Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A modified branch in the form of a sharp woody structure.
  • noun Any of various other sharp protuberances, such as a spine.
  • noun Any of various shrubs, trees, or woody plants bearing such sharp structures.
  • noun Any of various sharp protuberances on an animal.
  • noun One that causes sharp pain, irritation, or discomfort.
  • noun The runic letter þ, used in Old English, Middle English, and Old Norse manuscripts to represent both the voiceless sound (th) of Modern English thin and the voiced sound (ᴛʜ) of Modern English this, and in modern Icelandic orthography to represent the voiceless sound (th).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A sharp excrescence on a plant: usually a branch, or the termination of a stem or branch, indurated, leafless, and attenuated to a point; a spine; a prickle. See spine, 1.
  • noun Figuratively, that which wounds or annoys; a cause of discomfort or irritation; a painful circumstance.
  • noun One of numerous thorny shrubs or trees, especially the members of the genus Cratægus, otherwise called haw.
  • noun In zoology, some sharp process, horn, or spine. See spine, 3.
  • noun In entomology, one of certain geometrid moths: an English book-name. The little thorn is Epione advenaria; the early thorn is Selenia illunaria.
  • noun In lace-making, a small pointed projection used to decorate the cordon-net, etc. Compare spine, 5.
  • noun The Anglo-Saxon letter þ, equivalent to th; also, the corresponding character in Icelandic.
  • noun In the United States, sometimes, the scarlet-fruited thorn.
  • noun See Macrocnemum.
  • To prick or pierce with or as with a thorn.
  • To fasten with a thorn.
  • Supplied (?).
  • To be supplied (?).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A hard and sharp-pointed projection from a woody stem; usually, a branch so transformed; a spine.
  • noun (Bot.) Any shrub or small tree which bears thorns; especially, any species of the genus Cratægus, as the hawthorn, whitethorn, cockspur thorn.
  • noun Fig.: That which pricks or annoys as a thorn; anything troublesome; trouble; care.
  • noun The name of the Anglo-Saxon letter �, capital form �. It was used to represent both of the sounds of English th, as in thin, then. So called because it was the initial letter of thorn, a spine.
  • noun (Bot.) Jamestown weed.
  • noun (Bot.) a shrub that produces thorns.
  • noun a hedge of thorn-bearing trees or bushes.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Moloch, 2.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a tree hopper (Thelia cratægi) which lives on the thorn bush, apple tree, and allied trees.
  • transitive verb Poetic To prick, as with a thorn.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A sharp protective spine of a plant.
  • noun A letter of the Latin alphabet (capital: Þ, small: þ), borrowed by Old English from the futhark to represent a dental fricative, then not distinguished from eth, but in modern use (in Icelandic and other languages, but no longer in English) used only for the voiceless dental fricative found in English thigh
  • verb To pierce with, or as if with, a thorn

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

  • noun a small sharp-pointed tip resembling a spike on a stem or leaf
  • noun a Germanic character of runic origin
  • noun something that causes irritation and annoyance

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English þorn and Old English þorn, from Proto-Germanic *þurnuz, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ter-n- (“sharp stalk or thorn”), possibly derived from *ster- (“stiff”). Near cognates include German Dorn and Gothic 𐌸𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌽𐌿𐍃 (þaurnus). Further cognates include Old Church Slavonic трънъ (trŭnŭ, "thorn"), Albanian drizë ("a thorny shrub") and Sanskrit तृण (tṛṇa, "grass").

Examples

  • Sometimes, as in any exorcism movie -- and most horror movies are that, by other names -- the alien thorn is successfully removed from the suppurating flank of the real.

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • And do you know what that sting or thorn is in Latin?

    From the Mail

  • Sometimes, as in any exorcism movie -- and most horror movies are that, by other names -- the alien thorn is successfully removed from the suppurating flank of the real.

    “Two Kinds of Fantastic Fiction”?

  • And do you know what that sting or thorn is in Latin?

    Sexagesima Sunday

  • My miraculous discovery was that by telling my husband and laughing with him about it; And then calling a dear friend and telling her and laughing with her about it; Now the thorn is drawn from my mind.

    McKenzie Method: Wiping out Painful Memories of Embarrassing Moments

  • Craig Counsell was the main thorn in Maddux's side, igniting things with a first-inning single and getting a double in the fourth inning, scoring both times.

    USATODAY.com - Big Unit stakes D'backs to Game 1 win

  • Paul confirmed that the source of our suffering is Satan when he referred to his thorn in the flesh as a “messenger of Satan” 2 Cor.

    Beyond the Storm

  • Paul confirmed that the source of our suffering is Satan when he referred to his thorn in the flesh as a “messenger of Satan” 2 Cor.

    Beyond the Storm

  • He had lingered behind to pluck a thorn from the foot of a beggar child he had met on the highway, and he had not heard the Warder's words.

    The Story Girl

  • By sheer force of self-assertion we have lifted ourselves from the dust where we once crawled as worms and no women; we no longer wither on the virgin thorn – we flourish on it; and ungarnished though we be with olive-boughs, we are not ashamed when we meet with our enemies in the gate.

    Marriage as a Trade

Comments

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  • Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch.

    December 19, 2007

  • Worth putting up with the rose.

    August 21, 2009