proprietary name (1922), originally manufactured by Formica Insulation Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. (founded 1913). According to the company, the material (originally marketed as an industrial insulator) was so called because it could be used for mica, i.e., in place of mica, a more expensive natural insulator. Primarily used in consumer goods since c.1945.
ant genus, 1865, from Latin formica "ant," dissimilated from PIE *morwi- "ant" (cf. Sanskrit vamrah "ant," Greek myrmex, Old Church Slavonic mraviji, Old Irish moirb, Old Norse maurr, Welsh myrion; and cf. pismire).