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the ghost/spectre at the feast

  (British literary)
something or someone that spoils your enjoyment by making you remember something unpleasant John was the spectre at the feast, always reminding her of her broken promise.
See also: feast, ghost

raise the spectre of something

  (British, American & Australian) also raise the specter of something (American)
to make people worry that something unpleasant will happen Drought and war have raised the spectre of food shortages for millions of people. Napoli's 1-0 defeat at Bologna raised the spectre of relegation for the Italian champions.
See the ghost at the feast
See also: of, raise, spectre
References in classic literature ?
The chief part of the stories, however, turned upon the favorite spectre of Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman, who had been heard several times of late, patrolling the country; and, it was said, tethered his horse nightly among the graves in the churchyard.
His terror rose to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping by a sudden movement to give his companion the slip; but the spectre started full jump with him.
All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many spectres in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was--a woman.
When it had said these words, the spectre took its wrapper from the table, and bound it round its head, as before.
The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open.
The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.
Gringoire flew thither, hoping to escape, by the swiftness of his legs, from the three infirm spectres who had clutched him.
Do not ask me," cried I, putting my hands before my eyes, for I thought I saw the dreaded spectre glide into the room; "HE can tell.
Jolly lucky for Yundt that she had persisted in coming up time after time, or else there would have been no one now to help him out of the `bus by the Green Park railings, where that spectre took its constitutional crawl every fine morning.
And all this was Haldin, always Haldin--nothing but Haldin--everywhere Haldin: a moral spectre infinitely more effective than any visible apparition of the dead.
And Haldin, when once taken for granted, was no longer a haunting, falsehood-breeding spectre.
He was not only a spectre at their licentious feasts; a something in the midst of their revelry and riot that chilled and haunted them; but out of doors he was the same.
The spectre of his old look seemed to pass as he said the word.
So, the haggard head suspended in the air flitted across the road, like the spectre of one of the many heads erst hoisted upon neighbouring Temple Bar, and stopped before the watchman.
With the incredible result Cineco experienced from Skyfall (Spectre's predecessor), the decision was taken to show Spectre on 18 screens around Bahrain.