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.

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

antlike, adjective

ant, aunt. Unabridged


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

1700–10; see ain't; aren't


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


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.

< 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


Ant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
ant (ænt)
1.  army ant fire ant slave ant See also wood ant 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 matingRelated: formic
2.  white ant another name for a termite
3.  slang have ants in one's pants to be restless or impatient
Related: formic
[Old English ǣmette; related to Old High German āmeiza, Old Norse meita; see emmet]

contraction of
1.  a rare variant spelling of aren't
2.  dialect a variant spelling of ain't

a variant of anti- : antacid

suffix forming adjectives, —suffix forming nouns
causing or performing an action or existing in a certain condition; the agent that performs an action: pleasant; claimant; deodorant; protestant; servant
[from Latin -ant-, ending of present participles of the first conjugation]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. æmette, from W.Gmc. *amaitjo (cf. O.H.G. ameiza, Ger. Ameise) from a compound of bases *ai- "off, away" + *mait- "cut." Thus the insect's name is "the biter off." 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 1939; antsy "agitated, impatient" (1838) embodies the same notion.
"As þycke as ameten crepeþ in an amete hulle" [chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, 1297]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ant- pref.
Variant of anti-.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
  1. antenna (shortwave transmission)

  2. Antlia (constellation)

  1. antenna

  2. anterior

  3. antiquarian

  4. antiquity

  5. antonym

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Ant definition

(Heb. nemalah, from a word meaning to creep, cut off, destroy), referred to in Prov. 6:6; 30:25, as distinguished for its prudent habits. Many ants in Palestine feed on animal substances, but others draw their nourishment partly or exclusively from vegetables. To the latter class belongs the ant to which Solomon refers. This ant gathers the seeds in the season of ripening, and stores them for future use; a habit that has been observed in ants in Texas, India, and Italy.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Potter noted, however, that more effective and easier-to-use carpenter ant
  treatments have recently emerged on the market.
Ant experts have recently been waging a war against all types of species
The ant then drags her booty home to a nest in the rain forest leaf litter
  composed of only a dozen or so workers and their queen.
First ant species with a mostly mushroom diet uncovered by researchers.
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