molt

verb
\ ˈmōlt How to pronounce molt (audio) \
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

Other Words from molt

Verb

molter noun

Synonyms for molt

Synonyms: Verb

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 Bamboo contains moisture that helps the spider maintain its temperature -- especially important for tarantulas, which molt and shed their exoskeleton. Katie Hunt, CNN, 19 Jan. 2022 These survivors return to land to molt into their adult plumage. Elizabeth Warkentin, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Oct. 2021 May when females who’ve gone back out into the ocean after weaning their pups and juvenile pups return to molt a new layer of skin and late October when juveniles return in what’s called the juvenile haul-out. Laurie Werner, Forbes, 25 Oct. 2021 But, around November, things get busier when more penguins from around False Bay (which Simon’s Town overlooks), in addition to other areas along the southern coast of South Africa and as far as Namibia, begin landing on the beach to molt. Elizabeth Warkentin, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Oct. 2021 And snapping shrimp, which deploy the maneuver to instantaneously incapacitate their prey, must molt repeatedly to keep their own tissues in fighting form. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 29 June 2021 These nymphs will pop out of the ground, climb upward, then molt their nymphal case, just like a crab casting off an old exoskeleton. Washington Post, 5 May 2021 Seals molt annually, so the device falls off after a year. Rebecca Cairns, CNN, 26 May 2021 As the days warm up, more and more will make the journey up tree trunks to molt, find a mate, lay their eggs, then die soon after. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 25 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some experts suspect that the estuary's warm and less salty waters also benefit younger calves that haven't developed their complete blubber exterior and help adults undergoing their annual molt. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 July 2022 These Arctic-dwelling species rely on sea ice to pup, nurse and molt. Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2021 During a run of ideal weather earlier this month, the city began its molt from a sleepy seaside burg into its bustling summer form. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, 21 May 2022 These Arctic-dwelling species rely on sea ice to pup, nurse and molt. Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2021 Here are the photographs to prove it For their laboratory experiments to study the catapulting behavior, the team collected spiders—males and females just one molt away from full adulthood—from the scenery garden of Wuhan's East Lake in China. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 25 Apr. 2022 These Arctic-dwelling species rely on sea ice to pup, nurse and molt. Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2021 These Arctic-dwelling species rely on sea ice to pup, nurse and molt. Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2021 These Arctic-dwelling species rely on sea ice to pup, nurse and molt. Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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 and Noun

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

Learn More About molt

Time Traveler for molt

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near molt

Molpadia

molt

molten

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for molt

Cite this Entry

“Molt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/molt. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for molt

molt

verb
\ ˈmōlt How to pronounce molt (audio) \
molted; molting

Kids Definition of molt

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

molt

intransitive verb
\ ˈmōlt How to pronounce molt (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on molt

Nglish: Translation of molt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of molt for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about molt

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!