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molt

[mohlt]
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verb (used without object)
  1. (of birds, insects, reptiles, etc.) to cast or shed the feathers, skin, or the like, that will be replaced by a new growth.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cast or shed (feathers, skin, etc.) in the process of renewal.
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noun
  1. an act, process, or an instance of molting.
  2. something that is dropped in molting.
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Also especially British, moult.

Origin of molt

1300–50; earlier mout (with intrusive -l-; cf. fault, assault), Middle English mouten, Old English -mūtian to change (in bi-mūtian to exchange for) < Latin mūtāre to change; see mutate
Related formsmolt·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for molt

Historical Examples

  • The young ticks have only six legs (Fig. 15) but after the first molt they all have eight.

    Insects and Diseases

    Rennie W. Doane

  • That commission is performed; if he wants any of it, Molt shall use him fairly.

    The Journal to Stella

    Jonathan Swift

  • Most of the specimens examined, that were taken in this period, are in molt.

  • This places the period of molt as September, October, and November.

  • Some of the specimens obtained in November and December are in molt.


British Dictionary definitions for molt

molt

verb, noun
  1. the usual US spelling of moult
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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 molt

v.

also moult, mid-14c., mouten, of feathers, "to be shed," from Old English *mutian "to change" (cf. bemutian "to exchange"), from Latin mutare "to change" (see mutable). Transitive sense, of birds, "to shed feathers" is first attested 1520s. With parasitic -l-, late 16c., on model of fault, etc. Related: Molted, moulted; molting, moulting. As a noun from 1815.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

molt in Medicine

molt

(mōlt)
v.
  1. To shed periodically part or all of a coat or an outer covering, such as feathers, cuticle, or skin, which is then replaced by a new growth.
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n.
  1. The act or process of molting.
  2. The material cast off during molting.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

molt in Science

molt

[mōlt]
  1. To shed an outer covering, such as skin or feathers, for replacement by a new growth. Many snakes, birds, and arthropods molt.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.