Definition of sting in English:

sting

Syllabification: sting
Pronunciation: /stiNG
 
/

noun

1A small sharp-pointed organ at the end of the abdomen of bees, wasps, ants, and scorpions, capable of inflicting a painful or dangerous wound by injecting poison.
More example sentences
  • The poor fellow has neither the tusks of the elephant, nor the claws of the lion, nor even the horns or pointed teeth or stings and poison glands.
  • It had a man's face with 3 rows of extremely sharp teeth in each jaw, a lion's body and a long tail with a sting like a scorpion's.
  • She found the poison sting still in his body and from the odour, she knew that he had come to the child in the form of a scorpion.
1.1Any of a number of minute hairs or other organs of plants, jellyfishes, etc., that inject a poisonous or irritating fluid when touched.
More example sentences
  • A new cream, which prevents the jellyfish from firing their stings when touched, recently became available - just in time for the seasonal invasion of millions of small, purple jellyfish.
  • So they add defences - thistles have prickles and tough leaves, nettles have stings, other plants have toxins.
  • I began to bleed at impact and quickly drew my finger away from the sting of the sharp plant.
1.2A wound from the sting of an insect or plant: a wasp or bee sting
More example sentences
  • Most scorpion stings are merely painful, leading to swelling in the immediate region of the sting, but some scorpions of northern Africa and the American southwest can be deadly.
  • What the books often don't tell you is that there are another set of spikes on the side of the gill plates, which can also inflict a painful sting.
  • Although scorpion stings can be devastatingly painful, they are not usually lethal to humans.
Synonyms
prick, wound, injury, puncture
1.3A sharp tingling or burning pain or sensation: I felt the sting of the cold, bitter air
More example sentences
  • Before any of the women could speak, Gale felt the sting of something sharp, and willed herself not to look at the doctor's work.
  • He crushed the tracking device in his hand, ignoring the sting of sharp metal on his palm.
  • The only sensation is the sting of the wind, cold and laced with salt.
Synonyms
smart, pricking; pain, soreness, hurt, irritation
1.4 [in singular] A hurtful quality or effect: she smiled to take the sting out of her words
More example sentences
  • But speaking out regularly in a structured environment will take the sting out of shyness on the social scene.
  • Let all those who dare to cross you feel the power of your cannons, the bite of rapier, and the sting of your razor sharp wit.
  • In 1996, Kentucky was smarting from the sting of its regional final collapse against North Carolina the previous season.
Synonyms
heartache, heartbreak, agony, torture, torment, hurt, pain, anguishsharpness, severity, bite, edge, pointedness, asperity; sarcasm, acrimony, malice, spite, venom
2 informal A carefully planned operation, typically one involving deception: five blackmailers were jailed last week after they were snared in a police sting
More example sentences
  • Swindon's Operation Delta burglary squad has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police on an undercover sting operation.
  • It was the FBI doing a sting on a State Police officer.
  • The 12 men were arrested on Wednesday in a sting operation as police and army officials sought to crack down on illegal quarrying.
Synonyms
swindle, fraud, deception; trickery, sharp practice
informal rip-off, con, fiddle, bunco

verb (past and past participle stung /stəNG/)

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1 [with object] Wound or pierce with a sting: he was stung by a jellyfish [no object]: a nettle stings if you brush it lightly
More example sentences
  • My bare legs were instantly stung by nettles, and a swarm of wasps gathered around the fake flower-reeds I had to drape myself in to become Titania.
  • Hopefully we won't be maimed by saltwater crocodiles, eaten by sharks, or stung by poisonous jellyfish.
  • One evening we labored, stung by nettles and mosquitoes, to set up Sewell's camera blind on Otter Pond in the great marsh.
Synonyms
prick, wound, bite; poison
2Feel or cause to feel a sharp tingling or burning pain or sensation: [no object]: her eyes stung [with object]: the brandy stung his throat (as adjective stinging) a stinging pain
More example sentences
  • A sharp pain stung his neck, and he lifted a hand to explore the area, grimly satisfied when he found a small dart, about as long as a joint of his index finger.
  • A sharp burning sensation stung just below his shoulder, thrusting his slim frame forward in the saddle.
  • The cuts stung with burning pain, and I was tempted to stop, but I couldn't.
Synonyms
smart, burn, hurt, be irritated, be sore
2.1 [with object] (Typically of something said) hurt or upset (someone): stung by her mockery, Frank hung his head
More example sentences
  • The words hurt, stinging me because there was some truth to them.
  • Finally announcing pricing details for its broadband satellite service, BTopenworld has stung Internet users just where it hurts the most.
  • Her words were meant to sting and hurt, to make him feel equally as bad as he had made her now feel.
Synonyms
upset, wound, cut to the quick, sear, grieve, hurt, pain, torment, mortify
2.2 (sting someone into) Provoke someone to do (something) by causing annoyance or offense: he was stung into action by an article in the paper
More example sentences
  • This score stung St. Forcherns into action and from the kick-out the ball reached Ailish who took on the MLR backline and crashed home a good goal to give her side a two point advantage.
  • The meeting came after the Selby Labour MP stung her into action by in effect accusing her of preparing to give Yorkshire miners even worse treatment than Lady Thatcher had meted out.
  • That score stung Edinburgh into raising the pace once more and they briefly rediscovered the all-action style that had been so evident during the first half, earning a penalty which Laney converted to narrow the gap to a single point.
Synonyms
provoke, goad, incite, spur, prick, prod, rouse, drive, galvanize
3 [with object] informal Swindle or exorbitantly overcharge (someone): an elaborate fraud that stung a bank for thousands
More example sentences
  • If we add it all up, we find that the taxpayer could be stung for up to $44 million, and that is without looking at possible appeals.
  • So if you sold the rental property within the first 3 years you could benefit from the rental income, and then sell without being stung for CGT.
  • Otherwise, you may be stung for as much as a fiver.
Synonyms
swindle, defraud, cheat, fleece, gull
informal rip off, screw, shaft, bilk, do, rook, diddle, take for a ride, chisel, gouge

Origin

Old English sting (noun), stingan (verb), of Germanic origin.

Phrases

sting in the tail

An unexpected, typically unpleasant or problematic end to something: the Budget comes with a sting in the tail—future tax increases
More example sentences
  • But there could be a sting in the tail, with the unexpected surge in jobs putting another interest rate hike back on the RBA's agenda.
  • While he extended the current venture capital trust schemes, research and development tax credits and capital allowances, there was a surprise sting in the tail for those running some of Britain's smallest enterprises.
  • If the benchmarking body does not deliver parity of pay, then we will deliver the sting in the tail.

Derivatives

stingingly

adverb
More example sentences
  • The pride in insularity, the lip service paid to children and spouses, the hypocrisies soothed by a Sunday church service, the celebration of the auto, and the shallow dismissal of politics couldn't be more stingingly apt then or now.
  • In their bitter recriminations Lear, Gloucester and Edgar are vindicating Lear's Fool, who has been stingingly indicting his master's folly and society's hypocrisies from the play's first scene.
  • What is clear is that the old guard had little time for him, and he stingingly concludes by pointing out that his own Test average with the bat is almost identical to that of his captain's.

stingless

adjective
More example sentences
  • He leads us to the log hives of stingless black bees, which produce Chardonnay-colored honey - a highlight of the Maya diet that is harvested only during full-moon ceremonies.
  • Although Panama's native bees - mostly small, stingless varieties - helped coffee growers a little, he says their virtual replacement by Africanized bees has begun stabilizing coffee yields in the country at near-optimal levels.
  • We are testing several species of tiny, stingless wasps, the sharpshooters' natural enemies, to see whether they can quash expanding sharpshooter populations.

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Word of the day erroneous
Pronunciation: ɪˈrəʊnɪəs
adjective
wrong; incorrect