stir up a hornet's nest

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest, but if I was a black person and people called me names it would be classed as racist and the offenders could be arrested for it.
I KNOW this may stir up a hornet's nest but I still really admire Rooney.
I knew, when I wrote about my teenage weight problem last week, that I'd stir up a hornet's nest.
Did not most of us learn as children not to stir up a hornet's nest and is that not what the hawks in the Bush administration have done?
The languid Venus is a "demonic phantom," and the children represent "nightmare terrors" (141) who are about to stir up a hornet's nest as they obscenely play with lance and conch shell.
There is no meat on the bones yet and all David Moffett has done is to stir up a hornet's nest.