\ ˈȯt How to pronounce ought (audio) \

Definition of ought

 (Entry 1 of 4)

used to express obligation ought to pay our debts , advisability ought to take care of yourself , natural expectation ought to be here by now , or logical consequence the result ought to be infinity

ought

verb
\ ˈȯ(ḵ)t How to pronounce ought (audio) \

Definition of ought (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 chiefly Scotland : possess
2 chiefly Scotland : owe

ought

noun
\ ˈȯt How to pronounce ought (audio) \

Definition of ought (Entry 3 of 4)

: moral obligation : duty

ought

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

Definition of ought (Entry 4 of 4)

archaic spelling of

Examples of ought in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb This is another way of acknowledging difference, with the recognition that some differences are not so desirable, but that differences from our own ways of thinking ought not to put a work on the Index of Forbidden Books. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 Embassies should be small slices of U.S. outside our shores, and diplomats ought to promote the nation’s best attributes. Dave Seminara, WSJ, 31 May 2021 The public at large also remains on edge as to whether a murderer is still loose within their community and ought to have already been captured and detained. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 22 May 2021 The question is whether Republicans will rediscover the small 'c' conservative principle that freeways are not free and that those who benefit from infrastructure ought to pay for it. Aaron Klein, CNN, 14 May 2021 Philosophy teaches you to reason beyond your subjective opinions; the Socratic Method of argumentative dialogue stresses the importance of public speaking and to think quickly; To never accept what is as what ought to be. Teddy Mcdarrah, Forbes, 27 May 2021 Philadelphia's approach, and similar measures in other areas, including Virginia, inject a necessary dose of urgency while maintaining a focus on what ought to be the clear goal: keeping people in their homes. Star Tribune, 26 May 2021 As ought to be well known by now, claims of mass voter fraud are specious always and everywhere. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 13 May 2021 Crook’s latest study suggests that there ought to be more focus on the welfare of these animals, which are currently unprotected in both research and industry in the U.S.. Anna Blaustein, Scientific American, 23 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kevin Liles and Rob Stevenson today (June 17) unveil the music company's latest endeavor, Sparta Distribution, a new service that ought to give DIY artists a fighting chance. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 17 June 2021 Decisions that ought to be science-based are being increasingly driven by politics, wishful thinking, and even delusion. Sam Gandy, STAT, 17 June 2021 However, what is notable about the magnetic fields that ought to be present in the galaxy’s center is their unusually large strength. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 1 June 2021 At the heart of a SPAC is a tension over who ought to be allowed to tell financial stories to the public. Charles Duhigg, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 But here's one observation made after the suspect's arrest that ought to be remembered: When asked about the shooter's possible motivation, Cherokee County sheriff's Capt. Arkansas Online, 20 Mar. 2021 But here's one observation made after the suspect's arrest that ought to be remembered: When asked about the shooter's possible motivation, Cherokee County Sheriff's Capt. Star Tribune, 19 Mar. 2021 This is another way of acknowledging difference, with the recognition that some differences are not so desirable, but that differences from our own ways of thinking ought not to put a work on the Index of Forbidden Books. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 Embassies should be small slices of U.S. outside our shores, and diplomats ought to promote the nation’s best attributes. Dave Seminara, WSJ, 31 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ought.' 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 ought

Auxiliary verb

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1678, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ought

Auxiliary verb

Middle English oughte (1st & 3rd singular present indicative), from oughte, 1st & 3rd singular past indicative & subjunctive of owen to own, owe — more at owe

Verb

Middle English oughte, 1st & 3rd singular past indicative of owen

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Learn More About ought

Time Traveler for ought

Time Traveler

The first known use of ought was in the 12th century

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Statistics for ought

Last Updated

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ought.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ought. Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for ought

ought

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ought

used to indicate what is expected
used to say or suggest what should be done

ought

helping verb
\ ˈȯt How to pronounce ought (audio) \

Kids Definition of ought

1 used to show duty You ought to obey your parents.
2 used to show what it would be wise to do You ought to take care of that cough.
3 used to show what is naturally expected They ought to be here by now.
4 used to show what is correct You ought to get nine for the answer.

More from Merriam-Webster on ought

Nglish: Translation of ought for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ought for Arabic Speakers

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