TO HELL HANDBASKET Meaning and Definition

The expression "to hell in a handbasket" is an idiomatic phrase used in informal language to denote a situation or condition where everything is rapidly deteriorating or going downhill. Originating in the United States, the phrase is figurative in nature and does not have a literal meaning related to hell or handbaskets.

When someone says that things are going "to hell in a handbasket," they are essentially expressing their disappointment, frustration, or concern regarding the current state of affairs. The term "hell" symbolizes chaos, disaster, or extreme negativity, while a "handbasket" is simply a small portable container usually carried by hand.

Thus, the phrase implies that the situation or condition under discussion is rapidly descending into chaos or becoming increasingly worse, with little chance of improvement. It conveys a sense of helplessness or loss of control over the outcome or direction of events.

For example, if someone remarks that "our company's financial situation is going to hell in a handbasket," they are expressing their belief that the company's financial health is deteriorating rapidly and irreversibly.

Overall, "to hell in a handbasket" is a colloquial phrase used extensively in informal conversations to convey a negative view of a situation that is spiraling out of control or heading towards an unfavorable outcome.

Frequency of the word to hell handbasket appearance in books over time

The depicted graph illustrates the occurrences of the term "to hell handbasket" in a collection of English books from 1800 to 2008.