Apr 15, 2011

Misused Words – Moot and Mute

I often see writers mistakenly use the word mute when they mean moot.  The words aren’t pronounced the same and of course have different meanings, so I’m not sure why the confusion.

(photo by rvstsks)
Moot rhymes with boot.
Mute rhymes with cute.

Mute means absence of speaking, unable to talk.

Someone who is deaf/mute can’t hear or speak.
You might mute the volume on the television if it’s distracting.

Moot in the legal sense means subject to debate or arguable, however recent use generally means irrelevant, of no consequence, i.e., moot point.

If you already know the proper use of moot and mute, this is a moot post.


  1. I've never heard anyone misusing those two words, but I have heard several other words being misused. Good to educate those who don't know which words to use though. My latest A-Z Challenge blog is here: http://myheartblogstoyou.blogspot.com/2011/04/misunderstandings-i-know-you-didnt-say.html

  2. Great post! There are times when I would love to have a mute button for things.

  3. I have seen this quite a bit. I guess I know a lot of morons haha. Super buggy!

  4. guess I'm not hanging out with the brightest bulbs! lol

    stopping in from the A to Z

  5. I wish those who misuse these words would read your blog, but I doubt they ever will. It drives me buggy to see words misused that entirely change the meaning of what I'm reading! Good one, MA.

  6. I have a friend who says, "mute point" frequently, and it gets under my skin. She also pronounces the s at the end of Illinois, even though she's lived here all of her life.

    I never say anything because she is an absolute sweetheart and I'm not about to be that person who corrects a full grown woman. It does bug me, though.

    My “M” post is right here: http://www.word-nerd-speaks.com/2011/04/medical-marijuana.html

  7. Yep, it's amazing how some words confuse people despite very different pronunciations and meanings.

    A favorite I came across was the use of administrations instead of ministrations. :-)

  8. Moot post haha, that was funny! My pet peeve is their and they're. I know you pronounce them the same, but still... And I've seen it the other day on a blog. The author turned off comments though... I can guess why...
    - andrea, an A to Z participant

  9. Not a word/words I use regularly, but this is good to know. Thanks:)

  10. Love your posts!! I'm always looking for grammer advise, I've bookmarked your site and I'm going to follow you on GFC.
    Found you from the A-Z Challenge, I hope you have a chance to check out my blog!

  11. I haven't noticed the misuse of these two words myself - but have seen several others (like lose and loose) a lot. Your way of presenting the case is very entertaining - enjoyed it at lot! :)

  12. 6th August 2011: I just heard Evan Davies on the BBC's Today programme on Radio 4 say "muted" when he meant "moot". A PPE first from Oxford and still that level of sloppiness - what is the world coming to?