no harm, no foul

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no harm, no foul

  1. Encapsulation of the idea that although technically a breach of some code or law may have occurred there is no need for punishment, apology or retribution if no actual damage occurred.
    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]


Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]


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