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

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Other Words from molt

Verb

molter noun

Synonyms for molt

Synonyms: Verb

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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 The cows then go on a short foraging trip that lasts about 70 days and return to shore to molt for about 90 days before embarking on their long migration. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "California elephant seals battle fear and hunger in their epic migration across the Pacific," 17 Mar. 2021 Other species, like the scarlet tanager, molt twice per year and regularly appear yellowish in the fall and winter and red in the summer. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, "Alabama’s yellow cardinal: The science behind an amazing, rare bird," 12 Mar. 2021 Arctic hares molt or shed their fur with the changing seasons, becoming brown for better camouflage during the summer. Samantha Lawyer, Woman's Day, "The History of the Easter Bunny is Almost as Cute as Spring's Furry Mascot," 26 Feb. 2021 During the pandemic, certainly during colder months, many women are wearing pants, with skirts and dresses left to molt in closets. Washington Post, "This is our pajama moment," 7 Dec. 2020 The same is true of adult birds that settle in an area to molt. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Isotope analysis of feathers offers new insight into waterfowl movements and reveals some surprises," 13 Sep. 2020 Each stage of molting is called an instar, and some insects molt up to five times before moving onto the next stage. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "How a caterpillar becomes a butterfly: Metamorphosis, explained," 11 Aug. 2020 There, the blue crab larvae, or zoea, molt over 25 times and grow before the maturing crabs make their way back to the estuaries and salt marshes to start their own reproductive process. Kimberly Holland, Southern Living, "5 Things You Didn't Know About Blue Crab," 30 June 2020 Penguins molt once a year, shedding their coats and replacing them with new feathers. Ananya Panchal, SFChronicle.com, "California Academy of Sciences has San Francisco’s most beautiful yoga class," 4 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun April and May are busy months at the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery, according to Friends of the Elephant Seal, as adult female and juvenile seals return to shore to molt. Los Angeles Times, "Three Central Coast adventures to keep you busy until Highway 1 opens," 15 Apr. 2021 Then, the fascinating creatures will settle on perches of all kinds to do their final molt, leaving behind their adolescent shells. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, "Get ready, Maryland: The 17-year Brood X cicadas are coming in May," 4 Mar. 2021 After the molt, Clawdia’s new exoskeleton was not as solidly blue as before. John Kuntz, cleveland, "Rare blue American lobster makes public debut at Akron Zoo (photos)," 13 Feb. 2021 Researchers have observed that a molt of a single Japanese spider crab in captivity took 103 minutes, and the crab’s growth rate was nearly 22 percent. National Geographic, "Japanese spider crab," 16 Sep. 2020 With every molt, the stack becomes an increasingly tall, tapering tower since every head is larger than the last. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Meet 'Mad Hatterpillar,' the caterpillar that uses its old heads for defense," 9 Aug. 2020 After December, lobsters begin adding weight and getting bigger before the next molt. Kimberly Holland, Southern Living, "When Is Lobster Season?," 10 July 2020 The new study suggests that not only killer whales, but all whales migrate to molt, the researchers report in Marine Mammal Science. Virginia Morell, Science | AAAS, "Scientists say they’ve cracked the mystery of why whales migrate—and it’s all about healthy skin," 21 Feb. 2020 Females, however, molt into wingless nymph-like adults. oregonlive, "Can I harvest neglected garlic bulbs now? Ask an expert," 22 Feb. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for molt

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for molt

Last Updated

28 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Molt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/molt. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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 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
\ 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

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Comments on molt

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