can of worms


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Related to can of worms: open a can of worms

can of worms

A situation that, once started, is likely to become problematic or have a negative outcome. Getting involved in the minor border conflict has become a can of worms for the country, with no end to the military engagement in sight. You can try reformatting your computer, but once you open that can of worms, you'll probably be working on it for days.
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*can of worms

Fig. a very difficult issue or set of problems; an array of difficulties. (*Typically: be ~; Open ~.) This political scandal is a real can of worms. Let's not open that can of worms!
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can of worms

A complex unexpected problem or unsolvable dilemma, as in Tackling the budget cuts is sure to open a can of worms. This expression alludes to a container of bait used for fishing, which when opened reveals an inextricable tangle of worms. [1920s]
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can of worms

n. an intertwined set of problems; an array of difficulties. (Often with open.) When you brought that up, you opened a whole new can of worms.
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can of worms

A complex or difficult problem.
See also: can, of, Worms
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