poisoned chalice

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 classic literature ?
The poisoned chalice, the glittering dagger suspended over the head of the sleeper; wizards and phantoms with terrific masks, those half-dim shadows more alarming than the approach of fire or the somber face of midnight, these, and such as these, he had made the companions of his more pleasing pictures.
A former MCA in Kitui has described the proposed Punguza Mizigo referendum as a poisoned chalice and urged Kenyans to oppose it at all costs.
All anyone's talking about is how Killing Eve isn't as good as it was before she accepted the poisoned chalice, aka took over the writing from Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
And, before the point is raised that it was the BBC that made the decision regarding licence fees, it is glaringly obvious that this is the result of the poisoned chalice that the government passed to them.
"Any sympathy for her being handed a poisoned chalice when it comes to Brexit is misplaced" Her plaintive parting call for others to afford her successor more compromise rang hollow to those who blame her own intransigence for this crisis.
Mrs May was handed a poisoned chalice when entering number 10 - a potion the lady has supped well.
It seems the deputy post is a poisoned chalice with a number of senior members of the party declining to throw their hat into the ring.
SIMON Grayson has rejected the idea that the Sunderland manager's job is a 'poisoned chalice' and insists he is convinced he is the right man to lead the Black Cats.
THE cremation of Moors Murderer Ian Brady will become a "poisoned chalice" for any Merseyside funeral directors who accept the job.
Prue Leith is very good but I would call that role a poisoned chalice because of all the comparisons with Mary.
Mr Charnley handed the "poisoned chalice" to Benitez - metaphorically speaking.
He stated in no uncertain terms that after the next general election this job would be a "poisoned chalice" for whoever ended up taking on the task.
Among their topics are the doctor on duty, the battle to restore fiscal stability, Brain Lenihan and the nation's finances, the poisoned chalice, memories from Trinity and Brussels, the transfer Gospel according to Bertie, a monument brought down by gargoyles, a call to patriotic action, unprecedented circumstances, and the children's champion.
The Hartlepool job is a poisoned chalice and any manager would come to the same sticky end.
Star Trek The Fall: The Poisoned Chalice is recommended for science fiction fans of Star Trek and tells of a terrorist attack that involves William Riker's return to Earth on emergency orders, where he finds himself drawn into a deadly game of political danger.