• synonyms


noun, plural mo·lies. Classical Mythology.
  1. an herb given to Odysseus by Hermes to counteract the spells of Circe.
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Origin of moly

< Latin mōly < Greek môly


noun Informal.
  1. molybdenum.
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Origin of moly

by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for moly

Historical Examples of moly

  • A plant of moly is in his hand; and this will be the antidote to Circe's philter.

    Studies of the Greek Poets (Vol I of 2)

    John Addington Symonds

  • Moly,” the gods call it, and very hard it is for mortal man to find.

    Stories of the Old world

    Alfred John Church

  • Moly seems to have been Allium moly, one of the onion or garlic family.

    The Romance of Plant Life

    G. F. Scott Elliot

  • The Colonel did not mean hay; he meant asphodels and amaranth and moly.

    Hildegarde's Harvest

    Laura E. Richards

  • The mandrake, like the moly, the magical herb of the Odyssey, is ‘hard for men to dig.’

    Custom and Myth

    Andrew Lang

British Dictionary definitions for moly


noun plural -lies
  1. Greek myth a magic herb given by Hermes to Odysseus to nullify the spells of Circe
  2. a liliaceous plant, Allium moly, that is native to S Europe and has yellow flowers in a dense cluster
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Word Origin for moly

C16: from Latin mōly, from Greek mōlu
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 moly


1570s, fabulous magical herb with white flowers and black root, given by Hermes to Odysseus as protection against Circe's sorcery, of unknown origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper