the spectre at the feast

the spectre at the feast

Someone or something that acts as a reminder of something negative and thus ruins the enjoyment of something. Primarily heard in UK. I think I'll stay home. I'm afraid that since everyone knows about my recent diagnosis, I will be the spectre at the feast.
See also: feast, spectre

the spectre at the feast

or

the ghost at the feast

BRITISH
If someone or something is the spectre at the feast or the ghost at the feast, they make people feel uncomfortable because they remind them of an unhappy event or situation. At the funeral, Lindsay had stood apart, the ultimate spectre at the feast. That question was the ghost at the feast and cast a shadow over the celebrations. Note: According to the Greek writer Plutarch, the Ancient Egyptians used to place a skeleton at the table during a feast, to remind them that they would die one day.
See also: feast, spectre
References in periodicals archive ?
Simmons delivers his lines perfectly and then moulds himself into the background while managing not to look like the spectre at the feast.
I HATE to be the spectre at the feast but does it strike anyone else that the business acumen of the new Blues board leaves something to be desired given that they have paid pounds 30 million over the realistic market price for the club.
Amidst the rush of fulsome eulogies following the sad death of Bobby Robson, one feels a little like the spectre at the feast.
But the spectre at the feast was an un-reached agreement--the long-cherished (by the EU at least) trans-Atlantic open aviation area.
At this week's Dunhill Links championship he could qualify as the spectre at the feast.
But the Spectre at the Feast, the Nightmare on Downing Street, still sends a chill through the corridors of power.
On the other hand, California is the spectre at the feast.