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be a thorn in (someone's) side

To be a constant or persistent cause of annoyance, frustration, or trouble. My professor was an environmental activist when he was younger, and, apparently, he was quite a thorn in the oil companies' sides at the time.
See also: side, thorn

crown of thorns

Something that causes one pain and suffering. Alludes to the crown of thorns that Jesus was made to wear before his crucifixion. Its usage is similar to the phrase "cross to bear." I can't stand to see how sick she has become. This illness is a real crown of thorns. This class is my crown of thorns. No matter how much I study, I just keep getting awful grades.
See also: crown, of, thorn

There's no rose without a thorn.

Prov. to enjoy any beautiful or pleasant thing, you must endure something difficult or painful. Mike: My bride is lovely and gracious, but I'm discovering that she has a terrible temper. Bill: There's no rose without a thorn.
See also: rose, thorn, without

*thorn in someone's side

 and *thorn in someone's flesh
Fig. a constant bother or annoyance to someone. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) This problem is a thorn in my side. I wish I had a solution for it. John was a thorn in my flesh for years before I finally got rid of him.
See also: side, thorn

a thorn in somebody's/something's side

also a thorn in the side of somebody/something
someone or something that continually causes problems Most teachers usually have one student in their class who is a thorn in their side. The town finds the casino a thorn in its side, even though it brings huge numbers of tourists to the town. Health inspectors are a thorn in the side of most restaurant owners.
See also: side, thorn

be a thorn in somebody's flesh/side

someone or something that keeps annoying you or causing you trouble A relentless campaigner, he was a thorn in the government's side for years.
See also: flesh, thorn

thorn in one's flesh

Also, thorn in one's side. A constant source of irritation, as in Paul's complaining and whining are a thorn in my flesh, or Mother's always comparing us children-it's a thorn in our sides. This metaphoric expression appears twice in the Bible. In Judges 2:3 it is enemies that "shall be as thorns in your sides"; in II Corinthians 12:7 Paul says his infirmities are "given to me a thorn in the flesh."
See also: flesh, thorn