\ ˈmüt How to pronounce moot (audio) \

Essential Meaning of moot

1 : not certain : argued about but not possible for people to prove He says that they should have foreseen the accident, but that point is moot. [=debatable]
2 US : not worth talking about : no longer important or worth discussing 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.

Full 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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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 Those cases became moot with the agreement signed last week that also outlines regular talks between the agencies to respond to drought, according to court documents. Felicia Fonseca, The Arizona Republic, 21 Sep. 2021 Conservative talk show host Larry Elder led the 46 candidates to replace Newsom, but the second question on the ballot became moot after a majority of California voters decided to keep Newsom in office. Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2021 Of course, both of those causes likely became moot after he was hit in the face by a line drive on August 17. Tony Blengino, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 That effort became moot, however, when Perry announced his resignation in late December. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 July 2021 The rationale used by the Supreme Court in 1981 to exclude them became moot as soon as all available positions, including combat positions, opened to women in 2016. Amy Rutenberg, The Conversation, 7 June 2021 He could have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter, but once jurors agreed on guilt on the top charge, those lesser options became moot. NBC News, 28 May 2021 Most of these accusations and arguments became moot in a partial settlement ratified on March 12. al, 26 Apr. 2021 Clement shepherded a separate New York case in 2020 that became moot after the justices had agreed to hear it. Joan Biskupic, CNN, 26 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The report increases pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration, which plans to decide soon whether to proceed with HS2, which was first mooted in 2009 and has proven deeply unpopular with communities along its route. Alex Morales,, 29 Apr. 2020 The deal, first mooted in August, gives Tencent a stake in a firm whose catalogue spans artists from ABBA and Bob Marley to Jay-Z and Taylor Swift. The Economist, 2 Jan. 2020 Legends take shape; a miracle is reported; a mystery is mooted; competing cults are born. William Deresiewicz, The Atlantic, 17 May 2020 Worrying about the specific identities of those affected by COVID-19 may soon be moot, says Stephen Latham, director of Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics in Connecticut. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 6 Mar. 2020 The panel recommended a 600,000 to 1 million-barrel-a-day reduction in the second quarter, more ambitious than curbs mooted in February but still short of some estimates of the demand loss. Grant Smith,, 5 Mar. 2020 What’s more, the possibility of this tie-up has been so long mooted that some bid premium should have been baked into the target’s share price for a while. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2019 That such a plan could even be mooted reflects the fact that, again, Trump does not understand the cure. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2020 Firms welcomed the removal of a cap on migrant numbers, the opening up of routes for skilled workers and the lowering of the £30,000 salary threshold initially mooted. The Economist, 19 Feb. 2020

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

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Moot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for moot


transitive verb
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on moot

Nglish: Translation of moot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of moot for Arabic Speakers


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