ants in the/(one's) pants

(redirected from ants in their pants)

ants in the/(one's) pants

Said of one who is unable to sit still, due to anxiety, excess energy, or impatience. The phrase is typically used with the verb "have." The kids really have ants in the pants today, so I'm going to take them to the playground. A: "Why is Carrie pacing?" B: "She's waiting for her doctor to call, so she's had ants in her pants all day." The students all seemed to have ants in their pants as they crammed at the last minute before the exam started.
See also: ant, pant
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*ants in one's pants

Fig. nervousness and agitation, (on the image of someone suffering great discomfort as if having actual ants in the pants. *Typically: get ~; have ~; give one ~.) I always get ants in my pants before a test. I wonder if all acton get ants in their pants before they go onstage.
See also: ant, pant
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

ants in (one's) pants

A state of restless impatience.
See also: ant, pant
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

ants in one's pants

Extremely restless, jumpy. This vivid metaphor no doubt has survived because of its rhyming character, just as alliteration enhanced its seventeenth-century forerunner, a breeze (gadfly) in one’s breech(es). Several twentieth-century writers are credited with popularizing the phrase; among them are George Kaufman and Moss Hart, in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939): “I’ll get the ants out of those moonlit pants.” The cliché also gave rise to the slangy adjective antsy, for restless or jumpy.
See also: ant, pant
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Ants in their pants; teaching children who must move to learn.
Explorer Benedict Allen introduces it, but one has to ask so what if they can survive a night with a bunch of ants in their pants? Pity the ants.