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See also: moth-ball and moth ball



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moth +‎ ball



mothball (plural mothballs)

  1. (usually in the plural) A small ball of chemical pesticide (typically naphthalene) and deodorant placed in or around clothing and other articles susceptible to damage from mold or moth larvae in order to protect them from this damage.

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mothball (third-person singular simple present mothballs, present participle mothballing, simple past and past participle mothballed)

  1. (transitive) To store or shelve something no longer used.
    Synonyms: store, shelve, set aside, defer
    They mothballed the old version after the new one came out.
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To stop using (something), but keep it in good condition.
    • 2014, A teacher, "Choosing a primary school: a teacher's guide for parents", The Guardian, 23 September 2014:
      Some schools might have an art studio, an area of forestry in the playground, or a performance stage in the hall – all exceptional assets. Just check they get plenty of use and aren't mothballed while the school concentrates on (you guessed it) maths and literacy.
    • 2021 March 10, Paul Shannon, “Freight's new gateways score highly on location and layout”, in RAIL, number 926, page 34:
      In the short term NR could well mothball the line given its lack of traffic.


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