Meaning of burn one's bridges in English:

burn one's bridges

(British burn one's boats)


  • Do something which makes it impossible to return to an earlier state.

    ‘The young Culpeper had irrevocably burnt his bridges as far as returning to Cambridge and completing his training to be a Minister was concerned; the study of medicine was likewise denied to him.’
    • ‘Stabbing me right then was the thought that we had burnt our boats on this quest to return to my roots (my great-grandfather had left Italy for England at the height of the industrial revolution) after 25 years of London life.’
    • ‘A move to Coventry during the 1995-96 season fell flat for Jess, leading to a return back to Aberdeen before ‘burning his bridges’ with his outspoken comments last year.’
    • ‘So I've officially burnt my bridges with old/non-compatible browsers now… a minute's silence please…’
    • ‘A with-profits annuity is one way of buying a pension without completely burning your boats.’
    • ‘I'm thankful I could do that without burning my bridges at Rangers and everyone, from the chairman to the coaches, was honest and straight with me throughout my move.’
    • ‘We're absolutely appalled; these people have burned their bridges with us for good.’
    • ‘There, we found all trains were terminating at Skipton and having burned our boats behind us so to speak we took a chance.’
    • ‘However, until you are sure, it is best not to burn your boats.’
    • ‘They weren't stupid enough to burn their bridges so kept me involved in the album, which I am eternally grateful for because it paid for my studio.’