"go to hell in a handbasket"(Phrase Origins)
This phrase, meaning "to deteriorate rapidly", originated in the U.S. in the early 20th century. A handbasket is just a basket with a handle. Something carried in a handbasket goes wherever it's going without much resistance. James L. Rader of Merriam-Webster Editorial Dept. writes: "The Dictionary of American Regional English [...] records 'to go to heaven in a handbasket' much earlier than [...] 'hell,' which is not attested before the 1950s. The earliest cite in our files is from 1949 [...]. 'In a handbasket' seems to imply ease and and speed [...]. Perhaps part of the success of these phrases must simply be ascribed to the force of alliteration. DARE has a much earlier citation for another alliterative collocation with 'handbasket' (1714), from Samuel Sewall's diary: 'A committee brought in something about Piscataqua. Govr said he would give his head in a Handbasket as soon as he would pass it.' I suspect that 'to go to hell in a handbasket' has been around much longer than our records would seem to indicate."
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