\ 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

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Synonyms for aught

Synonyms: Noun

cipher, goose egg, naught (also nought), nil, nothing, o, oh, zero, zilch, zip

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Did You Know?


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


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

The two were close at one point during the early aughts, but their relationship has since fizzled. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan Might Be Doing a Reboot of The Simple Life," 26 June 2019 Wondering exactly how to relive the early aughts without having to rummage around in the back of your closet? Vogue, "The Early 2000s Are, Like, Totally Back," 1 May 2019 The now-defunct chain will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who lived through its countrywide domination in the 90s, its painful early aughts decline, and inevitable bankruptcy in 2010. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Nostalgia Alert: A Blockbuster Board Game Exists," 4 June 2019 Read the oral history of the late-aught electro anthem below. Kat Bein, Billboard, "An Oral History of The Bloody Beetroots & Steve Aoki's 'Warp,' 10 Years Later," 3 June 2019 The trend continued throughout the aughts, expanding to include more rap and dance, by artists such as Nelly, 50 Cent and Soulja Boy. Charles Stockdale, USA TODAY, "The most popular song from the year you were born," 9 July 2018 Then, by the late aughts, it was pushed to the back of the closet, like most trends from that period (bike shorts, chunky sneakers, big logos). Glamour, "Halter Tops Are Shaping Up to Be Summer 2019’s Biggest Throwback Trend," 23 Apr. 2019 But in the aughts, the then-emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, wanted a more potent symbol of national identity. Julie Lasky, ELLE Decor, "ED First Look: The National Museum of Qatar," 26 Mar. 2019 Just figuring out how to handle your pets remains—cremation, burial, hanging in a vial around your neck like how Angelina Jolie carried around Billy Bob Thornton's blood in the early aughts—is difficult. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "You Can Now Turn Your Pet Into a Diamond After They Pass Away," 1 Apr. 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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Dictionary Entries near aught

Auger shower

auger stem






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Time Traveler for aught

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

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\ ˈȯt How to pronounce aught (audio) \

Kids Definition of aught

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More from Merriam-Webster on aught

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aught

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aught

Nglish: Translation of aught for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aught for Arabic Speakers

Comments on aught

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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