The meaning of, and background to, the well-known expression "Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining.

Well-Known Expressions

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Meaning:

Even in the worst of situations there is hope of better.

Background:

It would seem that we have the 17th century poet John Milton to thank for the first linking clouds and silver linings:

"Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove."

Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle by John Milton, 1634.

There are plentiful examples of clouds and silver linings in literature after this date, even to the point that some simple reference Milton's clouds on the assumption that readers will know they have silver linings. But it wasn't until the early Victorian era in 1840 where we start to get close to the expression as used today - a review of Marian; or a Young Maid's Fortunes by Mrs. S. C. Hall (Anna Maria Hall) in the first volume of Dublin Magazine comments that "there's a silver lining to every cloud that sails about the heavens if we could only see it."

The first known use of the expression as we know it today was in a 1949 copy of La Belle Assemblée which, rather ironically, intended to quote Mrs Hall (who in turn had quoted Milton) but instead mangled the reference and thus gave birth to the proverb as we know it today.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  131Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.