No good deed goes unpunished

  • The origin of the expression no good deed goes unpunished has been ascribed to several writers and personalities. We will examine the meaning of the phrase no good deed goes unpunished, where it may have come from and some examples of its use in sentences.


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    No good deed goes unpunished may mean that a kind action might not be properly appreciated by the recipient, or it may mean that doing something kind will lead to expectations and demands for more help and benefits. The idea is that in the end, many people do not appreciate the effort behind a kindness, or may believe they deserve something that they do not. The phrase no good deed goes unpunished is a cynical twist on the idea that good people are rewarded for being good. In real life, this is often not the case. The proverb no good deed goes unpunished has been variously attributed to Walter Winchell, John P. Grier, Oscar Wilde and Clare Boothe Luce.



    Collateral is one of those dramas where nobody smiles, it’s always raining and no good deed goes unpunished. (The Guardian)

    “They took him in and it’s a classic case of no good deed goes unpunished,” Lewis, who did not name the family, said. (The Daily Star)

    Pilots are reluctant to research answers to their questions and concerns due to apprehension that “no good deed goes unpunished” when disclosing confidential information to a government entity. (The Business Jet Traveler Magazine)

    “No good deed goes unpunished,” Municipal Manager Shane O’Keefe said Tuesday night of a dispute between the village of Bellows Falls and a business owner over sprinkler system reimbursements. (The Brattleboro Reformer)


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