sting

Sting most commonly refers to the wound inflicted by a bee or hornet, or to a kind of burning pain, like the brief sting when your doctor gives you a vaccine. A nasty remark can also sting.

"Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee!" was Muhammad Ali's famous taunt to other fighters. But insects and boxers aren't the only ones who can sting. When someone says something that's both mean and true, it can sting. Such things are often referred to as stinging remarks. But if you're thinking crime, then a sting is a con-job that takes planning to pull off. When the cops spend months creating a fake crime-ring in order to catch criminals in the act, it's referred to a "sting operation."

Definitions of sting
1

v deliver a sting to

“A bee stung my arm yesterday”
Synonyms:
bite, prick
Type of:
pierce
make a hole into

v cause a sharp or stinging pain or discomfort

Synonyms:
bite, burn
burn
feel hot or painful
Types:
nettle, urticate
sting with or as with nettles and cause a stinging pain or sensation
Type of:
ache, hurt, smart
be the source of pain

v cause a stinging pain

Synonyms:
prick, twinge
Types:
prick, prickle
cause a prickling sensation
Type of:
ache, hurt, suffer
feel physical pain

v cause an emotional pain, as if by stinging

“His remark stung her”
Type of:
bruise, hurt, injure, offend, spite, wound
hurt the feelings of

v saddle with something disagreeable or disadvantageous

“I was stung with a huge tax bill”
Synonyms:
stick
Type of:
force, thrust
impose urgently, importunately, or inexorably

n a kind of pain; something as sudden and painful as being stung

“the sting of death”
Synonyms:
stinging
Type of:
hurting, pain
a symptom of some physical hurt or disorder

n a painful wound caused by the thrust of an insect's stinger into skin

Synonyms:
bite, insect bite
Types:
bee sting
a sting inflicted by a bee
flea bite
sting inflicted by a flea
mosquito bite
a sting inflicted by a mosquito
Type of:
harm, hurt, injury, trauma
any physical damage to the body caused by violence or accident or fracture etc.

n a mental pain or distress

Synonyms:
pang
Type of:
hurting, pain
a symptom of some physical hurt or disorder

n a swindle in which you cheat at gambling or persuade a person to buy worthless property

Synonyms:
bunco, bunco game, bunko, bunko game, con, con game, confidence game, confidence trick, flimflam, gyp, hustle
Types:
sting operation
a complicated confidence game planned and executed with great care (especially an operation implemented by undercover agents to apprehend criminals)
Type of:
cheat, rig, swindle
the act of swindling by some fraudulent scheme

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.