hill to die on

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An allusion to the military practice of capturing/holding a hill (high ground), no matter the cost or (lack of) benefit, as in the Battle of Hamburger Hill or Last Stand Hill. Usually used in the negative, as in "I strongly disagree with their decision, but it's not a hill I'm willing to die on", or as a question such as "If you do this, many people will get angry (at you). Do you really want to die on that hill?".


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hill to die on (plural hills to die on)

  1. (idiomatic) An issue to pursue with wholehearted conviction and/or single-minded focus, with little or no regard to the cost.
    • 2006, Cate Dermody, The Firebird Deception, Silhouette Books (2006), →ISBN, page 113:
      "I'm sorry, Alisha. I can't overrule the European director's decision to move you out of her arena. This isn't a hill to die on. []
    • 2009, Kevin Leman, Under the Sheets: The Secrets to Hot Sex in Your Marriage, Revell (2009), →ISBN, page 179:
      Is correct laundry folding really a hill to die on?
    • 2010, Deborah Smith Pegues & Ricky Temple, Why Smart People Make Dumb Choices, Harvest House Publishers (2010), →ISBN, page 49:
      Though I simply apologized and told him his ranting wasn't necessary. He made a bad decision. I made a good one. As livid as I was, I realized this situation was not a hill to die on.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:hill to die on.

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