a poisoned chalice

poisoned chalice

Something that initially appears to be good, wholesome, or positive, but is really harmful. Primarily heard in UK. We thought the change in leadership was going to have a positive effect on the organization, but it turned out to be a poisoned chalice.
See also: chalice, poison

a poisoned chalice

mainly BRITISH
If you describe a job or an opportunity as a poisoned chalice, you mean that it seems at first to be very attractive but in time will probably cause failure or trouble. She claims that the president appointed his former rival only in the belief that he was giving him a poisoned chalice and that he would not last more than a year. The contract may yet prove to be a poisoned chalice. Note: A chalice is an old-fashioned cup or goblet, usually made of metal and shaped like a wine glass.
See also: chalice, poison

a poisoned chalice

something that is apparently desirable but likely to be damaging to the person to whom it is given.
1998 New Scientist Anyone who discovers a superconductor that works at room temperature may be handing the world a poisoned chalice…the material might be too toxic to be usable.
See also: chalice, poison

a poisoned ˈchalice

(especially British English) a thing which seems attractive when it is given to somebody but which soon becomes unpleasant: He inherited a poisoned chalice when he took over the job as union leader.
A chalice is a large cup for holding wine.
See also: chalice, poison
References in periodicals archive ?
"Any sympathy for her being handed a poisoned chalice when it comes to Brexit is misplaced" Her plaintive parting call for others to afford her successor more compromise rang hollow to those who blame her own intransigence for this crisis.
Mrs May was handed a poisoned chalice when entering number 10 - a potion the lady has supped well.
It seems the deputy post is a poisoned chalice with a number of senior members of the party declining to throw their hat into the ring.
Moss was appointed to a poisoned chalice when it comes to Chelsea - not the easiest team to control."
The Hartlepool job is a poisoned chalice and any manager would come to the same sticky end.
AIDEN McGeady has admitted the job of Republic of Ireland manager has become "a poisoned chalice".
It has been said the Hearts job is a poisoned chalice.
The attempts largely failed making the job of CEO of HP a poisoned chalice that few managers would want to tarnish their careers with.
The 39-year-old archaeological consultant said: "It's a bit of a poisoned chalice the England job especially at the minute.
* SIR - Regarding the offer of head coach of the British and Irish Lions to current Wales head coach, Warren Gatland, it is my view that this role would be a poisoned chalice for Mr Gatland.
Incidentally, do we still have to put up with managers saying that they'd rather not win the Manager of the Month award because it is a poisoned chalice? I really hope not, because that nonsense lasted about a decade.
"To say we will inherit a poisoned chalice if we win the general election is putting it mildly.
THE Fat Controller's plan to take cabinet meetings on tour - a gimmick stolen from Scottish first minister Alex Salmond who has already dragged his minions toDumfries, giving new meaning to the phrase Edinburgh Fringe - is a last desperate attempt to swap a poisoned chalice for a china tea service.