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In Samurai Gourmet, Kasumi says:

滑り出しは順調だ!

I can see why 滑り出し could mean beginning (imagining myself at the top of a large waterslide) but I'm curious to know if there is any historical context behind this.

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    It sounds similar to me saying 'why does "kickoff" mean "the start of something?'. – kimi Tanaka Mar 11 at 12:34
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I checked two corpora:

According to the former, 滑り出す as an ordinary compound verb ("to start to slide/slip") has been commonly used regardless of the age. But as an idiomatic noun meaning "beginning", its first appearance was in this novel published in 1954.

こゝまでは平次の探索の滑り出しは、極めて快適に行きましたが、それから先は恐ろしい暗礁に乘り上げてしまつたのです。

And the next appearance was in this essay in 1964.

その数日後に領主は、臣下一同に対して、自由にキリシタンとなって好いという許可を与えた。こうして伝道の滑り出しは非常に順調に行った。

Today, 滑り出し is a very common idiom, and BCCWJ has many examples of 滑り出し as an idiomatic noun. So it looks to me like this idiom came into use somewhere in the post-WWII period. This is my wild speculation, but this may have something to do with the first ski boom in the 1950's. 滑り出し is a difficult and important moment in skiing.

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だす with a native verb in the i-form (連用形) means to start doing something.

働【はたら】き出【だ】す = start working.

言【い】い出【だ】す = start talking

I can see why 滑り出し could mean beginning (imagining myself at the top of a large waterslide) but I'm curious to know if there is any historical context behind this.

It seems to me that すべりだす is just another construction along the above lines, something like "get the ball rolling" in English.

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