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

Definition of aught

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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



Definition of aught (Entry 2 of 3)




Definition of aught (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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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 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 for a while the phrase "the aughts" was bandied about as a proposed label for the decade that began in the year 2000.

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,, "Straight Teeth Without Office Visits Boosts Startup 1,000%," 26 May 2020 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,, "Straighten your teeth without office visits? Startup says yes, and sales surge," 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, "HBO's Gripping Bad Education Tells the Story of a Truly Epic Scam," 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, "17 Laguna Beach Style Moments We Wish We Could Forget," 20 May 2020 But virtually every real or fictional idol gets killed off at some point: the early-aughts Disney Channel cartoon character Kim Possible and the British actor Tom Hiddleston. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "How to Murder Harry Potter," 19 Feb. 2020 At The Disco in the early aughts who briefly made guyliner a trend. Natalie Morin,, "What K-Pop’s Beautiful Men Can Teach Us About Masculinity," 12 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, "Spanx just slashed the price on its famous faux leather leggings—but only for 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, "These Were Vogue’s 10 Most-Read Culture Stories of 2019," 30 Dec. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for aught

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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 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for aught


\ ˈȯt How to pronounce aught (audio) \

Kids Definition of aught

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aught

Nglish: Translation of aught for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aught for Arabic Speakers

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