The meaning of the idiom Bolt from the Blue is ‘A sudden event’. When there is unexpected news it is said to bolt from the blue. Therefore, this idiom is used to demarcate a tone of surprise.
Something that comes to you as a complete surprise is said to bolt from the blue. For instance, when a person is usually unprepared for such an event. Also, this phrase is derived from the natural phenomenon of lightning and thunder.
On a clear sky, if suddenly lightning strikes the sky, the event is literally called a ‘Bolt from the blue’ by meteorologists. Hence, the phrase commonly came to use to demarcate the tone of unexpectedness and surprise.
The first known use of this phrase is cited in The French Revolution, 1837 by Thomas Carlyle. He writes, “Arrestment, sudden really as a bolt out of the Blue, has hit strange victims.”
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Usage and Examples
The idiom bolt from the blue is used in both professional and personal settings. The phrase is used to indicate a tone of surprise from the event.
Subsequently, the sentence formation can seldom be described as happy or sad as the sole focus of the phrase is on the unpreparedness for the event.
Here are some examples of how you can use the phrase Bolt from the Blue.
- The project was going well but the new deadline bolted from the blue and everything went off the track.
- It was a nice vacation until our neighbours bolted from the blue and ruined it.
- We were almost dead sweating under a sunny sky when the clouds bolted from the blue.
- He refused to come to the party but he has a habit of bolting from the blue at the last moment.
Synonyms and Similar Words to Bolt From The Blue
Here are some words and phrases that mean the same thing as Bolt from the Blue
- Out of the blue.
- Out of the left field
Bolt From The Blue Meaning Quiz
My colleague and I were just_________ when the boss bolted from the blue to ruin our plan.
- About to leave
- Planning a surprise
- Working on our project
Ans. About to leave
Also Read: Idioms for IELTS
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