Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die

Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die is a proverb. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase that may be a famous quote, an inspirational quote, an epigram, or the topic of a parable. These common sayings are language tools or figures of speech that particularly give advice or share a universal truth, or impart wisdom. Synonyms for proverb include adage, aphorism, sayings, and byword, which can also be someone or something that is the best example of a group. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the written or spoken proverb himself because these common phrases and popular sayings are so well known. Certain phrases may be a metaphor or a quotation; but if it is a proverb, it is often-used and has a figurative meaning. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these pithy sayings as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are the wise sayings better late than never; early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise; an apple a day keeps the doctor away; don’t cry over spilt milk; actions speak louder than words; haste makes waste, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth; and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. One of the books of the Bible is the Book of Proverbs, which contains words and phrases that are still often quoted in the English language because they are wise. Many current proverbs are quotations taken from literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the Bible and other sacred writings. We will examine the meaning of the proverb ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die, where the expression came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die is a proverb that means it is not the speaker’s place to question an order, process, more, or situation; it is the speaker’s place to simply cooperate. Often, only the first part of the expression is rendered, ours is not to reason why, with the listener expected to be so familiar with the sentiment that he can mentally supply the rest. The phrase ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die is a slightly altered version of lines written by Lord Alfred Tennyson in his 1854 poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, about a failed British military action: “Theirs not to make reply / Theirs not to reason why / Theirs but to do and die.”


But the generation before us had been brought up to toe the line: “Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die.” (Prospect Magazine)

And he added cheekily: “I do wonder why Bill Gates wants to chip poor old Doris from Offerton, but ours is not to reason why I suppose.” (Birmingham Mail)

Ours is not to reason why, but it does seem like a low turnout for the biggest album from one of pop’s biggest artists. (Variety)

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