gypsy moth


plural gypsy moths
: spongy moth

Note: The Entomological Society of America announced in March 2022 that it has officially renamed this insect the spongy moth due to the offensiveness of the historical name.

see usage paragraph at gypsy

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Will the gypsy moth kill my trees? Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 6 July 2021 Previously called the gypsy moth, the Entomological Society of America changed the name to remove the derogatory term for the Romani people. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 19 Sep. 2022 Dogs have also been used to find seals on ice, gas leaks and the presence of gypsy moth egg sacks. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 11 June 2022 The moth, which was previously known as the gypsy moth, is one reason Wisconsin has rules against transporting firewood. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 May 2022 The Entomological Society of America announced this week that the spongy moth as the new common name for the invasive species formerly known as the gypsy moth. Leada Gore |, al, 4 Mar. 2022 At the time of the last major outbreak, a fungus significantly decreased the gypsy moth population. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 14 June 2021 Bug experts are dropping the common name of a destructive insect because it's considered an ethnic slur: the gypsy moth. Fox News, 9 July 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gypsy moth.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1742, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gypsy moth was in 1742

Dictionary Entries Near gypsy moth

Cite this Entry

“Gypsy moth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

gypsy moth

: an Old World moth introduced about 1869 into the U.S. and having a grayish hairy caterpillar that is marked with spots and does great damage to trees by eating the leaves

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