Out of the blue

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ryagra, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. ryagra New Member

    English- USA
    I've always been curious about this expression, since it's so interesting. However, I only read recently that this expression is also in Japanese: 晴天の霹靂, seiten no heki-reki, "Thunderclap from a clear sky". I was wondering if any other languages shared an expression similar to this? Thank you.
  2. brtkrbzhnv

    brtkrbzhnv Member

    Swedish – Stockholm
    Swedish has som en blixt från en klar himmel 'like a thunderbolt from a clear sky', from the German wie ein Blitz aus heiterem Himmel.
  3. origumi Senior Member

    I guess that it's simply a natural expression. In Hebrew we have the same: כרעם ביום בהיר "as a thunder in a clear day". Not sure whether it's original or borrowed. In Euripides Orestes 279 you can find the opposite, although more literal: ἐκ κυμάτων γὰρ αὖθις αὖ γαλήν᾽ ὁρῶ (this verse is mocked later in the Frogs).
  4. ryagra New Member

    English- USA
    It's interesting, it seems to be a well-traveled phrase.
    I wonder if that really happens in nature, hence the wide-spread use?
  5. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    Finnish: kuin salama kirkkaalta taivaalta (like a thunderbolt from a clear sky)
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  6. Montesacro Senior Member

    In Italian we say "come un fulmine a ciel sereno".
    And the literal translation is, well... like a thunderbolt from a clear sky.
  7. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I can only think of do nada (from "nothingness", from nowhere) in Portuguese.
  8. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Russian: как гром среди ясного неба [kak grom sredi yasnogo neba] - like thunder from a clear sky

    EDIT: the meaning of this sentence is more intense that the English out of the blue, it is reserved for more serious events
  9. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Hungarian: derült égből villámcsapás (thunder from a clear sky)
  10. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    German: almost literally:
    aus dem Blauen heraus ...

    It can have three meanings:
    1. suddenly and unexpected
    2. without knowledge ore preparation
    3. without thinking about it

    Is this possible in English, two?
  11. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    Same for Chinese: 晴天霹靂 晴天霹雳 qíngtiān pīlì (without the 之 in the middle)
  12. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    We can say 'als een donderslag bij heldere (clear) hemel', but there is also 'op een blauwe maandag' (on a blue Monday, so unexpectedly). Maybe the link is with the clear sky indeed, never thought of that.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  13. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL, Sp-En mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    In French, as in Portuguese, we don't have anything similar and struggle to find a good translation for this.
    It will depend on the verb used.
    So it can be:
    sans crier gare (literally: 'without shouting warning' (or station :p :D))
    de nulle part (literally: 'from nowhere')
    à l'improviste (literally: 'unexpectedly')
  14. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    «Ως κεραυνός εν αιθρία» [os kerav'nos en e'θri.a] --> like a thunderbolt in the clear sky; the phrase is archaic (as it's demonstrated by the use of the obsolete dative «ἐν αἰθρίᾳ») and appears for the first time in Heordotus' The Persian Wars (Book 3-Thalia) as «ὡς ἀστραπὴ ἐξ αἰθρίης» hōs ăstrāpḕ ĕks aitʰríēs --> like a lightning out of the clear sky

    «Κεραυνός» [kerav'nos] (masc.) --> thunderbolt < Classical masc. noun «κεραυνός» kĕraunós --> thunderbolt (PIE *ḱerh₂-, to shatter, smash cf Skt. शृणाति (srnati), to crush).
    «Αστραπή» [astra'pi] (fem.) --> lightning < Classical fem. noun «ἀστερoπὴ ăstĕrŏpḕ (for Herodotus «ἀστραπὴ» ăstrāpḕ and «στροπὰ» strŏpà) --> lightning, thunderbolt (with obscure etymology).
    «Αιθρία» [e'θri.a] (fem.) --> clear sky < Classical fem. noun «αἰθρίᾱ» aitʰríā (Ionic «αἰθρίη» aitʰríē) --> clear sky, nice weather (PIE *h₂eidʰ-, to kindle, ignite cf Skt. एध (edha), fuel, firewood; Lat. aestās, summer > It. estate, Fr. été).
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  15. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Another Russian expression is ни с того ни с сего /ni s tovo ni s sevo/ - lit. not from that not from this (close to the English "out of nowhere")
  16. Словеса Senior Member

    ^Also: на пустом месте (at an empty place).
  17. jana.bo99

    jana.bo99 Senior Member

    Cro, Slo
    Kao grom iz vedrog neba (like a bolt from the blue)

    Kot strela z jasnega (the same as Croatian 2)

    Aus heiterem Himmel
    Wie ein Blitz von heiterem Himmel
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  18. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    We have another similar phrase: yabu kara bou ni(a stick out of the grove) used for adverb and adjective as in yabu kara bou no hanashi(an abrupt story), yabu kara bou ni hanashi wo susumeru(proceed a conversation out of the blue).
  19. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Those sound interesting, but can't you only expect sticks in groves - or do you mean that a stick comes flying from the grove? (Google T does not help here).
    Is yabu something like "like", or no, "from"?
    I thought "kara" meant empty - as in karaoke - but here???
  20. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    The second's correct - it's short for "to thrust a stick out of the grove(yabu no naka kara bou wo tsukidasu, 藪の中から棒を突き出す)", in which the verb[to thrust] was omitted.

    grove-out of(from)-stick-[adverbial particle]
    (to thrust) a stick out of the grove

    - yabu means thicket, grove or something. I guess you can easily picture this.
    - no, kara here doesn't have anything to do with karaoke, it's a particle standing for ablative case.

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