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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

*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 ?
Some of his topics are the slipperiness of metaphor, the dialectic use of tone, and how to talk mean and influence people.
Parylene can increase the dry film lubricity or slipperiness of elastomeric surfaces to a level approaching that of PTFE (Teflon).
I love rain: The icy-needles-in-your-face chill of it; theoh-my-Volkswagen-is-sliding-under-the-belly-of-a-toxic-waste-hauling-tanker-truck slipperiness of it; that refreshing quality that b cock-and-Red-Bull vitamin drink.
Here again, the slipperiness of application is to the fore, the fact that Stoicism offers obvious support to court and church, but then "delivers its hidden sting in the name of rebels and iconoclasts" (111).
Biodiesel improves the slipperiness, or lubricity, of diesel fuel.
The style of the book, its logical jumps, seems to be trying to catch by mimesis what Taussig perceives as the slipperiness of both mimesis and alterity.
The fatigue testing takes some of the slipperiness away from the brand new basketballs, and give the Rawlings' engineers one last opportunity to inspect the ball under duress.
Winter maintenance of stairs field as part of ongoing maintenance, to reduce disruption to pedestrians caused by weather factors such as snow and winter slipperiness.
Mr Hammond's slipperiness in concealing the location of the axed bases until forced to surrender the names, was unworthy of one of the great offices of state.
introduce the volume with an overview of post-Franco fiction and of the constants in Cubas' writing, such as personal and national identity, the nature of history and memory, and the slipperiness of language.
The timber is then loaded directly into the chute and due to the steepness of the terrain and the slipperiness of the freshly cut timber, the logs slide easily on the plastic surface down to the roadside.
Subjected to censorship yet concerned with subverting assigned propaganda, preachers used irony and rhetorical slipperiness such as paradox.
Even the major themes seem richer and more complex, like the furious ambivalence of Bogart's relations with Jack Warner, and the slipperiness of the slope down which Bogart slid from patriotic indignation over the congressional Hollywood red hunt to resigned surrender to the prevailing hysteria of the times.
Certain numbers display a similar slipperiness, eluding the ingenious snares set by mathematicians bent on distinguishing prime numbers from composite numbers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The public will draw its own conclusion from Mr Cameron's slipperiness.