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 notesEdit

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 termsEdit

See alsoEdit


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