\ ˈȯt How to pronounce aught (audio) , ˈät \

Definition of aught

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : anything
2 : all, everything for aught I care for aught we know



Definition of aught (Entry 2 of 3)

: at all



Definition of aught (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : zero, cipher
2 archaic : nonentity, nothing
3 aughts plural : the ten year period from 2000 through 2009 By the middle of the aughts, … the percentage of 26-year-olds living with their parents reached 20 percent, nearly double what it was in 1970.— Don Peck

Synonyms for aught

Synonyms: Noun

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"If you know aught which does behove my knowledge / Thereof to be inform'd, imprison't not / In ignorant concealment," Polixenes begs Camillo in William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, employing the "anything" sense of aught. Shakespeare didn't coin the pronoun aught, which has been a part of the English language since before the 12th century, but he did put it to frequent use. Writers today may be less likely to use aught than were their literary predecessors, but the pronoun does continue to turn up occasionally. Aught can also be a noun meaning "zero," and "the aughts" is heard occasionally for the decade at the beginning of a century (say, 1900-1909 or 2000-2009) in which the penultimate digit is a zero.

Examples of aught in a Sentence

Noun for dates, the year is automatically listed as a pair of aughts, so the user has to scroll down to the correct figure
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Align Technology’s Invisalign shook up the orthodontics market in the early aughts by using a series of clear plastic aligners to shift patients’ teeth. Bailey Lipschultz,, 24 May 2020 Jackman stars as Frank Tassone, the much loved and highly efficient superintendent of an affluent Long Island school district, Roslyn, in the early aughts. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 15 Apr. 2020 Much like its successor, The Hills, Laguna Beach represents a very specific moment in time and culture: the early aughts, aka the golden age of flip phones, fedoras, and far too many Juicy sweatsuits. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, 20 May 2020 Spanx has been providing the world with body-shaping undergarments since the early aughts and has since become a staple in women’s closets the world over. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2020 The women of The Hills reflect on the pre-social media bliss of coming of age on the aughts MTV show. Sophie Kemp, Vogue, 30 Dec. 2019 Indulge that nostalgia by watching this now nearly ten-year-old movie, about a pair of hip kids in mid- to late-aughts New York City chasing their favorite band—and their crushes on one another—around town on one crazy night. Richard Lawson, HWD, 24 May 2018 McCormick traces the trend to her days as a Bookings Editor at the now-defunct (and once Condé Nast-owned) Lucky magazine, in the early aughts. Leah Bourne, Glamour, 10 Apr. 2018 This wasn’t uncommon for theaters in the early aughts, but after a decade of living in the 21st century, movie studios began transitioning to digital. Morgan Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 Feb. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aught.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of aught


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aught

Pronoun and Adverb

Middle English, from Old English āwiht, from ā ever + wiht creature, thing — more at aye, wight


alteration (resulting from false division of a naught) of naught

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The first known use of aught was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Aught.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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\ ˈȯt How to pronounce aught (audio) \

Kids Definition of aught

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