throw a monkey wrench in(to) (something)

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throw a monkey wrench in(to) (something)

To disrupt, foil, or cause problems to a plan, activity, or project. Primarily heard in US. We had everything in line for the party, but having the caterer cancel on us at the last minute really threw a monkey wrench into our plans! It'll really throw a monkey wrench in the works if the board decides not to increase our funding for this project.
See also: monkey, throw, wrench

throw a monkey wrench into

Sabotage or frustrate a project or plans, as in The boss threw a monkey wrench into our plans when he said we'd have to work Saturday. This transfer of industrial sabotage-that is, throwing a tool inside machinery-to other subjects dates from the early 1900s.
See also: monkey, throw, wrench
References in periodicals archive ?
If we throw a monkey wrench in their plans and come out on top in that game, that would be an enormous feat just for Canadians.
But then again, when something is good, people are always gonna try to find something wrong with it and try to throw a monkey wrench in there somewhere.