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Dana Worley wrote:
> 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.
Wikipedia clears this up, imho, in the 'mootness' entry. The concept
seems to hark directly to legal origin, and American usage diverges from
British. Here's the summary blurb from Wiki-p.
"In American law, a matter is moot if further legal proceedings with
regard to it can have no effect, or events have placed it beyond the
reach of the law. Thereby the matter has been deprived of practical
significance or rendered purely academic.
"This is different from the ordinary British meaning of "moot," which
means "to raise an issue." The shift in usage was first observed in the
United States. The U.S. development of this word stems from the practice
of moot courts, in which hypothetical or fictional cases were argued as
a part of legal education. These purely academic issues led the U.S.
courts to describe cases where developing circumstances made any
judgment ineffective as "moot". "
Cue the thread about American dialects of English and the difference
between dictionaries, if ye please. Better yet, read the 'mootness'
discussion tab if things like backformations and etymology really blow
up your skirt.
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