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thorn

[thawrn] /θɔrn/
noun
1.
a sharp excrescence on a plant, especially a sharp-pointed aborted branch; spine; prickle.
2.
any of various thorny shrubs or trees, especially the hawthorns belonging to the genus Crataegus, of the rose family.
3.
the wood of any of these trees.
4.
a runic character (þ), borrowed into the Latin alphabet and representing the initial th sounds in thin and they in Old English, or thin in modern Icelandic.
5.
something that wounds, annoys, or causes discomfort.
verb (used with object)
6.
to prick with a thorn; vex.
Idioms
7.
thorn in one's side / flesh, a source of continual irritation or suffering:
That child is a thorn in the teacher's side.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English (noun), Old English; cognate with Dutch doorn, German Dorn, Old Norse thorn, Gothic thaurnus
Related forms
thornless, adjective
thornlike, adjective
unthorn, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for thorn flesh

thorn

/θɔːn/
noun
1.
a sharp pointed woody extension of a stem or leaf Compare prickle (sense 1)
2.
  1. any of various trees or shrubs having thorns, esp the hawthorn
  2. the wood of any of these plants
3.
short for thorn moth
4.
a Germanic character of runic origin Þ used in Old and Modern Icelandic to represent the voiceless dental fricative sound of th, as in thin, bath. Its use in phonetics for the same purpose is now obsolete See theta
5.
this same character as used in Old and Middle English as an alternative to edh, but indistinguishable from it in function or sound Compare edh
6.
(zoology) any of various sharp spiny parts
7.
a source of irritation (esp in the phrases a thorn in one's side or flesh)
Derived Forms
thornless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English; related to Old High German dorn, Old Norse thorn

Thorn

/toːrn/
noun
1.
the German name for Toruń
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thorn flesh

thorn

n.

Old English þorn "sharp point on a stem or branch," earlier "thorny tree or plant," from Proto-Germanic *thurnuz (cf. Old Saxon thorn, Dutch doorn, Old High German dorn, German Dorn, Old Norse þorn, Gothic þaurnus), from PIE *trnus (cf. Old Church Slavonic trunu "thorn," Sanskrit trnam "blade of grass," Greek ternax "stalk of the cactus," Irish trainin "blade of grass"), from *(s)ter-n- "thorny plant," from root *ster- "stiff."

Figurative sense of "anything which causes pain" is recorded from early 13c. (thorn in the flesh is from II Cor. xii:7). Also an Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic runic letter (þ), named for the word of which it was the initial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thorn flesh in Science
thorn
  (thôrn)   
A short, hard, pointed part of a stem or branch of a woody plant. Compare spine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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thorn flesh in the Bible

(1.) Heb. hedek (Prov. 15:19), rendered "brier" in Micah 7:4. Some thorny plant, of the Solanum family, suitable for hedges. This is probably the so-called "apple of Sodom," which grows very abundantly in the Jordan valley. "It is a shrubby plant, from 3 to 5 feet high, with very branching stems, thickly clad with spines, like those of the English brier, with leaves very large and woolly on the under side, and thorny on the midriff." (2.) Heb. kotz (Gen. 3:18; Hos. 10:8), rendered _akantha_ by the LXX. In the New Testament this word _akantha_ is also rendered "thorns" (Matt. 7:16; 13:7; Heb. 6:8). The word seems to denote any thorny or prickly plant (Jer. 12:13). It has been identified with the Ononis spinosa by some. (3.) Heb. na'atzutz (Isa. 7:19; 55:13). This word has been interpreted as denoting the Zizyphus spina Christi, or the jujube-tree. It is supposed by some that the crown of thorns placed in wanton cruelty by the Roman soldiers on our Saviour's brow before his crucifixion was plaited of branches of this tree. It overruns a great part of the Jordan valley. It is sometimes called the lotus-tree. "The thorns are long and sharp and recurved, and often create a festering wound." It often grows to a great size. (See CROWN OF THORNS.) (4.) Heb. atad (Ps. 58:9) is rendered in the LXX. and Vulgate by Rhamnus, or Lycium Europoeum, a thorny shrub, which is common all over Palestine. From its resemblance to the box it is frequently called the box-thorn.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for thorn flesh

Thorn

city, one of two capitals (with Bydgoszcz) of Kujawsko-Pomorskie wojewodztwo (province), north-central Poland, on the Vistula River. A river port, rail and road junction, and cultural centre, it is the birthplace (1473) of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik) and the seat of Nicolaus Copernicus University (founded 1945), as well as several scientific societies, museums, and theatres. The 13th-century Church of St. John contains one of the largest bells in Poland. Other highlights of the historic city include the ruins of a Teutonic castle and the Gothic Church of Mary. Torun's medieval legacy led UNESCO to designate it as a World Heritage site in 1997. Traditional industries include wool spinning and the baking of gingerbread; as a result of newer industrial development, Torun has become known for its precision instruments, electronics, and synthetic fibre and textiles produced at the Elana factory.

Learn more about Thorn with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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