One if by land, and two if by sea

Cultural Dictionary

One if by land, and two if by sea definition


The words used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem “Paul Revere's Ride” to describe the signal used to guide the “midnight ride of Paul Revere” at the start of the Revolutionary War. Revere had ordered two lanterns to be placed in a Boston church tower to warn his confederates that the British were on the move. Longfellow embellished the story a little.

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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