stir up a hornet’s nest

stir up a hornet’s nest

Meaning | Synonyms

  • to create trouble
  • to cause an uproar
  • to cause an upheaval
  • a commotion which possibly ends in anger and frustration

Example Sentences

  1. When the auditor asked for more shreds evidence, the treasury department stirred up a Hornet’s nest because they did not have more. This is how the fraud was actually revealed.
  2. He always comes home and stirs up a Hornet’s nest when his school day has not gone well. His mother then makes something nice to eat for him to calm down.
  3. It is a shame that every time such an atrocious act happens it stirs up a Hornet’s nest. Instead, women should be provided with more protection and security that such incidents do not take place at all.
  4. The lawyer stirred up a Hornet’s nest when his client was not released even after he had provided the bail papers. He called the judge directly to speak about the matter.


The phrase dates back from the 1700s and relates to the anger that hornets show as a metaphor for causing a commotion. The exact literary origin is unavailable but the phrase has been used by many authors for fictional as well as non-fictional work.

S 5 Thoughts

5 Thoughts

Trying to relate this idiom with the wordings, but seems quite puzzling as origin is unclear, in which context was used originally .

- Zulfiqar Qazi March 6, 2021

Synonyms of stir up a hornet nest:

  1. Blow something sky high
  2. Cook someone’s goose
  3. Make someone’s life misery
  4. Throw someone to the wolves

- Saroj Pensia June 3, 2020

No literary device, why? How are we to know what figure of speech it falls under. 🤷

- Anonymous November 19, 2017

There is no better way of expression than this. It is commendable.

- Aminu Tunde April 15, 2017

This is no better to make reasoning, writing and our cultural heritage more elaborate, interesting and inter-connected than this platform.

- Aminu Tunde April 15, 2017

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