parting of the ways

Idioms & Phrases

parting of the ways

A point of divergence, especially an important one, as in When Jim decided to travel with the band and Jill wanted a more normal home life, they came to a parting of the ways. This term, which transfers a fork in a road to alternative courses of action, appears in the Bible (Ezekiel 21:21), where the king of Babylon must decide whether or not to attack Jerusalem: "[He] stood at the parting of the way." [c. 1600]

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