go to hell in a handbasket

go to hell in a handbasket

To be in an extremely and increasingly bad or ruinous condition; to be on the inevitable path to utter failure or ruin. With the way he's running things, the company is going to hell in a handbasket! After our funding was cut, our project went to hell in a handbasket.
See also: go, handbasket, hell

go to hell in a handbasket

undergo a rapid process of deterioration. North American informal
This expression has been recorded since the early 20th century; variants of it include go to hell in a handcart and go to hell in a basket .
1990 Nature Conservancy I read widely on environmental issues and often feel that ‘the world is going to hell in a handbasket’.
See also: go, handbasket, hell

go to hell in a handbasket, to

To deteriorate rapidly. This expression, originating in America in the early twentieth century, owes its appeal to alliteration. It also makes sense: something carried in a handbasket is light and easily conveyed, whence the phrase can mean going to ruin easily and rapidly. However, more likely it is simply an alliterative elaboration of gone to hell, which has meant ruined or destroyed since the early nineteenth century. The cliché tends to be applied to large generalities, as in “The economy is about to go to hell in a handbasket.” See also go to the devil; go(ing) to the dogs.
See also: go, hell

go to hell in a handbasket

Heading for trouble. The expression might possibly have been inspired by the heads of decapitated prisoners falling or being dumped into handbaskets or handcarts. The “handbasket” alliteration following “going to hell” caught on and was applied to anyone whose behavior was likely to lead to an unhappy consequence.
See also: go, handbasket, hell
References in periodicals archive ?
In the two weeks of the Olympics, hundreds have been slaughtered in Syria, 23 people died in floods in the Philippines, and the world economy continued to go to hell in a handbasket.
"There will be more occasions when we think that the world is going to go to hell in a handbasket. But for the first time since last summer it is clear that the authorities are beginning to contain the financial sector crisis in the US."
"They thought they could control it and realised their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out.
2) Protect their political rear ends by balking at increasing revenues and let Oregon go to hell in a handbasket.
But that doesn't mean it will all go to hell in a handbasket. Slow growth is still growth.
So he should keep in mind that even under current law, the federal government is scheduled to go to hell in a handbasket. Spending on so-called "discretionary programs" -- everything from the military to the environment to roads -- is already slated to fall by a quarter, as a share of the economy, by fiscal 2002.