Definition of a fly in the ointment in English:

a fly in the ointment

phrase

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

    • ‘The fly in the ointment for City fans is that if Spurs win their final game they could edge out both teams’
    • ‘Am feeling fairly chilled at the moment - the only fly in the ointment at the moment is that Mum is coming to visit tomorrow’
    • ‘The fly in the ointment will be if there are major planning hold-ups.’
    • ‘The only fly in the ointment is the difficulty in getting good-sized crowds through the turnstiles.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘The fly in the ointment for the Democrats, as reflected in this poll, is that they still don't have a candidate.’
    • ‘Needless to say there is a bureaucratic fly in the ointment.’
    • ‘There is, of course, one fly in the ointment, and that is the fact that space exploration costs money.’
    • ‘There is one fly in the ointment with Morris' plan - we don't have the money to do it.’
    snag, hitch, catch, drawback, difficulty, problem, weakness, defect, pitfall, complication
    obstacle, hurdle, barrier, stumbling block, bar, hindrance, impediment, handicap, disadvantage, restriction, limitation
    disbenefit
    hiccup, facer
    spanner in the works
    monkey wrench in the works
    View synonyms