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The phrase out the the blue means without warning, completely unexpectedly.

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It is indigenous a bolt the end of, additionally from, the blue, denoting a sudden and also unexpected event, a finish surprise, with referral to the unlikelihood that a thunderbolt comes from a clean blue sky. For example, The Standard (London) the 26th respectable 1863 had:

Murder currently rises up before us, gaunt and also unmitigated, in a circle wherein all seemed lovely, virtuous, and also peaceful. This is verily “a bolt out of the blue”—the lightning speed in a clear sky.

The Dundee Courier & Argus (Dundee, Scotland) of 28th April 1875 thus started its account that an event at the residence of Commons:

London, Tuesday Evening. A bolt the end of the blue struck this afternoon. Nothing calmer than the houses of parliament sky might be imagined. The residence of Commons to be scantily filled. Questions had actually been together dull and heavy together a West Indian summer day. In the lobbies members to be complaining the nothing was moving.

The earliest well-known use that out of the blue is native The Spectator (London) that 22nd February 1879, at the beginning of an short article titled The “Times” top top the standing army of India:

What is the time at? twice this week, the body organ of she Majesty’s federal government has fired off posts so completely “out that the blue” the it is daunting to think they are uninspired, which suggest come some brewing coup d’état or coup de théâtre come be instantly struck in India.

The expression out the the blue has actually the same meaning as out the a clear (blue) sky and also variants. The earliest instance that i have uncovered is indigenous The Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) that 28th June 1836:

The so late veto of chairman Jackson top top the invoice to solve a day because that the yearly adjournment that Congress, was like a clap of thunder the end of a clear sky. It took both the friends and also enemies the the administration by surprise.

The Gloucester Journal (Gloucester, Gloucestershire) of 22nd June 1878 had:

The Conservative party is well known for the stolid cohesion; but although reunion will presently be accomplished, the normally compact column has been riven this week as despite by a thunderbolt shot suddenly out that a blue sky.

On 29th June 1894, The Brown ar World (Hiawatha, Kansas) published an article which for this reason begins:

Like a flash of lightning and a crash the thunder, out of a clear, blue sky, so come the report transparent Walnut township Wednesday morning, June 13, the Mr. Andrew Carothers is no more among the life on earth.

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An at an early stage use the out of a blue sky without explicit reference to thunder is native the Bedfordshire Advertiser and also Luton Times (Luton, Bedfordshire) on 23rd April 1909, which criticised the “diatribe” that Winston Churchill “directed versus his partner in the Cabinet” around the navy (at the time, Winston Churchill (1874-1965) to be President of the plank of Trade and MP because that the constituency of Dundee):

He <= Churchill> has apparently forgotten his utterances at Dundee in October last, once he speak of the means in which situations and complicated situations have the right to suddenly arise; how they come out of a blue sky through scarcely any warning or premonitory sign, and also how really vain it would certainly be because that a country like ourselves to trust simply to the stipulations of global agreements, or to the smooth unit volume of ceremonious diplomacy.