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 ?
The Tebing Tinggi assemblyman said the decision by the Senators may be a double-edged sword for them.
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.
When I first saw the site, I was tempted to pick up the gauntlet and invite readers to answer the question which headlines his now defunct poll - but this could prove to be a double-edged sword.
ENGLAND'S ruthless dispatching of West Indies by an innings and 283 runs at Headingley yesterday, proved to be a double-edged sword for Sporting.
A reader who asked that he not be named pointed out that press freedom can sometimes be a double-edged sword. He wrote: "I am particularly fond of student reporters and give them an interview whenever asked.
It also, however, has the potential to be a double-edged sword.
The omnipresence of brilliant outsiders, however, can be a double-edged sword, contriving to marginalise native talent.
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.
(The current retirement ages are 52 for men and 45 for women.) This could be a double-edged sword for the tenured dancers (approximately 300 of them) in the seven Italian opera house companies.
The taxpayer victories, however, have turned out to be a double-edged sword, because taxpayers and their advisers have gotten increasingly careless about following the proper creation and administration procedures for FLPs.
Although activist Malcolm X called Bunche "a black man who didn't know his history," he was nobody's fool, for he knew the advent of integrationist politics could be a double-edged sword. He foresaw that there would be a price for the progress of the race.
These effects could be a double-edged sword in the presence of carcinogens, says molecular biologist Michael Karin.
Another, for Ohio congressional candidate Jane Mitakides, implores Web surfers to "Help Jane help John Kerry!" But blogs can be a double-edged sword: After a post on Daily Kos expressed indifference to the deaths of American contractors in Iraq, many candidates hurriedly pulled their ads from the site.
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.