verb (used with object)
to put into storage or reserve; inactivate.
inactive; unused; stored away: a mothball fleet.
- in disuse or in storage, especially with reference to standby equipment.
- (of ideas) dismissed as unworthy of further deliberation.
Origin of mothball
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for mothballperpetuate, protect, save, secure, uphold, defend, freeze, keep, sustain, retain, safeguard, conserve, store, suspend, waive, prolong, hoard, hide, stash, accumulate
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
1902 in a literal sense (to store away with mothballs), from mothball (n.); figurative sense from 1901.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper