One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
prickle, spike, barb, spine, bristle
‘he has become a thorn in the flesh of any establishment’
annoyance, irritant, irritation, source of irritation, source of vexation, source of annoyance, pinprick, pest, bother, trial, torment, plague, inconvenience, nuisance, menace
aggravation, peeve, pet peeve, pain, pain in the neck, bind, bore, headache, hassle
pain in the butt, nudnik, burr in someone's saddle, burr under someone's saddle
pain in the arse
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