mare's nest

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mare's nest

A difficult, complicated, or confusing situation. The tax laws in this country are a mare's nest that nobody fully understands.
See also: nest
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a mare's nest

a wonderful discovery which proves or will prove to be illusory.
A mare's nest is here being used to symbolize something that does not exist, as horses do not make nests. The phrase is first recorded in the late 16th century, as is the variant a horse's nest , although the latter is now no longer in use.
See also: nest
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a ˈmare’s nest

1 an idea or a discovery that seems interesting and exciting but is found to be false or have no value: I fancy this will prove to be a mare’s nest! We have had these mysteries before.
A mare is a female horse or donkey. They do not make nests and so a mare’s nest does not exist.

2 a difficult or complicated situation; a mess: This area of the law is a veritable mare’s nest.My hair is a mare’s nest!
See also: nest
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
There remain countless impediments to business efficiency, ranging from permit requirements to burdensome product approval processes, restrictions on marketing, pricing, and other rules and regulations that, superimposed on EU roles and regulations, create a mare's nest of complications that tie the hands of entrepreneurs and productive workers.
A robust fellow in A Mare's Nest, 2000, becomes queen, clown, and martyr, done up in an elaborate wig/halo and ruffled "collar," a collage of Lilliputian architectural renderings, corporate logos, flora and fauna, and the int ertwined limbs of tiny wrestlers and bodybuilders.
William Morris, Icelandic Journals (Mare's Nest [U.S.
I regard as a mare's nest the arguments for legalization.
And for good reason, for it is a mare's nest. But why this over-heated boosting - it would be impolite to say boasting?
While politically its Somali mission is as important to the AU as its no less difficult peacekeeping efforts in Darfur, the reality is that the solution to this mare's nest of a conflict can only rest in the hands of Somalis themselves, though when and how that can be achieved is currently hard to envisage.
The legal and human rights mare's nest that is Gitmo was created by the Republican administration of George W.