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 ?
Jolly's conversion tied the scores with ten minutes remaining but there was to be a sting in the tail when Robinson's late penalty snatched victory for the home side.
There was a sting in the tail for Milczarek as she was found guilty of careless riding after the winner drifted right in the closing stages.
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.
Although HBOS might be trying to help its four million credit card customers by allowing them to make a minimum payment of only one per cent on their outstanding balances, Simeon Linstead of price comparison site uSwitch.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.
Trainer Howard Johnson has always thought a lot of Pacific Pride (2.45) and if the Coventry Stakes runner-up turns out half as good as last year's maiden winner Shamardal, owners Graham and Andrea Wylie will be well satisfied Jim Goldie's yard is hotter than a firecracker right now and Sting Like A Bee will have his supporters in the Bull Handicap but Robert Winston can deliver a sting in the tail with top weight Thistle (2.45).
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.
Even then, a sharp incline near the end is a sting in the tail for those with hopes of stage victory.
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.