1703, in reference to various types of silver-colored fish (similar formation in German Silberfisch, Dutch zilvervisch); from silver (adj.) + fish (n.). In reference to a type of household insect damaging to books, wallpaper, etc. (also known as silvertail, fishtail, furniture-bug, etc.), it is attested from 1855.
a "bright side" which proverbially accompanies even the darkest trouble; by 1843, apparently from oft-quoted lines from Milton's "Comus," where the silver lining is the light of the moon shining from behind the cloud.
Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud,
Turn out her silver lining on the night
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.
Thomas Warton added the commentary: "When all succour ſeems to be lost, Heaven unexpectedly presents the ſilver lining oſ a ſable cloud to the virtuous."
common popular designation of metallic mercury, Middle English quik-silver, from late Old English cwicseolfor, literally "living silver," so called for its mobility, translating Latin argentum vivum (source also of Italian argento vivo), "living silver;" so called from its liquid mobility. See quick (adj.) + silver (n.). Similar formation in Dutch kwikzilver, Old High German quecsilbar, German quecksilber, French vif-argent, Italian argenta viva.
early 15c., "silver, silver coin," from Old French argent "silver, silver money; quicksilver" (11c.), from Latin argentum "silver, silver work, silver money," from PIE *arg-ent-, suffixed form of root *arg- "to shine; white," thus "silver" as "the shining or white metal." It was earlier in English in the sense of "quicksilver, the metal mercury" (c. 1300); the adjective sense "silver-colored" is from late 15c.
mid-15c., "silver-colored;" c. 1500, "of or resembling silver," from Old French argentin (12c.), from Latin argentinus "of silver," from argentum "silver," from PIE root *arg- "to shine; white," hence "silver" as the shining or white metal.
"mercury, quicksilver," 1560s, from Latin hydrargyrus, from Greek hydrargyros "quicksilver" (as prepared artificially from cinnabar ore; native quicksilver was argyros khytos "fused silver"), from hydr-, stem of hydor "water" (from suffixed form of PIE root *wed- (1) "water; wet") + argyros "silver" (from PIE root *arg- "to shine; white," hence "silver" as the shining or white metal). Hence the chemical abbreviation Hg for the element mercury.