follow Dictionary.com

Know these essential literary terms?

moss

[maws, mos] /mɔs, mɒs/
noun
1.
any tiny, leafy-stemmed, flowerless plant of the class Musci, reproducing by spores and growing in tufts, sods, or mats on moist ground, tree trunks, rocks, etc.
2.
a growth of such plants.
3.
any of various similar plants, as Iceland moss or club moss.
4.
Chiefly Scot. and North England. a swamp or bog.
verb (used with object)
5.
to cover with a growth of moss:
to moss a crumbling wall.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English mos(se), Old English mos moss, bog; akin to German Moos, Old Norse mȳrr mire
Related forms
mosslike, adjective
unmossed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for mosses
  • See the home of a luxuriant array of mosses and lichens.
  • Pick up orchids potted with branches and mosses, lots and lots of succulents, and quirky garden decor.
  • They may even gently bury the seeds in the mosses at the plant's feet.
  • On the ground, mosses and ferns sparkling with tiny droplets festooned fallen logs.
  • Corridors zigzagging between them, and ferns and mosses growing out of the walls.
  • Rodents scurrying up the tree trunks may also have knocked off the bits of mosses and liverworts now found in the resin.
  • mosses, which are lichens' direct beneficiaries, scallop the horizontal ones.
  • Lichens and mosses can squeeze into cracks and crevices, where they take root.
  • Forest floors are covered with ferns and mosses and the trees themselves drip with lichen.
  • Sphagnum mosses often cover the top layer of bogs, and cranberries can be found growing in bogs.
British Dictionary definitions for mosses

moss

/mɒs/
noun
1.
any bryophyte of the phylum Bryophyta, typically growing in dense mats on trees, rocks, moist ground, etc See also peat moss
2.
a clump or growth of any of these plants
3.
any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as club moss, Spanish moss, Ceylon moss, rose moss, and reindeer moss
4.
(Scot & Northern English) a peat bog or marsh
Derived Forms
mosslike, adjective
mossy, adjective
mossiness, noun
Word Origin
Old English mos swamp; compare Middle Dutch, Old High German mos bog, Old Norse mosi; compare also Old Norse mӯrrmire

Moss

/mɒs/
noun
1.
Kate. born 1974, British supermodel.
2.
Sir Stirling. born 1929, English racing driver
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for mosses

moss

n.

Old English meos "moss," related to mos "bog," from Proto-Germanic *musan (cf. Old High German mios, Danish mos, German Moos), also in part from Old Norse mosi "moss, bog," and Medieval Latin mossa "moss," from the same Germanic source, from PIE *meus- "damp," with derivatives referring to swamps and swamp vegetation (cf. Latin muscus "moss," Lithuanian musai "mold, mildew," Old Church Slavonic muchu "moss").

Selden Moseþ þe Marbelston þat men ofte treden. ["Piers Plowman," 1362]
All the Germanic languages have the word in both senses, which is natural because moss is the characteristic plant of boggy places. It is impossible to say which sense is original. Scott (1805) revived 17c. moss-trooper "freebooter infesting Scottish border marshes."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
mosses in Science
moss
  (môs)   
  1. Any of numerous small bryophyte plants belonging to the phylum Bryophyta. Mosses, unlike liverworts, have some tissues specialized for conducting water and nutrients. As in the other bryophytes, the diploid sporophyte grows on the haploid gametophyte generation, which supplies it with nutrients. Mosses often live in moist, shady areas and grow in clusters or mats. Sphagnum mosses play a crucial role in the ecology of peat bogs. See more at bryophyte.

  2. Any of a number of plants that look like mosses but are not related to them. For instance, reindeer moss is a lichen, Irish moss is an alga, and Spanish moss is a bromeliad, a flowering plant.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for mosses

moss

noun

Hair; among black people, straightened or processed hair: Moss is hair (1940s+ Black)

Related Terms

house moss, righteous moss


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with mosses
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for mosses

Moss

town and port, southeastern Norway, on the eastern shore of Oslo Fjord. Moss was founded in the 16th century. On Aug. 14, 1814, it was the site of the signing of the Convention of Moss, which ended the short war between Norway and Sweden that preceded their union. The town has paper and cotton mills, metalworks, shipyards, textile factories, breweries, and facilities for glass, asphalt, and tar production. The harbour is protected by adjacent Jel Island, called the "Pearl of Oslo Fjord" for its fine resort area and many large estates. The Moss River drains into Vann Lake and then flows through the town and into Oslo Fjord. Pop. (2007 est.) mun., 28,633.

Learn more about Moss with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for moss

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for mosses

8
9
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with mosses

Nearby words for mosses