any tiny, leafy-stemmed, flowerless plant of the class Musci, reproducing by spores and growing in tufts, sods, or mats on moist ground, tree trunks, rocks, etc.
a growth of such plants.
Chiefly Scot. and North England. a swamp or bog.
verb (used with object)
to cover with a growth of moss: to moss a crumbling wall.
Origin of moss
before 1000; Middle English mos(seRelated formsmoss·like, adjectiveun·mossed, adjective
), Old English mos
moss, bog; akin to German Moos, Old Norse mȳrr mire
Howard,1922–1987, U.S. poet, editor, and playwright.
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for moss
Contemporary Examples of moss
They agreed to let McKell and Moss join their tribe for a few days.
By the time the CFDA awards rolled round in early 1994, Moss was a bona fide star.
Callahan claims that within weeks of leaving the Priory, Moss “got back on drugs.”
He pops from the screen as a charismatic, occasionally messianic “human prism,” as Moss calls him.
“I flew into Williston through Denver and went right to the church and met Jay,” says Moss.
Historical Examples of moss
Then the snowdrop sang a lullaby about the moss that loved the violet.
He had on a pair of moss trousers, and his coat was a yellow gorse flower.
The unknown, lurking in the midst of the sticks and moss, was savagely clutching him by the nose.
In summer there was nothing to exercise the mind of Mr. Moss.
Mr. Moss was disentangling the crick in his back for the last time that day.
British Dictionary definitions for moss
Derived Formsmosslike, adjectivemossy, adjectivemossiness, noun any bryophyte of the phylum Bryophyta, typically growing in dense mats on trees, rocks, moist ground, etcSee also peat moss
a clump or growth of any of these plants
any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as club moss, Spanish moss, Ceylon moss, rose moss, and reindeer moss
Scot and Northern English a peat bog or marsh
Word Origin for moss
Old English mos swamp; compare Middle Dutch, Old High German mos bog, Old Norse mosi; compare also Old Norse mӯrr mire
Kate . born 1974, British supermodel.
Sir Stirling. born 1929, English racing driver
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 moss
Old English meos "moss," related to mos "bog," from Proto-Germanic *musan (cf. Old High German mios, Danish mos, German Moos), also in part from Old Norse mosi "moss, bog," and Medieval Latin mossa "moss," from the same Germanic source, from PIE *meus- "damp," with derivatives referring to swamps and swamp vegetation (cf. Latin muscus "moss," Lithuanian musai "mold, mildew," Old Church Slavonic muchu "moss").
Selden Moseþ þe Marbelston þat men ofte treden. ["Piers Plowman," 1362]
All the Germanic languages have the word in both senses, which is natural because moss is the characteristic plant of boggy places. It is impossible to say which sense is original. Scott (1805) revived 17c. moss-trooper "freebooter infesting Scottish border marshes."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Any of various green, usually small nonvascular plants of the division Bryophyta. Mosses, unlike liverworts, have some tissues specialized for conducting water and nutrients. As in the other bryophytes, the diploid sporophyte grows on the haploid gametophyte generation, which supplies it with nutrients. Mosses often live in moist, shady areas and grow in clusters or mats. Sphagnum mosses play a crucial role in the ecology of peat bogs. See more at bryophyte.
Any of a number of plants that look like mosses but are not related to them. For instance, reindeer moss is a lichen, Irish moss is an alga, and Spanish moss is a bromeliad, a flowering plant.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with moss
see rolling stone gathers no moss.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.