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poisoned chalice

Something that initially appears to be good, wholesome, or positive, but is really harmful. Primarily heard in UK. We thought the change in leadership was going to have a positive effect on the organization, but it turned out to be a poisoned chalice.
See also: chalice, poison
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a poisoned chalice

mainly BRITISH
If you describe a job or an opportunity as a poisoned chalice, you mean that it seems at first to be very attractive but in time will probably cause failure or trouble. She claims that the president appointed his former rival only in the belief that he was giving him a poisoned chalice and that he would not last more than a year. The contract may yet prove to be a poisoned chalice. Note: A chalice is an old-fashioned cup or goblet, usually made of metal and shaped like a wine glass.
See also: chalice, poison
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a poisoned chalice

something that is apparently desirable but likely to be damaging to the person to whom it is given.
1998 New Scientist Anyone who discovers a superconductor that works at room temperature may be handing the world a poisoned chalice…the material might be too toxic to be usable.
See also: chalice, poison
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a poisoned ˈchalice

(especially British English) a thing which seems attractive when it is given to somebody but which soon becomes unpleasant: He inherited a poisoned chalice when he took over the job as union leader.
A chalice is a large cup for holding wine.
See also: chalice, poison
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
A SkyTEM airborne EM survey was recently completed over E04/2299 and E04/2325, where Chalice is earning an 85% JV interest.
There was no evidence of the individuals offending during the course of the Operation Chalice.
"We want residents and businesses to share parking with adjacent businesses," said Chalice. "These ultra-efficient buildings will benefit everybody."
However, only a few people are aware that in the cathedral of Valencia the original chalice used by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper has been preserved through the centuries.
The Golden Chalice of Hunahapu is an epic novel of the violent birth of the Americas, an odyssey moving from the pre-Columbian Mayan empire to the splendid Golden Age of Spain then back to the battle for the land and soul of Guatemala.
The early Victorian chalice, made in the Gothic style of Augustus Pugin, is thought to have been made by Hardman & Co of Birmingham.
The chalice, kept in a velvet bag, is said to have been on loan to a sick woman due to its healing powers when it was stolen in Weston-under -Penyard, Herefordshire.
Police Community Support Officer Ben Hopson, from Dewsbury and Mirfield Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "The suspect returns numerous times to steal from the charity/ collection box situated inside the main church and also a silver chalice has been stolen." Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt said: "The Community is such an accessible and open place it's a shame that someone has taken advantage of it in such a despicable manner.
The Spaniards, Margarita Torres and Jose Ortega del Rio, spent three years studying the history of the chalice and last week published a book, 'The Kings of the Grail,' making their case.
That's what happened to author Gene O'Neil, who details his chronicle of spiritual exploration stemming from such an event in An Upraised Chalice, where the author was killed then 'sent back'.
Star Trek The Fall: The Poisoned Chalice is recommended for science fiction fans of Star Trek and tells of a terrorist attack that involves William Riker's return to Earth on emergency orders, where he finds himself drawn into a deadly game of political danger.
And that has created a problem on Sunday mornings--our one little chalice and paten have become too small.
Indeed, doing so in a situation like this is no less bitter than drinking from a poisoned chalice.
Acting Coptic Pope Pachomios, centre, blindfolds the boy elected to draw the name of the next patriarch from a crystal chalice