I’ve got ants in my pants

Click below to listen to the phrase.

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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to be enraged

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

b) to be restless

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

If you have ants in your pants, you are extremely restless, agitated or uneasy about something, impatient, fidgety, anxious, or not able to keep still.

French translation

avoir la bougeotte, ne pas tenir en place
My dad used to say ‘avoir le diable dans le ventre

How NOT to translate into French : *avoir des fourmis dans la culotte
‘pants’ in US English (‘trousers’ in UK English) would be translated as ‘pantalon’.

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Examples in the press

‘Akathisia : “Ants in the Pants

Potentially poor outcome if untreated

In this malady, the patient is seen as perpetually in motion. The patient feels the need to move until they must stop. But once static, they have the urge to move again. They pace, they rock and they ‘fidget’ – they just cannot sit still. This feeling has been likened to having “ants in the pants.”
Patients become anxious, agitated, and suffer from insomnia. They cannot rest.’

The Hospitalist, 22 Feb. 2022

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‘Tell me what you’re gonna do about that
Tell me what you’re gonna do
I got to know about that
Is your love for real ?
Do you know how I feel ?
Tell me what you’re gonna do about that

I got ants in my pants and I need to dance
Come on
I got ants in my pants and I need to dance
Some big fine mama come and give me a chance
Uh, hey, hey, hey
I got ants in my pants and I need to dance

I Got Ants In My Pants, James Brown, 1973

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Everyday usage

This kid has ants in his pants. He can’t sit still !

Mary was very excited to be going to the party that night and had ants in her pants all day.

EnglishTonic and Claramedia, 4 March 2022

c) to be chuffed

Sorry, wrong answer. Good phrase though ! British slang. Try again though.


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