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The road to hell is paved with good intentions

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Merely intending to do good, without actually doing it, is of no value.

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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.

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road to hell is paved with good intentions, the

Well-intended acts can have disastrous results, as in She tried to help by defending Dad's position and they haven't spoken since—the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This proverbial idiom probably derives from a similar statement by St. Bernard of Clairvaux about 1150, L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs (“Hell is full of good intentions or wishes”), and has been repeated ever since. [Late 1500s]

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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