No news is good news is an idiom that conveys the idea that if one does not hear news about a situation, it’s likely that nothing bad has happened. It’s a phrase so old that King James I is attributed to coining it.
Idioms are phrases and sayings with metaphorical contexts that we use as a shorthand to convey broader ideas. But idioms are only as effective as how well they’re used, and if you don’t have the right punctuation, wording, and context, then their intent falls flat. So, I’ll explain the deeper meaning behind this phrase, talk about its origin, and then show you its proper usage in a sentence. Let’s go!
What Does ‘No News Is Good News’ Really Mean?
The phrase no news is good news suggests that things are probably going well if you haven’t heard anything. It’s like when your teenagers are suspiciously quiet; sometimes, you’re just happy they aren’t setting off fireworks indoors. The same can’t be said about toddlers, though. No news (or noise) is generally a bad thing!
It’s a general saying that almost anyone can understand. If you were waiting on an update or news of some kind but received none, it probably means there wasn’t anything notable to report. With that being said, I always thought the phrase was worded incorrectly; it should be no news is no news because if there were, in fact, good news it would be shared. Wouldn’t it?
‘No News Is Good News’ Origin and Etymology
The saying goes way back. Way, way back! King James I of England coined it during the 17th century when he said, “No new is is bettir than evill newis.”
It has been referenced in several published works throughout the years, such as in James Howell’s “Familiar Letters,” where he wrote, “I am of the Italians’ mind that said, ‘no news, good news’.” The idiom is also discussed in Stuart and Doris Flexner’s book, “Wise Words and Wives’ Tales: The Origins, Meanings, and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New.”
It’s stuck around this long, and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon! I just love idioms that age like a fine wine…and Brad Pitt.
‘No News Means Good News’ Synonyms
Think no news is good news is old school and want to freshen it up? Here’s a list of perfectly good alternatives to saying no news is good news:
- Ignorance is bliss
- Silence is golden
- What you don’t know can’t hurt you
Using ‘No News Is Good News’ in Sentence Examples
Here are ten sentence examples that illustrate how versatile this idiom can be.
- I haven’t heard from the doctor yet, so I’m guessing no news is good news.
- The kids have been quiet all morning; no news is good news, right?
- The media hasn’t covered the protests, but in this case, no news is not good news.
- I didn’t get a callback on that gig yet, but I always say that no news is good news.
- She was nervous about the test results but figured that no news was good news.
- No news is good news; at least, that’s what I told myself all day while waiting for word about the fires.
- I take the silence from our competitors to mean no news is good news.
- He’s been on the road for a while, but no news is good news.
- Mom thinks no news is good news, but I’m getting anxious.
- No news is good news, they say, but sometimes I’d rather just know so I don’t have to worry.
Now You Know About No News!
The idiom no news is good news is like that old sweater you can’t bear to throw away—comforting, familiar, and steeped in history. It’s proof that some things, like idioms or Betty White, only get better with age. You can cross this phrase off your list, but be sure to check out my other guides here on the site!