Delay always breeds danger

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New Member
Hi all,

I am not a native speaker and I have trouble in understanding the underlying meaning of the quote:

"Delay always breeds danger; and to protract a great design is often to ruin it."

I understand the first part, but the second remains mysterious to me.

Thanks for the help :)

  • NutsKo

    New Member
    Miguel De Cervantes (1547–1616), Spanish writer. Don Quixote, in Don Quixote, pt. 1, bk. 4, ch. 2, trans by P. Motteux (1605).


    Senior Member
    English - England
    The English is somewhat old-fashioned but still comprehensible

    To protract = to stretch out (over distance or time); to take longer (usually 'much longer') than necessary implementing something.

    So to protract a great design is often to ruin it." = to take longer than necessary to put an idea into action often causes that idea to fail / to be ruined.

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Okay, thanks. Well in this case 'to protract' would mean to draw out or to prolong (which is not quote the same as delay, but close).
    So he's saying 'he who hesitates is lost'. (Cross-posted)


    Senior Member
    English - British
    to protract a great design is often to ruin it.
    1. prolong in time

    6. of significant importance or consequence
    9. arising from or possessing idealism in thought, action, etc; heroic:

    5.a plan, scheme, or project

    If you draw out a large-scale project over a long time, then in many cases that will ruin it.
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