Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

moot, moot point

There are two common meanings for the adjective moot:

  • open to debate: This meaning is the traditional one, and moot is still used in this sense in Canadian and British English.
  • of no practical importance: This newer meaning is well established in American usage and is widespread in Canadian English, as well.

Unfortunately, these two common meanings of moot are conflicting. If the phrase moot point is used to refer to an issue of no importance, then that issue is no longer worth debating. In this sense, moot point has a meaning almost directly opposite to its original meaning: “an issue open to debate.”

Therefore, to avoid confusing the reader, a writer must be careful to provide enough context so that it is obvious which meaning is intended.