ants in the/(one's) pants

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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."
See also: ant, pant

*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

ants in (one's) pants

Slang
A state of restless impatience.
See also: ant, pant

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Talk about ants in your pants. MAN EATEN BY KILLERANTS!