‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

This is the second of three blog posts on idioms that contain words relating to the weather. Previously, we focused on idioms with stormy words. Today, we’re looking at idioms containing a wider range of weather – sun, rain and clouds.

Starting with ‘sun’, the phrase everything under the sun means ‘everything that exists or is possible’. It’s often used with the verb ‘try’ in frustration:

I’ve tried everything under the sun to get rid of that stain, but nothing seems to work.

If you make hay while the sun shines, you make good use of an opportunity while it lasts. (It will not last forever.):

Everyone’s here so I think we should set to work and make hay while the sun shines.

There are more idioms with the word ‘rain’. One that you hear a lot is It never rains but it pours (UK)/ When it rains, it pours (US). This means that bad things always seem to happen at the same time:

Amy lost her job on Monday and Alex broke his arm two days later. It never rains but it pours.

The phrase (come) rain or shine means ‘in whatever weather conditions’. We often use it to comment on someone who always does something, even when the weather is bad, and also for making a promise:

He’s out there at six o’clock in the morning, rain or shine.

I’ll be there, I promise, come rain or shine.

To rain on someone’s parade is to do something that spoils their enjoyment of something good that they’re experiencing:

I wasn’t going to rain on her parade and tell her that the award didn’t mean anything.

If you keep / save money for a rainy day, you save it in case something happens in the future that requires the money:

We’ll spend some of it now on a nice holiday and save the rest for a rainy day.

Clouds feature mainly as things that spoil situations, so someone who has a cloud hanging over them feels unhappy and worried and is unable to enjoy the present:

These days I feel like I have a cloud hanging over me.

A cloud on the horizon is something that threatens to cause problems or unhappiness in the future:

The only cloud on the horizon is that Dan’s job is looking less secure.

If someone leaves a company or organization under a cloud, they leave with their reputation slightly spoilt because of something they have done:

He’d left office under a cloud the previous year after allegations of secret cash payments.

I like to finish on a positive note! We use the saying Every cloud has a silver lining to mean that there is always a good aspect to a bad situation. As often happens with sayings, we sometimes shorten this to just Every cloud…:

I lost my job in August but it meant I was able to spend more time with Millie. Every cloud…

I would love to know if your language has an equivalent saying for this. Please comment below if it does.

79 thoughts on “‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 2)

  1. Kris

    In Polish we talk about saving money for a black hour – “na czarną godzinę”.
    And for ‘try everything under the sun’ – we’ve got a literal translation – “próbować wszystkiego pod słońcem”

      1. Hi Kate,
        In Taiwanese, “rain or shine” we address like “風雨無阻 pronounce: fon yu wu zu “ meaning whether strong wind or heavy rain can’t stop what we promised.
        A cloud hanging over is also said like “ 烏雲罩頂 pronounce: wu yun tsau din, or 烏雲密佈 pronounce: wu yun mi bu”.

      2. Barbara

        Hi,as for every cloud…we say in Polish: Nie ma tego złego,co by na dobre nie wyszło 🙂 but it doesn’t include any weather word actually 😁.

        PS. I like you post very much.
        Best wishes,

  2. elisey213

    Hi Kate!

    In Russia we’ve got “нет худа без добра” [ˈnʲet ˈxudə bʲɪz‿dɐˈbra] which means exectly the same thing as “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

    Thank you for your weather expressions series! I really enjoy learning more with every letter!

    Best,
    Elisei.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Thank you! That’s lovely to hear. Interesting that Russian also has the ‘silver lining’ idiom! I wonder how many other languages we share it with?

      1. María

        Thank you for your post.
        In Spanish we have a saying with that meaning but we don’t use any weather words in it: “No hay mal que por bien no venga.”

      2. Alex

        Hey, Kate!
        No, as far as I know we don’t have this idiom (silver lining) in Russian.
        I believe what Elisei meant to say is that we have the proverb with the exact same meaning but the explicit translation is different. Our version could be roughly translated in English as “there’s no bad without good”.
        Cheers,
        Alex.

  3. Again such a wonderful post from you, ma’am 🙂

    It’s an amazing learning as always !

    Keep us inspiring and motivated. Lots of love to you, ma’am 💝

      1. Ned

        In Igbo ( one of the Nigerian languages). We have something similar. “Pursue the black goat while it’s day.” Meaning: make hay while the sun shines.

        Please, I’m an English learner and would like to belong to a platform where I can ask questions and get answers.

        Thank you. And best wishes to you.

  4. Cristina

    There is an Spanish idiom that goes like this: no hay mal que por bien no venga which has similar meaning to “every cloud…” Although it is not related to weather

    1. Kate Woodford

      That’s interesting, Cristina! The concept of a good thing that comes out of bad thing is probably universal. Best wishes to you!

      1. Jashua Nathan

        A gargantuan thank for sharing those fantabulous idioms.I am enamored of them. I will attempt to use them in my conversation.

    2. Henry L Roeser

      The Spanish “no hay” led me to the English language weather related saying: Make hay while the sun shines.

    1. OP Gupta

      In Monsoon period it “Rains Cats and Dogs” at places in tropical countries. And in childhood ,while playing in rain with friends , one mostly feels “On Cloud 9”.

  5. Denis

    Another splendid article! 🙂
    Here are some more of the relevant phrases:
    If you take a rain check, you politely decline an offer, with the implication that you may take it up at a later date: ‘Thank you very much for inviting me, but I think I’ll take a rain check.’
    If you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy and excited: ‘After they offered me that job, I was on cloud nine!’
    Finally, a person who is out of touch with reality, often daydreams and doesn’t want to consider the real facts of a situation may be described as having their head in the clouds: ‘Keep your feet on the ground (= be very practical and see things as they really are) and think realistically, I don’t want you to have your head in the clouds and dream of impossible things all the time.’

    Best wishes from Moscow

  6. Veronica

    I enjoyed learning about the idioms with words that are related to weather. My vocabulary has been improved once again.

    1. Ikuo Suenaga,Suenaga is my family name

      Hi!Kate.Thank you for teaching us a lot of interesting
      idioms about the weather.
      Those expressions sound familiar
      and quite useful in our daily conversation.We also have many idioms and sayings about the weather in Japan.There are too many idioms to count.The sky the limit.I’ll pick up one idiom.「雨降って地固まる」It literally means ‘ After rain,the ground would be firmer’.Actually it means ‘After experiencing a hardship,the situation around you would be better’.I’m looking forward to getting the post about idioms with weather words,Part 3 .Have a good one!

      1. Kate Woodford

        Thank you, Ikuo! That’s a nice expression, with a very positive message! All the best to you!

  7. Alex Christakis

    There is a very straightforward equivalent of the “silver lining” phrase in ancient Greek:
    It reads “Ουδέν κακόν αμιγές καλού” and literally translated into English means “No bad/evil thing is devoid of good.”

  8. Josefina Gallesio

    Thank you for your useful blog posts! I’ve used some of them as a teacher of English to Spanish speakers.
    About your query, in River Plate Spanish we say: “Siempre que llovi, paró!”, which would equate approximately to: “Every time it’s rained, it has eventually stopped”.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Ah, I love that, Josefina! Such a nice, reassuring phrase! Delighted to hear you find the posts useful. All the best to you!

  9. Navraj

    Great blog! It may be implied that the author is a stan of Amy Winehouse like myself from one of her examples (I may be wrong though).

    1. Jaime

      There are similar phrases which we use in Portuguese (Brazil).
      E.g. save money for a rainy day it means save money for some emergency situation.
      – A cloud hanging over me we say that thare’s a black cloud over our head
      – come rain or shine we say that someone will reach something come rain or come sun.

  10. François Monnou

    You did a very good job. What strickens me most is the pedagogic approach you have used to convey your lesson. All the same, you should make more impact if you back all these up with pictures. Looking forward to reading from you

    1. Bülent İnce

      Hi there! As a teacher of English here in Turkey, I can say that your teachings and the examples that you choose to illustrate the meaning of an idiom are quite useful. Thank you for your time and efforts. In Turkish we have a similar expression for “a cloud on the horizon” which can be translated into English as “Black clouds are hanging over” meaning that something bad is going to happen soon. Best wishes from Turkey.

      1. Kate Woodford

        Hi! Thank you for your lovely comment! I’m so glad you find the blog useful! Yes, that’s a very similar idiom, isn’t it? All the best to you from Cambridge.

  11. Muhammad Ferdous

    Mam,what about stating sir Isaac Newtons third law of motion,”every action has an equal and opposite reaction” as alternative of ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining’.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Hi Muhammad, I could indeed use that phrase, though it might give the (false) impression that I know a great deal about science! All the best to you!

  12. Gabriel Bonfim

    In Brazilian Portuguese there’s an idiom which says: “Não há nada de ruim que não possa piorar”, something like; “There’s nothing bad that couldn’t get worse”. It stands for the English idiom “It never rains but it pours. There are many others but let’s talk about them at another time 🙂

    1. Kate Woodford

      Gabriel, thank you – I love this phrase! I think I’m going to start using it! Best wishes from Cambridge.

  13. Tareef

    Hey kate
    Nice post , in arabic there is this idiom ” a summer’s cloud ” which means , something that doesn’t last for long time . Exactly as the summer’s clouds fastly vanish .
    This different between arabic idioms regarding ” rain / cloud ” which we see as a good thing since we’re living in desert place , and english/western who see rain as an unwanted thing is exciting , it makes me want to learn more about idioms in different cultures .

  14. Maryem Salama

    We use the word weather literally in many phrases: How is the weather? it means simply how are you? change your weather. it means to get involved with something different or special. Sweeten the weather…. and some others. Thank you, Kate.

  15. Joe J

    Hello there,

    I have just discovered your blog and I love it!

    The English phrase: It never rains, but pours

    has an equivalent in Spanish: Siempre llueve sobre mojado (=it always rains on wet ground)

    1. Kate Woodford

      Joe, I’m delighted to hear it! That’s interesting about the Spanish phrase. I’m assuming it has the same meaning, ie bad things always seem to happen at the same time. Best wishes!

  16. Reza

    In Persian, there is a saying that reads: “stick the bread dough to the cooking pit(a type of oven mostly used in countryside)while it is hot” which is equivalent of the idiom “make hay while sun shines”.

  17. Sunil Kumar

    In Hindi, when someone is likely to face some serious or difficult situations, we say “un par kale badal mandra rahe h”

  18. These are some examples of Maltese weather proverbs
    “Xemx u xita Alla jaf meta” which translated in English would read: Only God knows when it rains or shines; it is about the unpredictability of the weather but by metaphorical extension refers to the unpredictability of life itself.

    Ix~xemx issaħħan imma l~ebda borma ma tghalli. Translated literally it means that The sun makes you hot but it does not make any pot boil. We use it to mean that if you do not work you cannot earn a living.

  19. Hi Kate, thanks for your useful posts! Interestingly, most of the idioms can match up to Chinese traditional idioms in some way though some particular “objects” may be different due to cultural factors, for example, “A storm in a teacup ” is very similar to “鸡毛当令箭——小题大做”, which literally means “Take a chicken feather for a warrant to issue military orders” lol. Anyway, I’ve learned a lot! Thank you!

    Best wishes from Evan

  20. Abdullah

    Hello everyone
    First I would like to thank you Ms Woodford and Cambridge for the frequent posting of these useful articles rich in expressions of daily use. I’ve picked two line from, Nezami ( a great Persian poet 1141 AD ), that is quiet equivalent to the saying above. it says : کاری که نه زو امید داری باشد سبب امیدواری 2 در نومیدی بسی امید است پایان شب سیه سپید است ‘The task that you no longer hope to complete Might just as well be the opening you are looking for When struck by hopelessness and desperate there is still a great sight of optimism for when night (darkness) finally ends it is the light which shines.’ I hope I have conveyed the message.

    Love from Iran
    Abdullah

    1. Kate Woodford

      You certainly have, Abdullah – thank you so much! I love the optimism in the second phrase. Best wishes from Cambridge.

  21. John Liu

    Hi, I love your article so much. It is worth sharing with my students. In Chinese, the saying “Every cloud has a silver lining.” is similar to “黑暗中總有一線光明” (Literally, it means “In darkness, there’s always a beam of light.”) However bad the situation is, there is always hope.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Hi John! I’m so pleased you like the article and delighted you’re sharing it with your students! That’s a lovely, cheering expression (the beam of light). Thank you!

  22. Manuela

    Hi Kate

    This is such an interesting article! I really enjoy idioms,
    There is an Italian idiom, actually a line of a Gianni Rodari’s poem;
    “dopo la pioggia viene il sereno” which has a similar meaning to “every cloud…”
    And the idiom goes on rhyming with:
    e brilla in cielo l’arcobaleno”.

    Manuela

  23. Nicoletta Petrolini

    Hi Kate,
    thanks for your interesting post!
    In Italian we are less romantic, we say: Ogni medaglia ha il suo rovescio. It means approximately: Every coin has two sides.
    I love clouds, so your idiom is fantastic!
    Nicoletta

    1. Kate Woodford

      You’re welcome, Nicoletta! I’m glad you found it interesting! I love clouds too, though I have to remind myself to look up and enjoy them. Best wishes from Cambridge.

  24. Kate Woodford

    Many thanks to everyone who left messages about weather idioms in their languages. I’ve really enjoyed reading them all. Very best wishes from Cambridge.

  25. wafaadv

    Hi kate,
    Just come to know about your blog..
    Plz start a series on daily basis of words used in english newspaper..
    Thanx

  26. Atefe

    Hello thank you for teaching these perfect and also useful idioms.
    In Farsi we have an idiom ماه پشت ابر نمی ماند
    “The moon does not stay behind the clouds” and it means everything will reveal someday and nothing remains hidden.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Hi Atefe! So glad you found the post useful! That’s a lovely idiom, thank you! Best wishes from Cambridge.

  27. Ninien

    In Islam there is an surah with a close meaning with “Every cloud has a silver lining”
    In Surah Ash-Sharh verse 5 which is translated “So, surely with hardship comes ease.”
    And it is repeated in verse 6.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Hi Ninien! Thanks for your reply. Yes, that’s very much the same message, isn’t it? Best wishes to you!

  28. Ma’am wonderful I learnt something worthy…
    In our mother tongue there is equivalent to idiom “it never rains but it pours” ده بارانه پاډی دامه ده ناوي لاندي مي شپه شوا
    It means that I was saving myself from one or small problem but I face more or big hurdle ….

  29. Bahanur Madanoglu

    Hi Kate,
    In Turkısh, we say ‘Her şerde bir hayır vardır.’ for ”Every cloud has a silver lining”🤗

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