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"particle of dust," Old English mot, of unknown origin; perhaps related to Dutch mot "dust from turf, sawdust, grit," Norwegian mutt "speck, mote, splinter, chip." Many references are to Matt. vii:3.
(Gr. karphos, something dry, hence a particle of wood or chaff, etc.). A slight moral defect is likened to a mote (Matt. 7:3-5; Luke 6:41, 42).