be a double-edged sword

be a double-edged sword

To be something that can be both beneficial and problematic. Going back to school was a double-edged sword for Pam. On the one hand, it widened her career prospects, but, on the other hand, she was 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 ?
Ahead of the final episode of his Killer Women documentary series tomorrow on ITV, Piers said: "Susanna has recently read all my books and that can be a double-edged sword.
A reader who asked that he not be named pointed out that press freedom can sometimes be a double-edged sword.
The omnipresence of brilliant outsiders, however, can be a double-edged sword, contriving to marginalise native talent.
Wide-open spaces can be a double-edged sword, however, and this production might have benefited from a greater sense of claustrophobia, of people trapped on the ground floor when they want to scale the heavens.
NEWCASTLE manager Graeme Souness will welcome back his pounds 32m strikeforce of Alan Shearer and Michael Owen back at Everton tomorrow, admitting their return could be a double-edged sword.
Intensity can be a double-edged sword,'' Scioscia said.