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poisoned chalice

Something that initially appears to be good, wholesome, or positive, but is really harmful. Primarily heard in UK. We thought the change in leadership was going to have a positive effect on the organization, but it turned out to be a poisoned chalice.
See also: chalice, poison

a poisoned chalice

mainly BRITISH
If you describe a job or an opportunity as a poisoned chalice, you mean that it seems at first to be very attractive but in time will probably cause failure or trouble. She claims that the president appointed his former rival only in the belief that he was giving him a poisoned chalice and that he would not last more than a year. The contract may yet prove to be a poisoned chalice. Note: A chalice is an old-fashioned cup or goblet, usually made of metal and shaped like a wine glass.
See also: chalice, poison

a poisoned chalice

something that is apparently desirable but likely to be damaging to the person to whom it is given.
1998 New Scientist Anyone who discovers a superconductor that works at room temperature may be handing the world a poisoned chalice…the material might be too toxic to be usable.
See also: chalice, poison

a poisoned ˈchalice

(especially British English) a thing which seems attractive when it is given to somebody but which soon becomes unpleasant: He inherited a poisoned chalice when he took over the job as union leader.
A chalice is a large cup for holding wine.
See also: chalice, poison
References in periodicals archive ?
The chalice is inscribed 'In memory of the great time 7.
In 1979 he handed the chalice to Derick Smith, 52, also from Sunderland.
Mullinahone Parish Priest Fr John Mc Grath said: "Losing the chalice of historical value is the thing that hurts the most.
Juan Delgado, Managing Director Americas at PERFORM added: "There is no doubting the way fans are now accessing sports content is changing and our partnership with Silver Chalice to deliver the SEASON network is perfectly positioned to optimize the opportunities of this change.
Ray Thompson led prayers and assisted with the chalice.
Fr Pat McManus was praying after mass when the attacker grabbed the chalice from the tabernacle in St Gabriel's Church in Clontarf, Dublin.
City equalities chief Alan Rudge was presented with the chalice in recognition of his assistance in organising the landmark visit on behalf of the city council.
Inside the grave, archaeologists found a chalice next to the skeleton; it was still standing where it had been placed almost 600 years earlier.
But the job he left behind is no poisoned chalice - as one former manager Kenny Dalglish has said himself today.
The magnificent chalice and paten discovered at Cymer Abbey Picture: THE ROYAL COLLECTION, copyright 2007, HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
The antique's owner, Derick Smith, was given the chalice by a British soldier who found it in Hermann Goering's home after WWII.
A minister brought this fermentum to each place later, where the priest would drop it into the chalice to be swallowed--and most everyone drank from the cup in those days.
Tote Trifecta Stakes betting --William Hill: 7-1 South Atlantic, 8-1 Quito, Royal Millennium, 10-1 Desert Opal, Fremen, Lafi, Little Good Bay, 12-1 One More Round, 16-1 Hurricane Floyd, Tychy, 20-1 Attach , Camberley, Camp Commander, Craiova, Golden Chalice, Digital, Mine, Native Title, 25-1 bar.
GOLDEN CHALICE, a fine third on his seasonal debut, can capture the Sony Victoria Cup at Ascot tomorrow for rookie trainer Andrew Balding.
HUNDREDS of pilgrims are expected today at the spot in Co Tipperary where the world-famous Derrynaflan Chalice was found.