a double-edged sword

double-edged sword

Something that can be both beneficial and problematic. Intelligence is a double-edged sword. Things may come easy to you, but people will always expect more. This meeting is a double-edged sword—it's a great chance to get the firm wider exposure, but we're just not prepared enough for it.
See also: sword

a double-edged sword

or

a two-edged sword

COMMON If something is a double-edged sword or a two-edged sword, it has both an advantage and a disadvantage. The strong yen is a double-edged sword for Japan. It increases the spending power of consumers, but it also raises the costs of exports for manufacturers. Fame is a two-edged sword bringing as many problems as it does privileges.
See also: sword

a double-edged sword (or weapon)

a course of action or situation having both positive and negative effects.
2000 Investor A rising pound is a double-edged sword when investing overseas.
See also: sword
References in classic literature ?
Violent without craftiness, and furious without malice, one may imagine him seated masterfully with a double-edged sword on his knees upon the painted and gilt clouds of the sunset, bowing his shock head of golden locks, a flaming beard over his breast, imposing, colossal, mighty-limbed, with a thundering voice, distended cheeks and fierce blue eyes, urging the speed of his gales.
In his kingly way he has taken but little account of lives sacrificed to his impulsive policy; he is a king with a double-edged sword bared in his right hand.
This is a double-edged sword. A new but hugely important area to be aware of for those businesses who use telephone marketing and also for those being called by them
"Using more and more of our financial aid to offset higher tuition was a double-edged sword," Kirby told a congressional subcommittee.
The tough economy has become a double-edged sword for tenants.
Menem's deputy, Domingo Cavallo, established peso-dollar parity that was the country's saving grace at first but later turned out to be a double-edged sword. Vulnerable to speculation by highly mobile capital, and carrying a negative economic balance, the Argentine economy suffered the pangs of a Mexican-style currency crisis and later surrendered, dragged down by a global economic crisis.
Inflammation is a double-edged sword, notes Michail Sitkovsky of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Md.
The deregulation of financial services gives insurers the freedom to craft new alliances, but the legislation is a double-edged sword. It gives other financial-services providers entree into insurance.
Clearly, attribution is a double-edged sword; depending on the application of permanent establishment and sourcing rules, attribution of an independent contractor's activities to its foreign customers can lead to zero or double taxation.
To many people, using the Internet is like a double-edged sword. It's a rich resource for obtaining information and so much more, but it can also be intimidating for those who are unfamiliar with it.
Observation: The momentary ownership concession is a double-edged sword. The better approach is a multistep transaction in which
But industrial progress is a double-edged sword. Though customer numbers are down after Rover's collapse, my server was grateful her bucket of prepared chipped potatoes had been done by machine.
Tenure is a double-edged sword at many universities: On the one hand, it can ensure high-quality teaching from proven faculty members (and an edge in applications from students wishing to study with well-known instructors).
RUGBY chiefs in North Wales last night greeted Mike Ruddock's promotion to the national coaching job as a double-edged sword.
Sokolow agreed, calling the media coverage surrounding the Internet "a double-edged sword."