Another new proverb

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 4 18:17:34 UTC 2011

Minor point--it was two that went in and two kept in reserve. A reserve
helicopter was used to replace the crashed one.


On Wed, May 4, 2011 at 10:57 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at>wrote:

> Former SEAL on CNN: "In the SEAL teams we say, 'Two is one; one is none.'"
> In other words, if you have only one, expect it to fail. That's why two
> helicopters went after Bin Laden. One failed.
> GB takes this back (probably) to 1994-95, almost unanimously in military
> contexts, and, indeed, especially among SEALs.  I've encountered it before,
> but only within the past four or five years.
> GB suggests that the phrase was originally part of a children's counting
> rhyme. I guess they lived in a high-crime area.
> JL

The American Dialect Society -

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