fly in the ointment

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A reference to Ecclesiastes 10:1 in the Bible.


fly in the ointment (plural flies in the ointment)

  1. (idiomatic) Something which ruins or spoils everything else; a nuisance or problem; an unpleasant or disagreeable detail.
    • 2003, Ron Ross, Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc, page 287:
      Bummy Davis is no longer a pugilist. Willie is very aware of this fact and lets Johnny Attell know that there is a fly in the ointment, and Johnny, who is a very shrewd article, has his chauffeur drive him to Bradford Street so he can change the kid's mind.