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can of worms Informal

Meaning: If you say a situation or an issue is a can of worms, you think that getting involved in it could lead to problems.

For example:

  • Corruption in politics is such a can of worms that many journalists won't take the risk of seriously investigating it.

  • Cathy never talks about her childhood. She says it's a can of worms she doesn't want to open, though I have no idea why.

Quick Quiz:

The investigators knew that examining the company's books might open a can of worms. They suspected there'd be
  1. a huge number of worms
  2. nothing seriously wrong
  3. evidence of serious crimes

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