na·​tant | \ ˈnā-tᵊnt How to pronounce natant (audio) \

Definition of natant

: swimming or floating in water natant decapods

Going Swimmingly With Natant

Natant and the smattering of other words birthed in the waters of Latin natare, meaning "to swim," can sound overly formal in many contexts. Rather than use the word natatorium, for example, we're more likely to refer simply to an indoor swimming pool. Similarly, instead of complimenting a friend's skills in natation, you're probably more apt to tell her she's a good swimmer. 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.

First Known Use of natant

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for 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

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The first known use of natant was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Natant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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