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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

stir up a hornets' nest, to

To provoke a quarrel or foment trouble. The analogy appears in the Roman playwright Plautus’s Amphitruo (ca. 200 b.c.), in which Sosia tells Amphitryon not to get in trouble by quarreling with his wife. It is cited by Erasmus in his collection of adages and repeated by Rabelais in Pantagruel. In English it appears from the eighteenth century on and remains current.
See also: stir, up
References in periodicals archive ?
To select the Super Hornet or even the F-35 as gap fillers virtually assures the selection of the same aircraft to be the fleet replacement choice in due course.
Rockets: Outscored the Hornets 29-16 in the second quarter and held the Hornets to 4 of 22 shooting from the field.
Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said: I am pleased our well-established protocol to contain Asian hornets has worked so effectively in Devon.
Asian hornets are thought to have been inadvertently imported to France in 2004 in a shipment of pottery from China.
Even if we have managed to successfully control this first invasion,' comments Professor Matt Keeling, Director of the Zeeman Institute for Systems Biology & Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research (SBIDER) at the University of Warwick, 'the presence of a growing population of these hornets in Northern Europe makes future invasions inevitable.
Full SLEP kits will not be available until fiscal 2023; in the meantime, the Super Hornets that reach 6,000 flight hours will require a Service Life Extension Authorization (SLEA), which permits the aircraft to fly up to 7,500 hours before requiring a full SLEP kit.
From an air-to-air point of view, both of our crews wear JHMCS in the Super Hornets, so they've both got queuing, that's a great tool for air-to-ground coordination and the handing off of targets and the integration of that with the aircraft is a significant benefit.
Defra said that it was possible that Asian hornets could reappear in England next year and members of the public are urged to report any suspected sightings in the spring.
An Asian hornet outbreak in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire has been contained, say Defra David Crossley/Defra
But an Asian giant hornet nest was discovered in Gloucestershire on Tuesday - the first such discovery on British soil.
It is thought that because another, safer, species of hornet already lives in many Welsh areas the deadly Asian hornets could thrive here, too.
1 Adult queen hornets range in size between 2 and 3.
The hornets caused the deaths of six people in France through anaphylactic shock.
Boeing's F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets have been the dominant fighter jet on aircraft carriers for more than 30 years, hut the landscape will change in the next decade as Lockheed Martin's F-35 begins to push out the legacy aircraft.