one step forward, two steps back

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Derived from the idiom "two steps forward, one step back", which originates with an anecdote about a frog in a well.

Noun[edit]

one step forward, two steps back

  1. (idiomatic) A situation in which progress is more than offset by adverse developments.
    We got all the roofing removed, but the chimney was damaged and we discovered that some rafters had to be replaced. One step forward, two steps back. Or maybe three.