Why do we say "The die is cast.

Well-Known Expressions

The die is cast

Meaning:

The decision is made, it's too late to change, you've past the point of no return.

Background:

According to the Greek historian Plutarch (c 46-120 AD) in his Life of Caesar, and in the writings of Suetonius, when Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon in 49 BC (thus declaring civil war against the Roman government) he uttered the words jacta alea est (or alea jacta est) which translate as "the die is cast" (die, obviously, being the singular of dice).

Crossing the Rubicon, another popular idiom, has a similar meaning.  The Rubicon, a river in the north of Italy, marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul (meaning "Gaul on this side of the Alps") to the north and the Italian republic to the south.  Roman law prohibited its generals crossing the river with an army so as to protect the Republic from internal military threat. Thus, when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon he broke the law and effectively declared war, making armed conflict inevitable.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Ghachar Ghochar
    by Vivek Shanbhag
    The Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) that has dominated economic news headlines over the past decade is the...
  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

It is among the commonplaces of education that we often first cut off the living root and then try to replace its ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -