Definition of natant
: swimming or floating in water <natant decapods>
Did You Know?
Natant and the smattering of other words birthed in the waters of Latin natare, meaning "to swim," sound unnecessarily formal in most contexts. We could say "The natant athletes who've done their time at the local natatorium are easily distinguished by their natatorial skills; their natation is markedly better than that of those who have practiced less." Most of us, however, would prefer "The swimmers who've done their time at the local indoor swimming pool are easily distinguished by their swimming skills; their swimming is markedly better than that of those who have practiced less." The common German-derived word swimming suits most of us just fine. Science, though, often prefers Latin, which is why you're most likely to encounter natare words in scientific contexts.
Origin of natant
Middle English natand, from Latin natant-, natans, present participle of natare to swim; akin to Latin nare to swim; akin to Greek nein, nēchein to swim, Sanskrit snāti he bathes
First Known Use: 15th century
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