sitting on a powder keg


In imminent danger, in an explosive situation, as in Our office is sitting on a powder keg while management decides whether or not to close us down. This metaphoric term alludes to sitting on a keg of gunpowder that could go off at any moment. [First half of 1900s]

QUIZZES

A THANKSGIVING SPELLING QUIZ TO FEED YOUR HISTORY KNOWHOW

Before you celebrate family and blessings this year, take this quiz to test your spelling knowledge of the history and important figures of the first Thanksgiving.
Question 1 of 7

Words nearby sitting on a powder keg

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.