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See more synonyms for mote on Thesaurus.com
  1. a small particle or speck, especially of dust.
  2. moit.
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Origin of mote1

before 1000; Middle English, Old English mot speck; cognate with Dutch mot grit, sawdust, Norwegian mutt speck
Related formsmote·y, adjective
Can be confusedmoat mote


verb, past moste [mohst] /moʊst/. Archaic.
  1. may or might.
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Origin of mote2

before 900; Middle English mot(e), Old English mōt; cognate with German muss. See must1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for mote

Historical Examples

  • His father was one whom a mote in his brother's eye repelled.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • I suggest that the beam in our eye is simply our unloving reaction to the other man's mote.

    The Calvary Road

    Roy Hession

  • "There's a mote in't," quo' the man when he swallowed the dishclout.

    The Proverbs of Scotland

    Alexander Hislop

  • When only apparently a mote is found, it is exaggerated to a very great beam.

  • At that time Ruth had been less than a mote 28 in the eye of Uncle Jabez.

British Dictionary definitions for mote


  1. a tiny speck
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Word Origin

Old English mot; compare Middle Dutch mot grit, Norwegian mutt speck


verb past moste (məʊst)
  1. (takes an infinitive without to) archaic may or might
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Word Origin

Old English mōt, first person singular present tense of mōtan to be allowed
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

Word Origin and History for mote


"particle of dust," Old English mot, of unknown origin; perhaps related to Dutch mot "dust from turf, sawdust, grit," Norwegian mutt "speck, mote, splinter, chip." Many references are to Matt. vii:3.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper