pandora's box

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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