Also found in: Thesaurus.
These adjectives mean determining an outcome or settling an issue with finality: the decisive vote; a conclusive reason; a critical experiment; a crucial moment; a definitive verdict; the determinative battle.
burn one’s bridges To cut one-self off from all possible means of retreat, literal or figurative; to make an irrevocable statement or decision from which one cannot withdraw without considerable embarrassment, humiliation, or disgrace; also burn one’s boats or ships. This expression, in figurative use since the late 1800s, is said to have come from the military practice of burning the troop ships upon landing on foreign soil in order to impress upon the soldiers the fact that only a victorious campaign would ensure them a safe return to their own country.
cross the Rubicon To take a decisive, irrevocable step, especially at the start of an undertaking or project; also pass the Rubicon. This expression, which dates from 1626, refers to the decision of Julius Caesar in 49 B.C. to march with his army across the Rubicon, the ancient name of a small stream in northern Italy forming part of the boundary with Cisalpine Gaul. The decision was tantamount to declaring war, since there was a law forbidding a Roman general to cross the stream with armed soldiers. Caesar’s crossing did in fact mark the beginning of the war with Pompey. Another phrase with a similar meaning is the die is cast (Latin alea jacta est)—the words said to have been uttered by Caesar during the crossing.
fish or cut bait A request or demand that someone take definitive action, resolve a situation, or make a choice. The implication here is that one cannot both fish and cut bait at the same time, and, if he is not going to fish, he should step aside and give someone else a chance while he cuts bait. A similar common expression is shape up or ship out.
flat-footed See CANDIDNESS.
leave the door open To decide not to commit one-self or to limit one’s options. Figurative use of door is as old as the literal. This particular expression dates from at least 1863.
Which left open a door to future negotiation. (Alexander W. Kinglake, The Invasion of the Crimea, 1863)
put one’s foot down To take a firm stand; to decisively embrace a point of view. The stance assumed by literally putting one’s foot down reflects a mental attitude of determination and will power. Such decisiveness is often the response to having been pushed to the limits of endurance or patience.
put your money where your mouth is To back up one’s words with action; to support one’s assertions by willingness to risk monetary loss. This expression, perhaps of gambling origin, implies that certain statements are worthless unless the assertor is willing to reinforce them with a cash bet. The expression is now in wide use throughout the United States and Great Britain.
The squadron betting book the barman keeps … for guys who are ready to put their money where their mouth is. (A. Price, Our Man in Camelot, 1975)
take the plunge To make an important and often irrevocable decision despite misgivings; to choose to act, usually after much deliberation or a bout of indecision. The allusion is to a swimmer who dives into the water, in spite of doubts or fear.
|Noun||1.||decisiveness - the trait of resoluteness as evidenced by firmness of character or purpose; "a man of unusual decisiveness"|
firmness of purpose, resoluteness, resolve, firmness, resolution - the trait of being resolute; "his resoluteness carried him through the battle"; "it was his unshakeable resolution to finish the work"
|2.||decisiveness - the quality of being final or definitely settled; "the finality of death"|