adjective, thorn·i·er, thorn·i·est.

  1. abounding in or characterized by thorns; spiny; prickly.
  2. thornlike.
  3. overgrown with thorns or brambles.
  4. painful; vexatious: a thorny predicament.
  5. full of difficulties, complexities, or controversial points: a thorny question.

adjective thornier or thorniest

  1. bearing or covered with thorns
  2. difficult or unpleasanta thorny problem
  3. sharp

adj.Old English þornig; see thorn + -y (2). Figurative sense is attested from mid-14c. Related: Thorniness.

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