1. From the earlier form an’t, a contraction of am not, are not, and is not. The shift from IPA: /ænt/ to IPA: /eɪnt/ parallels a similar change in some dialects with can't. In other dialects the pronunciation shifted to IPA: /ɑːnt/, and the spelling aren't, when used to mean "am not", is due to the fact that both words are pronounced IPA: /ɑːnt/ in some non-rhotic dialects. Historically, ain't was present in many dialects of the English language, but not in the southeastern England dialect that became the standard, where it is only found in the construction aren't I?.
- (dialectal or informal) are not, aren’t; is not, isn’t; am not.
- (dialectal, informal) have not, haven’t; has not, hasn’t.
- (dialectal, informal) do not, don’t; does not, doesn’t; did not, didn’t.
(Can we clean up(+) this sense?) This word is commonly considered non-standard, with its users being perceived as not as literate as the users of standard English. However, its use is common among all social classes, in some regions of the United States.
- 1885 — Gilbert & Sullivan, The Mikado
- We figure in lively paint -
- Our attitude’s queer and quaint —
- You’re wrong if you think it ain't, oh!