Down the Rabbit Hole

Where did this expression come from?

It came from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The very first chapter is entitled “Down the Rabbit-Hole.”

A white rabbit appears to Alice on a riverbank, says “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!,” then disappears down a hole in the ground (the “rabbit-hole”). Alice follows him, thereby starting a surreal adventure in another land.

As an idiom, it means to spend an unexpected amount of time on a task, to reveal an unexpected amount of information about something, or to get into a situation without a clear plan to get out.

Why I Looked It Up

I had known the idiom and what it meant for years, but I have never read Alice in Wonderland.

I found a bakery in Lincoln called “The Rabbit Hole Bakery.” They had a bunch of Alice imagery on the walls, and I figured the idiom had something to do with the book.

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