All's fair in love and war  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

All's fair in love and war is a dictum which means that unpleasant behavior is acceptable during love and conflict.

The idea is perhaps first recorded in Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote (1604):

"Love and war are all one . . . It is lawful to use sleights and stratagems to . . . attain the wished end."

The exact phrasing that we know today is thought to be by Frank Smedley in his novel, Frank Fairlegh: Scenes from the Life of a Private Pupil:

"You opened the letter!" exclaimed I.
"In course I did; how was I to read it if I hadn't? All's fair in love and war, you know . . ."

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "All's fair in love and war" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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