No pain, no gain vs no pain, no game

Photo of author


No pain, no gain and no pain, no game are two phrases that are often heard. However, one expression is a well-known proverb and the other is an eggcorn, which is a misheard phrase, saying, lyric or slogan that retains the original meaning. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase that gives particular advice or shares a universal truth.We will examine the meaning of the correct term, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

No pain, no gain is a proverb that means in order to make progress or to be successful, one must suffer. This suffering may be in a physical or mental sense. The phrase no pain, no gain was popularized in the 1980s by the American actress, Jane Fonda. Fonda initiated the aerobics workout craze with a series of videos, in which she proclaimed the ethic “No pain, no gain,” and “Feel the burn.” Interestingly, the sentiment has its roots hundreds of years earlier. Benjamin Franklin wrote in The Way to Wealth in 1758: “There are no gains without pains…” As far back as the second century, Rabbi Ben Hei Hei stated in The Ethics of the Fathers: “According to the pain is the gain.”

No pain, no game is an eggcorn of the expression no pain, no gain. It is more often heard in speech than seen in written language. Sometimes an eggcorn can become more popular than the original term, especially when the original term is obscure or hard to understand. In this case, no pain, no game is immediately recognized by most English speakers as incorrect.


“No pain, no gain in rugby,” he said referring to his crooked right arm. (The Fiji Sun)

In his closing remark, Ik Pahon reminded the participants to remember three points, namely practice makes perfect, no shortcut to success and no pain, no gain. (The Borneo Post)