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He who hesitates is lost

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

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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.

Idioms and Phrases with he who hesitates is lost

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 expired—he 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.”

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.