I recently asserted on my blog that a distinction was moot. The sentence:

Granted, the distinction between system and package manager maintained assets is moot on Linux distros, as they're all updated from apt-get, yum and so on.

People have commented on my allegedly incorrect use of moot, claiming that the distinction itself can't be moot, only the point of the distinction.

I've already read about moot points. Should I rephrase the sentence using moot point? In the contemporary context, would I be correct when describing things as moot?

  • "Moot" is one of those words that is more often used incorrectly than correctly.
    – Hot Licks
    May 20, 2015 at 2:25
  • What did a dictionary say? Did it give examples other than for 'points'?
    – Mitch
    May 20, 2015 at 3:04
  • These people probably think of moot point as a stormy petrel. It is valid to use moot to describe other things, but few people do.
    – Jon Purdy
    May 20, 2015 at 3:28
  • A fairly thorough discussion was previously had here.. It also applies to mooting tree nails, according to my trusty OED. Tree nails (trennels) don't necessarily have points, May 20, 2015 at 3:38
  • 1
    @RubenSchade There is no such thing as ‘technically correct’ in language. Language isn't technique or technical. Those who claimed you used moot incorrectly are right—by their own vocabulary and grammar. It would be perfectly justified, though, to inform them that your use of the word is quite in line with how many others use the word (as recorded by dictionaries), and that many, if not most, would find it perfectly acceptable and correct. Their notion that it is incorrect stems simply from a lack of exposure to people using it in this manner. May 20, 2015 at 9:39

1 Answer 1


M-W (sense 3) defines moot as "not certain : argued about but not possible for people to prove." Based on this, differentiating between an argument and its "point" seems, well, pointless (at least in terms of everyday use). Google Ngrams show that both (...) is moot as well as is a moot (...) are in usage, the latter prevailing in the last decade.

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