double-edged sword

noun

Definition of double-edged sword

:something that has or can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences
  • This much freedom of expression and opinion can be a double-edged sword.
  • —Linda Connors

First Known Use of double-edged sword

15th century


DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD Defined for English Language Learners

double-edged sword

noun

Definition of double-edged sword for English Language Learners

  • : a sword that has two sharp edges

  • : something that has both good and bad parts or results


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up double-edged sword? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a ram's-horn trumpet used in Judaism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!