burn (one's) boats

(redirected from burn his boats)

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

burn one's bridges/boats, to

To commit oneself to an irreversible course of action, without possibility of backing down. The expression comes from ancient military history, when soldiers crossing a river literally burned the bridge or boats they had used in order to cut off the possibility of retreat. A cliché by the nineteenth century, the expression has invited a number of humorous twists, such as “Never burn your bridges till you come to them” (Stanley Walker, 1941). See also cross the Rubicon.
See also: bridge, burn, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
He said he felt more for me than he's ever felt for anyone else, that if he ever settled down, it would be with me but he didn't want to "burn his boats" like a couple of his mates.
Renton screws over his mates precisely in order to burn his boats; he can never return to Edinburgh for fear of Begbie's retribution.