[ mawth-bawl, moth- ]
/ ˈmɔθˌbɔl, ˈmɒθ- /
verb (used with object)
to put into storage or reserve; inactivate.
inactive; unused; stored away: a mothball fleet.
DISCOVER THE INFLUENCE OF PORTUGUESE ON ENGLISH VIA THIS QUIZ!
We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?
Idioms for mothball
- in disuse or in storage, especially with reference to standby equipment.
- (of ideas) dismissed as unworthy of further deliberation.
Words nearby mothball
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for mothball
/ (ˈmɒθˌbɔːl) /
Also called: camphor ball a small ball of camphor or naphthalene used to repel clothes moths in stored clothing, blankets, etc
put in mothballs to postpone work on (a project, activity, etc)
to prepare (a ship, aircraft, etc) for a long period of storage by sealing all openings with plastic to prevent corrosion
to take (a factory, plant, etc) out of operation but maintain it so that it can be used in the future
to postpone work on (a project, activity, etc)
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