Burn bridges


      • end a relationship or connection
        To intentionally sever ties with someone or something, often due to a disagreement or falling out, making it impossible to return to the previous state of the relationship

      • limit options or opportunities
        To take a course of action that eliminates future possibilities or choices, such as leaving a job or declining an offer, often without considering the potential consequences

    Examples of Burn bridges

    • After the disagreement, Jane decided to burn bridges with her former boss.

      This idiom means to completely cut off a relationship or communication with someone, as if destroying a bridge that connects two places. In this example, Jane is making it clear that she no longer wants any contact with her former boss.

    • The company's decision to burn bridges with their major supplier has caused a lot of problems for their operations.

      This example shows that burning bridges can have negative consequences, as it can lead to difficulties and issues in other areas. In this case, the company's decision to cut off communication with their supplier has caused problems for their operations.

    • Some people believe that burning bridges is a sign of weakness, as it shows that one is unable to handle disagreements or conflicts.

      This example demonstrates that burning bridges is not always the best course of action, as it can be seen as a sign of weakness or inability to resolve conflicts.

    • However, in some cases, burning bridges may be necessary to protect one's own interests or well-being.

      This example shows that burning bridges is not always a negative thing, as it can be necessary in certain situations to protect one's own interests or well-being.

    • In business, it's important to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of burning bridges before making a decision.

      This example highlights the importance of considering the potential consequences of burning bridges in a business context, as it can have both positive and negative effects.


    The idiom "burn bridges" is commonly used to describe the act of cutting off connections or destroying relationships with someone or something. It can be used in a literal sense, such as setting fire to a physical bridge, or in a figurative sense, as a metaphor for ending a relationship.

    In the first meaning, the intention is to discourage someone from maintaining a relationship or connection. This can be seen as a form of punishment or a way to express anger or frustration towards someone. It can also be a way to protect oneself from further harm or disappointment.

    In the second meaning, the intention is to limit options or opportunities. By burning bridges, one is closing off potential paths or choices for the future. This can be seen as a risky move, as it may limit one's ability to go back or change their mind.

    Origin of "Burn bridges"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to ancient times when armies would burn bridges after crossing them to prevent enemies from following them. This strategy also ensured that there was no turning back, forcing the soldiers to continue forward. Over time, the phrase evolved to be used in a broader sense, symbolizing the permanent severing of ties or connections.

    In modern times, the idiom is often used in a business or personal context, where ending relationships or cutting off connections can have significant consequences. It is a cautionary phrase, warning against rash decisions and encouraging individuals to carefully consider the potential implications of their actions. Overall, the idiom "burn bridges" serves as a reminder that once a bridge is burned, it is nearly impossible to rebuild.