Pandora's box

Pandora's box

noun
a source of extensive but unforeseen troubles or problems: The senate investigation turned out to be a Pandora's box for the administration.

Origin:
1570–80

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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Pandora's box definition


In classical mythology, a box that Zeus gave to Pandora, the first woman, with strict instructions that she not open it. Pandora's curiosity soon got the better of her, and she opened the box. All the evils and miseries of the world flew out to afflict mankind.

Note: To “open a Pandora's box” is to create an uncontrollable situation that will cause great grief.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

Pandora's box

A source of unforeseen trouble, as in Revising the tax code is opening a Pandora's box. This equivalent for the modern can of worms comes from the Greek legend in which Pandora, entrusted with a box containing the world's ills, is overcome by curiosity and opens it, thereby releasing them. [Late 1500s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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