Definition of moss in US English:



  • 1A small flowerless green plant which lacks true roots, growing in low carpets or rounded cushions in damp habitats and reproducing by means of spores released from stalked capsules.

    Class Musci, division Bryophyta

    ‘the trees are overgrown with vines and moss’
    ‘the bog is home to rare mosses’
    • ‘The room was smooth and white, with friendly-looking mosses and plants growing out of the wall across from him.’
    • ‘As a bonus, the tiles grow moss on them during the wet winter months, so they're attractive year-round.’
    • ‘We stroll along the banks of the River Avich with its waterfalls, through tightly-knit Caledonian forest, roots covered in a deep carpet of moss.’
    • ‘The water was running fast enough to keep any kind of moss from growing on the rocks, so they didn't have to contend with extra slippery rocks as well.’
    • ‘Again, some researchers are debating whether or not moss can actually reproduce by spores.’
    • ‘Nests are made of grass, twigs, leaves, moss and roots, and are lined with green leaves, small roots and grassy fibers.’
    • ‘There was nothing else nearby, not a single plant or animal, apart from a few patches of moss growing between the cobblestones.’
    • ‘It's a temperate rainforest and is home to ancient cedar forests carpeted by ten thousand-year-old moss.’
    • ‘In the same instant of realization, the water disappeared, replaced by a carpet of soft green moss.’
    • ‘I liked the color combination of the rusty water and the bright green moss growing on the wall.’
    • ‘Looking around at the top of the rock, she saw it was covered in a lush carpet of green moss, some tiny saplings cropping up here and there.’
    • ‘The room smelled musty, and the three stone walls had moss growing in the cracks.’
    • ‘Silky green moss grew through the cracks of the stone path.’
    • ‘Unlike more-advanced land plants - such as pines and flowering plants - mosses haven't developed pollen.’
    • ‘Sprinkle stale milk between the bricks to encourage moss to grow between them - you can't give your plants a better setting.’
    • ‘Soft moss grew on the earth in places, and the roots of creeping plants branched out haphazardly here and there.’
    • ‘The millipedes would have feasted on moss and early plant life that grew only a few inches off the ground.’
    • ‘Plants had been growing on dry land for at least 75 million years, but they were little more than mosses and liverworts growing on damp ground, along with some primitive vascular plants with stems a few inches high.’
    • ‘They live in soil or leaf litter and feed on fungi, lichens, mosses, and plant roots.’
    • ‘The previously lichen-covered rocks were carpeted with deep green moss.’
    1. 1.1 Used in names of algae, lichens, and higher plants resembling moss, e.g. reindeer moss, Ceylon moss, Spanish moss.
      • ‘The study team calculates these plants would have produced about six times more methane than today's bog-dwelling plants such as sphagnum moss.’
      • ‘They may grow on bark, sphagnum moss, cork plaques or in gravel or charcoal.’
      • ‘Look for one containing vermiculite and perlite, sphagnum peat moss, a little ground bark and sand.’
      • ‘I bend forward, stretch out my fingers, and bury them deeply in the purple cushion of sphagnum moss.’
      • ‘For alkaline soil, ample addition of an acidic organic matter such as sphagnum peat moss is beneficial.’
      • ‘Spanish moss, hanging from low branches, occasionally scraped the top of the car.’
      • ‘Clean and sow immediately or store in moist sphagnum moss in your refrigerator and plant in early spring.’
      • ‘Sphagnum peat moss and sand can be added to amend heavy soils.’
  • 2A green color like that of moss.

    • ‘His moss green baseball cap was turned backwards to keep his hair out of his eyes.’
    • ‘The gear from her pack included moss green fatigue pants, not a camouflage pattern, but a color that blends well in various settings.’
    • ‘It is a glowing, landscapelike painting in dark orange with touches of moss green.’
    • ‘Drying herself quickly, she picked out a moss green, sleeveless dress, with a deeply scooped neck.’
    • ‘He was dressed in the traditional moss green robes of his tribe pulled tight across his great belly, and most of his face was covered by a ragged red beard.’
    • ‘The fabrics he used were predominantly tweeds and wools in countryside colours: moss green, rust brown and autumnal red.’
    • ‘There was moss green fabric under my head, and a blanket over me.’
    • ‘On Friday morning she opened her door to see a moss green trouser suit in a hanging bag at her door.’
    • ‘The guests arrived dressed in moss green shirts and red ties.’
    • ‘Cool stone and moss hues provide the contrast to Moroccan-influenced red shades.’
    • ‘Her moss green eyes widened at that horrifying possibility.’
    • ‘The 279 bedrooms, including 67 suites, are laid out over five floors and decorated in either blue, yellow, rose, moss green or peach.’
    • ‘The walls of the room were moss green, and the door to the bathroom was missing.’
    • ‘The moss green couch is our main seating area.’
    • ‘The ubiquitous military theme is given a guerrilla twist with moss green trousers and Che Guevara berets.’
    • ‘It was a comfortable room with a walnut coffee table and paneling, a moss green carpet, drapes and dark green throws on the lime-green couch and chair.’
    • ‘The walls were off-white and I lay in a double bed with a moss green duvet.’
    • ‘Later, she tried a moss green sweater and a checkered knee-length skirt.’
    • ‘Products range from cotton jackets with jersey linings to sweaters and fleeces; colours range from neutrals to moss green and tones of brown.’
  • 3Scottish Northern English A bog, especially a peat bog.

    • ‘It's a favourite with field birds and is on the wildlife corridor that links with the Risley mosses, between Warrington and Cadishead.’
    • ‘An urgent call has gone out for volunteers to carry out an operation to remove willow and birch scrub fringing the moss's shallow pools.’
    • ‘The mosses, managed by English Nature, are classified as a Special Conservation Area and are one of the finest areas of lowland raised mire habitats in Europe.’
    • ‘It's been a privilege to watch the wildlife reclaim the moss.’
    • ‘Thanks to the efforts of the fire brigade, he said, the peat below the mosses did not catch fire and damage was limited to the surface vegetation of around five per cent of the mosses.’
    marsh, marshland, swamp, swampland, sump, mire, quagmire, quag, morass, slough, fen, fenland, wetland, carr
    View synonyms


usually as adjective mossed
  • Cover with moss.

    • ‘We would have had difficulty identifying it as a logging site as the stumps were mossed and the beech seedlings and undergrowth were abundant - a total contrast from the sites we were accustomed to seeing after harvesting by the old method.’
    • ‘You are invited to come along to The Convent Flower Shop to see all the mossed swags, door and cemetery wreaths, logs and Christmas decorations.’


Old English mos ‘bog or moss’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch mos and German Moos.