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slippery slope

A situation in which some behavior or action will eventually lead to a worse form of the same behavior or action, or a disastrous outcome. Eating that piece of cake is a slippery slope that could lead to you completely abandoning your diet. Verbal abuse is often a slippery slope that leads to physical abuse.
See also: slippery, slope

be as slippery as an eel

To be devious, scheming, and untrustworthy—and difficult to apprehend. Of course that guy took everyone's money and left town—he's as slippery as an eel!
See also: eel, slippery

*slippery as an eel

devious and untrustworthy, but impossible to catch. (*Also: as ~.) Don't sign a lease with that landlord; I think he's as slippery as an eel. The con artist was slippery as an eel. Although he defrauded many people, he never went to prison.
See also: eel, slippery

slippery customer

1. Fig. a clever and deceitful customer. Watch out for that guy with the big padded coat. He may snatch something. He's a real slippery customer.
2. Fig. a slippery creature. This little fish is a slippery customer. Get me something to scoop it back into its bowl.
See also: customer, slippery

slippery slope

a dangerous pathway or route to follow; a route that leads to trouble. The matter of euthanasia is a slippery slope with both legal and moral considerations.
See also: slippery, slope

on a slippery slope

in a situation that is likely to become more difficult or complicated We started arguing, and then we got on the slippery slope of what's fair and what's not fair. So far, we have taken only the first few steps toward a society in which different people would have different rights, but we are on a slippery slope.
Usage notes: sometimes used without on: Where does this slippery slope end?
See also: on, slippery, slope

a slippery slope

a situation or habit that is likely to lead to a worse situation or habit If you let kids stay up late a few nights you're on a slippery slope. My advice is to keep away from all drugs. It's a slippery slope.
See also: slippery, slope

be as slippery as an eel

someone who is as slippery as an eel cannot be trusted
Usage notes: An eel is a long fish which has a body like a snake.
You'd be mad to go into business with him. He's as slippery as an eel.
See also: eel, slippery

slippery as an eel

Elusive, devious, as in When it comes to talking about his investments, Jim's slippery as an eel. This simile, first recorded about 1412, alludes to the eel's skin, which has tiny scales and is quite slippery when wet.
See also: eel, slippery

slippery slope

A dangerous course, one that leads easily to catastrophe, as in He's on a slippery slope, compromising his values to please both the bosses and the union . This metaphoric expression alludes to traversing a slick hillside, in constant danger of falling. [Mid-1900s]
See also: slippery, slope
References in periodicals archive ?
Do people who have been locked in one of the most vicious wars in the world for almost five decades have the ability to negotiate for fair terms with some of the world's slipperiest customers?
Electronics play a big part and the Amarok has a hill holder which can keep it in check on a very steep slope for almost three seconds while the hill descent control can be used in neutral which on the slipperiest of surfaces will stop the vehicle tobogganing.
Examples include establishment of slaughterhouses and animal hospitals; the purchase, adoption, or suitable placement of old or injured horses; efforts to bring under ROPZh control private and city programs for dealing with stray dogs (embryonic even by 1875); anda myriad of specific small ways of helping, such as the emplacement of metal grip-studs to reduce accidents and injuries among horses struggling over the Voznesensky and Kokushkin bridges, two of the city's slipperiest.
Likewise, modernism has been characterized as a period of flourishing generic experimentation whose core anxieties persist to the present as well as a circumscribed or entirely failed aesthetic and political project, the period remaining one of the slipperiest fish in the literary critical sea.
Courts have wrestled for years with the patentability threshold for process applications, conceptually the slipperiest patent category.
With low ratio gears to choose from, as well as the five normal forward gears, that's sufficient to keep going in the slipperiest and muddiest of conditions.
The index volume weighs seven pounds; it and the others are bound in the slipperiest, most unhandy cover material that has ever afflicted us.
So the counter-tribalists came up with something subtler and suppler than communism and fascism--the slipperiest ism of all.
The fluoropolymer used in most nonstick products, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), is one of the slipperiest substances known.
Both the limited justification of such policies and the warnings against its slipperiest aspects that I express here may be extended to other protectionist practices pertaining to the so-called cultural exception.
The upshot of these efforts is a 5% improvement in overall aerodynamics that Honda claims makes the Odyssey the slipperiest minivan in its class.
If passion counts for anything in modern rugby, Clive Woodward's injury-ravaged England may find the fourth of their five steps to the 2003 Grand Slam the slipperiest of all.
This is the slipperiest slope I have seen worried about in some time: the line from Giles to Bush v.
a) The slipperiest floors were those where a seal coat was used to produce a hygienic surface but ineffective surface texture resulted
Perhaps the slipperiest term of the moment is portal.