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What is the opposite of a false dawn, a false dawn being "a promising situation which comes to nothing". The sentence I'm thinking of would be something like: They started off well and it was not a false dawn it was ...?

  • False is not true. Dawn is not dusk. So you must mean a true dusk, right? – tchrist Mar 18 '14 at 2:28
  • @tchrist Very logical thinking there, you could be a programmer :-) – gttommo Mar 18 '14 at 5:14
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Resplendent sunrise of good fortune

The day began full of promise, and it was no false dawn, but rather a resplendent sunrise of good fortune. They met his price, and his commission check was as good as in his pocket . . .

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Perhaps "bona fide daybreak" might work for you.

Google finds a hint that this has all been done before: "Apple, along with Windows 7, is busily ensuring that this false dawnbecomes (sic) a bona fide daybreak".

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dark horse

A candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds

surprise!
1 An unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing: the announcement was a complete surprise

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