it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good

A sailing metaphor frequently invoked to explain good luck arising from the source of others’ misfortune.

1546 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue of Proverbs II. ix. L1 An yll wynde that blowth no man to good, men saie.

1591 SHAKESPEARE Henry VI, Pt. 3 II. v. 55 Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.

1655 T. FULLER Church Hist. Britain II. ii. It is an ill wind which bloweth no man Profit. He is cast on the Shoar of Freezland..where the Inhabitants..were by his Preaching converted to Christianity.

1832 S. WARREN Diary of Late Physician I. i. My good fortune (truly it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good) was almost too much for me.

1979 J. SCOTT Angels in your Beer xxviii. It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good, but then John Quinlan..was about as close to being a nobody as anyone could get.

2002 Washington Times 11 Jan. A4 It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, as the wise man said, and certain Democrats and pundits think the wind that blew Enron away was a warm breeze from Eden.


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  • it's an ill wind (that blows nobody any good) — it’s an ill wind (that blows nobody any good) spoken phrase used for saying that even when something bad happens, someone will get an advantage from it Thesaurus: partly good and partly badsynonym Main entry: ill wind * * * it s an ˌill ˈwind… …   Useful english dictionary

  • It's an ill wind (that blows nobody any good). — It s an ill wind (that blows nobody any good). something that you say which means most bad things that happen have a good result for someone. But it s an ill wind. The wettest June in history has replenished the reservoirs …   New idioms dictionary

  • it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good — ► it s an ill wind that blows nobody any good proverb few things are so bad that no one profits from them. Main Entry: ↑wind …   English terms dictionary

  • ill wind — UK [ˌɪl ˈwɪnd] US noun [singular] something bad that happens and makes you think other bad things will happen The ill wind of financial crisis was sweeping across Asia. Thesaurus: signs of how things are or what may happen in the futuresynonym… …   Useful english dictionary

  • ill wind — N SING: usu a N You can describe an unfortunate event as an ill wind if someone benefits from it. The expression occurs in the proverb It s an ill wind that blows nobody any good . But it s an ill wind; I recovered and married one of my nurses… …   English dictionary

  • ill wind — UK [ˌɪl ˈwɪnd] / US noun [singular] something bad that happens and makes you think other bad things will happen The ill wind of financial crisis was sweeping across Asia. • it s an ill wind (that blows nobody any good) spoken used for saying that …   English dictionary

  • wind — Ⅰ. wind [1] ► NOUN 1) the perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current blowing from a particular direction. 2) breath as needed in physical exertion, speech, playing an instrument, etc. 3) Brit. air swallowed while …   English terms dictionary

  • ill — ill, sick Ill and sick share responsibilities in peculiar ways, and are not always interchangeable. To begin with, ill is more usually predicative (placed after a verb, as in She was ill), whereas sick occurs naturally in attributive position… …   Modern English usage

  • wind — wind1 W2S2 [wınd] n ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(air)¦ 2 get/have wind of something 3¦(breath)¦ 4¦(in your stomach)¦ 5 take the wind out of somebody s sails 6 see which way the wind is blowing 7 something is in the wind 8 winds of change/freedom/public opinion etc …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • good — see if you can’t be good, be careful a good beginning makes a good ending there’s many a good cock come out of a tattered bag no good deed goes unpunished he is a good dog who goes to church the good die young …   Proverbs new dictionary

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