nettle (n.)

stinging plant, Old English netele, from Proto-Germanic *natilon (source also of Old Saxon netila, Middle Dutch netele, Dutch netel, German Nessel, Danish nædlæ "nettle"), diminutive of *naton, perhaps from PIE root *ned- "to bind, tie." "[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]

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