a thorn in your side

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thorn in (one's) side

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. My little brother is such a thorn in my side—he always wants to do stuff with me, especially when I'm trying to hang out with my friends.
See also: side, thorn

a thorn in your side

or

a thorn in the side

COMMON If someone or something is a thorn in your side or a thorn in the side, they continually annoy you or cause trouble for you. She has become a thorn in the side of the government since publishing a number of reports pointing out that public cash was being wasted. Note: You can also say that someone or something is a thorn in your flesh or a thorn in the flesh. Her mother is still a thorn in her flesh — demanding, complaining and weeping by turns. Note: This refers to a passage in the Bible, in which St Paul talks about an illness or other problem: `There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.' (2 Corinthians 12:7) Some Pharisees, who were strictly orthodox Jews, used to deliberately hurt themselves by putting thorns in their clothes to prick them when they walked.
See also: side, thorn
References in periodicals archive ?
ATV, with an under-3% market share compared with ORF's 49% nationwide, may still be just a thorn in the side, but it's starting to put up a fight in acquisitions.
In fact, they have been a thorn in the side of several clubs.
Corrupted data has been a thorn in the side of anyone who wants to take Excel spreadsheet data via the Microsoft Excel ODBC driver and reliably move it to another application," said George Wright IV, PIPS vice president.