[ maws-bak, mos- ]
See synonyms for mossback on
  1. Informal.

    • a person holding very antiquated notions; reactionary.

    • a person living in the backwoods; rustic.

  2. an old turtle.

  1. Angling. a large and old fish, as a bass.

  2. a wild bull or cow.

Origin of mossback

An Americanism dating back to 1870–75; moss + back1

Words Nearby mossback Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mossback in a sentence

  • "I know that sort of crazy old mossback," muttered Welton as he turned down the mountain.

    The Rules of the Game | Stewart Edward White
  • Two or three miles away was a little clearing where a mossback lived.

    Forest Neighbors | William Davenport Hulbert
  • Again the mossback appeared in the doorway, shivering a little in his night-shirt.

    Forest Neighbors | William Davenport Hulbert
  • But the asset side of our "mossback's" yearly balance sheet always made the liability side ashamed of itself.

    Skookum Chuck Fables | Skookum Chuck (pseud for R.D. Cumming)
  • The mossback, who according to popular belief hid himself in the woods until moss grew on his back, might or might not be a tory.

British Dictionary definitions for mossback


/ (ˈmɒsˌbæk) /

nounUS and Canadian
  1. an old turtle, shellfish, etc, that has a growth of algae on its back

  2. informal a provincial or conservative person

Derived forms of mossback

  • mossbacked, adjective

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