Definition of grasp the nettle in US English:

grasp the nettle


  • Tackle a difficulty boldly.

    • ‘The problems facing it will only get worse until someone grasps the nettle.’
    • ‘Still, grasping the nettle like this is probably his only chance, slim though it is.’
    • ‘He said: ‘I am pleased that the Prime Minister is now re-examining my proposals but we shall see whether the Government really grasps the nettle regarding this issue.’’
    • ‘The new parish council is grasping the nettle to deal with vandalism.’
    • ‘He warned the country could be facing another crisis unless the next Government grasps the nettle of public spending.’
    • ‘I think the Government has really grasped the nettle, because this is a major issue for everybody now.’
    • ‘But she said: ‘I cannot accept the fact that no one grasped the nettle and took charge of clarifying the issue.’’
    • ‘We have not grasped the nettle and got down to reorganising how our services are delivered - 99 per cent of staff want to do that but we haven't been able to.’
    • ‘Tackling mental health, grasping the nettle of introducing rights-based legislation will come at a cost.’
    • ‘They have had ten years to see it coming and, if they had only grasped the nettle, providing separate areas and adequate ventilation, all could have co-existed in relative peace and mutual comfort.’