EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN verb (used without object) (of birds, insects, reptiles, etc.) to cast or shed the feathers, skin, or the like, that will be replaced by a new growth. verb (used with object) to cast or shed (feathers, skin, etc.) in the process of renewal. noun an act, process, or an instance of molting. something that is dropped in molting.
, especially British moult. Origin of molt 1300–50;
Middle English mouten, Old English -mūtian
to change (in
to exchange for) <
to change; see
mutate Related forms molt·er, noun
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for molted Historical Examples of molted
They possess the curious habit of always devouring their
This coat remains until the following summer or fall, when it is
molted and replaced by a new one.
So valuable have these been considered that it has been a practice to pluck the live geese each year before they
It is very desirable that they be kept alive until they have begun their web and have
molted at least twice.
Cros also observed injured and recently
molted nymphs of B. orientalis to be eaten by others of the same species. British Dictionary definitions for molted verb, noun the usual US spelling of moult
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for molted v.
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
v. 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. n. The act or process of molting. The material cast off during molting.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
To shed an outer covering, such as skin or feathers, for replacement by a new growth. Many snakes, birds, and arthropods molt.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.