The idea for NAnt came from Hazware's XBuild project which in turn was inspired from Apache Ant.  After emailing the author for a beta 2 release of the tool and getting no response Gerry Shaw ported the code to .NET beta 2.  Due to the number of changes from .NET beta 1 to beta 2 the result was a total rewrite.

NAnt was registered at Source Forge on July 18, 2001 with the first public release made that day.

The name NAnt comes from the fact that this tool is Not Ant.