[adverb, adjective doun-hil; noun doun-hil]


down the slope of a hill; downward.
into a worse or inferior condition: The business has been going downhill.


going or tending downward on or as on a hill.
free of problems or obstacles; easy: After the initial setbacks on the project, it was downhill all the way.
of or relating to skiing downhill.


a timed ski race on a steep slope in which competitors take the most direct route to the finish line following a course with relatively few turns and attaining very high speeds.

Compare slalom.

Origin of downhill

First recorded in 1585–95; down1 + hill Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for downhill

falling, declining, dropping

Examples from the Web for downhill

Contemporary Examples of downhill

Historical Examples of downhill

  • He took Allister from Kirsty, and we sped away, for it was all downhill now.

  • Yet, if she does not set her face against "Gadarening," we are all bound for downhill.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • It was a downhill run, with their hopes rising every moment.

    The Mountain Divide

    Frank H. Spearman

  • If it was downhill to the city it would be uphill coming back.

  • Yes, Gedge,” said Bracy drearily; “it is all downhill now to the end.

    Fix Bay'nets

    George Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for downhill



going or sloping down


towards the bottom of a hill; downwards
go downhill informal to decline; deteriorate


the downward slope of a hill; descent
a competitive event in which skiers are timed in a downhill run
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for downhill

1590s (n.); 1650s (adv.), 1727 (adj.), from down (adv.) + hill. Meaning "a downhill skiing race" is from 1960.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper