poisoned chalice

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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.
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.
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 35-year-old has already acknowledged the scale of the challenge he faces admitting: "I don't know if I'll be able to turn the poisoned chalice into sweet wine.
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.
To be sure, Morsi's return would not mean at all that Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be the one drinking from the poisoned chalice, but it will be the entire institution that he represents doing so.
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.
The entire quotation that started the poisoned chalice curse was "Begone Satan, never tempt me with your vanities
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?
He offers her the poisoned chalice of Daybreak, the station''s breakfast show which ranks a lowly third in the ratings.
The veteran boss may have no interest in a return to the national team helm but believes Scotland is still a nation with potential and the job is not the poisoned chalice some believe it to be.
These workers will become the latest victims of poor decisions taken by the former management and the problems the ex-bosses created reveal the size of the poisoned chalice they left behind.
BRAVE Dorinel Munteanu has accepted the poisoned chalice of becoming Steaua Bucharest's new boss.
The original hot favourite Jose Mourinho said "no thanks" to the poisoned chalice.
But with Iain Duncan Smith's tenure as Tory leader at an end who will now grasp the poisoned chalice that is the leadership of the party?