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Related to hornet: hornet sting
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hornet's nest

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.
See also: hornet, mad

(as) mad as a hornet

Enraged; extremely or inconsolably angry. My dad was mad as a hornet after I crashed his car. You make me as mad as a hornet with the way you carry on sometimes, you know that?
See also: hornet, mad

stir up a hornet's nest

1. To create, provoke, or trigger a dangerous, troublesome, or complicated situation. The government's military interventions really just stirred up a hornet's nest in the region.
2. To provoke or instigate a lot of very angry or offended reactions. The politician's off-the-cuff remark about pollution stirred up a hornet's nest among environmentalists.
See also: nest, stir, up

*mad as a hornet

 and *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.
See also: hornet, mad

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.
See also: nest, stir, up

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.
See also: hornet, mad

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.
See also: nest, stir, up

stir up a hornet's nest

If you stir up a hornet's nest, you do something that makes a lot of people very upset and angry. He has been asking a lot of questions and stirring up a hornet's nest around town. I seem to have stirred up a hornet's nest with my article about the teaching of Shakespeare in schools. Note: Sometimes people just talk about a hornet's nest. It's not that companies are unaware of illegal software. It's more that they are scared of uncovering a hornet's nest — they would simply rather not know. Wasserman had no idea what a hornet's nest he was stepping into. Note: A hornet is a large wasp with a powerful sting.
See also: nest, stir, up

mad as a hornet

If you are as mad as a hornet, you are extremely angry. I'll bet he's as mad as a hornet about this whole affair. Note: A hornet is a large wasp.
See also: hornet, mad

a hornets' nest

a situation fraught with trouble, opposition, or complications.
1992 New Scientist The notion of these ‘life patents’ has opened up a hornets' nest of moral, legal, social and scientific concerns.
See also: nest

a ˈhornet’s nest

a lot of trouble: When Charles got the manager’s job, it stirred up a real hornet’s nest, because everyone was angry about his fast promotion.
A hornet is a large wasp that has a very powerful sting.
See also: nest
References in periodicals archive ?
No further live Asian hornets have been seen since the nest was treated with pesticide and removed earlier this month.
Asian hornets are thought to have been inadvertently imported to France in 2004 in a shipment of pottery from China.
Under SLM, the Super Hornet will receive capability upgrades meant to counter future threats that they may not have gotten in a SLEP, along with life-extending modification "kits.
We were very close to the F-35 program and so we had great relationships and understanding with the US Air Force in that environment, and of course with the US Navy through the Classic Hornet ownership experience.
Nicola Spence, from Defra, said: "I am pleased our well-established protocol to eradicate Asian hornets has worked so effectively.
A Liverpool insect expert warned the hornets could colonise Britain if we have a mild winter this year.
Paper wasps especially tend to nest in high traffic areas such as under pavilion roofs or garage eaves, although hornet nests have appeared in brush beside garden paths and under porches.
The European hornet which has been spotted in South Wales
Mr Gellatly advised those who think they have an Asian hornet in their home to catch it as safely as possible, before killing it by freezing it, and sending it to the National Bee Unit for identification.
WITH the invasion of the European hornets on our doorsteps, here are seven handy tips to help you identify and avoid them.
The invading insect - thought to be an Asian giant hornet - began dive bombing 74-year-old Peter Wilkinson while he was repairing the roof of his shed.
17 Ackley Hornet chambers, but due to the shorter neck the little bullet would have to jump considerably to the lands, probably enough to affect accuracy.
A DEADLY breed of hornet is threatening Britain's bees.
The Navy's procurement of the Super Hornet has slowed, with no new purchases of the aircraft in the works.
Through a new partnership with online marketing firm Prospect Genius, Tomball-based company Hornet Appliance Services is working to boost its Web visibility and accessibility.