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mot

[ moh ]
/ moʊ /
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noun
a pithy or witty remark; bon mot.
Archaic. a note on a horn, bugle, etc.
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Origin of mot

1625–35; <French <Late Latin muttum utterance. See motto
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does mot mean?

A mot is a clever comment or witty saying.

Mot is a short way of saying bon mot, which means the same thing (and is more commonly used).

Mot is also used in the phrase mot juste, meaning the exact right word.

Witty statements, sayings like “history always repeats itself,” wordplay, and famous last words are all examples of mots.

Example: Shakespeare’s plays are known for their memorable mots like “To thine own self be true.”

Where does mot come from?

The word mot comes from the French word for “word.” The phrase bon mot literally translates as “good word” and the phrase mot juste translates as “right word.” The first records of the word mot in English referring to a witty remark come from the 1800s. The word was used earlier in other applications that have become obsolete. One of these earlier meanings of mot is “motto,” and in fact both words are based on the same root: the Late Latin mottum, meaning “utterance,” from the Latin muttīre, “to mutter.”

A motto is one kind of mot, and there are many others. In most cases, the word is simply a short way of saying bon mot, which can refer to any clever or witty remark or retort. The term mot juste refers to a single word or expression that is exactly right or perfectly chosen for a particular situation.

In the U.K., the abbreviation MOT refers to the Ministry of Transport, the government body responsible for road and vehicle safety.

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What are some synonyms for mot?

What are some words that share a root or word element with mot

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing mot?

 

What are some words mot may be commonly confused with?

 

 

How is mot used in real life?

Mot is most commonly used in the expression bot mot, or as a shortening of it.

 

 

Try using mot!

Which of the following things is an example of a mot?

A. a clever comeback
B. a well-known saying
C. a pun
D. all of the above

How to use mot in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mot (1 of 3)

mot1
/ (məʊ) /

noun
short for bon mot

Word Origin for mot

C16: via French from Vulgar Latin mottum (unattested) utterance, from Latin muttum a mutter, from muttīre to mutter

British Dictionary definitions for mot (2 of 3)

mot2
/ (mɒt) /

noun
Dublin slang a girl or young woman, esp one's girlfriend

Word Origin for mot

perhaps a variant of mort, obsolete slang for girl or woman, of unknown origin

British Dictionary definitions for mot (3 of 3)

MOT

abbreviation for
(in New Zealand and formerly in Britain) Ministry of Transport (in Britain now part of the DTLR)See DTLR
(in Britain) MOT test: a compulsory annual test for all road vehicles over a certain age, which require a valid MOT certificate
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
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