Silver Lining, a

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Short for every cloud has a silver lining.

Meaning of Idiom

Silver Lining: a positive outcome or aspect of a bad situation; an unseen benefit or element of hopefulness that comes from something bad that happens to you. 1, 2,3,4


The full proverbial idiom every cloud has a silver lining has the same meaning, but it is most often shortened to silver lining. Used with have a ~ or there is a ~, as in the examples below.


"If there's a silver lining to being laid off its that I can concentrate on my writing."

"I think the current assault on our democracy has a silver lining. We will no longer take our freedoms for granted."

"I know you are upset over your break up but every cloud has a silver lining. You've been wanting to travel for years."


Originally a proverb, every cloud has a silver lining was derived from John Milton's Comus (1634):

"A sable cloud turns forth its silver lining on the night." 4

1. Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster's New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.
2. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill's American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
3. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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