Definition of a fly in the ointment in English:

a fly in the ointment


  • A minor irritation that spoils the success or enjoyment of something.

    • ‘The only fly in the ointment is the difficulty in getting good-sized crowds through the turnstiles.’
    • ‘The fly in the ointment will be if there are major planning hold-ups.’
    • ‘The fly in the ointment for the Democrats, as reflected in this poll, is that they still don't have a candidate.’
    • ‘The fly in the ointment for City fans is that if Spurs win their final game they could edge out both teams’
    • ‘But there was still a tiny fly in the ointment - the sticky issue of which parent would gain custody of the kids in the unfortunate event of divorce.’
    • ‘Yes, don't you know I'm going to throw a fly in the ointment?’
    • ‘There is, of course, one fly in the ointment, and that is the fact that space exploration costs money.’
    • ‘Needless to say there is a bureaucratic fly in the ointment.’
    • ‘There is one fly in the ointment with Morris' plan - we don't have the money to do it.’
    • ‘Am feeling fairly chilled at the moment - the only fly in the ointment at the moment is that Mum is coming to visit tomorrow’
    snag, hitch, catch, drawback, difficulty, problem, weakness, defect, pitfall, complication
    View synonyms