- to put into storage or reserve; inactivate.
- inactive; unused; stored away: a mothball fleet.
- in mothballs,
- in disuse or in storage, especially with reference to standby equipment.
- (of ideas) dismissed as unworthy of further deliberation.
Origin of mothball
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- Also called: camphor ball a small ball of camphor or naphthalene used to repel clothes moths in stored clothing, blankets, etc
- put in mothballs to postpone work on (a project, activity, etc)
- to prepare (a ship, aircraft, etc) for a long period of storage by sealing all openings with plastic to prevent corrosion
- to take (a factory, plant, etc) out of operation but maintain it so that it can be used in the future
- to postpone work on (a project, activity, etc)
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
Word Origin and History for in mothballs
1902 in a literal sense (to store away with mothballs), from mothball (n.); figurative sense from 1901.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper