slippery slope

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English[edit]

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Noun[edit]

slippery slope (plural slippery slopes)

  1. (figuratively) A chain of events that, once initiated, cannot be halted; especially one in which the final outcome is undesirable or precarious.
    I think basing your actions off an assumption like that is a slippery slope that is going to get you in trouble.
    • 2019 May 20, Walter Thompson, “A school's mural removal: should kids be shielded from brutal US history?”, in The Guardian[1]:
      “What we’re looking at is the classic slippery slope,” he said. “If the murals can be destroyed, then no work of art that anyone finds offensive is going to be safe. And that’s an awful lot of art.”
    Synonyms: thin edge of the wedge, thin end of the wedge

Usage notes[edit]

  • A slippery slope argument in logic, critical thinking, political rhetoric, and caselaw, is a consequentialist logical device in which a party asserts that a particular result will probably (or even must inevitably) follow from a given decision or circumstance, without necessarily providing any rational argument or demonstrable mechanism for the likelihood of the assumed consequence.

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