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

    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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