be a double-edged sword

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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 ?
Schoen takes the history of North Carolina's eugenic sterilization program between 1929 and 1975 and puts it into a national and global context, showing that at home and abroad, contraceptive technology has been a double-edged sword, permitting women unprecedented ability to control their own fertility white at the same time allowing governments to coerce and control whole populations.
Accounting reforms, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, have been a double-edged sword for these professionals, however, increasing demand for their services but also adding considerably to their workloads.
FRANCE striker Thierry Henry has hit back at his critics and claimed that his rise to prominence has been a double-edged sword.