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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.
take the sting out of (something)
To alleviate the pain or annoyance caused by something. Well, coming home to freshly baked cookies somewhat took the sting out of getting another parking ticket.
sting (one) to the quick
To hurt or offend someone at a deeply emotional level. The comments stung me to the quick, but I remained composed and carried on with the lecture.
sting someone for something
Sl. to cheat someone of a particular amount; to make someone pay for something. That guy stung me for twenty bucks! Toby was stung for the lunch bill.
sting someone with something
to use something to sting someone. The bee stung me with its stinger. The wasp can sting you with its poisonous barb.
take the sting out of
Lessen the severity or unpleasantness of something, as in That senior citizen discount took the sting out of the airfares. [Mid-1800s]
a sting in the tailBRITISH
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.
take the sting out of something
If something takes the sting out of an unpleasant situation, it makes it less unpleasant. His calmness surprised her and helped to take the sting out of her anger. One of the best ways to take the sting out of things is put a humorous angle on it.
sting in the tailan unpleasant or problematic end to something.
1992 Ronald Wright Stolen Continents At last Hendrick came to the sting in the tail of his speech.
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.
take the ˈsting out of something(of a situation) take away the part that is unpleasant or dangerous: We can pay the electricity bill in monthly instalments if we want, which takes the sting out of it.
To charge someone some surprisingly large amount of money: The airline stung us for $100 to change our ticket.
1. tv. to cheat or swindle someone; to overcharge someone. That street merchant stung me, but good.
2. n. a well-planned scheme to entrap criminals. The sting came off without a hitch.
3. tv. to entrap and arrest someone. “We’ve been stung!” they hollered.
sting someone for something
tv. to cheat someone of a particular amount; to make someone pay for something. That guy stung me for twenty bucks!