cross the rubicon

Idioms & Phrases

cross the Rubicon

Irrevocably commit to a course of action, make a fateful and final decision. For example, Once he submitted his resignation, he had crossed the Rubicon. This phrase alludes to Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon River (between Italy and Gaul) in 49 b.c., thereby starting a war against Pompey and the Roman Senate. Recounted in Plutarch's Lives: Julius Caesar (c. a.d. 110), the crossing gave rise to the figurative English usage by the early 1600s.

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