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As a surname Monelight in 1337, as Mone lith about 1300. Compound of mone "moon" + lith "light".[1]



moonlight ‎(uncountable)

  1. The light reflected from the Moon.[2]
  2. (attributive) Illuminated by the light from the Moon.[3]


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moonlight ‎(third-person singular simple present moonlights, present participle moonlighting, simple past and past participle moonlighted)

  1. To work on the side (at a secondary job), often in the evening or during the night.[2]
  2. (by extension) To engage in an activity other than what one is known for.

Usage notesEdit

In American English, to moonlight is simply to work at secondary employment;[4] in British English, it used to imply working secretly (i.e. not paying tax on the extra money earned), but more recent editions of some UK dictionaries no longer mention a difference to the US usage.[5]

Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, Robert K. Barnhart (ed.), Chambers, 1988
  2. 2.0 2.1 Webster's College Dictionary, Random House, 2001
  3. ^ The Illustrated Oxford Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1998
  4. ^ Mish, Drederick C. (ed.). 1995. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.
  5. ^ Treffry, Diana (ed.). 1999. Collins Paperback English Dictionary. 4th ed. Glasgow: HarperCollins.
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