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throw a spanner in(to) the works
To disrupt, foil, or cause problems to a plan, activity, or project. Primarily heard in UK. We had everything in line for the party, but having the caterer cancel on us at the last minute really threw a spanner in the works! It'll really throw a spanner into the works if the board decides not to increase our funding for this project.
put a spanner in(to) the works
To disrupt, foil, or cause problems to a plan, activity, or project. Primarily heard in UK. We had everything in line for the party, but having the caterer cancel on us at the last minute really put a spanner in the works! It will really put a spanner into the works if the board decides not to increase our funding for this project.
throw a spanner in the worksor
put a spanner in the worksBRITISH
COMMON If someone or something throws a spanner in the works or puts a spanner in the works, they cause problems which prevent something from happening in the way that it was planned. If they're suddenly going to change the arrangement, it's going to throw a spanner in the works. It is clear Britain could have put a spanner in the works of the contract. Note: You can also just talk about a spanner in the works, meaning `a problem that prevents something from happening the way that it was planned'. Another possible spanner in the works is the weather, which may prevent us from travelling on the 18th. Note: The usual American expression is throw a wrench into the works or throw a monkey wrench into the works.
a spanner in the worksan event, person, or thing that prevents the smooth or successful implementation of a plan; a drawback or impediment.
A variant, found chiefly in North American English, is a monkey wrench in the works , a monkey wrench being a spanner or wrench with adjustable jaws: to throw a spanner (or a monkey wrench ) into the works is to deliberately wreck someone's plans or activities. In his 1974 novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey used this as a metaphor for systematic industrial sabotage, and monkey-wrenching is now a colloquial term for such activity.
1997 Spectator Pretty well all the newspapers…are now adversarial in tone, conceiving their basic purpose as throwing spanners in the works almost as a matter of principle.
put/throw a ˈspanner in the works(British English) (American English throw a (ˈmonkey) ˈwrench in the works) (informal) spoil or prevent the success of somebody’s plan, idea, etc: Let’s get this finished before the boss comes along and throws a spanner in the works.
A spanner or wrench is a metal tool used for fastening things tightly. The works are the moving parts of a machine.