\ˈmȯth \
plural moths\ˈmȯt͟hz, ˈmȯths \

Definition of moth 

2 : any of various usually nocturnal lepidopteran insects with antennae that are often feathery, with a stouter body, duller coloring, and proportionately smaller wings than the butterflies, and with larvae that are plant-eating caterpillars

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Other Words from moth

mothlike \-​ˌlīk \ adjective
mothy \ˈmȯ-​thē \ adjective

Examples of moth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And then another well is represented by the genius of Townes Van Zandt, which has drawn him like a moth to a flame, egging him on and daring him. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Ethan Hawke On Blaze, Outlaw Music, and the Dangers of Living Creatively," 6 Sep. 2018 Your light gives people life and this is sure to attract lovers like a moth to a flame! Ashley Otero, Teen Vogue, "Who You Should Date, Based on Your Horoscope," 20 Aug. 2018 Likewise, a Gemini Venus is drawn to information like a moth to a flame. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What the Position of Venus in Your Birth Chart Means for You," 31 July 2018 This novel builds, subtly, to a moment that allows Andrei a career victory that may enable Putin’s regime to impale those Andrei loves most like moths on pins. New York Times, "Struggling to Love, Work and Do the Right Thing in Putin’s Russia," 9 July 2018 This is an insect that begins its attack on your trees as a moth laying eggs on the new leaves. Tom Maccubbin,, "Strange happenings among citrus trees," 29 June 2018 The University of Florida notes the puss caterpillar, which turns into the southern flannel moth, is one of the most venomous caterpillars in the United States. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Caterpillar Sends Teen to Hospital in "Worst Pain He's Ever Felt"," 22 June 2018 What’s the difference between moths and butterflies, in evolutionary terms? Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "What’s the Difference Between Moths and Butterflies and More Questions From Our Readers," 19 Apr. 2018 Some of the most popular items on birds' menus include beetles, flies, ants, moths, aphids, grasshoppers and crickets. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Yum! Birds eat up to 550 million tons of insects each year," 9 July 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for moth

Middle English mothe, from Old English moththe; akin to Middle High German motte moth

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Dictionary Entries near moth






mothball fleet

moth bean

Statistics for moth

Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for moth

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

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More Definitions for moth



English Language Learners Definition of moth

: a kind of insect that is similar to a butterfly but that flies mostly at night and is usually less colorful


\ˈmȯth \
plural moths\ˈmȯt͟hz, ˈmȯths \

Kids Definition of moth

: an insect that usually flies at night and has mostly feathery antennae and stouter body, duller coloring, and smaller wings than the related butterflies

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More from Merriam-Webster on moth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with moth

Spanish Central: Translation of moth

Nglish: Translation of moth for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on moth

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


living or existing for a long time

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