Burning bridges


      • discourage someone
        Advise against engaging in a particular activity or task, cautioning that it will not result in any positive outcome or benefit

      • cutting off ties
        Refers to the act of severing connections with someone or a group, often in a way that is irreversible or damaging

    Examples of Burning bridges

    • After their heated argument, John stormed out of the meeting, slamming the door behind him. His coworkers could sense the tension, and they knew he had burned his bridges with the team.

      The phrase "burning bridges" is used to describe the act of causing irreparable damage to relationships or connections. In this example, John's outburst and abrupt departure from the meeting have left him isolated from his coworkers, cutting off any future possibilities for collaboration or teamwork.

    • Maya decided to take legal action against her former employer, confident that she had collected enough evidence to prove her case. However, as she prepared to file the lawsuit, she realized that she had burned her bridges with her former colleagues, jeopardizing any potential future job opportunities in the industry.

      Here, "burning bridges" refers to the idea of alienating or antagonizing people that could potentially help you in the future. Maya's decision to sue her former employer may have seemed like a smart move at the time, but her failure to maintain positive relationships with her former colleagues could hinder her professional advancement in the long run.

    • In a fit of anger, Lily accused her best friend of betraying her trust, despite having no concrete evidence to support her claim. Her friend was understandably hurt and upset by the accusation, and the two stopped speaking to each other. Days turned into weeks, and Lily began to realize the gravity of her actions. She had burned her bridges with her best friend, and she didn't know how to fix it.

      Here, "burning bridges" is used in a more personal context, describing the rupture of a close relationship due to a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Lily's accusation had caused a rift between her and her friend, and it would take more than just an apology to mend the damage that had been done.

    • After their breakup, Marcus deleted all of his ex-girlfriend's contacts from his phone and unfollowed her on social media. He felt a sense of satisfaction in knowing that he had burned all his bridges with her, and he was determined to move on with his life.

      In this example, "burning bridges" is used to refer to the idea of cutting off all contact with someone you have had a close relationship with. Marcus's decision to sever all ties with his ex-girlfriend may provide him with some temporary relief, but it could also lead to regret and missed opportunities in the future. The idiom suggests that burning bridges should be a cautious and considered decision, as it can have far-reaching consequences.

    • Sarah's ex-boyfriend said some hurtful things to her during their breakup, causing a rift between them. Sarah, angry and hurt, responded by burning all the letters and cards he had ever sent her. This action was seen as a symbolic "burning of bridges," as Sarah was effectively closing the door on any possibility of reconciliation between them.

      The phrase "burning bridges" is a figurative expression that means to deliberately destroy a relationship or end a connection with someone. It implies that the person is so angry or hurt that they no longer want anything to do with the other person, and are willing to destroy any chance of a future relationship between them. This idiom is often used when someone has been hurt by someone close to them and is willing to sever all ties, rather than remain connected in any way. The image of burning a bridge represents the finality and irreversibility of the action. Once the bridge is burned, it cannot easily be rebuilt, and both parties are left without a clear way to move forward. The use of the word "bridges" is significant because it suggests a physical structure that can be destroyed, which, in turn, highlights the fact that relationships are fragile and can be easily damaged. By using this idiom, Sarah was able to convey her intense emotions and make it clear that she was no longer willing to maintain any contact with her ex-boyfriend. It was a strong statement that left little room for misunderstanding, and it set the stage for their future interactions.


    The idiom "burning bridges" can be used to caution someone against a particular course of action, highlighting that it may not lead to positive results. It can also refer to the act of severing connections with others in a way that is detrimental or irreversible.

    Origin of "Burning bridges"

    The phrase "burning bridges" originates from the literal act of burning a bridge, which would prevent anyone from crossing it. In ancient warfare, burning bridges was a strategic move to cut off retreat or reinforcement for either side. In modern times, the idiom has evolved to symbolize the irreversible or damaging nature of severing connections with others. The figurative use of the phrase can be traced back to the mid-1800s, and it has since become a common expression in English language. The imagery of a burnt bridge effectively conveys the idea of irreparable damage to relationships or opportunities.