no harm, no foul
- 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.
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.
Similar phrases using elliptical causation ("if/then"):
- no body, no crime
- no cross, no crown
- no fears, no tears
- no guts, no glory
- no hero, no villain
- no losers, no winners
- no pain, no gain
- nothing ventured, nothing gained
- waste not, want not
- another day, another dollar
- fall seven times, stand up eight
- finders, keepers
- first come, first served
- in for a dime, in for a dollar
- in for an inch, in for a mile
- in for a penny, in for a pound
- laugh before breakfast, cry before supper
- least said, soonest mended
- mo' money, mo' problems
- once bitten, twice shy
- out of sight, out of mind
- ^ Bryan A. Garner (editor-in-chief), Black's Law Dictionary, Seventh Edition, West (publisher, 1999), page 443.