Definition of Going Down a Rathole

A discussion that goes on and on without ever reaching a conclusion. It is a term often used in business meetings, and it describes a discussion that is unproductive and goes off into tangents that are unrelated to the original topic. Rat hole conversations can be caused by a lack of focus on the part of participants, as well as a lack of preparation, which can lead to a lack of direction.

Example: The manager was concerned the conversation going down a rathole, so redirected the conversation to the next agenda item for the meeting.

Variations: going into a rathole

Usage of "Going Down a Rathole" by Country

Business English is used in many different countries around the world. Some of the words and phrases listed on this site will be understood everywhere Business English is used, but some words and phrases are only used in specific countries. The map below shows where "Going Down a Rathole" is most commonly used.

Word Usage Map

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"Going Down a Rathole" is in the top 30% most popular words looked up on this site.

"Going Down a Rathole" is used in the workplace during meetings or emails.

The definition for "Going Down a Rathole" was last updated in 2023.

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Business English Quiz

Question: What does "Calendar Invite" mean?

   (A) When a person wants to meet with you next week.
   (B) An email sent to schedule a meeting with the option to either accept or decline the meeting at the scheduled time.
   (C) When a person has available time on their calendar to meet with you.
   (D) When a person does not have any time to meet with you.

Answer: Find out the right answer here.

About This Site

Jargonism is a Business English dictionary. You can learn about words and phrases that are commonly used in the workplace like Circle Back, Thought Leader, and Offsite. We also have a Word of the Day, which is a daily Business English vocabulary word that is commonly used in the workplace.

On this site, we also have templates on how to communicate effectively at work, such as requesting PTO, declining a promotion, and taking a sick day.

Word of the Day

Date: 04/24/2024

Word: Close It Out

Definition: To mark something as completed.

Example: This task has been fixed, so let's close it out within the task tracker.

Cite This Page

"Going Down a Rathole." Dictionary, Accessed 04/24/2024.