Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that is insignificant.
  • n. Obsolete An ant.
  • adj. Not important; insignificant: "Some pissant Texas court wants to make [the company] pay . . . more than $10 billion in reparations” ( New Republic).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ant.
  • n. An insignificant person.
  • n. A person who adheres strictly to a rule or policy despite current circumstances.
  • n. A person seemingly incapable of focusing on anything but the trivial, especially in the sense of trivial or irrelevant criticism.
  • adj. Insignificant or unimportant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Worthless or of no significance.

Etymologies

Modeled on pismire.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From piss + ant, because of the urine-like smell of anthills. Compare pismire. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The little pissant is so mad at having his clock repeatedly cleaned that he has reverted to what mental midgets like hm always revert to.

    Think Progress » Coulter on 9/11 Widows: ‘I Have Never Seen People Enjoying their Husbands’ Death So Much’

  • The cop kept telling me that it was a matter of public safety ... somehow chubby middle aged white women are endangering public safety by photographing 100 year old public buildings in pissant towns like mine - kinda makes me proud to be taken as a threat at this point of my life. twitter • Some authors only plug their books or related products in their tweets, but some writers actually carry on a conversation or share interesting topics.

    staycation

  • June 23rd, 2006 at 3: 49 pm jealousofjeff says: jason pissant is a redcoat – he would rather ’serve his president’ than defend the constitution. redcoat.

    Think Progress » VIDEO: Springsteen Hits Coulter, Defends Right To Take A Stand On Political Issues

  • That was the second time I had been called a pissant in jail.

    Full Frontal Nudity

  • Not only are the people more acceptable to you, you begin to show them that you really aren't a "pissant"!

    Why We Finally Stop Hunting

  • The national attention they're getting is that they're rightwing vigilantes going AGAINST the state and federal gov't, which does NOT want to create new classes of FELONS for partisan grnadstanding, but their sneering at "pissant" thanks, Nuch thug 9:52, for showing who you people are once again executive powers of local government makes Lou Dobbs look like a leftie and an ACLU activist by comparison.

    Trutanich crackdown has Craig X. Rubin facing a 5 to 12 year sentence

  • Perhaps the editors who accept the "pissant" writers 'copy should be held accountable, no?

    Are good gun writers a dying breed?

  • The next publication date could easily have scathing criticism: Jack Thompson's calls to the Penny Arcade offices could be straightly recreated, complete with "pissant" remarks.

    toonzone News

  • What kind of pissant country doesn't have a law on what women can do with their own bodies?

    Progressive Bloggers

  • With clearly bigger fish to fry, Green described Mundine on Melbourne radio as a "pissant".

    AustralianIT.com.au | Top Stories

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Comments

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  • See piss-ant.

    February 21, 2009

  • Perhaps a Volkswagen/insect hybrid?

    March 5, 2008

  • Blaim Microsoft...

    March 5, 2008

  • Hm. I've never heard it used in the first definition's sense of the word. Always the second. Because by the first definition, I'm a pissant.

    March 5, 2008

  • 1. an offensive term for somebody who pays too much attention to small details

    2. an offensive term for somebody regarded as being of no importance, significance, or consequence

    MSN Encarta.

    March 4, 2008