Old English pricel "thing to prick with, instrument for puncturing; goad; small sharp point," from the same source as Old English prician (see prick (v.)) with instrumental suffix -el (1). Compare Middle Low German prickel, Dutch prikkel. From mid-15c. as "point or thorn of a plant," later also used of animal spines.
"plant not valued for use or beauty," Old English weod, uueod "grass, herb, weed," from Proto-Germanic *weud- (source also of Old Saxon wiod, East Frisian wiud), of unknown origin. Also applied to trees that grow abundantly. Meaning "tobacco" is from c. 1600; that of "marijuana" is from 1920s. The chemical weed-killer is attested by 1885.
1510s, "to prick slightly," from prickle (n.). By 1855 as "to cause a prickling sensation in." Related: Prickled; prickling.
"to clear the ground of weeds," late Old English weodian "to weed," from the source of weed (n.). Figurative use by c. 1400. Related: Weeded; weeding; weeder.
also jimsonweed, 19c. American English corrupt shortening of Jamestown-weed (1680s), from Jamestown, Virginia colony, where it was discovered by Europeans (1676), when British soldiers mistook it for an edible plant and subsequently hallucinated for 11 days.
1818, said to be so called from the name of an Indian who used it to cure typhus in New England. The story dates from 1822.