fall on one's sword

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May refer to the Japanese practice of seppuku.


fall on one's sword

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: To commit suicide by allowing one’s body to drop onto the point of one's sword.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) To resign from a job or other position of responsibility, especially when pressured to do so.
  3. (idiomatic) To voluntarily take the blame for a situation.
    • 1987, Ed Magnuson, "The "Fall Guy" Fights Back," Time, 20 Jul.:
      The bemedaled Marine refused to fall on his sword and take full blame for the scandal.
    • 1996, Chip R. Bell, Managers as mentors: building partnerships for learning, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, →ISBN, page 81:
      Humility does not require you to fall on your sword.
    • 2006, L. Woellert and P. Burrows, "HP's Showdown: Hurd vs. Dunn," BusinessWeek, 28 Sep.:
      In written testimony given to Congress and made public the day before the hearing, Hurd falls on his sword, apologizing for HP's spying on its own directors and invading the privacy of journalists.