[ net-l ]
See synonyms for: nettlenettlednettles on

  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),net·tled, net·tling.
  1. to irritate, annoy, or provoke.

  2. to sting as a nettle does.

Idioms about nettle

  1. 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

Other words from nettle

  • net·tle·like, adjective
  • nettler, noun
  • nettly, adjective
  • un·net·tled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use nettle in a sentence

  • It nettled him; it broke down his habitual composure, and it was a relief to him when the conference came to a close.

    The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
  • Lady Hartledon understood the implication; she felt nettled, and a flush rose to her face.

    Elster's Folly | Mrs. Henry Wood
  • His indifference nettled her, and she picked up her work, resolved not to offer him the least assistance.

    Summer | Edith Wharton
  • I thought he would never have ended; and I felt nettled that my remark should have given rise to such immoderate mirth.

    Confessions of a Thug | Philip Meadows Taylor
  • I was nettled now at all these things which were coming to puzzle and perturb an honest fellow out for a morning ride.

    The Way of a Man | Emerson Hough

British Dictionary definitions for nettle


/ (ˈnɛtəl) /

  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

  1. any of various plants that resemble urticaceous nettles, such as the dead-nettle, hemp nettle, and horse nettle

  2. grasp the nettle to attempt or approach something with boldness and courage

  1. to bother; irritate

  2. to sting as a nettle does

Origin of nettle

Old English netele; related to Old High German nazza (German Nessel)

Derived forms of nettle

  • nettle-like, adjective
  • nettly, adjective

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