burn one's bridges

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Originally in military sense of intentionally cutting off one's own retreat (burning a bridge one has crossed) to commit oneself to a course of action, later used primarily to mean “alienate former friends”.

Pronunciation[edit]

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Verb[edit]

burn one's bridges (third-person singular simple present burns one's bridges, present participle burning one's bridges, simple past and past participle burned one's bridges or burnt one's bridges)

  1. (idiomatic) To destroy one's path, connections, reputation, opportunities, etc., particularly intentionally.
    Even if you are dismissed from a job in the worst way, take care not to burn your bridges with unseemly comments on the way out, since you never know who you will meet again.

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