rabbit hole

noun
|Updated on: 10 Jul 2018

Definition of rabbit hole

: a complexly bizarre or difficult state or situation conceived of as a hole into which one falls or descends
  • I wanted to show this woman descending into the rabbit hole: this loss of self, becoming a servant to her job and to the work.
  • —Jessica Chastain
especially : one in which the pursuit of something (such as an answer or solution) leads to other questions, problems, or pursuits
  • While trying to find the picture again on Google, I fell down the Cosmo rabbit hole, scrolling through a gallery of swimwear, then through "How to Be Sexier-Instantly" and then through all 23 slides of "Sexy Ideas for Long Hair."
  • —Edith Zimmerman
  • Because it is so early on in this work it is easy to say that we are either at the edge of a remarkable new and useful science or that we are careering down an environmental rabbit hole.
  • —Jack Hitt
  • In the season-two premiere of HBO's Westworld, viewers were again tossed down a rabbit hole filled with theories, where one open door leads to many more closed ones.
  • —Josh Wigler and Zoe Haylock

Examples of rabbit hole in a Sentence

  1. shoreline residents are finding themselves helplessly falling down a rabbit hole in their Sisyphean efforts to halt beach erosion

Recent Examples of rabbit hole from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rabbit hole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of rabbit hole

from the rabbit hole that Alice enters in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland


Learn More about rabbit hole


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up rabbit hole? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to beat or defeat soundly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!