: any of various small usually biting dipteran flies
gnatty adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web For the past three years, my home has been infested with biting gnats. Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, 27 May 2023 The diatomaceous earth cuts back on the gnats being able to lay eggs on the soil surface. oregonlive, 26 Feb. 2023 Along with biting insects like chiggers, black flies, sand fleas, gnats, midges, and mosquitoes, ticks can latch onto an unsuspecting hiker and infect them with an array of lethal diseases, such as Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Nancy Jo Adams, Popular Mechanics, 22 Apr. 2023 Sawyer’s insect repellent protects up to 12 hours against mosquitoes and ticks, and up to eight hours against gnats, chiggers, and flies. Amanda Ogle, Travel + Leisure, 6 Apr. 2023 The sky is cooling; the gnats and flies have grown still among the flowers. Zuyi Zhao, The New York Review of Books, 16 Mar. 2023 Here are the most effective ways to get rid of gnats, instantly. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, 12 Mar. 2023 In total, this hardware weighs 6.2 mg and uses 167 microwatts of power, which in theory could be suitable for a 10-mg flying robot, something about the size of a chonky gnat. IEEE Spectrum, 12 Dec. 2022 Your cry fades like the cry of a gnat. Lindsay Turner, The Atlantic, 7 Dec. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gnat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English gnætt; akin to Old English gnagan to gnaw

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near gnat

Cite this Entry

“Gnat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: any of various small usually biting two-winged flies

Medical Definition


: any of various small usually biting dipteran flies (as a midge or blackfly)

More from Merriam-Webster on gnat

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