`hornet’s nest’

A hornet is a large insect which has a relatively large sting. When you refer to a problem as being a hornet’s nest, what you mean is that it is one that causes people to become angry. When you `stir up a hornet’s nest’, you are asking for trouble; you say or do something controversial which results in a lot of commotion.

*The teacher’s article in the local paper stirred up a hornet’s nest. *The Minister’s remarks about the striking students stirred up a hornet’s nest.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – July 24, 2006

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