- a sharp excrescence on a plant, especially a sharp-pointed aborted branch; spine; prickle.
- any of various thorny shrubs or trees, especially the hawthorns belonging to the genus Crataegus, of the rose family.
- the wood of any of these trees.
- a runic character (þ), borrowed into the Latin alphabet and representing the initial th sounds in thin and they in Old English, or thin in modern Icelandic.
- something that wounds, annoys, or causes discomfort.
- to prick with a thorn; vex.
- thorn in one's side/flesh, a source of continual irritation or suffering: That child is a thorn in the teacher's side.
Origin of thorn
- German name of Toruń.
Examples from the Web for thorn
Contemporary Examples of thorn
Thorn also posted a video on his personal YouTube page wherein he desk-dances to Taylor Swift.Jimmy Kimmel Pranks Kids (Again), Taylor Swift’s 1989 Aerobics, and More Viral Videos
The Daily Beast Video
November 9, 2014
That freedom has been a thorn in the side of many cardinals who feel the sisters should be more conservative.American Nuns Hope For Sister-Friendly New Pope
Barbie Latza Nadeau
February 13, 2013
A tabletop bronze of a boy pulling a thorn from his foot, made around 1500 by the Renaissance sculptor known as Antico.A Roman Boy-Toy Gets a Dye Job
January 10, 2013
For more than 40 years now, Norwegian director Vibeke Løkkeberg has relished being a thorn in the side of authorities.In ‘Tears of Gaza,’ Vibeke Løkkeberg Focuses on Children of War
September 21, 2012
Senator Blanche Lincoln was a thorn in the Democrats' side during the health-care debate.Will Blanche Lincoln Oppose the Dems Again?
April 12, 2010
Historical Examples of thorn
The thorn of Anna's inefficiency had always rankled in her flesh.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
You, who have been hitherto the thorn in my path, the cloud in my fate!Night and Morning, Complete
There was something, too, about Paul's thorn in the flesh, but I forget that bit.The Comrade In White
W. H. Leathem
This unlucky newspaper was a thorn in the side of every patriot of Carlow County.The Gentleman From Indiana
For their covering a mantle is what they all wear, fastened with a clasp or, for want of it, with a thorn.Tacitus on Germany
- a sharp pointed woody extension of a stem or leafCompare prickle (def. 1)
- any of various trees or shrubs having thorns, esp the hawthorn
- the wood of any of these plants
- short for thorn moth
- a Germanic character of runic origin Þ used in Old and Modern Icelandic to represent the voiceless dental fricative sound of th, as in thin, bath. Its use in phonetics for the same purpose is now obsoleteSee theta
- this same character as used in Old and Middle English as an alternative to edh, but indistinguishable from it in function or soundCompare edh
- zoology any of various sharp spiny parts
- a source of irritation (esp in the phrases a thorn in one's side or flesh)
Word Origin for thorn
- the German name for Toruń
Old English þorn "sharp point on a stem or branch," earlier "thorny tree or plant," from Proto-Germanic *thurnuz (cf. Old Saxon thorn, Dutch doorn, Old High German dorn, German Dorn, Old Norse þorn, Gothic þaurnus), from PIE *trnus (cf. Old Church Slavonic trunu "thorn," Sanskrit trnam "blade of grass," Greek ternax "stalk of the cactus," Irish trainin "blade of grass"), from *(s)ter-n- "thorny plant," from root *ster- "stiff."
Figurative sense of "anything which causes pain" is recorded from early 13c. (thorn in the flesh is from II Cor. xii:7). Also an Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic runic letter (þ), named for the word of which it was the initial.
- A short, hard, pointed part of a stem or branch of a woody plant. Compare spine.