Results 1 to 8 of 8

    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 1,157
    #1

    out of thin air

    Hello.

    thin - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online
    out of thin air
    out of nowhere, as if by magic: It seems like researchers have just pulled the numbers out of thin air.

    Do you say "from thin air" in place of out of thin air?

    Thank you.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #2

    Re: out of thin air

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Hello.

    thin - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online
    out of thin air
    out of nowhere, as if by magic: It seems like researchers have just pulled the numbers out of thin air.

    Do you say "from thin air" in place of out of thin air?

    Thank you.

    No, I don't think I would say "FROM thin air."

    - Things can also vanish "into thin air" as well as appear out of it.

    The title of the book Into Thin Air cashes in on this expression by tying it in
    to the rarefied atmosphere of Mt. Everest
    Into Thin Air - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    - Things can also appear "out of the blue."

    I've heard "blue sky data," but not as often as these other terms.
    This expression means that you just grabbed your information "out of the blue sky."

  1. konungursvia's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 5,158
    #3

    Re: out of thin air

    Hmm, interesting, I think "from thin air" would be acceptable, and that "out of the blue" is different in that it implies a lack of logic, whereas "out of thin air" implies great skill, in that the person was able to produce something of value from virtually nothing.


    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 1,157
    #4

    Re: out of thin air

    It seems like researchers have just pulled the numbers out of thin air.

    What does pulled the numbers mean?

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 5,158
    #5

    Re: out of thin air

    It's part of the phrase "pull something out of thin air." It means create the numbers from nothing.

  3. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #6

    Re: out of thin air

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    It seems like researchers have just pulled the numbers out of thin air.

    What does pulled the numbers mean?
    Imagine a magician. He seems to pull things out of thin air. The researchers are being accused of the same sort of trickery - wherever they want something to appear, there it is (as if by magic). Only they are dealing with numbers rather than silk handkerchieves!

    b


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #7

    Re: out of thin air

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Hmm, interesting, I think "from thin air" would be acceptable, and that "out of the blue" is different in that it implies a lack of logic, whereas "out of thin air" implies great skill, in that the person was able to produce something of value from virtually nothing.
    I think that "out of thin air" always (at least when properly used) has a negative connotation. It implies "baselessness" and "unfounded assertions."

    If you wanted to praise a conjuring trick, I think you could say "out of nowhere," "out of the blue," or "out of nothing" -- but not "out of thin air."

    > She is a great improvisational chef. She created that meal out of nothing!

    > The artist said that the idea for his creation came out of nowhere.

    > The realization struck me out of the blue.

    But:

    > The claims of WMD apparently came out of thin air.

    > 78% of all statistics are made up on the spot -- just pulled out of thin air.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #8

    Re: out of thin air

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    It seems like researchers have just pulled the numbers out of thin air.

    What does pulled the numbers mean?
    This phrase is meant to invoke the image of reaching up and closing your hand around "nothing." Then you use that "nothing" as the phony, made-up data for your report.

    This is "blue sky" data -- data that was "pulled out of the blue (sky)" or data that was pulled out of thin air.

Similar Threads

  1. "walk on eggshells/eggs" and "be on thin ice"
    By Daruma in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 21-Aug-2009, 01:45
  2. generate a relationship out of thin air
    By 8Julieth8 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 25-Jul-2009, 19:53
  3. stretched thin
    By Yankees Fan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15-Aug-2008, 11:48
  4. stayed in the thin
    By HaraKiriBlade in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-Jan-2008, 06:14
  5. 77-conjure s.th out of thin air
    By matilda in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 13-Mar-2006, 06:24

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •