To Remove a Thorn From Somebody’s Foot or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

The English equivalent of the French idiom of the jour can also be said in French.


ôter une épine du pied.

To remove a thorn from somebody’s foot

To take a weight off somebody’s shoulders


However I like the one I picked best. We all know how painful it is to get a thorn stuck under the skin. Often we need in fact someone’s help to pull it out.


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This French expression originates from the 15th century, when the noun “thorn” meant also “difficulty” and by extension an embarrassing and painful situation.


Wherever you live, whatever language you speak, do you know of a similar expression?


A to Z Challenge


See you tomorrow!





  1. I think you have a good US expression in your listing.

  2. Yes, I think taking the weight or removing the burden is a good equivalent 🙂

  3. Ooh, I like the phrase because you really sense the sharpness being taken away from your skin.

  4. This one translates just fine!

  5. The thorn that comes immediately to my English-speaking mind is “thorn in the side.” If someone’s a thorn in my side, I see her not as a physical pain or a burden but as a nuisance, an annoyance. Is there a French equivalent for that?

  6. Lean on me, is another american expression for the same thing… as in the song, “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers… He sings it the best in my opinion! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @

  7. I remember trying to get thorns out of my children’s feet – the perils of being barefoot and fancy free!

    • Ouch! I stuck a few things in my feet, too, since I love being barefoot. In terms of idioms I still find the French one pretty good to express the idea of relief. See you soon, Claire.

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