Mark Odegard markodegard at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 2 16:38:12 UTC 2001

Following up one the 'communal peeing' thread, it occurs to me the German
authors of that article might have been (?[un]consciously] echoing

Online MW gives 1947 for 'pissant', though I suspect it's older (and
probably, popularized during WWII).

AHD4 says it's modeled on Middle English 'pismire'; there is no date, but
certainly it must be older than 1947 in the sense of 'an ant'. I suspect
there is some literature out there on this item.

Certain ants do generate formic acid, which has a urine-like odor, but I
know very little about ants.

I've never used 'pissant'. I think I learned it from my grandfather. The
sense is indeed 'insignificant', but I think '*annoyingly* insignificant' is
closer. It's close to 'mickey mouse' or 'chicken s***'.
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