Pandora's Box

   The expression Pandora's box may be a good warning to apply to a situation in which it is wise to keep matters under control and under cover, lest a worse situation develop. Or, as it's said on the street, "Don't open up a can of worms."
   In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. She was created by Zeus to discredit Prometheus, who had acted as a friend of mortals by bringing them fire. Pandora, which means "all gifts," was fashioned by the smith of the gods, Hephaestus, out of clay, given life and clothes by Athena, granted beauty by Aphrodite so that men would love her, and taught guile and treachery by Hermes. The gods also gave into Pandora's hands a sealed jar containing all the evils that were ever to plague mankind; the only good it contained was Hope, right at the bottom.
   Zeus gave Pandora—and her gift—to Epimetheus, Prometheus's brother, who accepted her as his bride. Prometheus had warned his brother never to accept a gift from Zeus, but Epimetheus opened the jar, and out of it flew all the sorrows, diseases, quarrels, and woes that have ever since afflicted human beings. He hastily snapped the lid back on, but it was too late to prevent the torrent of evils escaping into the world. Some accounts say that the spirit Hope also escaped, but others say Hope was trapped inside, unable to alleviate the ills that were now released to bedevil mortals. Some versions say that Pandora opened the jar, and blame her curiosity for the ruin of mankind.
   To open a Pandora's box is to uncover a source of troublesome problems, or to receive a gift that turns out to be a curse.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Pandora's box — ► NOUN ▪ a process that once begun generates many complicated problems. ORIGIN from Pandora in Greek mythology, who was sent to earth with a jar or box of evils and contrary to instructions opened it, letting the evils escape …   English terms dictionary

  • Pandora's box — n. [see PANDORA] 1. a complex situation fraught with problems and pitfalls 2. something causing or leading to such a situation …   English World dictionary

  • Pandora's box — In Greek mythology, Pandora s box is the large jar (πιθος pithos ) carried by Pandora (Πανδώρα) that contained all the evils of mankind mdash; such as greed, vanity, slander, lying, envy, mdash; and the ills upon mankind such as sickness, and… …   Wikipedia

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  • Pandora's box — n. a process that once activated will generate many unmanageable problems. Etymology: in Gk Mythol. the box from which the ills of mankind were released, Hope alone remaining: f. Gk Pandora all gifted (as PAN , doron gift) * * * Pandora s box f37 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Pandora's box — UK [pænˈdɔːrəz ˈbɒks] / US [pænˌdɔrəz ˈbɑks] noun [countable] Word forms Pandora s box : singular Pandora s box plural Pandora s boxes something that could cause a lot of problems if you do it, use it, or say it • Etymology: From Pandora, a… …   English dictionary

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