ant

1 of 6

noun

: any of a family (Formicidae) of colonial hymenopterous insects with a complex social organization and various castes performing special duties

ant

2 of 6

abbreviation (1)

1
antenna
2
antonym

Ant

3 of 6

abbreviation (2)

Antarctica

ant-

4 of 6

prefix

see anti-

-ant

5 of 6

noun suffix

1
a
: one that performs (a specified action) : personal or impersonal agent
claimant
coolant
b
: thing that promotes (a specified action or process)
expectorant
2
: one connected with
annuitant
3
: thing acted upon (in a specified manner)
inhalant

-ant

6 of 6

adjective suffix

1
: performing (a specified action) or being (in a specified condition)
somnambulant
2
: promoting (a specified action or process)
expectorant
Phrases
ants in one's pants
: impatience for action or activity : restlessness

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Fungus starts to direct the ant's behavior, telling it where to go, what to do, like a puppeteer with a marionette. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 18 Jan. 2023 To reach their staggering conclusion, Schultheiss and a team of researchers analyzed 489 studies that surveyed ant populations around the world. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Sep. 2022 The figure is between two and 20 times higher than previous world ant population estimates, researchers said. Orlando Mayorquin, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2022 Vacuum the ant trails and clean with warm, soapy water. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2022 The researchers don't know what rules determine an ant's place in the raft. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 27 Apr. 2016 The trap-jaw ant Odontomachus brunneus can strike its opponents more than 41 times per second. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 12 Dec. 2022 What creature had captured the ant in this unique way? Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2022 In fact, one of the smallest ants tested—the thief ant, Solenopsis molesta—displayed the strongest antimicrobial properties. Troy Farah, Discover Magazine, 13 Apr. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English ante, emete, from Old English æmette; akin to Old High German āmeiza ant

Noun suffix

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from -ant, present participle suffix, from Latin -ant-, -ans, present participle suffix of first conjugation, from -a- (stem vowel of first conjugation) + -nt-, -ns, present participle suffix; akin to Old English -nde, present participle suffix, Greek -nt-, -n, participle suffix

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ant was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near ant

Cite this Entry

“Ant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ant. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

ant

1 of 4 noun
ˈant
: any of a family of small insects that are related to the bees and wasps and live in colonies in which different types of individuals perform special duties

ant-

2 of 4
see anti-

-ant

3 of 4 noun suffix
ənt,
ᵊnt
1
: one that performs a specified action
coolant
deodorant
2
: thing that is acted upon in a specified manner
inhalant

-ant

4 of 4 adjective suffix
1
: performing a specified action or being in a specified condition
propellant
2
: causing a specified action or process

More from Merriam-Webster on ant

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