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Bolt from the Blue (A)

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There fell a bolt from the blue. A sudden and wholly unexpected catastrophe or event occurred, like a “thunderbolt” from the blue sky, or flash of lightning without warning and wholly unexpected.

“Namque Diespiter


Igni corusco nubila dividens,

Plerumque, per purum tonantes

Egit equos volucremque currum… .”


Horace: 1 Ode xxxiv. 5, etc.


“On Monday, Dec. 22nd [1890], there fell a bolt from the blue. The morning papers announced that the men were out [on strike].”—Nineteenth Century, February, 1891, p. 240.

⁂ In this phrase the wordbolt” is used in the popular sense for lightning, the Latin fulmen, the French foudre and tonnerre, in English sometimes for an aerolite. Of course, in strict scientific language, a flash of lightning is not a thunderbolt. Metaphorically, it means a sudden and wholly unexpected catastrophe, like a thunderbolt [flash of lightning] from a blue or serene sky.


German: Wie ein Blitzstrahl aus blauem Aether.


Italian: Comme un fulmine a ciel sereno.


Latin: Audiit et cœli genitor de parte serena intonuit hævum. (Virgil: Æneid, ix. 630.)

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Bolay or Boley
Bold
Bolerium Promontory
Bolero
Bolingbroke
Bollandists
Bollen
Bologna Stone
Bolognese School
Bolt
Bolt from the Blue (A)
Bolt in Tun
Bolt Upright
Bolted
Bolted Arrow
Bolton
Bolus
Bomb
Bomba
Bombast
Bombastes Furioso