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