“Double edged sword” is an idiomatic phrase you may hear or see used often in conversation and writing. Here you will find the explanation of the meaning of this phrase and information about its origin. You will also find examples of how to properly use this phrase in conversations/statements and suggestions on other ways you can say this phrase while still conveying the same meaning.
Double Edged Sword
Double Edged Sword Meaning
The meaning of the idiomatic phrase “double edged sword” is a situation that can have or has both positive and negative results based on the choice you make.
Origin of this idiomatic expression
Many agree that this phrase came from the Arabic phrase sayf zou hadayn. This Arabic phrase translated to English means a double edged sword. It was first used as an English metaphor in sometime during the 15th century.
“Double Edged Sword” Examples
Examples in Statements
A statement made by a politician in the local newspaper.
- “Dealing with all these problems is a double edged sword. We may have to be willing to sacrifice one thing for the sake of another because not everything is going to have a perfect solution.”
A statement made by a celebrity in a popular entertainment magazine.
- “Fame is a double edged sword. Sure, everyone knows your name, but there are times when you just want the privacy you had before people knew who you were and cared about everything you were doing.”
Examples in Conversations
A conversation between two co-workers regarding a recent project.
- Co-worker 1: We could cut back on the time it will take to complete the project by eliminating some things.
- Co-worker 2: But if we eliminated some things, it will not meet all of the customer’s requests.
- Co-worker 1: I understand, but if we don’t then we won’t meet the customer’s deadline.
- Co-worker 2: So, it is a double edged sword.
A conversation between a mother and her son.
- Mother: What is wrong with you son? You look confused.
- Son: Well, I asked this girl to go out on a date with me tonight that I have been interested in.
- Mother: Okay?
- Son: But I forgot that I also have practice tonight and the coach says if I miss it, I have to laps around the track next practice.
- Mother: That’s a real double edged sword, hon, but I am sure you will figure it out.
Other Ways to Say “Double Edged Sword”
Like all idiomatic phrases, there are several ways you can say the idiom “double edged sword” and still convey the same meaning. Some examples of other things you could say instead include:
- It’s a catch 22.
- That’s a situation that requires you to weigh the pros and cons and make the best choice.
- Both of those choices have positive and negative outcomes, so think about your decision carefully.