an accident/a disaster waiting to happen

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an accident waiting to happen

A person, thing, or situation that appears to be imminently dangerous or troublesome. Often but not always used somewhat humorously. Don't leave that ladder in the middle of the yard, it's just an accident waiting to happen! My toddler is starting to walk now, and she is just an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

an accident waiting to happen

COMMON
1. If you describe a situation or activity as an accident waiting to happen, you mean that they are likely to be a cause of danger in the future. A lot of the city's buildings are accidents waiting to happen. The sudden explosion of a real bullet on stage during the play was an accident waiting to happen.
2. If you describe a person as an accident waiting to happen, you mean that they are likely to cause trouble or have bad problems. He was getting a reputation for being wild — an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

an accident waiting to happen

1 a potentially disastrous situation, usually caused by negligent or faulty procedures. 2 a person certain to cause trouble.
1 1997 Times Accidents are often said to be ‘waiting to happen’. It does not take much imagination to see that the chaotic start to the Whitbread round-the-world race…could easily have ended in tragedy.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

an ˌaccident/a diˌsaster waiting to ˈhappen

a thing or person that is very likely to cause danger or a problem in the future because of the condition it is in or the way they behave: For many months local residents had been complaining that the building was unsafe, and that it was an accident waiting to happen.
References in periodicals archive ?
In this week's edition of the Trib+Water newsletter: Some scientists fear a disaster waiting to happen when Houston's perfect storm comes, Mexico pays back water debt to U.S.
This is a disaster waiting to happen. These drivers are putting pupils' lives at risk.
"This was a disaster waiting to happen," said Prof Ferner.
"This was a disaster waiting to happen. Until this, I was not aware people could die from Amphotericin.
I said then the move was a disaster waiting to happen. As I understand the situation, some notes are already in storage in Derbyshire, some in Nottinghamshire and some remain in Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital for a few more weeks.
Gradually, they realize the project is a disaster waiting to happen, and become determined to get out at least one step ahead of the sheriff: "Send me anywhere, I'll go to Butte!"
A disaster waiting to happen. Adam cell-phones me, ready to leave.
``The fact is that it was a disaster waiting to happen. I know lads who were at Hillsborough the year before and they told me it was a miracle no- one had been hurt then because it was so overcrowded.
Organized Fishermen of Florida spokesman Jerry Sansom, who has tracked manatee issues for years, told the Orlando Sentinel, "It's a disaster waiting to happen." Five manatees died of cold stress when a Jacksonville plant shut down a couple of years ago.
The butcher's shop at the centre of the world's worst E Coli outbreak was "a disaster waiting to happen", an inquiry was told yesterday.
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