\ ˈmȯth How to pronounce moth (audio) \
plural moths\ ˈmȯt͟hz How to pronounce moth (audio) , ˈmȯths How to pronounce moth (audio) \

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 \ ˈmȯth-​ˌlīk How to pronounce moth (audio) \ adjective
mothy \ ˈmȯ-​thē How to pronounce moth (audio) \ adjective

Examples of moth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Here is a link to a brochure about sequoia pitch moth. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: Stressed ponderosa pine may attract sequoia pitch moth," 9 May 2021 Like a moth to a flame, all kinds of insects are drawn to glowing light at night—but this obsession often drives bugs to exhaustion and death. Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, "Using Amber-Filtered Bulbs Instead of White Light Attracts Fewer Bugs," 13 Apr. 2021 An adult moth can be expected to emerge from a cocoon in up to two weeks. Brianna Kwasnik, Arkansas Online, "Have you seen these fuzzy caterpillars around your yard? A UAEX bug expert explains," 23 Apr. 2021 By that film’s conclusion, the people of Japan had befriended the Shobijin, the tiny twin women with a special connection to the giant moth, pretty much guaranteeing that Mothra would trouble them no more. Keith Phipps, Vulture, "All 15 Classic Godzilla Movies, Ranked," 31 Mar. 2021 Originally from Eurasia, the moth appeared more than a century ago when it was accidentally introduced near Boston. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "Here are 5 of the most harmful invasive animals and insects wreaking havoc in Indiana," 15 Mar. 2021 Each species of butterfly or moth seeks specific plants for nectar or habitat. Jodi Bay, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Garden Mastery: Plant for the pollinators, which keep our world buzzing with life," 13 Mar. 2021 Like a moth to a nontoxic flame, the store drew Instagram flâneurs in droves — but also plenty of grimaces and eye rolls from locals. New York Times, "How Erewhon Became L.A.’s Hottest Hangout," 17 Feb. 2021 Since it was first noticed in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 2014, the spotted lanternfly—a one-inch-long plant hopper that resembles a moth and is native to China—has been wreaking havoc on East Coast lumber, tree fruit and wine industries. Claire Marie Porter, Scientific American, "How You Can Help Stop Invasive Spotted Lanternflies," 24 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for moth

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for moth

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Moth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce moth (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on moth

Nglish: Translation of moth for Spanish Speakers

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

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