Original Murphy's law

If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.

Murphy's laws (modern version)

Addition to Murphy's law

In Nature, nothing is ever right, therefore if everything is going right something has to be wrong.

Forsyth's second corollary to Murphy's laws.

Just when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, the roof caves in.

Zymurg's seventh exception to Murphy's law

When it rains, it pours.

O'Toole's commentary on Murphy's laws.

Murphy was an optimist.

Comment on Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law is recursive. Washing your car to make it rain doesn't work.

Chisolm's First Corollary to Murphy's Second Law

When things just can't possibly get any worse, they will.

Finagle's Laws of Dynamic Negatives

Finagle's fourth law

Once a job is fouled up, anything made to improve it will make it worse.

Hanlon's Razor

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Ginsberg's theorems.

  1. You can't win.
  2. You can't break even.
  3. You can't even quit the game.

    Weiler's law

    Nothing is impossible to the man who doesn't have to do it himself.

    Gumperson's law

    The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to it's desirability.

    Law of the Perversity of Nature

    You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.

    Jenning's Corollary

    The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.

    Lazlo's Chinese Relativity Axiom

    No matter how great your triumphs or how tragic your defeats -- approximately one billion Chinese couldn't care less.

    Lois specifiques a l'informatique et aux sciences

    Parkinson's Law of Data

    Data expands to fill the space available for storage.

    The laws of computer programming.

    Golub's laws of computerdom.

    Pierce's law.

    In any computer system, the machine will always misinterpret, misconstrue, misprint or not evaluate any math or subroutines or fail to print any output on at least the first run through.

    Corollary to Pierce's law

    When a compiler accepts a program without error on the first run, the program will not yield the desired output.

    Brook's Law

    If at first you don't succeed, transform your data set !

    Grosch's law

    Computing power increases as the square of the cost.

    Osborn's law

    Variables won't be, constants never are.

    Gilb's laws of unreliability

    Lubarsky's law of cybernetic entomology

    There's always one more bug.

    Troutman's postulates

    Weinberger's second law

    If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilisation.

    Gummidge's law

    The amount of expertise varies in inverse ratio to the number of statements understood by the general public.

    Harvard's law, as applied to computers

    Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, humidity and other variables, the computer does as it damn well pleases.

    Sattinger's law

    It works better if you plug it in.

    Jenkinson's law

    It won't work.

    Horner's five thumb postulate

    Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.

    Cheop's law

    Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.

    Rule of accuracy

    When working towards the solution of a problem it always helps if you know the answer

    Pudder's laws

    Westhimer's rule

    To estimate the time it takes to do a task, estimate the time you thing it should take, multiply by two and change to the next highest unit. Thus we allocate two days for a one hour task.

    Stockmayer's theorem

    If it looks easy, it's tough. If it looks tough it's damn near impossible.

    Brooke's law

    Adding manpower to a late software only makes it later.

    Featherkile's rule

    Whatever you did, say that's what you planned.

    Flap's law

    Any inanimate object, regardless of it's position, configuration or purpose, may be expected to perform at any time in a totally unexpected manner for reasons that are either totally obscure or else completely mysterious.

    Anthony's Law of Force

    Don't force it; get a larger hammer.

    Anthony's Law of the Workshop

    Any tool when dropped, will roll into the least accessible corner of the workshop.

    Corollary to Anthony's Law of the Workshop

    On the way to the corner, any dropped tool will first strike your toes.

    Arnold's Laws of Documentation

    Boob's Law

    You always find something in the last place you look.

    Boren's Laws

    Brady's First Law of Problem Solving

    When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger have handled this?"

    Brooke's Law

    Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

    Chism's Law of Completion

    The amount of time required to complete a government project is precisely equal to the length of time already spent on it.

    Conway's Law

    In any organization there will always be one person who knows what is going on. This person must be fired.

    Finagle's Creed

    Science is true. Don't be misled by facts.

    Finagle's First Law

    If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.

    Finagle's fourth Law

    Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.

    Finagle's Second Law

    No matter what the anticipated result, there will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened according to his own pet theory.

    Finagle's Third Law

    In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake

    Corollaries to Finagle's Third Law

    Nobody whom you ask for help will see it. The first person who stops by, whose advice you really don't want to hear, will see it immediately.

    Flon's Law

    There is not now, and never will be, a language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad programs.

    Fudd's First Law of Opposition

    Push something hard enough and it will fall over.

    Gerrold's Laws of Infernal Dynamics

    The Briggs/Chase Law of Program Development

    To determine how long it will take to write and debug a program, take your best estimate, multiply that by two, add one, and convert to the next higher time unit.

    Gray's Law of Programming

    `n+1' trivial tasks are expected to be accomplished in the same time as `n' tasks.

    Logg's Rebuttal to Gray's Law

    `n+1' trivial tasks take twice as long as `n' trivial tasks.

    H. L. Mencken's Law

    Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- teach.

    Martin's Extension to H. L. Mencken's Law

    Those who cannot teach -- administrate.

    Hacker's Law

    The belief that enhanced understanding will necessarily stir a nation to action is one of mankind's oldest illusions.

    Hlade's Law

    If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person -- they will find an easier way to do it.

    Hoare's Law of Large Problems

    Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out.

    Hofstadter's Law

    It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account.

    Johnson's First Law

    When any mechanical contrivance fails, it will do so at the most inconvenient possible time.

    Jone's Law

    The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.

    Jones's First Law

    Anyone who makes a significant contribution to any field of endeavor, and stays in that field long enough, becomes an obstruction to its progress -- in direct proportion to the importance of their original contribution.

    Katz' Law

    Man and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted.

    Kinkler's Second Law

    All the easy problems have been solved.

    Lackland's Laws

    1. Never be first.
    2. Never be last.
    3. Never volunteer for anything

      Langsam's Laws

      • Everything depends.
      • Nothing is always.
      • Everything is sometimes.

      Larkinson's Law

      All laws are basically false.

      Law of Communications

      The inevitable result of improved and enlarged communications between different levels in a hierarchy is a vastly increased area of misunderstanding.

      Law of Probable Dispersal

      Whatever it is that hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

      Law of Selective Gravity

      An object will fall so as to do the most damage.

      Laws of Serendipity

      • In order to discover anything, you must be looking for something.
      • If you wish to make an improved product, you must already be engaged in making an inferior one.

      Turnaucka's Law

      The attention span of a computer is only as long as its electrical cord.

      Velilind's Laws of Experimentation

      • If reproducibility may be a problem, conduct the test only once.
      • If a straight line fit is required, obtain only two data points.

      Autres lois...

      Leibowitz's Rule

      When hammering a nail, you will never hit your finger if you hold the hammer with both hands.

      Lewis's Law of Travel

      The first piece of luggage out of the chute doesn't belong to anyone, ever.

      Lieberman's Law

      Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.

      Lowery's Law

      If it jams -- force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.

      Maier's Law

      If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.

      Corollaries to Maier's Law

      • The bigger the theory, the better.
      • The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory.

      Maintainer's Motto

      If we can't fix it, it ain't broke.

      Malek's Law

      Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.

      Meader's Law

      Whatever happens to you, it will previously have happened to everyone you know, only more so.

      Meskimen's Law

      There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over.

      Miksch's Law

      If a string has one end, then it has another end.

      Mitchell's Law of Committees

      Any simple problem can be made insoluble if enough meetings are held to discuss it.

      Mosher's Law of Software Engineering

      Don't worry if it doesn't work right. If everything did, you'd be out of a job.

      Murphy's Law of Research

      Enough research will tend to support your theory.

      Naeser's Law

      You can make it foolproof, but you can't make it damnfoolproof.

      Newton's Fourth Law

      Every action has an equal and opposite satisfaction.

      Newton's Little-Known Seventh Law

      A bird in the hand is safer than one overhead.

      Non-Reciprocal Laws of Expectations

      Negative expectations yield negative results. Positive expectations yield negative results.

      Ogden's Law

      The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

      Oliver's Law

      Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

      Ozman's Laws

      • If someone says he will do something "without fail," he won't.
      • The more people talk on the phone, the less money they make.
      • People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.
      • Pizza always burns the roof of your mouth.

      Parker's Law

      Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.

      Parkinson's Fifth Law

      If there is a way to delay in important decision, the good bureaucracy, public or private, will find it.

      Parkinson's Fourth Law

      The number of people in any working group tends to increase regardless of the amount of work to be done.

      Paul's Law

      You can't fall off the floor.

      Peter's Law of Substitution

      Look after the molehills, and the mountains will look after themselves.

      Pohl's law

      Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

      Rhode's Law

      When any principle, law, tenet, probability, happening, circumstance, or result can in no way be directly, indirectly, empirically, or circuitously proven, derived, implied, inferred, induced, deducted, estimated, or scientifically guessed, it will always for the purpose of convenience, expediency, political advantage, material gain, or personal comfort, or any combination of the above, or none of the above, be unilaterally and unequivocally assumed, proclaimed, and adhered to as absolute truth to be undeniably, universally, immutably, and infinitely so, until such time as it becomes advantageous to assume otherwise, maybe.

      Rocky's Lemma of Innovation Prevention

      Unless the results are known in advance, funding agencies will reject the proposal.

      Rudin's Law

      If there is a wrong way to do something, most people will do it every time.

      Sattinger's Law

      It works better if you plug it in.

      Scott's first Law

      No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.

      Scott's second Law

      When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been wrong in the first place.


      After the correction has been found in error, it will be impossible to fit the original quantity back into the equation.

      Second Law of Business Meetings

      If there are two possible ways to spell a person's name, you will pick the wrong one.


      If there is only one way to spell a name, you will spell it wrong, anyway.

      Silverman's Law

      If Murphy's Law can go wrong, it will.

      Simon's Law

      Everything put together falls apart sooner or later.

      Sodd's Second Law

      Sooner or later, the worst possible set of circumstances is bound to occur.

      The three laws of thermodynamics

      1. You can't get anything without working for it.
      2. The most you can accomplish by working is to break even.
      3. You can only break even at absolute zero.

      Tussman's Law

      Nothing is as inevitable as a mistake whose time has come.

      Unnamed Law

      If it happens, it must be possible.

      Watson's Law

      The reliability of machinery is inversely proportional to the number and significance of any persons watching it.

      Weinberg's First Law

      Progress is made on alternate Fridays.

      Weinberg's Principle

      An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.

      Weiner's Law of Libraries

      There are no answers, only cross references.

      Westheimer's Discovery

      A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of hours in the library.

      Wethern's Law

      Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.

      Whistler's Law

      You never know who is right, but you always know who is in charge.

      Williams and Holland's Law

      If enough data is collected, anything may be proven by statistical methods.

      Zymurgy's Law of Volunteer Labor

      People are always available for work in the past tense.

      D'autres lois qui n'ont vraiment rien à voir

      The two constant Laws of Frisbee

      1. The most powerful force in the world is that of a disc straining to land under a car, just out of reach (this force is technically termed "car suck").
      2. Never precede any maneuver by a comment more predictive than "Watch this!"

      Flugg's Law

      When you need to knock on wood is when you realize that the world is composed of vinyl, naugahyde and aluminum.

      Slick's Three Laws of the Universe

      • Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad check.
      • A quarter-ounce of chocolate = four pounds of fat.
      • There are two types of dirt: the dark kind, which is attracted to light objects, and the light kind, which is attracted to dark objects.

      Mencken and Nathan's Second Law of The Average American

      All the postmasters in small towns read all the postcards.

      Wiker's Law

      Government expands to absorb revenue and then some.

      Mencken and Nathan's Ninth Law of The Average American

      The quality of a champagne is judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped.

      Mencken and Nathan's Fifteenth Law of The Average American

      The worst actress in the company is always the manager's wife.

      Mencken and Nathan's Sixteenth Law of The Average American

      Milking a cow is an operation demanding a special talent that is possessed only by yokels, and no person born in a large city can ever hope to acquire it.

      Sturgeon's Law

      90% of everything is crud.

      Preudhomme's Law of Window Cleaning

      It's on the other side.

      The Third Law of Photography

      If you did manage to get any good shots, they will be ruined when someone inadvertently opens the darkroom door and all of the dark leaks out.

      Van Roy's Law

      An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

      Atwoods corollary

      No books are lost by lending except the ones you particularly wanted to keep.

      Johnson's third law

      If you miss one issue of a magazine, it will be the one that contains the article or story you were most anxious to read.

      Corollary to Johnson's third law

      All of your friends either missed it, lost it or threw it away.

      Harper's magazine law

      You never find the article until you replace it.

      Zymurgy's first law of evolving system dynamics

      Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can (older worms never die, they just worm their way into larger cans).