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 ?
Now, for a while, Chaka watched the long black snake of men winding towards him across the plain till the messengers met them and the snake began to climb the slope of the hill.
The, footpath turned the shoulder of a slope, through a thicket of rank rhododendrons, and crossed what had once been a carriage drive, which ended in the shadow of two gigantic holm-oaks.
Their western slope determines the flow of all the waters in this region of Africa toward the ocean.
Somehow--the gods alone can explain it--Perry, too, had clung to his rifle during his mad descent of the icy slope.
But from above, from the slopes of Sonoma Mountain, the cries and calls of the trailing poses caught his ear, and deflected his intention.
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.
Beyond the pond, on the slope that climbed to the cornfield, there was, faintly marked in the grass, a great circle where the Indians used to ride.
The stalls were laid on a slope instead of being level, and as my head was kept tied to the manger, I was obliged always to stand on the slope, which was very fatiguing.
HUCK said: "Tom, we can slope, if we can find a rope.
Some two hundred feet below, a brawling upland stream stood for the moat, and for the enemy there was on the opposite side of the valley a great green company of trees, settled like a cloud slope upon slope, making all haste to cross the river and ascend the heights where I stood.
Having expressed himself thus confidently, he reined his horse backward down the slope which he had ascended, and compelled him in the same manner to move backward through the lists, till he reached the northern extremity, where he remained stationary, in expectation of his antagonist.
On a slope to the left there was a long row of guns, gruff and maddened, denouncing the enemy, who, down through the woods, were forming for another attack in the pitiless mo- notony of conflicts.
The house occupied by the family was on the slope of a mountain, and after a long drought there was a terrible tempest which not only raised the river to a great height but loosened the surface of the mountain so that a great landslide took place.
Captain Bonneville sets out for Green River valley Journey up the Popo Agie Buffaloes The staring white bears The smoke The warm springs Attempt to traverse the Wind River Mountains The Great Slope Mountain dells and chasms Crystal lakes Ascent of a snowy peak Sublime prospect A panorama "Les dignes de pitie," or wild men of the mountains
Away in the far background the land rises, closing the view with a continuous wooded slope, forming in the distance an interminable rampart overgrown with bushes.