double-edged sword

double-edged sword

Something that can be both beneficial and problematic. Intelligence is a double-edged sword. Things may come easy to you, but people will always expect more. This meeting is a double-edged sword—it's a great chance to get the firm wider exposure, but we're just not prepared enough for it.
See also: sword
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a double-edged sword


a two-edged sword

COMMON If something is a double-edged sword or a two-edged sword, it has both an advantage and a disadvantage. The strong yen is a double-edged sword for Japan. It increases the spending power of consumers, but it also raises the costs of exports for manufacturers. Fame is a two-edged sword bringing as many problems as it does privileges.
See also: sword
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a double-edged sword (or weapon)

a course of action or situation having both positive and negative effects.
2000 Investor A rising pound is a double-edged sword when investing overseas.
See also: sword
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

double-edged sword

An argument, compliment, or other statement that cuts either way, that is, has a double meaning. “‘Your Delphic sword,’ the panther then replied, ‘is double-edged and cuts on either side,’” wrote John Dryden (The Hind and the Panther, 1686). See also left-handed compliment.
See also: sword
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
Violent without craftiness, and furious without malice, one may imagine him seated masterfully with a double-edged sword on his knees upon the painted and gilt clouds of the sunset, bowing his shock head of golden locks, a flaming beard over his breast, imposing, colossal, mighty-limbed, with a thundering voice, distended cheeks and fierce blue eyes, urging the speed of his gales.
And the royal master of high latitudes sighs mightily, with the sinking sun upon his breast and the double-edged sword upon his knees, as if wearied by the innumerable centuries of a strenuous rule and saddened by the unchangeable aspect of the ocean under his feet - by the endless vista of future ages where the work of sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind shall go on and on till his realm of living waters becomes a frozen and motionless ocean.
In his kingly way he has taken but little account of lives sacrificed to his impulsive policy; he is a king with a double-edged sword bared in his right hand.
BANK of England director Alex Brazier warned yesterday that suspending funds can be a "double-edged sword", with the threat prompting investors to rush to the front of the redemption queue.
The successful launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 has been a "double-edged sword" in the minds of some investors who are excited about the potential for the game, but anxious that it will steal time/wallet share from GTA Online, Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson tells investors in a research note.
His weapon forms include long staff, broadsword, chain whip, double-edged sword, and spear.
Thus, the author illustrates how neighborhood politics, everyday interactions with the police, and conservative Black gender ideologies shape the men's ability to make good and forgive themselves--and how the double-edged sword of community shapes the work of redemption.
Protectionism is a double-edged sword that will harm both sides, China's foreign ministry said on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump signed into law a steep tariff on imported solarpanels.
SURVIVORS of the Aberfan disaster said the tragedy's anniversary was something of a double-edged sword 50 years to the day a mountain of liquefied coal crashed into Pantglas Junior School killing 116 children and 28 adults.
Pistorius may give evidence in a bid to reduce the sentence but lawyers warn this could be a "double-edged sword" if he still refuses to admit his guilt.
JORDAN Stewart believes the in-flux of world stars in Major League Soccer is a 'double-edged sword' and doesn't want the increasingly popular league to emulate the Premier League by failing to provide a platform for homegrown youngsters to develop.
Baghdad curfew suspension is double-edged sword for citizens
But he warned that the support of the crowd could be a "double-edged sword" because of the extra pressure it places on competitors.
An analyst said, 'It is a double-edged sword. The growth potential on the mainland remains an attraction for Hong Kong banks ...
I think I was born 50 years of age and out of my time" Poirot actor David Suchet "Internet safety is the road safety of our generation" TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding, admitting that the online world is "a double-edged sword" for youngsters "Pipe down, you gnarled old fool" TV's Piers Morgan shows that the feud between him and Jeremy Clarkson is still very much alive