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Murphy's Law

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noun
the facetious proposition that if something can go wrong, it will.
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Also called Murphy's First Law .

Origin of Murphy's Law

An Americanism dating to 1950–55; named after Edward A. Murphy, Jr., (1918–90), an American aerospace engineer who worked on safety systems

Words nearby Murphy's Law

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use Murphy's Law in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Murphy's Law

Murphy's law

noun
informal another term for Sod's law

Word Origin for Murphy's law

C20: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law

A rule that states, “If something can go wrong, it will.” An addition to this law reads, “and usually at the worst time.” The identity of “Murphy” is unknown, but the saying was first used during the 1940s and may have originated with members of the armed forces in World War II.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with Murphy's Law

Murphy's law

If anything can go wrong, it will, as in We may think we've covered all the details for the benefit, but remember Murphy's law. The identity of Murphy, if ever a real person, is unknown. Some think it alludes to (but was not invented by) a feckless Irishman named Murphy. [c. 1940]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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