Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
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. Activists fear that this latest legislation will put us on a slippery slope to stifling free speech.
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.
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.
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.
slope (down) toward something
to slant downward toward something. The backyard slopes down toward the river. It slopes toward the water.
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.
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]
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.
slippery slopean 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.