MOOT - the word its history and derivations
Entry printed from Oxford English Dictionary Online
Copyright © Oxford University Press 2008
DRAFT REVISION Dec. 2007
Brit. /mut/, U.S. /mut/ Forms: OE mot- (in compounds), lOE-ME mot, ME moth, ME mowet- (rare, in compounds), ME moyt- (rare, in compounds), ME mut- (rare, in compounds), ME mute (north.), ME-16 (18 hist.) moote, ME- moot, ME- mote (now hist.), 15 moute, 15-16 mout, 16 moat, 16 mott; Eng. regional (north.) 18- meut, 18- meutt, 18- mooit, 18- moot, 18- muit; also Sc. pre-17 mote, pre-17 mut, pre-17 mvte, pre-17 mwte, pre-17 17-18 mute. [Cognate with Middle Dutch moet (Dutch moet), Old High German muot, Old Icelandic mót, Old Swedish mot (Swedish mot (now rare)), Danish regional mod, and (in different stem-classes) Middle Low German mte (German regional (Low German) Mööt), Middle High German muote, muoze, and Norwegian møte, Swedish möte, Danish møde); perh. related to the Germanic base of MATHEL v. Further etymology uncertain. Cf. I-MOOT n.
In Old English only in compounds before the 12th cent. Uncompounded use in English is prob. partly reinforced by borrowing of the corresponding early Scandinavian word, and also partly aphetic < I-MOOT n.]
1. a. A meeting, an assembly of people, esp. one for judicial or legislative purposes. Also: a place where a meeting is held.
Chiefly associated with organs of national and local administration from the Anglo-Saxon to the early modern period (cf. GEMOT(E n., WITENAGEMOT n.). The older form mote is often retained by historians for the second element of names of specific institutions; cf. burgh-mote n. at BOROUGH n. Compounds 1, FOLKMOOT n., HALLMOTE n., hundred-mote n. at HUNDRED n. and adj. Compounds 2, PORTMOOT n., etc.
This sense of the simple noun, for long hist. and arch., has undergone a partial revival since the late 19th cent., perh. influenced by the revival of the legal use in sense 4.
Recorded earliest in compounds.
OE Antwerp Gloss. 136 Forus uel prorostra, motstow on burge. lOE Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough contin.) anno 1129, a hi ider comen a began æt mot on Monendæig & heold on an to e Fridæig. c1175 (OE) ÆLFRIC Homily (Bodl. 343) in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies (1993) 37 Heofene rice is ilic ane kynge, he e hæfde mot wi his men. a1225 (?a1200) MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd Ser. 83 e soe quen shal a domes [dai] arisen on e michele mote and fordemen is frakede folc. c1225 (?c1200) St. Katherine 2425 Al at meidene mot [L. Chorus] cume her aein e mid kempene crune. a1300 Passion our Lord 280 in R. Morris Old Eng. Misc. (1872) 45 Heo by-wste e dure er al at mot was. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 16307 ai ne suld do him na vilani, For quat ending e mote suld take, ai wist noght witerli. c1430 Acts Parl. Scotl. (1844) I. 379 e twa hed mutis of e Justice salbe haldin erly at Edinburgh or Peblis. 1508 W. KENNEDY Flyting (Chepman & Myllar) 475 in P. Bawcutt Poems of W. Dunbar (1998) 216 A horse marschall thou call the at the mute And with that craft convoy the throu the land. a1641 R. MONTAGU Acts & Monuments (1642) 416 In Common Councels, at popular mootes, they could beare no sway. c1670 T. HOBBES Dial. Common Laws Eng. (1840) 169 After the Saxons had received the faith of Christ, those bishops that were amongst them, were always at the great moots in which they made their laws. 1794 W. HUTCHINSON Hist. Cumberland I. 252 The whole country..seems to have been parcelled out into small districts,..in each of which there was a mote, or court of justice. 1885 Encycl. Brit. XVIII. 302/2 In the Anglo-Saxon moots may be discerned the first germs of popular government in England. 1891 W. MORRIS News from Nowhere xiv. 97 At the next ordinary meeting of the neighbours, or Mote, as we call it, according to the ancient tongue of the times before bureaucracy. 1903 Contemp. Rev. Oct. 496 Necessary results of the Customs Union would be an imperial Moot containing representatives from the various parts of the Empire. 1935 Universe 26 July 3/3 The second World Rover Scouts Moot. 1973 Where Apr. 112/1 The moot, consisting of all school, community, and ancillary staff,..was dealing with such issues as representation on the governing body. 2000 News (Karachi) 25 Apr. 17/7 PCB is to be represented at the ICC moot by its Director Yawar Saeed.
b. An encounter; a meeting of two persons or parties, esp. a hostile one. Obs.
c1425 (c1400) Laud Troy-bk. 10389 Many a man was ther assoyned Off ther lyff ther at her mote. 1488 HARY Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace VIII. 1529 Wallang fled our and durst nocht bid that mute.
2. Argument, disputation; discussion, talking. Obs.
c1225 (?c1200) St. Katherine 548 Her is a meiden..se swie witti & wis on hire wordes, at ha wi hire anes mot [L. disputando] meistre us alle. c1275 (?a1216) Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) 468 os hule luste & leide an hord Al is mot, word after word. a1325 (?c1300) Northern Passion (Cambr. Gg.1.1) 704 Is hit no bote Ageines you to holde mote..For ye ne luit notht mi tellinges. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 11949 Was ar-wit him na langer mote, Bot ar he fel dun at his fote. c1450 (c1405) Mum & Sothsegger (BL Add. 41666) 278 Thus after talkyng we twynned a-sundre..and oure mote endid. 1565 J. JEWEL Replie Hardinges Answeare (1611) 457 Afterward, hee keepeth great Mootes about Qualities and Quantities. c1620 A. HUME Of Orthogr. Britan Tongue (1870) Ded. 2 In the disputes of al purposes quherwith, after the exemple of the wyse in former ages, you use to season your moat. 1676 Doctrine of Devils 125 When the Lord hath decided the Controversy, & setled the Question, should men's Moots, groundless Opinions, small Arguments, and wilde Winter-Tales, unsettle us?
3. Litigation; an action at law; a plea; accusation. Obs.
c1225 Lofsong Lefdi (Royal) in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 305 Nim mot for me ant were me, for ich am pine wure. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 27694 If ou..bringes man in iuel blame, or mote,..of this behoues e mai i scrift. 1433 in W. Fraser Mem. Maxwells of Pollok (1863) I. 163 Or I..be herd in the plede or mut of the forsaidis landis. c1455 Regiam Majestatem c. 48 Forsuth sic mut or other also be transferryt of the court in the Kingis court. a1500 tr. A. Chartier Quadrilogue (Rawl.) 140 This matir is comprised..in maner of moote or plee, forasmoche as it procedith by the maner of trauersing wourdis. 1566 T. DRANT tr. Horace Medicinable Morall sig. Av, Of mout or suite vndreamde Of barre thou beares no kepe. c1600 in J. Balfour Practicks (1754) 53 All mutes and pleyis quhilk happinis to rise within burgh, sould be pleadit and determinat within the samin. 1609 J. SKENE tr. Regiam Majestatem I. 13 The order of mute or pley in court, is alreadie exponed. 1656 in J. A. Clyde Hope's Major Practicks (1938) II. 29 Actions of mute or pley once brought in befoir the chamerlane in his air should not descend to ane inferior court therefter.
4. Law. The discussion of a hypothetical case by law students for practice; a hypothetical doubtful case that may be used for discussion. Cf. BOLT n.3 2.
Revived in the Inns of Court in the 19th cent. but fell into disuse (last retained at Gray's Inn according to N.E.D.), 1908). Reintroduced subsequently into universities where law is studied and into the Inns of Court.
1512 Black Bks. Lincoln's Inn i. 166 in N. & Q. Jan. 1953 2/1 Mynors the yonger is amercied for that he woul not use the Moute, and that the Moute failed. 1531 T. ELYOT Bk. named Gouernour I. xiv. sig. Gviiiv, In the lernyng of the lawes of this realme, there is at this daye an exercise, wherin is a..shadowe..of the auncient rhetorike. I meane the pleadynge used in courte and Chauncery called motes. 1539 Magna Carta (title-page), With an Alminacke & a Calender to know the mootes. Necessarye for all yong studiers of the lawe. 1605 Famous Hist. Capt. Stukeley sig. A4, I had as liue you had seen him in the Temple walk, confering with some learned Councelor or at the moote vpon a case in Law. a1650 S. D'EWES Autobiogr. (1845) I. 232 On Thursday,..after our supper in the Middle Temple Hall ended, with another utter barrister, I argued a moot at the bench to the good satisfaction of such as heard me. 1797 Encycl. Brit. XII. 271/2 There is a bailiff, or surveyor of the moots, annually chosen by the bench, to appoint the moot-men for the inns of chancery. 1855 Rep. Comm. Inns of Court 81 Mr. Lewis [c1847]..also established what are called ‘Moots’, that is to say, discussions on points of Law? 1876 Times 8 Nov. 10/6 A moot was held last night in the hall of Gray's-inn on the following question. 1926 E. WEEKLEY Words Anc. & Mod. 70 The practice of holding at the Inns of Court moots at which law students gain experience by arguing an hypothetical case. 1962 E. MITCHELL Business Man's Lawyer 441/2 Moot, a gathering of lawyers or law students, to arguesemi-formallyinteresting but academic points of law. 1982 G. WILLIAMS Learning Law (BNC) 169 A mock trial differs from a moot in that it is a mock jury-trial, with jury and witnesses, not an argument on law.
moot-bell n. Obs. a bell to summon people to a moot or assembly.
c1310 (OE) Leges Edwardi Confessoris xxxii. §A3, in F. Liebermann Gesetze der Angelsachsen (1903) I. 655 Pulsatis campanis, quod Anglici uocant *motbele [v.rr. mothbele, motbel]. 1647 N. BACON Hist. Disc. Govt. 67 If the emergent occasions were sudden and important by extraordinary summons of ringing the Moot-bels [citing Old English law].
moot-book n. Obs. rare a book containing law cases to be mooted by students.
1588 A. FRAUNCE Lawiers Logike I. xvii. f. 61v, Wee by a *moote-booke and a Brookes abridgement climbe to the Barre.
moot court n. a mock court hearing at which students argue points of law for practice.
1788 T. JEFFERSON Writings (1859) II. 428 He gives lectures regularly, and holds *moot courts and parliaments wherein he presides. 1888 J. BRYCE Amer. Commonw. III. xcviii. 376 In some law schools much educational value is attributed to the moot courts in which the students are set to argue cases. 2000 Witness 14 No. 1 107 I've gotta pick Trina up at the law school. They're rehearsing for moot court.
moot courtroom n. a room or chamber in which a moot court is held.
1936 Amer. Law School Rev. Apr. 419/1 A set of rules for preparation..should be given to the students and placed in the *moot courtroom. 1988 Advocate (Vancouver, Brit. Columbia) Nov. 931 We will be opening the doors of our Moot Courtroom and inviting the public to view the run-off competitions for the annual UBC-UVic moots.
moot-horn n. Obs. a horn for summoning people to a moot.
a1300 (c1200) Chron. Jocelin of Brakelond 74 Habitaque disputacione de cuius manu cornu acciperent, quod dicitur *Mothorn. a1350 (?1264) in Eng. Hist. Rev. (1909) 24 316 Statuerunt etiam inter se quod cornu haberent commune, cui intenderent cum sonum illius audirent..quod mothorn dicitur.
moot-stow n. now hist. a place where a moot is held.
OE *Motstow [see sense 1a]. 1898 F. W. MAITLAND Township & Borough 39 Cambridge is the right and proper moot-stow for the thegns of the shire.
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Chiefly Eng. regional (south.).
Brit. /mut/, U.S. /mut/ Forms: 17- moot, 18 moat (Devon), 18 moote, 18- mot (Cornwall), 18- mote, 18- mott (Cornwall), 18- müte (Devon). [Origin uncertain; perh. the reflex of an unattested Old English noun cognate with Middle Dutch moot, mte (Dutch moot), German regional (Low German: East Friesland) mot, mote, all in sense ‘slice, piece’ < the Germanic base of Gothic maitan to cut (see ANT n.). Cf. earlier MOOTING n.2, MOOT v.2]
A tree stump.
1777-8 R. WIGHT Horæ Subsecivæ (MS Bodl. Eng. lang. d.66) 275 [Devon] A Moot, Radix. 1831 On Planting (Libr. Useful Knowl.) vii. 91 Moot, in Devonshire, is the same with stool in other counties. 1862 Blackwood's Mag. Jan. 2 There was a layer of motts, as the stumps of old trees are called in the west. 1863 J. R. WISE New Forest xiv. 150 Sailors..dredging..sometimes draw up great logs of wood, locally known as ‘mootes’. 1872 W. CORY Lett. & Jrnls. (1897) 288 Old roots festooned with flowersroots called here [i.e. in Devon] ‘motes’. 1892 S. HEWETT Peasant Speech Devon 103, I got wan or two whacking gert ulkers ov mütes. 1920 Gloucestershire Life Sept. 37/2 The heavier of the soil-encrusted roots are mootssuch as those from small bushes or trees. 1979 T. HUGHES Moortown 66 A snaggle of faces Like pulled-out and heaped-up old moots.
moot-end n. a tree stump; (also fig.) the buttocks.
1777-8 R. WIGHT Horæ Subsecivæ (MS Bodl. Eng. lang. d.66) 275 [Devon] The *Moot End of a Tree, Caudex quasi Cauda arboris et per Translationem Clunes, The Moot End of a ManThe Buttocks. 1886 W. H. LONG Dict. Isle of Wight Dial. 41 Moot end, the stump, or tail end of a thing. 1903 Eng. Dial. Dict. IV. 157/2 Moot-end, the roots of a tree; fig. the buttocks of a man; the ‘backside’.
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[Origin uncertain; perh. the same word as MOOT n.2 Cf. earlier MOOTER n.2
N.E.D. (1908) gives the pronunciation as (mt) /mut/.]
1. An implement used in block-making (see quot. a1877).
1815 W. BURNEY Falconer's Dict. Marine 286/2 The pin to be turned is fixed by its head on the mandrel, and the moot is advanced to it on the sliding puppet. a1877 E. H. KNIGHT Pract. Dict. Mech. II. 1474/1 Moot, a piece of hard wood, hooped with iron at both ends, used in block-making.
2. A tool for shaping treenails cylindrically to the required diameter; (also) the particular size or diameter to which a treenail is to be made.
1815 W. BURNEY Falconer's Dict. Marine, Mooter, or Tree-Nail Mooter, a name given to the person who turns the tree-nails by the assistance of a moot. 1850 J. GREENWOOD Sailor's Sea-bk. 133 Mooting. Making a treenail exactly cylindrical to a given size or diameter, called the moot. a1877 E. H. KNIGHT Pract. Dict. Mech. II. 1474/1 Moot, a gage-ring for determining the size of tree-nails.
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Brit. /mut/, U.S. /mut/ Forms: 15 moote, 15- moot. [< MOOT n.1 (orig. in attrib. compounds, cf. compounds s.v.).]
1. Originally in Law, of a case, issue, etc.: proposed for discussion at a moot (MOOT n.1 4). Later also gen.: open to argument, debatable; uncertain, doubtful; unable to be firmly resolved. Freq. in moot case, moot point.
1563 L. HUMPHREY Nobles or of Nobilitye sig. Vviv, That they be not forced to sue the lawe, wrapped with so infinite crickes and moot poyntes. 1577 R. STANYHURST Descr. Ireland ii. f. 9/2, in R. Holinshed Chron. I, The like question [sc. whether ‘fish’ or ‘flesh’] may be mooued of the sell [= seal], and if it were well canuassed, it would be found at the least wyse a moote case. a1650 S. D'EWES Autobiogr. (1845) I. 240, I was scarce come into commons, but..I was set at work, arguing a moot-point or law-case on Thursday night after supper. 1658-9 in T. Burton Diary (1828) III. 46 Jersey is part of France; so it is a moot point whether a habeas corpus lies. 1732-3 SIR C. WOGAN in Swift Wks. (1824) XVII. 460 ‘My lords and gentlemen’, says he, ‘it is a very moot point to which of those causes we may ascribe the universal dulness of the Irish.’ 1797 Encycl. Brit. XII. 271/2 Particular times are appointed for the arguing moot-cases. 1876 A. D. MURRAY Charnwood 110 It remains a moot problem to be guessed at. 1899 Arch. Surg. 10 190 Those who are already well informed in essentials and quite prepared to discuss moot and difficult points. 1932 P. G. WODEHOUSE Louder & Funnier 77 An age full..of Moot Questionssome mooter than others. 1956 G. DURRELL Drunken Forest x. 199 Whether he could have bitten us successfully..was rather a moot point, but it was not the sort of experiment I cared to make. 1990 Economist (BNC) 24 Mar. 125 Midland seems likely to be heading for the altar before long. Whether the Hongkong Bank will be the one waiting is a mooter question.
2. N. Amer. (orig. Law). Of a case, issue, etc.: having no practical significance or relevance; abstract, academic.
Now the usual sense in North America.
1807 Rep. U.S. Circuit Court: District Virginia (Lexis) 25 126 If a statute of the United States were to adopt a common law phrase, in the creation of an offence, no common law consequences would follow, because we have no common law. But this is a moot point. 1831 Rep. Supreme Court U.S. (Lexis) 30 41 Whether it is the emanation from the People or the States, is a moot question, having no bearing on the supremacy of that supreme law which from a proper source has rightfully been imposed on us by Sovereign Power. 1899 Atlantic Reporter 42 517/2 Because the plaintiff boarded the cars for the purpose of making a test case, this is a moot case, which the court will not entertain. 1946 Univ. Pennsylvania Law Rev. Jan. 126 A lawsuit which is, or has become, moot is neither a case nor a controversy in the constitutional sense and no federal court has the power to decide it. 1973 N.Y. Law Jrnl. 31 Aug. 18/4 Motion for an order dismissing this indictment for lack of prosecution is dismissed as moot. 2000 Time 20 Nov. 71/3 Media critics have long argued that networks should not call races until all polls have closed to avoid affecting turnout. It's a moot argument: information will out.
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Brit. /mut/, U.S. /mut/ Forms: OE motian, eME motege, eME moti, eME motie, ME moute (north.), ME moyte (north.), ME moytt (north.), ME mute (north.), ME-15 mot, ME-15 mote, ME-16 moote, 16 meawt (Eng. regional (Yorks.)), 16- moot; Sc. pre-17 mot (past participle), pre-17 mote, pre-17 mote (past participle), pre-17 muit, pre-17 mut, pre-17 mvt, pre-17 mvte, pre-17 mwt, pre-17 mwte, pre-17 17- mute, pre-17 18- moot. [< MOOT n.1]
1. a. intr. To speak, to converse. Obs.
OE ÆLFRIC Let. to Sigeweard (De Veteri et Novo Test.) (Laud) 58 Man mot on eornost motian wi his Drihten, se e wyle æt we sprecon mid weorcum wi hine. c1275 (?a1200) LAAMON Brut (Calig.) 1443 Cniht u ært muchel sot at u swa motest. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 22550 O murthes an es nan to mote; Vnquemfulli an sal ai quak, at all e erth it sal to scak. a1425 (?c1350) Ywain & Gawain 3328 e lord saw it was na bote Obout that mater mor to mote. 1487 (a1380) J. BARBOUR Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) XIII. 60 This marschall that I of mwt, That schir Robert of Keth was cald..Quhen that he saw [etc.]. 1535 W. STEWART tr. H. Boethius Bk. Cron. Scotl. (Rolls) II. 178 In this mater heir will I mute no moir. a1600 A. MONTGOMERIE Misc. Poems ix. 12 If thou be he of vhom so many moots [etc.]. 1603 Proph. Waldhaue in Whole Prophesie Scotl. sig. C4, Mute on if ye may for mister ye haue. 1711 (a1500) Hist. Sir Eger (Aberdeen) 1229 in D. Laing Early Metrical Tales (1826), Courteously to him could she mute.
b. trans. To say, to utter, to mention (a word, etc.). Also with clause as object. Now Sc. and Eng. regional (north.).
c1225 (?c1200) St. Katherine 1238 Hwil is eadi meiden motede & mealde is & muchele mare. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 23947 For mikel i haf to mote. c1480 (a1400) St. Alexis 430 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 453 at is my bale, but ony but, for u na word wil to me mut. a1500 (?c1400) Sir Triamour (Cambr.) 1439 What schall we more of hym mote? 1559 D. LINDSAY Complaynt 91 in Wks. (1931) I. 42 The first sillabis that thow did mute Was ‘pa, Da Lyn, vpon the lute’. a1625 A. MONTGOMERIE Flyting with Polwart (Harl.) 294 in Poems (1910), Of this mismade mowdewart, mischeif they muit. 1684 G. MERITON Praise Yorks. Ale 285 He niver meawted thou was ill. 1847 Montrose Standard 8 Oct. 2 Oh Sawnie has tell'd what should neer been mootit. 1897 H. OCHILTREE Out of her Shroud xi, 'Twas Bailie Duff wha pledged us on soul and conscience ne'er to moot a word o't. a1903 B. KIRKBY in Eng. Dial. Dict. (1903) IV. 157/2 [Westmorland] He never mooted a word. 1972 in D. Omand Caithness Bk. 251 Moot, to mention.
2. a. intr. To complain, argue, plead, discuss, dispute, esp. in a law case; to bring an action to court, to litigate. Later: spec. to debate a hypothetical case, to take part in a moot.
App. revived in 20th cent.: see note at MOOT n.1 4.
OE ÆLFRIC Hexameron (Hatton 115) 41 u scealt gelyfan on one lifigendan God, and na ofer ine mæe motian be him. a1225 (?OE) MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 43 Ofter he walde anuppon his underlinges mid wohe motien and longe dringan enne he walde salmes singen oer eani oer god don. c1225 (?c1200) St. Katherine 588 Makien se monie clerkes to cumene..to motin wi a meiden. c1350 in Trans. Philol. Soc. (1906) 132 Homme plede et toile pur glebe, M. motith and striuyth for rit of kyrke. ?a1400 (a1338) R. MANNYNG Chron. (Petyt) I. 58 The kyng com to London, with lawe to mote in benke. c1400 (a1376) LANGLAND Piers Plowman (Trin. Cambr.) A. III. 149 She [sc. Meed] let lawe as hire list & louedaies maki; e mase for a mene man ei he mote [v.rr. mute; plede; c1400 B text moote] euere. a1425 N. Homily Legendary (Harl. suppl.) in C. Horstmann Altengl. Legenden (1881) 2nd Ser. 85 e gude man saw it was no bute Ogayns hir wil more forto mote. ?a1425 (?c1350) Northern Passion (Rawl.) 1092 Iudas saw it was no bote More of is mater for to mote. c1450 Jacob's Well 295 To mote in wronge causys. c1455 Regiam Majestatem c. 107 Quhen ony man agaynis other than the King mutis of purprisyng or of purprestur or agayn his lorde & nocht be ane assise..it salbe distreneit. 1488 HARY Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace XI. 1008 The byschop Synclar agayn fled in-to But; With that fals king he had no will to mut. 1514 Minutes Parl. Middle Temple (1904) I. 44 He promised to mote, and did not mote, so that in the seid vacacion there was a mote lost. 1570 P. LEVENS Manipulus Vocabulorum sig. Pi/1, To Moote, arguere, mouere dubia. 1602 2nd Pt. Returne fr. Parnassus IV. i. 1536 It is a plaine case, whereon I mooted in our Temple. 1628 J. EARLE Micro-cosmogr. xlvii. sig. H11, He talkes Statutes as fiercely, as if he had mooted seuen yeers in the Inns of Court. ?a1652 R. BROME Weeding of Covent Garden II. i, in Five New Playes (1659) 25 We will Cry mercy, you are busie, we will not moote to day then?
1986 P. DOBSON & B. FITZPATRICK ‘Observer’ Bk. of Moots 1 (heading) How to Moot.
b. trans. To argue (a point, case, etc.). Also: to bring (an action at law); to prosecute an action against (a person). Obs.
c1475 Gregory's Chron. in J. Gairdner Hist. Coll. Citizen London (1876) 60 Ande that yere were the plays holdyn and motyde at the Towre of London. a1530 (c1425) ANDREW OF WYNTOUN Oryg. Cron. Scotl. (Royal) II. 244 Before jugys ordanyt he Be plede causys mot to be. 1531 T. ELYOT Bk. named Gouernour I. xiv. sig. Gviiiv, A case is appoynted to be moted by certayne yonge men, contaynyng some doubtefull controuersie. 1598 in M. Wood Extracts Rec. Burgh Edinb. (1927) V. 240 Mr. Hercules Rollok..hes mutit actioun before the lords aganis Hew Broun [etc.]. 1609 J. SKENE tr. Regiam Majestatem I. 106 b, Quha sa mutes any partie in Court to the third day. 1770 S. FOOTE Lame Lover I. 24 Mrs. Circuit. Lord! I wonder Mr. Circuit you would breed that boy up to the bar. Serjeant. Why not, chuck? He has fine steady parts, and for his time moots a point. 1770 E. BURKE Thoughts Present Discontents 21 If it were not a bad habit to moot cases on the supposed ruin of the constitution. 1796 J. ANSTEY Pleader's Guide II. 36 Then dreams He that some point he's mooting. 1829 C. LAMB Let. 19 Mar. (1935) III. 212 A grave band..should moot cases in your book.
3. trans. To raise or bring forward (a point, question, subject, etc.) for discussion; to propose, to suggest.
1685 tr. B. Gracian Courtiers Oracle 253 Politicians now a-days moot nothing else, but that the greatest Wisedom consists in making it appear. 1817 J. GILCHRIST Intellect. Patrimony 153 Those who chiefly moot the business. 1842 E. FITZGERALD Lett. (1889) I. 82, I am now awaiting the third request in confidence: if you see no symptoms of its being mooted, perhaps you will kindly propose it. 1848 J. H. NEWMAN Loss & Gain xix. 285 And now..the question is at least plausibly mooted again. 1902 A. LANG Hist. Scotl. II. ix. 202 The idea of their marriage had been mooted. 1950 R. MACAULAY World my Wilderness vi. 42 As I find it difficult to mention her myself, the subject isn't mooted. 1991 Spare Rib (BNC) Feb., At that time a variety of women's presses were mooting ideas for conventional anthologies of Black writing in the UK.
4. trans. U.S. To render (a question, matter, etc.) irrelevant or of no practical significance.
1980 Washington Post 1 Feb. 33/4 As the day wore on the matter seemed likely to be mooted by the cleverness of the crows that wheeled and cawed over the farm. 1987 B. A. GARNER Dict. Mod. Legal Usage 365/1 The settlement did not moot the jurisdictional question. 1992 N.Y. Times Bk. Rev. 19 Jan. 3/1 His characterizations of Mr. Gorbachev..and Mr. Yeltsin..get it exactly right. His analysis of both men, while mooted now in the case of Mr. Gorbachev, should be read by..George Bush.
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Now Eng. regional (chiefly south-west.).
Brit. /mut/, U.S. /mut/ [Either a back-formation < MOOTING n.2, or directly < MOOT n.2 (although this is not attested until the late 18th cent.).]
trans. Usu. with up. To uproot, to dig or grub up. Also: to dig out, unearth (an otter).
1610 J. GUILLIM Display of Heraldrie III. vii. 105 He beareth Gules, the Stemme or Trunke of a Tree Eradicated, or Mooted vp by the roots. 1661 S. MORGAN Sphere of Gentry I. iii. 23 Trees on a stock are called Trunked, which also if they are cut, they are called Couped; but if torn (as it were) it is called Irradicated, or Mooted up by the roots. 1777-8 R. WIGHT Horæ Subsecivæ (MS Bodl. Eng. lang. d.66) 275 [Devon] Mooted upradicitus evulsus. 1823 New Monthly Mag. 8 500 Thrice did he 'scape us after we mooted him [sc. an otter] from the bank. 1847 H. GOUGH Gloss. Terms Brit. Heraldry 226 Mooted (or Moulted) up by the roots, eradicated. 1855 Archaeologia 36 428 A huge portion of it [sc. this building] on all sides had, to use the provincial term, been ‘mooted up’, and carried away, for the sake of the stone for building purposes. 1867 W. F. ROCK Jim an' Nell lxxxiv, Moot iv'ry brack about un. 1890 J. D. ROBERTSON Gloss. Words County of Gloucester 96 Moot, to grub up, of pigs, etc. 1974 W. LEEDS Herefordshire Speech 78 Moot, to dig up with a mattock.
DRAFT REVISION Dec. 2002
Shipbuilding. Obs. rare.
[< MOOT n.3 Cf. earlier MOOTER n.2
N.E.D. (1908) gives the pronunciation as (mt) /mut/.]
trans. To shape (a treenail) to the required diameter by means of a moot.
1831 T. O'SCANLON Diccionario Marítimo Español, Moot (To), hacer cabillas de madera exactamente cilíndricas y arregladas al diámetro dado. 1850 J. GREENWOOD Sailor's Sea-bk. 133 Mooting, making a treenail exactly cylindrical to a given size or diameter, called the moot: hence, when so made, it is said to be mooted.