open up a can of worms

open (up) a can of worms

To initiate, instigate, or reveal a situation that is, will, or is likely to become very complicated, problematic, or have a negative outcome. I worry that trying to tweak the existing system could open up a can of worms that we're not anticipating. The candidate opened a can of worms when he made those inflammatory comments. Now the entire election has been dominated by the topic.
See also: can, of, open, Worms

open up a can of worms

discover or bring to light a complicated matter likely to prove awkward or embarrassing. informal
1998 New Scientist UN officials readily accept that they have opened a can of worms, and their guidelines will only have an effect, they say, if governments act on them.
See also: can, of, open, up, Worms
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