follow Dictionary.com

Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!

powder keg

noun
1.
a small, metal, barrellike container for gunpowder or blasting powder.
2.
a potentially dangerous situation, especially one involving violent repercussions.
Origin
1850-1855
1850-55
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for powder keg
  • He symbolizes the seething mood of a country that the film suggests is a powder keg of discontent and alienation.
  • Being an artilleryman, he designed a military missile that carried a small powder keg in its nose.
  • Yet the country is also often considered a powder keg.
  • In bad times, the tight ethnic jumble of the city can be a powder keg.
  • The stage was thus set for this seemingly innocuous small parcel of land to become the powder keg for this and other lawsuits.
  • The paranoid-schizophrenic is a powder keg of lethal emotion.
  • These movements of plants and animals across state and national boundaries are creating an ecological powder keg.
  • Global poverty is a powder keg that could be ignited by our indifference.
  • It seems to me that you are sitting there on a real powder keg with what can happen in your leakers.
British Dictionary definitions for powder keg

powder keg

noun
1.
a small barrel used to hold gunpowder
2.
(informal) a potential source or scene of violence, disaster, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for powder keg

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for powder

12
13
Scrabble Words With Friends