meet one's waterloo

Cultural Dictionary

meet one's Waterloo definition


To encounter one's ultimate obstacle and to be defeated by it: “After beating dozens of challengers, the champion finally met his Waterloo.” From the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon Bonaparte was finally defeated.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

meet one's Waterloo

Suffer a major defeat, as in Our team's done well this season but is about to meet its Waterloo. This term alludes to Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815, marking the end of his military domination of Europe. It was being transferred to other kinds of defeat by the mid-1800s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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