Definition of moult in English:


Line breaks: moult
Pronunciation: /məʊlt
(US molt)


[no object]
  • 1(Of an animal) shed old feathers, hair, or skin to make way for a new growth: the adult birds were already moulting [with object]: the snake moults its skin
    More example sentences
    • The scales are shed individually, so crocodilians do not molt (shed their skin all at once) like snakes do.
    • Also, hermit crabs commonly kept as pets molt and shed their exoskeleton.
    • This biasing factor is unique to organisms that molt or shed their skin during growth.
  • 1.1(Of hair or feathers) fall out to make way for new growth: the last of his juvenile plumage had moulted
    More example sentences
    • How often I see feathers molting to the ground-what's left of something in which nothing's to be found.


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  • A loss of feathers, hair, or skin, especially as a regular feature of an animal’s life cycle: the mountain goat is brilliant white after the autumn moult in the complete life cycle there are four moults
    More example sentences
    • Another subunit appears about the time of metamorphosis to first juvenile instar, and expression of a sixth subunit begins four or five molts later.
    • The first smaller pulse induces switchover from larval to pupal commitment, and the second much larger pulse induces the pupal molt.
    • While all feathers wear, they are replaced regularly by the molt processes.


Middle English moute, from an Old English verb based on Latin mutare 'to change'. For the intrusive -l-, compare with words such as fault.

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