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90s Slang You Should Know


[moon-shahyn] /ˈmunˌʃaɪn/
Informal. smuggled or illicitly distilled liquor, especially corn liquor as illicitly distilled chiefly in rural areas of the southern U.S.
empty or foolish talk, ideas, etc.; nonsense.
the light of the moon; moonlight.
Origin of moonshine
1375-1425; late Middle English: moonlight. See moon, shine1, Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for moonshine
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All other danger was over; they could not see us, we were out of the moonshine and indeed, just turning a corner; ah!

  • It was born out of moonshine, her urging, and the hunger of his heart.

    The Fighting Edge William MacLeod Raine
  • We, thy two sons, Sunshine and moonshine, are returned to thee.

  • The cave was as bright as moonshine and the drops sparkled as they fell.

  • Well, when there is a funeral down here there's usually plenty of moonshine.

    Fighting Byng A. Stone
  • Will you take your oath, moonshine, that you did not drink any last night?

    Olla Podrida Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
  • We'll go now—for we want the fellow who's selling the moonshine.

British Dictionary definitions for moonshine


another word for moonlight (sense 1)
(US & Canadian) illegally distilled or smuggled whisky or other spirit
foolish talk or thought
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 moonshine

c.1500, "moonlight," from moon (n.) + shine (n.). In figurative use, implying "appearance without substance," from late 15c.; perhaps connected in that sense with notion of "moonshine in water" (cf. moonraker). Meaning "illicit liquor" is attested from 1785 (earliest reference is to that smuggled on the coasts of Kent and Sussex); moonlight also occasionally was used in this sense early 19c. As a verb from 1883. Related: Moonshiner (1860).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for moonshine



  1. Whiskey made by unlicensed distillers; corn whiskey; mountain dew: the moonshine distilled in the mountains (1877+)
  2. Any cheap, inferior whiskey; rotgut (1920+)
  3. Any liquor or whiskey (1920+)
  4. Exaggerated talk; vain chatter; baloney, bullshit: His story's plain moonshine (1843+)
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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