Gnat (?), n. [AS. gnaet.]
A blood-sucking dipterous fly, of the genus Culex, undergoing a metamorphosis in water. The females have a proboscis armed with needlelike organs for penetrating the skin of animals. These are wanting in the males. In America they are generally called mosquitoes. See Mosquito.
Any fly resembling a Culex in form or habits; esp., in America, a small biting fly of the genus Simulium and allies, as the buffalo gnat, the black fly, etc.
Gnat catcher Zool., one of several species of small American singing birds, of the genus Polioptila, allied to the kinglets. -- Gnat flower, the bee flower. -- Gnat hawk Zool., the European goatsucker; -- called also gnat owl. -- Gnat snapper Zool., a bird that catches gnats. -- Gnat strainer, a person ostentatiously punctilious about trifles. Cf. Matt. xxiii. 24.
© Webster 1913.