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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for moat
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The rectory was often surrounded by a moat, with an entrance protected by a gatehouse.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • Charley got me information about the fair, and the day before it, I set out for the moat.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • I should have done better to go down to the moat, and be silent.

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

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • Me she had not seen, nor did she till I darted out of my ambush, and leapt after Rupert into the moat.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • If they searched the moat, indeed, my scheme must fail; but I did not think they would.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • But yonder, ahead of him, something black lay athwart the moat.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • A crimson splash of light fell on the moat on either side of him.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
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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