Meaning of poisoned chalice in English:

poisoned chalice


mainly British
  • An assignment, award, or honour which is likely to prove a disadvantage or source of problems to the recipient.

    ‘many thought the new minister had been handed a poisoned chalice’
    • ‘For those with debts they can no longer afford, the long run of low interest rates may yet prove a poisoned chalice.’
    • ‘Is the Manager of the month award a poisoned chalice?’
    • ‘It has, however, proved to be a poisoned chalice for some corporations.’
    • ‘By making himself chairman and then agreeing to cut his managerial teeth in a poisoned chalice of a job, he is risking his reputation as a man who can do no wrong on Wearside.’
    • ‘Who would want the poisoned chalice of running Britain's clapped out and dangerous rail system?’
    • ‘The Irish taxpayer is about to be handed a poisoned chalice - an island property with a clean-up bill likely to cost tens of millions of euro.’
    • ‘The reality is that Scotland's councils find themselves being handed an ever-growing collection of poisoned chalices.’
    • ‘A prize portfolio could mean a headstart in the race, but those overlooked or given poisoned chalices would be early casualties.’
    • ‘As poisoned chalices go, the MD's position comes close to topping the list.’
    • ‘His elegant and popular wife should tell her husband - who only seems ridiculous because he is in the wrong job - that it is time to reclaim dignity and contentment by handing on the poisoned chalice.’
    • ‘As candidates are never declared for the position, which is filled through backroom lobbying, we will probably never know how close he came to securing what has turned out to be a poisoned chalice.’
    • ‘But in one part of Yorkshire, it seems the role of Mayor has become a poisoned chalice, which leaves the incumbent at the mercy of rude and disrespectful councillors.’
    • ‘The England manager's job seems to be a poisoned chalice that many top bosses have turned their backs on, but one York-based football critic is more than willing to take up the post.’
    • ‘Running Scottish Enterprise is not necessarily the poisoned chalice that some suggest and I still expect a significant number of hats to be thrown in the ring.’
    • ‘Who on earth would want such a poisoned chalice?’
    • ‘Despite the fact that the Greek Olympics could be heading for a debacle, governments elsewhere are jostling to be next to be handed the poisoned chalice.’
    • ‘With three teams to be relegated, and only two of these berths already booked, there is a desperate battle raging to avoid the poisoned chalice of the third.’
    • ‘Voters may grow fed up with Labour; a younger contender could emerge; the succession could become a poisoned chalice.’
    • ‘The issue of skills shortages should not be a poisoned chalice for those politicians handed the responsibility of dealing with it.’
    • ‘People have told me it's either a wonderful job or a poisoned chalice.’