Something that is double-edged acts in two ways, often with one negative and one positive effect:
She paid me the double-edged compliment of saying my work was “excellent for a beginner.”
The government’s programme to grow cash crops for export is a double-edged sword because it has created a local food shortage.
A double-edged sword/weapon
Something that seems to be good, but that can have a bad effect
Being famous is often a double-edged sword.
Examples from the Corpus
• But the potential financial boost is a double-edged sword.
• It’s been said before that being well-known is a double-edged sword.
• Throughout our history, judicial review has been a double-edged sword.
• The competition rules must be regarded as a double-edged sword by businesses.
• That can be a double-edged sword, commercially and artistically.
From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
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