Idiom: ants in your pants

Boy jumping anxiously because ants are crawling all over his pants. Example: I've got ants in my pants because I have to give a presentation tomorrow.

Idiom: ants in your pants

Look at the picture and try to guess the meaning of the idiom 'ants in your pants.'   

Ants in one's pants:  to be so excited, nervous or anxious about something that it's hard to be still and calm.


Ants are very small insects that often sting. If ants were crawling around inside or on your pants it would be very difficult to sit still and be calm. Instead, you would likely jump around and try to get them out of your clothing as soon as possible.

Notice that this idiom describes a kind of excitement that can be either positive (excited about something) or more negative (anxious or worried about something).

Sentence examples

— My children have ants in their pants because tomorrow is Christmas and they are excited about their presents.

— Every time we take our children to church they jump around like they've got ants in their pants and I constantly have to ask them to sit down.     

— I've got ants in my pants because I have to give a presentation at work tomorrow.      

— Will you please be still! What's the matter? Do you have ants in your pants?

— My husband has ants in his pants because he's going hunting with his buddies this weekend.

— I hate flying because I always get ants in my pants when I'm forced to sit in a cramped seat for hours.

— Have you noticed that our students always get ants in their pants when there's a substitute teacher?

— I've got ants in my pants—I cannot wait to go to college next month!

— You'll need to take the kids to the park around three o'clock—they'll have ants in their pants by then and will need some exercise.

— How am I going to make a good impression in this job interview when I've got ants in my pants?


Nervous or anxious meaning:

  • in a cold sweat
  • like a cat on a hot tin roof
  • in a lather
  • on tenterhooks
  • wound up
  • worked up
  • with bated breath

Excited meaning:

  • hyped up
  • on the edge of one's seat
  • keyed up
  • pumped up
  • with bells on

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