slope


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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

on a slippery slope

In a situation in which some behavior or action will eventually lead to a worse form of the same behavior or action. We've been on a slippery slope of borrowing more money to pay off the debts we already owe. Advocates fear that this latest legislation will put us on a slippery slope to stifling free speech.
See also: on, slippery, slope

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

slope away from something

to slant downward and away from something. The lawn sloped away from the patio toward the riverbank. The porch sloped away from the house at a very slight angle.
See also: away, slope

slope down (to something or some place)

to slant downward toward something or some place from a higher level. The wide white beach sloped down to the azure water. The yard sloped down, making a lovely view from the living room.
See also: down, slope

slope (down) toward something

to slant downward toward something. The backyard slopes down toward the river. It slopes toward the water.
See also: slope, toward

slope up (to something)

to slant upward in the direction of something. The ramp sloped up to the door, allowing wheelchairs to enter. It sloped up rather steeply.
See also: slope, up

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

a slippery slope

COMMON A slippery slope is a course of action which is likely to lead to failure or serious trouble. It's a slippery slope. You give in to one demand and soon find that you're doing exactly what they want. The company started down the slippery slope of believing that they knew better than the customer, with the inevitable disastrous results. Note: You can also say that someone is on a slippery slope or on the slippery slope. These young people may already be on the slippery slope to criminality.
See also: slippery, slope

slippery slope

an idea or course of action which will lead inevitably to something unacceptable, wrong, or disastrous.
1998 Spectator Those of us who feared that devolution would not assuage nationalist sentiment but turn out to be the slippery slope to separatism have a good chance of being proved right.
See also: slippery, slope

the slippery ˈslope

a situation or way of behaving that could quickly lead to danger, disaster, failure, etc: Starting with shoplifting, he was soon on the slippery slope towards a life of crime.
See also: slippery, slope
References in classic literature ?
Half-way up the slope Mattie stumbled against some unseen obstruction and clutched his sleeve to steady herself.
Then, catching Michael in mid-leap with a kick that reached him under the chest, he sent him flying through the air off the road and down the slope.
At dawn, attempting to break forth down the south-western slopes of the mountain toward Petaluma, he had encountered not less than five separate detachments of dairy-ranchers all armed with Winchesters and shotguns.
But from above, from the slopes of Sonoma Mountain, the cries and calls of the trailing poses caught his ear, and deflected his intention.
that enchanted horse and rider have passed a ravine and are climbing another slope to unveil another conspiracy of silence, to thwart the will of another armed host.
Up the long slope rushed ranks and ranks of men exultant, shouting, with waving pennons and brandished arms.
Their rear ranks were already passing out of sight ere the new-comers were urging their panting, foaming horses up the slope which had been the scene of that long drawn and bloody fight.
Below was a little valley and beyond a long, gently-rising slope with snug farmsteads scattered along it.
It was a practised eye that travelled up the slope to the crumbling canyon-wall and back and down again to the edge of the pool.
he cried out, as though to an auditor hidden somewhere above him beneath the surface of the slope.
The regularity with which their length diminished served to indicate that somewhere up the slope the last line would be so short as to have scarcely length at all, and that beyond could come only a point.
It had lasted only seconds, Bert was dancing on the edge of the slippery slope and mocking the vanquished who had slid impotently to the bottom.
Five thousand packed the grassy slopes of the amphitheater and swarmed inside the race track.
Tess Durbeyfield, then, in good heart, and full of zest for life, descended the Egdon slopes lower and lower towards the dairy of her pilgrimage.
Long thatched sheds stretched round the enclosure, their slopes encrusted with vivid green moss, and their eaves supported by wooden posts rubbed to a glossy smoothness by the flanks of infinite cows and calves of bygone years, now passed to an oblivion almost inconceivable in its profundity.