Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To shed part or all of a coat or an outer covering, such as feathers, cuticle, or skin, which is then replaced by a new growth.
  • intransitive verb To shed or cast off (a bodily covering).
  • noun The act or process of molting.
  • noun The material cast off during molting.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • An obsolete preterit of melt.
  • To shed or cast, as feathers, hair, or skin; slough off: often used figuratively.
  • To cast or shed feathers, hair, skin, or the like; undergo or accomplish a molt; exuviate; mew. See the noun.
  • To be about to be cast off or shed, as plumage.
  • noun The act or process of shedding or casting any tegumentary, cuticular, or exoskeletal structures or appendages, as feathers, hair, skin, nails, horns, hoofs, claws, or shell; ecdysis; exuviation.
  • noun The period or time of molting.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To shed or cast the hair, feathers, skin, horns, or the like, as an animal or a bird.
  • imp. of melt.
  • noun The act or process of changing the feathers, hair, skin, etc.; molting.
  • transitive verb To cast, as the hair, skin, feathers, or the like; to shed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To shed hair, feathers, skin, horns etc. and replace it by a fresh layer.
  • verb transitive To shed in such a manner.
  • noun The skin or feathers cast off during the process of molting.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb cast off hair, skin, horn, or feathers
  • noun periodic shedding of the cuticle in arthropods or the outer skin in reptiles

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration of Middle English mouten, from Old English -mūtian (in bemūtian, to exchange for), from Latin mūtāre, to change; see mei- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • The period between each molt is known as an instar.

    La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha

  • Often it involves differences in color, which can be fairly obvious, but it can also involve evaluating feather wear or stages of feather molt, which is a bit harder. "

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  • Like peacocks who meticulously molt for more up-to-the moment plumage, dumping the clothes that no longer fit your lifestyle will deliver a bolder, brighter you.

    Amy Tara Koch: A Five-Minute Fix: The Fine Art of Purging Your Wardrobe

  • For a few seconds I wondered if it had been a molt.

    Bird Cloud

  • Like peacocks who meticulously molt for more up-to-the moment plumage, dumping the clothes that no longer fit your lifestyle will deliver a bolder, brighter you.

    Amy Tara Koch: A Five-Minute Fix: The Fine Art of Purging Your Wardrobe

  • Joshua was the next to last to get picked up, and Ben was bummed to see him go because he had passed the time regaling Ben with little known factoids about crustaceans lobsters molt—who knew?

    Parents Behaving Badly

  • But of course eagles do not molt bunches of feathers at once, but one at a time, and a loss of seven feathers would be catastrophic to flight.

    Bird Cloud

  • But of course eagles do not molt bunches of feathers at once, but one at a time, and a loss of seven feathers would be catastrophic to flight.

    Bird Cloud

  • For a few seconds I wondered if it had been a molt.

    Bird Cloud

  • Canada geese begin to molt, or shed their feathers so they can't fly, in mid- to late June, which is usually when the USDA strikes.

    The Goose May Be Cooked This Year

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