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

  • n. Any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera, generally distinguished from butterflies by their nocturnal activity, hairlike or feathery antennae, stout bodies, and the frenulum that holds the front and back wings together.
  • n. A clothes moth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A usually nocturnal insect of the order Lepidoptera, distinguished from butterflies by feather-like antennae.
  • v. To hunt for moths.
  • n. The plant Vigna aconitifolia, known as moth bean.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mote.
  • n. Any nocturnal lepidopterous insect, or any not included among the butterflies
  • n. Any lepidopterous insect that feeds upon garments, grain, etc.. See these terms under Clothes, Grain, etc.
  • n. Any one of various other insects that destroy woolen and fur goods, etc., esp. the larvæ of several species of beetles of the genera Dermestes and Anthrenus. Carpet moths are often the larvæ of Anthrenus. See Carpet beetle, under Carpet, Dermestes, Anthrenus.
  • n. Anything which gradually and silently eats, consumes, or wastes any other thing.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A nocturnal or crepuscular lepidopterous insect; a member of the order Lepidoptera and suborder Heterocera.
  • n. Any larva that destroys woolen fabrics.
  • n. Figuratively, one who or that which gradually and silently eats, consumes, or wastes anything.
  • n. An obsolete variant of mote.
  • n. In India, a trailing dwarf bean, Phaseolus aconitifolius, cultivated for food and fodder. Also called Turkish gram. See gram.

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

  • n. typically crepuscular or nocturnal insect having a stout body and feathery or hairlike antennae


Middle English motthe, from Old English moththe.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Germanic: from Old English moþþe, cognate with Dutch mot, German Motte. (Wiktionary)
This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)


  • The brain of a moth is about the size of a grain of rice.

    Boing Boing

  • Melanism in the peppered moth is known from breeding experiments to be a standard genetic trait following Mendelian inheritance.

    Death of a popular anti-ID argument

  • The moth is immobilize inside a plastic tube mounted atop the 6-inch-tall wheeled robot.

    Boing Boing

  • The audience of thirty sat in moth-eaten velvet armchairs covered by blankets.

    The Last Squash Tennis Player

  • Among them the atlas moth is found, measuring from eight to ten inches across its wings.

    The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither

  • The Golden language we were sent to analyze -- we call it Moth because there's a chunk in the name that sounds like 'moth' -- that Golden language has vowels and consonants too.

    Analog Science Fiction and Fact

  • Whether their kind possesses the wingspread of a Lucifer or a moth is a question better left to theologians.

    The Glass Rainbow

  •  I'm almost done paying off the dentist, forty dollars every moth, which is a good chunk of my part-time take home from working the register at Dekalb's Grocery.

    Three Teeth

  • I'm almost done paying off the dentist, forty dollars every moth, which is a good chunk of my part-time take home from working the register at Dekalb's Grocery.

    Three Teeth

  • The moth is a minor pest whose larvae are eaten by earwigs, birds, and spiders.

    Bay Area Population to be Sprayed with New Unregistered Pesticide


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  • Agreed.

    August 12, 2010

  • [Organization] has expertise in moth residential and commercial development.

    —text I'm proofing. 'Tis pity to change it.

    August 12, 2010

  • I used to write short things that I called poems. In several of these moths would come up. I think I liked them because they are fragile. I think I liked them because they are drawn to a light they circle but never reach, and that their attraction to it is a malfunction. They are not only nighttime butterflies, but their plainer cousins, the leaf to the flower. Therefore more beautiful.

    March 12, 2009

  • /mɔθθə/ or /mɔθðə/?
    Or still differently?
    In German it's "Motte", simply without the "h"s.

    November 17, 2008

  • from Old English "moththe". best spelling ever.

    November 17, 2008

  • "Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle."
    - Rumi.

    September 3, 2008

  • a nighttime butterfly

    August 13, 2008