One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A southern European plant related to the onions, with small yellow flowers.
Allium moly, family Liliaceae (or Alliaceae)
- ‘Allium moly is a yellow-flowered species which is native to south-western Europe and the Pyrenees.’
- ‘Allium moly is an ornamental allium, or flowering onion.’
- ‘Allium moly, otherwise known as Golden Garlic, is so easy to grow and its bright yellow star-shaped flowers are irresistibly cheerful.’
- ‘A. moly is commonly regarded as ‘the golden garlic,’ with dense umbels of bright golden yellow flowers on 12-inch stems.’
- ‘Also good at handling the warmer weather are lilies and the ornamental onions such as Allium alflatunense, A. sphaerocephalum and A. moly.’
2A mythical herb with white flowers and black roots, endowed with magic properties.
- ‘‘Eat this sprig of the moly plant,’ the boy said, ‘and be protected from enchantment.’’
- ‘I don't really care whether it's the moly, the bullet, or some secret ingredient.’
Mid 16th century (in moly (sense 2)): via Latin from Greek mōlu.
- short for molybdenum
- ‘Lead and moly occur together in polymetallic ores.’
- ‘For a hunting rifle, however, the advantages of moly simply don't come into play.’
- ‘Both will do a great job, but moly is much lighter; a cage built from chromoly will be approximately half the weight of a mild-steel cage.’
- ‘Not only is it fast, the bore paste removes all types of fouling - powder, copper, moly, even surface rust.’
- ‘This is a prototype Barnes X-Bullet, featuring a proprietary coating with properties similar to moly - less fouling, greater accuracy, longer barrel life.’
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