open a can of worms

Definition of open a can of worms

:to create a complicated situation in which doing something to correct a problem leads to many more problems
  • Our boss is reluctant to change the policy now because she doesn't want to open a can of worms.

Word by Word Definitions

open play
  1. : having no enclosing or confining barrier : accessible on all or nearly all sides

  2. : being in a position or adjustment to permit passage : not shut or locked

  3. : having a barrier (such as a door) so adjusted as to allow passage

  1. : to move (something, such as a door) from a closed position

  2. : to make available for entry or passage by turning back (something, such as a barrier) or removing (something, such as a cover or an obstruction)

  3. : to make available for or active in a regular function

  1. : opening

  2. : open and unobstructed space: such as

  3. : open air

can play
  1. : know, understand

  2. : to be able to do, make, or accomplish

  3. : to have knowledge or skill

  1. : a usually cylindrical receptacle:

  2. : a vessel for holding liquids

  3. : a usually metal typically cylindrical receptacle usually with an open top, often with a removable cover, and sometimes with a spout or side handles (as for holding liquid or trash)

  1. : to put in a can : preserve by sealing in airtight cans or jars

  2. : to hit (a golf shot) into the cup

  3. : to hit (a shot) in basketball


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