Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes


Don't react to a situation too early. This saying comes from an order allegedly given by American officer William Prescott at the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolutionary War.

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Cultural definitions for Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes (2 of 2)

Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes

A famous command attributed to William Prescott, an American officer, at the Battle of Bunker Hill in the Revolutionary War. Prescott may have said “color” rather than “whites.”

notes for Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes

Prescott's command has become a proverb, meaning “Don't act before you have some chance of success.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.