ain't


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ain't

 (ānt)
Nonstandard
1. Contraction of am not.
2. Used also as a contraction for are not, is not, has not, and have not.
Usage Note: Ain't has a long history of controversy. It first appeared in 1778, evolving from an earlier an't, which arose almost a century earlier as a contraction of are not and am not. In fact, ain't arose at the tail end of an era that saw the introduction of a number of our most common contractions, including don't and won't. But while don't and won't eventually became accepted at all levels of speech and writing, ain't was to receive a barrage of criticism in the 19th century for having no set sequence of words from which it can be contracted and for being a "vulgarism," that is, a term used by the lower classes, although an't had been originally used by the upper classes as well. At the same time ain't's uses were multiplying to include has not, have not, and is not, by influence of forms like ha'n't and i'n't. It may be that these extended uses helped fuel the negative reaction. Whatever the case, criticism of ain't by usage commentators and teachers has not subsided, and the use of ain't is often regarded as a sign of ignorance. · But despite all the attempts to ban it, ain't continues to enjoy extensive use in speech. Even educated and upper-class speakers see no substitute in folksy expressions such as Say it ain't so and You ain't seen nothin' yet. · The stigmatization of ain't leaves us with no happy alternative for use in first-person questions. The widely used aren't I?, though irregular, was found acceptable for use in speech by a majority of the Usage Panel as long ago as 1964, but in writing there is no acceptable substitute for the stilted am I not?

ain't

(eɪnt)
contraction of
am not, is not, are not, have not, or has not: I ain't seen it.

ain't

(eɪnt)
1. Nonstandard except in some dialects. am not; are not; is not.
2. Nonstandard. have not; has not; do not; does not; did not.
[1770–80; variant of amn't (contraction of am not) by loss of m and raising with compensatory lengthening of a; compare aren ' t]
usage: As a substitute for am not, is not, and are not in declarative sentences, ain ' t is more common in uneducated speech than in educated, but it occurs with some frequency in the informal speech of the educated, esp. in the southern and south-central states. This is especially true of the interrogative ain't I? used as a substitute for the formal am I not? or for aren't I? (considered by some to be ungrammatical) or for the awkward amn't I? (which is rare in American speech). Some speakers avoid all of the preceding forms by substituting Isn't that so (true, the case)? ain ' t occurs in set phrases: Ain't it the truth! The word is also used for emphasis: That just ain't so! It does not appear in formal writing except for deliberate (often humorous) effect or to represent speech. As a substitute for have not or has not and - occasionally in Southern speech - do not, does not, and did not, it is nonstandard except in similar humorous uses: You ain't seen nothin' yet! See also aren't.
References in classic literature ?
He 's up an' gone, ain't 'e, an' we might as well begin t' look out fer ol' number one.
Well," at length spoke the tattered man, "there ain't no use in our stayin' here an' tryin' t' ask him anything.
She paused awhile, thinking; then she burst into wild sobbings again, and turned away, saying, "Oh, I got to kill my chile, dey ain't no yuther way--killin' him wouldn't save de chile fum goin' down de river.
Then she nodded her head in response to a pleasant idea, and added, "No, I ain't gwine to be fished out, wid everybody lookin' at me, in dis mis'able ole linsey-woolsey.
snapped Nancy, wringing her rag so hard her fingers ached from the strain; "I guess it ain't CHILDREN what is MOST unnecessary just now, just now!
There ain't no dirt here--and there's mighty little else.
And that-all ain't worth the paper it's written on.
Remember, I ain't making no remarks about your deal.
He didn't sleep much, he was in such a sweat to get in there and find out the mystery about Phillips; and moreover he done a lot of guessing about it all night, which warn't no use, for if you are going to find out the facts of a thing, what's the sense in guessing out what ain't the facts and wasting ammunition?
Well, he hain't come back sence, and they ain't looking for him back till this thing blows over a little, for people thinks now that he killed his boy and fixed things so folks would think robbers done it, and then he'd get Huck's money without having to bother a long time with a lawsuit.
It ain't good for her, and the surgeon don't like it, and tried to persuade her not to and couldn't; and when he ORDERED her, she was that outraged and indignant, and was very severe on him, and accused him of insubordination, and said it didn't become him to give orders to an officer of her rank.
Don't you be afraid of that -- it ain't anything at all.