from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A deep wide ditch, usually filled with water, typically surrounding a fortified medieval town, fortress, or castle as a protection against assault.
  • n. A ditch similar to one surrounding a fortification: A moat separates the animals in the zoo from the spectators.
  • transitive v. To surround with or as if with a moat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A deep, wide defensive ditch, normally filled with water, surrounding a fortified habitation.
  • n. An aspect of a business which makes it more "defensible" from competitors, either because of the nature of its products, services, franchise or other reason.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A deep trench around the rampart of a castle or other fortified place, sometimes filled with water; a ditch.
  • transitive v. To surround with a moat.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To surround with a ditch for defense; also, to make or serve as a moat for.
  • In mining, to puddle; cover with earth so as to exclude air, as a mine shaft in case of an underground fire.
  • n. A mound; a hill.
  • n. In fortification, a ditch or deep trench dug round the rampart of a castle or other fortified place, and often filled with water.
  • n. A building; dwelling; abode.
  • n. An obsolete spelling of mote.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. ditch dug as a fortification and usually filled with water


Middle English mote, mound, moat, from Old French, mound, or Medieval Latin mota.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English mote, from Old French mote ("mound, embankment"; compare also Old French motte ("hillock, lump, clod, turf"), from Medieval Latin mota ("a mound, hill, a hill on which a castle is built, castle, embankment, turf")), of Germanic origin, perhaps via Old Frankish *mot, *motta (“mud, peat, bog, turf”), from Proto-Germanic *mutô, *mudraz, *muþraz (“dirt, filth, mud, swamp”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)mut- (“dark, dirty”). Cognate with Alemannic German Mott, Mutte ("peat, turf"), Bavarian Mott ("peat, turf"), Dutch dialectal mot ("dust, fine sand"), Eastern Frisian mut ("grit, litter, humus"), Swedish muta ("to drizzle"), Old English mot ("speck, particle"). More at mote, mud, smut. (Wiktionary)



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