put a spoke in someone'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.
put a spoke in someone's wheelmainly BRITISH
If you put a spoke in someone's wheel, you deliberately do something which spoils their plans. She was just jealous of your relationship with Pippa and couldn't resist putting a spoke in your wheel. Note: Cartwheels used to be made of solid wood, with holes in them through which a wooden bar or `spoke' could be pushed in order to make the cart slow down or stop.
put a spoke in someone's wheelprevent someone from carrying out a plan. British
It is not clear why a spoke , a normal component of many wheels, should have such a negative effect. It has been suggested that spoke here is a mistranslation of the Dutch word spaak , meaning ‘a bar’ or ‘a stave’, which is found in the identical Dutch idiom.