1 of 2


variants or less commonly nought
: nothing
Their efforts came to naught.
It was all for naught.


2 of 2


variants or less commonly nought
: the arithmetical symbol 0 : zero, cipher

Examples of naught in a Sentence

Noun my locker number is naught-seven-two
Recent Examples on the Web
Scientists use a metric called the basic reproduction number or reproduction value — referred to as R0 and pronounced R naught — to rate how transmissible or contagious a disease is. Jessica Flores, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Aug. 2021 Particularly since quality dialogue is not a strength here, the performers can do naught but try to keep a straight face, some under heavy layers of creature latex. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 12 Jan. 2023 So who is to credit (or perhaps, to blame) for Hanna's ability to crush faces with naught but her hands and an emotionless grimace? Kyle Munkittrick, Discover Magazine, 14 Apr. 2011 What becomes apparent, for example, is that Johnson, Caro, and Gottlieb suffered deeply from the chiding of their furious fathers, who reckoned that their sons would come to naught, and who have since been proved magnificently wrong. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 6 Jan. 2023 But months of tryouts in the lab and driving attempts on Mars come to naught. Aline Reynolds, Discover Magazine, 19 Feb. 2010 There is a nonzero chance that Trump’s bid to reclaim the throne will come to naught. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 3 Dec. 2022 He’s also finally asked (or forced, rather) to leave Khazad-dûm with naught to show for it, which is sure to displease High King Gil-galad. Michael Nordine, Variety, 6 Oct. 2022 Microsoft has revealed a vulnerability in TikTok's mobile apps for Android that hackers could have exploited to gain control over someone's account with naught but a single click. Nathaniel Mott, PCMAG, 1 Sep. 2022

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

Word History


Pronoun and Noun

Middle English nought, from Old English nāwiht, from no + wiht creature, thing — more at no, wight

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near naught

Cite this Entry

“Naught.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 pronoun
variants also nought
: nothing entry 1 sense 2
their efforts came to naught


2 of 2 noun
variants also nought
: the quality or state of being nothing : nonexistence

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