To bring something up for discussion. At one time, moot could also refer to the discussion itself. This usage no longer survives in ordinary English, but it's still used in law school, where a moot court is a simulated court proceeding, part of the training of law students. Originally, a moot question was one that could be debated or was subject to argument. At some point in the 19th century, it came to mean a question that was no longer worth discussing, or one that had no practical application outside the realm of debate. The word traces back to 12th century England, when it referred to a meeting of the freemen of a shire to discuss local issues. In turn, it came from the even older word gemot, which was a meeting of freemen assembled to discuss issues or impose justice.
(Will be published in the December 2009 issue of Denver's Community News.)
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