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[mawth-eet-n, moth-] /ˈmɔθˌit n, ˈmɒθ-/
eaten or damaged by or as if by the larvae of moths.
decayed or worn out.
out of fashion; antiquated.
Origin of moth-eaten
1350-1400; Middle English
Related forms
unmoth-eaten, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for moth-eaten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The moon glimmering in pale white rays of splendor through the moth-eaten holes upon the finger and the white tomb-stone!

    Captain Brand of the "Centipede" H. A. (Henry Augustus) Wise
  • Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.

    Socialism: Positive and Negative Robert Rives La Monte
  • I saw something like them in Hampton Court, but there they were worn and frayed and moth-eaten.

    Dracula Bram Stoker
  • It was generally supposed that she was, in the slang of the day, either "moth-eaten," or "cracked."

    Poppy Cynthia Stockley
  • There was the cosy corner with the rag-bag, and the moth-eaten fur coat—but the cosy corner was empty.

  • Many were moth-eaten and past redemption; those went to the ragman.

    The Corner House Girls Grace Brooks Hill
  • Somebody bought the antiquated harness and moth-eaten trappings.

    The Mountebank William J. Locke
  • If there has been one it must have got moth-eaten, like many of the other birds there, and been destroyed.

  • It is often weak and reluctant, riddled with timidities, or moth-eaten with worldly ease.

British Dictionary definitions for moth-eaten


decayed, decrepit, or outdated
eaten away by or as if by moths
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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Slang definitions & phrases for moth-eaten



Worn out by long or rough usage or by neglect: moth-eaten school (1550+)

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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