The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-23-2011, 06:47 AM
sab128 sab128 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
'You may have won the battle, but you haven't won the war'

Hey guys,

You hear this phrase in dozens of movies and TV shows, as well as in everyday use.
Does anyone actually know where it comes from? My hunch is that it probably comes from a movie as opposed to some heroic ancient general, but my mind is open.

So, any ideas?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 05-23-2011, 07:08 AM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Someone said something similar, and it was recorded, by Plutarch, regarding a Pyrrhic victory, which happened around 200 BC, check the wikipedia reference 3.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrhic_victory

If you're looking for a cool movie reference, you'll have to search deeper, but it is a pretty trite phrase -- people argue, get in over their head, and succeed only by wasting resources. The first person to say it was probably a Cro-magnon to a Neanderthal, banging a rock against a rock.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-23-2011, 07:08 AM
Michael of Lucan Michael of Lucan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
There is a well-known saying to the effect that "the Romans lost battles: they never lost wars". There are other variants of this quotation.

I suspect that this is the reference you are looking for
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-23-2011, 11:20 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
It just means that a war involves many battles, and after winning one battle there are going to be others before the war is won.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-24-2011, 07:19 AM
samjones samjones is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by rowrrbazzle View Post
It just means that a war involves many battles, and after winning one battle there are going to be others before the war is won.
Or "we won all the battles but lost the war" means that one side had military expertise and might but lacked the resources and/or support back home to carry on a sustained conflict.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:31 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.