from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Eaten away by moth larvae.
  • adj. Old and timeworn: a moth-eaten phrase.
  • adj. Shabby; decrepit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Containing holes by having been eaten by moth larvae.
  • adj. old and in poor condition

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. having holes due to eating by moths or moth larvae; -- of cloth or clothing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. worn or eaten away by (or as if by) moths
  • adj. lacking originality or spontaneity; no longer new
  • adj. showing signs of wear and tear


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • A moth-eaten old vagrant called The Pirate, who lives in a shack with his many dogs, promises St. Francis a golden candlestick in exchange for saving a sick pup.

    Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat

  • A moth-eaten cap perched atop his wispy, balding head.

    Earl of Durkness

  • There was no one else to keep her from running completely amok, no one besides me who could stop her from packing the porch with “antiques,” from allowing the closets to overflow with moth-eaten sweaters and the backyard to go wild.

    Dirty Secret

  • It's become the TV equivalent of easy-listening music, like what Friends and Scrubs became in their later years, unchallenging, unsurprising, but familiar and comfortable like an old moth-eaten teddy bear or pacifier.

    The /Filmcast: After Dark - Ep. 90 - Comparing the US Office with the UK Office (GUEST: Eric Vespe from Ain’t It Cool News) | /Film

  • Even consider that stretched-out, moth-eaten, Shetland sweater covered with fuzz balls.

    Old Clothes

  • Some of your garments are moth-eaten, others are a load to your coffers, and a needless trouble to their possessors, while He who gave you these and all else that you possess goes naked.


  • For raw emotional power, however, perhaps no relic in the book can beat a moth-eaten, red-white-and-blue Canadiens sweater known in Quebec as la sainte flanelle , worn in the early 1930s.

    The Glorious and The Gruesome

  • Across the street, tomato and basil plants burst out of rusty olive oil tins, and old men layered in moth-eaten sweaters sat smoking on old packing crates in the evenings.

    Day of Honey

  • The moth-eaten buildings of the civil war, the Beirut of snipers and militiamen, lumbered up ahead.

    Day of Honey

  • Wemple finished giving orders to the sleepy peons to remain and care for the place, occupying their spare time with hiding the more valuable things, and was calling around the corner to Miss Drexel the news of the capture of Vera Cruz, when Davies returned with the information that the horses consisted of a pair of moth-eaten skates that could be depended upon to lie down and die in the first half mile.



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