\ˈnat \

Definition of gnat 

: any of various small usually biting dipteran flies

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Other Words from gnat

gnatty \ -​ē \ adjective

Examples of gnat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

A decade ago, these industry titans saw in Elon Musk just another gnat to be swatted aside like so many who had come before. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Inside the eight desperate weeks that saved SpaceX from ruin," 21 Sep. 2018 These tiny, gnat-sized wasps (which pose no threat to us) attack and kill many insects in our gardens, helping keep pests under control. Dan Gill,, "Can parsley continue to grow through a hot South Louisiana summer?," 14 May 2018 Drive it and empathize with long-haul truckers confronted with all the nuisance drivers buzzing about like gnats at dusk. Robert Duffer,, "Nissan Titan XD is a diesel beast of a truck," 5 July 2018 The best way to clean your sink to avoid flies and gnats is with vinegar and baking soda. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "7 Horrifying Things That Happen When a Fly Gets Into Your House," 18 June 2018 Compared to more conventional data centers that can span football fields, Project Natick’s underwater facility is a gnat at about 40-feet long and resembles a cylinder-like cargo container typically seen on big, shipping vessels. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Microsoft Just Dumped a Data Center Into the Ocean," 6 June 2018 That cherished principle is but a gnat to be batted away by the mayor. Yvonne Abraham,, "Springfield mayor tries ruling by whim," 7 Apr. 2018 The plagues included turning water into blood, casting an endless sea of frogs and gnats, releasing wild animals, killing livestock, forming boils, making thunderstorms of hail and fire, creating packs of locusts, and having darkness for three days. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Passover 101: Here's What You Need to Know About the Jewish Holiday," 29 Mar. 2018 The stinging, biting gnats were out in force, a cloud around us in no time. Andrew Boyd,, "Will kids ever get to play in New Orleans' Fort Pike again?," 19 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of gnat

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gnat

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

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Statistics for gnat

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gnat

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

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More Definitions for gnat



English Language Learners Definition of gnat

: a small fly that bites people and animals


\ˈnat \

Kids Definition of gnat

: a very small usually biting fly


\ˈnat \

Medical Definition of gnat 

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

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Comments on gnat

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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