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nettle +‎ -some


nettlesome (comparative more nettlesome, superlative most nettlesome)

  1. (of a person, thing, situation, etc.) Causing irritation, annoyance, or discomfort; bothersome, irksome.
    My poison ivy rash is very nettlesome.
  2. (of a task, problem, etc.) Thorny; difficult to deal with, especially due to being complex or tricky.
    The task of proving Fermat’s “last” theorem remains nettlesome.
    Be careful what you say to him; he's a nettlesome fellow.
    • 1832, Mary Russell Mitford (editor), Lights and Shadows of American Life, vol. 2, p. 241:
      [A]ll the strange oaths and imprecations found in a seaman's vocabulary were called into service by our nettlesome captain and his crew, and hurled without mercy on the winds and weather.
    • 1904, Winston Churchill, The Crossing (2003 Kessinger reprint), →ISBN, p. 61:
      It so chanced that on the second day after my arrival a pack-train came along, guided by a nettlesome old man and a strong, black-haired lass of sixteen or thereabouts. The old man . . . had no sooner slipped the packs from the horses than he began to rail at Hans, who stood looking on. "You damned Dutchmen all be Tories, and worse," he cried.
    • 1950 Oct. 9, "The Press: John Smith, Negro," Time:
      Almost daily, U.S. newspapers are confronted by a nettlesome problem for which they have found no final answer. The problem: Should Negroes be identified as such in news stories?
    • 1989 Dec. 29, Kenneth B. Noble, "Nigeria Enlists the Nettlesome Man in Short Pants," New York Times (retrieved 20 Jan 2011):
      For nearly 40 years, Mr. Solarin, an unpretentious and intensely pugnacious man, has been an intellectual guru for Nigeria's disenchanted and disfranchised.
    • 1995, Eugenia Price, Beauty from Ashes, →ISBN, p. 146:
      No one could act naturally with her. . . . She was sure she had never lived through days in which she, Anne Couper Fraser, forced those nearby to tiptoe around her nettlesome personality.
    • 2000 Jan. 6, Jeremy Quittner, "The Lemonade Stand Circa 2000: A Boy, a Site, a $10 Million Lawsuit ," BusinessWeek (retrieved 20 Jan 2011):
      He's also delving into one of the most nettlesome legal issues on the Net — whether one party can turn another's trademark into a URL.


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