Know how to use "fewer" and "less"? Find out.


[gad-flahy] /ˈgædˌflaɪ/
noun, plural gadflies.
any of various flies, as a stable fly or warble fly, that bite or annoy domestic animals.
a person who persistently annoys or provokes others with criticism, schemes, ideas, demands, requests, etc.
1585-95; gad2 + fly2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for gadflies
  • Community gadflies, veteran city employees, stalwart advocates and weary reporters have all been known to fight over it.
  • These sites provide local gadflies, government critics and people sympathetic to their causes an alternative outlet.
  • It takes some of us gadflies longer to learn it than others.
  • It thrives when predigested proposals are routinely approved and community skeptics are derided as gadflies.
  • That's doable, but not so easy as to leave high-performing officials vulnerable to gadflies fomenting frequent recall campaigns.
British Dictionary definitions for gadflies


noun (pl) -flies
any of various large dipterous flies, esp the horsefly, that annoy livestock by sucking their blood
a constantly irritating or harassing person
Word Origin
C16: from gad² (sting) + fly²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for gadflies



1620s, "fly which bites cattle," probably from gad (n.) "goad, metal rod," here in the sense of "stinger;" but the sense is entangled with gad (v.) and another early meaning of gadfly was "someone who likes to go about, often stopping here and there" (1610s). Sense of "one who irritates another" is from 1640s (equivalent of Latin oestrus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for gadfly

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for gadflies

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with gadflies

Nearby words for gadflies