"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[ant] /ænt/
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
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.


[ant, ahnt, eynt] /ænt, ɑnt, eɪnt/
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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Examples from the web for ant
  • 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 subdivision.
  • 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.
  • ant birds keep guard over a bustling ant highway, and a land crab scuttles out of the way of our plodding feet.
  • It's not a bird or a plane, but it is an ant the size of a hummingbird.
  • In conducting their study, the researchers presented elephants with tree branches from the ant tree but without ants.
  • That's the scale of army ant operations when they're attacking a tarantula or scorpion.
  • In the wild, ant scouts deposit pheromones along the trails between food and the nest.
  • Parasitic wasps dive-bomb ants, injecting their eggs into ant bodies.
British Dictionary definitions for 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 mating See also army ant, fire ant, slave ant, wood ant related adjective formic
white ant, another name for a termite
(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


a variant of anti- antacid


contraction (mainly Brit)
(ɑːnt) a rare variant spelling of aren't
(dialect) (eɪnt) a variant spelling of ain't


suffix, suffix
causing or performing an action or existing in a certain condition; the agent that performs an action: pleasant, claimant, deodorant, protestant, servant
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for ant

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.


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
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ant in Medicine

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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Related Abbreviations for ant


  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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ant 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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