bolt from the blue

Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia.

bolt 1

1. A bar made of wood or metal that slides into a socket and is used to fasten doors and gates.
2. A metal bar or rod in the mechanism of a lock that is thrown or withdrawn by turning the key.
3. A fastener consisting of a threaded pin or rod with a head at one end, designed to be inserted through holes in assembled parts and secured by a mated nut that is tightened by applying torque.
a. A sliding metal bar that positions the cartridge in breechloading rifles, closes the breech, and ejects the spent cartridge.
b. A similar device in any breech mechanism.
5. A short, heavy arrow with a thick head, used especially with a crossbow.
6. A flash of lightning; a thunderbolt.
7. A sudden or unexpected event: The announcement was a veritable bolt.
8. A sudden movement toward or away.
9. A large roll of cloth of a definite length, especially as it comes from the loom.
v. bolt·ed, bolt·ing, bolts
1. To secure or lock with or as if with a bolt.
2. To arrange or roll (lengths of cloth, for example) on or in a bolt.
3. To eat (food) hurriedly and with little chewing; gulp.
4. To desert or withdraw support from (a political party).
5. To utter impulsively; blurt.
6. Archaic To shoot or discharge (a missile, such as an arrow).
1. To move or spring suddenly.
2. To start suddenly and run away: The horse bolted at the sound of the shot. The frightened child bolted from the room.
3. To break away from an affiliation, as from a political party.
4. Botany To flower or produce seeds prematurely or develop a flowering stem from a rosette.
bolt from the blue
A sudden, shocking surprise or turn of events.
bolt upright
In a rigidly vertical position: sat bolt upright.

[Middle English, from Old English, heavy arrow.]

bolt 2

tr.v. bolt·ed, bolt·ing, bolts
To pass (flour, for example) through a sieve.

[Middle English bulten, from Old French buleter, from Middle High German biuteln, from biutel, bag, purse.]

bolt from the blue

A sudden, unexpected occurrence; from being compared to a bolt of lightning.
References in classic literature ?
Above him, falling upon him like a bolt from the blue, was a winged hawk unthinkably vaster than the one he had encountered.
In an instant like a bolt from the blue, like a thunderbolt from nowhere, that beautiful and defiant body had been dashed down the open well of the lift to death at the bottom.
But now Town's dreams of pipping Brakes to a place in the Midland Alliance lie in tatters and secretary David Badger said: "It has come as a bolt from the blue and everyone at the club is absolutely devastated.
County were stunned by a bolt from the blue after 29 minutes when Wimbledon skipper Neil Ardley let fly from fully 40 yards and Darren Ward failed to prevent it from entering the top corner of the net.
HULL were hit by a bolt from the blue from teenage striker Chris Roberts after they had dominated the first half of this match.
For industry analysts and executives who had avidly followed AT&T's three-month search for a president, Walter's appointment was a bolt from the blue and a distinct letdown.
It was a bolt from the blue but I am still on good terms with McInnes.
Gannon was sacked yesterday and his No 2 Ward said: "It was a bolt from the blue.
However, the 28-year-old is now ready to challenge Jonatan Johansson and Collin Samuel for a place after manager Derek McInnes gave him a Bolt from the blue.
And in a bolt from the blue, Armitage says he is going to be cooking up a storm by inviting the sprint legend around for dinner next time he's in London.
From a somewhat unpromising start, the early and unexpected flourish arrives like a bolt from the blue - and then she gives it her all.