A thorn in the flesh


What's the meaning of the phrase 'A thorn in the flesh'?

A persistent difficulty or annoyance.

What's the origin of the phrase 'A thorn in the flesh'?

From the Bible, 2 Corinthians 12:7 (King James Version):

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Trend of a thorn in the flesh in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.