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The potential for something positive or beneficial to result from a nevative situation. Often used in the phrase "every cloud has a silver lining." (A silver lining on a cloud is an indication that the sun is behind it.) There could be a silver lining to getting laid off—you might find a job you actually like!
An element of hope or a redeeming quality in an otherwise bad situation, as in The rally had a disappointing turnout, but the silver lining was that those who came pledged a great deal of money . This metaphoric term is a shortening of Every cloud has a silver lining, in turn derived from John Milton's Comus (1634): "A sable cloud turns forth its silver lining on the night."
a silver lining
COMMON A silver lining is one good aspect of a situation that is otherwise generally bad. The fall in inflation is the silver lining in this prolonged recession. I must say, I had trouble finding a silver lining in the report. Note: When you are using a silver lining in this way, you often refer to the bad aspect of the situation as the cloud. Even Clarke, usually a man to find a silver lining in the blackest cloud, admitted that the government was in trouble. Note: These expressions come from the proverb every cloud has a silver lining, which is used to say that every bad situation has one good aspect to it. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining. We have learned a lot from the experience. Note: Less often, people say every silver lining has a cloud, meaning that every good situation has a bad aspect. We got on brilliantly; he was clever, kind, funny — and leaving for New York on Tuesday. Every silver lining has a cloud, it seems.
a silver lininga positive or more hopeful aspect to a bad situation, even though this may not be immediately apparent.
The full form of the phrase is the proverb every cloud has a silver lining .