from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of numerous plants of the genus Urtica, having toothed leaves, unisexual apetalous flowers, and stinging hairs that cause skin irritation on contact.
  • n. Any of various hairy, stinging, or prickly plants.
  • transitive v. To sting with or as if with a nettle.
  • transitive v. To irritate; vex.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A herb of the genus Urtica, which is covered with stinging, mildly poisonous hairs, causing an instant rash.
  • n. The non-stinging plant deadnettle, also in the nettle family, Urticaceae.
  • n. Loosely, anything which causes a similarly stinging rash, such as a jellyfish or sea-nettle.
  • v. Of the nettle plant and similar physical causes, to sting causing a rash in someone.
  • v. To pique, irritate, vex or provoke someone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plant of the genus Urtica, covered with minute sharp hairs containing a poison that produces a stinging sensation. Urtica gracilis is common in the Northern, and Urtica chamædryoides in the Southern, United States. The common European species, Urtica urens and Urtica dioica, are also found in the Eastern united States. Urtica pilulifera is the Roman nettle of England.
  • transitive v. To fret or sting; to irritate or vex; to cause to experience sensations of displeasure or uneasiness not amounting to violent anger.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sting; irritate or vex; provoke; pique.
  • n. A herbaceous plant of the genus Urtica, armed with stinging hairs.
  • n. One of several plants of other genera of the nettle family (Urticaceæ); any nettle-like plant: generally with a qualifying word.
  • n. Nautical, same as knittle, 2.
  • n. The white dead-nettle, Lamium album.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of numerous plants having stinging hairs that cause skin irritation on contact (especially of the genus Urtica or family Urticaceae)
  • v. cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations
  • v. sting with or as with nettles and cause a stinging pain or sensation


Middle English, from Old English netele.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English netle, netele, netel from Proto-Germanic *natilōn (cogate with Old Saxon netila, Middle Dutch netele (modern netel), German Nessel, Middle Danish nædlæ "nettle"), a diminutive of *naton (of unknown origin, perhaps from the same source as net). (Wiktionary)



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