There are 2 main definitions of thorn in English:


Syllabification: thorn
Pronunciation: /THôrn


1A stiff, sharp-pointed, straight or curved woody projection on the stem or other part of a plant.
More example sentences
  • Roses ramble over walls, branches stiff with thorns and laden with huge blossoms.
  • Certain plants have developed thorns to prevent themselves from being devoured and they work equally well as deterrents for humans too.
  • 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.
1.1A source of discomfort, annoyance, or difficulty; an irritation or an obstacle: the issue has become a thorn in renewing the peace talks See also a thorn in someone's side below.
More example sentences
  • Why do our love lives have to be a winding road full of obstacles and thorns?
  • A friend and I were sitting around commiserating about the things that get to us: unloading small indignities, comparing thorns.
  • His visits to the shrine have been a thorn that is increasingly irritating relations between the two countries.
2 (also thorn bush or thorn tree) A thorny bush, shrub, or tree, especially a hawthorn.
More example sentences
  • ‘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.
  • 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.
3An Old English and Icelandic runic letter, Þ or þ, representing the dental fricatives /T͟H/ and /TH/. In English it was eventually superseded by the digraph th. Compare with eth.
[so named from the word of which it was the first letter]
More example sentences
  • Similarly, thorn may represent either a voiceless or a voiced sound: compare the current use of the digraph th in three and these.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch doorn and German Dorn.


there is no rose without a thorn

proverb Every apparently desirable situation has its share of trouble or difficulty.
More example sentences
  • There is no rose without a thorn, but people getting all hot and bothered is not going to do Sligo any good.
  • But there is no rose without a thorn and they stand for life's difficulties and tragedies.
  • 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.

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
More example sentences
  • We will continue to be a thorn in his side, keeping a close eye on him and interfering with his criminal activities.
  • 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.
  • His uncompromising attitude continually made him a thorn in the Establishment 's side.



sense 1.
More example sentences
  • While the species is thorny in its native habitat, many cultivars are thornless, though not all.
  • While citrus grown from seed may come true - that is, be identical to the mother tree - many gardeners plant grafted trees to ensure a good-eating fruit, quicker production and a thornless tree.
  • It often forms dense thickets, and these are often thorny, since thornless cultivars appear to retain genes for thorniness that may be expressed as genes recombine in their progeny.


Pronunciation: /-ˌpro͞of/
sense 1.
More example sentences
  • I could've worn my jacket, it was quite thornproof, but in that heat it just wasn't worth unrolling it.
  • But in the summer heat you certainly don't want to be hauling a full-weight thornproof outfit around.
  • The tubes can be easily replaced with thornproof or solid rubber tubes which we carry in stock.

Definition of thorn in:

There are 2 main definitions of thorn in English:


Syllabification: Thorn
Pronunciation: /tôrn
German name for Toruń.

Definition of thorn in: