land mine

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See also: landmine and Landmine


Alternative forms[edit]



land mine (plural land mines)

  1. (military) A mine that is placed on land and designed to explode when stepped upon or touched.
    Synonym: land torpedo
    • 1947 January and February, “Wartime Traffic at Tanfield, L.N.E.R.”, in Railway Magazine, page 47:
      With the cessation of hostilities, the military traffic declined considerably, although at least two years will be required to remove the many thousands of tons of explosives still stored at the depot. The supplies of mustard gas have already been despatched to Stranraer to be dumped in the sea, and the disposal of ¾-million land mines has called for the provision of 17 special trains.
  2. (figuratively) A critical subject or situation with concealed or unpredictable implications.
    • 2020 January 24, Rajeev Syal, Gwyn Topham, “HS2 late and billions over budget due to Tory failures, report finds”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Johnson is expected to make a decision within weeks on the future of the 250mph Y-shaped rail network, which would link Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds but has grown into a vexed political issue since it was floated in 2009. He postponed a decision in November, a move widely viewed as a means of avoiding a political landmine in the run-up to the election.
    • 2021 October 10, Caroline Anders, “A TikTok bone salesman’s wall of spines reignites ethical debate over selling human remains”, in The Washington Post[2]:
      He said conversations are dressed up in language about the educational value or inherent beauty of the remains — what he called a clear ploy to divert attention from the ethical land mine that is owning a piece of a deceased person.
  3. (always written together, from a Landmine™ developed in 1999 by a US company called Sorinex) A piece of exercise device consisting of a pivoting tube attached to the ground to which a barbell can be fitted to lift it off the ground.