Definition of natant
: swimming or floating in water natant decapods
natant was our Word of the Day on 07/13/2016. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology 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
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