It somewhere on the lines of "Even a dead clock is right twice a day". The proverb is sarcastic. I know it exists, I have just forgotten it. It describes:

  • Something that is abused or used not in a way that it was intended to and hence yields only a slightly positive result. The result is minimal compared to what could have been.
  • The proverb is something like "A soon to die man has no worries". Here one can say that a person who is dying doesn't have any worries. But that would be completely out of place because they are DYING.
  • The proverb is something like "Even a drowning man will have his throat wet" (Here having your throat wet is a desirable thing. Sorry, this is the best I can describe it. But I think it captures the essence of the proverb I am trying to find)
  • It encapsulates sacrificing or losing something precious and gaining something vain.

It is an ironic proverb.

  • 2
    Are you by any chance looking for "throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick"? Didn't write an answer since it doesn't seem to fully fit.
    – GoodDeeds
    Mar 14, 2020 at 23:54
  • Doing the right thing for the wrong reason? (Many actions have unexpected or unintended consequences.)
    – Xanne
    Mar 15, 2020 at 3:41
  • 1
    The nearest I can think of is "to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" which is a humorous/sarcastic reversal of "to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat". -- "to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat" refers to a heroic or timely action that changed what would have been certain defeat into a complete success."
    – Greybeard
    Mar 15, 2020 at 10:35
  • 1
    Not quite the same, but "Every cloud has a silver lining".
    – Barmar
    Mar 16, 2020 at 18:06
  • 4
    "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while" fits your title and your first bullet point, but not the last bullet point. Apr 19, 2020 at 17:49

3 Answers 3


You look as if you’ve lost a pound and found sixpence. (UK)

It covers the sacrificial or loss side of the question, reflects an inadequate compensation for the previous state, whilst reflecting that some compensation has been met.


‘Even a fool is right sometimes‘

It’s quote by Winston Churchill.



It’s Murphy’s Law, which (through its many corollaries and extensions) covers the good amongst the bad as well as the bad amongst the good.

This link is to the Wikipedia, but you can actually do better by googling “Murphy’s Law” and reading the posters that show up in the image results.


  • Murphy's Law deals with the seeming inevitability of problems or failure, and only forecasts the occurrence of bad things - I guess you're referring to the corollary Yhprum's Law which forecasts good things? Either way, I don't really see how this relates to the OP's scenario of occasionally getting a good result from a bad method. Murphy and its corollaries suggest that something will either always go right or will always go wrong. Jul 28, 2020 at 15:11

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