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From Middle English styngyng; equivalent to sting +‎ -ing.



stinging (comparative more stinging, superlative most stinging)

  1. Having the capacity to sting.
    stinging nettles
  2. (figurative) Precise and hurtful.
    • 2017 September 27, David Browne, “Hugh Hefner, 'Playboy' Founder, Dead at 91”, in Rolling Stone:
      That same year, a young Gloria Steinem went undercover as a Playboy Bunny at one of his Playboy Clubs and wrote a stinging inside critique of the magazine's ethos and chauvinism in an article, titled "A Bunny's Tale," which was published in Show magazine.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. present participle and gerund of sting
    • 1892, James Yoxall, chapter 5, in The Lonely Pyramid:
      The desert storm was riding in its strength; the travellers lay beneath the mastery of the fell simoom. [] Drifts of yellow vapour, fiery, parching, stinging, filled the air.


stinging (plural stingings)

  1. The act by which someone receives a sting.
    the stingings of scorpions
    stingings of remorse