a sting in the tail

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

a sting in the tail

BRITISH
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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Even then, a sharp incline near the end is a sting in the tail for those with hopes of stage victory.
MANCHESTER CITY have been warned by Teddy Sheringham there could be a sting in the tail on Sunday.
LOTTERY OF LOVE Love can be swift, As a bird on a wing, Or creep up on you, To make your heart sing, It can also have a sting in the tail, When that love is one-sided, And so doomed to fail
But there was a sting in the tail for the Italian as he injured his left thigh with an awkward landing.
com is warning that there could be a sting in the tail.
But the hosts produced a sting in the tail with two goals in the last three minutes to destroy the Walla-sey club's hopes of further progression.
But the messages will have a sting in the tail, telling offenders if they re-offend they will be put behind bars.
JELLYFISH put a sting in the tail on the hottest day of summer yesterday.
We may have to rely on other results going for us but there could still be a sting in the tail," he said.
THERE was a sting in the tail for in-running punters who piled in to Alqaahir at the minimum 1.
There was a sting in the tail for Doyle, however, as she picked-up a three-day suspension (June 25-27 inclusive) for careless riding.
Elsewhere Justin and Colin create a room with a sting in the tail and Laura Davidson's got some breakfast goodies.
He partnered Lunar Leader to success in the Bank Of Scotland Classified Stakes, but there was a sting in the tail - he was found guilty of using his whip in an incorrect place and banned for one day (August 8) as a result.
WALES' regional plans were yesterday accepted by European rugby bosses - but with a sting in the tail.
England A can only hope for calmer conditions in Kwekwe today, after falling foul of a sting in the tail of Zimbabwe's rainy season which marred the opening week of their trip.