moonshine

[ moon-shahyn ]
/ ˈmunˌʃaɪn /

noun

Informal. smuggled or illicitly distilled liquor, especially corn liquor as illicitly distilled chiefly in rural areas of the southern U.S.
empty or foolish talk, ideas, etc.; nonsense.
the light of the moon; moonlight.

Origin of moonshine

1375–1425; late Middle English: moonlight. See moon, shine1,
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for moonshine

moonshine

/ (ˈmuːnˌʃaɪn) /

noun

another word for moonlight (def. 1)
US and Canadian illegally distilled or smuggled whisky or other spirit
foolish talk or thought
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 moonshine

moonshine


n.

c.1500, "moonlight," from moon (n.) + shine (n.). In figurative use, implying "appearance without substance," from late 15c.; perhaps connected in that sense with notion of "moonshine in water" (cf. moonraker). Meaning "illicit liquor" is attested from 1785 (earliest reference is to that smuggled on the coasts of Kent and Sussex); moonlight also occasionally was used in this sense early 19c. As a verb from 1883. Related: Moonshiner (1860).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper