E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Any influence which demands from us the sacrifice of what we hold most dear. Thus, war is a Moloch, king mob is a Moloch, the guillotine was the Moloch of the French Revolution, etc. The allusion is to the god of the Ammonites, to whom children were made to pass through the fire, in sacrifice. Milton says he was worshipped in Rabba, in Argob, and Basan, to the stream of utmost Arnon. (Paradise Lost, book i. 392398.)