more than one bargained for

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more than one bargained for (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) An unexpected and, usually, unwanted result of a decision or action.
    • 1874, Ambrose Bierce, "Fables of Zambri, the Parsee" in Cobwebs From an Empty Skull:
      This was more than he had bargained for, and he squeaked shrilly with the pain.
    • 1919, Upton Sinclair, Jimmie Higgins, ch. 22:
      The sound of guns grew louder. . . . [W]hat if the Germans were to break through and sweep over all calculations? This was a little more than Jimmie Higgins had bargained for when he entered the recruiting-office in Leesville, U.S.A.!
    • 1987 July 27, Cristina Garcia, "Law: Casting A Net at Green River," Time (retrieved 23 May 2015):
      [T]hey found much and more than they had bargained for. Nestled amid the weeds and debris near the bottom of the slope was a human skull.
    • 2015 Jan. 14, "Bull elephant gets too close for comfort in Thai park" (video), New York Times (retrieved 23 May 2015):
      A bull elephant gave tourists in Thailand more than they bargained for on Sunday when it sat on and rubbed itself along their cars.

Usage notes[edit]

1841, James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer, ch. 5:
"Something more may turn up from this inroad of the red-skins than they bargained for."
2008 Oct. 9, Samantha M. Shapiro, "Kosher Wars," New York Times (retrieved 25 May 2015):
[H]e set about creating an alternative that met his ideal of kosher, a process more arduous than he bargained for.

Further reading[edit]