What Is a Moot Point? (With Examples)

March 5, 2023

7 min read

What Is a Moot Point?

Have you ever heard someone bring up something completely irrelevant in a conversation? If so, it may have been a moot point.

If you’re unfamiliar, don’t worry. We’ll break down what they are, the history of this word, how to use them, as well as moot point examples. Let’s get into it.

What Is a Moot Point?

A moot point is a statement that isn’t relevant. In other words, the claim that’s been made doesn’t matter with regard to the current situation. That means the claim or point could have info that’s: 

  • Not current
  • Not true
  • Not applicable 

However, a it doesn’t have to be a statement or claim. It could also be a question. If that’s the case, the question is essentially unanswerable, which makes it moot.

What is moot slang for?

The word “moot” is also a slang word and has a different meaning than the one above. In the vast word of internet slang, “moot” refers to “mutual,” as in “mutual followers.” Mutual followers are the people who follow and engage with you on social media channels like TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook. In other words, “moots” are essentially your friends on the internet.

Moot point antonyms

Sometimes, understanding the opposite of a word can help you remember the word’s meaning as well as give you a better understanding of the word overall. If you’re looking for an antonym for “moot,” you’re in luck. There are lots to choose from. Here are some moot antonym examples: 

  • Definite
  • Settled
  • Proven
  • Resolved
  • Decided
  • Sure
  • Certain

Moot point history 

This interesting phrase has a rich history. You might’ve noticed that “moot point” is often used in legal business. That’s because the term can be traced to 16th century law. In that context, it usually referred to something that would require more evidence or more consideration.

Later on, by the 18th century, the phrase evolved to be used for things that are considered debatable, insignificant, or otherwise not relevant.

Some people, however, make the argument that the actual word “moot” is useless in the English language. Even so, the word “moot” is commonly used in everyday language as well as in courts of law, so arguing that the word “moot” is meaningless or useless could actually be a moot point in and of itself.

How Moot Points Are Used

You can use a this phrase as a noun, a verb, or an adjective. Here’s how.

Using this phrase as a noun might just be the most common way. In this case, it refers to a question that’s not relevant or could be debated. In a court of law, this noun means that it would be either not practical or speculative.

You could also use “moot point” as an adjective phrase. For example, this phrase can refer to something that could be up for debate but is impractical, not likely to happen, or not believable. 

Lastly, it’s possible to use this phrase as a verb to indicate that it’s not relevant. However, it can refer to bringing up a subject that’s up for debate, as well.

How to Use a Moot Point in a Sentence

Here’s how to use a it in a sentence. 

If you’re using it as a noun, you could say: “When you’re allergic to peanuts, how peanut brittle tastes is a moot point.” 

When you’re using it as an adjective, you could say: “Whether or not she could win the prize is moot since the competition is over.”

If you use it as a verb, you could say: “Because her family was scheduled to visit, the dinner menu was mooted by Veronika. ”

Still, the phrase is often used incorrectly in sentences.

Moot Point vs. Mute Point

You may have heard the phrase “mute point.” But is that the same as a moot point? 

As it turns out, “mute point” is actually just a mispronunciation of a “moot point.” It’s very commonly mispronounced. You might’ve even seen this “Friends” clip of the character Joey Tribbiani arguing this “moo point.” 

“Friends” character Joey Tribbiani mispronounces moot point as a “moo point.” 

But it’s no surprise there’s so much confusion around this phrase. Mute refers to speechlessness whereas moot is something that’s null or trivial — so you could argue that they’re at the least similar. 

Should you care if a point is moot, though?

Why Does It Matter If a Point Is Moot?

A moot point is generally not useful in conversation. Most times, if a point is moot, it doesn’t matter

When you’re having a discussion or conversation with someone, it’s not a great idea to bring up things that don’t matter or won’t add anything to the conversation. You want to make sure you’re adding to the conversation. 

You can practice eliminating these phrases from your speech using Yoodli, a free AI speech coach. Try uploading or recording yourself speaking on this platform, where it’ll be instantly analyzed for areas of improvement. 

Although you’ll get tons of analytics — like your pacing, filler word usage, as well as word choice, among other metrics — you’ll also get specific coaching comments from Yoodli. 

What Is a Moot Point?
Yoodli’s coaching comments can help eliminate moot points and other irrelevant information.

For example, when we analyzed Justin Timberlake’s 2019 commencement speech at the Berklee College of Music, he joked that the university “messed up” and they “can’t tell me nothing now I’m a doctor.”

Although you can watch the full speech at Yoodli, you can also check out Timberlake’s below:

Justin Timberlake delivers a commencement address at the Berklee College of Music.

Yoodli actually targeted that sentence — which arguably is a moot point — and suggested he take it out entirely while emphasizing more relevant things. 

You can use Yoodli for a plethora of other things. It’ll help you elevate your communication skills and can be used for almost anything, including practice for:

  • Presentations at school or work
  • Speech preparation
  • Interview preparation, such as a medical school interview
  • Everyday conversation as well as small talk

Whatever you choose to use Yoodli for, you can rest assured knowing your communication will get that much better with a little practice and dedication. 

The best part? Yoodli is totally free, unlike many of its competitors, which charge monthly or yearly for a subscription. 

Before you know it, you won’t be making any moot points. But what if someone else does? Should you tell them?

Is it considered rude to tell someone their point is moot?

Maybe. It depends on both who’s making the point as well as the context of the conversation. Here’s why.

If a point is moot, it’s usually meaningless. So if you’re making the argument out that someone’s point is moot, you’re saying their statement or question is worthless. Even if it is, this can be insulting to some people. 

Let’s check out some examples to solidify the concept of a moot point.

Moot Point Examples

To further illustrate what this phrase looks like, we’ll break down some moot point examples. Moot points can be broken down into six types: overcomplications, vagueness, non-actionable, inconceivable, impractical, as well as triviality. 

1. Overcomplication

This type of moot point will only complicate things when they don’t need to be. Here’s an example.

Person 1: What are you looking for in an apartment?

Person 2: I’m looking for a 5,000 square-foot apartment in New York City for under $500 a month, with a washer and dryer, a full kitchen, and at least two bedrooms as well as a landlord who’s a tennis player.

2. Vagueness

This is a very common type. A moot point that falls into the vagueness category is essentially just an absurd or empty statement or question. Here’s an example.

Person 1: What TV show should we watch tonight?

Person 2: One day, the sun will explode.

3. Non-Actionable

A moot point that’s non-actionable is one that you couldn’t achieve, or one that’s not realistic to your respective situation. Here’s an example in conversation.

Person 1: I wish I could be your therapist.

Person 2: But you haven’t even studied psychology, counseling, or social work!

4. Inconceivable

This kind of moot point is just unknowable. It’ll be a statement or question that’s impossible to know. Here’s an example.

Person 1: Want any chocolate milk?

Person 2: I wonder who the very first human to milk a cow was.

5. Impractical 

Although this type of moot point is possible, it’s just not practical at the current moment. Check out this type in a hypothetical conversation. 

Person 1: I’d like to visit the zoo. 

Person 2: But we’re on a cruise ship! There’s no zoo anywhere near us.

6. Triviality 

A moot point that’s trivial refers to one that is irrelevant to the conversation (or future goals). Here’s an example in a conversation. 

Person 1: What score did you receive on your exam?

Person 2: Hey, did you hear about that new burger place that just opened up?

Now that you know about these types, you’ll be able to notice and identify them in conversations as well as other social situations. 

The Bottom Line

In general, a moot point is completely irrelevant. Still, it’s good to be able to recognize when a point is moot and to avoid these.  
You can always rely on a free speech coach like Yoodli to help you identify unnecessary or irrelevant points in your speech or interview prep.

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