Share this entry

nettle Line breaks: net¦tle
Pronunciation: /ˈnɛt(ə)l/

Definition of nettle in English:

noun

1A herbaceous plant which has jagged leaves covered with stinging hairs.
Example sentences
  • These so-called host plants include many broadleaf weeds and cover crops such as nettles, mallow, chicory, dandelion, thistles, bindweed, deadly nightshade, and many clovers.
  • But the beauty of most edible plants - nettles, dandelions, alexanders, fat hen, sorrel - is that they are so prolific they are considered a nuisance.
  • Almost everyone is familiar with the nettle through its formidable sting, but few know about the important role it plays in the natural world.
1.1Used in names of other plants with leaves of a similar appearance to those of the nettle, e.g. dead-nettle.
Example sentences
  • Flea beetles also feed on many nongarden plants, including Virginia creeper, pokeweed, horse nettle, pigweed and wild mustard family plants.
  • Dead nettles are ground cover perennials with leaves that are marked in silver.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Irritate or annoy (someone): ‘I was only asking,’ Jess said, nettled
More example sentences
  • So it nettles me a little bit for people to question her qualifications.
  • One remark of Don's, however, nettled me for its pre-emptive protecting of the poet.
  • I am nettled by this, and, refusing his attentions walk off into the surf squaring my shoulders.
Synonyms
British rub up the wrong way;
North American rankle, ride, gravel
British informalnark, get on someone's wick, give someone the hump, wind up, get across someone
North American informaltick off
vulgar slangpiss off
British vulgar slangget on someone's tits
rareexacerbate, hump, rasp
irritated, annoyed, cross, put out, irked, galled, vexed, exasperated, infuriated;
upset, displeased, offended, affronted, disgruntled, piqued, aggrieved, stung, huffy, in a huff
informalpeeved, aggravated, miffed, miffy, riled, hacked off, peed off
British informalcheesed off, browned off, brassed off, narked, eggy, not best pleased
North American informalteed off, ticked off, sore
West Indian informalvex
vulgar slangpissed off
archaicsnuffy
2 archaic Sting with nettles.
Example sentences
  • The weeds on either side had been cut during the last few days, otherwise I suspect my legs would have been badly nettled.
  • I had to get into the hedge-back to take this and nettled my legs.

Phrases

grasp the nettle

1
see grasp.

Origin

Old English netle, netele, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch netel and German Nessel. The verb dates from late Middle English.

Words that rhyme with nettle

fettle, kettle, metal, mettle, petal, Popocatépetl, settle

Definition of nettle in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources