\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

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Other Words from moss


mosslike \-ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of moss in a Sentence


Moss covered the fallen logs.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are new terraced patios, Oakleaf hydrangeas at the sitting wall for the chessboard patio, a deck with a round staircase, green shed roof planted with moss and three-urn fountain. Janet Eastman,, "See four private estates during the Dunthorpe Garden Tour (photos)," 9 May 2018 The spindly limbs with moss seem to indicate the tree is not growing as well as expected. Tom Maccubbin,, "Don’t let crape myrtle pruning become a 'chainsaw massacre'," 7 Apr. 2018 There is even some moss starting to grow under a couple of the trees. Tim Johnson,, "Lawn thinning out beneath a cluster of trees? Too much shade could be wreaking havoc," 10 July 2018 This dry and dusty desert area was once a bog filled with mud and moss. Fox News, "Dinosaur tracks at Utah park dislodged, thrown into lake," 7 May 2018 Traces of moss, likely used as toilet paper, were found alongside fragmented animal bones, including the remains of a kitten and small bird. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Unseal 17th-Century Danish Latrines to Discover Copenhageners’ Dietary Habits," 9 July 2018 But the new species was found in a small sample of moss, a much more relaxing environment, by Keio University's Kazuharu Arakawa. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New Tardigrade Species Found in Parking Lot," 28 Feb. 2018 The box was carefully packed with damp sphagnum moss, the packaging material of choice for shipping the sacred Yeager Roots, a housewarming gift from my parents. Jeff Yeager, Good Housekeeping, "8 Perennial Vegetables Anyone Can Grow," 21 Mar. 2011 The artistic installation features 100 pounds of moss, lichens, other botanical specimens and string models of Einstein-Rosen bridges, or wormholes. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Explore Seattle’s map of ‘high weirdness’: Ghost canoe, rumored troll, Hell Mouth — and more," 28 June 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.

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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

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Statistics for moss

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for moss

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

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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

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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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