Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

natant

play
adjective na·tant \ˈnā-tənt\

Definition of natant

  1. :  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

Rhymes with natant


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up natant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to work hard

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

oily angry maudlin prompt
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ