Moon idioms and expressions
The big rock orb that moves around planet Earth is the inspiration and source for many words, idioms, and expressions around the world. The English language is no exception to this and here is a curious collection of these sayings.
There is also a free PDF of moon conversation questions that you can use alongside these moon idioms and expressions if you are using them in an English language learning environment.
These moon expressions range from well-known to less heard of sayings that are used in everyday speech and writing. Now, let’s shine on and take a look at these interesting moon sayings.
List of moon idioms and expressions
- Bark at the moon
- Bay at the moon
- To be over the moon
- Many moons ago
- Shoot for the moon
- Blood moon
- To promise the moon
- And the moon is made of cheese
- To cast beyond the moon
- Moon around
- The moon on a stick
- Once in a blue moon
- To go between the moon and the milkman
- Clear moon, frost soon
- To think someone hung the moon
- To ask for the moon
- Cry for the moon
- To love someone to the moon and back
- Moonlight flit
- The man in the moon
- To moon over something
- To moonlight/moonlighting
Moon idioms and expressions with examples
Now let’s take a more in-depth look at these English moon expressions, their meanings, and some example sentences.
1 – To bark at the moon
A – Someone barking at the moon is wasting their time and energy. They are either trying to do something that cannot be done or want something that they cannot have. The person’s efforts are completely futile and there is no point in them pursuing such goals.
B – It can also mean to make a lot of noise and disturbance that does not affect anything
Example – You cannot expect to find such a high-paying job just after leaving school, you are barking at the moon!
2 – Bay at the moon
This has the same first meaning as the above idiom – bark at the moon.
Example – She is baying at the moon if she thinks she will find a rich, handsome, and kind husband in this town.
3 – To be over the moon
When you are over the moon you are very very happy. It is a saying used to describe just how excited, ecstatic, and delighted you are.
Example – When she got a new job in the city with a pay rise she was completely over the moon.
4 – Many moons ago
This moon expression is used to say that something happened a very long time ago.
Example – The last time she played the card game was many moons ago and she had forgotten the rules.
5 – Shoot for the moon
This means to be very ambitious and try to achieve or obtain something that is very challenging to get. If you shoot for the moon you are hoping for the best possible outcome that you can get. It is very similar to the English idiom “Aim for the stars”.
Example – He is shooting for the moon in this exam and trying to get a perfect score.
6 – Blood moon
A blood moon is a total lunar eclipse. This happens when the sun aligns with a full moon and earth which makes the moon turn a reddish color. Blood moons are not very common and often occur several years apart.
Example – The people on the beach stared in amazement at the beautiful blood moon.
7 – Moonstruck
A person who is moonstruck or moonstricken has been affected by the moon. This effect on the mind can mean they are feeling romantic, lost in fantasy, or crazy and insane.
This word originates from an ancient idea that the moon could cause madness. The word lunatic comes from the Latin word for moon (Luna), and even today some people are suspicious of what can happen on a full moon.
Example – The man at the bar had a moonstruck look on his face after drinking for several hours.
8 – To promise the moon
When somebody promises the moon they are promising to give someone something that they can not possibly give. It is an impossible promise that will never be achieved.
Example – He said he would buy her a diamond necklace but he was promising the moon with his low teaching salary.
9 – And the moon is made of cheese
This is also said as “and the moon is made of blue cheese” (or green cheese). It is used to say that something is completely unbelievable and no doubt false.
It can also be used as a retort when someone says something that you know is not true. The moon is of course made of rock and dust.
This expression most likely originates from an old fable in which an unintelligent person (and in some tales a wolf) sees the reflection of the moon in water and thinks it is a wheel of cheese.
Example – Person A “Did you know that my father had dinner with the president last month”
Person B “Oh sure, and the moon is made of cheese!”
10 – To cast beyond the moon
This moon idiom means to consider or think of fantastic and unlikely things that could happen in the future. When you cast beyond the moon you imagine and try for things that are difficult to achieve and may be well out of your comfort zone.
Example – The girl is casting beyond the moon and wants to be the fastest runner in her country.
11 – Moonshine
Moonshine is a kind of strong alcoholic liquor that is often made illegally. It can also be used to refer to silly talk or nonsense (North American English).
Example 1 – The old man on the hill has been making his own moonshine for years.
Example 2 – Don’t pay much attention to what he says, he talks a lot of moonshine.
12 – Moon around
This moon expression has slightly different meanings depending on the region. It can mean moving slowly or lazily, wasting time, acting sad and depressed, and loitering in a place aimlessly. This can also be said as moon about or to moon away time.
Example 1 – After Chris lost his job he was mooning around the house for days.
Example 2 – The security guard got angry at the teenagers who were mooning around the shopping mall.
13 – The moon on a stick
A – If you have the moon on a stick you have everything that you want. Unlike normal people, you can get anything you desire no matter how difficult it may be.
B – It can also be used to refer to something that is impossible to have or get or an unreasonable demand.
Example 1 – Tim bought a new yacht today for his tropical island, he really has the moon on a stick.
Example 2 – I can’t buy you a new car, we just bought a house. What else do you need, the moon on a stick?
14 – Once in a blue moon
This moon expression is used to describe something that happens very rarely or perhaps on only a few occasions in a lifetime. In reality, a blue moon has nothing to do with color. It is a second full moon in the same calendar month that can happen every 32 months or so.
Example 1 – John doesn’t go out much and just stays on his property, we only see him in town once in a blue moon.
Example 2 – He lives and works in another country, we only meet each other once in a blue moon.
15 – To go between the moon and the milkman
This Australian moon expression means to leave or run away in the middle of the night. The moon shines at night while in times gone past the milkman used to arrive very early around dawn.
Milkmen or milkpeople would deliver the dairy drink in glass bottles at family homes in time for breakfast. To go between the moon and the milkman was between these events.
Example – He was going to be in trouble if he stayed around so he left between the moon and the milkman.
16 – Clear moon, frost soon
This simple English moon proverb is used to say that if the sky is clear at night then there will be frost on the ground the next morning.
17 – To think someone hung the moon
When a person thinks someone hung the moon they completely adore them, believe they are very exceptional, totally wonderful, or perfect.
The person is so great that they could have the power to put the moon in the sky. This is also said as “to think someone hung the moon and the stars”.
Example – She is totally in love with her new boyfriend and won’t have a bad word said about him, she thinks he hung the moon and stars.
18 – To ask for the moon
A person who asks for the moon makes an unreasonable request, they want something impossible to give.
Example – The boy wanted a new computer for his birthday but because his parents were poor he was asking for the moon.
19 – Cry for the moon
To cry for the moon has the same meaning as to ask for the moon.
Example – The workers were crying for the moon expecting a Christmas bonus, the company has never given one in 10 years.
20 – To love someone to the moon and back
This expression is said to show that you love a person very deeply. You love them so much as the distance to the moon and back, it is a very long way!
Example – He said that he loved her to the moon and back and would be by her side forever.
21 – Honeymoon
It is a common tradition in many cultures for a couple to go on a holiday together immediately after they get married. This is done so that they can spend a happy time together as they begin their new married life.
A honeymoon period is a time when things are going well at the beginning of a relationship. This can be used in both romantic and business situations.
Example – After the wedding ceremony they jumped into a car and left for a 2 week honeymoon in the Maldives.
22 – Moonlight flit
To do a moonlight flit is to run away or move from your house or home so that you do not have to pay rent or money that you owe. This is done in secret and usually at night. It is traditionally a British English expression and can also be shortened to moonlight and in the past was said as to “bolt the moon”.
Example – The couple didn’t want to pay their rent and did a moonlight flit and disappeared last night.
23 – Moonshot
This is what we call the launching or sending of a spacecraft to the moon to either land on it or orbit the moon. It is also used to describe something that is extraordinarily ambitious, like sending a man to the moon. Such an undertaking is very risky but has the possibility of achieving something groundbreaking and has never been done before.
In more recent times, the word moonshot has also been used in sports to describe a ball going a long way at velocity. Sports commentators have used it in sports such as in baseball when a very long home run hit has been made.
Example 1 – The tech company is going for a moonshot with its latest software development.
Example 2 – The new player stepped up to the plate and hit a moonshot on his first game.
24 – Supermoon
A supermoon is a new or full moon that we can see when the Earth’s main satellite is at its closest to our planet. It is bigger and brighter than a regular full moon. Not only are they very impressive to witness, but these moons create extremely low and high tides in our oceans.
Example – They plan on going fish tomorrow when the super moon arrives and creates massive tides.
25 – The man in the moon
The man in the moon is a face or body that people can visualize when they look at the moon. It isn’t real. It is just the use of our imaginations.
There are 2 rather outdated and obscure moon expressions associated with this. The first is to not know someone from the man in the moon, this means not knowing who someone is even if you are looking at them.
Example 1 – Even though they had been living in the same apartment building for 15 years she didn’t know him from the man in the moon.
In the second instance, no more than the man in the moon, it refers to nothing or nothing of substance.
Example 2 – My new manager knows nothing about our jobs, the man in the moon would be a better manager.
Example 3 – What the company is saying is as real as the man in the moon.
26 – To moon over something
If you moon over something, you think about or look at it about it excessively, or yearn for it too much. So much so that it is quite silly, is wasting your time, or could cause you unhappiness.
Example 1 – She has been mooning over leaving her job for months now.
Example 2 – Clarke has been mooning over that girl working in the shop since he first saw her.
27 – To moonlight/moonlighting
Moonlighting is working a second job, often one at night after finishing hours at another job without your employer knowing about it.
Example – She has been moonlighting as a bartender at the club after teaching classes at the school during the day.