slippery slope


Definition of slippery slope 

: a course of action that seems to lead inevitably from one action or result to another with unintended consequences

Examples of slippery slope in a Sentence

His behavior will lead him down a slippery slope to ruin.

Recent Examples on the Web

Archaeologists have to contend with steep, soft-sided, slippery slopes. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Hominins lived in China 2.1 million years ago," 11 July 2018 There’s no feeling quite like the rush of speeding down the slippery slope into a refreshing pool of cool water. Jessica Levy, USA TODAY, "6 reasons you’re going to love the outdoors in Asheville, North Carolina," 30 Apr. 2018 But what's happening now is quickly sliding down a slippery slope toward harassment, denial of service and abusive behavior. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Targeting Trump aides: The politics of rage is out of control," 26 June 2018 His argument is one that’s been used by many religious leaders, who say that the measure would simply be a slippery slope to the proliferation of recreational marijuana. Li Zhou, Vox, "Oklahoma primary election 2018 live results: governor and medical marijuana ballot measure," 26 June 2018 This, too, is part of the slippery slope of getting in bed with the gambling aspect. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Would Adam Silver's 'integrity fee' have revealed LeBron's injury?," 11 June 2018 Another worried about a slippery slope that would lead to 14-year-olds selecting lawmakers. NBC News, "Washington, D.C., may let 16-year-olds vote for president. Is that a good idea?," 17 Apr. 2018 Israel has always been just a bit farther down this slippery slope than the United States. Kenneth M. Pollack, New York Times, "Learning From Israel’s Political Assassination Program," 7 Mar. 2018 Even in zero-g, all slippery slopes lead only downward. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Why Trump's 'Space Force' Won't — and Shouldn't — Happen," 19 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of slippery slope

1951, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for slippery slope

The first known use of slippery slope was in 1951

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More Definitions for slippery slope

slippery slope


English Language Learners Definition of slippery slope

: a process or series of events that is hard to stop or control once it has begun and that usually leads to worse or more difficult things

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slippery slope

Comments on slippery slope

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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