Definition of ant in English:



  • A small insect typically having a sting and living in a complex social colony with one or more breeding queens. It is wingless except for fertile adults, which form large mating swarms, and is proverbial for its industriousness.

    Family Formicidae, order Hymenoptera: several subfamilies

    • ‘Anteaters have long snouts which they thrust into ant-heaps in order to devour the ants or termites.’
    • ‘I got home yesterday evening to find the kitchen absolutely swarming with ants.’
    • ‘Bees belong to the third largest insect order which also includes wasps and ants.’
    • ‘The next time either of those two ants meet any other ant, the information they pass on will be different.’
    • ‘You had to go barefoot in the temple, and with food offerings on the floor the place was swarming with ants.’
    • ‘He has red hair, shouts incessantly and moves as though a colony of ants has invaded his tracksuit trousers.’
    • ‘Some will give a colony of ants an extra push to bring sugar and food to it's families.’
    • ‘Then we discovered tool-using animals, chimpanzees using sticks to dig ants out of anthills.’
    • ‘Over at Peter's there has been talk of flying ants and mozzies that seem to be attacking us in their thousands this year.’
    • ‘From schools of fish to a swarm of ants, animals exhibit extraordinary collective behaviour.’
    • ‘Outside were long lines of ants and other small insects hanging around and seemingly without very much to do.’
    • ‘Farmers have traditionally used sugary solutions to attract red ants to feed on insect larvae.’
    • ‘The ants were the most prolific of the insects we were likely to encounter daily.’
    • ‘Today this woman called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants.’
    • ‘To scientists, that's as bizarre a finding as a queen bee spawning a colony of ants.’
    • ‘At this point the leading ants panic and backtrack to the safety of the swarm.’
    • ‘He had tried to get out of the house, but there were ants swarming all over the door.’
    • ‘Alternatively, an insecticide can be used that will simply kill the ants.’
    • ‘Two or three black ants would surround an enemy ant and bite it to death.’
    • ‘The ants consume the honeydew as food, thus sustaining the life of both insects.’


  • have ants in one's pants

    • informal Be fidgety or restless.

      ‘what's the matter with you, always fidgeting—you got ants in your pants?’
      • ‘I tossed and turned, and finally Shirley said something like I had ants in my pants, something like that, anyway, and decided to walk the house to try and fall asleep.’
      • ‘I have so much energy that the little kids I baby-sit told me it looks like I have ants in my pants.’
      • ‘He appeared to have ants in his pants, refusing to stand still for a minute.’
      • ‘Anyway, I can't sit still - I've always had ants in my pants, and I can't see me sitting in the dressing room for four or five weeks.’
      • ‘Maybe it's just God trying to tell me to keep still and stop acting like I have ants in my pants, to just be calm and happy that all is well.’
      move restlessly, wriggle, squirm, twitch, jiggle, writhe, twist, shuffle, be jittery, be anxious, be agitated
      View synonyms
  • the ant's pants

    • informal An outstandingly good person or thing.

      ‘we had a great party that night thinking we were the ant's pants’
      • ‘The new storage spaces are the ant's pants.’
      • ‘She thinks she's the ant's pants because her husband drives a Porsche.’
      • ‘I had always thought a quantum computer would be the ant's pants.’
      • ‘The plush hotel had a pool and spa that were simply the ant's pants.’
      • ‘Here is a car that is supposed to be the ant's pants.’
      • ‘I thought he was the ant's pants.’
      • ‘I've already lined up some of the unemployed fishermen to man the boats and they think I'm the ant's pants.’
      • ‘After a careful read of this book, I came to the conclusion that her volume is the ant's pants of how-to books in the video field.’
      • ‘Although my bike still wasn't as professional as most of the other guys', I thought it was the ant's pants.’
      • ‘That Queensland treacle is the ant's pants!’


Old English ǣmete of West Germanic origin; related to German Ameise. Compare with emmet.