slippery downward slope

jooney

Senior Member
Korean
Hi,

Again this is part of a video on "Thanksgiving dinner etiquette".

We're just in such a culture of complaining and whining and so sometimes that even up on a slippery downward slope where people are just giving up all this, "Oh, I don't like the food, and I don't like your Thanksgiving outfit."

What does the phrase a "slippery downward slope" mean?

I'd appreciate your help.
 
  • papakapp

    Senior Member
    English - NW US
    In this case, it is saying that a little negative behavior will encourage even more negative behavior from others.

    The concept is that people tend to be more civil and courteous when everybody around them is. If one person says or does something untoward, then that may be all the encouragement that other people may need to reciprocate.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    We speak of being on a slippery slope (in which case, the "downward" is understood and not used, but your quote sounds like someone just chattering away in a video so we'll ignore that).

    If you're on a slope, it is easy to slide down. If it's a slippery slope -- coated with oil, for example -- not only is it easy to slide down, it's very hard not to slide down, and you'll slide much faster than on a regular slope.

    So we use this expression to talk about things quickly becoming worse. If you begin complaining about small things, it becomes much easier to start complaining about big things, and then to begin complaining about everything.

    Another expression that comes to mind is to "snowball" -- roll a big snowball down a snowy hill and it will pick up snow along the way and get larger and larger. These two expressions are not the same, however.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    If it is the worse situation where the slope is descending to , should I add "to" or "toward" in the example?

    We're just in such a culture of complaining and whining and so sometimes that even up ona slippery downward slope to/ toward where people are just giving up all this, "Oh, I don't like the food, and I don't like your Thanksgiving outfit."
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I would rather not comment because this sentence is just gibberish to me. You would be better off putting the expression in the Search box and then clicking "in context" to see how the expression is used in literate sentences.
     
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