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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

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Golden Chalice is just one of a group of companies operating under the Hughes Exploration Group umbrella, overseen by legendary prospector Richard Hughes, one of the Co-founders of the Hemlo deposit.
Their study revealed that such species as Mycobacterium avium, Bacillus, Micrococcus, Neisseria, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus could survive on a silver chalice as well as in the consecrated wine.
Mary Stapleton assisted with the chalice and the organist was Jean Cheeseman.
According to the contract, SFECO will pay Chalice USD80m in cash for Chalice's share of the mineral resource at the Koka gold deposit.
It becomes apparent that Chalice and Brown are waiting for Mr Grim to arrive so he can finalise the details of the young boy's death.
Bernard's, said he discovered seven chalices, five ciborium and two candelabras missing Saturday morning.
Detectives in Northumberland released the picture of the chalice, which is worth around pounds 900 but is irreplaceable.
Anglicans use fermented (alcoholic) wine and the chalice is wiped after each communicant has taken wine from it.
Catholic leaders had for several centuries been ratifying new Eucharist traditions--the altar rail and reserving the chalice for the priest alone are examples.
SPECIAL DAY: The Bishop to the Armed Forces, and Dean of Windsor, The Rt Rev David Conner, chats with the Rev Geoff Smith, chief executive of Toc H (centre) and John Bolton, a member of Toc H in Zimbabwe, and (below) Anne Fletcher presents Mr Smith with the communion chalice
Described as an artefact of huge historical significance this Nazi chalice once belonged to Hitler's deputy Herman Goering and has an estimated value of pounds 2m.
A Nazi chalice thought to have belonged to Hermann Goering may be auctioned -possibly for more than pounds 1 million -following a series of legal battles, a court has decided.
But it is a bit of a poisoned chalice at the moment.
The vessel, perhaps a chalice or urn, is delicately painted in ochre, blue, white, and gold, and accented with feathery strokes.
is the immediate question after watching a moment of Graham holding the chalice in Deaths and Entrances.