Crossing the Rubicon

John T Jones, Ph.D.

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Did you ever wonder where a common phrase came from? Crossing the Rubicon is such a phrase. This is what it means today: You have taken a step too far. You are at great risk and you can’t go back.

Under ancient Roman law it was forbidden for any general to cross the Rubicon River and enter Italy proper with a standing army. That was treason.

The Rubicon wasn’t much of a river. It was a small stream but to cross over with an army was a dangerous step. Immediate civil war was the result.

In January 49 BC, Caesar crossed the tiny stream. This is what he said, “Let us go where the omens of the Gods and the crimes of our enemies summon us! THE DIE IS NOW CAST!” See:

Do you want to know more about the origin of phrases? Then go to:

Here are a few common phrases. Do you know what they mean?

A bee in your bonnet

A blast from the past

A dead ringer

Baptism of fire

Barking up the wrong tree

Bated breath

Chew the cud

Donkey's years

Excuse my French

Go and boil your head

Go to hell in a hand basket

Hell has no fury like a woman scorned

In a quandary

Just deserts

Kit and caboodle

Let the cat out of the bag

The real McCoy

No man is an island

Old lang syne

Paddle your own canoe

Peter out

Quid pro quo (tit for tat)

Read the riot act

Shake a leg

The ball is in your court

Up a blind alley

Walk the plank

Your name is mud (Mudd)

You know most of these phrases, right? To find the meaning or origins of these and other phrases, go to: Click on the letter in the alphabet index and scroll down to the phrase.

Have fun!

John T. Jones, Ph. D. (, a retired VP of R&D for Lenox China, is author of detective & western novels, nonfiction (business, scientific, engineering, humor), poetry, etc. Former editor of Ceramic Industry Magazine, Jones is Executive Representative of International Wealth Success. He calls himself “Taylor Jones, the hack writer. "

More info:

Business web site: (IWS wealth-success books and kits and business newsletters / TopFlight flagpoles)


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