a powder keg

powder keg

A situation that could quickly become very volatile and dangerous. It became obvious we were sitting on a powder keg as the protests in the city became more frequent.
See also: keg, powder

a powder keg

A powder keg is a very dangerous situation or place in which something very bad could happen at any time. His imprisonment is a political powder keg. The region has long been regarded as the powder keg of Europe. Note: You can say that someone is sitting on a powder keg if they are in a very dangerous situation. The Prime Minister was all too aware that he was sitting on a powder keg which could explode at any moment. Note: A powder keg was a small barrel which was used to store gunpowder.
See also: keg, powder
References in periodicals archive ?
There needs to be a full review of what is going on and going wrong inside Carstairs and the demands for the government to get a grip cannot be ignored while staff are sitting on what could be a powder keg situation
The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania split off, as did Ukraine, which led to the modern confusion in today's eastern Ukraine and is a powder keg for peace in Europe.
Some men think she's a monster, others a savior, but whatever side they take in a world without women, Dooling is transformed into a powder keg.
"There are so many entrances that it's like a powder keg. The safety of supporters should come first.
France has grown frustrated over the absence of movement toward a two-state solution since the collapse of the last round of talks in April 2014, arguing that letting the status quo prevail is like "waiting for a powder keg to explode".
Western leaders must accept that their ancestors' desire to create empires must be looked at and the larger ethnic groups in these artificial states must accept they are sitting on a powder keg.
It's a fact that the region is sitting on a powder keg, with rhetoric and polarization having reached levels not seen since the 1950s.
ISLAMABAD -- The veteran Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani Monday said that India considers Jammu and Kashmir as a colony of imperial era and is pursuing a dangerous policy of converting the entire territory into a powder keg.
Lebanon is undoubtedly sitting on a powder keg. Daesh only makes its moves (in the Middle East) in countries with a weak or no political system.
THE prison service is "a powder keg" and it's only a matter of time before staff are seriously hurt, an MP has warned.
An official quoted the report as saying the current situation in Pakistan is a powder keg that could ignite widespread polio transmission.
The civilian side [of the drone industry] is a powder keg waiting to explode, and we're just waiting for the FAA to light the fuse." Thu, Apr 10, 2014 AirGuideBusiness ISSN 1939-666X
God knows, it's just a powder keg, isn't it?" Plaid Cymru had joined Labour, the Green party and the SNP in signing a Commons motion - due to be debated today - calling on the UK Government to take part in a UNHCR refugee programme.
The days following the crime saw this city as a powder keg of possible major civil disorder.