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.
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.’ “
- 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.
- 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.