Cross the Rubicon

  • The idiom cross the Rubicon has an ancient origin. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the expression cross the Rubicon, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


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    To cross the Rubicon means to make a decision or take a step that commits one to a specific course of action from which there is no turning back. The expression cross the Rubicon refers to a decision made by Julius Caesar. In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar was the governor of Gaul, which meant he had to give up his power in Rome. He was expressly forbidden by the Roman Senate to bring his troops back to Italy. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, a stream that separated Gaul from Rome, he sparked a civil war. When crossing the Rubicon, Caesar famously uttered, “The die is cast,” as he knew where this decision would inevitably take him. Note that Rubicon is capitalized as it is a proper noun, related phrases are crosses the Rubicon, crossed the Rubicon, crossing the Rubicon.



    Dr Gannon recently said: “Once you legislate this you cross the Rubicon.“ (The Sydney Morning Herald)

    An intervention in Maldives would signify that India is willing to cross the Rubicon, finally, and act shoulder-to-shoulder as America’s ally in Asia. (The Asia Times)

    Students find creative release for students comes in the shape of the school’s AV* and drama clubs, inspiring Kate and Luke to make a heartfelt film about crossing the Rubicon from carefree adolescence to, supposedly, responsible adulthood. (The Eastern Daily Press)


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