Did any writers of antiquity use a saying or phrase that has an equivalent meaning to "one thing leads to another" in English? I'm looking for the more general meaning in that one action will inevitably lead to another, and the subsequent action then leads to yet another, and so on ad infinitum.

I'd also be interested to know other meanings that might be inferred from the phrase. In English, the phrase can sometimes mean that an action could lead to a sexual encounter, for example.

  • 2
    FWIW, there is a nice expression from Terence Fallacia alia aliam trudit - which is basically the same but about lies.
    – d_e
    Sep 6, 2022 at 9:46
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    @d_e … and easily adopted for other purposes. Sep 7, 2022 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is: alius ex alio. See Lewis & Short entry on alius. For example,

verum, ut aliud ex alio incidit

Terrence, Heautontimorumenos, line 598

...sed, ut aliud ex alio, mihi non est dubium, quin...

Cic. Att. 16, 14

Note that there are more colloquial ways to say it. For example, there is the idiom a verbis ad verbera (from words to blows).

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