by fair means or foul

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - by fair means or foul

"by fair means or foul"

to do whatever is required to achieve a goal even if it is dishonest or unfair


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - by fair means or foul

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Our main competitor is killing us in sales. We are in real trouble. We need to find a way to deal with the situation.

Colleague 2By fair means or foul?

Colleague 1:  What do you have in mind?

Colleague 2:  How about creating a fake news story about a safety problem with their products?

Colleague 1:  That is completely dishonest and perhaps even illegal but I like it. It could definitely work.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - by fair means or foul

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  I am pretty sure that Anne likes me and I know I like her. The only problem is that she has a boyfriend right now.

Friend 2:  Are you prepared to do anything by fair means or foul?

Friend 1:  OK?

Friend 2:  Start a rumor that Anne cheated on her boyfriend with his best friend. That should cause enough friction between Anne and her boyfriend that you might have a chance.

Friend 1:  That's despicable. I couldn't do that to Anne.

by fair means or foul - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   61   click for frequency by country

by fair means or foul - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for by fair means or foul.

by fair means or foul - Examples:

1)  ... expressed the view that Louth were "cynical" but, by fair means or foul, they got the job done.

2)  ... plan was to render Chelsea's most creative player ineffective, by fair means or foul. It was going to be a bruising, painful encounter.

3)  By being prepared to get behind the wheel by fair means or foul, people hiring impersonators put everyone's lives at risk because neither we nor they ...

4)  ... alarmingly -- and, perhaps, the temptation to cut them by fair means or foul arises.

5)  What is important is to win at all costs, either by fair means or foul.

6)  In a society whose increasing hallmark is wealth and its accumulation by fair means or foul, selflessness of any sort is an all too rare quality.

7)  ... of seeking to gain control of the party "by fair means or foul" through a campaign of bullying and intimidation, and planning to deselect ...

8)  ... his enemies are busy scheming and plotting to bring him down by fair means or foul.

9)  ... when trainspotters would visit a railway shed by fair means or foul, and try to see every locomotive. 

10)  Destruction of Medicare by fair means or foul has been one of their fondest wishes since it was created.

11)  ... attempts to drive him from power would not prosper "by fair means or foul" in a political crisis gripping the oil-rich nation.

12)  ... to allow them to do it one way or another, by fair means or foul.

13)  All they were interested in was reaping a speedy bonanza by fair means or foul

14)  However people come to this country, whether by fair means or foul, whether facing removal or release, we must treat all people with equal dignity.

15)  ... but rather to ensure that unfettered elite accumulation, by fair means or foul, can proceed without hindrance.

16)  ... manufacture the arms/explosives/weaponry to sell to anyone willing to buy, by fair means or foul

17)  ... who are most definitely going to try and push their product by fair means or foul, especially onto the vulnerable -- the young and/or uninformed.

18)  Given the value to sellers of positive reviews, whether gained by fair means or foul, the ACCC will have its work cut out in dealing with the fakes.

19)  ... grabbing cheap assets and establishing privileged, often monopoly positions, by fair means or foul.

20)  ... of a ruthless monopoly that can't think beyond profit making by fair means or foul, it is easy to react by beating our breasts about corruption.