hill to die on

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Noun[edit]

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.

Usage notes[edit]

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?”.

See also[edit]