I am translating an article about Elon Musk and one of the subtitles is called "何处横空出世?".

I don't quite understand what 横空 means. I found one translation that said it means some kind of wonderful person, but I am not sure if it's right.

Have you ever encountered this kind of sentence?

2 Answers 2


I haven't read the article, but the phrase 横空出世 normally means suddenly come into the world, especially something/someone big, dramatic, extraordinary and etc.

The whole phrase 何处横空出世 means where (something) come into the world out of blue. 何处 means where or from where.


Probably we have learned that 「橫」 means horizontal. Semantically extend this to across > cross, travel across.


Where to cross the sky and escape this world?

  • 出世 here means 'born' --> come into.this world
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 18, 2020 at 10:57
  • @TangHo tw.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20150703000010KK02850, here I would say it's used as a pun for Elon Musk's satellite achievements.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 18, 2020 at 11:01
  • It doesn't say 出世 means 'escape this world' in the linked page
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 18, 2020 at 11:05
  • @TangHo it's literally rising high above the world. In the context of satellites and rockets, this is pointing to his achievements in space technology.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 18, 2020 at 11:06
  • 1
    @TangHo whether he was a good poet or not is not relevant, the author who wrote 何處橫空出世 is probably from Mainland China so the saying 橫空出世 probably refers to Mao Zedong's descriptions of high mountains breaking the clouds. 橫空出世 does not appear in the classics, so the most likely meaning it could be is from Mao Zedong's poem.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 18, 2020 at 11:18

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