gadfly (plural gadflies)

  1. Any dipterous insect of the family Oestridae, commonly known as botflies.
    Synonyms: botfly
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  2. A horsefly: any of various species of fly, of the family Tabanidae, noted for buzzing about animals and sucking their blood.
    Synonyms: horsefly, stoat-fly, stout
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    • 2005, Rafael Argullol, The End of the World as a Work of Art: A Western Story, Bucknell University Press (ISBN 9780838756263), page 48:
      Vengeful Hera transformed her into an animal (a beautiful cow), and imposed upon her the company of a gadfly to sting her continuously, thus forcing her to escape on an endless pilgrimage.
  3. (figurative) One who upsets the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempts to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant.
  4. (pejorative) One who merely irritates without making useful suggestions.
  5. (derogatory, slang) A bloodsucker; a person who takes without giving back.
    Synonyms: bloodsucker, Thesaurus:scrounger
    He's a regular gadfly and takes advantage of his friend's generosity.
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