can of worms

a can of worms


  • to get into something that is messy, has problems and is unwanted
  • something that is complicated and involves a lot of hassle (to do)

Example Sentences

  1. The can of worms was wide open when he asked her about her past.
  2. I am not opening a can of worms by answering that question.
  3. To get into that discussion would mean to open a can of worms.
  4. The family has many can of worms so it is best to not ask them any personal questions.
  5. The death of the rich man opened a can of worms which was difficult for the police to sort out.
  6. The doctor had to go through a can of worms to figure out a diagnosis for his problem because he had many complications.
  7. To sell that house would mean that I would have to speak with my brother and I am not about to open that can of worms.
  8. Maurice opened a can of worms when she spoke more about her career choices.
  9. No one wanted to be the part of that project, realising that it was a can of worms.


The origin of this phrase is from the 1950's found in Edwardsville Intelligencer, published in the United States. It is a writing cliché but has got popularity is verbal communication also.


  • Pandora's Box

C 2 Thoughts

2 Thoughts

This helped me on my homework

- Anonymous January 26, 2018

Good list of idioms and Bethany potsed a good l list of examples. I just thought I’d mention that the most common way people use #10 is by saying some variation of: If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

- Scillia February 23, 2015

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Idiom of the Day

the early bird catches the worm

Meaning: it refers to people who arrive earlier are the ones who get the best deals

Example: The admissions in this college get filled in very early. If you really want to enroll your son here then you should remember that the early bird catches the worm. Read on


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