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[pis-mahyuh r, piz-] /ˈpɪsˌmaɪər, ˈpɪz-/
an ant.
Origin of pismire
1350-1400; Middle English pissemyre, equivalent to pisse to urinate + obsolete mire ant, perhaps < Scandinavian (compare Danish myre, Swedish myra), cognate with Dutch mier; pejorative name from stench of formic acid proper to ants Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pismire
Historical Examples
  • At first he said he was a pismire, but the Speaker said pismire was not parliamentary, and he modified it to grasshopper.

  • I've got a thousand-legged worm at the head of a pismire flush, and it serves us right, for a lot of slovens.

    Woodcraft and Camping George Washington Sears (Nessmuk)
  • Bache tells us that pismire was also banned, antmire being substituted for it.

    The American Language Henry L. Mencken
  • As if we should look upon an ant or pismire, the parts fly the sight, and the whole considered is almost nothing.

  • Thou art no more than a pismire; why wilt thou seek to provoke the elephants?

  • You must understand he is an emmet of quality, and has better blood in his veins than any pismire in the molehill.

    Thackerayana William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Observe how the whole swarm divide and make way for the pismire that passes through them!

    Thackerayana William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Celia: You would never be satisfied and you to see me working from dark to dark as hard as a pismire in the tufts.

    Three Wonder Plays Lady I. A. Gregory
  • You must understand he is an emmet of quality, and has better blood in his veins than any pismire in the mole-hill.

  • An ancient name for the ant is pismire, probably a Danish word, from paid and myre, signifying such ants as live in hillocks.

    Folk-lore of Shakespeare Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer
British Dictionary definitions for pismire


an archaic or dialect word for an ant
Word Origin
C14 (literally: urinating ant, from the odour of formic acid characteristic of an ant hill): from piss + obsolete mire ant, of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse maurr, Middle Low German mīre ant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pismire

"ant," late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname), from pyss "urine" (said to be in reference to the acrid smell of an anthill) + mire "an ant," probably from Old Norse maurr "ant" (cf. Swedish myra, Danish myre, Middle Dutch miere, Dutch mier, Crimean Gothic miera "ant"), from PIE base *morwi- (see Formica (2)). Cf. pissant, also early Dutch mierseycke (from seycke "urine"), Finnish kusiainen (from kusi "urine").

He is as angry as a pissemyre,
Though þat he haue al that he kan desire.
Applied contemptuously to persons from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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