\ 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 After the court granted review, the city repealed the regulation and the court in April 2020 dismissed the case as moot., "Supreme Court to hear case on carrying guns in public," 26 Apr. 2021 After the court granted review, the city repealed the regulation and the court last April dismissed the case as moot. New York Times, "urging the Supreme Court not to hear the case," 26 Apr. 2021 The debate over whether to vaccinate younger kids as a means to end the pandemic may soon be moot, though, said Dr. Monica Gandhi, chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. Katheryn Houghton, USA TODAY, "Many older teens only have access to one vaccine: The hardest one to roll out in rural America," 23 Apr. 2021 The Justice Department, however, asked the Supreme Court in January to dismiss the case as moot, noting Mr. Trump was sued in his official capacity and would be leaving office. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Supreme Court tosses dispute over Trump blocking critics on Twitter," 5 Apr. 2021 The Supreme Court’s unsigned order on Monday directed the Second Circuit to dismiss the case as moot, as the Trump administration’s Justice Department had recommended on the eve of President Biden’s inauguration in January. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Dismisses Case on Trump Blocking Twitter Followers as Moot," 5 Apr. 2021 The court sent the case back to an appeals court and ordered it be dismissed as moot. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Supreme Court dismisses case challenging Trump Twitter blocks," 5 Apr. 2021 Langhofer filed a motion acknowledging the outcome of the lawsuit would have no impact on Arizona’s presidential results, and the judge dismissed the claims as moot. Andrew Oxford, The Arizona Republic, "Complaints against 9 attorneys involved in election lawsuits dismissed by Arizona Bar; 12 still pending," 16 Mar. 2021 The college quickly changed its policy and then asked the Federal District Court to dismiss the case as moot. Linda Greenhouse, Star Tribune, "The $1 ruling and our lonely chief justice," 12 Mar. 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,, "U.K. High Speed Rail Is Over Budget and Delayed, Watchdog Says," 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, "Tencent buys a stake in Universal Music," 2 Jan. 2020 Legends take shape; a miracle is reported; a mystery is mooted; competing cults are born. William Deresiewicz, The Atlantic, "The Special Child," 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, "Coronavirus victims are anonymous - on purpose. Releasing their names would be a disaster.," 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,, "Saudis want OPEC+ to cut more than 1 million barrels a day," 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, "What Should Deutsche Bank Pay for Commerzbank?," 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, "Trump’s Reckless Rush to Reopen," 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, "Britain’s post-Brexit immigration rules worry business," 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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Time Traveler for moot

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Moot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for moot



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

Nglish: Translation of moot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of moot for Arabic Speakers

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