What Does Hit the Skids Mean?

Hit the Skids Meaning

Definition: To decline or deteriorate; to become poor or enter a bad state.

A similar phrase is on the skids.

Origin of Hit the Skids

This expression developed around the early 1900s from the meaning of skid. A skid is a log or something similar that people use to help move something heavy. In the logging era, loggers would make “skidways” to more easily move logs and trees down hills. Usually, many skids were laid together so that the heavy items could roll or slide over the top of them.

Skids were common in places that cut down trees for timber. They helped move the cut trees downhill. It is this downhill motion that gave the expression the connotation of going into decline. Going downhill is a synonym for something that is getting worse and worse.

Apparently, it is also where we get the term skid row, which is now a term for a place of degeneracy. A common theory is that the original “skid row” was an area in Seattle, which was frequented by loggers of the era. These people came to spend their money on alcohol and woman.

Examples of Hit the Skids

define hit the skids Two friends are discussing their high school love lives.

Dan: Kira, how are things going with you and that guy you’re dating?

Kira: Not so great. The relationship has really hit the skids. Things were great at first, but then I learned that he has totally opposite political opinions from me. We argue all the time.

Dan: That’s too bad. Maybe things will get better.

Kira: Maybe, but if things keep going downhill I’ll have to end the relationship.

what does on the skids mean The following example involves two women discussing all the problems they are having with their church fundraiser.

Gertrude: We should have raised our target amount by now. I don’t know why are fundraiser isn’t working.

Ruby: It was going really well at the beginning. But then Carla got sick, so her friends Judy and Stella decided to drop out. That’s when the fundraiser really hit the skids. Without the most capable people working on it, the people remaining just didn’t have the skills to get the job done.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a TV show that declined in popularity, and lost advertisers.

  • The Duggars show is not the first TLC reality series to hit the skids: The network also cancelled popular Here Comes Honey Boo Boo last year after it came out that the family matriarch was allegedly dating a child molester. –USA Today

This excerpt is about two men who bought a car dealership right before the auto industry went into decline.

  • In 2007, as the U.S. auto industry was about to hit the skids, Georgia dealers Brian Logun and Frank Jackson made a gamble on an Atlanta Ford dealership that would pay off big. –Wall Street Journal


The idiom hit the skids is an expression to describe something that has gotten bad and is getting worse.