreviated form of the idiom a bolt out of the blue. Another version of the idiom is a bolt out of the clear, blue sky. The earliest known use of the expression out of the blue was in The French Revolution, written by Thomas Carlyle in 1837: “Arrestment, sudden really as a bolt out of the Blue, has hit strange victims.”


CNN reported on Wednesday that emails from Pentagon officials showed they were trying rush Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine last July and were completely stunned when they were blocked out of the blue by Trump. (The Guardian)

“The character references speak of how Mr. Cleary was a quiet, reserved child and how the offences came out of the blue and are not in his character,” Bodurtha said in his decision, delivered orally Jan. 28. (The Chronicle Herald)

“Clear-air turbulence,” which evidently jolted an Air Canada flight Thursday over the Pacific Ocean, strikes almost literally out of the blue, with no visible warning in the sky ahead. (Associated Press)

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered:

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