burn that bridge when one comes to it

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A mixed metaphor combining cross that bridge when one comes to it and burn one's bridges.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Verb[edit]

burn that bridge when one comes to it (third-person singular simple present burns that bridge when one comes to it, present participle burning that bridge when one comes to it, simple past and past participle burned that bridge when one came to it or burnt that bridge when one came to it)

  1. (idiomatic) To anticipate dealing with a problem or situation by acting in a manner that alienates or cuts ties with others.
    • 1941, Frank Leslie, et al, eds., The American Magazine, Vol. 132, p. 44:
      That takes care of Kay. As for the man, I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.
    • 1950, David Albert Davidson, In Another Country, p. 204:
      ...when the time came in making the inevitable break. Well — he'd burn that bridge when he came to it.
    • 1999, Andre Norton, Rosemary Edghill, The Shadow of Albion, p. 168:
      Tonight the happy couple were to sleep at Dyer House, as generations of Dukes and their Duchesses had before them, but — as Wessex's partner often said — they would burn that bridge when they came to it.
    • 2010, Jessica Beck, Fatally Frosted: A Donut Shop Mystery, p. 62:
      “We can't do anything about that now. Emma, we'll burn that bridge when we come to it, okay?”
    • 2015, Lawrence Block, Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf, p. 110:
      Clients often whistled a different tune at a later date, but one could burn that bridge when one came to it.

See also[edit]