\ ˈmōt How to pronounce mote (audio) \

Definition of mote

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small particle : speck motes danced in the shafts of sunlight— Margaret Kennedy

Definition of mote (Entry 2 of 2)

: may, might

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Examples of mote in a Sentence


there's not a mote of dirt in that woman's house

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The work, published Wednesday in Science Advances, also provides more evidence that motes of plastic are likely constantly circulating in the atmosphere, underscoring just how ubiquitous the plastic pollution problem is. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Airborne Plastic Is Blowing All the Way to the Arctic," 14 Aug. 2019 Every dust mote, every linoleum scuff and porcelain glint has been crafted with breathtaking care. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Review: Woody and Buzz are back and better than ever," 20 June 2019 Check out the mote notable player reactions to Durant's injury below. Michael Shapiro,, "Dwyane Wade, NBA Stars React to Kevin Durant NBA Finals Injury," 10 June 2019 Plus Facebook has a strong interest in gaming and the reputation for going out and spending big on companies that can help expand its social networking mote. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Who could buy Discord? Acquirers have been giving the gaming startup a long look.," 21 Nov. 2018 Vanquished enemies drop motes of light, which players race to collect and bank at a central console. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, "Destiny 2: Forsaken review: Hallelujah, Destiny’s back," 19 Sep. 2018 The more motes you bank at once, the bigger the blocker. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, "Destiny 2: Forsaken review: Hallelujah, Destiny’s back," 19 Sep. 2018 The main worry is with the tiniest motes — known as PM 2.5, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns across. Sara Morrison, USA TODAY, "In developing world, an expensive push to reduce cooking fire deaths falls short," 13 July 2018 Read more: Some highlights from the study results: Automotive globalization: Vehicles are now made in 25 countries for the U.S. market, which is 11 mote than five years ago. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Korean brands top J.D. Power quality; Ford, GM and FCA make strides," 20 June 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Auxiliary verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mote


Middle English mot, from Old English; akin to Middle Dutch & Frisian mot sand

Auxiliary verb

Middle English, from Old English mōtan to be allowed to — more at must

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Statistics for mote

Last Updated

25 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for mote

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

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More Definitions for mote



English Language Learners Definition of mote

old-fashioned : a very small piece of dust, dirt, etc.


\ ˈmōt How to pronounce mote (audio) \

Kids Definition of mote

: a small particle : speck a mote of dust

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More from Merriam-Webster on mote

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mote

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mote

Spanish Central: Translation of mote

Nglish: Translation of mote for Spanish Speakers

Comments on mote

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


to spread over or through

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