thorn

play
noun, often attributive \ˈthȯrn\

Definition of thorn

  1. 1a :  a sharp rigid process on a plant; especially :  one that is a short, indurated, sharp-pointed, and leafless modified stem — compare prickle, spineb :  any of various sharp spinose structures on an animal

  2. 2 :  a woody plant bearing sharp impeding processes (such as prickles or spines); especially :  hawthorn

  3. 3 :  something that causes distress or irritation —often used in the phrase thorn in one's side

  4. 4 :  the runic letter þ used in Old English and Middle English to represent either of the fricatives \th\ or \th\ and in Icelandic to represent \th\

thorned

play \ˈthȯrnd\ adjective

thornless

play \ˈthȯrn-ləs\ adjective

thornlike

play \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of thorn in a Sentence

  1. your constant questions are a thorn in my side

Recent Examples of thorn from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thorn'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of thorn

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German dorn thorn, Sanskrit tṛṇa grass, blade of grass


First Known Use: before 12th century


THORN Defined for Kids

thorn

play
noun \ˈthȯrn\

Definition of thorn for Students

  1. 1 :  a hard sharp leafless point on the stem or branch of a plant (as a rose bush)

  2. 2 :  a bush or tree that has thorns



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