Pandora's box


Pan·​do·​ra's box pan-ˈdȯr-əz- How to pronounce Pandora's box (audio)
: a prolific source of troubles

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The god Prometheus stole fire from heaven to give to the human race, which originally consisted only of men. To punish humanity, the other gods created the first woman, the beautiful Pandora. As a gift, Zeus gave her a box, which she was told never to open. However, as soon as he was out of sight she took off the lid, and out swarmed all the troubles of the world, never to be recaptured. Only Hope was left in the box, stuck under the lid. Anything that looks ordinary but may produce unpredictable harmful results can thus be called a Pandora's box.

Examples of Pandora's box in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There is also the possibility that the AI worries that humans will open Pandora's box. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 5 May 2023 The police have had bomb disposal robots forever, but the Pandora's box of weaponizing them was originally opened by the Dallas Police Department. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 30 Nov. 2022 Blonde was a philosophical Pandora's box. Arabelle Sicardi, Allure, 19 Nov. 2022 Thompson said the trigger ban has opened up Pandora's box, creating a wave of tragedy and trauma for women across the state. ABC News, 16 Sep. 2022 Donham's unpublished memoir shows that the Pandora's box opened by Till's brutal death remains opened. Peniel Joseph, CNN, 22 July 2022 And that means Pandora's box has opened... ... John S. Tobey, Forbes, 5 May 2022 But rather than put the dispute to bed, his decision opened up a Pandora's box of new problems for the state. Colin Lodewick, Fortune, 28 Apr. 2022 Now all that's left to do is to open and unleash the joys of Pandora's box of talent into the world. Joey Nolfi,, 7 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Pandora's box.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the box, sent by the gods to Pandora, which she was forbidden to open and which loosed a swarm of evils upon humankind when she opened it out of curiosity

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Pandora's box was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near Pandora's box

Cite this Entry

“Pandora's box.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

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