Thorn in the Flesh

(A). Something to mortify; a skeleton in the cupboard. The allusion is to a custom `common amongst the ancient Pharisees, one class of which used to insert thorns in the borders of their gaberdines to prick their legs in walking and make them bleed. (See Pharisees.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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