Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A deep wide ditch, usually filled with water, typically surrounding a fortified medieval town, fortress, or castle as a protection against assault.
  • noun A ditch similar to one surrounding a fortification.
  • transitive verb To surround with or as if with a moat.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In mining, to puddle; cover with earth so as to exclude air, as a mine shaft in case of an underground fire.
  • noun An obsolete spelling of mote.
  • noun A mound; a hill.
  • noun In fortification, a ditch or deep trench dug round the rampart of a castle or other fortified place, and often filled with water.
  • noun A building; dwelling; abode.
  • To surround with a ditch for defense; also, to make or serve as a moat for.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To surround with a moat.
  • noun (Fort.) A deep trench around the rampart of a castle or other fortified place, sometimes filled with water; a ditch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A deep, wide defensive ditch, normally filled with water, surrounding a fortified habitation.
  • noun 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun ditch dug as a fortification and usually filled with water

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English mote, mound, moat (since both mounds and moats form part of fortifications), from Old French, mound; akin to Medieval Latin mota, perhaps of Germanic origin and akin to English mud.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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"), Eastern Frisian mut ("grit, litter, humus"), Swedish muta ("to drizzle"), Old English mot ("speck, particle"). More at mote, mud, smut.

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