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.

before 900; Middle English; Old English netele (noun); cognate with Dutch netel, German Nessel, Norwegian netla

nettlelike, adjective
nettler, noun
nettly, adjective
unnettled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
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
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
5.  to bother; irritate
6.  to sting as a nettle does
[Old English netele; related to Old High German nazza (German Nessel)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. netele, from P.Gmc. *natilon (cf. O.S. netila, M.Du. netele, Ger. Nessel, M.Da. nædlæ "nettle"), dim. of *naton, of unknown origin, perhaps from the same source as net (n.). The verb meaning "to beat with nettles" is from c.1440; nettled in fig. sense of "vexed,
irritated" is from c.1400.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Nettle definition

(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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Example sentences
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.
But it's not as athletes aiming bamboo bows strung with lengths of stinging-nettle vine.
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