Late 19th century: from Rubicon.
1A stream in NE Italy which marked the ancient boundary between Italy and Cisalpine Gaul. Julius Caesar led his army across it into Italy in 49 bc, breaking the law forbidding a general to lead an army out of his province, and so committing himself to war against the Senate and Pompey. The ensuing civil war resulted in victory for Caesar after three years.
1.1 [as noun] A point of no return: on the way to political union we are now crossing the Rubicon
More example sentences
- There may have been a time in the world's history when such moments fully revealed their gravity, with witches prophesying on a blasted heath of visible Rubicons to be crossed.
- The head of research at a big-time doll maker informs us that a Rubicon has been passed: ‘Dolls are becoming less like toys,’ he says, ‘and more like miniature robots, digital companions.’
- However, kids cross a Rubicon at a certain age, when they want to do, not to watch, they want to control, not be controlled.
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