can of worms
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can of worms (plural cans of worms)
- (idiomatic) A complex, troublesome situation arising when a decision or action produces considerable subsequent problems.
- If someone gets a promotion that might not be deserved, it could open up a whole can of worms with the other employees.
- (idiomatic) A troublesome situation; an issue whose resolution is difficult or contentious but not necessarily complex.
- Questioning the decision would definitely open a can of worms.
- (idiomatic) Any difficult or disgusting task, activity, topic of discussion or subject matter, which would be ideally avoided if at all possible.
- Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see can, worm.
a complex, troublesome situation