cross the Rubicon

[ (rooh-bi-kon) ]

To make an irrevocable decision; it comes from the name of the river Julius Caesar crossed with his army, thereby starting a civil war in Rome. (See Rubicon.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with cross the Rubicon

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® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.