Going to hell in a handbasket

Going to hell and fast, pic: democraticunderground.com

My husband and I were talking about the state of the economy this morning over breakfast when this idiom came to mind.  Going to hell in a handbasket means deteriorate – fast and without great effort – or being on a fast course for disaster.

It is one of those expressions one doesn’t use all that often but there are occasions where it fits perfectly – like the discussion about the state of the economy – and using it then will show very good command of the English language.

I always thought of it as a cute idiom picturing people in little woven handbaskets going to a warm place until I did some research for this blog on why people are sent to hell in a handbasket – of all things.  The explanation I found was less cute, however.  The theory is that the expression derives from the use of handbaskets to catch people’s head after guillotining them.

Though people can certainly go to hell in a handbasket in my experience the expression is used more often when one refers to big concepts, like the economy, a certain country, idea, philosophy as the examples here will show.


Here is a fairly recent headline using that expression:  “The World’s Going To Hell In A Handbasket — Here’s What We Need To Do”

Here is another: “The middle class is going to hell in a handbasket”

One Comment to “Going to hell in a handbasket”

  1. I think we are all ‘going to hell in a handbasket ‘ not just facebook ( the whole country).
    But at this time I am pissed off at facebook, they screw around and screw around, why in the hell don’t they get it like they want it and quit!!!!
    They have everyones sites messed up on this new time line, which is a bunch of shit, its no better than old if ,as good !

    I have had a bad day with other people just like them today nothing but a hassel everthing you do., clear up to as far as taking a s*** is a hassel …Amen…..

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