burn (one's) boats

(redirected from burn their 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

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 periodicals archive ?
While fiercely guarding their editorial independence, there were some instances where editors were compelled to make some compromises with the management in order for them not to burn their boats. I remember one occasion when Benazir Bhutto returned home upon ending her two-year-long forced exile in 1986.
Allegedly, Tariq ordered his troops to burn their boats the moment they landed on the shores of Spain to prevent any notion of going back on their plan.
But he reckons individuals will severely burn their boats with the Scots public if they play.
As a result, one of the world's richest fishing grounds is currently an ecological disaster zone and our fishermen have been ordered to burn their boats. His actions were in direct contravention of our constitution and as such, he was, and will remain a traitor to his country.
It may be well to consider what Dietrich Bonhoeffer had to say, speaking about this passage and the response of a disciple: "They must burn their boats and plunge into absolute insecurity in order to learn the demand and the gift of Christ" (Cost of Discipleship [Macmillan, 1979], 68).