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>On Thursday, March 18, 2010, Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Health wrote:
>> But doesn't it mean arguable in the sense that it's only arguable by
>> people with nothing better to do, is purely academic, not worth
>> bothering with, etc?
>Not really. Historically, a moot discussion in a court of law was a
>mock court or hypothetical case. You *could* argue they had nothing
>better to do :) But as an adjective a moot point means it is open
>for discussion or debate, and as a verb, to moot a point is to present
>the point for discussion.
>And then there's also the definition of being of little practical
Right, I know about moot in the mock court sense, which would fall under
"purely academic" (itself a rather pejorative term and open to
interpretation depending on context). I see a vague distinction, but no
major difference between what I was saying and what you are saying. When
people use it, they seem to mean "in this context, that point doesn't
matter," which applies the word correctly. It's a nice way of saying, "I
understand that the point you're making could be important but I am
dismissing it for now." As opposed to "that's beside the point," which
is a nice way of saying "stop trying to change the subject!"
(I'm not arguing that some people might use "moot" to mean something
else, but I don't think I've encountered that, myself. YMMV.)
>My take on it is if you want to avoid ambiguity, don't use moot since
>you could mean the point is arguable or not worth arguing.
I agree completely. Any word that can be taken to have opposite
meanings, depending on context, should be avoided. I will go to my grave
kicking myself for using the wrong terms in conversation and emails; as
least I am pretty good at avoiding them in my work. I get to hear
regular recordings of myself and the number of times I miss-speak
*kills* me and gives me a lot of sympathy for the Joe Bidens and Dan
Qayles of the world.
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