One word for Point of No Return? I thought Anti, or Ante was the Ancent Greek one word for it, but I couldn't confirm. Please advise?

  • @JonMarkPerry Do you remember how many alphabets the word you have in mind had? I'll find it, else it'll bother me for days.
    – vickyace
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 23:50
  • Similar to (but not the same as) english.stackexchange.com/q/371733/9368
    – GEdgar
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 0:40
  • 1
    @vickyace - alphabets? English uses only one. :-)
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 1:26
  • @Jim oops. Guilty.
    – vickyace
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 1:28
  • 2
    Now I have Kansas playing in my head...
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 4:26

7 Answers 7


See Rubicon, defined by Oxford dictionary as

Point of no return.

But this term isn't that common. You may wanna use climacteric, critical point, etc. for different situations.

  • 6
    To elaborate here somewhat, Rubicon: the muddy stream that Julius Caesar crossed with his army, violating Roman law.
    – Nick T
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 5:06
  • 2
    @Nick T: after that event, and on the subsequent sacks of the eternal city a general was committed to lay siege on Rome, when crossing the Rubicon. That is actually a great single word for the concept, even better than zenith which would have been my first choice
    – hlecuanda
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 7:59
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    Nice try, but no. Only had that meaning if you cross or.
    – David
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 20:42

point of no return is a precise phrase with an arresting meaning: It

. . . comes from aviation, where it signifies the point where an aircraft does not have enough fuel to return to the starting point. [c. 1940 ] The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary

You might consider crossroad or crossroads as a single word--one definition being:

A point at which a vital decision must be made. (source - dictionary.com)

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    With all due respect, isn't your first suggestion the phrase he wants to replace in the first place.
    – vickyace
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 23:52
  • @vickyace Yes, it is--I thought it worthwhile to nail down its source. BTW what am I doing wrong in the sources? I don't want to cause you to need to edit.
    – Xanne
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 0:17
  • You haven't done anything wrong. Mentioning the source is preferred. It is just better if a link to the definition is provided in the answer itself (it helps for quick reference). But of course, you can always roll back on the edit and do it yourself.
    – vickyace
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 0:21
  • I just visited your answers and saw that you didn't use the link attachment in most of it. FYI, it is the button that looks like a link in the chain, third from left of the screen when you're posting answers.
    – vickyace
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 0:28

How about brink? From Merriam-Webster:

  1. edge, especially the edge at the top of a steep place
  2. a bank, especially of a river
  3. the point of onset, e.g. on the brink of war
  4. the threshold of danger

event horizon.
1 A notional boundary around a black hole beyond which no light or other radiation can escape.
Example sentences.
1.1 A point of no return.
‘we're nearing the event horizon of the presidential election’.
- OD

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    Point of no return - you can't get all the way back. Event horizon - you can't get even part of the way back.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 1:33

Climax (MWD)

a: the highest point: culmination the climax of a distinguished career
b: the point of highest dramatic tension or a major turning point in the action

  • But you're implying that there is a return.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 0:29

Would that be, perchance




  1. The time at which something is most powerful or successful. "Under Justinian, the Byzantine Empire reached its zenith of influence" synonyms: highest point, high point, crowning point, height, top, acme, peak, pinnacle, apex, apogee, crown, crest, summit, climax, culmination, prime, meridian "at the zenith of his power"
  2. The point in the sky or celestial sphere directly above an observer.

It is etymologically a medieval Latin word:

... late 14c., from Old French cenith (Modern French zénith), from Medieval Latin cenit, senit, bungled scribal transliterations of Arabic samt "road, path,"...

  • Once you reach the zenith you're only going to come back down.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 21:44

It hasn’t entered common usage yet, but in a few years the word you are looking for will be:


Example of expected usage:

“I had reached my Brexit, so I made my exit”

[The Memoires of David Cameron, Eton College Press, 2025]

You read it first here.

  • 1
    As you said, it hasn't entered common usage yet. Also, consider adding a reference/definition and maybe an example of how you would use it.
    – 0xFEE1DEAD
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 21:47
  • @0xFEE1DEAD — But language is in continual flux — people make things up. Anyway, I've done what you suggested. Perhaps you would like to vote my answer up now and encourage all your friends to do the same.
    – David
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 22:41
  • @Sushila — not by me or most who use the word. In any case, in retrospect it will certainly be perceived as an event.
    – David
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 7:07
  • Who's to say there couldn't be a reversal of Brexit? (Hope springs eternal!) Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 22:41
  • @KristinaLopez — If June 8th should see that I will happily withdraw my answer. Otherwise I doubt I shall live long enough to do so.
    – David
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 7:00

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