am not.' name='description'> ain't - definition and meaning

Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • Contraction of am not.
  • Used also as a contraction for are not, is not, has not, and have not.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A vulgar contraction of the negative phrases am not and are not: often used for is not, and also, with a variant hain't, for have not and has not.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • possessive noun A contraction for are not and am not; also used for is not. [Colloq. or illiterate speech]. See an't.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • phrase are not, aren’t; is not, isn’t; am not.
  • phrase dialectal, informal have not, haven’t; has not, hasn’t.
  • phrase dialectal, informal do not, don’t; does not, doesn’t; did not, didn’t.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1. From the earlier form an’t, a contraction of am not, are not, and is not. The shift from IPA: /ænt/ to IPA: /eɪnt/ parallels a similar change in some dialects with can’t. In other dialects the pronunciation shifted to IPA: /ɑːnt/, and the spelling aren’t, when used to mean “am not”, is due to the fact that both words are pronounced IPA: /ɑːnt/ in some non-rhotic dialects. Historically, ain’t was present in many dialects of the English language, but not in the southeastern England dialect that became the standard, where it is only found in the construction aren’t I?.

Examples

Comments

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  • Poor ain't. So universally reviled by Latin-loving prescriptivist grammar Nazis. Yet so wonderfully Anglo-Saxon.

    December 9, 2006

  • I don't know who thought that it would be a good idea to officially make that a word, but they should be tarred and feathered for it!

    January 8, 2007

  • What is wrong with this word? It has been part of Standard English since at least the time of Twain, and will continue to be so. It is not acceptable written English, but then many things people say aren't.

    January 9, 2007

  • Ain't is a contraction for "am not". Another form is "amn't" but that's hard to pronounce, no? It was further shortened to "a'n't" or "ain't". We're accepting of "we aren't" in the first person plural, "they aren't" in the third person plural, "he isn't" and "she isn't" and "it isn't" in the third person singular, and "you aren't" in the second person singular and plural. So why the resistance to "I ain't" in the first person singular? Granted, the extension of "ain't" to the second person singular (cf. the song "Is You or Is You Ain't My Baby" by Billy Austin and Louis Jordan) and to the third person singular (cf. "It Ain't Me Babe" by Bob Dylan) is problematic, albeit fun. But as far as I can see, "I ain't" is fair game.

    January 14, 2007

  • Then there's "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone".

    January 29, 2007

  • Don't say ain't or your mother will faint, your father will fall in a bucket of paint, your sister will cry, your brother will die, and the dog will call the FBI.

    February 18, 2007

  • The word "ain't" appears in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." I'd say that's about all the support the English languages needs for its official inclusion in the language.

    May 26, 2008

  • The word "ain't" appears in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." I'd say that's about all the support the English languages needs for its official inclusion in the language.

    May 26, 2008

  • The word "Moby" also appears in Moby Dick...

    May 27, 2008

  • "I didn't spell 'ain't,' I spelled 'aquaintanceship!'"

    April 7, 2009