into thin air


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into thin air

Also, into the blue. Completely disappeared, as in The report was here on my desk and now it's gone, vanished into thin air, or I don't know where they've gone-into the blue, for all I know. Both of these hyperbolic expressions, often preceded by vanish as in the first example, use the rarefied atmosphere far above the earth as a metaphor for an unknown location. Shakespeare wrote of ghosts that "melted . . . into thin air" ( The Tempest, 4:1). An antonym for both is out of thin air, meaning "from an unknown place or source." For example, She made up this excuse out of thin air, or The car appeared out of thin air. However, out of the blue is not precisely an antonym (see under out of a clear blue sky).
See also: air, thin
References in classic literature ?
So your grave, middle-aged family practitioner vanishes into thin air, my dear Watson, and there emerges a young fellow under thirty, amiable, unambitious, absent-minded, and the possessor of a favourite dog, which I should describe roughly as being larger than a terrier and smaller than a mastiff.
Carthoris had followed the creature for but a few minutes when it disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as though dissolved into thin air.
They had simply vanished into thin air, for the native he had sent to inspect the ground beneath the open window had just returned to report that there was no sign of a footstep there, and what sort of creatures were they who could have dropped that distance to the soft turf without leaving spoor?
He added not; and Satan, bowling low His gray dissimulation, disappeared, Into thin air diffused: for now began Night with her sullen wing to double-shade The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couched; And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.
This continued for a few minutes, and then everything vanished into thin air, and Iwanich found himself suddenly alone upon a desolate heath covered with rocks and stones.
Now and then, perchance, comes in a seer, before whose sadly gifted eye the whole structure melts into thin air, leaving only the hidden nook, the bolted closet, with the cobwebs festooned over its forgotten door, or the deadly hole under the pavement, and the decaying corpse within.
He cannot melt into thin air nor disappear through cracks or chinks or crannies.
Perhaps the whole visible world rests on it, and if they were one, life itself, like the spirits when Prospero was reconciled to his brother, might vanish into air, into thin air.
These four forward-looking individuals are among a mere handful of MPs - Austin Mitchell is another - who actually understand that 97% of the purchasing power in circulation is not created by any public agency (ie, the Treasury, the Bank of England), but must be conjured up out of thin air in the form of 'loans' from the highstreet banks to their customers disappearing back into thin air as those loans are repaid.
Many modern-day illusionists are happy to make a rabbit jump out of a hat or a bird disappear into thin air.
He's made things disappear vanish into thin air, "how did he do that ?
In the first week of December, equity analysts at Goldman Sachs warned London's blue-chip index - the FTSE 100 - was about to see more than 15% of its value evaporate into thin air, with a plunge to around 4,700 by February 29.
As far as the Government is concerned they have evaporated into thin air.
Since my query was printed, all these double black cables seem to have vanished into thin air.
But it is amazing that scores and scores seem to just vanish into thin air.