a small ball of naphthalene or, sometimes, camphor, the fumes of which repel moths, as from woolens, furs, etc.
to store with protective covering or set aside indefinitely for possible future use
in storage or reserve: a mothball fleet
in (or out of) mothballs
put into (or taken from) a condition of being stored or in reserve
- A marble-sized ball, originally of camphor but now of naphthalene, stored with clothes to repel moths.
- mothballsa. A condition of long storage for possible future use: put the battleship into mothballs.b. A condition of being set aside or discarded: have put the plan into mothballs.
transitive verbmoth·balled, moth·ball·ing, moth·balls
- To remove (a ship, for example) from active service or use and put into protective storage.
- To defer indefinitely; shelve: mothball a project.
(third-person singular simple present mothballs, present participle mothballing, simple past and past participle mothballed)