Example sentence:

People always ended up hating him. This __ not only manifested itself in matters of friendship, also in his relationship with the opposite sex.

The closest word I could think of was incidence, but it's not quite right for the context. Is there a better alternative?

  • 'Pattern' would work, though it is neutral rather than specifying that it's adverse. But i'm not sure that 'This', in your second sentence, isn't all you need.
    – Spagirl
    Dec 25, 2016 at 8:52
  • 1
    Synonyms of curse, overlapping in the 'cause of misery' sense, include affliction, blight, burden, scourge and woe. Dec 25, 2016 at 9:50
  • I'm not clear what the trend is. Is it that each relationship trends downwards until it ends? Or is it that a succession of relationships point to a trend? The inevitability would work. This eventuality also works, as it piggybacks on the earlier sentence's always to gain the necessary sense of certain doom.
    – Phil Sweet
    Mar 26, 2017 at 1:12

2 Answers 2


degradation, retrogression or regression -

  • degradation:

    1. Changing to a lower state (a less respected state)

      • debasement
    2. A low or downcast state

      "each confession brought her into an attitude of degradation";

      • abasement, abjection
    3. (geology) the mechanical process of wearing or grinding something down (as by particles washing over it)

      • erosion, eroding, eating away, wearing, wearing away
  • retrogression:

    1. Passing from a more complex to a simpler biological form

      • degeneration
    2. A return to an earlier state

      • regression, regress, reversion, retroversion
  • regression:

    1. A return to an earlier state

      • regress, reversion, retrogression, retroversion
    2. An abnormal state in which development has stopped prematurely

      • arrested development, fixation, infantile fixation
    3. (psychiatry) a defence mechanism in which you flee from reality by assuming a more infantile state

    4. (statistics) the relation between selected values of x and observed values of y (from which the most probable value of y can be predicted for any value of x)

      • simple regression, regression toward the mean, statistical regression
    5. (programming) the reappearance of a software bug that has been fixed at least once before

-- WordWeb Online

  • 1
    None of these have the sense of trend as far as I can tell.
    – verbose
    Jan 24, 2017 at 18:01

"Decay" or "inevitable decay" could work here:

People always ended up hating him. This inevitable decay not only manifested itself in matters of friendship, but also in his relationship with the opposite sex.

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