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a moth (1)

Etymology 1[edit]

Germanic: from Old English moþþe, cognate with Dutch mot, German Motte.



moth (plural moths)

  1. A usually nocturnal insect of the order Lepidoptera, distinguished from butterflies by feather-like antennae.
    • 2013 May-June, William E. Conner, “An Acoustic Arms Race”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 206-7:
      Earless ghost swift moths become “invisible” to echolocating bats by forming mating clusters close (less than half a meter) above vegetation and effectively blending into the clutter of echoes that the bat receives from the leaves and stems around them.
  2. (figuratively) Anything that gradually and silently eats, consumes, or wastes any other thing.
Derived terms[edit]


moth (third-person singular simple present moths, present participle mothing, simple past and past participle mothed)

  1. (intransitive) To hunt for moths.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

moth beans

From Hindi मोठ (moṭh); see moth bean.



moth (countable and uncountable, plural moths)

  1. The plant Vigna aconitifolia, moth bean.
Derived terms[edit]


Etymology 3[edit]


moth (plural moths)

  1. Obsolete form of mote.
  2. (dated) A liver spot, especially an irregular or feathery one.
    • 1895, Good Housekeeping, page 196, ISSN: 0731-3462
      To remove moth patches, wash the spots with a solution of common bicarbonate of soda and water several times a day, until the patches are removed, which will usually be in forty-eight hours.
    • 1999, R. L. Gupta, Directory of Diseases & Cures: In Homoeopathy, page 254, →ISBN.
      Craves for sour things, chalks and eggs, fatty people with light brown spots on the face or liver spots, moth patches on forehead and cheek.
    • 2005, J. D. Patil, Textbook of Applied Materia Medica, page 108, →ISBN.
      There are signs of liver affections as weakness, yellow complexion, liver spots, and moth spot like a saddle over the nose.



Old Irish[edit]


The word also carried the original meaning of "male organ," from Proto-Celtic *muto-, from Proto-Indo-European *mHú-to- (strong one), perhaps later "penis," related to Hittite [script needed] (mūwa, something awe-inspiring) and Luwian [script needed] (mūwa-, to overpower), possibly also Latin muto (penis).[1][2]



moth m

  1. amazement, stupor
    • c. 800–825, Diarmait, Milan Glosses on the Psalms, published in Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (reprinted 1987, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), edited and with translations by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan, vol. I, pp. 7–483, Ml. 68b9
      cia beith ar n‑acathar nech inna rétu inducbaidi in betha so, arnach·corathar i mmoth ⁊ machthad dia seirc ⁊ dia n‑accubur
      though it be that someone sees the glorious things of this world, that he may not be put in stupor and admiration by love for them and by desire for them


Masculine o-stem
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative moth
Vocative muith
Accusative mothN
Genitive muithL
Dative mothL, muth
Initial mutations of a following adjective:
  • H = triggers aspiration
  • L = triggers lenition
  • N = triggers nasalization


Old Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Nasalization
also mmoth after a proclitic
pronounced with /ṽ(ʲ)-/
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.


  1. ^ Matasović, Ranko (2009) , “muto”, in Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 9), Leiden: Brill, →ISBN, pages 282
  2. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) , “muto”, in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, pages 398

Further reading[edit]