[mawth, moth]

noun, plural moths [mawth z, moth z, mawths, moths] /mɔðz, mɒðz, mɔθs, mɒθs/.

any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera, generally distinguished from the butterflies by having feathery antennae and by having crepuscular or nocturnal habits.

Origin of moth

before 950; Middle English motthe, Old English moththe; akin to German Motte, Old Norse motti
Related formsde·moth, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for moth

Historical Examples of moth

  • Harvests perished like a moth that is singed in a candle-flame.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew

    Josephine Preston Peabody

  • She had been to an orph—to a place once with Moth—with Her and seen the aprons herself.

    The Very Small Person

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • Her mood was all obsessed now with the conviction that this was the end to her life of a moth.


    Louis Joseph Vance

  • The moth of this destructive caterpillar is called Leucania unipuncta.

  • I have told you often how the palace in Florence is shabby, eaten up with moth and rust.

    Olive in Italy

    Moray Dalton

British Dictionary definitions for moth



any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera that typically have stout bodies with antennae of various shapes (but not clubbed), including large brightly coloured species, such as hawk moths, and small inconspicuous types, such as the clothes mothsCompare butterfly (def. 1)

Word Origin for moth

Old English moththe; compare Middle Dutch motte, Old Norse motti
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 moth

Old English moððe (Northumbrian mohðe), common Germanic (cf. Old Norse motti, Middle Dutch motte, Dutch mot, German Motte "moth"), perhaps related to Old English maða "maggot," or from the root of midge (q.v.). Until 16c. used mostly of the larva and usually in reference to devouring clothes (cf. Matt. vi:20).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper