burn (one's) boats

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burn (one's) boats

To do something that cannot be easily undone or reversed in the future. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I think you burned your boats when you announced you were quitting and proceeded to insult your boss in front of the whole staff. She's young, so I don't think she realizes that she'll be burning her boats if she goes to work for their competitor.
See also: boat, burn

burn your boats (or bridges)

commit yourself irrevocably.
In a military campaign, burning your boats or bridges would make escape or retreat impossible.
See also: boat, burn
References in classic literature ?
He had the feeling that to-night he had burned his boats.
It is certain that he won't be recommended for the House of Lords as he has burned his boats for any high position connected to this government.
If Read has burned his boats - or had them set alight by others who should know better - there is only one contender, James Foster of Essex who has been ignored yet again.
Make no mistake, Webster has burned his boats and the only direction left for him to take at the club is out the front door.
But the change meant he was no longer part of Frank Warren's promotional plans and last September, when he pulled out at short notice from a challenge to WBF champion Steve Roberts, he burned his boats with the Matchroom organisation as well.
General Monk (18 guns) in Delaware Bay (April 8, 1782); retired from the Navy (November 1784) and engaged in several business ventures; one of six captains in the new Navy (June 28, 1794), but resigned shortly after; served in French navy (1796-1802) and then returned to private business; returned to duty in the War of 1812 as a commodore, he equipped and commanded a gunboat flotilla in Chesapeake Bay, operating against British squadrons in the area (1813-1814); burned his boats during the British advance on Washington, D.
He said: 'Cameron has burned his boats with the national team by supporting that thug Ganea.
Unlike Julian Clary, who burned his boats a few years back with a remark about what Norman Lamont was getting up to back stage.
TV IMPRESSIONIST Rory Bremner may have burned his boats with his old pal Prince Charles after screening some very rude remarks about Camilla Parker Bowles in his show on Sunday night.
The majority, it appears, believe the Yugoslav international has burned his boats with the club and would rather see Julian Joachim recalled to partner Collymore if Yorke is declared unfit.
One of them had burned his boats when he turned down a really good offer here at Christmas and the other wasn't guaranteed a starting place because he'd be in competition with Keigan .
Many will see Brown's attack as sour grapes after losing two players but he said: "One of them burned his boats when he turned down a really good offer here at Christmas and the other wasn't guaranteed a starting place because he would be in competition with Keigan Parker for the jersey.
Birtwistle might be a bit nearer the frame (critic Andrew Clements sees him as "the most individual voice to emerge in British music since Sir Michael Tippett"), but public horror at his Last Night of the Proms commission Panic a couple of years ago has probably burned his boats.
He knows that if he appeals to the full council of the IRB in September and loses, he will have burned his boats with Australia and will never be eligible to play for Wales.