fly in the ointment


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fly 1

 (flī)
v. flew (flo͞o), flown (flōn), fly·ing, flies (flīz)
v.intr.
1. To engage in flight, especially:
a. To move through the air by means of wings or winglike parts.
b. To travel by air: We flew to Dallas.
c. To operate an aircraft or spacecraft.
2.
a. To rise in or be carried through the air by the wind: a kite flying above the playground.
b. To float or flap in the air: pennants flying from the masthead.
3. To move or be sent through the air with great speed: bullets flying in every direction; a plate that flew from my hands when I stumbled.
4.
a. To move with great speed; rush or dart: The children flew down the hall.
b. To be communicated to many people: Rumors are flying about their breakup.
c. To flee; escape.
d. To hasten; spring: flew to her students' defense.
5. To pass by swiftly: a vacation flying by.
6. To be dissipated; vanish: All his money has flown.
7. past tense and past participle flied (flīd) Baseball To hit a fly ball.
8.
a. To shatter or explode: The dropped plate flew into pieces.
b. To become suddenly emotional, especially angry: The driver flew into a rage.
9. Informal To gain acceptance or approval; go over: "However sophisticated the reasoning, this particular notion may not fly" (New York Times).
v.tr.
1.
a. To cause to fly or float in the air: fly a kite; fly a flag.
b. Nautical To operate under (a particular flag): a tanker that flies the Liberian flag.
2.
a. To pilot (an aircraft or spacecraft).
b. To carry or transport in an aircraft or spacecraft: fly emergency supplies to a stricken area.
c. To pass over or through in flight: flew the coastal route in record time.
d. To perform in a spacecraft or aircraft: flew six missions into space.
3.
a. To flee or run from: fly a place in panic.
b. To avoid; shun: fly temptation.
n. pl. flies
1. The act of flying; flight.
2.
a. The opening, or the fastening that closes this opening, on the front of a pair of pants.
b. The flap of cloth that covers this opening.
3. A piece of protective fabric secured over a tent and often extended over the entrance.
4. A flyleaf.
5. Baseball A fly ball.
6. Sports In swimming, butterfly.
7.
a. The span of a flag from the staff to the outer edge.
b. The outer edge of a flag.
8. A flywheel.
9. flies The area directly over the stage of a theater, containing overhead lights, drop curtains, and equipment for raising and lowering sets.
10. Chiefly British A one-horse carriage, especially one for hire.
Phrasal Verb:
fly at
To attack fiercely; assault: The dogs flew at each other's throats.
Idioms:
fly high
To be elated: They were flying high after their first child was born.
fly off the handle Informal
To become suddenly enraged: flew off the handle when the train was finally canceled.
let fly
1. To shoot, hurl, or release: The troops let fly a volley of gunfire.
2. To lash out; assault: The mayor let fly with an angry attack on her critics.
on the fly
1. In a hurry or between pressing activities: took lunch on the fly.
2. While moving: The outfielder caught the ball on the fly.
3. In the air; in flight: The ball carried 500 feet on the fly.
4. While activity is ongoing: A coach can change players on the fly in hockey. This computer program compiles on the fly when a script is executed.

[Middle English flien, from Old English flēogan; see pleu- in Indo-European roots.]

fly′a·ble adj.

fly 2

 (flī)
n. pl. flies
1.
a. Any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially any of the family Muscidae, which includes the housefly.
b. Any of various other flying insects, such as a caddisfly.
2. A fishing lure simulating something a fish eats, such as a mayfly or a minnow, made by attaching materials such as feathers, tinsel, and colored thread to a fishhook.
Idiom:
fly in the ointment
A detrimental circumstance or detail; a drawback.

[Middle English flie, from Old English flēoge; see pleu- in Indo-European roots.]

fly 3

 (flī)
adj.
1. Chiefly British Mentally alert; sharp.
2. Slang Fashionable; stylish.

[Probably from fly.]

fly in the ointment

Something that spoils or hinders a proceeding, especially when not anticipated.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.fly in the ointment - an inconvenience that detracts from the usefulness of something
troublesomeness, worriment, inconvenience - a difficulty that causes anxiety
References in classic literature ?
This day he learned something, and that he did not lose his life in the learning of it, was a matter of great surprise to Tarzan, and the fly in the ointment, to Tublat.
The only fly in the ointment of my peaceful days was Mrs.
The fly in the ointment, however, was the accusation Tarzan had made against this woman.
The only fly in the ointment for UEFA's Holy Trinity of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern is that Rafa Benitez is now in charge at the Bernabeu.
The potential fly in the ointment is impressive point-topoint winner Hester Flemen.
LEWIS Hamilton could again prove to be a fly in the ointment ahead of tomorrow's title showdown in the Brazilian Grand Prix.