\ ˈmüt How to pronounce moot (audio) \

Definition of moot

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : open to question : debatable
b : subjected to discussion : disputed
2 : deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic


mooted; mooting; moots

Definition of moot (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to bring up for discussion : broach
b : debate
2 archaic : to discuss from a legal standpoint : argue



Definition of moot (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a deliberative assembly primarily for the administration of justice especially : one held by the freemen of an Anglo-Saxon community
2 obsolete : argument, discussion

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Did You Know?


Moot derives from gemōt, an Old English name for a judicial court. Originally, moot named either the court itself or an argument that might be debated by one. By the 16th century, the legal role of judicial moots had diminished, and the only remnant of them were moot courts, academic mock courts in which law students could try hypothetical cases for practice. Back then, moot was used as a synonym of debatable, but because the cases students tried in moot courts were simply academic exercises, the word gained the second sense, "deprived of practical significance." Some commentators still frown on using moot to mean "purely academic," but most editors now accept both senses as standard.

Examples of moot in a Sentence

Adjective Among the many advantages of legislation requiring a label was that it allowed the industry to insist—in court if necessary—that claims against the companies for negligence and deception were now moot. Every smoker would be repeatedly warned that "smoking may be hazardous to your health." — Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, 2007 And the question of delight shouldn't be moot. — Edward Hoagland, Harper's, June 2007 … a genuine Atlantic political culture might be the result—rendering the fears expressed in this article largely moot. — John O'Sullivan, National Review, 6 Dec. 1999 The court ruled that the issue is now moot because the people involved in the dispute have died. I think they were wrong, but the point is moot. Their decision has been made and it can't be changed now. Verb And it was they, not the British, who slapped down any suggestion of democratic reform when it was quietly mooted by British colonial officers in the 1950s. — Ian Buruma, New Republic, 24 Sept. 2001 … he looked for an easy way out. A spot in the stateside Guard would have suited him fine; in the event, he dodged and weaved until a low draft number came along to moot his problem. — Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker, 16 & 23 Oct. 2000 And then the word comes of Ted's inoperable pancreatic cancer, and death moots the long conflict. — Richard Rhodes, New York Times Book Review, 24 Dec. 2000 conservatives had shouted down the proposal when it was first mooted the issue of whether a person's nature or upbringing is more important continues to be mooted by experts and laymen alike
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The two men were born six months apart (Sanders is older), so the age issue is moot. Jim Geraghty, National Review, "Bernie’s Dream Rival," 11 Feb. 2020 Unless Patrick gains traction in the race, his warm reception may be moot. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Deval Patrick says other 2020 candidates 'spent months and millions' but have 'not locked it down'," 22 Jan. 2020 In a ruling Monday, Judge Richard Leon agreed with lawyers from the House of Representatives that the question was moot because the House withdrew its subpoena in November. NBC News, "Ex-Bolton aide's lawsuit against Congress and White House dismissed," 31 Dec. 2019 Attorneys on both sides agreed that neither case is moot. Washington Post, "House Democrats say in court filings new impeachment charges possible," 23 Dec. 2019 The state is approving applications from existing dispensaries on a rolling basis, but if a municipality votes down recreational sales, the state approval is moot. Ally Marotti, chicagotribune.com, "Stores begin selling recreational marijuana Jan. 1. Here’s what to expect.," 10 Dec. 2019 Whether or not Apple decides to help the FBI decrypt the Pensacola iPhones may once again become a moot point, mostly due to the devices in question. Time, "Apple Is Once Again Under Pressure to Help the FBI Unlock a Shooter's iPhone. Here's What to Know," 16 Jan. 2020 With Mittal’s $6 billion check in the bank, that recovery may have now become a moot point. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "The $680 Million Question of What the Boss Knew," 18 Dec. 2019 The kicking woes became a moot point thanks to the Bucs' defensive dominance. Paul Newberry, orlandosentinel.com, "Tampa Bay DL Vita Vea hauls in TD catch during Bucs’ win over Falcons," 24 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hong Kong’s embattled leader is to resign and be replaced under a plan being mooted by the Chinese government, according a Financial Times report citing unnamed sources. Hillary Leung / Hong Kong, Time, "China Could Replace Hong Kong's Leader Soon, a Report Claims," 24 Oct. 2019 However, Olsson's plans could be a direct response to the mooted European 'Super League' plans driven by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, head of the European Club Association. SI.com, "Premier League Could Lose an Automatic Champions League Qualification Spot Under New Proposals," 8 Oct. 2019 The parties eventually agreed on questioning behind closed doors and release of a public transcript, mooting the case. Washington Post, "Former White House counsel Donald McGahn must comply with House subpoena, judge rules," 25 Nov. 2019 Of course, as is a given these days, the Italians will not be willing to let their man leave on the cheap, with a fee of more than €60m already mooted. SI.com, "Liverpool Join Barcelona & Real Madrid in Race for Napoli Star Fabian Ruiz," 13 Sep. 2019 It’s significant given the vice-president was initially mooted as Buhari’s de facto successor and flag-bearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in 2023. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "The political calculus for Nigeria’s next presidential elections is kicking off three years early," 3 Oct. 2019 Premier Li Keqiang said in March 2018 the government will press ahead with a national property tax, a policy that had previously only been mooted. Washington Post, "Understanding China’s ‘One-Way Bet’ Property Market," 20 Sep. 2019 Ukraine’s prime minister has now mooted the idea of a compromise with Mr Kolomoisky. The Economist, "Can Volodymyr Zelensky live up to the expectations he has created?," 26 Sep. 2019 The mooted record-breaking leveraged buyout of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is a reminder of the powerful role of private capital in modern finance. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "How the World’s Biggest Leveraged Buyout Could Be Done," 8 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'moot.' 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 moot


1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for moot

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

Middle English, from Old English mōt, gemōt; akin to Middle High German muoze meeting

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Time Traveler for moot

Time Traveler

The first known use of moot was before the 12th century

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Statistics for moot

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Moot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moot. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for moot

How to pronounce moot (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of moot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not certain : argued about but not possible for people to prove
US : not worth talking about : no longer important or worth discussing



English Language Learners Definition of moot (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : to introduce (an idea, subject, etc.) for discussion
\ ˈmüt How to pronounce moot (audio) \

Legal Definition of moot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make moot statute of limitations would moot the effort— S. R. Sontag

Legal Definition of moot (Entry 2 of 2)

: deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic the case became moot when the defendant paid the sum at issue — see also mootness doctrine — compare justiciable, ripe

Other Words from moot

mootness \ ˈmüt-​nəs \ noun

History and Etymology for moot


(of a trial or hearing) hypothetical, staged for practice, from moot hypothetical case for law students, argument, deliberative assembly, from Old English mōt assembly, meeting

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More from Merriam-Webster on moot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for moot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with moot

Spanish Central: Translation of moot

Nglish: Translation of moot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of moot for Arabic Speakers

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