\ˈmȯs \

Definition of moss 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 chiefly Scotland : bog, swamp especially : a peat bog

2a : any of a class (Musci) of bryophytic plants characterized by a gametophyte having a small leafy often tufted stem bearing sex organs at its tip also : a clump or sward of these plants

b : any of various plants resembling moss in appearance or habit of growth

3 : a mossy covering


mossed; mossing; mosses

Definition of moss (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cover or overgrow with moss

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from moss


mosslike \-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of moss in a Sentence


Moss covered the fallen logs.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Inside, an obelisk-like stalagmite stood sentinel atop a mound decked with moss and neon-green ferns. Patrick Scott, WSJ, "A Blow-Your-Mind Adventure in Vietnam’s Caves," 13 Nov. 2018 The fishermen found one child floating in nearby moss. Fox News, "Indiana father charged with neglect in sons' drownings," 24 Aug. 2018 These days Bugatti is once more in its traditional home of Molsheim in France, and that gleaming white factory in Campogalliano in Italy is now moss-covered and abandoned. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "This Bugatti EB110 video is a great reminder of the 1990s supercar boom," 13 Aug. 2018 Downtown and Culver City Start the day downtown with a cup of joe at GiorgiPorgi, a hole-in-the-wall coffee bar reminiscent of Scandinavia’s green forests thanks to one compelling wall covered in soft dark green moss. Matilde Wergeland, Vogue, "The Best of Both Worlds: Finding Scandinavian Sensibility in Sunny L.A.," 6 Aug. 2018 To try this project indoors or on a hard surface, create turf with moss or colorful leaves found outside. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "50+ Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas for Halloween," 25 July 2018 The trail offers beautiful autumn surprises—evergreen trees covered in moss provide a contrasting background for the red splashes of vine maples and the yellow hues of big leaf maples, while mushrooms in many colors sprout from the ground. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "The 15 Best Places to Go Hiking in the Fall," 28 Oct. 2018 However, for today’s outing, the Duchess kept things simple by wearing similar shades of moss from head to toe. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Kate Middleton Just Re-Wore Her Favorite Zara Jeans From 2016," 2 Oct. 2018 And there is a preparation of wild mushrooms, roasted and served in a brass chafing dish surrounded by an aromatic wreath of mosses, juniper and pine. Patrick Comiskey,, "Curtis Stone's restaurant Maude reboots with a focus on wine," 2 Mar. 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for moss


Middle English, from Old English mos; akin to Old High German mos moss, Latin muscus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about moss

Statistics for moss

Last Updated

19 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for moss

The first known use of moss was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for moss



English Language Learners Definition of moss

: a type of green plant that has very small leaves and no flowers and that grows on rocks, bark, or wet ground


\ˈmȯs \

Kids Definition of moss

1 : a plant that has no flowers and grows as a small leafy stem in patches like cushions clinging to rocks, bark, or damp ground

2 : a plant or plantlike organism (as a lichen) resembling moss


\ˈmȯs \

Medical Definition of moss 

1 : any of a class (Musci) of bryophytic plants having a small leafy often tufted stem bearing sex organs at its tip — see sphagnum

2 : any of various plants resembling mosses in appearance or habit of growth — see club moss, iceland moss, irish moss

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on moss

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with moss

Spanish Central: Translation of moss

Nglish: Translation of moss for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of moss for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about moss

Comments on moss

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


a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!