If you know what a nettle is—it's a plant with stinging hairs—then you'll have no trouble remembering the verb nettle: it means to annoy, bother, irritate, or bedevil.

A kid sister, a mosquito, an angry boyfriend, or a hot, muggy day: all of these are examples of things that might nettle a person. When you nettle someone, you act like a nettle; you annoy, bother, and generally tick off a person. The person who nettles you can be called nettlesome, which means that they're acting like a nettle. I find that the very sound of his voice nettles me. The sound alone makes me wish he would just shut up.

Definitions of nettle

n any of numerous plants having stinging hairs that cause skin irritation on contact (especially of the genus Urtica or family Urticaceae)

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Urtica dioica, stinging nettle
perennial Eurasian nettle established in North America having broad coarsely toothed leaves with copious stinging hairs
Roman nettle, Urtica pipulifera
annual European nettle with stinging foliage and small clusters of green flowers
Laportea canadensis, wood nettle
American perennial herb found in rich woods and provided with stinging hairs; provides fibers used for textiles
Pilea pumilla, clearweed, dead nettle, richweed
a plants of the genus Pilea having drooping green flower clusters and smooth translucent stems and leaves
Pilea microphylla, artillery plant
tropical American stingless nettle that discharges its pollen explosively
Pilea involucrata, friendship plant, panamica, panamiga
low stingless nettle of Central and South America having velvety brownish-green toothed leaves and clusters of small green flowers
Type of:
any plant that crowds out cultivated plants

v sting with or as with nettles and cause a stinging pain or sensation

whip with or as with nettles
Type of:
bite, burn, sting
cause a sharp or stinging pain or discomfort

v cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations

annoy, bother, chafe, devil, get at, get to, gravel, irritate, nark, rag, rile, vex
feel extreme irritation or anger
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get, get under one's skin
eat into, fret, grate, rankle
gnaw into; make resentful or angry
cause to be annoyed, irritated, or resentful
trouble or vex
cause annoyance in
beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harass, harry, hassle, molest, plague, provoke
annoy continually or chronically
antagonise, antagonize
provoke the hostility of
goad, needle
goad or provoke, as by constant criticism
bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate, rag, torment
treat cruelly
harass by imposing humiliating or painful tasks, as in military institutions
Type of:
give displeasure to

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