noun, plural for·mi·car·ies.

an ant nest.

Origin of formicary

1810–20; < Medieval Latin formīcārium ant hill, noun use of neuter of *formīcārius of, pertaining to ants. See formic, -arium Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for formicary

Historical Examples of formicary

  • Sir John Lubbock chloroformed some Lasius niger belonging to his formicary.

  • Ants may be readily kept in the schoolroom in an artificial nest or formicary and their life-history and habits closely watched.

  • Another feature evident in disturbing a formicary is the general harmony in which the individuals of any one colony work together.

    In the Open

    Stanton Davis Kirkham

  • At one formicary half a dozen or more young queens were out at the same time.

    Animal Intelligence

    George J. Romanes

  • Many also enter the formicary, and begin to carry off the young brood that are left in it.

British Dictionary definitions for formicary


formicarium (ˌfɔːmɪˈkɛərɪəm)

noun plural -caries or -caria (-ˈkɛərɪə)

less common names for ant hill

Word Origin for formicary

C19: from Medieval Latin formīcārium see formic
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 formicary

"ant nest," 1816, from Medieval Latin formicarium, from Latin formica "ant" (see Formica (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper