Moth to a Flame – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did something catch your attention? If you can't stop staring at it, you could say you're drawn to it like a 'moth to a flame.' This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression 'moth to a flame' defines a type of attraction with the potential to cause harm to someone. If someone is drawn to something 'like a moth to a flame,' it means they can't help themselves, and their behavior is out of their control.

Acting like a 'moth to a flame' means you'll drop everything you're doing to turn your attention to something you find irresistible. For instance, if a sexy guy walks down the street, you might turn your attention away from the sidewalk to them, resulting in you running into someone due to your distracted state.

Example Usage

"As soon as I turn on the TV, the kids come into the room. It's like they're moths to a flame, and they can't resist the allure of the screen."

"The buffet drew the attendees to the table like a moth to a flame. They were all hungry after the morning's events, and the delicious scent of the food was irresistible to them."

"She drew me in like a moth to a flame. Her beauty was so pronounced that I couldn't stop staring. That's when her boyfriend hit me."

"The deal was so good it drew the investors like a moth to a flame. When you offer a 30% IRR on a property deal, you can expect people to flock to it."

"That Ferrari is so beautiful. Look at all the people standing around it. They look like a moth to a flame. It's too bad none of them can afford to drive it."

"That influencer has so much reach. She gets so much attention on OnlyFans. The simps are drawn to her like a moth to a flame."

"I know you can't help yourself, and you're drawn to it like a moth to a flame, but practice some self-control. You need to learn how to curb your desires."

"I can't help myself. I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I try to resist, but it keeps pulling me back for more. I think I need to go to rehab to sort this out."


The expression 'moth to a flame' originates from the playwright William Shakespeare and his work 'The Merchant of Venice,' performed in 1596, where it appears as follows.

"Thus hath the candle singed the moth. O, these deliberate fools! When they do choose, They have the wisdom by their wit to lose."

Phrases Similar to Moth to a Flame

  • Like sheep to the slaughter.
  • Like lemmings running to the cliff.

Phrases Opposite to Moth to a Flame

  • No interest.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Moth to a flame.

Ways People May Say Moth to a Flame Incorrectly

The phrase 'like a moth to a flame has nothing to do with moths of flames. Instead, it describes a moth's attraction to light, despite the hazards involved with the situation. It means a person is drawn to something without assessing its danger or risk.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Moth to a Flame

You can use the expression 'like a moth to a flame to describe someone's irresistible attraction to someone, something, or someplace. Typically, the phrase refers to an adverse event if the person attracted to the 'flame' comes in contact with it. The flame refers to anything attractive to a person but not good for them.

The phrase suits social and professional conversations. You could say a person at work is attracted to something like a moth to a flame, and it may land them in trouble with the boss. Or you could say your kids are drawn to the TV like a moth to a flame, causing them to neglect their homework. You can use 'moth to a flame in text-based conversations and verbal exchanges.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *