be a double-edged sword

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be a double-edged sword

Something that can be both beneficial and problematic. Going back to school was a double-edged sword for Pam. On the one hand, it would widen her career prospects, but, on the other hand, she would be in a lot of debt when she graduated.
See also: sword

be a double-edged ˈsword/ˈweapon

be something that has both advantages and disadvantages: This new ‘miracle diet’ is a double-edged sword — it’ll make you lose weight fast but you may have some unpleasant side effects.
See also: sword, weapon
References in periodicals archive ?
We now realize that stress hormones are a double-edged sword," concludes Meaney.
Nevertheless, the economies of IP are a double-edged sword for a number of Asian incumbents, especially those that profited handsomely from their core basic voice businesses for decades.