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Rubicon Definition

Rubicon name

Ru·bi·con   n.

A limit that when passed or exceeded permits of no return and typically results in irrevocable commitment.

[Latin RubicaltRubicaltn-, Rubicon, a short river of north-central Italy, the crossing of which by Julius Caesar and his army in 49 B.C. began a civil war.]

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


\Ru"bi*con\, n. (Anc. geog.) A small river which separated Italy from Cisalpine Gaul, the province alloted to Julius C[ae]sar.

Note: By leading an army across this river, contrary to the prohibition of the civil government at Rome, C[ae]sar precipitated the civil war which resulted in the death of Pompey and the overthrow of the senate; hence, the phrase to pass or cross the Rubicon signifies to take the decisive step by which one is committed to a hazardous enterprise from which there is no retreat.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

Rubiconn 1: the boundary in ancient times between Italy and Gaul; Caesar's crossing it with his army in 49 BC was an act of war [syn: Rubicon] 2: a line that when crossed permits of no return and typically results in irrevocable commitment [syn: Rubicon, point of no return]

Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

This page last updated: 15-Apr-2008

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