ill wind that blows no one any good, it's an

A loss or misfortune usually benefits someone. For example, They lost everything when that old shed burned down, but they got rid of a lot of junk as well—it's an ill wind. This expression appeared in John Heywood's 1546 proverb collection and remains so well known that it is often shortened. It also gave rise to a much-quoted pun about the difficulty of playing the oboe, describing the instrument as an ill wind that nobody blows good.

Nearby words

  1. ill humor,
  2. ill humour,
  3. ill nature,
  4. ill temper,
  5. ill will,
  6. ill-,
  7. ill-advised,
  8. ill-affected,
  9. ill-assorted,
  10. ill-behaved

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.