Etymology
Advertisement
sting (v.)

Old English stingan "to stab, pierce, or prick with a point" (of weapons, insects, plants, etc.), from Proto-Germanic *stingan (source also of Old Norse stinga, Old High German stungen "to prick," Gothic us-stagg "to prick out," Old High German stanga, German stange "pole, perch," German stengel "stalk, stem"), perhaps from PIE *stengh-, nasalized form of root *stegh- "to stick, prick, sting."

Specialized to insects late 15c. Intransitive sense "be sharply painful" is from 1848. Slang meaning "to cheat, swindle" is from 1812. Old English past tense stang, past participle stungen; the past tense later leveled to stung.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
sting (n.)

Old English stincg, steng "act of stinging, puncture, thrust," from the root of sting (v.). Meaning "sharp-pointed organ capable of inflicting a painful puncture wound" is from late 14c. Meaning "carefully planned theft or robbery" is attested from 1930; sense of "police undercover entrapment" first attested 1975.

Related entries & more 
bee-sting (n.)

"the sting of a bee," 1680s, from bee + sting (n.). Related: Bee-stung, which, of lips, is attested by 1845.

Related entries & more 
sting-ray (n.)

also sting ray, 1620s, from sting + ray (n.2). First in Capt. John Smith's writings: "Stingraies, whose tailes are very dangerous ...."

Related entries & more 
stung 

past tense and past participle of sting (v.).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
stinging (adj.)

c. 1200, present-participle adjective from sting (v.). Figurative use from late 14c.

Related entries & more 
stinger (n.)

1550s, agent noun from sting (v.). As an animal part, from 1889; earlier in this sense was sting (n.).

Related entries & more 
stingy (adj.)

"niggardly, penurious, extremely tight-fisted," 1650s, of uncertain origin, perhaps a dialectal alteration of earlier stingy "biting, sharp, stinging" (1610s), from sting (v.). Back-formation stinge "a stingy person" is recorded from 1905. Related: Stingily; stinginess.

Related entries & more 
*stegh- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to stick, prick, sting." It forms all or part of: stag; sting; stochastic.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek stokhos "fixed target, erected pillar for archers to shoot at;" Lithuanian stagaras "long, thin stalk of a plant;" Old English stagga "stag," stingan "to sting;" Old Danish stag "point;" Old Norse stong "stick, pole."

Related entries & more 
aculeate (adj.)

c. 1600, figurative, "pointed, stinging," of writing, from Latin aculeatus "having a sting; thorny, prickly," also figurative, from aculeus "a sting, prickle," diminutive of acus "a needle" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce"). From 1660s in a literal sense, in zoology, "furnished with a sting;" by 1870 in botany.

Related entries & more