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

Examples of moat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

It was built as an afterthought in 1973, a last-minute fix after officials realized there was a literal moat between the futuristic new BART station and the Oakland Coliseum complex. Peter Hartlaub,, "A tribute to the Coliseum BART pedestrian walkway, accidental East Bay treasure," 12 June 2019 An Amazon that is posting growing profits from its non-core business means an Amazon that can continue to keep prices low and invest in ever-speedier delivery times to widen its defensive moat in its main retail business. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "This is the Amazon everyone should have feared — and it has nothing to do with its retail business," 26 July 2018 The presidential Planalto Palace seemed to glide atop a moat, its flat roof held up by structural beams that, to Niemeyer’s eye, mimicked falling feathers. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, "How Brasília Turned Me On to Modern Architecture’s Sexy Side," 2 Nov. 2018 Palace Hotel Tokyo There's no forgetting just how refreshing Palace Hotel Tokyo feels, and not just because the original 1961 hotel was rebuilt from the ground up in 2012—or because its moat-side perch offers views of the Imperial Palace's gardens. Keith Flanagan, Condé Nast Traveler, "35 Best Hotels in Tokyo," 28 Feb. 2018 But restoring the old moats meant figuring out a way for visitors to cross them. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Moses Bridge: The Netherlands' Bridge Under Troubled Water," 6 Aug. 2018 While politicians argue over walls, investors might want to focus on moats. Gerrard Cowan, WSJ, "A ‘Wide Moat’ ETF Is Up More Than 9%," 3 Feb. 2019 Perched 400 meters above the Saale valley, its orange-roofed defense towers are surrounded by fortified walls and one seriously cool moat. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Touring Germany’s Most Festive Christmas Markets," 18 Dec. 2018 Among these moats: Convenience, data, speed, breadth and flat-out excellent customer service. Kara Swisher, Recode, "Amazon is dominant online, but local retail still has advantages Jeff Bezos can’t replicate," 12 Nov. 2018

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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Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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The first known use of moat was in the 14th century

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with moat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for moat

Spanish Central: Translation of moat

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

Comments on moat

What made you want to look up moat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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