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