sitting on a powder keg

sitting on a powder keg

In a situation that could quickly become very volatile and dangerous. It became obvious we were sitting on a powder keg as the protests in the city became more frequent and more violent. I'm going to start looking for another job. With how lax they are at the mine, it just feels like we're sitting on a powder keg every day.
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting

sitting on a powder keg

Fig. in a risky or explosive situation; in a situation where something serious or dangerous may happen at any time. (A powder keg is a keg of gunpowder.) Things are very tense at work. The whole office is sitting on a powder keg. The fire at the oilfield seems to be under control for now, but all the workers there are sitting on a powder keg.
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting

sitting on a powder keg

In imminent danger, in an explosive situation, as in Our office is sitting on a powder keg while management decides whether or not to close us down . This metaphoric term alludes to sitting on a keg of gunpowder that could go off at any moment. [First half of 1900s]
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting

sitting on a powder keg

In imminent danger. This phrase that arose in the early 19th century (if not before) suggests being atop a barrel of gunpowder that could explode at any time.
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting
References in periodicals archive ?
No matter how in the throes they are to the Abortion Industry and the Bernie Sanders' wing of the party, what few remaining realists there are at the top have to know they are sitting on a powder keg.
Western leaders must accept that their ancestors' desire to create empires must be looked at and the larger ethnic groups in these artificial states must accept they are sitting on a powder keg.
It's a fact that the region is sitting on a powder keg, with rhetoric and polarization having reached levels not seen since the 1950s.
Lebanon is undoubtedly sitting on a powder keg. Daesh only makes its moves (in the Middle East) in countries with a weak or no political system.
I don't think there's any doubt they're sitting on a powder keg there."
The solicitor acting for the families of the soldiers, John Mackenzie, [ok] told him: "You were sitting on a powder keg."
"You were sitting on a powder keg," said the family's solicitor John Mackenzie.
Prison officers fear they are sitting on a powder keg of suspicion after stepping up their action in a meal breaks dispute.
BIRMINGHAM boss Trevor Francis is sitting on a powder keg. Steve Bruce, Gary Ablett and Barry Horne are the latest players unhappy at St Andrews, joining Mike Newell.
Christina Spahn, codirector of the Albuquerque Center for Action and Contemplation, a training center for activists, said: "I have a feeling we're sitting on a powder keg. The church has never dealt with sexuality."
This deal is likely to trigger an arms race in the region, which is already sitting on a powder keg. The US policies in post-Saddam era have changed the dynamics of the Middle East.
Summary: One can easily come up with all of the standard descriptions for what Lebanon is experiencing today: a time bomb, on the brink, sitting on a powder keg, etc.
'You were sitting on a powder keg,' said Mr Mackenzie.