grasp the nettle


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grasp the nettle

To approach or begin a difficult or unpleasant task directly and with the appropriate amount of energy. I know you don't like disciplining employees, but you've just got to grasp the nettle.
See also: grasp

grasp the nettle

mainly BRITISH
COMMON If you grasp the nettle, you deal with a problem or unpleasant task quickly and in a determined way. I think you should grasp the nettle. Speak to your manager and make it clear you regret your mistake and are determined it will never happen again. European leaders have yet to grasp the nettle of labour-market reform. Note: If you grasp a nettle firmly, it is less likely to sting you than if you just touch it lightly.
See also: grasp

grasp the nettle

tackle a difficulty boldly. British
This expression refers to a belief (recorded from the late 16th century onwards) enshrined in a rhyme quoted in Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock ( 1925 ): ‘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'.
1998 New Scientist The problem was that governments failed to grasp the nettle and scrap the system.
See also: grasp

grasp the ˈnettle

(British English) deal with a difficult matter, firmly and with courage: The government will have to grasp the nettle. If they don’t, the traffic congestion is going to get out of control.This expression refers to the belief that if you touch a nettle (= a plant with leaves that sting) lightly, you will be hurt, but not if you take a firm hold if it.
See also: grasp

grasp the nettle

To take on a difficult problem directly and energetically.
See also: grasp
References in periodicals archive ?
I didn''t like Albert Owen''s turn of phrase 'We have to grasp the nettle'' which in British parlance means tackling a difficulty boldly.
Politicians from all political parties have got to grasp the nettle and accept that an underfunded and under-staffed health service will continue to result in life-saving drugs and treatment not always being provided at the time of need This will inevitably result in escalating level of avoidable mortality rates - particularly affecting young children and elderly patients.
But nobody will grasp the nettle to do anything about it.
They demanded the SNP "grasp the nettle" and take unpopular decisions to rein back public spending.
The next Labour government must grasp the nettle. I trust Ed Miliband has the same strength and courage to undo Thatcherism that the Iron Lady had to make this land a greedy rat race.
They become the defining face of their time and change the way the world works, seizing a moment of crisis to grasp the nettle of opportunity.
Might we one day actually admit that enough is enough and grasp the nettle so that our children might respect us for finally standing up for ourselves?
As the grandstands began to rumble, a gap miraculously opened along the rail and Kinane needed no second asking to grasp the nettle.
THE City is in danger of another crisis because policymakers have failed to grasp the nettle of reform, a leading think tank said today.
The final four in these years was generally composed of the best players in draw and it would seem that in these situations one or other of the players tends to grasp the nettle and produce a decisive performance.
He said that the 8,500 surplus places in Cardiff's school system would only make the cash shortage worse and urged the city council to "grasp the nettle".
We need a new government who will grasp the nettle and hard, but fair, decisions.
It's time for our politicians to grasp the nettle. They should be able to enlist the help of British Christian church leaders.
He told the Government to grasp the nettle and protect workers.
I know which option I think fits that bill, but will anyone have the courage to grasp the nettle? KW JOHNSON, Durham