Definition of gnat in English:



  • 1A small two-winged fly that resembles a mosquito. Gnats include both biting and non-biting forms, and they typically form large swarms.

    • ‘Included among the invertebrates are moth flies, wood gnats, midges, punkies, mosquitoes, marsh beetles, and beelike or wasplike syrphid flies.’
    • ‘The usual hot summer features ferocious mosquitoes at sunset, gnats, biting nits, mayflies, moths and green flies, and spiders and their webs everywhere, harvesting the foregoing.’
    • ‘The Diptera include files, mosquitoes, gnats, midges, and no-see-ums.’
    • ‘Now, release a huge swarm of gnats in front of the monitor and continue staring.’
    • ‘The pantyhose cover is effective in keeping fruit flies and gnats from moving in and out of the column.’
    • ‘Surprisingly, the gnats departed and no mosquitoes replaced them.’
    • ‘The swarms of gnats and mosquitoes were annoying, but augured well for our hopes of spotting tiny bug-eating birds.’
    • ‘Most people would probably mistake them for small flies, such as gnats or midges.’
    • ‘The air over the high purple heather was dense with heavy black gnats, flying ants, and scary but sleepy long orange and black insects.’
    • ‘Even with the inside plants, the coffee shop never has to worry about flies or gnats.’
    • ‘Simply fill its attractive sterling silver jewelry with a citrus-scented oil to naturally repel mosquitoes, gnats, bees and wasps.’
    • ‘Light still shone through the small window, which they placed a somewhat thick blanket over in the summer to keep gnats and mosquitoes from entering.’
    • ‘This summer you can enjoy the outdoors without fear of mosquitoes, black flies and gnats.’
    • ‘The swamp itself was muddy, turbid, and infested with biting gnats and mosquitoes.’
    • ‘The skin on the side of his face burned suddenly and the brunette slapped a hand to his cheek, expecting it to come into contact with a mosquito or a gnat.’
    • ‘Pull on the spider's leg to catapult him up, so he can chow down on flying bees, gnats and butterflies.’
    • ‘If you opt for the latter, though, keep a sharp eye out for airborne swarms of gnats.’
    • ‘How many gnats and mosquitoes have you killed without a second thought?’
    • ‘Apart from the hum of gnats and mosquitoes and the low rustle of the creek, the scene is silent.’
    • ‘He'll do 2,000 yards of swimming every morning; he'll rappel down any cliff he needs to; he will shake off any small-arms fire as if it were a swarm of gnats.’
    1. 1.1A person regarded as tiny or insignificant.
      ‘she'd be marking O'Brien—a gnat trying to curb an elephant’
      • ‘Why Pagels happily swallows this camel while straining out the gnats of the creed is a mystery.’
      • ‘In fact, neither Cathy nor Frank express anything that might resemble an emotion until their bedroom door is locked and the neighbourhood of gossiping gnats is safely locked out of the hidden desperation of their unhappy marriage.’
      • ‘Some issues present all the appearances of being designed to separate the gnats from the gadflies, and this is such a one.’
      insignificant person, nobody, nonentity, non-person, gnat, insect, cipher, pygmy
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Old English gnætt, of Germanic origin; related to German Gnitze.