Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to genie: jinn
let the genie out of the bottle
To create, unleash, or do something that creates a huge impact and cannot be stopped or reversed. Now that the report let the genie out of the bottle regarding the government's surveillance policies, public trust has been permanently damaged. I doubt the people who first conceived of the Internet could have known how they'd be letting the genie out of the bottle.
put the genie back in the bottle
To attempt to revert a situation to how it formerly existed by containing, limiting, or repressing information, ideas, advancements, etc., that have become commonplace or public knowledge. Almost always used in the negative to denote the impossibility of such an attempt. Many people lament the ubiquity and pervasive nature of social media, but no one will be able to put that particular genie back in the bottle.
the genie is out of the bottle
A secret has been revealed. The genie is out of the bottle, Dave. Everyone knows you're leaving.
the genie is out of the bottle
If the genie is out of the bottle, something has been done or created which cannot be changed or stopped, especially something which some people regret. Whatever we think about nuclear power, the genie is out of the bottle. Note: You can say that someone has let the genie out of the bottle. Having let the democracy genie out of the bottle, the president can't now reverse it. Note: You can also say that you cannot put the genie back in the bottle, meaning that you cannot go back to the state you were in before an important change happened. We cannot unlearn what we know. We cannot put the genie of knowledge back in the bottle. It's too late. The genie is out of the bottle, and can't be put back. Note: In Arabian mythology, a genie is a mischievous spirit with magical powers. This expression may refer to the story of Aladdin, who rubs a lamp and releases a genie from it.
let the genie out of (or put the genie back in) the bottlelet loose (or bring back under control) an unpredictable force, course of events, etc.
A genie or jinnee in Arabian stories is a spirit that can adopt various forms and take a mischievous or benign hand in human affairs. The genie generally inhabits a lamp (compare with Aladdin's lamp at aladdin) or bottle from which someone can release it by the appropriate words or actions. The Arabic word appears in English in various transliterations; genie derives from French génie (from Latin genius meaning ‘a tutelary spirit’), used by the French translators of The Arabian Nights because it was similar in form and sense to the Arabic word.
2002 Chicago Tribune Keeping the nuclear genie in the bottle has not been easy. India and Pakistan have both developed nuclear weapons in recent years.
the ˌgenie is out of the ˈbottleused to say that an action has been taken that will cause a big and permanent change in people’s lives, especially one which might make a situation worse: Now that genetically modified foods are on our supermarket shelves, the genie is out of the bottle and cannot be put back in.
let the ˌgenie out of the ˈbottledo something that causes a big and permanent change in people’s lives, especially one which might make a situation worse: Once you make carrying guns legal, you let the genie out of the bottle.
In Arabian stories, a genie is a spirit with magical powers, especially one that lives in a bottle or lamp.