Changing definitions – not exactly a moot point

Language always is in transition. The words we use go in and out of style while their definitions and pronunciations evolve over time. This is a glacial process, of course, and universal education tends slow it even further by fostering a standardization of vocabulary, spelling and grammar rules. But just as Shakespeare spoke differently than men of the Civil War who spoke differently than people of the early 21st century, so people in a few decades will speak differently than us. 

Among those words that is in transition is moot. Dictionaries and grammarians will tell you that the word means something is open to discussion or disputable. For example: Developing the city’s waterfront is a moot point.

Increasingly, though, moot is coming to mean superfluous, as in “Just because you’re ‘now sixteen’ is a moot point!” her mother said.

So which is correct for moot? As with other words in transition, that depends on your audience. The more likely they are to know that you’re not following the standard definition, the less you should be willing to stray from it. When in doubt, be conservative with your usage.