One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A herbaceous plant which has jagged leaves covered with stinging hairs.
Genus Urtica, family Urticaceae: several species, in particular the Eurasian stinging nettle (U. dioica)
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Docken, like dandelion, nettle, ground elder, bindweed and couch-grass belongs to that troublesome group of wild flowers called perennial weeds.’
- ‘For instance, there are botanical-based hair colorants rich in herbs such as nettle, sage, red sorrel, rosemary and burdock.’
- 1.1 Used in names of plants that have properties or appearance similar to nettle, e.g., dead-nettle.
- ‘Dead nettles are ground cover perennials with leaves that are marked in silver.’
- ‘Flea beetles also feed on many nongarden plants, including Virginia creeper, pokeweed, horse nettle, pigweed and wild mustard family plants.’
1Irritate or annoy (someone)‘I was nettled by Alene's tone of superiority’
irritated, annoyed, cross, put out, irked, galled, vexed, exasperated, infuriatedirritate, annoy, irk, gall, vex, anger, exasperate, infuriate, bother, provokeView synonyms
- ‘Perhaps it nettled me so much because it was so close to the truth.’
- ‘As irksome as they found RFE's balloon operations, the radio broadcasts nettled communist officials even more.’
- ‘Studios are understandably nettled by deals like these because they enable stars in some cases to earn more than the studio.’
- ‘Zimbabwe's ongoing political crisis again nettled Southern African leaders, who were wrapping up a two-day summit here yesterday.’
- ‘Ray Bradbury, author of sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451, is nettled at Moore's twist on his classic title.’
- ‘That sorta nettled him a bit, but then he suddenly noticed Bridget was there, seemingly on her own.’
- ‘I understood that Zannah was upset, and she had her reasons, but the cause of the effect didn't lie in my hands, and the way she was acting nettled me.’
- ‘A thought kept hammering over and over in his head, sort of a worry that kept nettling him.’
- ‘O'Brian himself was always nettled by the inevitable comparison of his own works with CS Forester's Hornblower saga.’
- ‘Apparently you'll be able to tolerate me nettling you then, huh?’
- ‘It was probably your first time trying to act authoritative, since he nettled you so.’
- ‘What will also nettle Waugh is Ricky Ponting's success as Australia's new one-day skipper.’
- ‘Ninkovich will nettle critics of imperialism.’
- ‘Working as an activist outside India, one of the issues that nettled Bose, she says, was the painful question of identity that racks second-generation youth.’
- ‘I am nettled by this, and, refusing his attentions walk off into the surf squaring my shoulders.’
- ‘Europe - both EU members and candidate countries - has split into two camps on the issue, lining up behind either France or Britain, at the risk of nettling the other.’
- ‘But it's clear that some of the more caustic comments about them continue to nettle Mik Pyro.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘In conclusion, the inspector offered his resignation to the Board, being much nettled by an accusation of incompetence in the London papers.’
2archaic Beat or sting (someone) with nettles.
- ‘I had to get into the hedge-back to take this and nettled my legs.’
- ‘The weeds on either side had been cut during the last few days, otherwise I suspect my legs would have been badly nettled.’
Old English netle, netele, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch netel and German Nessel. The verb dates from late Middle English.
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