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two wrongs do not make a right

A second misdeed or mistake does not cancel the first, as in Don't take his ball just because he took yours—two wrongs do not make a right. This proverbial adage sounds ancient but was first recorded in 1783, as Three wrongs will not make one right.

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