Definition of mare's nest in English:

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mare's nest


1A complex and difficult situation; a muddle: your desk is usually a mare’s nest
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  • On that last one, the DVLA is looking at tachographs as well, which rounds out the whole automotive picture into a potential mare's nest of a privacy nightmare.
  • Who else would take on the mare's nest that is Hynix?
  • It's something of a mare's nest that looks susceptible to legal enquiry to us.
2An illusory discovery: the mare’s nest of perfect safety
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  • Nor is it unlikely that after an initial flurry of interest the major media concluded that the whole thing was a mare's nest.


Late 16th century: formerly in the phrase to have found (or spied) a mare's nest (i.e., something that does not exist), used in the sense 'to have discovered something amazing'.

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Syllabification: mare's nest

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