\ 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 Justice Department senior trial counsel Ryan B. Parker and trial attorney Andrew E. Carmichael had told the court the block to the ban in essence was moot in light of the changes Friday. Washington Post, "U.S. judges for now decline to lift injunctions against Trump transgender troop ban," 29 Mar. 2018 But even that is expected to become a moot point in the relatively near future. NBC News, "Trump attacks Ford for not supporting his rollback of Obama-era climate change protections," 22 Aug. 2019 Whether or not the Lowry meets the new definition is probably a moot point. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "After two floors of Lowry Apartments go Airbnb, former tenant takes on short-term rental loophole," 19 Aug. 2019 Perhaps the book doesn’t quite earn its near-300-page length; whether the reader actually needs to follow Mr Jones on a Californian road trip, for instance, is a moot point. The Economist, "A cultural history of “Wichita Lineman”, an American masterpiece," 13 Aug. 2019 However, that language became a moot point when the city scrapped its own competing charter amendment, Milne added in the findings issued through County Board of Elections Director Anthony Perlatti. Thomas Jewell, cleveland.com, "Cuyahoga County elections board tunes up Cleveland Heights’ mayoral ballot language," 11 Aug. 2019 The city’s lawyers argue that the case is moot because the city has now desisted from its abuses. David B. Kopel, National Review, "Heller’s Precarious Situation," 12 Sep. 2019 Of course, concerns about cap space also could be moot if the Heat move in advance, perhaps for a player such as Bradley Beal, who would arrive with Bird Rights. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Does picking up Adebayo’s option make him a Heat cornerstone?," 12 Sep. 2019 But most of that is moot once that dessert arrives, enjoyed perhaps with a little glass of chinato made with herbs from Colby’s own garden. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Strong pastas and perfect ice cream at Antico — who could ask for more?," 27 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The judge who made the ruling explained pardons don't erase convictions or the facts of cases and that Arpaio's clemency only mooted his possible punishments. CBS News, "Court hears arguments in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's bid to erase conviction pardoned by Trump," 23 Oct. 2019 Mr Ren may hope that his mooted sale of Huawei’s 5G technology will give him sufficient fuel for the company to fly ever higher. The Economist, "Ren Zhengfei may sell Huawei’s 5G technology to a Western buyer," 11 Sep. 2019 The Becket Fund pointed to prisoner-rights cases in Florida and Texas where state officials tried to moot claims against prisoners who hired lawyers while allowing cases brought by prisoners representing themselves to go forward. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court’s First Major Gun Case in a Decade," 14 Aug. 2019 The judge who refused to expunge the conviction has said pardons don’t erase convictions or the facts of cases and that Arpaio’s clemency only mooted his possible punishments, according to the AP. NBC News, "Advocates, Democrats decry Joe Arpaio's latest run for sheriff," 26 Aug. 2019 Ever daring to lose a case, Antitrust Division chief Makan Delrahim is threatening the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with antitrust action over a mooted Oscar rule change. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Antitrust Avengers," 9 Apr. 2019 Phoebe Philo, the former Celine designer, is among those that have been mooted as a successor. Washington Post, "Lagerfeld’s Death Isn’t Just a Loss of an Icon," 19 Feb. 2019 The French publication, (via GFFN) state that an initial loan move is being mooted and a possible deal is 'credible', although no further details have actually been mentioned. SI.com, "Transfer Rumours: Chelsea Duo Wanted, Serie A Sides Chasing Llorente, Balotelli Makes Move & More," 14 Aug. 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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Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for moot

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

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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

Comments on moot

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


not being in agreement or harmony

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