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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
  • In the past the agency has refused access to the tomb on the grounds that the boat to cross its moat is too old and unsafe.
  • Next they cut down branches and use them to dam the stream so that water rises around the lodge, creating a protective moat.
  • Renderings show a moat and huge, silvery wedges of metal jutting outward from the building's base.
  • Because the place is surrounded by a moat of sorts, celebrities feel protected.
  • The administration building was surrounded by a moat.
  • We cross a dry moat and gaze up at the slanting wall of carefully cut sandstone.
  • And a spike-filled moat might frustrate the cyborgs.
  • Time was when a moat and a drawbridge were the preferred home security devices.
  • Today it's in ruins-only the foundations of its former nine stories remain, along with a crumbling moat.
  • The disease, as in moat other cases, was caused by an infected animal which was brought out of a drove.
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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