Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to Murphy: Murphy's sign

Murphy's law

The axiom that if something can go wrong, it will. The manager always tries to anticipate Murphy's law, having us prepare for anything that could possibly go wrong on a project. Of course the toast landed butter-side down. Murphy's law.
See also: law

go see Mrs. Murphy

euphemism, old-fashioned To go to the bathroom to use the toilet. Excuse me, I just need to go see Mrs. Murphy for a moment. A: "Where's John?" B: "He just had to see Mrs. Murphy, should be back soon."
See also: go, Murphy, see

going to see Mrs. Murphy

euphemism, old-fashioned Going to the bathroom to use the toilet. Excuse me, I'm just going to see Mrs. Murphy for a moment. A: "Where's John?" B: "He's going to see Mrs. Murphy, should be back soon."
See also: going, Murphy, see

visiting Mrs. Murphy

euphemism, old-fashioned Going to the bathroom to use the toilet. Excuse me, I'm just visiting Mrs. Murphy for a moment. A: "Where's John?" B: "He's visiting Mrs. Murphy, should be back soon."
See also: Murphy, visit

Murphy's law

If anything can go wrong, it will, as in We may think we've covered all the details for the benefit, but remember Murphy's law . The identity of Murphy, if ever a real person, is unknown. Some think it alludes to (but was not invented by) a feckless Irishman named Murphy. [c. 1940]
See also: law

Murphy's law

if anything can go wrong it will.
Murphy's law is said to have been the inspiration of a Californian project manager for the firm Northrop, referring to a remark made in 1949 by a colleague, Captain Edward Murphy of the Wright Field-Aircraft Laboratory. In 1955 , Aviation Mechanics Bulletin explained Murphy's Law as ‘If an aircraft part can be installed incorrectly, someone will install it that way’.
See also: law

ˌMurphy’s ˈLaw

(humorous) a statement of the fact that, if anything can possibly go wrong, it will go wrong: Of course it had to be the day of my job interview that the car broke down — it’s Murphy’s Law.This expression was named after Edward A. Murphy, Jr., an engineer in the US Air Force.
See also: law

Mrs. Murphy

n. a bathroom. Whose turn is it at Mrs. Murphy’s?
See also: Murphy


1. n. a potato. I spent half my tour of duty peeling murphies.
2. n. a breast. (Crude. Usually plural. Usually objectionable.) She stood about six feet tall and was turned in the light so her murphies stood out in silhouette.

Murphy's law

If anything can go wrong, it will. This expression appears to have originated in the mid-1900s in the U.S. Air Force. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle of March 16, 1978 (cited in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang), during some testing at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 Captain Ed Murphy, an engineer, was frustrated with a malfunctioning part and said about the technician responsible, “If there is any way to do things wrong, he will.”Within weeks his statement was referred to as “Murphy’s Law,” and by about 1960 it had entered the civilian vocabulary and was attached to just about any mistake or mishap. In succeeding decades it became a cliché.
See also: law
References in periodicals archive ?
The local Murphy family has been in the timber business since the early 1900s.
Just after the turn of the 20th century, Charles Murphy Sr.
Murphy alternatively argued that the damages were not income within the 16th Amendment, and therefore could not be subject to tax.
No other bones of a meat eater have been found at this site, says Murphy.
What impresses Murphy is Stiefel's leadership quality.
Upon being questioned, Oeser said of Murphy, "I didn't know him at all.
Don Moliver, director of the Real Estate Institute, stated, "We are delighted to honor Patrick Murphy as the recipient of our award.
Having dismissed the idea that public policy can realistically be guided by the assumption that individuals "own" property and that the government must then justify the taxes that reduce such holdings, Nagel and Murphy reformulate the issue in terms of overall social welfare.
But Murphy wants to do more than simply emphasize Douglas's already well-known character flaws.
Murphy was also surprised to find a thick neck and a fleshy rooster-like frill along the length of the back, features never before observed--not even in Jurassic Park.
Shortly before Murphy was summoned, an Indonesian paramilitary group put out a press release accusing him of being in the country illegally and of spreading
The introduction's final section (xxxi-xxxiii) begins with a discussion of the differences between the first edition of the Brutinae quaestiones--published in 1547--and the I549 edition; Murphy notes (xxxiii) that "We have chosen the I 549 text for translation because it embodies the spirit of Ramus the writer/lecturer, and because it portrays in short compass the essential features of what came to be called Ramism.
Using fascinating evidence, Murphy traces how workers demanded greater control over their education, morality, and religion.