"Don't hesitate for long"

November 30, 2023

"Don't hesitate too long!"

The phrase "don't delay" is a linguistic expression that encourages you to tackle something quickly and without delay. But where could this saying have originated? Here are some possible explanations that we have also come up with:


One theory is that the expression goes back to earlier times when fires were still traditionally lit by rubbing wood together. If you were in a hurry and wanted to light the fire quickly, you were "not allowed to torch for long".

Another possible derivation is the medieval word "vackelen", which meant something like "to burn brightly". As fire is known to flicker and flicker, "vackeln" could also mean that something wobbles back and forth.

Perhaps the phrase is simply meant to express that you don't have time for long, indecisive deliberation. When a task is pending, clear and determined action is required - without long "faffing about".


Be that as it may, the exact origin lies in the shadows of history. The meaning is clear: if something needs to be done, you should not hesitate, but tackle it energetically.

Do you have any other funny sayings you'd like us to get to the bottom of? Let us know and we'll do our best to track down their origins (or at least some exciting approaches).