After watching a funny YouTube video of a kid spilling his water and then immediately slipping on it, I came up with a unique idiom today:

I hope you spill your water and slip on it.


I spilled my water and slipped on it.

With the rough meaning:

  1. Making a mistake that causes utter failure.
  2. Emphasis on a mistake that results in massive, negative consequences.

Are there any other, more common idioms that can fit this meaning or come close to it? Something that suggests a compounding of loses perhaps?

I found this idiom to be close (found here) but I don't think it fits the criteria of being common and it may not be easily decipherable:

himalayan blunder

It took me a moment to realize this didn't mean a blunder the size of a mountain but instead a mistake made while climbing a himalayan mountain (say Mount Everest) would most likely spell doom.


5 Answers 5


Misfortunes never come singly

This proverb (self-explanatory) means that bad things tend to happen in groups. For example:

I already told you that my wife lost her job. Well, misfortunes never come singly; our house was robbed last night.

Less idiomatic, but closer to question: one error leading to another

  • It's not exactly common and not an idiom but I think it comes closest to what I'm asking. Thanks. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 22:46

Here are some idioms related to making a mistake and paying the price for it: They may be what you're looking for

(slap on the wrist) If you get a slap on the wrist, you receive mild punishment, or you are reprimanded for something you have done. Ex: I got a slap on the wrist from my wife for leaving the kitchen in a mess.

(one's own undoing) If you do something that is the cause of your own failure, loss or downfall, it is your own undoing. You can blame nobody but yourself. Ex: If he continues to gamble like that, it will be his own undoing.


Out of the frying pan into the fire is a common one:

  • said when you ​move from a ​bad or ​difficult ​situation to one that is ​worse


Out of the frying pan into the fire , out of the frying pan (and) into the fire:

  • Fig. from a bad situation to a worse situation. (*Typically: get ~; go ~; jump ~.)

    • When I tried to argue about my fine for a traffic violation, the judge charged me with contempt of court. I really went out of the frying pan into the fire.

    • I got deeply in debt. Then I really got out of the frying pan into the fire when I lost my job.

(McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms)

  • 1
    That's a good one, but can you include a couple examples of it being used? "I hope you go out of the frying pan into the fire"? Sounds a bit awkward. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 9:36
  • This doesn't work - the phrase implies that you've escaped one problem only to fall into another. In all these cases, your first problem remains - you still owe the traffic fine, you're still in debt, you still spilled your water... None of these satisfy the "Out of the frying pan" part of this idiom. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 15:23

Consider Go from bad to worse.

go from bad to worse: to progress from a bad situation to one that is worse (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms)

Alternately (not really as common of an idiom as my first suggestion though), how about go from snafu to tarfu?

SNAFU: acronym for "Situation Normal All Fucked Up"

TARFU: acronym for "Things Are Really Fucked Up" (Urban Dictionary)

  • It's interesting that this is even an idiom since it so literally means what it states. *And I think you meant "from bad to worse." Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 10:24
  • @MichaelRader Sure, but still an idiom...
    – Elian
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 11:20

When it rains, it pours.

This has the bad-leads-to-worse implication, which might be appropriate. (It also involves water, so could be an apt metaphor.) One thing it's lacking is a "mistake". This is just one bad thing leading to another and nobody is to blame. But otherwise it fits.

  • This is pretty close but I couldn't use it in the same way that I used my idiom. This is more of direct statement that can really only work alone. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 22:43

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