[ net-l ]
See synonyms for nettle 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. 2023

How to use nettle in a sentence

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