From the phrase cross the Rubicon (“to make an irreversible decision or to take an action with consequences”). Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon, a small river in northeastern Italy, on 10 January 49 B.C.E., indicated his intention to start a civil war with Pompey. Rubicon is derived from Latin Rubicō, Rubicōn (“the Rubicon”), possibly from rubeus (“red, reddish”), from rubeō (“to be red”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rewdʰ- (“red”), an allusion to the colour of the river caused by mud deposits.
The verb is derived from the noun.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɹuːbɪkɒn/, /-k(ə)n/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɹubəˌkɑn/
Audio (AU) (file)
- Hyphenation: ru‧bi‧con
rubicon (plural rubicons)
- A limit that when exceeded, or an action that when taken, cannot be reversed.
- Synonym: point of no return
- (card games) Especially in bezique and piquet: a score which, if not achieved by a losing player, increases the player's penalty.
- (transitive, card games) Especially in bezique and piquet: to defeat a player who has not achieved the rubicon.