phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

"No harm, no foul"

Posted by Bob on January 24, 2000

In Reply to: "No harm, no foul" posted by Kim on January 24, 2000

: I've heard this a couple of times lately, but don't quite understand what it means. Can anyone help out? I can't find it via the phrase searcher.

: Thanks!

It's an expression from sports officiating and broadcasting. I remember it starting in basketball, where a little "incidental contact" is not always reason for a foul call, because the game would slow to a crawl. It has, of course, been extended, like most sports metaphors, to any situation where a minor offence is overlooked. (Think of it as the polar opposite of a "zero-tolerance" policy.)