put a spoke in somebody's wheel

put a spoke in (one's) wheel

To disrupt, foil, or cause problems to one's plan, activity, or project. I had everything in line for the party, but having the caterer cancel on me at the last minute really put a spoke in my wheel. It will really put a spoke in our wheel if the board decides not to increase our funding for this project. You would think the rise of cheap electric cars would put a spoke in Big Oil's wheel, but they actually seem to be embracing the change.
See also: put, spoke, wheel

put a ˈspoke in somebody’s wheel

(British English) make it difficult for somebody to do something or to carry out their plans: If the management try to cut our pay, we can put a spoke in their wheel by going on strike. Spoke may be an incorrect translation from Dutch of spaak meaning ‘bar’ or ‘stick’.
See also: put, spoke, wheel