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[moht] /moʊt/
a deep, wide trench, usually filled with water, surrounding the rampart of a fortified place, as a town or a castle.
any similar trench, as one used for confining animals in a zoo.
Origin of moat
1325-75; Middle English mote < Old French: clod, mound, of obscure origin
Can be confused
moat, mote. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for moat
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A moat surrounded the house, of width 60 feet, except in the forest, where it was 115 feet.

    South London Sir Walter Besant
  • The rectory was often surrounded by a moat, with an entrance protected by a gatehouse.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • A moat, long since dry, encircles the building, a bridge spanning it at the principal entrance.

    British Castles Charles H. Ashdown
  • I should have done better to go down to the moat, and be silent.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • We have two mitrailleuses above the terre-plein to sweep at once the moat and the glacis.

  • If they searched the moat, indeed, my scheme must fail; but I did not think they would.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • The moat has already been dug to its proper breadth, which is 10 roods.

  • A moment later it rang home against the wall on my side of the moat.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
British Dictionary definitions for moat


a wide water-filled ditch surrounding a fortified place, such as a castle
(transitive) to surround with or as if with a moat: a moated grange
Word Origin
C14: from Old French motte mound
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for moat

mid-14c., from Old French mote "mound, hillock, embankment; castle built on a hill" (12c.; Modern French motte), from Medieval Latin mota "mound, fortified height," of unknown origin, perhaps from Gaulish mutt, mutta. Sense shifted in Norman French from the castle mound to the ditch dug around it. As a verb, "to surround with a moat," early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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