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sting in the tail

A disappointing ending to something, such as a story, that is otherwise upbeat and positive. The movie began as a sweet, romantic love story, so the tragic ending was an unexpected sting in the tail.
See also: sting, tail

take the sting out of (something)

To alleviate the pain or annoyance caused by something. Well, coming home to freshly baked cookies somewhat took the sting out of getting another parking ticket.
See also: of, out, sting, take

sting someone for something

Sl. to cheat someone of a particular amount; to make someone pay for something. That guy stung me for twenty bucks! Toby was stung for the lunch bill.
See also: sting

sting someone with something

to use something to sting someone. The bee stung me with its stinger. The wasp can sting you with its poisonous barb.
See also: sting

take the sting out of

Lessen the severity or unpleasantness of something, as in That senior citizen discount took the sting out of the airfares. [Mid-1800s]
See also: of, out, sting, take

a sting in the tail

COMMON If something such as a remark or a plan has a sting in the tail, it seems good at first but contains an unpleasant part at the end. Even the remark about Chomsky being `arguably the most important intellectual alive' had a sting in its tail. The sentence went on: `how can he write such nonsense about international affairs?' The increased tax rate was an unexpected sting in the tail in an otherwise acceptable Budget. Note: This is a reference to a scorpion, which is small and looks harmless, but has a poisonous sting in its tail.
See also: sting, tail

take the sting out of something

If something takes the sting out of an unpleasant situation, it makes it less unpleasant. His calmness surprised her and helped to take the sting out of her anger. One of the best ways to take the sting out of things is put a humorous angle on it.
See also: of, out, something, sting, take

sting in the tail

an unpleasant or problematic end to something.
1992 Ronald Wright Stolen Continents At last Hendrick came to the sting in the tail of his speech.
See also: sting, tail

a ˌsting in the ˈtail

(informal) an unpleasant feature that comes at the end of a story, an event, etc: Roald Dahl’s stories often have a sting in the tail; that’s why I like them.
See also: sting, tail

take the ˈsting out of something

(of a situation) take away the part that is unpleasant or dangerous: We can pay the electricity bill in monthly instalments if we want, which takes the sting out of it.
See also: of, out, something, sting, take

sting for

To charge someone some surprisingly large amount of money: The airline stung us for $100 to change our ticket.
See also: sting


1. tv. to cheat or swindle someone; to overcharge someone. That street merchant stung me, but good.
2. n. a well-planned scheme to entrap criminals. The sting came off without a hitch.
3. tv. to entrap and arrest someone. “We’ve been stung!” they hollered.

sting someone for something

tv. to cheat someone of a particular amount; to make someone pay for something. That guy stung me for twenty bucks!
See also: something, sting
References in periodicals archive ?
According to Al-Wadei, the bee sting contains hormones and proteins that stimulate function of the immune system and accelerate blood circulation.
Sting also took up a lute himself on a few tunes, leaving the more difficult runs to Karamozov.
I think most people, discerning listeners, find Sting kind of pretentious," said Sutherland, pointing to an array of Sting album covers.
You have a higher chance of being allergic to bee or wasp stings if you are also allergic to foods and pollen.
Nigel, with partner Chas Chandler, founded Newcastle Arena, now the Metro Radio Arena where Sting was to have performed last night.
Sting is reportedly the first celebrity to suffer such a defeat.
A normal reaction to a bee sting or mosquito bite lasts a few hours, but these hours can be quite painful and itchy.
In an ironic twist of fate, a flashlight belonging to one of the Secret Service agents working the sting was recovered from one of the suspect's cars at the time of his arrest.
Although it seems logical to avoid squeezing the venom sac by gently working it out of the wound, the fact is that even left alone, the sting continues to work itself deeper into the wound and to pump venom from the sac.
In the past few years, people have been saying that bee stings alleviate their MS symptoms.
While in reality, bees and yellowjackets rarely sting unless provoked, more aggressive species like wasps can sting in painful attacks if they feel threatened.
What to do: a 6 If the sting is visible, brush or scrape it off with the edge of a credit card.
Washington, Jan 21 ( ANI ): Sting and Paul Simon are rehearsing for their upcoming tour, where they are preparing to take turns by singing some of each other's biggest hits.