American Idioms – Idiom Wizard Lists Over 5,500 Idioms & Slang Descriptions

Stir up a hornet’s nest


(Old fashioned) Discuss a taboo matter. Create havoc. Accidentally creating a big problem or mess. The phrase invokes a vision of a hornet’s nest falling from a tree and an angry swarm of hornets buzzing and stinging. Used whenever someone has started a project which appeared simple, but actually became complicated and/or went downhill. (Compare to Go  haywire or Monkey wrench.)

“Don’t stir up a hornet’s nest by asking her about her first husband.”

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