looking for a word that communicates following a measure will lead to many negative consequences


I would like to use the word as I write about proposed policy changes; namely, a bill in the senate proposes to establish the minimum down payment of a mortgage to 5%. A person giving testimony against this measure, argued that mandating down payment levels can have many negative consequences.

  • 2
    "counterproductive" might work.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 19:19
  • 1
    Could you expand a bit on this question please? What sort of measures have you in mind? What sort of negative consequences? Perhaps add an example sentence or two? Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 19:26
  • @SvenYargs Yes, I think you are right. Do you want to add this as an answer?
    – IberoMedia
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 19:36
  • It would never work as an answer, but my subconscious immediately brought forward zugzwang upon reading your question.
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 19:49
  • Thanks, IberoMedia, but I'll pass. It's just a word recommendation, after all.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 19:51

4 Answers 4


That which acts against what you are trying to do is detrimental, though in order to use it properly, you would have to say what it is detrimental towards.

If it were a bill that causes greater difficulty in purchasing homes, you would say it is "detrimental to home purchases", or if it is adversely affecting stocks, you could say it is "detrimental to the stock market".

Or if you want to indicate a great number of negative consequences to a plan, you could say that it has "many detriments".


Assuming that the things that the person is describing as negative consequences are not the same effects others are describing as positive, I would probably say downsides, side effects, or unintended consequences.

  • Yes..."The policy change is fraught with/would be full of downsides."
    – Merk
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 3:38

Pernicious (or "harmful") convey the idea of negative consequences, specialy if it is not obvious at first glance.

"Pernicious" definition: causing insidious dommage or harm often in a way that is not easily seen or noticed.

Example: She thinks television has a pernicious influence on our children.


The expression, "slippery slope" is used in pop culture to describe the scenario you have mentioned.

  • I think "slippery slope" is more to do with setting out on a course of action which will be difficult to reverse, rather than a single decision which, in itself, has negative consequences.
    – JHCL
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 15:35

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