One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small insect, often with a sting, that usually lives in a complex social colony with one or more breeding queens. It is wingless except for fertile adults, which often form large mating swarms, and is proverbial for industriousness.
Family Formicidae, order Hymenoptera: several subfamilies
- ‘I got home yesterday evening to find the kitchen absolutely swarming with ants.’
- ‘Anteaters have long snouts which they thrust into ant-heaps in order to devour the ants or termites.’
- ‘Then we discovered tool-using animals, chimpanzees using sticks to dig ants out of anthills.’
- ‘The ants were the most prolific of the insects we were likely to encounter daily.’
- ‘The ants consume the honeydew as food, thus sustaining the life of both insects.’
- ‘Outside were long lines of ants and other small insects hanging around and seemingly without very much to do.’
- ‘The next time either of those two ants meet any other ant, the information they pass on will be different.’
- ‘Bees belong to the third largest insect order which also includes wasps and ants.’
- ‘Alternatively, an insecticide can be used that will simply kill the ants.’
- ‘Today this woman called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants.’
- ‘From schools of fish to a swarm of ants, animals exhibit extraordinary collective behaviour.’
- ‘Over at Peter's there has been talk of flying ants and mozzies that seem to be attacking us in their thousands this year.’
- ‘He had tried to get out of the house, but there were ants swarming all over the door.’
- ‘Two or three black ants would surround an enemy ant and bite it to death.’
- ‘Some will give a colony of ants an extra push to bring sugar and food to it's families.’
- ‘At this point the leading ants panic and backtrack to the safety of the swarm.’
- ‘You had to go barefoot in the temple, and with food offerings on the floor the place was swarming with ants.’
- ‘To scientists, that's as bizarre a finding as a queen bee spawning a colony of ants.’
- ‘Farmers have traditionally used sugary solutions to attract red ants to feed on insect larvae.’
- ‘He has red hair, shouts incessantly and moves as though a colony of ants has invaded his tracksuit trousers.’
have ants in one's pants
informal Be fidgety or restless.
move restlessly, wriggle, squirm, twitch, jiggle, writhe, twist, shuffle, be jittery, be anxious, be agitatedView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘I have so much energy that the little kids I baby-sit told me it looks like I have ants in my 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.’
Old English ǣmete of West Germanic origin; related to German Ameise. Compare with emmet.
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