A naval leader of the Revolutionary War, known for his attacks on British ships off the coast of England. When a British commander asked him to surrender his badly crippled ship during a battle, he allegedly replied, “I have not yet begun to fight” — and compelled the British ship to surrender. Two days later, his own ship sank.
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.