We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a "Blessing in Disguise"?

By Mark Wollacott
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

“Blessing in disguise” is a phrase used to indicate when events appeared to be bad, but they turned out to be beneficial somehow. The phrase usually indicated low or negative expectations about short-term events and a surprise about the long-term consequences of those events. The idea of finding good out of bad stretches has extended beyond Europe into other cultures across the world including China.

The phrase appears to have been born out of the religious belief that God or gods have the ability to bestow good things on humans. Older cultures believe that receiving blessings is about reaching a bargain with God and that insulting God will always lead to a bad thing. The term also indicates how divine powers have divine wisdom and that humans cannot always perceive the long-term ramifications of an event.

Hua Nan Zi first wrote the Chinese equivalent of “blessing in disguise” with his tale of a farmer called Sai Wong during the Han Dynasty. In the story, there are two negative events that eventually become good, much to the surprise of his fellow villagers. First, his old horse runs away, and then his son falls and breaks his leg. The villages are sympathetic both times, but are surprised by how calm Sai Wong is and how he believes there will be a “blessing in disguise” each time. First, his horse comes back with a beautiful mare and then there is a war and his son is saved from death on the battlefield by his injury.

The science-fiction (SF) comedy TV show in Britain “Red Dwarf” demonstrates how a person can learn from a setback and make it a “blessing in disguise.” In the episode entitled “Dimension Jump” in Series 4, the character Arnold Rimmer meets another version of himself from another dimension called Ace Rimmer. One is brilliantly successful and the other is an utter failure, while one was held back and had to repeat a year in school while the other carried on through the school system. Ace Rimmer, the successful charming one, is the version who was held back, while Arnold carried on through school and never learned the lessons Ace did by suffering bad fortune.

The term can be misused in order to make a point or to make publicity. Usually, “blessing in disguise” is used post-event to record how lucky something ultimately turned out to be. Pat Robertson, for example, used an earthquake in Haiti in 2010 to put forward the belief that Haiti had been cursed and the earthquake was a “blessing in disguise.” Such comments were called unfair and insensitive towards a community's suffering.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Phaedrus — On Mar 25, 2014

@AnswerMan- I've heard stories about actors not getting cast in major movies, only to get offered even better roles. If they had gotten the first part, they wouldn't have been available for the second one. Sometimes losing one opportunity can be a blessing in disguise, too.

By AnswerMan — On Mar 24, 2014

It seems to me that something may not be acknowledged as a blessing in disguise for a very long time. I remember a famous rock group missed their connecting flight to the United States and had to stay out of the country for a few days. The plane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing everyone on board. Missing that flight was a blessing in disguise.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.