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[net-l] /ˈnɛt l/
any plant of the genus Urtica, covered with stinging hairs.
Compare nettle family.
any of various allied or similar plants.
verb (used with object), nettled, nettling.
to irritate, annoy, or provoke.
to sting as a nettle does.
grasp the nettle, Australian. to undertake or tackle an unpleasant task.
Origin of nettle
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nettled
Historical Examples
  • "That mare'll beat him," retorted Porter, curtly, nettled by the other's cocksureness.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • No doubt from his point of view this notion was natural, but it nettled me.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • But it nettled her that everybody should be so congratulatory, and nobody surprised.

  • A question so unexpected, nettled Solomon Daisy not a little.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • "I did not do it," said Paul, nettled at the charge, and growing red in the face.

    Winning His Way

    Charles Carleton Coffin
  • He was nettled and put out, for he was somewhat thin-skinned.

  • It nettled a woman's soft ambition; which is, to be as well loved as ever woman was.

  • It nettled Dean—frank, outspoken, straightforward as he had always been.

    Warrior Gap Charles King
  • This nettled Jim, who did not sympathize with his friend's extravagance at times.

    Frontier Boys in Frisco

    Wyn Roosevelt
  • First, he was nettled by his friend's use of the words "poor little thing."

    Hunter's Marjory Margaret Bruce Clarke
British Dictionary definitions for nettled


any weedy plant of the temperate urticaceous genus Urtica, such as U. dioica (stinging nettle), having serrated leaves with stinging hairs and greenish flowers
any of various other urticaceous plants with stinging hairs or spines
any of various plants that resemble urticaceous nettles, such as the dead-nettle, hemp nettle, and horse nettle
grasp the nettle, to attempt or approach something with boldness and courage
verb (transitive)
to bother; irritate
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 nettled

"vexed, irritated," c.1400, figurative adjectival use of past participle of nettle (v.).



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



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].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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