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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
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for nettle
  • But the rising oil price allowed them once again to avoid grasping the nettle of reform.
  • Unlike stinging nettle, which is harder to find in the city, purple dead nettle grows abundantly across the five boroughs.
  • But the butterflies are also benefiting from the mowing of roadsides, which allows more nettle plants to grow.
  • Do not take hold of a nettle, but if you do, grasp it tight.
  • Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo.
  • Clearly, this is a nettle that needs to be grasped quickly.
  • But it's not as athletes aiming bamboo bows strung with lengths of stinging-nettle vine.
  • No responsible prime minister can avoid grasping the nettle.
  • However, this treatment may not work for everyone and is more successful with stinging nettle irritation.
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nettle in the Bible

(1.) Heb. haral, "pricking" or "burning," Prov. 24:30, 31 (R.V. marg., "wild vetches"); Job 30:7; Zeph. 2:9. Many have supposed that some thorny or prickly plant is intended by this word, such as the bramble, the thistle, the wild plum, the cactus or prickly pear, etc. It may probably be a species of mustard, the Sinapis arvensis, which is a pernicious weed abounding in corn-fields. Tristram thinks that this word "designates the prickly acanthus (Acanthus spinosus), a very common and troublesome weed in the plains of Palestine." (2.) Heb. qimmosh, Isa. 34:13; Hos. 9:6; Prov. 24:31 (in both versions, "thorns"). This word has been regarded as denoting thorns, thistles, wild camomile; but probably it is correctly rendered "nettle," the Urtica pilulifera, "a tall and vigorous plant, often 6 feet high, the sting of which is much more severe and irritating than that of our common nettle."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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