double-edged sword

double edged sword

Something that can be both positive and negative. 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: double, edge, sword

double-edged sword

Something that can be both beneficial and problematic. Going back to school was a double-edged sword for Pam. On the one hand, it would widen her career prospects, but, on the other hand, she would be in a lot of debt when she graduated.
See also: sword

a double-edged sword

or

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

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
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.
Wide-open spaces can be a double-edged sword, however, and this production might have benefited from a greater sense of claustrophobia, of people trapped on the ground floor when they want to scale the heavens.
As homes have become more energy efficient they have become a double-edged sword for people with allergies to mold.
Using more and more of our financial aid to offset higher tuition was a double-edged sword," Kirby told a congressional subcommittee.
Inflammation is a double-edged sword, notes Michail Sitkovsky of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Md.
This double-edged sword hangs over HBO's "Private Dicks: Men Exposed," the latest episode of the pay-cable channel's America Undercover series.
These downsides represent the double-edged sword of his subtitle.
Observation: The momentary ownership concession is a double-edged sword.
THE slump in new car sales has proved a double-edged sword for dealership Lookers.
Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.
Intensity can be a double-edged sword,'' Scioscia said.
Tenure is a double-edged sword at many universities: On the one hand, it can ensure high-quality teaching from proven faculty members (and an edge in applications from students wishing to study with well-known instructors).