[maws-bak, mos-]
See more synonyms for mossback on
  1. Informal.
    1. a person holding very antiquated notions; reactionary.
    2. a person living in the backwoods; rustic.
  2. an old turtle.
  3. Angling. a large and old fish, as a bass.
  4. a wild bull or cow.

Origin of mossback

An Americanism dating back to 1870–75; moss + back1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for mossback

fuddy-duddy, square, conservative, geezer

Examples from the Web for mossback

Historical Examples of mossback

British Dictionary definitions for mossback


noun US 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 Formsmossbacked, 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

Word Origin and History for mossback

"conservative," 1874, especially of poor whites from Carolina, originally (1872) in reference to those who hid out to avoid service in the Confederate army (and would have stayed out till the moss grew on their backs); from moss + back (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper