open up a can of worms, Idioms and Phrases, Idioms, Phrases

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open up a can of worms

open up a can of worms

discover or bring to light a complicated matter likely to prove awkward or embarrassing – informal

1998 - New Scientist - UN officials readily accept that they have opened a can of worms and their guidelines will only have an effect, they say, if governments act on them.

Related Idioms :

carry the can

take responsibility for a mistake or misdeed - British informal

The origin of this expression and the nature of the can involved are both uncertain, though the idiom appears to have started life as early 20th-century naval or military slang.

1998 - Times - Was this the same Mr. Cook who danced on the Tories' graves for not carrying the can for errors of their officials?

in the can

completed and available for use

In recording or film-making, something that is in the can has been captured on tape or film.

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