Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “powder keg”

powder keg

noun [C]    
a situation or a place that could easily become extremely dangerous: The build-up of forces in the region is creating a powder keg. The new tax is a political powder keg which could result in widespread violence.Difficult situations and unpleasant experiencesAccidents and disasters
(Definition of powder keg noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of powder keg

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Difficult situations and unpleasant experiences, but you might be interested in these topics from the Easy and difficult topic area:

Definitions of “powder keg” in other dictionaries

Translations of “powder keg”

Word of the Day

neighbourly

friendly or helpful

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More