hawk moth

\ ˈhȯk-ˌmȯth How to pronounce hawk moth (audio) \
variants: or hawkmoth

Definition of hawk moth

: any of a family (Sphingidae) of large, stout-bodied, swift-flying moths that are sometimes active during the day and have long, narrow, more or less pointed forewings, small hind wings, and a very long proboscis which at rest is kept coiled and are typically capable of hovering while feeding on the nectar of flowers

Note: Many hawk moths lack scales on their wings and are usually called clearwings. Because of a hornlike extension on their hind end, larvae of the hawk moth are often referred to as hornworms and include pests destructive to crops and ornamental plants.

called also sphinx moth

Examples of hawk moth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The mimicry technique the hawk moth caterpillar uses can fool birds or other hungry caterpillars that might otherwise eat it. National Geographic, "Why This Harmless Caterpillar Disguises Itself as a Venomous Snake," 3 Apr. 2018 The hawk moth’s disguise capitalizes on most predators’ natural proclivity to avoid anything snake-like. National Geographic, "‘Two-Headed Snake’ Shocks Homeowner," 26 Mar. 2017 So how does the hawk moth master the convincing blinking eye? National Geographic, "‘Two-Headed Snake’ Shocks Homeowner," 26 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hawk moth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hawk moth

1785, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hawk moth

Dictionary Entries near hawk moth




hawk moth

hawk nose


hawk owl

Statistics for hawk moth

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hawk moth

The first known use of hawk moth was in 1785

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on hawk moth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hawk moth

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hawk moth

Comments on hawk moth

What made you want to look up hawk moth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by turns or indirection

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!