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See also: moon beam and moon-beam


Alternative forms[edit]


Compound of moon +‎ beam.



moonbeam (plural moonbeams)

  1. A shaft of moonlight.[1]
    • c. 1595–1596 (date written), William Shakespeare, A Midsommer Nights Dreame. [] (First Quarto), London: [] [Richard Bradock] for Thomas Fisher, [], published 1600, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
      Be kinde and curteous to this gentleman, / Hop in his walkes, and gambole in his eyes, / Feede him with Apricocks, and Dewberries, / With purple Grapes, greene figges, and Mulberries, / The hony bagges ſteale from the humble Bees, / And for night tapers, croppe their waxen thighes, / And light them with at the fiery Glowe-wormes eyes, / To haue my loue to bedde, and to ariſe, / And pluck the wings, from painted Butterflies, / To fanne the Moone-beames from his ſleeping eyes, / Nod to him Elues, and doe him curteſies.
    • 1850, Lydia Sigourney, The Brother from Poems for the Sea, page 70:
      A moonbeam pierced the heavy cloud!
    • 1972, Ardyce DeLapp, Stories that Teach: A Collection, page 31:
      Quickly the moon sent a moonbeam down, and it shone through the window, right on the face of the sleeping child, kissed him, and gave him a pleasant dream.
    • 2013, Lindsay Tonkin, Moonbeams and Shadows, page 28:
      The mountain flanked on the east by Devil's Peak and glancing to the right Lion's Head and Signal Hill shimmers and the residents at the foot of the mountain bask in the splendour of moonbeams.
  2. Moonlight generally. (Can we verify(+) this sense?)
  3. Any of various Australasian lycaenid butterflies of the genus Philiris.
  4. Someone who tends to be dreamy and prone to unrealistic romanticism.
    • 1980, Pauline Kael, The New Yorker:
      While you're responding to the dithering confusing Lynda is causing in the bus depot, you're absorbing the emotions between mother and child. Darcy is often very grownup around her mother, as if she knew that Lynda is a bit of a moonbeam and needs looking after.
    • 2011, Tony D'Souza, Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight, page 280:
      Dreaming of the mountain was for moonbeams, he told me, not for people who had been born up there.
    • 2014, Mike Royko, Mike Royko: The Chicago Tribune Collection 1984-1997:
      You really are a moonbeam. The way I remember it, most of the shouting and protesting was coming from young guys who had college deferments and were worried what would happen when they got out of school and the deferment ran out and they couldn't get a job teaching in a ghetto school so they could get another deferment.
    • 2019, Rebecca Alford D'Amato, There Is No Cheese, page 195:
      You are such a moonbeam. Now come here and kiss me.
  5. A goal or aspiration that appears attractive but is ultimately insubstantial.
    • 1882, United States. Congress, Congressional Record, page 3490:
      Therefore it has always seemed clear to me, and that has been the decision of the Senate for many years before when we have had these questions stoutly contested, that where the direction (which is legislation, of course, just as the appropriation is) is confined to the appropriation, to the expenditure of the money appropriated, which can not be paid out of the Treasury without the consent of Congress, Congress may say that it shall be paid for moonbeams, if it pleases, although the Constitution of the United States itself might say that no money should be paid for buying moonbeams.
    • 1968 July 12, William A. McWhirter, “Coalition against the Humphrey steamroller”, in LIFE:
      So much for moonbeams and politics.
    • 1991, New Unionist - Issues 162-209:
      So the idea of Common Cause and other reform advacates that government corruption can be ended by public financing of election campaigns is just another silly moonbeam.
    • 2017, Frank Ledwidge, Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in the 9/11 Wars, page 2:
      It did not take long to realize that the dozens of missions we were running all over southern Iraq were really nothing more than an occasionally dangerous hunt for moonbeams, and that the British mission as a whole was losing its way.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Webster's College Dictionary, Random House, 2001