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ain't

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\ˈānt\

Definition of ain't

  1. 1 :  am not :  are not :  is not

  2. 2 :  have not :  has not

  3. 3 :  do not :  does not :  did not —used in some varieties of Black English



Usage Discussion of ain't

Although widely disapproved as nonstandard and more common in the habitual speech of the less educated, ain't in senses 1 and 2 is flourishing in American English. It is used in both speech and writing to catch attention and to gain emphasis <the wackiness of movies, once so deliciously amusing, ain't funny anymore — Richard Schickel> <I am telling you—there ain't going to be any blackmail — R. M. Nixon>. It is used especially in journalistic prose as part of a consistently informal style <the creative process ain't easy — Mike Royko>. This informal ain't is commonly distinguished from habitual ain't by its frequent occurrence in fixed constructions and phrases <well—class it ain't — Cleveland Amory> <for money? say it ain't so, Jimmy! — Andy Rooney> <you ain't seen nothing yet> <that ain't hay> <two out of three ain't bad> <if it ain't broke, don't fix it>. In fiction ain't is used for purposes of characterization; in familiar correspondence it tends to be the mark of a warm personal friendship. It is also used for metrical reasons in popular songs <Ain't She Sweet> <It Ain't Necessarily So>. Our evidence shows British use to be much the same as American.

Examples of ain't

  1. It's a free country, ain't it?

  2. Those people ain't got a clue.

  3. Her husband left and she ain't never been the same.



Origin of ain't

contraction of are not


First Known Use: 1749

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

Rhymes with ain't



AIN'T Defined for Kids

ain't

play
\ˈānt\

Definition of ain't

  1. 1 :  am not :  are not :  is not <… the man who swept the streets said: “Well now, ain't that nice!” — Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings>

  2. 2 :  have not :  has not <“She ain't seen me for a week …” — Richard Peck, A Long Way From Chicago>



Hint for ain't

Most people feel that ain't is not proper English. When you are trying to speak or write your best, you should avoid using ain't. Most people who use ain't use it especially when they are talking in a casual way, or in familiar expressions like “you ain't seen nothing yet.” Authors use it especially when a character is talking to help you understand what the character is like.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ain't? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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