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gnat

[nat] /næt/
noun
1.
any of certain small flies, especially the biting gnats or punkies of the family Ceratopogonidae, the midges of the family Chironomidae, and the black flies of the family Simuliidae.
2.
British, mosquito.
Idioms
3.
strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, to fuss about trifles while ignoring more serious matters.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English; Old English gnæt(t); cognate with German (dial.) Gnatze
Related forms
gnatlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for gnat
  • He would, however, confirm that the bug he swallowed was a gnat.
  • But a cellphone's speaker has all the oomph of a gnat humming.
  • They still have a pulse, but it is so faint it couldn't keep a gnat alive.
  • You'd have had all the impact of a gnat in a hurricane.
  • Every little gnat of irrelevancy may turn out to be what the poem is really about.
  • Scale means relative size, and obviously there's a mismatch between human-size tools and gnat-size machines.
  • But this would be straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel.
  • Blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
  • Which isn't saying much, as the same could be said of the average gnat.
  • Any small fly is commonly called a gnat or a midge, but flies of whatever kind are seldom popular, either large or small.
British Dictionary definitions for gnat

gnat

/næt/
noun
1.
any of various small fragile biting dipterous insects of the suborder Nematocera, esp Culex pipiens (common gnat), which abounds near stagnant water
Derived Forms
gnatlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English gnætt; related to Middle High German gnaz scurf, German dialect Gnitze gnat
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 gnat
gnat
O.E. gnætt, earlier gneat, from P.Gmc. *gnattaz (cf. Low Ger. gnatte, Ger. Gnitze).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gnat in Medicine

gnat (nāt)
n.
Any of various small, biting, two-winged flies, such as a biting midge or black fly.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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gnat in Technology
language, tool
An Ada compiler written in Ada using the gcc code generator to allow easy porting to a variety of platforms. Gnat is the only Ada compiler that completely implements the Ada standard, including all the annexes.
The compiler is released under the GNU license and is currently maintained by Ada Core Technologies (ACT).
(http://gnat.com/).
(1999-06-24)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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gnat in the Bible

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.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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5
7
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