- nettle (n.)
- stinging plant, Old English netele, from Proto-Germanic *natilon (cognates: Old Saxon netila, Middle Dutch netele, Dutch netel, German Nessel, M.Da. nædlæ "nettle"), diminutive of *naton, perhaps from PIE root *ned- "to twist, knot" (see net (n.)). "[N]ettles or plants of closely related genera such as hemp were used as a source of fiber" [Watkins].
- nettle (v.)
- c. 1400, "to beat with nettles," from nettle (n.). Figurative sense of "irritate, provoke" is from 1560s. Related: Nettled; nettling.
Nettled. Teized, provoked, out of temper. He or she has pissed on a nettle; said of one who is pevish or out of temper. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785]