The Question Is Moot… Or Is It?

A friend of mine at work were discussing the various nicknames we could use as code to discuss our various coworkers. We\’ve had a lot of turnover recently and needed a fresh batch of names, as well as revisit some of the new ones.

Some names I would recommend you use at your own place of work that we use are:
Figjam – perfect for the know it all at work who you can\’t stand
Mom – although if you work with someone who is very motherly, it might not mask who you are talking about from others
Babyface – good for the new guy/gal who is fresh out of college, or is just the youngest person on the team
Smoothy – the BS artist, slick talker. Fortunately the one we have here is very likeable, and uses his powers for good, not evil.
Trouble – used as a term of endearment, but doesn\’t have to be
Cougar – we\’ve got a woman here who is married to someone at least 10 years her junior
New ____ (or ____2) – when someone new reminds you of someone who has left, feel free to reuse the old nickname with \”New\” prefixed (or \”2\” suffixed)

But I digress… my friend and I were discussing a new person who I wasn\’t so sure I liked yet (personality and skill-wise). I wanted to give her the nickname of New Cecil, but my friend thought that was too insulting since Cecil was much hated by all. So he asked, \”what\’s another word for \’undecided\’?\” I fired up to get a complete list.
ambivalent, borderline, debatable, dithering*, doubtful, dubious, equivocal, hanging fire, hesitant, iffy*, indecisive, indefinite, irresolute, moot, open, pendent, pending, tentative, torn, uncertain, unclear, uncommitted, undetermined, unfinished, unsettled, unsure, vague, waffling, wavering, wishy-washy*
We settled on \”Iffy\”, but while going through the list I saw one word that seemed out of place.


That didn\’t seem to mean the same thing as undecided. Moot (in my mind) is quite decided. Case closed. End of story. Like a cow\’s opinion… irrelevant.

Time to get a ruling on this:

Usage Note: The adjective moot is originally a legal term going back to the mid-16th century. It derives from the noun moot, in its sense of a hypothetical case argued as an exercise by law students. Consequently, a moot question is one that is arguable or open to debate. But in the mid-19th century people also began to look at the hypothetical side of moot as its essential meaning, and they started to use the word to mean \”of no significance or relevance.\” Thus, a moot point, however debatable, is one that has no practical value. A number of critics have objected to this use, but 59 percent of the Usage Panel accepts it in the sentence The nominee himself chastised the White House for failing to do more to support him, but his concerns became moot when a number of Republicans announced that they, too, would oppose the nomination. When using moot one should be sure that the context makes clear which sense is meant.

For how most people use moot (moot point, moot question), it\’s an adjective, which for all three definitions means \”debatable\”. It may not have any value, but it is still debatable.

But once again usage has won out, regardless of being right.

So to answer my question: yes, the question is moot.







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