Antlike



any of numerous black, red, brown, or yellow social insects of the family Formicidae, of worldwide distribution especially in warm climates, having a large head with inner jaws for chewing and outer jaws for carrying and digging, and living in highly organized colonies containing wingless female workers, a winged queen, and, during breeding seasons, winged males, some species being noted for engaging in warfare, slavemaking, or the cultivation of food sources.
have ants in one’s pants, Slang. to be impatient or eager to act or speak.
Historical Examples

The little safari for the third time crawled its antlike way across the immensities of the veldt.
The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White

In one of the cases, opposite me, there’s one of the Martian creatures—a big, antlike fellow.
The Secret of the Ninth Planet Donald Allen Wollheim

antlike, men were swarming everywhere bent upon changing, and yet they changed nothing.
The Best Short Stories of 1919 Various

He felt that it would be like an attack, although a futile and antlike one, at creation itself.
The Debtor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

adjective
of or like an ant or ants
characterized by scurrying activity or teeming restlessness
noun
any small social insect of the widely distributed hymenopterous family Formicidae, typically living in highly organized colonies of winged males, wingless sterile females (workers), and fertile females (queens), which are winged until after mating See also army ant, fire ant, slave ant, wood ant related adjective formic
white ant, another name for a termite
(slang) have ants in one’s pants, to be restless or impatient
n.

c.1500, from Middle English ampte (late 14c.), from Old English æmette “ant,” from West Germanic *amaitjo (cf. Old High German ameiza, German Ameise) from a compound of bases *ai- “off, away” + *mai- “cut,” from PIE *mai- “to cut” (cf. maim). Thus the insect’s name is, etymologically, “the biter off.”

As þycke as ameten crepeþ in an amete hulle [chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, 1297]

Emmet survived into 20c. as an alternative form. White ant “termite” is from 1729. To have ants in one’s pants “be nervous and fidgety” is from 1934, made current by a popular song; antsy embodies the same notion.

antenna (shortwave transmission)
Antlia (constellation)

(Heb. nemalah, from a word meaning to creep, cut off, destroy), referred to in Prov. 6:6; 30:25, as distinguished for its prudent habits. Many ants in Palestine feed on animal substances, but others draw their nourishment partly or exclusively from vegetables. To the latter class belongs the ant to which Solomon refers. This ant gathers the seeds in the season of ripening, and stores them for future use; a habit that has been observed in ants in Texas, India, and Italy.

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