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fly in the ointment

A flaw or imperfection that detracts from something positive. The only fly in the ointment in an otherwise perfect wedding day was the fact that the bride tripped when walking down the aisle.
See also: fly, ointment

fly in the ointment

Fig. a small, unpleasant matter that spoils something; a drawback. We enjoyed the play, but the fly in the ointment was not being able to find my hat afterward. It sounds like a good idea, but there must be a fly in the ointment somewhere.
See also: fly, ointment

a fly in the ointment

(spoken)
someone or something that spoils a good situation What remains a fly in the ointment is the fact that the UN has not approved the peace plan.
Etymology: from a Bible story which explains that dead flies spoil ointment (medicine spread on the skin)
See also: fly, ointment

a fly in the ointment

someone or something that spoils a situation which could have been successful or pleasant The only fly in the ointment was my mother, who insisted on whispering through the first half of the show.
See also: fly, ointment

fly in the ointment

A drawback or detrimental factor. For example, The new library is wonderful but there's a fly in the ointment: their catalog isn't complete yet . This term probably alludes to a biblical proverb (Ecclesiastes 10:1): "Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour." [c. 1600]
See also: fly, ointment

fly in the ointment

A detrimental circumstance or detail; a drawback.
See also: fly, ointment

fly in the ointment

A spoiler. Ecclesiastes 10:1 relates that dead flies impart a bad odor to perfume; early versions translate the word “perfume” as “ointment.” Another old phrase with the same meaning is to “throw a monkey wrench in the works.”
See also: fly, ointment
References in periodicals archive ?
As a result, several innovations are leading to the improved performance and efficiency of ointments for babies.
They each received both the St John's wort ointment and a placebo, one applied to the right and the other to the left side of the patient's body randomly.
A study in the October issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases found the antibiotic-resistant MRSA strain, known as USA300, is common in the United States where antibiotic ointments are used often, but the strain is less common in Japan, where triple antimicrobial ointments are not used often.
Ointments are preferred and several applications a day will be required.
Scientists have found that application of a poly-herbal ointment with chickpeas as its base can effectively treat Leukoderma.
Without any restrictions on the medical properties of ointments and cures, and together with the ease of manufacture of transfer printed pots on which the claims could be stated, the growth of the quack cure exploded.
Apart from 'magic' herbs, the ointments contained weird ingredients such as the fat of wolves and cats, bats' blood, frogs' toe, etc.
Lysine supplements and topical ointments are available at pharmacies and health-food stores.
Antibiotic ointments that contain an aminoglycoside have been used in the past, but they are no longer used.
05%, combined with this most recent approval, further expands Taro's extensive line of topical corticosteroid products and reinforces Taro's position as a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of quality generic creams and ointments," stated Barrie Levitt, M.
Because their main ingredient is water, the consistency of creams is thicker than that of lotions yet thinner than ointments.
Don't eat ointment: Three toddlers died after consuming small amounts of over-the-counter ointments containing the anesthetic dibucaine, according to a new report.
The ills of humans have long responded to treatment by poultices, physics, ointments, pain killers, and other remedies concocted from leaves, twigs, bark, fruit, and roots.
While doctors have access to Sulfacetamide eye drops, ointments have the advantage of maintaining eye contact time longer, particularly in pediatric patients whose tears may inadvertently wash drops out from the eye.
NEW YORK, March 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- About Baby Ointment Baby ointments are divided into three categories that include body massage oils, lotions, and medicinal creams.