What word or phrase does your mother always say?


[mohlt] /moʊlt/
verb (used without object)
(of birds, insects, reptiles, etc.) to cast or shed the feathers, skin, or the like, that will be replaced by a new growth.
verb (used with object)
to cast or shed (feathers, skin, etc.) in the process of renewal.
an act, process, or an instance of molting.
something that is dropped in molting.
Also, especially British, moult.
Origin of molt
1300-50; earlier mout (with intrusive -l-; cf. fault, assault), Middle English mouten, Old English -mūtian to change (in bi-mūtian to exchange for) < Latin mūtāre to change; see mutate
Related forms
molter, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for molting
  • Lobsters go through a molting process as they grow during which time they shed their old shells and produce new ones.
  • The more carotenoid-containing food a flamingo eats before molting and growing new feathers, the brighter its feathers will be.
  • Some animals coordinate their look with the seasons, shedding dark fur or molting dark feathers once the snow flies.
  • Not demonic possession, but a tragic molting accident.
  • He's active, but he has been molting for well over a year.
  • My husband died around the time the bird started molting.
  • After molting, their bodies are soft, almost the consistency of a wonton wrapper.
  • molting spiders may not develop new powers, but they can exhibit new behaviors.
  • At this stage it's known as a ragged jacket, its white fur molting away to reveal a gray coat.
  • Three ravens perch on a camels back gathering molting hair for nests.
British Dictionary definitions for molting


verb, noun
the usual US spelling of moult
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 molting



also moult, mid-14c., mouten, of feathers, "to be shed," from Old English *mutian "to change" (cf. bemutian "to exchange"), from Latin mutare "to change" (see mutable). Transitive sense, of birds, "to shed feathers" is first attested 1520s. With parasitic -l-, late 16c., on model of fault, etc. Related: Molted, moulted; molting, moulting. As a noun from 1815.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
molting in Medicine

molt (mōlt)
v. molt·ed, molt·ing, molts
To shed periodically part or all of a coat or an outer covering, such as feathers, cuticle, or skin, which is then replaced by a new growth. n.

  1. The act or process of molting.

  2. The material cast off during molting.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
molting in Science
To shed an outer covering, such as skin or feathers, for replacement by a new growth. Many snakes, birds, and arthropods molt.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for molt

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for molting

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for molting