Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s all downhill from here”? When I first heard it, I had no clue what it meant. But now, I want to pass on my knowledge to you.
What Does “It’s All Downhill From Here” Mean?
“It’s all downhill from here” is an idiom with two opposing meanings. The first meaning is that things are about to go bad, usually because you’ve already had all the good. And the second meaning is that from now on, everything will be easy. It’s origins are unknown.
But how can one phrase have two different meanings? Which one makes more sense? In this article, we’ll take a deep look into the phrase “It’s all downhill from here”.
Meaning #1 – Things Will Get Worse
The first meaning of “It’s all downhill from here” is for when you know things are about to get bad, or worse.
There are two main times when you would say this.
Firstly, when someone is happy, but you know that’s the end of the fun times. A great example could be when a worker tells her new colleague “It’s all downhill from here” when she sees him being happy to have been hired.
The second time is when someone is starting to notice that the fun has worn off. They might hope for things to go back the way they were, but “it’s all downhill from here” tells them that they won’t.
4 Examples Of “It’s All Downhill From Here” – Negative
- “I know things seem good and you’re at the top of the world, but when that happens, you just need to remember, it’s all downhill from here, so be sure to stay humble” z
- “You think having your first job is bad. Welcome to adulthood. It’s all downhill from here, next you’ll have to feed your kids, and have no free time”
- “Congratulations on becoming the world champion in that weird sport you do. Let’s hope it’s not all downhill from here, and you don’t end up doing shampoo adverts for the rest of your life”
- “You voted for that man! Don’t think the defunding of hospitals is the last thing he’ll do. It’s all downhill from here”
Meaning #2 – Things Will Get Better
The second meaning of “it’s all downhill from here” is a slightly more positive one.
Anyone who likes hills can tell you that walking down a hill is a lot easier than walking up one. To say “It’s all downhill from here” in this sense is to say “You have just put in a lot of hard work. But it will all be easy now”.
It would be a great phrase to say to someone who has struggled to get rich, but is now able to enjoy all their money and not have to work as hard anymore.
4 Examples Of “It’s All Downhill From Here” – Positive
- “I know you’ve had it difficult. But luckily, the hard work is now over, and it’s all downhill from here”
- “The business has taken about four years to set up. But now all we have to do is sell as much as we possibly can, and it’s all downhill from here”
- “As a retired athlete, it’s all downhill from here. You will no longer have to do all that training, but you can still enjoy the money in your bank account”
- “I’ve just won my first court case. It’s all downhill from here now that I’ve managed to establish myself as a credible lawyer”.
Alternatives To “It’s All Downhill From Here” – Positive
But, there are also plenty of other ways to say “It’s all downhill from here” in the positive sense. Here are a few examples of them.
- The going got tough. Now it’s time for the tough to get going
- It’s just plain sailing from here.
- Time to reap the fruits of your labour.
- Your hard work will pay off.
Other Phrases – “It Went Downhill”
Another common phrase about hills that you might hear is “Went downhill”. Usually, when people say this, they are talking about history.
When something “went downhill” at a certain point, it started getting worse at that point. For example, I might say that my local cafe “went downhill” when the old owner left and the new guys took over.
But, we often talk about it in terms of politics, for example, I might say that “Things went downhill when the last king of Saturn was assassinated by republican fighters”.
The idea is that the point where things go bad is when they “go downhill”.
Other Common Idioms About Hills
But, there are also plenty of other phrases that talk about hills. Here are some of the best ones.
- Uphill battle
When a challenge is incredibly difficult. Not only do you have to battle, but you need to do it up a hill.
- A hill to die on
An opinion someone holds that they are extremely unlikely to change their mind.
- As ancient as the hills
Just another way of saying “very old”
- The hills have eyes
You could be watched from anywhere. So it’s best to be careful.
Is “It’s All Downhill From Here” Positive Or Negative?
But, back to “It’s all downhill from here”. Which interpretation is the correct one? Or at least the most reasonable?
Well, the negative interpretation is more closely related to the phrase “went downhill”. Yet the positive one is easier to visualise as an actual hill.
If you like the phrase “uphill battle” perhaps “It’s all downhill” seems negative as you’re losing your achievements.
But, at the end of the day, there isn’t a correct answer to this question. The correct interpretation of “it’s all uphill from here” is simply whichever interpretation you think best suits what you’re trying to say.
And that is everything you could want to know about the phrase “it’s all downhill from here”. You have learnt about the two interpretations of the phrase, reasons for each being correct, and a few examples to help you understand.
With most idioms, you just need to know what they mean. But with, “it’s all downhill from here”, you need to know the context to see which meaning you should use.
But, thanks to this article, next time you hear it, you should have a much better idea of what’s being said, and whether it’s meant negatively or positively.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.