AskDefine | Define mold

Dictionary Definition



1 the distinctive form in which a thing is made; "pottery of this cast was found throughout the region" [syn: cast, stamp]
2 container into which liquid is poured to create a given shape when it hardens [syn: mould, cast]
3 loose soil rich in organic matter [syn: mould]
4 the process of becoming mildewed [syn: mildew]
5 a fungus that produces a superficial growth on various kinds of damp or decaying organic matter [syn: mould]
6 sculpture produced by molding [syn: mould, molding, moulding, modeling, clay sculpture]


1 form in clay, wax, etc; "model a head with clay" [syn: model, mould]
2 become moldy; spoil due to humidity; "The furniture molded in the old house" [syn: mildew]
3 form by pouring (e.g., wax or hot metal) into a cast or mold; "cast a bronze sculpture" [syn: cast, mould]
4 make something, usually for a specific function; "She molded the riceballs carefully"; "Form cylinders from the dough"; "shape a figure"; "Work the metal into a sword" [syn: shape, form, work, mould, forge]
5 fit tightly, follow the contours of; "The dress molds her beautiful figure"
6 shape or influence; give direction to; "experience often determines ability"; "mold public opinion" [syn: determine, shape, influence, regulate]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


mŏld, mōld

Etymology 1

Via etyl enm and etyl fro from etyl la modulus#Latin


  1. A hollow form or matrix for shaping a fluid or plastic substance.W
  2. A frame or model around or on which something is formed or shaped.
  3. Something that is made in or shaped on a mold.
  4. The shape or pattern of a mold.
  5. General shape or form.
    the oval mold of her face
  6. Distinctive character or type.
    a leader in the mold of her predecessors
  7. A fixed or restrictive pattern or form
    His method of scientific investigation broke the mold and led to a new discovery.
  8. See molding.
hollow form or matrix for shaping a fluid or plastic substance
  • Czech: forma
  • Dutch: vorm, gietvorm
  • Arabic: (qālib)
  • French: moulage (1)
  • Kurdish:
  • Malay: acuan
  • Spanish: molde
  • Telugu: అచ్చు


  1. To shape in or on a mold.
  2. To form into a particular shape; to give shape to.
    • Job 10:8-9, Old Testament, New International Version:
      Your hands shaped me and made me....Remember that you molded me like clay.
  3. To guide or determine the growth or development of; influence; as, a teacher who helps to mold the minds of his students
  4. To fit closely by following the contours of.
  5. To make a mold of or from (molten metal, for example) before casting.
  6. To ornament with moldings.
  7. To be shaped in or as if in a mold.
    These shoes gradually molded to my feet.
To shape in or on a mold
  • Dutch: vormen
To form into a particular shape; to give shape to
To be shaped in or as if in a mold

Etymology 2

Via etyl enm from etyl non mygla


  1. A natural substance in the form of a woolly or furry growth of tiny fungi that appears when organic material lies for a long time exposed to (usually warm and moist) air.
Derived terms
See also
woolly or furry growth of tiny fungi
  • Arabic:
  • Chinese: 霉菌 (méijūn)
  • Croatian: plesan
  • Czech: plíseň
  • Dutch: schimmel
  • Esperanto: ŝimo
  • French: moisissure moisi
  • Georgian: ობი (obi)
  • German: Schimmel
  • Hungarian: penész
  • Icelandic: mygla
  • Italian: muffa
  • Japanese: かび
  • Korean: 곰팡이 (gompang-i)
  • Serbian: plesan, budja
  • Slovene: plesen
  • Spanish: moho
  • Swedish: mögel
  • Turkish: küf

Etymology 3

From etyl ang molde


  1. Loose friable soil, rich in humus and fit for planting.
Derived terms
  • Latin: humus





mold s
  1. In the context of "agriculture|lang=fo": earth, humus soil, humus layer





Extensive Definition

Molds (or moulds, see spelling differences) include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. In contrast, microscopic fungi that grow as single cells are called yeasts. A connected network of these tubular branching hyphae has multiple, genetically identical nuclei and is considered a single organism, referred to as a colony or in more technical terms a mycelium.
Molds do not form a specific taxonomic or phylogenetic grouping, but can be found in the divisions Zygomycota, Deuteromycota and Ascomycota. Although some molds cause disease or food spoilage, others are useful for their role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.


There are thousands of known species of molds, which include opportunistic pathogens, exclusive saprotrophs, aquatic species and thermophiles. Like all fungi, molds derive energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they live. Typically, molds secrete hydrolytic enzymes, mainly from the hyphal tips. These enzymes degrade complex biopolymers such as starch, cellulose and lignin into simpler substances which can be absorbed by the hyphae. In this way, molds play a major role in causing decomposition of organic material, enabling the recycling of nutrients throughout ecosystems. Many molds also secrete mycotoxins which, together with hydrolytic enzymes, inhibit the growth of competing microorganisms.
Molds reproduce through small spores, which may contain a single nucleus or be multinucleate. Mold spores can be asexual (the products of mitosis) or sexual (the products of meiosis); many species can produce both types. Some can remain floorbourne indefinitely, and many are able to survive extremes of temperature and pressure.
Although molds grows on dead organic matter everywhere in nature, their presence is only visible to the unaided eye when mold colonies grow. A mold colony does not comprise discrete organisms, but an interconnected network of hyphae called a mycelium. Nutrients and in some cases organelles may be transported throughout the mycelium. In artificial environments like buildings, humidity and temperature are often stable enough to foster the growth of mold colonies, commonly seen as a downy or furry coating growing on food or surfaces.
Some molds can begin growing at temperatures as low as 2°C. When conditions do not enable growth, molds may remain alive in a dormant state, within a large range of temperatures before they die. The many different mold species vary enormously in their tolerance to temperature and humidity extremes. Certain molds can survive harsh conditions such as the snow-covered soils of Antarctica, refrigeration, highly acidic solvents, and even petroleum products such as jet fuel.
Xerophilic molds use the humidity in the air as their only water source; other molds need more moisture.

Common molds


Food production

Cultured molds are used in the production of foods, including: The koji molds are a group of Aspergillus species, notably Aspergillus oryzae, that have been cultured in eastern Asia for many centuries. They are used to ferment a soybean and wheat mixture to make soybean paste and soy sauce. They are also used to break down the starch in rice (saccharification) in the production of sake and other distilled spirits.

Drug creation

Alexander Fleming's famous discovery of the antibiotic penicillin involved the mold Penicillium chrysogenum.
Several cholesterol-lowering drugs (such as Lovastatin, from Aspergillus terreus) are derived from molds.
The immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine, used to suppress the rejection of transplanted organs, is derived from the mold Tolypocladium inflatum.

Other Uses

Other molds are cultivated for their ability to produce useful substances. Aspergillus niger is used in the production of citric acid, gluconic acid and many other compounds and enzymes.
The mold Aspergillus nidulans is an important model organism.

Health effects

Exposure to bacteria and fungus in indoor air has emerged as a significant health problem in residential environments as well as in occupational settings .
Mold spores can be allergenic, causing irritations of eye, nose, throat, and lungs. In response to this, environmental health research has yielded tests such as the MELISA test, which can determine whether or not a person is allergic to a specific mold.
Molds may excrete liquids or gases; not all can be detected by smell. Some molds generate toxic liquid or gaseous compounds, called mycotoxins. Molds that produce mycotoxins are sometimes referred to as toxic molds. Of these molds, some only produce mycotoxins under specific growing conditions. Mycotoxins are harmful or lethal to humans and animals when exposure is high enough.
Dermatophytes are the parasitic fungi that cause skin infections such as Athlete's foot and Jock Itch. Most dermataphyte fungi take the form of a mold, as opposed to a yeast, with appearance (when cultured) that is similar to other molds.
Opportunistic infection by molds such as Penicillium marneffei and Aspergillus fumigatus is a common cause of illness and death among immunocompromised people, including people with AIDS.

Growth in buildings and homes

Mold growth in buildings can lead to a variety of health issues. Various practices can be followed to mitigate mold issues in buildings, the most important of which is to reduce moisture levels that can facilitate mold growth. Removal of affected materials after the source of moisture has been reduced and/or eliminated may be necessary for remediation.
mold in Bulgarian: Плесен
mold in Catalan: Floridura
mold in Czech: Plíseň
mold in Welsh: Llwydni
mold in Danish: Skimmelsvamp
mold in German: Schimmelpilz
mold in Spanish: Moho
mold in French: Moisissure
mold in Indonesian: Kapang
mold in Icelandic: Mygla
mold in Korean: 곰팡이
mold in Ido: Moldo
mold in Italian: Muffa
mold in Hebrew: עובש
mold in Lithuanian: Pelėjūnas
mold in Japanese: カビ
mold in Dutch: Schimmels
mold in Norwegian: Muggsopp
mold in Polish: Pleśń
mold in Portuguese: Bolor
mold in Romanian: Mucegai
mold in Quechua: Qurwara
mold in Russian: Плесневые грибы
mold in Simple English: Mould
mold in Slovenian: Plesen
mold in Finnish: Home
mold in Swedish: Mögel
mold in Tagalog: Amag
mold in Tajik: Мағор
mold in Ukrainian: Пліснява
mold in Chinese: 黴菌

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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