\ ˈmōt How to pronounce moat (audio) \

Definition of moat

1 : a deep and wide trench around the rampart of a fortified place (such as a castle) that is usually filled with water The moat can be crossed by a drawbridge.
2 : a channel resembling a moat (as about a seamount or for confinement of animals in a zoo) A Bengal tiger stared at me from across the moat.

Illustration of moat

Illustration of moat

moat 1

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Other Words from moat

moated \ ˈmō-​təd How to pronounce moat (audio) \ adjective
moatlike \ ˈmōt-​ˌlīk How to pronounce moat (audio) \ adjective

Examples of moat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Though breaststroking across the moat near his home in a downpour might seem to be the very picture of misery, the act lent Deakin a sense of buoyancy and purpose. Bonnie Tsui, Outside Online, 18 May 2021 During a drenching rainstorm in the summer of 1996, while taking a swim in the moat behind his Elizabethan farmhouse, the environmentalist and writer Roger Deakin conceived an idea to swim through the waterways of Britain. Anelise Chen, The Atlantic, 27 May 2021 Because the monkeys are afraid of water, the moat serves as an effective barrier, allowing for a low fence. Washington Post, 26 May 2021 Montisano told the Times that the setup of the monkeys’ enclosure — surrounded by a moat to keep the hydrophobic primates in and a low fence to keep curious zoo visitors out — is common but may need to be altered. Tom Steele, Dallas News, 25 May 2021 Defensibility is like a moat around your creativity. Jon Bostock, Forbes, 18 May 2021 That deepens the moat separating the tech superstars from everyone else. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2021 There are more than 30 social audio startups, and no clear and obvious winners with a competitive moat yet. John Koetsier, Forbes, 10 May 2021 With the new federal guidelines rolling out over the next couple of years, plenty of venture capitalists are now betting big that one of many tiny upstarts can breach Epic’s moat. Katie Jennings, Forbes, 8 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'moat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of moat

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for moat

Middle English mote, from Anglo-French mote, motte mound, moat

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Time Traveler for moat

Time Traveler

The first known use of moat was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near moat



Moazagotl cloud

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Moat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for moat



English Language Learners Definition of moat

: a deep, wide ditch that is usually filled with water and that goes around the walls of a place (such as a castle) to protect it from being attacked


\ ˈmōt How to pronounce moat (audio) \

Kids Definition of moat

: a deep wide ditch around the walls of a castle or fort that is usually filled with water

More from Merriam-Webster on moat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for moat

Nglish: Translation of moat for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about moat


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