(idiomatic) To a bad state of affairs quickly.
I watched as the guy in charge did nothing and the whole place went to hell in a handbasket.
Origin of to-hell-in-a-handbasket
- This term dates back to at least 1941, but its origins, albeit scarce in documentation, date back even further to 1913 with the term to heaven in a handbasket or to heaven in a wheelbarrow. Even more abstract references date back to 1714 with a text reading, "Govr said he would give his head in a Handbasket as soon as he would pass it."