- 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.
- have ants in one's pants, Slang. to be impatient or eager to act or speak.
Origin of ant
Examples from the Web for ants
Dr. Tanning assured me that these feelings were not just ANTS (“automatic negative thoughts,” in therapy parlance).My Therapist Dumped Me
April 4, 2014
Ants crawl everywhere, forcing visitors to watch their step.This Cairo College Campus Is Now a 'Warzone'
February 18, 2014
She laughs when she recalls how he served her cereal from a box so old, there were ants in it.Shooting the Stars With Fashion Photographers Markus and Indrani
November 25, 2012
Kathie goes too far in a segment about ants that “are seeking out moisture.”Kathie Lee Gifford Insults Martin Short & More Cringe-Worthy Moments (VIDEO)
May 31, 2012
Brazilians much on ants, either covered in chocolate or, again, fried.Forget the Starbucks Backlash—We Should Be Eating More Bugs
April 24, 2012
Yes, they were like an army of ants that had been suddenly thrown into confusion.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
Why, Maria, if you look close ye can see jes' where the ants crawl in and out.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
There is no use trying to depend on killing all these ants after they have taken possession.The Mayflower, January, 1905
Who would ever have thought that a nest of ants would be so hard to kill?
Around these the ants make their nests, so as to have their cows in stables of their own.
- 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
- white ant another name for a termite
- have ants in one's pants slang to be restless or impatient
Word Origin and History for ants
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.