definitions
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thorn

[ thawrn ]
/ θɔrn /
|

noun

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.

verb (used with object)

to prick with a thorn; vex.

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Nearby words

thoric, thorite, thorium, thorium dioxide, thorium series, thorn, thorn apple, thorn in one's flesh, thorn moth, thornback, thornbill

Idioms

    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
Related formsthorn·less, adjectivethorn·like, adjectiveun·thorn, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for thorn in one's flesh (1 of 2)

Thorn

/ (toːrn) /

noun

the German name for Toruń

British Dictionary definitions for thorn in one's flesh (2 of 2)

thorn

/ (θɔːn) /

noun

Derived Formsthornless, adjective

Word Origin for thorn

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

Word Origin and History for thorn in one's flesh

thorn


n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for thorn in one's flesh

thorn

[ thôrn ]

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.

Idioms and Phrases with thorn in one's flesh

thorn in one's flesh


Also, thorn in one's side. A constant source of irritation, as in Paul's complaining and whining are a thorn in my flesh, or Mother's always comparing us children—it's a thorn in our sides. This metaphoric expression appears twice in the Bible. In Judges 2:3 it is enemies that “shall be as thorns in your sides”; in II Corinthians 12:7 Paul says his infirmities are “given to me a thorn in the flesh.”

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.