Murphy's law

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See also: Murphy's Law


Alternative forms[edit]


Named after Edward A. Murphy Jr. (1918–1990), a development engineer who worked for a brief time on the rocket-sled experiments of the United States Air Force in 1948.

Proper noun[edit]

Murphy's law

  1. An adage which states that if anything can go wrong, then it will.
    Synonyms: Sod's law, Finagle's law
    • 1953, Anne Roe, The Making of a Scientist, page 214:
      I ran into the perfect exemplification of “Murphy's law” at one university, where everything that could go wrong did!
    • 2004, Ian Stewart, Math Hysteria, OUP Oxford, →ISBN:
      Thus we find that Murphy's Law is not a coincidence at all, but the consequence of a deep ‘anthropomurphic[sic] principle’: any universe built along conventional lines that contains intelligent polymurphs will conform to Murphy's Law.
    • 2014, Muriel Spark, The Golden Fleece, Carcanet, →ISBN:
      ‘It was an application of Murphy's Law,’ said one Vatican dignitary in a resigned voice. What was Murphy's Law? ‘Murphy's Law,’ said the dignitary, ‘is that everything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong.’

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