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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English aught, ought, from Old English āht, from ā ‎(always", "ever) + wiht ‎(thing", "creature). More at aye, wight.

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. anything whatever, any part.
    • 1748. David Hume. Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London, Oxford University Press, 1973. § 29.
      to other objects, which for aught we know, may be only in appearance similar
    • Addison
      But go, my son, and see if aught be wanting.
    • 1912: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, chapter 5
      His life among these fierce apes had been happy; for his recollection held no other life, nor did he know that there existed within the universe aught else than his little forest and the wild jungle animals with which he was familiar.
    • 1977: J. R. R. Tolkien, Silmarillion, Ainulindalë
      There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made.

Etymology 2[edit]

Use for "zero" by confusion with naught. Used amongst those which were once called "non-U" speakers of English.


aught ‎(plural aughts)

  1. whit, the smallest part, iota.
  2. (archaic) zero
  3. The digit zero as the decade in years. For example, aught-nine for 1909 or 2009.
Usage notes[edit]

The use of "aught" and "ought" to mean "zero" is very much proscribed as the word "aught" actually means the opposite of "naught": "anything". This may be due to misanalysis, or may simply be the result of unknowing speakers confusing the meanings of "aught" and "naught" for some odd reason.

See also[edit]


aught ‎(not comparable)

  1. (archaic) At all, in any degree, in any respect.


Etymology 3[edit]

PIE root

From Middle English aught, ought, from Old English ǣht, from āgan ‎(to owe", "to own)

Alternative forms[edit]


aught ‎(plural aughts)

  1. Property; possession
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Walter Scott to this entry?)
  2. Duty; place; office


aught ‎(third-person singular simple present aughts, present participle aughting, simple past and past participle aughted)

  1. to own, possess
  2. to owe, be obliged or obligated to


aught ‎(comparative more aught, superlative most aught)

  1. possessed of

Etymology 4[edit]

From Middle English ahte, from Old English eahta ‎(eight). More at eight.



  1. Obsolete or dialectal form of eight.