Some kind of fly, gnit, gnat, tick or flea of some kind...the desert kind.
Under it all he went down in the grass of the slope, fighting with all his strength, but powerless as a gnat in a pond.
He walked round them the first time, but there was no sign of the gnat.
Then he began to contemplate it, much as a philosopher contemplates a gnat's ear in the ample field of his microscope.
But this would be straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel.
Miserable hypocrites, who swallow so large a camel and strain at so very small a gnat!
To these must be added the Druid frigate, the sloop of war, and the gnat.
It is very absurd in these worthy defenders of the justice of God to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.
The gnat is a case in point: the water-bug, common in our ponds and ditches, is another.
I have seen him watching him with angry and puzzled gaze as though he would satisfy himself why this gnat of a man worried him!
Old English gnætt "gnat, midge, mosquito," earlier gneat, used of various small, flying insects, from Proto-Germanic *gnattaz (cf. Low German gnatte, German Gnitze); perhaps literally "biting insect" and related to gnaw.
The gnatte is a litil fflye, and hatte culex..he soukeþ blood and haþ in his mouþ a pipe, as hit were a pricke..And is a-countid a-mong volatiles..and greueþ slepinge men wiþ noyse & wiþ bytinge and wakeþ hem of here reste. [John of Trevisa, transl. of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]
Any of various small, biting, two-winged flies, such as a biting midge or black fly.
only in Matt. 23:24, a small two-winged stinging fly of the genus Culex, which includes mosquitoes. Our Lord alludes here to the gnat in a proverbial expression probably in common use, "who strain out the gnat;" the words in the Authorized Version, "strain at a gnat," being a mere typographical error, which has been corrected in the Revised Version. The custom of filtering wine for this purpose was common among the Jews. It was founded on Lev. 11:23. It is supposed that the "lice," Ex. 8:16 (marg. R.V., "sand-flies"), were a species of gnat.