\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 But despite their contradictory natures, the two work together to create a ramshackle Eden, complete with life-size castle, moat and garden, out of the church’s broken walls and razed ground. Jennifer Hubert Swan, New York Times, "How Can a Kid Today Hear His Inner Voice?," 28 Feb. 2020 The state had successfully dug a moat around the utility, and hadn’t built a drawbridge. Russell Gold, WSJ, "Building the Wind Turbines Was Easy. The Hard Part Was Plugging Them In," 22 June 2019 For weeks, the crux of the Trump White House’s coronavirus response was akin to pulling up the drawbridge over the castle moat, hoping the virus couldn’t swim and scale the fortress walls. Laurie Garrett, The New Republic, "How Trump and Xi set the stage for the coronavirus pandemic," 2 Apr. 2020 Around its base was a small channel of water, a defensive moat, designed to deter insects or rodents. 1843, "My quest to understand the appeal of bird’s nest soup," 22 Nov. 2019 Now-empty fountains surrounded by manicured trees and bushes once led visitors up to the building, and behind it, a separate rotunda where guests were received is ringed by a shallow concrete moat, also dry. Alicia Robinson, Orange County Register, "Inside the former TBN headquarters in Costa Mesa: marble, mirrors and gold," 14 Oct. 2019 Virtual tours offered by the Louvre include a walkthrough of the Egyptian antiquities wing and a view of the museum’s moat, which was built in 1190 to protect Paris from invaders. Nadine Daher, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ten Museums You Can Virtually Visit," 20 Mar. 2020 Cliffs has a literal moat in the form of its positioning in the Great Lakes region, shielding it from foreign competition. Liam Denning | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Cleveland-Cliffs’ ‘Whatever’ Cheers AK Steel’s Bondholders," 3 Dec. 2019 One proposal supposedly involved building a moat — dry and lined with sheer glass — that would prevent tick-carrying squirrels and deer from entering the property. Daniel Golden, ProPublica, "The Hedge Fund Billionaire’s Guide to Buying Your Kids a Better Shot at Not Just One Elite College, but Lots of Them," 28 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about moat

Time Traveler for moat

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for moat

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Moat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for moat


How to pronounce moat (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on moat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for moat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!