9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[moon-shahyn] /ˈmunˌʃaɪn/
Informal. smuggled or illicitly distilled liquor, especially corn liquor as illicitly distilled chiefly in rural areas of the southern U.S.
empty or foolish talk, ideas, etc.; nonsense.
the light of the moon; moonlight.
Origin of moonshine
1375-1425; late Middle English: moonlight. See moon, shine Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for moonshine
  • Beverages of all types are sold, including illegally produced moonshine.
  • Lard seems as outdated as a wood-burning stove, as risky as a quart of moonshine.
  • He is free of any romantic moonshine about the moral charms of primitives or the glories of blood-stained dictators.
  • moonshine was produced by many settlers for both personal use and as an income source.
British Dictionary definitions for moonshine


another word for moonlight (sense 1)
(US & Canadian) illegally distilled or smuggled whisky or other spirit
foolish talk or thought
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
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Word Origin and History for moonshine

c.1500, "moonlight," from moon (n.) + shine (n.). In figurative use, implying "appearance without substance," from late 15c.; perhaps connected in that sense with notion of "moonshine in water" (cf. moonraker). Meaning "illicit liquor" is attested from 1785 (earliest reference is to that smuggled on the coasts of Kent and Sussex); moonlight also occasionally was used in this sense early 19c. As a verb from 1883. Related: Moonshiner (1860).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for moonshine


  1. Whiskey made by unlicensed distillers; corn whiskey; mountain dew: the moonshine distilled in the mountains (1877+)
  2. Any cheap, inferior whiskey; rotgut (1920+)
  3. Any liquor or whiskey (1920+)
  4. Exaggerated talk; vain chatter; baloney, bullshit: His story's plain moonshine (1843+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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