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.
any of a number of minute hairs or other organs of plants, jellyfishes, etc., which inject a poisonous or irritating fluid when touched:a nettle-like plant with no sting
a wound from a sting:a wasp or bee sting
a sharp tingling or burning pain or sensation:she felt the sharp sting of tears behind her eyelids
[in singular] a hurtful quality or effect:I recalled the sting of his betrayalshe smiled to take the sting out of her words
2 informal a carefully planned operation, typically one involving deception:five blackmailers were jailed last week after they were snared in a police sting
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
feel or cause to feel a sharp tingling or burning pain or sensation: [no object]:her eyes stung as if she might cry again [with object]:the brandy stung his throat (as adjective stinging)a stinging pain
[with object] (typically of something said) hurt or upset (someone):stung by her mockery, Frank hung his head
(sting someone into) provoke someone to do (something) by causing annoyance or offence:he was stung into action by an article in the paper
2 [with object] informal swindle or exorbitantly overcharge (someone):I had to buy some boxer shorts at the last minute and got stung for £42.50!
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