discretion is the better part of valor

Cultural Dictionary

Discretion is the better part of valor definition


Caution is preferable to rash bravery. Said by Falstaff in King Henry the Fourth, Part One, by William Shakespeare.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms & Phrases

discretion is the better part of valor

It is better to be prudent than merely courageous, as in I'm signing up for the easy course first; discretion is the better part of valor. This proverb, a synonym of look before you leap, was first recorded in 1477. Charles Churchill put it in poetic form: "Even in a hero's heart, Discretion is the better part" (The Ghost, 1762). Shakespeare also used a form of it: "The better part of valor is discretion" (1 Henry IV, 5:4).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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