The genie is out of the box

This is a nice bookend to another malaphor recently posted, “the genie is out of the bag” – https://malaphors.com/2020/06/17/the-genie-is-out-of-the-bag/.  It is also similar to “we can’t put the genie back in the box”, another malaphor posted on this site.  https://malaphors.com/2016/04/11/we-cant-put-the-genie-back-in-the-box/.  “The genie is out of the box” was uttered on CNN recently and also appears in an Axios article:

“We think the model has long-term viability,” says Barbieri. “The next California wildfire or earthquake or hurricane… now that the genie is out of the box, it’s never going back.”

https://www.axios.com/spontaneous-entrepreneurship-amid-the-coronavirus-crisis-04266f01-e79a-4eb4-9564-5f01a417d8b9.html

It is a mash up of “the genie is out of the bottle” (something has been done that cannot be changed) and “opening Pandora’s box” (doing something that causes a lot of unexpected problems).  Both involve mythical creatures that cause trouble.  Also, opening Pandora’s box has a similar meaning to letting the genie out of the bottle.  Both are impossible to close once opened.  I also think the mix up is caused by the containers themselves – getting things from boxes and bottles.  It’s possible a jack-in-the-box was also on the speaker/writer’s mind.  A tip of the hat to Ginny Justice who heard this one and passed it on.

genie in a box



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