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  1. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #1

    It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good

    I understood what the idiom refers to, but I don't understand the ill wind actually benefits some other people, but why the idiom says that blows NOBODY any good. It seems to me it is inconsistent.

    It's an ill wind that blows nobody (any) good.
    Prov. Even misfortune can benefit someone or something.; A calamity for one person usually benefits somebody else.
    Could someone please explain it to me? Thank you!
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 26-Sep-2011 at 21:47. Reason: fixed grammatical solecism

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good

    If NOBODY benefits from a wind, then it is a very bad wind indeed. exceptionally bad.

  3. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    If NOBODY benefits from a wind, then it is a very bad wind indeed. exceptionally bad.
    Thank you very much for your help.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good

    Two things make this idiom hard to parse. First is the indirect contruction "It's a X that Y'; second is the use of 'ill' referring neither to a person nor to a judgement.

    What it means, as 5jj has said, is 'If something, in this case a wind, doesn't bring good for at least one person, it must be very bad'; another meteorological idiom with a similar meaning is 'Every cloud has a silver lining' - not quite the same meaning though, as even the sufferer benefits from the misfortune in the end.

    b

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