Snowball effect

From Academic Kids

Snowball effect is a figurative term for a process that starts from an initial state of small significance and builds upon itself, becoming larger (graver, more serious), and perhaps potentially dangerous or disastrous (a vicious circle, a "spiral of decline"), though it might be beneficial instead (a virtuous circle).

The common analogy is with the rolling of a small ball of snow down a snow-covered hillside; under specific conditions of moisture content and temperature the ball will pick up more snow as it rolls, gaining more mass and surface area, and picking up even more snow as it rolls along. This is a very common cliché in cartoons.

See also

it:Effetto valanga

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