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[moh-lok, mol-uh k] /ˈmoʊ lɒk, ˈmɒl ək/
a deity whose worship was marked by the propitiatory sacrifice of children by their own parents. II Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35.
anything conceived of as requiring appalling sacrifice:
the Moloch of war.
(lowercase) a spiny agamid lizard, Moloch horridus, of Australian deserts, that resembles the horned lizard.
Also, Molech (for defs 1, 2).
Origin of Moloch
< Late Latin (Vulgate) Moloch < Greek (Septuagint) Móloch < Hebrew Mōlekh, variant of melekh king Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Moloch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What Moloch was this to which she was going to sacrifice herself?

    Virgin Soil Ivan S. Turgenev
  • You give your babies to Moloch for the loaf of bread you have kneaded yourselves.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • He was ruthlessly sacrificing all who loved him, all whom he loved, to the Moloch of his own pride!

    The Spanish Cavalier Charlotte Maria Tucker
  • John felt wretched because the Sunday walk had been sacrificed to Moloch.

    The Hill Horace Annesley Vachell
  • The lions of the temple of Moloch had become ferocious, and the hierodules no longer durst approach them.

    Salammbo Gustave Flaubert
  • He broke out into impassioned praise of Astarte, of Melkarth, of Moloch.

    A King of Tyre James M. Ludlow
  • Moloch was a god of the Ammonites, also worshiped among the Israelites.

  • Had Moloch stirred up the gates of hell to join in pursuit of him?

    A King of Tyre James M. Ludlow
  • The poor woman had given up her eldest boy, a beautiful little creature of six, to Moloch.

    Lords of the World Alfred John Church
British Dictionary definitions for Moloch


a spiny Australian desert-living lizard, Moloch horridus, that feeds on ants: family Agamidae (agamas) Also called mountain devil, spiny lizard


(Old Testament) a Semitic deity to whom parents sacrificed their children
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 Moloch

Canaanite god said to have been propitiated by sacrificing children (Lev. xviii:21), from Latin Moloch, from Greek Molokh, from Hebrew molekh, from melekh "king," altered by the Jews with the vowel points from basheth "shame" to express their horror of the worship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Moloch in Culture
Moloch [(moh-lok, mol-uhk)]

A Canaanite idol who demanded the sacrifice of first-born children. The Old Testament prophets railed against the worship of Moloch by the Israelites.

Note: Moloch also appears as one of the fallen angels in Milton's Paradise Lost and as a malevolent figure in other allegorical works of literature.
Note: By extension, a “Moloch” is something that has the power to exact extreme sacrifice.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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