[ moot ]
See synonyms for: mootmootedmootingmoots on

  1. open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful: Whether that was the cause of their troubles is a moot point.

  2. of little or no practical value, meaning, or relevance; purely academic: In practical terms, the issue of her application is moot because the deadline has passed.

  1. Chiefly Law. not actual; theoretical; hypothetical.

verb (used with object)
  1. to present or introduce (any point, subject, project, etc.) for discussion.

  2. to reduce or remove the practical significance of; make purely theoretical or academic.

  1. Archaic. to argue (a case), especially in a mock court.

  1. an assembly of the people in early England exercising political, administrative, and judicial powers.

  2. an argument or discussion, especially of a hypothetical legal case.

  1. Obsolete. a debate, argument, or discussion.

Origin of moot

First recorded before 900; Middle English noun mot(e) “meeting, assembly,” Old English gemōt; cognate with Old Norse mōt, Dutch gemoet “meeting”; see meet1

word story For moot

The modern noun moot comes from the Old English mōt “meeting, court,” typically used in compounds such as gemōt “(legislative or judicial) assembly, council,” folcmōt, folcgemōt “popular assembly (of a town or shire),” and witena gemōt “assembly of wise men.” Nouns in other Germanic languages related to mōt include Old Saxon mōt (Old Saxon was the earliest recorded form of Low German; it was spoken in northern Germany, the northeastern Netherlands, and southern Denmark) and Middle High German muoz. All of these nouns derive from Germanic mōta-, from which was derived the verb mōtjan, which becomes mōtian in Old Saxon, mētan and moeta in Old English, and meet in modern English.
In 16th-century England, a moot was “a hypothetical case or point for law students to practice on.” This is where we get the terms moot point and moot court. Moot later developed the sense “open to discussion, debatable, doubtful,” and finally “impossible to be settled.” In American legal usage in the first half of the 19th century, moot developed an additional sense “having no effect, purely academic, abstract” (now used only outside legal contexts), but American usage also retained the original sense “remaining open for debate or consideration,” leaving the meaning of moot point in conversation up for grabs: Is it a debatable point, or irrelevant?

Other words for moot

Opposites for moot

Other words from moot

  • mooter, noun
  • mootness, noun

Words that may be confused with moot Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use moot in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for moot


/ (muːt) /

  1. subject or open to debate: a moot point

  1. (tr) to suggest or bring up for debate

  2. (intr) to plead or argue theoretical or hypothetical cases, as an academic exercise or as vocational training for law students

  1. a discussion or debate of a hypothetical case or point, held as an academic activity

  2. (in Anglo-Saxon England) an assembly, mainly in a shire or hundred, dealing with local legal and administrative affairs

Origin of moot

Old English gemōt; compare Old Saxon mōt, Middle High German muoze meeting

Derived forms of moot

  • mooter, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012