can of worms

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - a can of worms

"can of worms"

a complex or difficult problem or situation that causes a lot of problems when you start to try to solve it


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - a can of worms

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  I really miss my girlfriend.

Friend 2:  Didn't you break up with her because you were having so many problems?

Friend 1:  We did have some pretty bad fights but I really miss her. I think I am going to give her a call.

Friend 2:  Are you sure you want to open that can of worms?

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - a can of worms

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  I think that I want to rework the order entry system.

Colleague 2:  That could be a can or worms.

Colleague 1:  How so?

Colleague 2:  The order entry system is connected to the inventory system, to the accounting system and to the sales forecasting system and some of those systems are quite old. You go and start changing one system and who knows how many problems will be created.

Colleague 1:  Perhaps I will give it a little more thought, thanks.

can of worms - Usage:


can of worms - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for can of worms.

can of worms - Examples:

1)  ... to weddings, there is nothing more likely to open up a huge can of worms than if you decide to have an 'adult only' celebration.

2)  The SP's inquiry opened a can of worms. The contractor appointed to take responsibility for burying the bodies has stopped sending her ...

3)  ... the film's strong portrayal of cricket's darkest days may open a can of worms from the past.

4)  Proposing to extend the 14-day limit might be opening a can of worms, but would it lead to Pandora's box, or a treasure chest of ...

5)  ... about the changing law. "It will be like opening a can of worms," Mr Newlyn said. "There will be a lot of dangerous activity ...

6)  ... but I am too scared to open that can of worms

7)  ... a very dangerous thing and utterly counter-productive for this government to open a can of worms and try to implicate innocent men and women, who were simply doing their job.

8)  ... open up a can of worms that might call for looking at the company's hiring practices.

9)  A retrial could open a can of worms as de Sousa will provide new evidence that might shine a brighter light on her ...

10)  By this claim, she has opened a can of worms for us to question what the Mahama-led administration isn't doing about her.

11)  I don't think my editor and I really knew the can of worms we were opening.

12)  That revelation and EFCC's probe further unearthed a very rotten can of worms that still stinks anytime the case is mentioned.

13)  Now it will go back to the original judge and a even bigger can of worms is about to be opened. This will not be over for well over another year.

14)  But State funding opens a whole other can of worms, one that comes at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to taxpayers.

15)  ... we needed to overturn the decision or it could open up a can of worms later in the season.

16)  Nevertheless, a can of worms had been opened that would profoundly alter the way we viewed HRT. 

17)  Despite its possible positive affects, has the AFL just opened a new can of worms with the stricter out of bounds interpretation?

18)  The Panama scandal has opened a can of worms, with corporate greed rearing its ugly head.

19)  He maintained that the staff verification exercise will open a can of worms that will shock the entire country.

20)  The Panama Papers have now opened up a new can of worms and could also cause problems for the LNP.