moor

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun an area of often high land that is not cultivated, and is formed of acid soil covered with grass and low shrubs such as heather

Military

  • noun a large area of flat, uncultivated high ground, usually covered by heather or coarse grass
  • verb to secure a boat or ship to an anchor or an object on the shore, in order to stop it drifting

Origin & History of “moor”

Counting the capitalized form, English has three separate words moor. The oldest, ‘open land’ (OE), comes from a prehistoric Germanic *mōraz or *mōram, whose other modern descendants, such as German moor, mean ‘swamp’, suggest the possibility of some connection with English mere ‘lake’ (see (marine)).

Moor ‘tie up a boat’ (15th c.) was probably borrowed from a middle Low German mōren, a relative of Dutch meren ‘moor’. And Moor ‘inhabitant of north Africa’ (14th c.) comes ultimately from Greek Mauros, a word no doubt of North African origin from which the name of the modern state Mauritania is derived. English relatives include morello (17th c.), the name of a dark-skinned cherry which comes via Italian from Latin morellus or maurellus, a derivative of Maurus ‘Moor’; and morris dance.
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