What does "moot" mean?

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Without looking it up online. What do you think the word "moot" means (as a noun)?

Poll runs till Sat May 06, 2017 7:36 am

The topic is corrupt.
1
13%
The topic is open to debate or dispute.
2
25%
The topic is resolved, beyond dispute.
4
50%
There is little evidence to support the conclusions.
0
No votes
It's a cow's opinion.
1
13%
 
Total votes : 8

What does "moot" mean?

Postby spongebob » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:36 am

I raise this question because I continue to see this word misused all over the Internet and I just wondered how many people on this forum actually knew how to use it. Please answer honestly; I'm not trying to embarrass anyone, just raise the question and hopefully shine some light on something.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Aaron » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:15 am

I picked "The topic is resolved, beyond dispute". But it's just my best guess.
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:30 am

open to debate, as in moot point.

So having voted I'll check - and apparently I'm right.
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby spongebob » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:42 pm

May be a better idea to hold off on posting the correct answer to get more examples of misunderstanding.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Aaron » Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:34 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:open to debate, as in moot point.

Well I thought that too, but that moot isn't a noun, it's an adjective characterizing the point. So I'm not sure, I still haven't looked it up either...
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Jesus Raves » Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:16 am

This is an interesting one, as this word, at least in the US, seems to be evolving to mean something else -- or, as some would say, it's rampantly being used incorrectly. I went with the first answer, because it seemed closest, though not close, to the meaning many Americans intend.
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby marcuspnw » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:44 am

Across the barbed weave
queried I my bovine friends
who spoke with mute gaze
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Simplyme » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:36 pm

Of little or no practical value
I find it rather amusing, when thought of as ignorant or stupid(though I can be on many subjects). Especially by those who believe in a deity up in heaven watching our every move, and rewarding or punishing us after we have expired.
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Rian » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:55 pm

Without looking, as far as I remember, it's one of those words, like "cleave", that has a double and opposite meaning (cleave can mean adhere or divide). I think in the British meaning, it's more what Moon said - I think you can say you're mooting a point to talk about. But in another sense, it means you don't need to talk about it anymore because it's now decided and/or irrelevant.

What is DEFINITELY wrong is when people say something is a "mute" point!
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Rian » Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:00 pm

(and of course, everyone should know what an Entmoot is! ;) )
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Rian » Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:14 pm

Here's a MentalFloss article on moot that I thought describes it well.
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby Aaron » Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:17 pm

Rian wrote:Here's a MentalFloss article on moot that I thought describes it well.

That's interesting, I was wondering why Moonwood said moot point and also open to debate, makes sense now.
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Re: What does "moot" mean?

Postby spongebob » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:54 am

I guess this has gone on long enough. Here are three sources:

Dictionary.com
adjective
1.open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful:
Whether that was the cause of their troubles is amoot 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.
3.Chiefly Law. not actual; theoretical; hypothetical.
verb (used with object)
4.to present or introduce (any point, subject, project, etc.) for discussion.
5.to reduce or remove the practical significance of; make purely theoretical or academic.
6.Archaic. to argue (a case), especially in a mock court.
noun
7.an assembly of the people in early England exercising political, administrative, and judicial powers.
8.an argument or discussion, especially of a hypothetical legal case.
9.Obsolete. a debate, argument, or discussion.

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/moot

adj of no legal significance (as having been previously decided)
adj open to argument or debate
v bring up a topic for discussion
v think about carefully; weigh
n a hypothetical case that law students argue as an exercise

http://mentalfloss.com/article/30052/me ... -moot-moot:

The problem here is that "moot" has two distinctly different meanings, depending on your audience: Americans and the rest of the world appear to treat "moot" differently. A "moot point" (the typical use of moot) was originally one that was up for debate. As Michael Quinion writes in World Wide Words (emphasis added):

It comes from the same source as meet and originally had the same meaning. In England in medieval times it referred specifically to an assembly of people, in particular one that had some sort of judicial function, and was often spelled mot or mote. So you find references to the witenagemot (the assembly of the witan, the national council of Anglo-Saxon times), hundred-mote (where a hundred was an Anglo-Saxon administrative area, part of a county or shire), and many others. So something that was mooted was put up for discussion and decision at a meeting — by definition something not yet decided.

Lord of the Rings readers may recall the "Entmoot," a meeting of the Ents. Tolkien was keenly interested in linguistics and philology, and his use of "moot" reflects Quinion's linguistic understanding above.

WHAT THE OED SAYS
Furthermore, Maeve Maddox reports that the OED's primary definition for "moot" is:

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.

But to make things worse, Maddox points out the OED's second definition of "moot," acknowledging its common use in American English:

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.

Similar definitions appears on the Oxford Dictionaries and Merriam-Webster sites.

MOOT COURT
Moot court is a common activity in law school, in which students prepare arguments and present them before "judges" who are typically their professors or other established lawyers. In moot court, students are exposed to both sides of an argument, and generally argue whatever position is assigned to them. By definition, the issues explored in moot court are "open to debate" (in the sense that students are debating them), but moot court debate is of little overall significance because the moot court case is only hypothetical.

Many writers have suggested that this legal usage of the "moot point" may have led to the current American view of the word "moot" by a chain of logic something like this: a "moot point" is often an issue of little practical significance, assigned for argument in moot court; because the point itself may be academic or irrelevant, it's probably not worth arguing about outside of moot court; therefore a moot point is something of little significance. This is a neat trick of language, and seems plausible to me -- we go from the term "moot" clearly meaning "open to debate" and end up with "an issue not worth debating" (which, for the record, doesn't mean it's a settled point -- it just means that debate won't get us anywhere).



Ultimately, it appears to be one of those words where it had a specific meaning in English, and somehow Americans altered it to mean nearly the complete opposite and due to this continued use, it had become solidified in language. For myself, I won't be using the word any longer because it's meaning is too confusing.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
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