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Any of certain humorous axioms stating that anything that can possibly go wrong, will go wrong.
[After Edward A. Murphy (1918-1990), American engineer.]
Word History: Edward Murphy was an American engineer who designed sensors for measuring the forces involved in crashes. Used in rocket sled experiments in 1941, his sensors failed to function after another person installed them incorrectly. This experience is said to have prompted Murphy to utter the axiom that has since become associated with his name. Murphy may have spoken the axiom, but he did not invent it, because variations of it are attested from the early 1900s.
informal another term for Sod's law
[C20: of uncertain origin]
the facetious proposition that if something can go wrong, it will.
[1955–60, Amer.; probably after E.A. Murphy, engineer in U.S. Air Force]
An imaginary rule that states “if something can go wrong, it will;” perhaps from an Irish engineer who first formulated it.