If there is a very important and irrecoverable moment which you have to make a vital decision, what do you call that moment in a single word?


There is "watershed moment" or "watershed decision", which means a turning point, after which everything (or lots of significant things) changed.


I'm afraid that I don't know the origin of this phrase (and have actually wondered about it before).

There is also "dilemma", which is less dramatic (and more common).

  • 1
    Watershed is a geographical term for the feature in the terrain which divides one water catchment from the next. Although the feature itself might be large, line the Pennine Hills for example, the actual line of division is extremely narrow, so used figuratively, there might be a huge build up to a moment of decision, but in the end, one step will take you over the line.
    – Spagirl
    May 31 '16 at 10:37

You may refer to it as a turning point:

  • The point at which a very significant change occurs; a decisive moment.

You can also try critical juncture defined by Wikipedia in the article path dependence as

In the critical juncture, antecedent conditions allowcontingent choices that set a specific trajectory of institutional development and consolidation that is difficult to reverse. 

Also see juncture at vocabulary.com where it says that the word has broadened in meaning to refer to an often urgent decision-making crossroads.


"(Be) at a crossroads" — TFD

at the point where a decision must be made.
"We are at a crossroads where we must choose between more talk and plain old hard work."

Related: Moment of truth, Zero hour


You may call that a point of no return.

n 1. a point at which an irreversible commitment must be made to an action, progression, etc - (Free Dictionary)

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