A Blessing in Disguise – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

It’s been almost fifteen years since my corporate job in Interior Design went south as the firm closed up. But that was a blessing in disguise because it pointed me in the direction of writing, and now it’s my full-time career. But what does the phrase a blessing in disguise really mean, and where did it come from? I’ll break it all down right here!

What Does a Blessing in Disguise Mean?

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The expression “it’s a blessing in disguise” has been around forever; I’m sure we’ve all used it. It’s an idiomatic expression that refers to any kind of situation that seems terrible, horrible, or unfortunate at first but then turns out to have surprising benefits or advantages that outweigh what was lost.

For example, surgical blessings in disguise could be when you break an arm and go in for X-rays, but they find a tumor that can easily be removed but wouldn’t have been found if you hadn’t broken your arm.

The Phrase a Blessing in Disguise Origin

The actual origin of the common phrase “a blessing in disguise” is often attributed to the work of an English writer named James Hervey and a specific hymn called Reflections on a Flower-Garden that he wrote in 1746. The excerpt says, Good when He gives, supremely good, nor less when He denies; E’en crosses from His sovereign hand are blessings in disguise.

Is a Blessing in Disguise an Idiomatic Phrase?

Yes, “a blessing in disguise” is considered an idiomatic phrase because its meaning cannot be inferred from the literal meanings of its individual words.

Synonyms for the Phrase a Blessing in Disguise

How else can you say a blessing in disguise? I’ve got a few ideas for you!

  • The silver lining
  • A fortunate turn of events
  • Happy little accident
  • Stroke of luck

How to Use a Blessing in Disguise in Sentences

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These “a blessing in disguise” sentence examples will paint a better picture of how to use the phrase in conversation and writing.

  • Turns out, losing half of my freelance jobs was a blessing in disguise because it created lots of time to work on my book.
  • Missing my flight to Ontario was a blessing in disguise. I bumped into an old high school friend at the airport while waiting, and now, we’re dating.
  • Failing that hard exam was definitely a blessing in disguise. It made me realize how much I needed to study next time to cut it into this course.
  • My husband’s asking for a divorce was a blessing in disguise I never knew I needed because I fell in love with our divorce lawyer, and I’ve never been happier.
  • Getting violently ill on our girl’s trip vacation was a blessing in disguise. It made me realize that I really needed to slow down and make some serious changes in my life.
  • Our old house burned down, but it was a blessing in disguise because our insurance covered building a brand-new home in its place.
  • Getting pregnant at such a young age was a blessing in disguise for me. I was scared at first, but my son was the best part of my life.

Looking at the position the organization is in at this stage of its rebuild, it is likely a blessing in disguise that the talented wideout turned down a long-term contract offer. (Sports Illustrated)

Anything Can Be a Blessing in Disguise

I always think of my favorite painter, Bob Ross. Whenever he made a slip-up in a painting, he’d stay calm and simply say, “it’s a happy little accident,” and proceed to use the mistake to create something new in the painting. That’s a blessing in disguise.