he who hesitates is lost

Cultural Dictionary

He who hesitates is lost definition


A person who spends too much time deliberating about what to do loses the chance to act altogether.

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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

he who hesitates is lost

One who cannot come to a decision will suffer for it, as in I couldn't make up my mind, and now the offer has expiredhe who hesitates is lost. Although the idea is undoubtedly older, the present wording is a misquotation or an adaptation from Joseph Addison's play Cato (1712): "The woman that deliberates is lost."

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