powder keg


: a small usually metal cask for holding gunpowder or blasting powder
: something liable to explode

Examples of powder keg in a Sentence

Political instability has made the region a powder keg. the immigration bill has become a political powder keg for legislators on both sides of the aisle
Recent Examples on the Web Experts say the state’s policies have allowed intolerance to flourish, creating a powder keg for violence. Hasan Ali, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Aug. 2023 There’s one by us that’s just a powder keg for class differences. Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Aug. 2023 With this first experience of liberty, the whole unfeasible powder keg of her identity explodes. Rachel Cusk, New York Times, 2 May 2023 The events underscored how the government’s plan remains a powder keg despite Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to suspend it in late March after months of protests, opposition from within the military and nationwide strikes. Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, 14 June 2023 Forming unlikely alliances, she is forced to navigate the powder keg of life underground where one misstep will light the fuse. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 11 May 2023 Visitors, alarmed by what was now considered a geopolitical powder keg, stayed away. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 1 May 2023 That’s a new one for Rahm, the 28-year-old Spaniard who was frequently a powder keg of emotion earlier in his career when things went awry on the golf course. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 6 Apr. 2023 The removal of Confederate monuments across the South shows the Civil War remains a political powder keg and a culturally sensitive topic. al, 6 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'powder keg.' 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

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of powder keg was in 1791

Dictionary Entries Near powder keg

Cite this Entry

“Powder keg.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powder%20keg. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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