Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Meaning:

The saying every cloud has a silver lining is used to highlight the positive side of a situation. Usually this phrase is said to someone who is feeling sad or disappointed in an effort to cheer them up.

Example: Tim was unhappy. He supposed to play with his friends at the park today, but it is pouring rain outside! So his parents told him: “You have to stay indoors because of the weather, but every cloud has a silver lining. For example, now you get to spend more time with your family!”
Synonyms / Related Phrases:
1. Look on the bright side
2. Silver lining (shortened version)
The silver lining of a cloud.
When clouds are in front of the sun, their edges might appear brighter.

The Origin Of ‘Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining’

The saying every cloud has a silver lining likely originates from the fact that when clouds float in front of the sun, sometimes they will have a “silver lining” around them. This is shown in the picture above. As you can see in the image, while the center of the cloud is darker, its edges are brighter. Whoever coined this expression must have been aware of this!

So how long has this saying been in use? The shorter version of the phrase (silver lining) has been used for over 380 years, at least. For example, its earliest known appearance is found in a book titled Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle by John Milton, 1634:

“Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud 

Turn forth her silver lining on the night?”

But what about the full saying with its modern wording? Well, the earliest I could find it in print is from a book by P.T. Barnum, 1869, where he wrote:

“‘Every cloud,’ says the proverb, ‘has a silver lining,’ and so I did not despair.’ “

Tip: If you liked reading about this expression, we have more sayings starting with “E” that you can browse. Check out the full list to learn the meaning of hundreds of phrases.

Sentence Examples

  • Even though you lost the race,¬†every cloud has a silver lining. For instance, the race motivated you to exercise and get back into shape.

Synonyms:

  • We accidentally burned our pizza in the oven. Dinner might have been ruined, but on the bright side, we can find something healthier to eat.

Note: Learning what an idiom means is easy. You just look up the definition! However, when it comes to the origin of many phrases, it’s not always clear where they come from. When the origin is unclear, what you might see listed on the saying’s page is a theory on how it came into existence. If no theory is listed, that is okay! There should still be a quote of the phrase’s earliest known appearance. These quotes can give you an idea on how old it is.

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