Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


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Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.



August 30th, 2015

Episode 304 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 30, 2015 is: moot \MOOT\ adjective 1 a : open to question : debatable b : subjected to discussion : disputed 2 : deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic Examples: Since the team would have lost anyway, it's a moot point whether the umpire's call was right or not. " all such discussions are moot until both parties are willing to discuss the issue realistically and compromise." John Melton, letter in The Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader, 1 Aug. 2015 Did you know? Moot derives from gemōt, an Old English name for a judicial court. Originally, moot named either the court itself or an argument that might be debated by one. By the 16th century, the legal role of judicial moots had diminished, and the only remnant of them were "moot courts," academic mock courts in which law students could try hypothetical cases for practice. Back then, moot was also used as a synonym of debatable, but because the cases students tried in moot courts were simply academic exercises, the adjective gained another sense, "deprived of practical significance." Some commentators still frown on the use of moot to mean "purely academic," but most editors now accept it as standard.

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