if you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains

The metaphorical phrase to grasp the nettle, to tackle a difficulty boldly, is often found.

1578 LYLY Euphues I. 212 True it is Philautus that he which toucheth ye nettle tenderly, is soonest stoung.

1660 W. SECKER Nonsuch Professor I. 156 Sin is like the nettle, that stings when it is gently touched, but doth hurt not when it is ruggedly handled.

1753 A. HILL Works IV. 120 Tender-handed stroke a nettle, And it stings you, for your pains: Grasp it like a man of mettle, And it soft as silk remains.

1830 R. FORBY Vocabulary of East Anglia 430 ‘Nip a nettle hard, and it will not sting you’—i.e. Strong and decided measures prevail best with troublesome people.

1925 S. O’CASEY Juno & Paycock I. 35 Be firm, Captain... If you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains.


Proverbs new dictionary.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • gently — see drive gently over the stones easy does it if you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • nettle — see if you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • sting — see if you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • touch — see if you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains he that touches pitch shall be defiled …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Stinging nettle — Urtica dioica subsp. dioica Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae …   Wikipedia

  • Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind …   Proverbs new dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.