Is this what 'No good deed goes unpunished' means?

No matter how good you are or how many good deeds you do (or favors you do) for someone, s/he will always find fault with (bitch about) them and will not be truly appreciative.

Could someone please cite an example of this idiom's usage, please?

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


Wiktionary says, of "no good deed goes unpunished":

Beneficial actions often go unappreciated or are met with outright hostility. If they are appreciated, they often lead to additional requests

It is Wikitionary's last interpretation that I am most familiar with. For example, suppose you send a generous check to a charity in which you have no interest because a relative of a good friend died. It is a charity that believes in sending "free gifts" to contributors who send them more than X dollars, which you did. They send you an object (so ghastly that you would be ashamed to donate it to a charity shop) as a token of their appreciation, plus they solicit you for further contributions for years afterward. No good deed goes unpunished.

This happens, really.

I'm not so familiar with the first definition, but suppose you are out for a walk, and see an empty plastic bottle (clearly tossed by a passing motorist) defacing someone's lawn. You go on their lawn to pick it up, and are accused of trespassing. No good deed goes unpunished.

  • 4
    Good answer. Love the plastic bottle on the lawn. I am most familiar with this term in the sense of the second example: someone comes forward and does a good job on a task that may or may not be part of their actual duties. Either way, because they did such a good job, they receive additional assignments. No good deed goes unpunished. I have a coworker who says this all the time. Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 4:13

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