can of worms

noun phrase

: pandora's box
afraid of what we would find if we opened up the can of worms that is the CIARichard Snider

Examples of can of worms in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Smart glasses can be just as discreet, but wearing them opens a whole other can of worms. Victoria Song, The Verge, 27 Mar. 2024 So really, by definition, a can of worms, if the amendment process is opened up, either through a markup or on the floor. Tax Notes Staff, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 That in itself opens up a can of worms: Should a news organization go back in history to change a story based on information that comes out after it was originally published? David Bauder, Fortune, 21 Sep. 2023 If Formula 1 is concerned that changing the results of an old championship would open up a can of worms, it cannot be blamed; there are worms aplenty. Victor Mather, New York Times, 20 Sep. 2023 Green points could then be redeemed to plant a tree under the customer’s name (but that’s a whole other can of worms). Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 7 Sep. 2023 Nevertheless, just finding a creature that could’ve been this size opens a whole new can of worms for paleontologists to uncover. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, 3 Aug. 2023 And the naval issue is an entirely different can of worms. Foreign Affairs, 27 Feb. 2023 Cohen’s movie shows solidarity with the trans community, but stops short of opening that can of worms. Peter Debruge, Variety, 30 June 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1962, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of can of worms was in 1962

Dictionary Entries Near can of worms

Cite this Entry

“Can of worms.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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