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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.
See also: sting, 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.
See also: of, out, sting, take

sting (one) to the quick

To deeply emotionally hurt or offend one. The comments stung me to the quick, but I remained composed and carried on with the lecture.
See also: quick, sting

sting (one) for (something)

To force one to pay a large amount of money, especially when that sum is surprising or seems unfair. The mechanic stung me for nearly $800 for various repairs when all I wanted him to do was change the oil. I was stung for a huge tax bill because of the money I won last summer.
See also: sting

sting (one) with (something)

1. Literally, to pierce one with some very small, sharp-pointed instrument or organ, especially as found on plants, insects, and sea life. Jellyfish are able to sting people with tiny harpoon-like structures along their tentacles called cnidocytes. When a honeybee stings you with its stinger, the barbed point becomes lodged in your skin, causing continued pain for you but death for the bee.
2. To present one with some charge, fine, or fee, especially one that is surprising or seems unfair. All the mechanic did was swap out a replacement part, but he stung me with an $800 repair bill. Just be aware that the airline will sting you with a hidden 10% administrative fee on top of all the other costs for your trip.
See also: sting

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.
See also: sting

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.
See also: sting

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]
See also: of, out, sting, take

a sting in the tail

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.
See also: sting, 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.
See also: of, out, something, sting, take

sting in the tail

an unpleasant or problematic end to something.
1992 Ronald Wright Stolen Continents At last Hendrick came to the sting in the tail of his speech.
See also: sting, tail

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.
See also: sting, tail

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.
See also: of, out, something, sting, take

sting for

To charge someone some surprisingly large amount of money: The airline stung us for $100 to change our ticket.
See also: sting


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!
See also: someone, something, sting
References in periodicals archive ?
According to the Disease Management Center's report during the years of the 2001 to 2005 respectively 37666, 38259, 37535, 36806 and 42085 cases of the scorpion sting have happened in the country [6].
Although bee stings can also have this effect, wasp venom is more potent and more likely to spark Kounis syndrome.
RESULTS: During the study period of one year, 60 children aged 1yr to 12 yrs were admitted in our hospital with history of definite scorpion sting, 25 children (42%) belong to the age group of 1-3 yrs, 21 children (34 %) 4-6 yrs, 7 children (12%) 7-9 yrs and 7 children (12%) 10 to 12 yrs.
Sting said: "It was very enjoyable but also really intense.
Morbidity and mortality due to scorpion sting are related to acute pulmonary edema, cardiogenic shock, and multiorgan failure.
In this study 56.3% of scorpion sting cases occurred in the rural area of Ramhormoz.
. a Sting (@OfficialSting) July 14, 2019 class="twitter-tweet" .089552238806 " lang="undpic.
No details on the illness were given, but the tweet said ticket refund information could be found at
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is advising members of the public to take precautions when in Potter Pond in South Kingstown after five people were treated in the emergency department over the past three days for jellyfish stings.
A retrospective study of 290 patients in Iran reported that hemoglobinuria, coagulopathy, transfusion, and kidney problems were more commonly seen in patients admitted more than 24 hours after the sting. (21) All our patients presented within a few hours.
"It is also advised to be wary of jellyfish when they are washed ashore and apparently dead, as they may remain alive for several hours after being washed up so their tentacles can still sting when out of the water.
STING (stimulator of interferon genes) has been recently recognized as a central part of the recognition of bacterial and viral DNA as well as endogenous DNA (e.g., mitochondrial DNA).
MUSIC star Sting has told how he moved from his Galway home after the IRA made it "uncomfortable" to live there.