In a literal sense a can of worms is a can filled with worms that are either real or more commonly compressed worm-shaped pieces of paper that are made so as to jump out when the can is opened (as a prank).

The phrase is used as "The Can of Worms" as a local name for the intersection of Interstates 590 and 490 on the east side of Rochester, New York.

As a saying it is generally used to explain a significant complication (for better or worse) of a situation or topic by referring to it, this situation or topic may be a subset of a topic or subject that preceded it. This saying is sometimes used following phrases such as: "open up another", "a whole other", "nothing but a" or similiar
Saying Example 1. Well car mechanics is one thing, but truck mechanics is a whole other can of worms
Saying Example 2. I don't want to start another course at university because thats going to open up another can of worms
Saying Example 3. The shortcut seemed easy enough on the map, but when we went through it was nothing but a can of worms
by XenoX101 October 18, 2007

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A tricky situation which requires much effort to resolve.
My girlfriend caught me kissing another woman, so I think I opened up a can of worms on that one.
by Albert February 14, 2004

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A situtation of unforeseen problems.
Taking that girl home turned out to be a can of worms.
by uberchuckie February 17, 2004

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A prolific source of troubles.

see also: Pandora's Box
Joe really opened a can of worms when he snitched on Leon.
by BeerLovinGuy February 13, 2004

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A tricky highway location in Rochester, NY where 490 West, 590 North and 590 South all split at the same time. Requires precise manuevering and quick thinking.
"This is News Chopper 10 reporting your morning traffic. We have a 10 car pile up at the can of worms this morning."
by yeahyeahyeas February 04, 2005

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1. A complicated situation.
That would open up a whole can of worms!
by teresa February 12, 2004

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an intertwined set of problems
A virus like that can really open up a can of worms.
by Light Joker April 05, 2005

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Getting into a whole lot of trouble you didn't ask for.
Man, when you went out with that girl, you were opening up one big can of worms.
by Greg-Os February 15, 2004

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