AskDefine | Define gnat

Dictionary Definition



1 any of various small biting flies: midges; biting midges; black flies; sand flies
2 British usage

User Contributed Dictionary

see Gnat




  1. Any small insect of the order Diptera, specifically within the suborder Nematocera.


Extensive Definition

Gnat (, "nat") is a colloquial name for any of various small insects in the order Diptera and specifically within the suborder Nematocera. This suborder represents the more primitive members of the Dipteran order but still contains several very notable and important families such as the Chironomidae (non-biting midges) and the Culicidae (mosquitoes). Other families include the Tipulidae (crane flies), Bibionidae (hairflies), Ceratopogonidae (biting midges), Cecidomyiidae (gall midges), Simuliidae (black flies), and others.
The males often assemble together in large mating swarms, particularly at dusk.
Gnat larvae are mostly free-living. Many feed on plants, though some are carnivorous. Larval plant feeders (e.g. the Hessian fly larva) cause root, stem, or leaf galls to be formed by the host plant. Some species of fungus gnats (families Mycetophilidae and Sciaridae) are very common pests of mushrooms and roots of potted plants in homes and greenhouses.
Some South American Pleurothallid orchids are pollinated by tiny gnats and have correspondingly small flowers.
Often times it is spelled "knat" instead of gnat.
gnat in Old English (ca. 450-1100): Gnæt
gnat in Danish: Myg
gnat in German: Mücken
gnat in French: gnat (homonymie)
gnat in Croatian: Komarac
gnat in Ido: Kulco
gnat in Japanese: ブユ
gnat in Finnish: Sääsket
gnat in Quechua: Ch'iti ch'uspi
gnat in Russian: Гнус
gnat in Swedish: Myggor
gnat in Norwegian: Mygg

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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