disguise

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devil in disguise

Something or someone that appears to be good, useful, or benevolent, but that in reality proves to be the opposite. When I first met my ex-husband, I thought he was the nicest, most generous man alive, but he turned out to be the devil in disguise. The new cancer-treating drug held great promise, but it proved a devil in disguise when the true scale of its side effects became known.
See also: devil, disguise

a blessing in disguise

An unfortunate event or situation that results in an unforeseen positive outcome. Running late for work turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I would have been in the middle of that big multi-car pileup had I left the house on time.
See also: blessing, disguise

be a blessing in disguise

To result in an unforeseen positive outcome. Running late for work turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I would have been in the middle of that big multi-car pileup had I left the house on time.
See also: blessing, disguise

blessing in disguise

Fig. something that at first seems bad, but later turns out to be beneficial. Tony's motorcycle accident was a blessing in disguise, because he got enough insurance money from the other driver to make a down payment on a house. Dad's illness was a blessing in disguise; it brought the family together for the first time in years.
See also: blessing, disguise

disguise someone in something

to conceal someone's identity in a costume or makeup. We disguised her in men's clothing and got her across the border. She disguised herself in a clown suit.
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disguise someone or something as someone or something

to dress or make someone up to appear to be someone or something. We disguised the child as a witch. We disguised Gerald as a pumpkin.
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in disguise

hidden behind a disguise; looking like something else. Santa Claus was really the little child's father in disguise. What I thought was terrible turned out to be a blessing in disguise!
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a blessing in disguise

something that at first appears to be bad or unlucky but is actually good Losing my job was a blessing in disguise - I never would have found this one if it hadn't happened.
See also: blessing, disguise

be a blessing in disguise

to be something which has a good effect, although at first it seemed that it would be bad or not lucky Losing my job turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it forced me to think carefully about my future.
See also: blessing, disguise

blessing in disguise

A misfortune that unexpectedly turns into good fortune, as in Missing the train was a blessing in disguise, for if I hadn't, I wouldn't have met my future wife . [Mid-1700s]
See also: blessing, disguise
References in classic literature ?
He had changed back to Roxy's dress, with the stoop of age added to he disguise, so that Wilson would not bother himself about a humble old women leaving a neighbor's house by the back way in the early morning, in case he was still spying.
They found where the thief had got his disguise out of his carpet-sack to put on; so one of them strips and puts on that disguise.
Maybe I understood because I saw her in that early hour of the morning when even the stony Memnon sings, in that mystical light of the young day when divine exiled things, condemned to rough bondage through the noon, are for a short magical hour their own celestial selves, their unearthly glory as yet unhidden by any earthly disguise.
I ran away from her and adopted this retreat and this disguise in order to avoid her.
All I know is," replied the captive, "that after having been in Constantinople two years, he escaped in the disguise of an Arnaut, in company with a Greek spy; but whether he regained his liberty or not I cannot tell, though I fancy he did, because a year afterwards I saw the Greek at Constantinople, though I was unable to ask him what the result of the journey was.
He might claim the property from South America, establish his identity before the British authorities there and so obtain the fortune without ever coming to England at all, or he might adopt an elaborate disguise during the short time that he need be in London; or, again, he might furnish an accomplice with the proofs and papers, putting him in as heir, and retaining a claim upon some proportion of his income.
So be it, good master," quoth Little John, "yet all the disguise that I wish is a good suit of scarlet instead of this of Lincoln green.
The ape-man grinned and crossed quickly to the opposite side of the street, for his delicate senses indicated that at this point the breeze stirring through the city streets and deflected by the opposite wall would now blow from the lion toward him as the beast passed, whereas if he remained upon the side of the street upon which he had been walking when he discovered the carnivore, his scent would have been borne to the nostrils of the animal, and Tarzan was sufficiently jungle-wise to realize that while he might deceive the eyes of man and beast he could not so easily disguise from the nostrils of one of the great cats that he was a creature of a different species from the inhabitants of the city, the only human beings, possibly, that Numa was familiar with.
Emily at a loss to understand how the fugitive could disguise himself.
For this purpose he assumed the character of a man and visited in this disguise a Sculptor's studio having looked at various statues, he demanded the price of two figures of Jupiter and Juno.
Unable to detect a weak point in this scheme of mutual advantage, the financier gave the promoter in disguise an order for the money, and wrote a note to his wife directing her to count out the girl.
Again, I could not disguise myself as a proletarian and travel.
Powerless to recover their lost treasure by open force, the three guardian priests followed and watched it in disguise.
His body was taken out of the Seine in the disguise which I have described, nothing being found on him which revealed his name, his rank, or his place of abode.
They did not immediately knock, at the door, by which I got time to throw off my disguise and dress me in my own clothes; besides, when they came there, my governess, who had her tale ready, kept her door shut, and called out to them and told them there was no man come in there.