from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A persistent irritating critic; a nuisance.
  • n. One that acts as a provocative stimulus; a goad.
  • n. Any of various flies, especially of the family Tabanidae, that bite or annoy livestock and other animals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any dipterous insect of the family Oestridae, commonly known as botflies.
  • n. A horsefly: any of various species of fly, of the family Tabanidae, noted for buzzing about animals and sucking their blood.
  • n. One who upsets the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempts to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant.
  • n. One who merely irritates without making useful suggestions.
  • n. A bloodsucker

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any dipterous insect of the genus Oestrus, and allied genera of botflies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The popular name of sundry flies which goad or sting domestic animals, as a breeze, breeze-fly, or horse-fly; specifically, a dipterous insect of the family Tabanidæ and suborder Brachycera, representing also a superfamily Hexachætæ.
  • n. A common though erroneous name of sundry flies (bot-flies) of the family Œstridæ and genus Œstrus or Hippoderma, belonging to a different series of the great order Diptera from that of gadflies proper.
  • n. Figuratively, one who is constantly going about; a mischievous or annoying gadabout.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a persistently annoying person
  • n. any of various large flies that annoy livestock


gad2 + fly2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
"fly which bites cattle", from Old Norse gaddr ("spike"). (Wiktionary)


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