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sting (stĭng)
Share:
v. stung (stŭng), sting·ing, stings
v.tr.
1. To pierce or wound painfully with a sharp-pointed structure or organ, as that of certain insects.
2. To cause to feel a sharp, smarting pain: smoke stinging our eyes.
3. To cause to suffer keenly in the mind or feelings: Those harsh words stung me.
4. To spur on or stimulate by sharp irritation: "A meaningless retort; the kind someone is stung into making out of sheer exasperation" (Paul Scott).
5. Slang To cheat or overcharge.
v.intr.
1. To have, use, or wound with a sharp-pointed structure or organ: Do all bees sting?
2. To cause a sharp, smarting pain: The needle will sting a little.
n.
1. The act of stinging.
2. The wound or pain caused by stinging.
3. A sharp, piercing organ or part, often ejecting a venomous secretion, as the modified ovipositor of a bee or wasp or the spine of certain fishes.
4. A hurtful quality or power: the sting of rejection.
5. A keen stimulus or incitement; a goad or spur: the sting of curiosity.
6. Slang A confidence game, especially one implemented by undercover agents to apprehend criminals.

[Middle English stingen, from Old English stingan; see stegh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

stinging·ly adv.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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