keg

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powder keg

A situation that could quickly become very volatile and dangerous. It became obvious we were sitting on a powder keg as the protests in the city became more frequent.
See also: keg, powder

sitting on a powder keg

Fig. in a risky or explosive situation; in a situation where something serious or dangerous may happen at any time. (A powder keg is a keg of gunpowder.) Things are very tense at work. The whole office is sitting on a powder keg. The fire at the oilfield seems to be under control for now, but all the workers there are sitting on a powder keg.
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting

a powder keg

a situation that could suddenly become extremely dangerous
Usage notes: A powder keg was a wooden container for gunpowder (= a substance used for making explosions).
We left just before the revolution, realizing that we were sitting on a powder keg.
See also: keg, powder

sitting on a powder keg

In imminent danger, in an explosive situation, as in Our office is sitting on a powder keg while management decides whether or not to close us down . This metaphoric term alludes to sitting on a keg of gunpowder that could go off at any moment. [First half of 1900s]
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting

keg

n. a beer belly. If you didn’t drink so much beer, you wouldn’t have such a keg.

keg party

n. a party where liquor, especially beer, is served. The keg party ended early owing to the arrival of uninvited nabs.
See also: keg, party

sitting on a powder keg

In imminent danger. This phrase that arose in the early 19th century (if not before) suggests being atop a barrel of gunpowder that could explode at any time.
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting
References in periodicals archive ?
The Federation will be creating around 10 jobs after winning the kegging contract and it is hoped some of the 26 workers from the Tyne Brewery may find work there.
Dave Rutherford, manufacturing director at Scottish Courage, said: "Over the last few months, it has become apparent that our kegging operation at Tyne was becoming less viable.
Bottles and cans can be a thing of the past thanks to Keg Outlet and their array of kegging supplies and equipment.
Based on some of our initial market research, we discovered a very enthusiastic marketplace eager for a convenient source for home kegging supplies," said Cary Hanson.
Most microbreweries start their packaging operations with only a kegging line.
Total capital investments in 1994 of $2,250,000 will include stainless steel, straight-wall kegs and an automated kegging system.