From Middle English, from Old English netle, netele, netel from Proto-Germanic *natilǭ (cogate with Old Saxon netila, Middle Dutch netele (modern netel), German Nessel, Middle Danish nædlæ "nettle"), a diminutive of *naton (of unknown origin, perhaps from the same source as net).
nettle (plural nettles)
- A herb of the genus Urtica, which is covered with stinging, mildly poisonous hairs, causing an instant rash.
- The non-stinging plant deadnettle, in the mint family, Lamiaceae.
- Loosely, anything which causes a similarly stinging rash, such as a jellyfish or sea-nettle.
- (literally) Of the nettle plant and similar physical causes, to sting causing a rash in someone.
- The children were badly nettled after playing in the field.
- (figuratively) To pique, irritate, vex or provoke someone.
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