phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Out-of-the-left-field thinker

Posted by Dhm on May 18, 2004

In Reply to: Out-of-the-left-field thinker posted by Franz Waldenberger on May 18, 2004

: Please tell me what really means an
: out-of-the-left-field thinker, where this phrase derives.
: I read about in a papaer from Havard Business School, March 2004 about IBM:
: ...managers,... who challenge assumtions, who are unconventional, out-of-the-left-field thinkers.
: Thank you!

The meaning is pretty much the same as "out of the blue", that is, "from an unexpected direction", or "without an obvious logical precedent", or "unorthodox". The inclusion of "left" in the expression adds to the strangeness implied.

The phrase seems to be related to "left field", a fielding position in baseball, but I don't really see the connection. In baseball, balls come out of left field all the time... just as often as they come out of right field... so there's nothing unconventional about it. Maybe Roman farmers believed that only odd things came out of the "campus sinister". (I just made that up)