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From Middle Dutch moeten, from Old Dutch muotan, from Proto-Germanic *mōtaną.



moeten (past singular moest, past participle gemoeten)

  1. (auxiliary) to have to, must
    Hij moet gaan.
    He has to go; He must go.
    Moest je nog werken vanavond?
    Did you have to work tonight?
  2. (auxiliary) should, be meant to
    Eigenlijk moet daar een schilderij hangen, maar het is laatst gestolen.
    A painting is really meant to be hanging there, but it was stolen recently.
    Dat moet je echt niet doen.
    You really should not do that.
  3. (intransitive, informal) to need to go to the toilet
    Ik moet heel nodig!
    I really need to go badly!


Usage notes[edit]

The past tense moest can be used in the present. In Dutch, one can ask "Moest je nog werken vanavond?" which can mean both "did you have to work tonight?" and "do you have to work tonight?". This is similar to gaan.



  • (have to, usually in negative sentences): hoeven