\ ˈthȯr-nē How to pronounce thorny (audio) \
thornier; thorniest

Definition of thorny

1 : full of thorns
2 : full of difficulties or controversial points : ticklish a thorny problem

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Other Words from thorny

thorniness noun

Examples of thorny in a Sentence

stay out of the thorny brambles unless you want a ton of scratches
Recent Examples on the Web Reopening economies also presents thorny challenges. Dallas News, "Despite ‘closed’ border, Americans travel freely to Mexico, increasing virus dangers," 3 July 2020 The event is usually an important opportunity for officials to meet on the sidelines to discuss thorny issues and resolve problems, but officials worry that the virtual format might reduce the conference to a number-crunching exercise. Washington Post, "Donors urged to dig deep as economic chaos, virus hit Syria," 29 June 2020 Claver-Carone’s stance on Venezuela may be particularly thorny. Ben Bartenstein,, "Trump uses Latin America split to boost ally to top bank job," 18 June 2020 This will certainly be a thorny issue for MLB and its fans. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "From expanded playoffs to sponsored jerseys: Four ways MLB's shortened season may permanently alter the game," 18 June 2020 These arguments posed a thorny challenge for the court’s five conservative members. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Neil Gorsuch Just Upended the Conservative Legal Project," 15 June 2020 His work highlights three thorny problems that must be overcome if AI is to be rolled out more quickly, in medicine and elsewhere. The Economist, "Brain scan The potential and the pitfalls of medical AI," 11 June 2020 In addition to its large size, Borealopelta's back had thorny spikes and had two horns on its shoulders, which are believed to not only help protect it against predators, but attract mates as well, experts note. Fox News, "Incredible discovery shows 110M-year-old dinosaur's last meal preserved," 4 June 2020 But after a rocky start, the two women, both hamstrung by their husbands’ thinly veiled condescension, forge a thorny friendship that jump-starts Shirley’s work at the typewriter. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Elisabeth Moss Channels a Strange and Brilliant Shirley Jackson in the Crackling Shirley," 3 June 2020

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

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First Known Use of thorny

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for thorny

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The first known use of thorny was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thorny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for thorny


How to pronounce thorny (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thorny

: having a lot of thorns
: very difficult or complicated


\ ˈthȯr-nē How to pronounce thorny (audio) \
thornier; thorniest

Kids Definition of thorny

1 : full of or covered with thorns
2 : full of difficulties a thorny situation

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More from Merriam-Webster on thorny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thorny

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thorny

Spanish Central: Translation of thorny

Nglish: Translation of thorny for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thorny for Arabic Speakers

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