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Posted by ESC on November 17, 2005

In Reply to: HE WHO HESITATES IS LOST posted by Smokey Stover on November 17, 2005

: : I am an international student here in the USA and I would like to understand what the phrase "HE WHO HESITATES IS LOST" means.

: : Thank you in advance.

: : Aman

: What gives? Two of you? "He who hesitates is lost" is a pretty transparent expression. It means that if you react too slowly to situations, especially urgent ones, you'll die, get hit, lose a good opportunity, lose the girl, fail to make the grade. "Lost" is deliberately a bit vague. It does NOT mean here, unable to find one's way home.

"Swift and resolute action leads to success; self-doubt is a prelude to disaster. The proverb goes back to 'Cato' by English essayist and poet Joseph Addison. First attested in the United States in 'The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table' by Oliver Wendell Holmes..." From Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

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