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the die is cast

Meaning: We can say the die is cast after a decision has been made that will strongly affect a situation, and it can't be reversed.

For example:

  • As soon as he pulled out his gun, the die was cast and he was sure to be killed by the police.

  • Bill knew the die was cast the first time he took the drug. He was going to be an addict.

Origin: Probably metaphorical, from the fact that when a die (singular form of "dice") is cast (or thrown) during a board game, the resulting move on the board cannot be reversed.

Quick Quiz:

The die was cast the moment the band signed a contract with EMI. They were
  1. going to a meeting
  2. going to be famous
  3. going to be businessmen

Discuss: the die is cast

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