Out of Thin Air

Also: From thin air

Meaning of Idiom ‘Out of Thin Air’

Out of thin air means from an unknown place or source; seemingly from nowhere or nothing; from a state of being invisible or nonexistent. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.2Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,3Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.

Examples Of Use

“The magician seems to pull coins and other objects out of thin air, but everybody knows it’s just sleight of hand.”

“Quack doctors pull diagnoses out of thin air.”

“Their divorce came out of thin air. They seemed so happy together.”

“I never saw him coming. It’s as if he just appeared out of thin air. I narrowly avoided running him over with my car.”

Origin

The antonym, into thin air, has been used since at least the 1500s. Out of thin air has been used since at least the 1830s.

Thin air, in this idiom, refers to the air in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, a location that was mysterious and unknown at the time this idiom originated. 4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

More Idioms Starting with O

More Air Idioms

More Out Idioms

More Thin Idioms

Sources   [ + ]

1, 4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
3. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.