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[mawth, moth] /mɔθ, mɒθ/
noun, plural moths
[mawth z, moth z, mawths, moths] /mɔðz, mɒðz, mɔθs, mɒθs/ (Show IPA)
any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera, generally distinguished from the butterflies by having feathery antennae and by having crepuscular or nocturnal habits.
Origin of moth
before 950; Middle English motthe, Old English moththe; akin to German Motte, Old Norse motti
Related forms
demoth, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for moth
Historical Examples
  • She has let you escape; don't fly back like a moth to the candle!

  • She had been to an orph—to a place once with moth—with Her and seen the aprons herself.

    The Very Small Person Annie Hamilton Donnell
  • This moth is very common and very widely distributed, and may be easily found in any of its stages.

    Butterflies and Moths William S. Furneaux
  • Her mood was all obsessed now with the conviction that this was the end to her life of a moth.

    Nobody Louis Joseph Vance
  • The moth is out from late May to July, and its habits are similar to those of the last species.

  • The moth of this destructive caterpillar is called Leucania unipuncta.

  • In late June and through July the moth is on the wing, and may occasionally be seen at rest on leaves or stems of sallow, etc.

  • This was the question for which the sprite had stopped the moth.

  • At that adoring look he felt his nerves quiver, just as if he had seen a moth scorching its wings.

    Five Tales John Galsworthy
  • As I said to myself, I was a moth, I wanted to play with fire.

    Possessed Cleveland Moffett
British Dictionary definitions for moth


any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera that typically have stout bodies with antennae of various shapes (but not clubbed), including large brightly coloured species, such as hawk moths, and small inconspicuous types, such as the clothes moths Compare butterfly (sense 1)
Word Origin
Old English moththe; compare Middle Dutch motte, Old Norse motti
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 moth

Old English moððe (Northumbrian mohðe), common Germanic (cf. Old Norse motti, Middle Dutch motte, Dutch mot, German Motte "moth"), perhaps related to Old English maða "maggot," or from the root of midge (q.v.). Until 16c. used mostly of the larva and usually in reference to devouring clothes (cf. Matt. vi:20).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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moth in the Bible

Heb. 'ash, from a root meaning "to fall away," as moth-eaten garments fall to pieces (Job 4:19; 13:28; Isa. 50:9; 51:8; Hos. 5:12). Gr. ses, thus rendered in Matt. 6:19, 20; Luke 12:33. Allusion is thus made to the destruction of clothing by the larvae of the clothes-moth. This is the only lepidopterous insect referred to in Scripture.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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