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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 periodicals archive ?
The sloping wall is made of beton brut, like the rest of the building.
Steep, sloping yards can be hazardous if they're not planned and maintained correctly.
Two linear bars containing cellular classrooms and offices are placed along the edges of the site, enclosing a large sloping central space.
Oceanside Golf Course's par-4 12th hole is just 303 yards but challenges golfers with severe uphill and difficult sloping green.
Being ruled by Spain, their inhabitants have long mastered the arts of irrigation, and the landscape varies from sloping semi-desert to lush groves of bananas and oranges, and intensive passages of vegetable cultivation.
2: Tough uphill-downill test with a wide fairway but trees on both sides and a dogleg into a sloping green, this 416-yarder is Wilson's No.
The building is set on a north-east sloping site that offers views of the fjord, its islands and distant mountains, and of Tugenes, the tip of the promontory, with its strange parallel dry-stone walls which impose a powerful pattern on the meagre grassland.
But Melanie Wank, the president of Citizens for a Safe and Scenic Simi Valley, said that because the land is completely flat, the group does not have the same concern as land sloping toward the hills.
Arriving passengers use sloping bridges to cross the void from the sheltered road set-down area and from the rapid transport platform to reach the check-in area.
You've got Lake Casitas on your left and junk (downhill sloping hillside) on your right.