Silver lining (idiom)

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Under a cloud (with a silver lining) (1920). A cartoon depicting George Lansbury. Captions: Under a cloud (with a golden lining) Comrade Lansbury. "Thanks to my faithful brolski not a drop has touched me." [Loud crows from "Daily Herald" bird.] Possibly reflecting an allegation of Soviet funding for the Independent Labour Party. Lansbury founded the Daily Herald.[1]
A cloud with a silver lining

A silver lining is a metaphor for optimism in vernacular English, which means a negative occurrence may have a positive aspect to it.[2]


John Milton coined the phrase 'silver lining' in his poem Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634:

I see ye visibly, and now believe
That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were
To keep my life and honor unassailed.
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.[3]

It is a metaphor referring to the silvery, shining edges of a cloud backlit by the Sun or the Moon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cartoon from Punch, Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, September 22, 1920 by Various
  2. ^ every cloud has a silver lining idiom definition.
  3. ^ "'Every cloud has a silver lining' - the meaning and origin of this phrase".