hornet(redirected from Hornets)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
1. A dangerous, complicated situation. If we do invade, I fear that we will find ourselves in a real hornet's nest.
2. A situation that produces angry reactions. The politician's off-the-cuff remark about pollution stirred up a hornet's nest among environmentalists.
See also: nest
be as mad as a hornet
To be very angry. Primarily heard in US. Mom was as mad as a hornet after I dented her brand-new car.
*mad as a hornetand *mad as a wet hen; *mad as hell
very angry. (*Also: as ~. Use hell with caution.) You make me so angry. I'm as mad as a hornet. What you said made Mary mad as a wet hen. Those terrorists make me mad as hell.
stir someone up
Fig. to get someone excited; to get someone angry. (Fig. on stir something up.) The march music really stirred the audience up. The march stirred up the audience.
stir something up
1. Lit. to mix something by stirring. Please stir the pancake batter up before you use it. Please stir up the batter.
2. Fig. to cause trouble. Why are you always trying to stir trouble up? Are you stirring up trouble again?
stir up a hornet's nest
Fig. to create a lot of trouble. (Fig. on stir something up .) If you say that to her, you will be stirring up a hornet's nest. There is no need to stir up a hornet's nest.
stir up somebody/somethingalso stir up a hornet's nest
to cause a situation that upsets many people One official claimed that foreign activists were stirring up trouble. The threat of censorship stirred up a hornet's nest of criticism on the Internet.
a hornet's nest
a situation or subject which causes a lot of people to become angry and upset
Usage notes: A hornet is a large insect that stings people badly.His remarks on the role of women have stirred up a hornet's nest amongst feminists. Animal cloning is a real hornet's nest.
See also: nest
be as mad as a hornet(American)
to be very angry
Usage notes: A hornet is a large insect which stings people.He was as mad as a hornet when he heard what she said about him.
mad as a hornet
Also, mad as hell or hops or a wet hen . Very angry, enraged as in Mary was mad as a hornet when her purse was stolen, or Upset? Dan was mad as hell, or The teacher was mad as a wet hen. The use of mad for "angry" dates from about 1300, but these similes are of much more recent vintage (1800s, early 1900s). The allusions to a hornet, which can launch a fierce attack, and hell, with its furious fires, are more obvious than the other variants. Mad as hops was first recorded in 1884 and is thought to have been the writer's version of hopping mad; mad as a wet hen, first recorded in 1823, is puzzling, since hens don't really mind water.
1. Mix together the ingredients or parts, as in He stirred up some pancake batter, or Will you stir up the fire? [Mid-1300s]
2. Rouse to action, incite, provoke, as in He's always stirring up trouble among the campers, or If the strikers aren't careful they'll stir up a riot. [First half of 1500s] Also see stir up a hornets' nest.
stir up a hornets' nest
Make trouble, cause a commotion, as in Asking for an audit of the treasurer's books stirred up a hornets' nest in the association. This metaphoric term, likening hornets to angry humans, dates from the first half of the 1700s.
1. To mix something before cooking or use: You must stir up the concrete thoroughly before you start paving the path. I poured the batter into a bowl and stirred it up vigorously.
2. To churn or agitate something into a state of turbulence: The storm stirred up the normally placid lake. The wind stirs the leaves up.
3. To cause something to form by churning or agitating: The truck zoomed off, stirring a cloud of dust up behind it. I stirred up a batch of concrete in the mixer and got to work paving the driveway.
4. To rouse the emotions of someone or something; excite someone or something: The protesters hope to stir up the public through this demonstration. The teacher stirred the students up when she threatened to give them more work.
5. To summon some collective emotion or sentiment by exciting a group of people: The court's verdict was certain to stir up controversy. The tourism board is trying to stir up interest in the city.
6. To evoke some mental image or remembrance: That old picture stirs up many memories for me.