"hold a second job, especially at night," 1957 (implied in the verbal noun moonlighting), from moonlighter "one who takes a second job after hours" (1954), from the notion of working by the light of the moon; see moonlight (n.). Earlier the verb had been used to mean "commit crimes at night" (1882), from moonlighter in reference to members of organized bands that carried on agrarian outrages in Ireland. And compare moonshine. Moonlighter in American English meant "one of a party who go about serenading on moonlit nights" (by 1897).
early 15c., "moonlight, the shining of the moon," from moon (n.) + shine (n.). Similar formation in Dutch maneschijn, German Mondschein, Swedish månsken, Danish maaneskin. In a figurative use, "appearance without substance, pretense, fiction" from late 15c.; perhaps from the notion of "moonshine in water" (see moonraker) or "light without heat."
Meaning "illicit or smuggled liquor" is attested from 1785 (earliest reference is to that smuggled on the coasts of Kent and Sussex; in reference to Southern U.S., by 1829), from the notion of being brought in or taken out under cover of darkness at night. Moonlight also occasionally was used in this sense early 19c. As a verb in this sense from 1883. Related: Moonshiner "smuggler; one who pursues a dangerous or illegal trade at night" (1860).
"a flash or gleam of light," as of the reflection of lightning on clouds or moonlight on the sea, late 15c. (Caxton, choruscacyon), from Late Latin coruscationem (nominative coruscatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin coruscare "to vibrate, glitter" (see coruscate).
c. 1600, "to expose to moonlight;" later "idle about, wander or gaze moodily" (1836), "move listlessly" (1848), probably on the notion also found in moonstruck. The meaning "to flash the buttocks" is recorded by 1968, U.S. student slang, from moon (n.) "buttocks" (1756), "probably from the idea of pale circularity" [Ayto]. See moon (n.). Related: Mooned; mooning.
also pixy, "a fairy," in the rural parts of England associated with the "fairy rings" of old pastures, where they are supposed to dance by moonlight, c. 1630, a word of obscure origin, perhaps from or related to Swedish dialect pyske "small fairy," but the word's original home ("from Cornwall to Wiltshire and Dorset" - OED) suggests it might be Celtic, from Cornwall. The earliest printed references are in pixy-path "bewilderment," literally "path on which one is led astray by pixies," and pixie-led "lost, bewildered." Pixie-puff (1847) was a species of fungus; pixie-purse is an ovicapsule of a shark, skate, or ray found washed up on the shore.
c. 1200, "a mother," also "a woman of rank or high social position; superior of a convent," and an address for a woman of rank or position, used respectfully to other ladies, from Old French dame "lady, mistress, wife," from Late Latin domna, from Latin domina "lady, mistress of the house," from Latin domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").
From early 14c. as "a woman" in general, particularly a mature or married woman or the mistress of a household. Used in Middle English with personifications (Study, Avarice, Fortune, Richesse, Nature, Misericordie). In later use the legal title for the wife of a knight or baronet.
Slang sense of "woman" in the broadest sense, without regard to rank or anything else, is attested by 1902 in American English.
We got sunlight on the sand
We got moonlight on the sea
We got mangoes and bananas
You can pick right off the tree
We got volleyball and ping-pong
And a lot of dandy games!
What ain't we got?
We ain't got dames!
[Richard Rodgers, "There Is Nothin' Like a Dame," 1949]