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mossback

[maws-bak, mos-]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Informal.
    1. a person holding very antiquated notions; reactionary.
    2. a person living in the backwoods; rustic.
  2. an old turtle.
  3. Angling. a large and old fish, as a bass.
  4. a wild bull or cow.

Origin of mossback

An Americanism dating back to 1870–75; moss + back1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mossback

Historical Examples

  • There is the "old" farmer, there is the "new" farmer, and there is the "mossback."

    Chapters in Rural Progress

    Kenyon L. Butterfield

  • Every "new" farmer when full grown competes with every mossback.

    Chapters in Rural Progress

    Kenyon L. Butterfield

  • The mossback cannot win, because he prefers a flintlock to a Mauser.

    Chapters in Rural Progress

    Kenyon L. Butterfield

  • You cannot have the new farmer unless you also have the mossback.

    Chapters in Rural Progress

    Kenyon L. Butterfield

  • Fig. 239 shows a mossback's house or cabin in the lake lands of Canada.


British Dictionary definitions for mossback

mossback

noun US and Canadian
  1. an old turtle, shellfish, etc, that has a growth of algae on its back
  2. informal a provincial or conservative person
Derived Formsmossbacked, adjective
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 mossback

n.

"conservative," 1874, especially of poor whites from Carolina, originally (1872) in reference to those who hid out to avoid service in the Confederate army (and would have stayed out till the moss grew on their backs); from moss + back (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper