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 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 Horseshoe crabs molt their distinctive shells about 17 times before reaching maturity at age 10. National Geographic, "Atlantic horseshoe crab," 20 Apr. 2020 Due to a bad remote connection, Dr. David Katz, an infectious disease specialist, began molting in Technicolor. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Bookshelves and AirPods: How Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie and other news stars adjust," 31 Mar. 2020 But in the cold Antarctic seas, the whales are apparently unable to molt. 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 People with allergies are most at risk when bird cages or lofts are cleaned out, and during the time of year when birds molt and shed their feathers. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "The man whose duvet nearly killed him: How this medical mystery was solved," 18 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 The seals will swim under sea ice through the Antarctic winter, collecting data until their sensors fall off during their next molt. Stephen Witt, WIRED, "Fitted With Sensors, Antarctic Seals Track Water Temperatures," 25 June 2019 Soon, white reindeer will turn buff with spring, the molt beginning with a dark ring around the eye. Juliana Hanle, Scientific American, "The Fight for the Reindeer," 18 Nov. 2019 Red knots, which migrate annually from the Arctic to the Southern Hemisphere and back, will travel 1,500 miles at a clip and then pause to rest, feed, and molt at these places, faithfully returning to the same ones each year. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Fascinating ways animals prepare for fall," 27 Sep. 2019

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

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Molt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/molt. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for molt

molt

verb
How to pronounce molt (audio)

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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