fly in the ointment


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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

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

a fly in the ointment

If someone or something is a fly in the ointment, they prevent a situation from being as successful or happy as it would be without them. The only fly in the ointment is Bella's chronic lack of concentration. One potentially large fly in the ointment is how radio resources have been split up worldwide. Note: This expression probably comes from the Bible: `Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.' (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
See also: fly, ointment

a fly in the ointment

a minor irritation or other factor that spoils the success or enjoyment of something.
This expression alludes to Ecclesiastes 10:1: ‘Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour’.
1998 Times Before you conclude that I have become a raging Europhile, let me say that there is a fly in the ointment.
See also: fly, ointment

a/the fly in the ˈointment

(informal) a person or thing that stops a situation, an activity, a plan, etc. from being as good or successful as it could be: We lead a very happy life here. The only fly in the ointment is that there’s too much traffic on our road.
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 ?
AIDS education presents "a fly in the ointment," the OCCB's Reilly said, because it has been mandated by the government.
The only fly in the ointment is that while some boy bands are burnt out before they reach 30 crinkly rockers like Mick Jagger are still going strong at 55.
For GPS, "This is the only fly in the ointment," Dixon says.
MAN CITY must beat Dortmund to have any hope of taking a Europa League berth, but the Germans could prove a fly in the ointment.
The only fly in the ointment is the fact that Scotland didn't make it to Austria and Switzerland.
The one fly in the ointment was sterling and its relationship with the euro.
The fly in the ointment is that we would not have to refuse education to illegals if the INS did their job now.
Ministry Magic does have scope for improvement, and could be the fly in the ointment from what could possibly prove to be a good make-up on the inside.
Christmas was a fly in the ointment for us as we had just got going," he said.