Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “have a sting in the/its tail”

have a sting in the/its tail

UK
If something, such as a story or joke, has a sting in the/its tail, it has a surprising or unpleasant part that only becomes clear at the end.Surprising and shockingMaking people sad, shocked and upset
(Definition of have a sting in the/its tail from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Surprising and shocking, but you might be interested in these topics from the Surprise and confusion topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Translations of “have a sting in the/its tail”

Word of the Day

hoppy

like hops (= dried fruit used to make beer)

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More