From Middle English mote, from Old French mote (“mound, embankment”); compare also Old French motte (“hillock, lump, clod, turf”), from Medieval Latin mota (“a mound, hill, a hill on which a castle is built, castle, embankment, turf”), of Germanic origin, perhaps via Old Frankish *mot, *motta (“mud, peat, bog, turf”), from Proto-Germanic *mutô, *mudraz, *muþraz (“dirt, filth, mud, swamp”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)mut- (“dark, dirty”). Cognate with Alemannic German Mott, Mutte (“peat, turf”), Bavarian Mott (“peat, turf”), Dutch dialectal mot (“dust, fine sand”), Saterland Frisian mut (“grit, litter, humus”), Swedish muta (“to drizzle”), Old English mot (“speck, particle”). More at mote, mud, smut.
moat (plural moats)
- A deep, wide defensive ditch, normally filled with water, surrounding a fortified habitation.
- (business, figuratively) An aspect of a business which makes it more "defensible" from competitors, either because of the nature of its products, services, franchise or other reason. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
- A circular lowland between a resurgent dome and the walls of the caldera surrounding it.
- (obsolete) A hill or mound.