What does thorny mean?

Definitions for thorny
ˈθɔr nithorny

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word thorny.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. thornyadjective

    bristling with perplexities

    "the thorny question of states' rights"

  2. barbed, barbellate, briary, briery, bristled, bristly, burred, burry, prickly, setose, setaceous, spiny, thornyadjective

    having or covered with protective barbs or quills or spines or thorns or setae etc.

    "a horse with a short bristly mane"; "bristly shrubs"; "burred fruits"; "setaceous whiskers"


  1. thornyadjective

    having thorns or spines

  2. thornyadjective

    troublesome or vexatious

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Thornyadjective

    Etymology: from thorn.

    Not winding ivy, nor the glorious bay;
    He wore, sweet head, a thorny diadem. Thomas Randolph.

    The boar’s eye-balls glare with fire,
    His neck shoots up a thickset thorny wood;
    His bristled back a trench impal’d appears. Dryden.

    The wiser madmen did for virtue toil
    A thorny, or at best a barren soil. Dryden.

    They on the bleaky top
    Of rugged hills, the thorny bramble crop. Dryden.

    No dislike against the person
    Of our good queen, but the sharp thorny points
    Of my alleged reasons drive this forward. William Shakespeare.

    By how many thorny and hard ways they are come thereunto, by how many civil broils. Edmund Spenser, on Ireland.


  1. thorny

    Thorny refers to something that is covered with or full of sharp-pointed projections. It can be used literally, such as to describe a plant with spines or prickles, or figuratively, to describe a situation, issue or problem that is problematic, difficult or complicated.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Thorny

    full of thorns or spines; rough with thorns; spiny; as, a thorny wood; a thorny tree; a thorny crown

  2. Thorny

    like a thorn or thorns; hence, figuratively, troublesome; vexatious; harassing; perplexing

Anagrams for thorny »

  1. rhyton

  2. rython

How to pronounce thorny?

How to say thorny in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of thorny in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of thorny in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of thorny in a Sentence

  1. John Boehner:

    I want members on both sides of the aisle to sit down, and let’s have a conversation about how to address what, frankly, has become a very thorny issue.

  2. Michel de Montaigne:

    Virtue craves a steep and thorny path.

  3. Phil Lounibos:

    I think the science is fine, they definitely can kill mosquitoes, but the GMO issue still sticks as something of a thorny issue for the general public, it's not even so much about the science — you can't go ahead with something like this if public opinion is negative.

  4. Chris Dougherty:

    When the Russians try to fix one problem they caused themselves, another problem arises, you're trying to create a thorny knot of dilemmas so every time they try to do something that makes their life better, it actually makes their life worse.

  5. Wendy Young:

    There are some really thorny legal questions that arise.

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Translations for thorny

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"thorny." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/thorny>.

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    small cat-like predatory mammals of warmer parts of the Old World
    A larceny
    B macron
    C collation
    D viverrine

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