throw a monkey wrench into

Idioms & Phrases

throw a monkey wrench into

Sabotage or frustrate a project or plans, as in The boss threw a monkey wrench into our plans when he said we'd have to work Saturday. This transfer of industrial sabotagethat is, throwing a tool inside machineryto other subjects dates from the early 1900s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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