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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for nettled
Historical Examples
  • These lines so nettled Lord Gardenstone, that the volume disappeared, and was never seen afterwards in the inn of Laurencekirk.

  • Perrin was nettled, for he prided himself on his colloquial style.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • But it nettled her that everybody should be so congratulatory, and nobody surprised.

  • "Our'n, in course," said Fortner, with nettled surprise at the question.

    The Red Acorn John McElroy
  • In another moment the nettled marshal had Bob by the shoulder and was whirling him out of the car.

    The Air Ship Boys H.L. Sayler
  • nettled at this, he put his hand beneath the heavy table and lifted it.

  • "You are kind," I exclaimed, nettled more at the tone than the words.

    Rutledge Miriam Coles Harris
  • This nettled Hilary, who, boylike, had no little idea of his importance in the world.

    In the King's Name George Manville Fenn
  • Ellen Seymour turned an unflinching gaze upon the nettled instructor.

  • There was just the shadow of a smile hovering around her lips, and it nettled me.

    A Little Union Scout Joel Chandler Harris
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.).



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].


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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nettled 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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