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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
ants in (one's) pantsSlang
A state of restless impatience.
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.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer