\ 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 Petco is looking to build a moat against Chewy and the multitudes of digital pet service companies by better blending its stores and e-commerce. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Petco jumps 67% in its return to the stock market," 14 Jan. 2021 The moat wasn't meant to be impregnable, but rather to slow down an attacker and give the defender time to prepare. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Medieval Star Forts Are Surprisingly Alive and Well in North Africa," 31 Dec. 2020 At a former exhibit, Ruth was happy to pull large logs out of a moat., "11 animal personalities you have to meet at the Milwaukee County Zoo," 23 Dec. 2020 One school holds that the virtue-signaling and grievance politics are a kind of moat that the upwardly mobile are creating around their class. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "The Unbearable Tensions in Wokeness," 16 Dec. 2020 For much of his time in Pakistan, Kaavan was kept chained in a small enclosure surrounded by a moat of water. NBC News, "'World's loneliest elephant' starts trip to sanctuary in Cambodia," 29 Nov. 2020 By contrast, Walgreens has done less to construct a defensive moat—hewing closer to its roots, while experimenting with new concepts. Matt Day,, "Amazon's Drugstore Isn't Revolutionizing Anything—for Now," 18 Nov. 2020 The earliest section was an outer circular earthwork, formed by a moat and two embankments on either side. National Geographic, "Stonehenge was part of a multi-monument complex. Here's how it fit together," 12 Nov. 2020 When the hole is full, make a moat around the stem or trunk. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "October chores for home gardeners," 3 Oct. 2020

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

14th 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 14th century

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Statistics for moat

Last Updated

25 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Moat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 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

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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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