[ thawrn ]
See synonyms for thorn on
  1. a sharp excrescence on a plant, especially a sharp-pointed aborted branch; spine; prickle.

  2. any of various thorny shrubs or trees, especially the hawthorns belonging to the genus Crataegus, of the rose family.

  1. the wood of any of these trees.

  2. 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.

  3. something that wounds, annoys, or causes discomfort.

verb (used with object)
  1. to prick with a thorn; vex.

Idioms about thorn

  1. 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

before 900; Middle English (noun), Old English; cognate with Dutch doorn,German Dorn,Old Norse thorn,Gothic thaurnus

Other words from thorn

  • thornless, adjective
  • thornlike, adjective
  • un·thorn, verb (used with object)

Words Nearby thorn

Other definitions for Thorn (2 of 2)

[ tawrn ]

  1. German name of Toruń. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use thorn in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for thorn (1 of 2)


/ (θɔːn) /

  1. a sharp pointed woody extension of a stem or leaf: Compare prickle (def. 1)

    • any of various trees or shrubs having thorns, esp the hawthorn

    • the wood of any of these plants

  1. short for thorn moth

  2. 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 obsolete: See theta

  3. this same character as used in Old and Middle English as an alternative to edh, but indistinguishable from it in function or sound: Compare edh

  4. zoology any of various sharp spiny parts

  5. a source of irritation (esp in the phrases a thorn in one's side or flesh)

Origin of thorn

Old English; related to Old High German dorn, Old Norse thorn

Derived forms of thorn

  • thornless, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for Thorn (2 of 2)


/ (toːrn) /

  1. the German name for Toruń

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

Scientific definitions for thorn


[ thôrn ]

  1. A short, hard, pointed part of a stem or branch of a woody plant. Compare spine.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.