Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pissant n.

[SE pissant, an ant]

1. an insignificant person, a ‘nobody’; thus drunk as a pissant, very drunk; game as a pissant, very brave.

[US]J.C. Rogers ‘South’ in Botkin Folk-Say 150: Drank about fifteen bottles [...] Got pie-yed as a p---ant.
[US]Davis & Wolsey Call House Madam (1943) 433: You son-of-a-pissant!
[US](con. 1861-5) B.I. Wiley Life of Billy Yank 27: Solder: Leslie Nickname: Piss-ant Postion: Artist.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 7: You stupid pissant [...] What’s the idea?
[UK](con. 1940s) D. MacCuish Do Not Go Gentle (1962) 119: You friggin’ piss ants.
[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 309: You sorry damn pissant.
[US]R.M. Brown Southern Discomfort (1983) 28: What’s that pissant up to now?
[UK]K. Lette Mad Cows 173: I’ll take you to court, you lily-livered piss ant.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 2: He was barely five feet tall, and so the nickname Piss Ant was slightly unkind, but it fitted.
[US]Chicago Trib. ‘The Onion’ 1 Nov. TAB-5/2: Abnormally growing cells consistently make the ‘complete dick move’ of prodsucing false-positive signals. Cancer cell mutate into even cockier pissants .
C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] [of one who cannot hold their drink] ‘He’d come in here for a drink on occasion. Could put it away, too. Not a pissant like you’.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]T. Piccirilli Fever Kill 17: With that swagger, the pissant rage in his eyes, the curled lip.

In phrases

pissant (around) (v.) (Aus.)

1. to mess around.

[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 87: Someone is pissanting around when he is messing about.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 329: I’ve been pissantin’ round the Northern Territory most of the time.
[Aus]G. Hamilton Summer Glare 224: Why does the bastard go pissanting around in Tamworth without her?

2. to defeat, to outwit.

[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 87: We pissant someone when we defeat or outwit him.