What Is a Moot Point?

  • A moot point is a fact that doesn’t matter because it’s not relevant to the current situation.
  • There is no such phrase as mute point; it’s an error.
  • Moot rhymes with boot.

In a conversation, do you like to make your point? If so, there’s an expression you need to know—moot point. But before we get to the definition, let’s clear up some confusion about what a moot point is not.

Moot Point vs. Mute Point

Moot means unimportant or not worth talking about. Mute means completely silent. Moot and mute might seem like similar words at first glance, but they are pronounced differently. Mute rhymes with cute, whereas moot rhymes with boot. Nevertheless, some people still mishear the phrase moot point as mute point. But don’t let that confuse you. The correct phrase is moot point, not mute point. That brings us back to the question at hand: What is a moot point?

Moot Point image

Moot Point: Definition

A moot point is a fact that does not apply to the current situation. The fact may not apply for any number of reasons. For instance, the information could be doubtful, no longer current, or of no practical value. Moot point might also refer to a question that doesn’t matter very much because it’s unlikely that anyone will ever be able to answer it. Let’s look at some quotes to see how this expression can be put to use. In the first quote, the baby isn’t yet talking, so what Bay Staters call their parents is irrelevant. In the second quote, a coach tries to warn his team about a good opposing player, presumably so that they can adjust their strategy, but the information was of no practical value because the team couldn’t mount any offense at all against him.

“I don’t know what folks in Massachusetts call their daddies.” “So far, we haven’t even gotten a da-da out of her so it’s still a moot point.”
Toni L.P. Kelner, Mad as The Dickens

Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz tried to warn everyone. . . how dangerous Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes is. It was a moot point. Louisiana Tech had no answer for the junior gunslinger, as he threw for 470 yards and five scores to lead Texas Tech to a 59-45 win.

What is a moot point? What about a mute point? You have the answers to these questions. Now if someone asks you what a moot point is, you won’t make one when you answer!

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Comments
  • J McIntyre

    This is incorrect. A moot point is a point that requires further discussion or research. It came from an early word for parliament or a meet.

    moot /moot/
    noun
    Orig a meeting
    A deliberative or administrative assembly or court (historical)
    Its meeting-place
    Discussion
    A law student’s discussion of a hypothetical case
    transitive verb
    To argue, dispute
    To propose for discussion
    intransitive verb
    To dispute, plead
    adjective
    Debatable
    ORIGIN: OE (ge)mōt (noun), mōtian (verb), related to mētan to meet
    mootˈable adjective
    mootˈer noun
    mootˈing noun
    moot case noun
    A case for discussion
    A case about which there may be difference of opinion
    moot court noun
    A meeting for discussion of hypothetical cases, esp a mock court
    moot hall or moot house noun
    A town hall or council chamber
    A hall for moot courts
    mootˈ-hill noun
    A hill used for meetings on which the moot was held (often confused with mote-hill (see under motte2))
    mootˈman noun
    A law student who argues in moots
    moot point noun
    An undecided or disputed point

  • The only thing Grammarly seems to get right is comma placement. XD

  • Donna Davenport

    mo͞ot/
    adjective
    adjective: moot
    1.
    subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty, and typically not admitting of a final decision.”whether the temperature rise was mainly due to the greenhouse effect was a moot point”
    synonyms:debatable, open to discussion/question, arguable, questionable, at issue, open to doubt, disputable, controversial, contentious, disputed, unresolved, unsettled, up in the air
    “a moot point”
    having no practical significance, typically because the subject is too uncertain to allow a decision.”it is moot whether this phrase should be treated as metaphor or not”
    verb
    verb: moot; 3rd person present: moots; past tense: mooted; past participle: mooted; gerund or present participle: mooting
    1.
    raise (a question or topic) for discussion; suggest (an idea or possibility).”Sylvia needed a vacation, and a trip to Ireland had been mooted”
    synonyms:raise, bring up, broach, mention, put forward, introduce, advance, propose, suggest
    “the idea was first mooted in the 1930s”
    noun
    noun: moot; plural noun: moots
    1.
    historical
    an assembly held for debate, especially in Anglo-Saxon and medieval times.
    a regular gathering of people having a common interest.
    2.
    Law
    a mock trial set up to examine a hypothetical case as an academic exercise.

  • Shad Schroeder

    If you ask me, it’s a moo point.

  • Anne James

    You’re usually very good at giving the British English definition as well as the US English, but in this case you have not! The British English is the original meaning – an undecided or disputed point – and derives from the Saxon meeetings, mot and witanagemot, in which issues were discussed. Anne James

  • barbara.hrrsn@gmail.com

    I’ve also heard of its use when the question was not relevant because a higher court had already made a ruling on the question at hand.

  • Annie Warburton

    When I was studying Law at Melbourne University, we had to do ‘moot’ courts to practice our legal knowledge and skills, which does rather suggest that the word means ‘pretend’ or ‘simulated’. But I always thought it meant ‘disputed’. Don’t forget there is a verbal form, as in ‘It has been mooted that such and such is the case’, which means there’s been an invitation to debate or discuss such and such.

  • DinoHL

    Interesting. I’d never heard ‘moot’ used for any other meaning than ‘having no practical importance’ (See Donna Davenport’s entry below) or perhaps I was unaware that it was being used with regard to one of its other meanings.

    In any case, from a strictly American point of view and in the context of the phrase “a moot point”, Ms. Allen is, imho, correct; despite its other meanings, the main purpose of the article is to clarify that the word is “moot” and not “mute”. I do not believe that the expression is used in the US for anything other than the meaning given by Ms. Allen, but then again… that is certainly a moot point.

    … or a moot point. :^p

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