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Origin of mot
Words nearby mot
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.
Did you know ... ?
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.
There is only one rule when it comes to clever mots and ornate diction. They have to make sense.
— Bryce Applewhite (@morebryceplease) May 18, 2014
There's an unfortunate emphasis, due to Twitter, on the single line or handful of lines that can fit into a tweet, which pushes things towards the bon mot. Now, lots of people can write a bon mot.
— Effy of May, Beatrix's Theme From Final Fantasy 9 (@EffInvictus) May 19, 2020
On behalf of language-lovers everywhere, it gives me great pleasure to announce that you are to receive the 2020 Mot Juste Award for using 'insouciance' so stylishly in the midst of such very trying circumstances.
— Wealands Bell 🕷 (@WealandsBell) May 19, 2020
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
Example sentences from the Web for mot
Mot herl yaff ecti onk nocksal loth ervir tu esperfec tlyc old.Cobwebs From an Empty Skull|Ambrose Bierce (AKA: Dod Grile)
I wast t'rown young upon t'e worlt, and wast left wit'out fat'er, or mot'er, to pring myself up.The Chainbearer|J. Fenimore Cooper
He spoke slowly and softly, and cultivated the mot propre (the exact word).My Memoirs|Marguerite Steinheil
And that is the mot juste, as the French have it; that is what the orphanage was, and what the good founder was—imposing.The Law and the Poor|Edward Abbott Parry
Fermentation is in this case much more rapid on account of the saccharine nature of the mot or wort.