you don’t get something for nothing

you don’t get something for nothing
A variant of this, originally from the north country, runs you don’t get owt [anything] for nowt [nothing]. Cf. 1845 DISRAELI Sybil I. I. v. To do nothing and get something formed a boy’s ideal of a manly career.

1870 P. T. BARNUM Struggles & Triumphs viii. When people expect to get ‘something for nothing’ they are sure to be cheated.

1947 M. PENN Manchester Fourteen Miles xiii. No stranger, she declared emphatically, ever sent to another stranger ‘summat for nowt’. It would..be against nature.

1952 F. PRATT Double Jeopardy i. You don’t get something for nothing, even in medicine. Perizone has a peculiar secondary effect. It releases all inhibitions.

1979 Guardian 18 June 10 Stravinsky and Auden..[are] saying ‘You don’t get something for nothing.’ If you want the lovely things..you can’t have them unless you’re prepared to pay for them.

1979 Church Times 29 June 13 You don’t get owt for nowt.


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