Definition of motte in English:



  • 1 historical A mound forming the site of a castle or camp.

    ‘Modern steps curve up the side of the motte (the castle mound), one of the largest in the country.’
    • ‘The Norman castle motte known as Twt Hill probably overlies the site of the palace constructed by Llywelyn ap Seisyll in 1015.’
    • ‘That Edward's fortress incorporated the motte of an earlier Norman castle indicates that here castle-building actually signified a re-conquest of territory.’
    • ‘Many mottes in later twelfth-century Galloway were the work of the lords of Galloway, as they sought to resist the advance of the Scottish kings and their Anglo-Norman circle.’
    • ‘Design modifications in the 12th century included stone tower keeps to replace the motte.’
    • ‘The motte stands at the north-east corner of a square, subdivided bailey, the inner portion of which is partly walled and has a gate.’
    • ‘The Archbishop said the site was a conservation area in the centre of an historic city, below a tower which was a scheduled ancient monument and which was built on a motte created by William the Conqueror.’
    barrow, tumulus
  • 2

    (also mott)
    US (especially in the southwestern US) a stand of trees; a grove.

    ‘You stand to either side of the motte and send a flushing dog inside.’
    • ‘Much of the dense brush was limited to rivers, creeks, drainages, and in small mottes on the prairie.’
    • ‘A vague whir from the motte caught my attention.’



/mät/ /mɑt/


Late 19th century from French, ‘mound’, from Old French mote (see moat).