[maws, mos]
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.
a growth of such plants.
any of various similar plants, as Iceland moss or club moss.
Chiefly Scot. and North England. a swamp or bog.
verb (used with object)
to cover with a growth of moss: to moss a crumbling wall.

before 1000; Middle English mos(se), Old English mos moss, bog; akin to German Moos, Old Norse mȳrr mire

mosslike, adjective
unmossed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
moss (mɒs)
1.  See also peat moss any bryophyte of the phylum Bryophyta, typically growing in dense mats on trees, rocks, moist ground, etc
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
[Old English mos swamp; compare Middle Dutch, Old High German mos bog, Old Norse mosi; compare also Old Norse mӯrrmire]

Moss (mɒs)
1.  Kate. born 1974, British supermodel.
2.  Sir Stirling. born 1929, English racing driver

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. meos "moss," related to mos "bog," from P.Gmc. *musan (cf. O.H.G. mios, Ger. Moos), also in part from O.N. mosi "moss, bog," and M.L. mossa "moss," from the same Gmc. source, from PIE *meus- (cf. L. muscus "moss," Lith. musai "mold, mildew," O.C.S. muchu "moss"), from base *meu- "moist, marsh."
All the Gmc. languages have the word in both senses, which is natural since moss is the characteristic plant of boggy places. It is impossible to say which sense is original.
"Selden Moseþ þe Marbelston þat men ofte treden." ["Piers Plowman," 1362]
Scott (1805) revived 17c. moss-trooper "freebooter infesting Scottish border marshes." Mossback "conservative" is 1878, originally of poor whites from Carolina, originally (1872) in ref. to those who hid out to avoid service in the Confederate army (and would have stayed out till the moss grew on their backs).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
moss   (môs)  Pronunciation Key 
  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.

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