Fork in the road (metaphor)

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A Knight at the Crossroads

A fork in the road is a metaphor, based on a literal expression, for a deciding moment in life or history when a major choice of options is required. Compare "crossing the Rubicon".


  • There is a common motif in Russian folk tales, where a vityaz (Russian knight) comes to a fork in the road and sees a menhir with an inscription that reads: "If you ride to the left, you will lose your horse, if you ride to the right, you will lose your head".
  • The phrase appears in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 21:19–23 NRSV).

"Mortal, mark out two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to come; both of them shall issue from the same land. And make a signpost, make it for a fork in the road leading to a city; mark out the road for the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites or to Judah and to Jerusalem the fortified.

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