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Moot vs. Mute - Ed's journal
sobrique
sobrique
Moot vs. Mute
So, one of the things I've been running into more and more lately, is people who are unaware of the distinction between 'moot' and 'mute'.

Mute means to silence or quieten.

Moot on the other hand, means something quite different.
A 'moot point' is something which may be effectively irrelevant, or perhaps remains open to debate.
Wikipedia expands on this more than I could:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moot_point

But essentially, Moot is an old word, meaning meeting, or discussion. A moot point originally meant one that was 'for discussion'. More recently, it has evolved, thanks mostly to law students holding a 'moot court' - in which hypothetical cases are debated, which in turn has lead the word to shift from 'for debate' to 'practically irrelevant'. Indeed, that's now become - legally speaking: "Mootness, a legal concept that a case cannot be decided because a decision would no longer have real consequences."

A 'mute point' or to - as I saw in an email just recently - "... let me know if you will be willing to do any of the days muted."
Doesn't really mean the same thing at all.
The problem is, that you _can_ apply 'mute' to a discussion. A muted discussion will be one that's done quietly.
If you 'mute' someone, then you silence them.

There is, however, quite a large divergence of meaning.

Here's a bit more on the subject:
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-moo1.htm
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Comments
queex From: queex Date: July 6th, 2011 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Amen.
phyrbyrd From: phyrbyrd Date: July 6th, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have several pet peeves along these lines. One that springs effortlessly to mind is when people say that they will 'make due'.
'Make DO'. It's DO, not DUE.
RRRRGH.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 7th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Errors in speech

I abhor the use of "Can I get a ..." it is "May I have...."!!!
draxar From: draxar Date: July 11th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Errors in speech

See, the rest of the examples are direct mistakes, using words with completely different meanings.

Whereas "Can I get a cup of tea" is as accurate as "Could you pass me that?" or "Can I get past?". Given that it's not taking something with a strongly different meaning, I'd just see it as linguistic drift.

I may be biased by the fact I've had someone have a go at me multiple times for using "Can I get a…" when I was tired and just wanted to buy a cup of tea from them.
draxar From: draxar Date: July 11th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd say it's an example of an eggcorn. Eggcorns being when someone's missaying/writing something, yet there's a certain sense to what they're saying; such as eggcorn itself — sounds like acorn, and the appearance of an acorn (bit like an egg in a cup) plus its purpose (a seed, like corn) creates a word that's wrong, but looks like it's making sense so people assume it's right.

I'd say that only for 'mute point' though — a 'mute point' as one that doesn't really matter makes some sense. Whereas, "…any of the days muted" doesn't.

I wonder if part of it is pronunciation; I tend to pronounce mute something along the lines of "meyute" (with the start of it said quite quickly and moot more like "moota" (with the a being half exhalation), which makes the two more distinct, but if you're pronouncing the two fairly similarly, it'd be easier to confuse.
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