"Is he always that nervous?"
   "Oh, yeah. Poor bloke. Brilliant mind. He was fine while he was studyin' outta books but then he took a year off ter get some firsthand experience. . . . They say he met vampires in the Black Forest, and there was a nasty bit o' trouble with a hag –– never been the same since. Scared of the students, scared of his own subject now, where's me umbrella?"
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

‘Nasty’ has the meaning of ‘very serious’, ‘bit’ ‘a small amount’ or ‘a large amount’. Then what does ‘a nasty bit of’ mean?


I would interpret it as a combination of the first two of your suggestions: in other words, the character is describing a short-lived but very serious troubling episode with a hag.

One might use the same word when describing, say, a loud argument between neighbors:

Those two got into a nasty spat a couple of weeks ago. I don't think they've spoken to each other since.

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