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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 ?
Stings from these box jellyfish -- which can be smaller than a fingernail -- can cause acute muscular pain, violent vomiting, feelings of "impending doom", hair that stands on end, strokes, heart failure and death within minutes.
Table 2 represents the clinical features of patients with scorpion stings. The majority of patients (97.7%, n = 125) had localized pain, swelling was seen in 14.8% (n = 19) of patients, and localized redness in 7.0% (n = 9) of patients.
Two men identified only as Arnel and Oscar were arrested in a sting in Barangay BF Homes in Paranaque yesterday morning.
"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.
Dustbin-lid jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo) -- this can grow up to 90 cm across but it has a weak sting. They have been seen in large numbers in our harbours.
Val, who works in a vet surgery, knew a sting can be fatal to dogs and her quick-thinking actions may have saved her pet's life.
The foreign bodies were considered compatible with decomposed fragments of a honeybee sting from the histological features, although the patient did not recall being stung.
A total of 2372 (40.87%) scorpion stings were done by Androctonus crassicauda as the most frequent data followed by Compsobuthus matthienseni (1159- ,19.97%), Hemiscorpius lepturus (1044- 17.99% ), Hottentotta saulcyi (551-9.49%), H.schach (322- 5.55%), Mesobuthus eupeus (241-4.15%) and Scorpio maurus (115- 1.98%).
Although bee stings can also have this effect, wasp venom is more potent and more likely to spark Kounis syndrome.
Scorpion sting is an acute life threatening emergency encountered and most important rural health accident in India.
Materials and Methods: A total of 210 patients of consecutive scorpion sting were prospectively studied.
For jellyfish stings, pour lots of vinegar over the area to incapacitate the stinging cells.
With very painful stings, these insects can be deadly depending on a person's sensitivity.
London, April 7 ( ANI ): An American student has stung himself on the genitals using a bee to see where in the whole body it stings the most.