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powder keg

a small, metal, barrellike container for gunpowder or blasting powder.
a potentially dangerous situation, especially one involving violent repercussions.
Origin of powder keg
1850-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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

a small barrel used to hold gunpowder
(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
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