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Definition river in northern Italy that, in ancient times, was the boundary between Italy and Gaul


a metaphor for a line, that when crossed permits no return and typically results in irrevocable commitment (due to Caesar's having committed himself to war when he crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC)
  • I fear that such action will be viewed as crossing the Rubicon.
  • Today the administration crossed the Rubicon by announcing it's new policy to...
  • He never suspected that in so doing, he was crossing his Rubicon.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • Rubicon = a metaphor for a line, that when crossed permits no return
  • "Caesar broke the law when he crossed the Rubicon," Frank said.
    Rick Riordan  --  The House of Hades
  • The Rubicon, we know, was a very insignificant stream to look at; its significance lay entirely in certain invisible conditions.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • Mr. Botha had long talked about the need to cross the Rubicon, but he never did it himself until that morning at Tuynhuys.
    Nelson Mandela  --  Long Walk to Freedom
  • Such a request, had it been complied with a year ago, would have won the heart and soul of the Continent—but now it is too late, "The Rubicon is passed."
    Thomas Paine  --  Common Sense
  • What, in opposition to all the omens that declared against him, made Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon?
    Miguel de Cervantes  --  Don Quixote
  • Red Lake must be his Rubicon.
    Zane Grey  --  The Rainbow Trail
  • The great wars of Africa and Spain, the pirates of Sicily destroyed, civilization introduced into Gaul, into Britanny, into Germany,—all this glory covers the Rubicon.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • A pause — in which I began to steady the palsy of my nerves, and to feel that the Rubicon was passed; and that the trial, no longer to be shirked, must be firmly sustained.
    Charlotte Bronte  --  Jane Eyre
  • [6] Curio the Tribune, banished from Rome, fled to Caesar delaying to cross the Rubicon, and urged him on, with the argument, according to Lucan, "Tolle moras, semper nocuit differre paratis."
    Dante Alighieri  --  Dante's Inferno
  • Walking through the X-ray machine marked the first time I'd taken a step without oxygen in some months, and it felt pretty amazing to walk unencumbered like that, stepping across the Rubicon, the machine's silence acknowledging that I was, however briefly, a nonmetallicized creature.
    John Green  --  The Fault in Our Stars
  • Pockran also observes that a crisis is compounded of individuals and personalities, which are unique: It is as difficult to imagine Alexander at the Rubicon, and Eisenhower at Waterloo, as it is difficult to imagine Darwin writing to Roosevelt about the potential for an atomic bomb.
    Michael Crichton  --  The Andromeda Strain
  • Caesar, the violator of the Rubicon, conferring, as though they came from him, the dignities which emanated from the people, not rising at the entrance of the senate, committed the acts of a king and almost of a tyrant, regia ac pene tyrannica.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • His idea of Latin was Caesar subduing the Gauls and crossing the Rubicon, alea iacta est; and, after that, selections from Virgil's Aeneid — he was fond of the suicide of Dido — or from C)vid's Metamorphoses, the parts where unpleasant things were done by the gods to various young women.
    Margaret Atwood  --  The Blind Assassin

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