molt

verb
\ˈmōlt \
molted; molting; molts

Definition of molt 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to shed hair, feathers, shell, horns, or an outer layer periodically Birds molt once or twice a year.

transitive verb

: to cast off (an outer covering) periodically specifically : to throw off (the old cuticle (see cuticle sense 1) used of arthropods a spider, like a lobster, molts its covering as it grows — Eugene Kinkead

molt

noun

Definition of molt (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or process of molting specifically : ecdysis

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from molt

Verb

molter noun

Synonyms for molt

Synonyms: Verb

exfoliate, shed, slip, slough (also sluff)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of molt in a Sentence

Verb

Snakes molt as they grow, shedding the old skin and growing a larger new skin. a crab molts its shell as it grows larger

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

More than simply a bold fashion statement, a cozy knitted top can keep a hen warm during molting season and prevent her from picking at herself as new feathers grow in. Lauren Matthews, Country Living, "These DIY Chicken Sweaters Are Going Viral," 21 Jan. 2015 The Weddell seals were already finished molting, so the scene was much cleaner. Kasha Patel, Smithsonian, "How Data-Gathering Seals Help Scientists Measure the Melting Antarctic," 13 July 2018 The birds that fly from Wisconsin to Canada to molt typically stay north of the border until mid to late August, then fly south, Finger said, returning slightly ahead of the fall migration of the MVP geese. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Canada geese grouping up before molt migration," 9 June 2018 Now that the points from Roland Garros 2017 molted off like snakeskin, Stanislas Wawrinka is now down to world No. 263. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: Looking Back at Roland Garros," 13 June 2018 About 70% of Canada geese from Wisconsin fly to Ontario to molt, with most in the James Bay region, Finger said. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Canada geese grouping up before molt migration," 9 June 2018 See another video of the same species molting, and learn more about the spider. Amy Rankin, National Geographic, "A Tarantula Sheds Its Skin in New Time-Lapse Video," 16 May 2018 During molting season, their appetite almost doubles. Grace Wong, chicagotribune.com, "What do a sommelier, a Bears lineman and a penguin eat for lunch?," 26 Apr. 2018 Area songbirds are slowly but steadily molting into their breeding plumage. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Yellow-rumped warblers become brighter for breeding | Charlotte Observer," 12 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These epic journeys, called pre-molt dispersals, are crucial for survival. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Penguins," 6 Nov. 2018 Each summer the birds shed, or molt, their wing and tail feathers. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Canada geese grouping up before molt migration," 9 June 2018 In addition to hola and gràcies, bon día (good morning), si us plau (please), merci (thanks), and molt bó (very good, as in food) will be useful. Sara Mccarty, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Essential Things to Know Before You Visit Barcelona," 5 Mar. 2018 The females will not change as much during the molt. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "American goldfinches sport a new look this time of year | Charlotte Observer," 11 Feb. 2018 In winter, tens of thousands of the threatened Steller's eider sea ducks stay in Izembek and molt. Author: Juliet Eilperin, Anchorage Daily News, "Interior Department strikes deal with Alaska village for road through national wildlife refuge," 6 Jan. 2018 The eruption would have coincided with their annual molt, which leaves the penguins vulnerable and unable to enter the water. Aaron Sidder, National Geographic, "Erupting Volcano May Have Destroyed Huge Penguin Colony," 6 July 2016 After the megalopa phase, crabs molt another seven or eight times to transform into their crab shape. Sara Sneath, NOLA.com, "Does coastal erosion help or harm the Gulf's blue crabs?," 20 Oct. 2017 That molt essentially wiped out the soot that had accumulated in their plumage. Ben Guarino, Washington Post, "Soot caught in bird feathers shows how catastrophic air pollution can be," 9 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'molt.' 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 molt

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1815, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for molt

Verb

alteration of Middle English mouten, from Old English -mūtian to change, from Latin mutare — more at mutable

Noun

see molt entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about molt

Statistics for molt

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for molt

The first known use of molt was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for molt

molt

verb

English Language Learners Definition of molt

biology : to lose a covering of hair, feathers, etc., and replace it with new growth in the same place

molt

verb
\ˈmōlt \
molted; molting

Kids Definition of molt

: to shed outer material (as hair, shell, or horns) that will be replaced by a new growth

\ˈmōlt \
variants: or chiefly British moult

Medical Definition of molt 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to shed hair, feathers, shell, horns, or an outer layer periodically

transitive verb

: to cast off (an outer covering) periodically specifically : to throw off (the old cuticle) used of arthropods

molt

noun
variants: or chiefly British moult

Medical Definition of molt (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or process of molting specifically : ecdysis

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on molt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with molt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for molt

Spanish Central: Translation of molt

Nglish: Translation of molt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of molt for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about molt

Comments on molt

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to move with a clumsy heavy tread

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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