- Moss is a very small seedless plant that lives in moist places and grows in soft feathery patches.
An example of moss is the soft green plants that grow on the ground under a thick forest.
- any of various classes (esp. Bryopsida) of very small, green bryophytes having stems with leaflike structures and growing in velvety clusters on rocks, trees, moist ground, etc.
- a growth of these
- any of various similar plants, as some lichens, algae, etc.
Origin: Middle English mos, a bog, moss from OE, a swamp, akin to Old Norse mosi, German moos, a bog, moss from Indo-European an unverified form meus- (from source Classical Latin muscus, moss) from base an unverified form meu-, moist
- mosslike adjective
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- a. Any of various green, usually small, nonvascular plants of the class Musci of the division Bryophyta.b. A patch or covering of such plants.
- Any of various other unrelated plants having a similar appearance or manner of growth, such as the club moss, Irish moss, and Spanish moss.
Origin: Middle English, from Old English mos, bog, and from Medieval Latin mossa, moss (of Germanic origin).
moss - Phrases/IdiomsThe American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
moss - Science Definition
- Any of numerous small bryophyte plants belonging to the phylum Bryophyta. Mosses, unlike liverworts, have some tissues specialized for conducting water and nutrients. As in the other bryophytes, the diploid sporophyte grows on the haploid gametophyte generation, which supplies it with nutrients. Mosses often live in moist, shady areas and grow in clusters or mats. Sphagnum mosses play a crucial role in the ecology of peat bogs. See more at bryophyte.
- Any of a number of plants that look like mosses but are not related to them. For instance, reindeer moss is a lichen, Irish moss is an alga, and Spanish moss is a bromeliad, a flowering plant.
Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.