Going Down The Rabbit Hole

The Meaning of ‘Going Down The Rabbit Hole’

1. When someone says they want to go “down the rabbit hole” in regard to something, that usually means there is a certain topic, activity, or thing that intrigues them. Consequently, they want to explore this topic, activity, or thing further so they can learn more about it.

Example: I saw the first ten minutes of a show called “The Life of Fluffy The Cat” and I enjoyed what little I saw. Normally, I don’t watch a lot of TV shows, but with this one, I’m willing to go down the rabbit hole to see if it’s worth watching.

2. Starting a process or doing something that might appear simple at first, but later it leads down a path that is a lot stranger, confusing, or complex than what was initially thought.

Example: Tim’s laptop keeps restarting itself for no apparent reason, so he’s looking online for what the problem could be. At first, he thought finding a solution would be a cinch. However, Tim has fallen down a rabbit hole since then because he’s now spent the entire day searching for a solution.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
Nothing.
Down The Rabbit Hole
A rabbit’s burrow. Aw, look at him! He’s so cute.

What Is a Rabbit Hole?

Literally speaking, it’s a hole that a rabbit makes in the ground. After digging them, they then live in these holes and even sleep in them. But why do they go underground? Because rabbits are the prey of many animals. Their predators include bobcats, cougars, coyotes, and foxes, just to name a few. Sometimes, a rabbit can escape these dangerous beasts using their quick movement; they are nimble creatures, after all. But living in underground burrows is another way they avoid being eaten. It’s safer in there; no scary animals with large teeth can get in.

These burrows, or dens as they are also called, can have several entrances and exits connected to it. Because of this, it is easier for them to escape danger, should the need arise.

Additionally, if multiple rabbits are living in the same area, then it’s possible for numerous dens to be linked together via tunnels. It’s like having a various “rooms” all linked to each other underground.

While most rabbits dig and live in burrows, some do not. For example, the desert cottontail does not dig its own holes. Instead, they will use the burrows made by other animals.


The Origin of ‘Going Down The Rabbit Hole’

It’s believed that the phrase down the rabbit hole comes from a 19th century novel called Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (or Alice In Wonderland for short.) This novel was written by Lewis Carroll and was published in the year 1865.

Near the beginning of this fictional story, a girl named Alice crawls into a rabbit’s hole and shortly after, she literally falls down the rabbit hole and ends up in a strange place called Wonderland.


Examples

  • I’m looking for a new hobby, but I can’t decide on what I want to do. I thought about gardening and cooking, but I don’t think those are for me. What about music? I’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument. You know what, I’m gonna go down the rabbit hole on this and learn how to play the violin.
  • My original intent was to look up a recipe for oatmeal cookies, but then I saw a link about the top 10 weirdest foods. Now I’ve gone down a rabbit hole and I’m reading about some fruit I’ve never even heard of before.