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Down the rabbit hole

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  • Down the rabbit hole is an idiom with its roots in a children’s book. An idiom is made up of a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of down the rabbit hole, where it came from, how it is being used today and some examples of that use in sentences.

    Down the rabbit hole describes the act of journeying into a bizarre or disorienting environment that is difficult to remove oneself from. A person may say he has gone down the rabbit hole or fallen down the rabbit hole when he finds himself in a situation that is surreal or extremely odd. The term down the rabbit hole is often used these days to describe the phenomenon of researching on the internet. Often, one thing leads to another and a computer user may find himself spending too much time on one particular task. The idiom down the rabbit hole is derived from the children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carrol in 1865. In the story, a young girl named Alice spies a white rabbit dressed in a waistcoat and carrying a pocket watch. Alice follows the rabbit and falls down a rabbit hole, where she encounters many strange characters including the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle and the Cheshire Cat. Alice grows and shrinks, takes part in a very mad tea party and babysits an infant who turns into a pig. Lewis Carrol is the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a mathematician who wrote Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass for Alice Liddell.

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    Examples

    In its most purely Carrollian sense, then, to fall down a rabbit hole means to stumble into a bizarre and disorienting alternate reality. (The New Yorker)

    That was probably before we all went down the rabbit hole, with the latest twist being Gov. Jim Justice’s “should I let him stay or make him go” wavering over the job status of now-former chief of staff Nick Casey. (The Charleston Gazette-Mail)

     

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