no harm, no foul

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From informal instances of sports, in which a foul is a formal violation of the rules.


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no harm, no foul

  1. Although technically a breach of some code or law may have occurred, there was no actual damage meriting punishment, apology or retribution.
    He parked in my space, but I was away at the time: no harm, no foul.

Usage notes[edit]

Phrases with the same construction (i.e. no x, no y) are common and productive. See the related terms below. Compare the expression de minimis non curat lex (the law will not cure (or concern itself with) trifles), de minimis.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bryan A. Garner (editor-in-chief), Black's Law Dictionary, Seventh Edition, West (publisher, 1999), page 443.