What Does a Blessing in Disguise Mean?

Blessing in Disguise Meaning

Definition: Something that seemed bad but turns out to be good.

A blessing in disguise seems unfortunate at first. Often, it refers to a situation that someone does not want to be in or results that he or she did not want.

However, after careful reflection, what at first seemed to be a stroke of misfortune turns out to be beneficial. Oftentimes, people learn through their struggles and come out of difficult situations having grown as a result of those challenges.

Origin of Blessing in Disguise

blessing in disguise quotesLike many idioms, the exact origin of this phrase is unknown. Some believe that the first use of the phrase occurred in the mid-1700s.

In 1746, the book Reflections on a Flower-Garden by James Hervey was the first book to have the phrase written down, but no one is sure if the author invented the phrase or was using a phrase already popular at the time.

Examples of Blessing in Disguise

There are many uses of this common idiom.

A woman might say,

  • When Tom broke up with me, I was upset for months. But, really, the breakup turned out to be a blessing in disguise because he was in a lot of debt.

ghost whisperer blessings in disguiseAlthough she was upset about breaking up, the woman recognized the benefit, or blessing, of not having to pay off Tom’s debt.

Another example could be when a goal is not fulfilled. If someone wants a promotion at work and is passed over, he or she could feel upset. However, not getting the promotion would be a blessing in disguise if a new position better suited to that person opened up later.

Many people may even refer to life-changing events as blessings in disguise. Someone who had a child out of wedlock may have felt stressed at first about the prospect of being a single parent, but he or she may later refer to the child as a blessing in disguise because of the joy the child brings.

More Examples

  • AT&T-Time Warner merger could be blessing in disguise for consumers –Chicago Tribune
  • Panahian, whose brother is an influential conservative cleric, said the lifting of sanctions could be “a blessing in disguise” because it revealed U.S. duplicity. –LA Times


When something is a blessing in disguise  it seems bad at first, but it eventually turns out to be a good thing.