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1A stiff, sharp-pointed woody projection on the stem or other part of a plant.
prickle, spike, barb, spine, bristleView synonyms
- ‘The untrained eye cannot always distinguish between a blackberry and a raspberry, since the shapes and sizes of the fruit, leaves, and thorns vary, and there are both red blackberries and black raspberries.’
- ‘Sweating on an assembly line, she strips thorns from flowers bound for countries where people can afford such luxuries.’
- ‘Here in south Texas, where the mesquite brush and most other native plants have thorns and where not a few critters have a mean bite, it helps to be tough.’
- ‘The door was engraved with carvings of dead and live roses with long stems and sharp thorns.’
- ‘The thorns on the rose stem pressed into his skin but he ignored the pain.’
- ‘It is very difficult to miss this flower with its very vibrant orange leaves and dangerous thorns.’
- ‘Experts have known for some time that cheetahs are particularly prone to eye injuries from thorns and spikes.’
- ‘Nearly all of the plant life protects itself with thorns, barbs and needles.’
- ‘Having bare feet also made it easier to grip when following a ridge and, since there was not the faintest trace of vegetation anywhere, there was no danger from thorns.’
- ‘I just keep staring at the rose, the petals, the long yellow stamens, stem, the fat red thorns, wanting to say so much.’
- ‘The rural imagery is varied: the rising sap, meadows, individual plants, birds, a bedewed rose among its thorns, storm, flood, and fair weather.’
- ‘Her finger caught on one of the thorns hidden beneath a leaf.’
- ‘Due to the proposed similarity in function among thorns, spines, and prickles, we will hereafter generically refer to all plants bearing them as armed.’
- ‘Certain plants have developed thorns to prevent themselves from being devoured and they work equally well as deterrents for humans too.’
- ‘The Romans considered holly to be lucky, and it was later accepted as a symbol by the church - its sharp leaves likened to the thorns worn by Jesus and its berries to the drops of Christ's blood.’
- ‘Plants also possess a great diversity of physical resistance traits, such as spines and thorns.’
- ‘I could easily compare her to a rose: a beautiful flower with piercing thorns.’
- ‘But I'm so inherently Texan I love it all - the stickers, the spikes, the thorns, the burrs, the nettles, and the rocks.’
- ‘Roses ramble over walls, branches stiff with thorns and laden with huge blossoms.’
- ‘Workers spray rose bushes, harvest stems, strip them of thorns and pluck the blemished petals.’
- 1.1 A source of discomfort, annoyance, or difficulty; an irritation or obstacle.‘the issue has become a thorn in renewing the peace talks’
- ‘Jake is a big thorn in this school.’
- ‘His visits to the shrine have been a thorn that is increasingly irritating relations between the two countries.’
- ‘A friend and I were sitting around commiserating about the things that get to us: unloading small indignities, comparing thorns.’
- ‘Why do our love lives have to be a winding road full of obstacles and thorns?’
- ‘However, that thorn has yet to trouble the organisers, who are revitalising and expanding the event.’
2A thorny bush, shrub, or tree, especially a hawthorn.
- ‘‘They threw me over the back of a camel and told me they would kill me if I cried,’ he said, sitting quietly under a thorn tree on the outskirts of Turalei.’
- ‘With the sun at its highest and the birds falling silent, I had a short siesta under a thorn tree.’
- ‘The camels seem to enjoy bunches of dry-looking thorn bush.’
- ‘She could see a forest surrounding the town, dense and thick, full of dark, tangled trees and thorns that looked scary and uninviting.’
- ‘I sit beside my flowering thorn and drink a little wine.’
- ‘The undergrowth of thorns and shrubs was bad enough, but in addition the whole place was chock-full of a sort of reed with long leaves about an inch or so broad.’
- ‘Huge clusters of thorn bushes, fungus, tree roots and a carpet of dead leaves and pine needles made walking a chore.’
- ‘Instead of a well-equipped school their children are taught beneath the shade of a thorn tree.’
- ‘When he reached Glastonbury he planted his staff, which then took root and grew into a thorn tree.’
- ‘Slowly we progress across the crimson lakes of sand, silver pools of sand, enormous hillocks of sand, skirting giant rocks and stubbornly vibrant patches of thorn bush.’
- ‘To this day, a large and twisted thorn tree - the ‘Friar's Thorn’ - grows on the mound where the ceremonies were carried out and it is near here that the ‘Friar's Stone’ is located.’
- ‘Point out any potential hazards to the child, such as thorn bushes or poison ivy.’
- ‘I wish to draw everybody's attention to the great value of all established indigenous trees and of camel thorn trees in particular.’
- ‘In the autumn we intend to plant fruiting species of trees, including gelda rose, hawthorn, hazel, thorn and snowberry.’
- ‘Along the banks grew knob thorns, sausage trees, vegetable ivory, ilala palms, mangoes, wild figs, tamarinds and mahogany, as well as the ubiquitous acacia.’
- ‘The lions chased him, and savaged his leg before he fell into a thorn bush too dense for them to reach him.’
- ‘Pretty soon I sat up with a jerk as something was thrashing like mad in the thorn bush above my head.’
3An Old English and Icelandic runic letter, þ or Þ, representing the dental fricatives /ð/ and /θ/. It was eventually superseded by the digraph th.Compare with eth
- ‘Similarly, thorn may represent either a voiceless or a voiced sound: compare the current use of the digraph th in three and these.’
4A yellowish-brown woodland moth which rests with the wings raised over the back, with twig-like caterpillars.
there is no rose without a thorn
proverb Every apparently desirable situation has its share of trouble or difficulty.
- ‘Among other things, Stenwick prides itself upon the comeliness of its damsels, but, just as there is no rose without a thorn, so there is no parish whose gallery of feminine pulchritude is utterly flawless.’
- ‘But there is no rose without a thorn and they stand for life's difficulties and tragedies.’
- ‘There is no rose without a thorn, but people getting all hot and bothered is not going to do Sligo any good.’
a thorn in someone's side (or flesh)
A source of continual annoyance or trouble.‘the pastor has long been a thorn in the side of the regime’
annoyance, irritant, irritation, source of irritation, source of vexation, source of annoyance, pinprick, pest, bother, trial, torment, plague, inconvenience, nuisance, menaceView synonyms
- ‘We will continue to fight, to be there as a thorn in their side.’
- ‘We will continue to be a thorn in his side, keeping a close eye on him and interfering with his criminal activities.’
- ‘He's still there of course, and will no doubt continue to be a thorn in our side, but the main danger now seems to be past.’
- ‘A committed republican, he continued to be a thorn in Cromwell 's side, being elected to the protector's parliaments of 1654 and 1656, but prevented from taking his seat.’
- ‘A feisty nuisance of a forward, he was a thorn in their side throughout.’
- ‘Has there been a government in the last thirty years which hasn't regarded the our journalists as a thorn in its side?’
- ‘Neighbours consider him a kind person who is ready to help others, while criminals see him as a thorn in their side.’
- ‘I'm going to be a thorn in their side until they deliver the school places, until they deliver the public transport, until they deliver the parks and the playgrounds.’
- ‘His uncompromising attitude continually made him a thorn in the Establishment 's side.’
- ‘I was a thorn in their side because I wouldn't go along with what they wanted to do.’
Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch doorn and German Dorn.
- German name for Toruń
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