aught

1 of 3

pronoun

ˈȯt How to pronounce aught (audio)
ˈät
1
2
: all, everything
for aught I care
for aught we know

aught

2 of 3

adverb

archaic
: at all

aught

3 of 3

noun

1
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

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 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
The late '90s and early aughts were the last peak for movie stars. Amanda Luberto, The Arizona Republic, 12 Apr. 2024 And who could forget the ubiquitous flower crown atop brides in the early aughts? Shelby Wax, Vogue, 12 Apr. 2024 Director Ryuhei Kitamura invites nearly every character, trope, theme, and, most importantly, monster from Godzilla’s first half-century into this feverish explosion of early aughts action. Katie Rife, EW.com, 28 Mar. 2024 Well into the aughts, much of the coverage of Black American tech usage had a tone of incredulity or outright condescension. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 12 Apr. 2024 The campaign was inspired by the early aughts, particularly the years 2003 to 2010. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 12 Apr. 2024 End of carousel Regina and Reina glommed onto the idea of making a Chisholm biopic — the first, despite the representative’s many accomplishments — in the late aughts. Helena Andrews-Dyer, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2024 Towards the late aughts, the Princess of Wales would opt for wedges with floral dresses in the summer months. Alex Kessler, Vogue, 21 Mar. 2024 The soup gained traction in the late aughts, likely when the Campbell’s Soup Co. published a recipe for it that included beef broth. Christina Morales, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aught.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Pronoun and Adverb

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

Noun

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

First Known Use

Pronoun

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

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Dictionary Entries Near aught

Cite this Entry

“Aught.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aught. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

aught

1 of 2 pronoun
ˈȯt How to pronounce aught (audio)
ˈät
: all entry 3 sense 1
for aught we know

aught

2 of 2 noun
1
2
: the first decade of a century
Etymology

Pronoun

Old English āwiht "anything," from ā "ever, always" and wiht "creature, thing"

Noun

from naught "zero," from mistaking a naught for an aught

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