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.
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.
New manager Steve Cotterill has been handed the poisoned chalice and a unsustainable level of wages for a Championship side that looks doomed for even darker days.
For me, the main cause of his recent falling short of his top standards is that poisoned chalice - his knighthood
Prue Leith is very good but I would call that role a poisoned chalice because of all the comparisons with Mary.
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.
It is probably a bit of a poisoned chalice, the manager's job, same as in England as well.
Indeed, doing so in a situation like this is no less bitter than drinking from a poisoned chalice.
The Poisoned Chalice will be a useful tool for historians studying the nineteenth-century temperance movement, American religion, Victorian culture, and the variance between American and British Protestants.
It has been said the Hearts job is a poisoned chalice.
The attempts largely failed making the job of CEO of HP a poisoned chalice that few managers would want to tarnish their careers with.
Now that the poisoned chalice has been put in front of the unwitting Roy Hodgson surely Harry's boys should recapture their blistering early-season form at Bolton tonight?