gadfly

play
noun gad·fly \ˈgad-ˌflī\

Definition of gadfly

  1. 1 :  any of various flies (as a horsefly, botfly, or warble fly) that bite or annoy livestock

  2. 2 :  a person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism

Examples of gadfly in a sentence

  1. <a loud sports commentator who was a tactless gadfly during post-game interviews with the losing team>

Did You Know?

The history of "gadfly" starts with "gad," which now means "chisel" but which formerly could designate a spike, spear, or rod for goading cattle. Late in the 16th century, "gad" was joined with "fly" to designate any of several insects that aggravate livestock. Before too long, we began applying "gadfly" to people who annoy or provoke others. One of history's most famous gadflies was the philosopher Socrates, who was known for his constant questioning of his fellow Athenians' ethics, misconceptions, and assumptions. In his Apology, Plato describes Socrates' characterization of Athens as a large and sluggish horse and of Socrates himself as the fly that bites and rouses it. Many translations use "gadfly" in this portion of the Apology, and Socrates is sometimes referred to as the "gadfly of Athens."

Origin and Etymology of gadfly

1gad


First Known Use: 1593

Other Insect Terms


GADFLY Defined for English Language Learners

gadfly

play
noun gad·fly \ˈgad-ˌflī\

Definition of gadfly for English Language Learners

  • : someone who annoys people by being very critical


GADFLY Defined for Kids

gadfly

play
noun gad·fly \ˈgad-ˌflī\

Definition of gadfly for Students

plural

gadflies

  1. 1 :  a large biting fly

  2. 2 :  a person who annoys others especially with constant criticism


Medical Dictionary

gadfly

play
noun gad·fly \ˈgad-ˌflī\

Medical Definition of gadfly

plural

gadflies

  1. :  any of various flies (as a horsefly, botfly, or warble fly) that bite or annoy livestock



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