only to do something
only to (do something)
An expression used to highlight an upsetting, disappointing, or otherwise unpleasant action that occurred immediately after something else. I worked on that proposal for over a month, only to find that they had awarded the contract to the firm across town. It can be disheartening to spend a lot of time preparing a meal only to have your kids turn their nose up at it.
only to do something(written) used to show that something happened immediately after something else, especially when this is disappointing, surprising, etc: I arrived at the museum only to find that it was closed for the day. ♢ She tried to be friendly to him, only to be shouted at again.
See also: something