Language can be confusing at times, especially with words that sound similar to one another. Such is the case with mute and moot. Although they do have different pronunciations, they sound pretty close to each other when you say them out loud, and native and nonnative speakers alike mix up these two words in conversation and in writing.
So is it a mute point or a moot point? Good question. Today I want to go over both of these words, show you their definitions and functions within sentences.
The word moot originated from Old English mōt ‘assembly or meeting’ and mōtian ‘to converse’, of Germanic origin; related to meet. The adjective (originally an attributive noun use: see moot court) dates from the mid-16th century; the current verb sense dates from the mid 17th century. The word mute originated from Middle English: from Old French muet, diminutive of mu, from Latin mutus.
Moot as noun:
Moot is used as a noun in law to refer to a mock judicial proceeding set up to examine a hypothetical case as an academic exercise.
The object of a moot is to provide practice in developing an argument.
Moot as adjective:
Moot is used as an adjective which means something that is subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty.
Whether the temperature rise was mainly due to the greenhouse effect was a moot point.
Moot also means something having little or no practical relevance.
The whole matter is becoming increasingly moot.
Moot as verb:
Moot is used as a verb too which means to raise (a question or topic) for discussion; suggest (an idea or possibility).
The scheme was first mooted last October.
Mute as adjective:
Mute is used as an adjective which means refraining from speech or temporarily speechless.
Harry sat mute, his cheeks burning resentfully.
A person lacking the faculty of speech is also offensively termed as mute.
He'd been bullied into silence—people often wondered if he was actually mute.
Mute also refers to a letter that is not pronounced.
Mute e is generally dropped before suffixes beginning with a vowel.
Mute as verb:
Mute is also used as a verb in English language where it means to deaden, muffle, or soften the sound of.
Her footsteps were muted by the thick carpet.
Manager Joe Maddon brought in left fielder Russ Canzler as an extra infielder to hold the Gload at third, but the left-handed-hitting Naughton lined to right to make it a moot point. [American Chronicle]
If the NDC plans not to use violence in 2012, this whole issue becomes a moot point. [Ghana Web]
Although this could be a moot point since the downtown group will have plenty of time to catch up. [NFL]
Mute or moot:
Mute and moot are often misspelled for each other. Mute means a person or thing that doesn’t make a sound. Moot means something that is uncertain and debatable so it is always moot point and never mute point.
I hope the difference between mute and moot is not a moot point for you anymore.