- A moot point is a fact that is irrelevant because it does not pertain to the current situation.
- Moot rhymes with “root.”
- The phrase “mute point” does not exist; it’s a mistake.
The Definition of Moot (and the Subsequent Expression)
The definition of moot is “subjected to discussion” or “up for debate.” However, it can also mean “deprived of practical significance; made abstract or purely academic.” In daily use, and for the sake of this article, a moot point is essentially a fact that simply does not apply to the situation at hand. The reason why the fact does not apply can be varied and is of no importance. For example, the information can no longer be current, have no practical value considering the current situation or be doubtful. Moot point can also describe a question that does not matter because no one can ever provide an answer. Essentially, something is considered a moot point when it can not contribute anything important to the situation and is therefore useless.
“I saw that the new Honda Accord is now being offered with no money down, but it’s a moot point since I committed to purchasing the Honda Civic just yesterday.”
The point about the newly announced promotion on the Honda Civic is no longer relevant because the person is no longer in the market for a new car as of yesterday. The information is therefore irrelevant.
“Although we love to philosophize, the famous debate about whether the chicken or the egg came first is a moot point. No provable answer will ever emerge!”.
Here the question is pointless because no one will ever offer a concrete answer; therefore, the question is irrelevant.
“When the DNA test revealed the real killer’s identity, the detective’s theory of the suspect’s motive was made moot.”
The suspect turned out not to be the killer; therefore, any theory about his possible motive is irrelevant.
Moot Point vs. Mute Point
So we have established that moot means unimportant or not worth discussing. Mute, on the other hand, means completely silent (much like on your remote control). It’s easy to see how and why the two words can be confused in this expression. If one were to say it’s a mute point, the mistake is understandable since the presumed meaning – the point is silent – makes sense. But make no mistake about it, the correct phrase is NOT mute point, it is in fact moot point. So actually, the point about mute point being somewhat on point is rather moot, isn’t it?