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ides of March, Beware the

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A warning Julius Caesar receives from a fortuneteller in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. Later in the play, he is assassinated on the ides of March (March 15).

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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.

MORE ABOUT BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH

What does beware the ides of March mean?

Beware the ides of March is a warning to watch out for betrayal or misfortune. It’s often used in political contexts.

The term ides of March refers to March 15—the day on which Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 b.c.e. For this reason, it has become associated with bad omens, betrayal, and misfortune. (In the context of the ancient Roman calendar, the word ides refers to the 15th day of March, May, July, or October, and to the 13th day of the other months.)

Example: He should beware the ides of March—I have a feeling his own party will betray him soon.

Where does beware the ides of March come from?

The expression beware the ides of March was popularized as a line from William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. In the play, the line is spoken to Caesar by a soothsayer as a warning of his coming assassination.

A related expression popularized by the same play is Et tu, Brute? The line (which essentially translates as You, too, Brutus?) is spoken by Caesar to his (former) friend Brutus, whom he recognizes among his many assassins.

Both expressions are now commonly used in the context of betrayal. Beware the ides of March has become particularly associated with political contexts, but it can also be used more generally in reference to other potential misfortune.

What are some words that often get used in discussing beware the ides of March?

How is beware the ides of March used in real life?

Beware the ides of March is often used as a warning, especially in political contexts.

 

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The expression beware the ides of March was popularized by William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar.

How to use ides of March, Beware the in a sentence

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