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Moth-eaten   /mɔθ-ˈitən/   Listen
Moth-eaten

adjective
1.
Showing signs of wear and tear.  Synonyms: ratty, shabby, tatty.  "Shabby furniture" , "An old house with dirty windows and tatty curtains"
2.
Worn or eaten away by (or as if by) moths.  Synonym: mothy.
3.
Lacking originality or spontaneity; no longer new.  Synonyms: cold, dusty, stale.  "Stale news"






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Moth-eaten" Quotes from Famous Books



... great, sombre library, Joan hazarded the suggestion. Mrs. Denton might almost have been waiting for it. It would be quite easy. A little opening of long fastened windows; a lighting of chill grates; a little mending of moth-eaten curtains, a sweeping away of long-gathered ...
— All Roads Lead to Calvary • Jerome K. Jerome

... scarlet and heavily gilded, evidently placed there for purposes of display, for they showed no evidences of having been slept in. Close by is a large glass case containing specimens of the taxidermist's art, including a number of badly moth-eaten birds of paradise. On the walls I noticed a steel-engraving of Napoleon crossing the Alps, a number of English sporting prints depicting hunting and coaching scenes, and three villainous chromos of Queen Wilhelmina, Prince Henry of the Netherlands, ...
— Where the Strange Trails Go Down • E. Alexander Powell

... and made much of her. He took her into the country. He walked with her on the boulevards in the sunlight, and enjoyed the warmth the more for leaning on her arm. It delighted him to see her in good spirits. Often, to amuse her, he would take down a moth-eaten costume from his wardrobe and try to remember a fragment of some part that had gone from his memory. The mere sight of this little maid and her white cap was like a ray of returning youth to him. In his old age, Jocrisse leaned upon her with the good-fellowship, the pleasures and ...
— Germinie Lacerteux • Edmond and Jules de Goncourt

... as a novelty of this latter age; but a manuscript he pores on everlastingly; especially if the cover be all moth-eaten, and the dust make ...
— Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists • Washington Irving

... him offers; he would be famous, perhaps a member of the Academy—though, to be sure, that institution was mildewed, moth-eaten, ...
— Jack - 1877 • Alphonse Daudet

... know how horridly those camphor things smell. I hung over her and asked questions every time she moved. She told me how the moth-millers lay eggs in the furs if they are not protected, and showed me an old muff that she had found in the attic, which was so badly moth-eaten that it had to be thrown away. I watched her lay the little balls all among the furs, and then tie them up in linen bags, and pack them away ...
— The Little Colonel's House Party • Annie Fellows Johnston

... bricks in the little walled-in yard, blades of vivid green grass had shot up, seeking light out of darkness, and along the grey wooden ledge of the area the dauntless sunflowers were unfolding their small stunted leaves. On the railing of the porch a moth-eaten cat—the only animal for whom Cyrus entertained the remotest respect—was contentedly licking the shabby ...
— Virginia • Ellen Glasgow

... has just climbed over the rail, who looks like an early patriarch, but his dignity is impaired by the moth-eaten high silk hat which surmounts his white hair. The people regard him with apparent deference, due either to the hat or his inherent character. Looking at his fine old face, one is inclined to believe it ...
— Le Petit Nord - or, Annals of a Labrador Harbour • Anne Elizabeth Caldwell (MacClanahan) Grenfell and Katie Spalding

... came hither, where neither ghosts nor Jesuit priests, whichever he may be, are wanted. What answered he, eh? Would I had been there to interrogate him! He should have declared how he became possessed of that old moth-eaten, blood-stained, monkish gown, or I would have unfrocked him, even if he had proved to be a skeleton. But I interrupt you. You have not told me what ...
— The Lancashire Witches - A Romance of Pendle Forest • William Harrison Ainsworth

... smiling at what he saw. Ping Wang, wishing to dress like his friends, had put on knickerbockers and a college blazer, down the back of which hung his black, silky pigtail. Charlie was wearing flannel trousers and a khaki tunic, while Fred was attired in a black and somewhat moth-eaten suit, which was too short for him both in ...
— Chatterbox, 1905. • Various

... found herself inside a cupboard full of old lumber. The dust was thick, and surely had not been disturbed for years. Some broken chairs with moth-eaten seats were piled together, and some ancient boxes lay full of rubbish. Straw, old books, hanks of rope, and other miscellaneous things occupied the corner. There was a door opposite, without either latch or knob. Raymonde ...
— The Madcap of the School • Angela Brazil

... folly of life, the leaders of the nation abandoned then-feuds. Out of the past voices called to them. Their blood thrilled to old sentiments and old traditions which had seemed to belong to the lumber-room of history, with the moth-eaten garments of their ancestors. There were no longer Liberals or Conservatives or Socialists, but only Englishmen, Scotsmen, Irishmen and Welshmen, with the old instincts of race and with the old fighting qualities which in the past they had used against each other. Before the common menace ...
— The Soul of the War • Philip Gibbs

... to the details and probabilities of a play, that must do the actresses an injury, if not give them corns. Let theatre-goers insist that the stockings be changed oftener, in these plays that sometimes cover half a century, and the stockings will not become moth-eaten. Girls, look to the little details. Look to the stockings, as your audiences do, and you will see how ...
— Peck's Sunshine - Being a Collection of Articles Written for Peck's Sun, - Milwaukee, Wis. - 1882 • George W. Peck

... me. It is a library of universal knowledge, and the facts contained in it are different from any other facts now in use. I have carefully guarded, all the way through, against using hackneyed and moth-eaten facts. As a result, I am able to come before the people with a set of new and attractive statements, so fresh and so crisp that an unkind word would wither them in ...
— Remarks • Bill Nye

... said, "In the words of one greater than I, 'Let the ax be laid at the roots of the tree.' And this also do I say, Go to, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments moth-eaten! Your gold and silver is cankered and the rust of them shall be a witness against you and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days! Behold! The hire of the laborers who have reaped down thy fields, which you kept back by fraud, crieth, ...
— The Coming of the King • Bernie Babcock

... satisfied Edna and she followed along through the deserted rooms, catching sight of a moth-eaten cover here, a bunch of withered flowers there. Books, long untouched, lay half open on a table in one room, the bed was still unmade in another, and everything ...
— A Dear Little Girl's Thanksgiving Holidays • Amy E. Blanchard

... front room on the same floor, the room whence those woman's screams had emanated. It was a big bare drawing-room, furnished in the ugly Early Victorian style, musty-smelling and moth-eaten. The dirty holland blinds fitted badly and had holes in them; therefore sufficient light was admitted to afford me a good view of the ...
— Hushed Up - A Mystery of London • William Le Queux

... at me curiously, got up from his seat, opened a box under it, and twitched out a big cape, moth-eaten, and well-worn otherwise; but oh, girls, I never loved anything so much in all my life as that horrible old article, for ...
— Five Little Peppers at School • Margaret Sidney

... stuffed. For he was still wearing an old shabby overcoat though the weather was warm and bright—and on his head was an odd and outlandish hat. It was of fur, flat at the top, flat as a pie tin, with the moth-eaten earlaps turned up at the sides and looking exactly like small furry ears. These, with the round steel spectacles which he wore—the only distinctive feature of his countenance—gave him an indescribably ...
— The Friendly Road - New Adventures in Contentment • (AKA David Grayson) Ray Stannard Baker

... he said, "and it must be very old. It's all stuffy and moth-eaten, and the gold is nearly black. There are green things on it. I know what it is, Terry. It belonged to Gran'ma's uncle in the Irish Brigades. He was killed at Fontenoy. They sent home his things. Nursey told me all ...
— Terry - Or, She ought to have been a Boy • Rosa Mulholland

... the absence of the morning's crossness I agreed at once, and retired to the fly-blown smoking-room, where there was ample choice of distraction for a writing man between a moth-eaten volume called King's Concordance and a South-Eastern Railway time-table cover, very solidly fashioned, with lots of crimson and gold, but no inside. Here I smoked half a pipe, and would have rested, but that I felt too dirty. Presently Boots came in, elderly and sad but ...
— The Record of Nicholas Freydon - An Autobiography • A. J. (Alec John) Dawson

... carriages brought into vogue by diminished fortunes, which at that time bore the candid name of "demi-fortune"; at its first introduction it was called a "seringue." The cloth lining of this demi-fortune, sold under the name of caleche, was moth-eaten; its gimps looked like the chevrons of an old Invalide; its rusty joints squeaked,—but it only cost four hundred and fifty francs; and Max bought a good stout mare, trained to harness, from an officer ...
— The Celibates - Includes: Pierrette, The Vicar of Tours, and The Two Brothers • Honore de Balzac

... was Aristide, and the Idea was the thing that always held him captive—the splendour of the idea of dashing up to hotels in his own automobile dazed him. He beheld himself doing his hundred kilometres an hour and trailing clouds of glory whithersoever he went. To a child a moth-eaten rocking-horse is a fiery Arab of the plains; to Aristide Pujol this cheat of the scrap-heap was a sixty-horse-power thunderer and devourer ...
— The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol • William J. Locke

... cried, "let us have done with these follies! the rats of your garret are very welcome to these moth-eaten parchments for me." ...
— The Well of Saint Clare • Anatole France

... the first floor there was still a little daylight from a window as big as if set in the tribune of a cathedral. Here a lamp was placed on an old painted table. Some moth-eaten tapestry hung from a mildewed wall. Here and there a rusty nail had given way, and the stuff fell in downward folds. Nobili paused. His head was hot and dizzy. He had dined well, and he had drunk freely. His eyes traveled upward to the old tapestry—(it was ...
— The Italians • Frances Elliot

... friendly advances of her neighbours troubled the younger sister not at all. She remembered none of the past grandeur, the old Blake power of rule, and the stories of gallant indiscretions and powdered beaux seemed to her as worthless as the moth-eaten satin rags which filled the garret. She loved the familiar country children, the making of fresh butter, and honest admiration of her beauty; and except for the colourless poverty in which they lived, she might easily have found her placid happiness on the little farm. With ambition—the bitter, ...
— The Deliverance; A Romance of the Virginia Tobacco Fields • Ellen Glasgow

... converted into an Estaminet.[1] I was conducted up a dark, narrow staircase into the close, dingy room, by an ugly, ignorant frau, who seemed to wonder what earthly inducement I had to visit her dwelling-house. Lumber and moth-eaten furniture were carelessly scattered around. A solitary window, partly blocked up by an old mattress, barely admitted light sufficient to make objects visible. All was neglect and desolation. It seemed ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 388 - Vol. 14, No. 388, Saturday, September 5, 1829. • Various

... motley crowd clad in every kind of garment, ranging from a moth-eaten General's tunic to practically nothing at all. Indeed, one tall, thin fellow sported only a battered helmet of rusty steel that had drifted here from some European army, a moocha or waistbelt of catskins, and a pair of decayed tennis-shoes ...
— Smith and the Pharaohs, and Other Tales • Henry Rider Haggard

... scheduled to begin soon after daybreak, and before that time Rankin and Ben Blair were at the Baker house. They wore their ordinary clothes of wool and leather, but Scotty appeared in a wonderful red hunting-coat, which, though a bit moth-eaten in spots, nevertheless showed glaringly against the brown earth of the ...
— Ben Blair - The Story of a Plainsman • Will Lillibridge

... been nothing remarkable in finding such clothes in a widow's house had they been clean; or moth-eaten, or creased, or mouldy from long lying by; but that they should be splashed with recent mud bothered Stockdale a good deal. When a young pastor is in the aspen stage of attachment, and open to agitation at the merest trifles, ...
— Wessex Tales • Thomas Hardy

... behind Nancy pushed open. Jane Ellen appeared, Jane Ellen, by the look of her, intent upon secret and doubtful business, a large moth-eaten bear dangling by its leg from one of her plump hands. She was too concerned with getting her charge through the door to notice what was happening at first but as soon as she was fairly out on the porch she looked about her. The bear dropped from her fingers—her eyes grew rounder ...
— Young People's Pride • Stephen Vincent Benet

... "I reckon there ain't no useless good vocabulatin' about that varmint, Silvertip. I should a-known better'n to trust a man o' his moth-eaten morals, anyhow." ...
— Where the Sun Swings North • Barrett Willoughby

... one immediately below me, a moth-eaten desiccated tortoiseshell; its eyes are closed and a red tongue hangs out of the mouth. I drop a small pebble. It wakes up and regards me stoically for a moment. ...
— Alone • Norman Douglas

... mellow. On the stone bench by the porter's lodge, hard by the gate, sat the old Florentine and O'Mally. From some unknown source O'Mally had produced a concierge's hat and coat, a little moth-eaten, a little tarnished, but serviceable. Both were smoking red-clay pipes with long ...
— The Lure of the Mask • Harold MacGrath

... groped out his way, and made his most successful researches among the more obscure and intricate, though certainly not the least pithy or pleasant of our writers. He has raked among the dust and cobwebs of a remote period, has exhibited specimens of curious relics, and pored over moth-eaten, decayed manuscripts, for the benefit of the more inquisitive and discerning part of the public. Antiquity after a time has the grace of novelty, as old fashions revived are mistaken for new ones; and a certain ...
— Hazlitt on English Literature - An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature • Jacob Zeitlin

... very old bagatelle-table in one room, all moth-eaten, and a few old pictures still on the walls—a knight and his lady with Elizabethan ruffs, and a portrait of a greyhound. From a top window the ...
— The Slowcoach • E. V. Lucas

... claim that the Maryland Colony in the days of the Calverts became the first home of true religious liberty on American soil has been so often blasted by historians that one is loath to enter upon this moth-eaten claim for fear of merely repeating what others have more exhaustively stated. Catholics seem to forget what Bishop Perry has called attention to: "The Maryland charter of toleration was the gift of an English monarch, the nominal head of Church of England, and the credit ...
— Luther Examined and Reexamined - A Review of Catholic Criticism and a Plea for Revaluation • W. H. T. Dau

... unscoured^, unswept^, unwiped^, unwashed, unstrained, unpurified^; squalid; lutose^, slammocky^, slummocky^, sozzly^. nasty, coarse, foul, offensive, abominable, beastly, reeky, reechy^; fetid &c 401. [of rotting living matter] decayed, moldy, musty, mildewed, rusty, moth-eaten, mucid^, rancid, weak, bad, gone bad, etercoral^, lentiginous^, touched, fusty, effete, reasty^, rotten, corrupt, tainted, high, flyblown, maggoty; putrid, putrefactive, putrescent, putrefied; saprogenic, saprogenous^; ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of ...
— Our Day - In the Light of Prophecy • W. A. Spicer

... big naval or military tasks? And how tempting it must be to many a gallant fellow to take the business into his own hands! Nelson knew well enough that he had laid himself open to the full penalty of naval law, but he knew also that if any of the moth-eaten crew at Whitehall even hinted it there would be "wigs on the green." No man knew the pulse of the nation better, and no commander played up to it less. One can imagine hearing him say to some of his officers ...
— Drake, Nelson and Napoleon • Walter Runciman

... all thy pipes of Wine were fill'd with Books, made of the Barks of Trees, or Mysteries writ in old moth-eaten Vellam, he would sip thy Cellar quite dry, and still be thirsty: Then for's Diet, he eats and digests more Volumes at a meal, than there would be Larks (though the Sky should fall) devoured in a month ...
— The Works of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher - Vol. 2 of 10: Introduction to The Elder Brother • Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

... skittish for him to handle. Fine pair, eh, William?' And right there in the early dawn, almost in front of the garage that contained his touring Chauvinnais and my gray roadster, father stood in his velvet dressing-gown and admired the two moth-eaten old animals. Now, I honestly ask you, Matthew, could a woman of heart refuse at least to attempt to see those two great old boys through the rest of their lives in peace and comfort together? Elmnest is roof ...
— The Golden Bird • Maria Thompson Daviess

... repertory. And from this recollection I passed on to ponder upon the melancholy truth that originality will ever be an unpopular quality. For here were two or three hundred people absolutely and hilariously satisfied with such a battered and moth-eaten phrase, even to-day, and perfectly content that the orator should have so little respect either for himself or for them that he saw no disgrace in thus evading his duty ...
— A Boswell of Baghdad - With Diversions • E. V. Lucas

... forsooth; he smacked of churchyard mould And musty odors of moth-eaten palls— A living death, a walking epitaph! No lover that for tingling flesh and blood To rest soft cheek on and change kisses with. Yet lover somewhere; from his sly cocoon Time would unshell him. ...
— Wyndham Towers • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... to sally forth on their perilous path to safety, Gyng stood and cried angrily: "Well, why hasn't some one bundled up that moth-eaten Caliban? Curse it all, must I do ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... picture in her imagination. It consisted of three small bedchambers, which were more like what she had been used to call closets; a parlour, the walls of which were, in many places, stained with damp; and a kitchen which smoked. The scanty, moth-eaten furniture of the rooms was very different from the luxury and elegance to which Angelina had been accustomed in the apartments of Lady Diana Chillingworth. Coarse and ill-dressed was the food which Betty Williams with great bustle and awkwardness ...
— Tales And Novels, Volume 1 • Maria Edgeworth

... the tramp, "if this ain't a wild-goose chase I dunno what you calls it. Here you've gone an' took me away from my happy home, an' brought me across the ragin' Atlantic, an' dumped me in a moth-eaten little village where there ain't nothin' fit to drink, all because I happened to ...
— His Lordship's Leopard - A Truthful Narration of Some Impossible Facts • David Dwight Wells

... the floor to the faded ghostly hangings on the wall. There was a bed at one end—a great spectral ark of a thing, like a mausoleum, with drapery as old and spectral as that on the walls, and in which she could no more have lain than in a moth-eaten shroud. The seats and the one table the room held were of the same ancient and weird pattern, and the sight of them gave her a shivering sensation not unlike an ague chill. There was but one door—a huge structure, with shining panels, securely locked; and escape from that quarter was ...
— The Midnight Queen • May Agnes Fleming

... two of them out to the back yard. There were seven Rep Rho Betas on seven moth-eaten ponies which they had dug up from goodness knows where. The rigs they had on represented each fellow's idea of what a cowboy looked like, and would have made a real cowpuncher hang himself for shame. Petey confessed afterward that, of all the ...
— At Good Old Siwash • George Fitch

... Vienna—that was where I learned my German. Let me see—oh, it's French that I haven't accounted for. Well, we have some French relatives. They love to have us visit them at their funny old chateau, because mother mends their moth-eaten tapestries beautifully, and ...
— Betty Wales, Sophomore • Margaret Warde

... these relics inclosed also the skin of a small rodent (Spermophilus sp.?) but in a torn and moth-eaten condition. This was used by the owner for purposes unknown to those who were consulted upon the subject. It is frequently, if not generally, impossible to ascertain the use of most of the fetiches and other ...
— Seventh Annual Report • Various

... some phase of strength and power, at times predominant, at times little more than a title, had received its death-blow from the hands of Napoleon and vanished from the historic stage. It was Bismarck's design to restore the German Empire - not the old, moth-eaten fiction of the past, but an entirely new one - and give Prussia the position it had earned, that of the great center of German racial unity. In this project Austria, long at the head of the old empire, was to ...
— A History of The Nations and Empires Involved and a Study - of the Events Culminating in The Great Conflict • Logan Marshall

... being run off he returns to the Ring for the serious business of the day. After examining Transformation in the paddock and listening to the comments of the knowing ones—"Too thick in the barrel," "Too long in the pastern," "Too moth-eaten in the coat"—he will exercise caution and, instead of "putting his shirt" on Transformation and plunging to the extent of, say, L5, will put up not more than L3 10s. and await the result with calmness. When Transformation is returned unplaced (or, as "O. T." and "Disgusted" ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, December 1, 1920 • Various

... did he forget the shield on which was emblazoned the golden sun of Clarides. As for Francoeur, he put on a good old steel coat of mail of his grandfather's and on his head a casque of a bygone time, to which he attached a ragged and moth-eaten tuft or plume. This he chose merely as a matter of fancy and to give himself an air of rejoicing, for, as he justly reasoned, gaiety, which is good under every circumstance, is especially so in ...
— Honey-Bee - 1911 • Anatole France

... proved, on closer inspection, to be the remnant of an army mule with a moth-eaten mane and a polished tail bare of hair—worn off, no doubt, in a lifelong struggle with the Fairfax County fly. The major was without the luxury of a saddle, some one having borrowed the only one the owner of the mule possessed, and his breeches, in consequence, ...
— Colonel Carter of Cartersville • F. Hopkinson Smith

... room, where he was sure of not being interrupted, took my measure, and set to work, under the major's directions, to cut out and stitch a coat and breeches in what was considered approved nautical fashion. The difficulty was the buttons; but my mother fortunately discovered a moth-eaten coat and waistcoat of a naval lieutenant, a relative, who had paid a visit to Castle Ballinahone many years before, and, having been killed in action shortly afterwards, had never returned to claim his garments. There being fewer buttons ...
— Paddy Finn • W. H. G. Kingston

... unremitting labour. But Dora soon made herself almost happy. By various tender shifts she had saved out of the wreck in Market Place Daddy's bits of engravings and foreign curiosities, his Swiss carvings and shells, his skins and stuffed birds; very moth-eaten and melancholy these last, but still safe. There, too, was his chair; it stood beside the fire; he had but to come back to it. Many a time in the week did she suddenly rise that she might go to the door and listen; or crane her head out of window, agitated by a figure, ...
— The History of David Grieve • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... arrangement of the fruit, flowers, sprays and other accessories was a trifle different. The red cherries, for example, no longer bobbed at the peak of the roof; they now hung jauntily from the rear eaves, so to speak. The purple grapes had also moved and peeped coyly from a thicket of moth-eaten rosebuds. The wearer of this revamped millinery triumph seemed a bit nervous, even anxious, so it seemed to Martha Phipps, who, like Cabot and Galusha, was looking at her. Marietta kept hitching in her seat, pulling at her gown, and glancing ...
— Galusha the Magnificent • Joseph C. Lincoln

... breezy language. There were chairs, cushions, tables, pictures, golf clubs, rugs and all sorts of things advertised for sale, while one chap sought a purchaser for "a stuffed white owl, mounted on a branch, slightly moth-eaten. ...
— Left End Edwards • Ralph Henry Barbour

... I hope folks will quit handing all the credit to a lot of moth-eaten, mildewed, out-of-date, old, European dumps, and give proper credit to the famous Zenith spirit, that clean fighting determination to win Success that has made the little old Zip City celebrated in every land and clime, ...
— Babbitt • Sinclair Lewis

... natives crossed themselves on passing this conveyance, and would no more have ridden in it than in a hearse, but we found "the extreme unction" very comfortable and heard no groans or death-bed confessions in its rusty creak, neither saw aught in its moth-eaten tapestry but that it had once been very handsome. To our frivolous minds the old carriage resembled nothing so much as Cinderella's coach just as the clock was striking twelve, and we were constantly expecting it to turn into a pumpkin under our very ...
— A Woman's Journey through the Philippines - On a Cable Ship that Linked Together the Strange Lands Seen En Route • Florence Kimball Russel

... and tearful, his Amanda, very intensely his Amanda, and said that she was dirty and shameful and spoilt for ever, because he had gone away from her. Afterwards the dream became absurd: she showed him the black leopard's fur as though it was a rug, and it was now moth-eaten and mangey, the leopard skin that had been so bright and wonderful such a little time ago, and he awoke before he could answer her, and for a long time he was full of unspoken answers explaining that in view of her deliberate unfaithfulness the position she took ...
— The Research Magnificent • H. G. Wells



Words linked to "Moth-eaten" :   worn, unoriginal, stale



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