What Does No News Is Good News Mean?

No News is Good News Meaning

Definition: If you don’t hear that something bad has happened, it is probably because nothing bad has happened.

Origin of No News is Good News

This expression may have originated with King James I of England, who said No news is better than evil news in the year 1616.

Examples of No News is Good News

Is no news good news In the dialogue below, two men use the idiom after they accidentally broke a neighbor’s window.

Robert: Has your neighbor said anything about his broken window?

Marty: No, not yet. I don’t think he knows it was us that broke it.

Robert: I can’t believe we did that. That is the kind of mistake a stupid child would make, not two grown men. Anyway, what if he called the police?

Marty: I’m sure he didn’t do that. Think about it. No news is good news. If we haven’t heard anything about the window by now, we won’t ever.

Robert: You’re probably right, but I can’t take this guilt. We should just confess and offer to pay for it.

No news good newsThe second dialogue shows two students who are waiting for the doctor to call one of them with test results.

Josh: I’m really nervous about hearing my test results. Why do you think the doctor hasn’t called me back yet? Do you think it’s because I’m dying and she doesn’t want to tell me?

Jeff: Not at all. In fact, I think it’s the opposite.

Josh: What do you mean?

Jeff: I think that no news is good news. If it were something serious, she would have called you right away, first thing in the morning. That way you could get started on your treatment immediately. I think she’ll call you later, whenever she has time, since it’s nothing serious.

Josh: I hope you’re right.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about how to stay healthy. A doctor didn’t call his patient back with test results, which almost caused this patient to die.

  • Many patients, fearful of being thought a pest, assume that a doctor will inform them of test results or return their calls. That’s supposed to happen, but in reality medical offices are busy, sometimes disorganized, places. It is never safe to assume that no news is good news if you’re waiting for test results or that someone will call you back, as Brad Chesivoir discovered. –Denver Post

This excerpt is about DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which aims to help stop deportation for immigrants who entered the US illegally as children.

  • “I think in respect to deferred action, at this moment in time no news is good news because it’s not being touched,” he said. “But people want to know what President Trump is going to do with it. Is it going to get removed? Is it being delayed? Is it going to be removed in steps and what does that look like?” –OC Register

Summary

The phrase no news is good news is something people say when they are worried about something to make them feel better.

People usually only report bad things in news, not normal things. Therefore, if you don’t hear that something bad happened, it must mean that everything is going well, and as expected.