Definition of moth in English:

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Pronunciation: /mɒθ/


1An insect with two pairs of broad wings covered in microscopic scales, typically drably coloured and held flat when at rest. Moths are chiefly nocturnal, and lack the clubbed antennae of butterflies.
Example sentences
  • Bats and nocturnal moths take to the wing, while butterflies settle and flowers begin to close their petals.
  • This is a bacterium that is only harmful to Lepidoptera - butterflies and moths.
  • Butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, cardinals, bluejays and more visited our gardens.
1.1 informal A clothes moth.
Example sentences
  • These are the herbs that were used in medieval times to deter moths and fleas from clothing and people.
  • Damage from moths, mildew or vermin is also not covered, so if the rats eat your clothes, tough luck Charlie.


like a moth to the flame

With an irresistible attraction for someone or something: he drew women to him like moths to the flame
More example sentences
  • He argued that as the British and Irish governments were transfixed by the peace process like a moth to the flame, the Sinn Fein leadership, playing by its own rules, benefited from the permanent instability.
  • But (and here is the contradiction) simply by hating it, I am drawn to it like a moth to the flame.
  • She felt like a moth to the flame, knowing that the more time she spent with him, the more battered her world would become.


Old English moththe, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch mot and German Motte.

  • In Anglo-Saxon times a moth was any parasitic pest such as a maggot or worm, especially the larva of the clothes moth. The name eventually extended to the adult clothes moth, and then to other similar insects. People have been able to use a mothball to protect stored clothes since the 1890s; shortly after that in mothballs came to mean ‘unused but kept in good condition for future use’. Compare butterfly

Words that rhyme with moth

broth, cloth, froth, Goth, Roth, wrath

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: moth

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