“It’s an Ill Wind That Blows No Good”

What does the phrase “It’s an ill wind that blows no good” mean? There are a couple of other sayings like this in English, but if I gave them to you, you would be able to get the meaning of this saying. There is also a cool saying in German along these lines. This saying is not heard much, but I like it myself. I believe my parents used to use it, especially my mother. My father didn’t use this phrase, and he would have been unlikely to believe in such a concept anyway due to the nature of his worldview..


Filed under English language

4 responses to ““It’s an Ill Wind That Blows No Good”

  1. James Schipper

    Dear Robert

    Shouldn’t it be “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good”? This suggest that even events that are generally bad will be good for a few. For instance, war can be profitable for arms manufacturers. An earthquake isn’t bad for the construction sector. High crime is a source of employment for people in law enforcement. A lot of the economy is dedicated to the removal of bads rather than the production of goods. If the quantity of bads is reduced, then the sectors dedicated to the removal of bads will suffer.

    Regards. James

    • No, it is more like “Every dark cloud has a silver lining.” It means that inmost bad things, no matter how bad, there is often some small good thing about them, despite how awful they were. The German saying is, “When God closes one door, he opens another.”

      • James Schipper

        More common is: “Wenn Gott eine Tür schließt, öffnet Er ein Fenster” = When God closes a door, He opens a window.

  2. Maurice

    Fun innit? At first glance one might think, ill intentions inevitably beget ill consequences . . . at first glance. But this one stretches way-y-y-y back to English’s puberty and as such possesses nuances, the likes of which make English such an exciting, flexible, and, yes, lovely language. Kudos for all the language posts Rob, but I sometimes think you don’t show our native tongue enough love (posts). Cheers!

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