Fly in the ointment

The English idiom That's the fly in the ointment is used to express a drawback, especially one that was not at first apparent, e.g. : "Sam's lack of map-reading skills turned out to be the fly in the ointment when he applied for the job." A likely source is a phrase in the "King James Bible": [ [http://www.gracecathedral.org/enrichment/brush_excerpts/brush_20051220.shtml "A Fly in the Ointment"] , commentary at website of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco] :Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour (Ecclesiastes )

For five centuries now 'a fly in the ointment' has meant a small defect that spoils something valuable or is a source of annoyance. The modern version thus suggests that something unpleasant may come or has come to light in a proposition or condition that is almost too pleasing; that there is something wrong hidden, unexpected somewhere. This idiom has been used in the title of some books: "" and "The Fly in the Ointment" by Alice Thomas Ellis.

ources

* "The Fly in the Ointment: 70 Fascinating Commentaries on the Science of Everyday Life" by Joseph A. Schwarcz, Ecw Press, May 28, 2004.
* "2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions from White Elephants to a Song and Dance" by Charles Earle Funk (Galahad Book, New York, 1993
* "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

References


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  • fly\ in\ the\ ointment — n. phr. informal An unpleasant part of a pleasant thing; something small that spoils your fun. We had a lot of fun at the beach; the only fly in the ointment was George s cutting his foot on a piece of glass. Your new job sounds too good to be… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • fly in the ointment — a small thing that spoils enjoyment The problem with the music was a fly in the ointment at the party. (в обиходной речи) ложка дегтя в бочке меда (в Библии) муха в бальзаме Мертвые мухи портят и делают зловонною благовонную масть мироварника …   Idioms and examples

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