Number one for English language teachers

Word of the week: Moonlighting

Type: Reference material

Fancy a spot of moonlighting? Tim Bowen explains why this is not as romantic as it sounds...

The word moonlighting sounds poetic, even romantic. Moonlight has generally positive associations, as in 'The small boat drifted slowly down the river in the moonlight'.

The activity of moonlighting has rather more negative associations, however. It is used to talk about people who have regular paid employment but who moonlight by having a second job at night (hence the use of moonlight) or at weekends in order to earn extra money. There is nothing wrong with having a second job and, indeed, many people do so to supplement their income, but the difference between simply having a second job and moonlighting is that in the latter case you do not declare the income you receive from this job to the tax authorities. So moonlighting, while not strictly speaking illegal, is doing extra work and not paying tax on the money you earn from it, as in 'Jason's moonlighting as a taxi-driver at weekends.'

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