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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English noght, noȝt, from Old English nōwiht, which in turn comes from ne-ā-wiht, which was a phrase used as an emphatic "no", meaning "not a thing". Eventually this was reduced into nought, nawt and then not.[1] Doublet of naught.


  • IPA(key): /nɔːt/
  • Rhymes: -ɔːt
  • (file)


nought (plural noughts)

  1. Nothing; something which does not exist.
  2. A thing or person of no worth or value; nil.
  3. (Britain) Not any quantity of number; zero; the score of no points in a game.
    0.4 — nought point four / zero point four
  4. (Britain) The figure or character representing, or having the shape of, zero.

Derived terms[edit]




  1. (obsolete) Good for nothing; worthless.
    • 1611, Authorized King James translation of Proverbs 20:14:
      It is nought, it is nought, saith the buyer, but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
  2. Wicked, immoral.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Fuller:
      No man can be stark nought at once.


nought (third-person singular simple present noughts, present participle noughting, simple past and past participle noughted)

  1. To abase, to set at nought.
    • 1393, Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, translated by Grace Warrack, 1901
      In this naked word sin, our Lord brought to my mind, generally, all that is not good, and the shameful despite and the utter noughting that He bare for us in this life, and His dying; and all the pains and passions of all His creatures, ghostly and bodily; (for we be all partly noughted, and we shall be noughted following our Master, Jesus, till we be full purged, that is to say, till we be fully noughted of our deadly flesh and of all our inward affections which are not very good;)
    • 1983, Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, page 25
      The nought which is you has devoured the style and been sustained for a while as a non-you until the style is emptied out by the noughting self.
    • 2001, William Desmond, Ethics and the Between, page 507
      Your usefulness is zero, your worth zero, and as zero you deserve to be treated as nothing, and in the extreme, noughted.
    • 2003, Wu Wei Wei, The Tenth Man: The Great Joke (which Made Lazarus Laugh), →ISBN, page 81:
      What is the use of noughting yourself? Who is noughting who? What is the use of searching for yourself? Who is searching for who? There are not two of you ! You cannot find yourself, or the absence of yourself.



  1. To no extent; in no way; not at all.
  2. Not.



  1. Nothing; zero.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guy Deutscher, The Unfolding of Language, page 98.