[moh-lok, mol-uh k]


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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for moloch

Contemporary Examples of moloch

Historical Examples of moloch

  • 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

  • John felt wretched because the Sunday walk had been sacrificed to Moloch.

    The Hill

    Horace Annesley Vachell

  • Another name by which the Godhead was recognised was Moloch.

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

    A King of Tyre

    James M. Ludlow

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


Molech (ˈməʊlɛk)


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

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

Culture definitions for 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.


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.


By extension, a “Moloch” is something that has the power to exact extreme sacrifice.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.