Share this entry

Share this page

gadfly

Syllabification: gad·fly
Pronunciation: /ˈɡadˌflī
 
/

Definition of gadfly in English:

noun (plural gadflies)

1A fly that bites livestock, especially a horsefly, warble fly, or botfly.
Example sentences
  • Later, Hera sent the notorious gadfly to continuously bite and irritate Io.
  • She was tormented by a furious little gadfly that bit her mercilessly, though she flicked her tail this way and that.
  • Zeus had once tried to seduce the lovely Io, but Hera, his jealous wife, had discovered her husband's intentions and turned poor Io into a cow, left to wander about the earth, constantly pursued and tormented by a pestilent gadfly.
1.1An annoying person, especially one who provokes others into action by criticism.
Example sentences
  • But he admits he is curious: what has the liberal gadfly done to annoy so many conservatives like him?
  • The gadfly soon became an annoyance to both the MTA and the union, creating a newsletter which aired workers' grievances but criticised alleged union inaction.
  • I have always considered him sort of a Socratic gadfly.

Origin

late 16th century: from gad1, or obsolete gad 'goad, spike', from Old Norse gaddr, of Germanic origin; related to yard1.

Definition of gadfly in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day jaunt
Pronunciation: jônt
noun
a short excursion or journey for pleasure