ant

[ant]
See more synonyms for ant on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. any of numerous black, red, brown, or yellow social insects of the family Formicidae, of worldwide distribution especially in warm climates, having a large head with inner jaws for chewing and outer jaws for carrying and digging, and living in highly organized colonies containing wingless female workers, a winged queen, and, during breeding seasons, winged males, some species being noted for engaging in warfare, slavemaking, or the cultivation of food sources.
Idioms
  1. have ants in one's pants, Slang. to be impatient or eager to act or speak.

Origin of ant

before 1000; Middle English am(e)te, em(e)te, Old English ǣmette; cognate with Middle Low German āmete, ēm(e)te, Middle Dutch amete, Old High German āmeiza (ā- a-3 + meizan to beat, cut, cognate with Albanian mih (he) digs), German Ameise. See emmet, mite1
Related formsant·like, adjective
Can be confusedant aunt

ant.

Ant.

ant-

  1. variant of anti- before a vowel or h: antacid; anthelmintic.

-ant

  1. a suffix forming adjectives and nouns from verbs, occurring originally in French and Latin loanwords (pleasant; constant; servant) and productive in English on this model; -ant has the general sense “characterized by or serving in the capacity of” that named by the stem (ascendant; pretendant), especially in the formation of nouns denoting human agents in legal actions or other formal procedures (tenant; defendant; applicant; contestant). In technical and commercial coinages, -ant is a suffix of nouns denoting impersonal physical agents (propellant; lubricant; deodorant). In general, -ant can be added only to bases of Latin origin, with a very few exceptions, as coolant.
See also -ent.

Origin of -ant

< Latin -ant-, present participle stem of verbs in -āre; in many words < French -ant < Latin -ant- or -ent- (see -ent); akin to Middle English, Old English -and-, -end-, present participle suffix

an't

[ant, ahnt, eynt]
  1. Chiefly British Dialect. contraction of am not.
  2. Dialect. ain't.

Origin of an't

First recorded in 1700–10; see origin at ain't; aren't
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for ant

Contemporary Examples of ant

Historical Examples of ant

  • Lads of Zuñi took my egg and hatched it under a turkey hen, at the Ant Hill.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • People have so much to say about an ant's strength, and an elephant's, and a locomotive's.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

    Self-Help

    Samuel Smiles

  • I have a man in my mind now who has exactly the head and face, if face it can be called, of an ant.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • An ant or a bee only loves, so to speak, the whole assemblage of his companions.


British Dictionary definitions for ant

ant

noun
  1. any small social insect of the widely distributed hymenopterous family Formicidae, typically living in highly organized colonies of winged males, wingless sterile females (workers), and fertile females (queens), which are winged until after matingSee also army ant, fire ant, slave ant, wood ant Related adjective: formic
  2. white ant another name for a termite
  3. have ants in one's pants slang to be restless or impatient

Word Origin for ant

Old English ǣmette; related to Old High German āmeiza, Old Norse meita; see emmet

ant-

prefix
  1. a variant of anti- antacid

an't

contraction of mainly British
  1. (ɑːnt) a rare variant spelling of aren't
  2. (eɪnt) dialect a variant spelling of ain't

-ant

suffix forming adjectives, suffix forming nouns
  1. causing or performing an action or existing in a certain condition; the agent that performs an actionpleasant; claimant; deodorant; protestant; servant

Word Origin for -ant

from Latin -ant-, ending of present participles of the first conjugation
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

Word Origin and History for ant
n.

c.1500, from Middle English ampte (late 14c.), from Old English æmette "ant," from West Germanic *amaitjo (cf. Old High German ameiza, German Ameise) from a compound of bases *ai- "off, away" + *mai- "cut," from PIE *mai- "to cut" (cf. maim). Thus the insect's name is, etymologically, "the biter off."

As þycke as ameten crepeþ in an amete hulle [chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, 1297]

Emmet survived into 20c. as an alternative form. White ant "termite" is from 1729. To have ants in one's pants "be nervous and fidgety" is from 1934, made current by a popular song; antsy embodies the same notion.

-ant

agent or instrumental suffix, from Old French and French -ant, from Latin -antem, accusative of -ans, present participle suffix of many Latin verbs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ant in Medicine

ant-

pref.
  1. Variant ofanti-
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.