Cliche of the Week 75 – Can of Worms

December 12, 2011 at 9:39 am 1 comment

Worms better used as fish bait are oozing their way into news reports via carelessly unattended cans.

These dirt feeders slide in as a can of worms, meaning something troublesome, better left alone.

Better still to leave it out and say what happened.

The use of the phrase has doubled over the past two years to about 300 times every month in various reporting around the world.

“A big sticking point will be (German Chancellor Angela ) Merkel’s insistence on renegotiating the Lisbon treaty, with many member states fearing that will mean opening a can of worms, sparking a lengthy, acrimonious bout of horse-trading.” (The Guardian, December 6).

“A Senate inquiry into the issue has opened a can of worms so full that it extended the time open for submissions by six months.” (The Advertiser, December 3).

“There’s a can of worms at risk of being opened depending on how this lower cost manifests.” (The Globe and Mail, December 2).

“Saying no to a snake-charmer literally opened a can of worms for the district administration officials in Basti on Tuesday.

“An angry ‘sapera’ opened his sack of snakes, and within no time, there were snakes all over the place.” (The Times of India, December 2).

Cliche of the Week appears in The Australian newspaper Mondays.

Cliches in the media are tracked across the world using Factiva and Dow Jones Insight.

Chris Pash’s book, The Last Whale, a true story set in the 1970s, was published by Fremantle Press in 2008.

Entry filed under: Cliche of The Week. Tags: .

Cliche of the Week 74 – Hit the Big Time Cliché of the Week – Resting Easy

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Satima Flavell  |  December 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Funny – that is such an old expression, one wonders why it has suddenly become so popular!


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