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ant

[ant] /ænt/
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
2.
have ants in one's pants, Slang. to be impatient or eager to act or speak.
Origin
1000
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 forms
antlike, adjective
Can be confused
ant, aunt.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for ants
  • Indians torturing people with ants, cutting their eyelids off.
  • Some organisms produce acids for defense for example, ants produce formic acid.
  • The only places lacking indigenous ants are remote or inhospitable islands.
  • Many human cultures make use of ants in cuisine, medication, and rituals.
  • ants became dominant after adaptive radiation at the beginning of the tertiary period.
  • Weaver ants, for example, have a distinct bimodal size distribution.
  • Communication ants communicate with each other using pheromones.
  • Like other insects, ants perceive smells with their long, thin and mobile antennae.
  • Some ants produce sounds by stridulation, using the gaster segments and their mandibles.
  • ants with this ability are able to control the direction of their descent while falling.
British Dictionary definitions for ants

ant

/ænt/
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 mating See also army ant, fire ant, slave ant, wood ant related adjective formic
2.
white ant, another name for a termite
3.
(slang) have ants in one's pants, to be restless or impatient
Word Origin
Old English ǣmette; related to Old High German āmeiza, Old Norse meita; see emmet
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 ants

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ants

ants

n,n phr
  1. An unrelaxed, disturbed condition; anxiety; acute restlessness: After two days at sea she began to get ants
  2. Sexual excitement; the HOTS

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for ants

ANTS

Antenna Subsystem

ANT

  1. antenna (shortwave transmission)
  2. Antlia (constellation)
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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ants in the Bible

(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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