the spectre at the feast

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the spectre at the feast

Someone or something that acts as a reminder of something negative and thus ruins the enjoyment of something. Primarily heard in UK. I think I'll stay home. I'm afraid that since everyone knows about my recent diagnosis, I will be the spectre at the feast.
See also: feast, spectre

the spectre at the feast

or

the ghost at the feast

BRITISH
If someone or something is the spectre at the feast or the ghost at the feast, they make people feel uncomfortable because they remind them of an unhappy event or situation. At the funeral, Lindsay had stood apart, the ultimate spectre at the feast. That question was the ghost at the feast and cast a shadow over the celebrations. Note: According to the Greek writer Plutarch, the Ancient Egyptians used to place a skeleton at the table during a feast, to remind them that they would die one day.
See also: feast, spectre
References in periodicals archive ?
Simmons delivers his lines perfectly and then moulds himself into the background while managing not to look like the spectre at the feast.
From what people tell me, media agen-cies that say they can make the creative work are the new spectre at the feast, and hairs are being raised on the necks of many of my industry peers.
The family was not unprepared: we had been awaiting the worst since our Christmas gathering when Grannie, ever the matriarch, suddenly appeared frail and silent, a spectre at the feast.
When I left Manchester City, I made a very clean break and I don't want to be spectre at the feast so I doubt it.
Huw Watkins was the incisive pianist, Heidi Bennett's trumpet discarding its guise of spectre at the feast to tumble and chatter in the finale's romp.
But he was merely a horrified spectre at the feast, as his side slumped to another depressing defeat.
DEATH has been a spectre at the feast throughout the 25 years of the Breeders' Cup, claiming George Washington in the 2007 Classic and Mr Brooks, who broke his right foreleg in the 1992 Sprint and left Lester Piggott with a fractured collarbone, broken rib and partially collapsed lung.
Amidst the rush of fulsome eulogies following the sad death of Bobby Robson, one feels a little like the spectre at the feast.
But the spectre at the feast was an un-reached agreement--the long-cherished (by the EU at least) trans-Atlantic open aviation area.
But the Spectre at the Feast, the Nightmare on Downing Street, still sends a chill through the corridors of power.
The AR noted that 'the buildings illustrated generally indicate a high order of planning ability', but even then there was a spectre at the feast.
I HATE to be the spectre at the feast but does it strike anyone else that the business acumen of the new Blues board leaves something to be desired given that they have paid pounds 30 million over the realistic market price for the club.
At least Tevez stayed on the pitch for the full 90 minutes this time, but in the frantic closing moments, as West Ham tried to claw back the lead Leon Osman had given Everton, he was a sullen, disinterested presence stuck out on the right wing, like a spectre at the feast.
At which juncture a spectre at the feast (me) pointed out that one of the batsmen now in residence, John Goddard, had a career-best score of 218 not out.