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nettle

[net-l] /ˈnɛt l/
noun
1.
any plant of the genus Urtica, covered with stinging hairs.
Compare nettle family.
2.
any of various allied or similar plants.
verb (used with object), nettled, nettling.
3.
to irritate, annoy, or provoke.
4.
to sting as a nettle does.
Idioms
5.
grasp the nettle, Australian. to undertake or tackle an unpleasant task.
Origin of nettle
900
before 900; Middle English; Old English netele (noun); cognate with Dutch netel, German Nessel, Norwegian netla
Related forms
nettlelike, adjective
nettler, noun
nettly, adjective
unnettled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for nettle

nettle

/ˈnɛtəl/
noun
1.
any weedy plant of the temperate urticaceous genus Urtica, such as U. dioica (stinging nettle), having serrated leaves with stinging hairs and greenish flowers
2.
any of various other urticaceous plants with stinging hairs or spines
3.
any of various plants that resemble urticaceous nettles, such as the dead-nettle, hemp nettle, and horse nettle
4.
grasp the nettle, to attempt or approach something with boldness and courage
verb (transitive)
5.
to bother; irritate
6.
to sting as a nettle does
Derived Forms
nettle-like, adjective
nettly, adjective
Word Origin
Old English netele; related to Old High German nazza (German Nessel)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nettle
n.

stinging plant, Old English netele, from Proto-Germanic *natilon (cf. Old Saxon netila, Middle Dutch netele, Dutch netel, German Nessel, M.Da. nædlæ "nettle"), diminutive of *naton, perhaps from PIE root *ned- "to twist, knot" (see net (n.)). "[N]ettles or plants of closely related genera such as hemp were used as a source of fiber" [Watkins].

v.

c.1400, "to beat with nettles," from nettle (n.). Figurative sense of "irritate, provoke" is from 1560s. Related: Nettled; nettling.

v.

c.1400, "to beat with nettles," from nettle (n.). Figurative sense of "irritate, provoke" is from 1560s. Related: Nettled; nettling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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