burn one's bridges (behind one), to eliminate all possibilities of retreat; make one's decision irrevocable: She burned her bridges when she walked out angrily.

Origin of bridge

before 1000; Middle English brigge, Old English brycg; cognate with Dutch brug, German Brücke; akin to Old Norse bryggja pier
Related formsbridge·a·ble, adjectivebridge·less, adjectivebridge·like, adjectiveun·bridge·a·ble, adjectiveun·bridged, adjective

Synonyms for bridge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unbridgeable

Contemporary Examples of unbridgeable

Historical Examples of unbridgeable

  • Between Brangwen and Skrebensky there was an unbridgeable silence.

    The Rainbow

    D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

  • He has regarded the gulf as too unbridgeable; he has taken for granted too clean a sweep of earthly modes of thought.

  • He could not evoke, and never had the faintest desire to evoke, a Past that was divided from the Present by an unbridgeable chasm.


    J. A. Nicklin

  • So Duncan and I merely stood there staring at each other, for a moment or two, across an abysmal and unbridgeable gulf of silence.

    The Prairie Child

    Arthur Stringer

  • Single generations are sundered by unbridgeable mental and spiritual gulfs.

    The New World of Islam

    Lothrop Stoddard

British Dictionary definitions for unbridgeable



Frank . 1879–1941, English composer, esp of chamber music. He taught Benjamin Britten




a structure that spans and provides a passage over a road, railway, river, or some other obstacle
something that resembles this in shape or functionhis letters provided a bridge across the centuries
  1. the hard ridge at the upper part of the nose, formed by the underlying nasal bones
  2. any anatomical ridge or connecting structureCompare pons
the part of a pair of glasses that rests on the nose
Also called: bridgework a dental plate containing one or more artificial teeth that is secured to the surrounding natural teeth
a platform athwartships and above the rail, from which a ship is piloted and navigated
a piece of wood, usually fixed, supporting the strings of a violin, guitar, etc, and transmitting their vibrations to the sounding board
Also called: bridge passage a passage in a musical, literary, or dramatic work linking two or more important sections
Also called: bridge circuit electronics any of several networks, such as a Wheatstone bridge, consisting of two branches across which a measuring device is connected. The resistance, capacitance, etc, of one component can be determined from the known values of the others when the voltage in each branch is balanced
computing a device that connects networks and sends packets between them
billiards snooker
  1. a support for a cue made by placing the fingers on the table and raising the thumb
  2. a cue rest with a notched end for shots beyond normal reach
  1. a platform of adjustable height above or beside the stage for the use of stagehands, light operators, etc
  2. mainly Britisha part of the stage floor that can be raised or lowered
a partition in a furnace or boiler to keep the fuel in place
build bridges to promote reconciliation or cooperation between hostile groups or people
burn one's bridges See burn 1 (def. 19)
cross a bridge when one comes to it to deal with a problem only when it arises; not to anticipate difficulties

verb (tr)

to build or provide a bridge over something; spanto bridge a river
to connect or reduce the distance betweenlet us bridge our differences
Derived Formsbridgeable, adjectivebridgeless, adjective

Word Origin for bridge

Old English brycg; related to Old Norse bryggja gangway, Old Frisian bregge, Old High German brucka, Danish, Swedish bro




a card game for four players, based on whist, in which one hand (the dummy) is exposed and the trump suit decided by bidding between the playersSee also contract bridge, duplicate bridge, rubber bridge, auction bridge

Word Origin for bridge

C19: of uncertain origin, but compare Turkish bir-üç (unattested phrase) one-three (said perhaps to refer to the one exposed hand and the three players' hands)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for unbridgeable



"causeway over a ravine or river," Old English brycge, from Proto-Germanic *brugjo (cf. Old Saxon bruggia, Old Norse bryggja, Old Frisian brigge, Dutch brug, Old High German brucca, German Brücke), from PIE root *bhru "log, beam," hence "wooden causeway" (cf. Gaulish briva "bridge," Old Church Slavonic bruvuno "beam," Serbian brv "footbridge"). For vowel evolution, see bury. Meaning "bony upper part of the nose" is from early 15c.; of stringed instruments from late 14c.



card game, 1886 (perhaps as early as 1843), an alteration of biritch, but the source and meaning of that are obscure. "Probably of Levantine origin, since some form of the game appears to have been long known in the Near East" [OED]. One guess is that it represents Turkish *bir-üç "one-three," because one hand is exposed and three are concealed. The game also was known early as Russian whist (attested in English from 1839).



Old English brycgian "to bridge, make a causeway," from bridge (n.). Related: Bridged; bridging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

unbridgeable in Medicine




An anatomical structure resembling a bridge or span.
The upper part of the ridge of the nose formed by the nasal bones.
A fixed or removable replacement for one or several but not all of the natural teeth, usually anchored at each end to a natural tooth.
One of the threads of protoplasm that appears to pass from one cell to another.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

unbridgeable in Science



A structure spanning and providing passage over a gap or barrier, such as a river or roadway.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with unbridgeable


see burn one's bridges; cross that bridge when one comes to it; water over the dam (under the bridge).

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