I like ants. I also like Chinese. And so I was very happy to discover the Chinese word for ant, pronounced mah-ee:
I show here the traditional Chinese (as opposed to simplified) because I think it looks fancier. I like this word because it is rich in meaning, and revels much truth about our sisters in the wild. The first character (pinyin ma, third tone) contains two parts. On the left is chong, the generic character for insect. And, as my uncle pointed out to me, it kind of looks like one:
The second part is ma, the character for horse. This reflects well the power of ants, as well as their innate hard-working attitude (that’s why I always say how much antpower my car gets).
The second character (pinyin yi, third tone) again has chong, because an ant is twice the insect a ladybug could ever hope to be. The character on the right, however, rings with the truest meaning of all. This character, yi, means justice, or righteousness. Amen! It turns out that the Chinese preempted the Proverb, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!”