Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Informal A source of unforeseen and troublesome complexity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A complex, troublesome situation arising when a decision or action produces considerable subsequent problems.
  • n. A troublesome situation; an issue whose resolution is difficult or contentious, but not necessarily complex.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a source of unpredictable trouble and complexity

Etymologies

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  • A most unpleasant situation. I first saw this phrase (complete with an actual can of wiggly worms) in a "Little Lulu" cartoon strip.

    February 8, 2007