ought

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English oughte, aughte, aȝte, ahte, from Old English āhte, first and third person singular past tense of Old English āgan (to own, possess), equivalent to owe +‎ -t.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

ought

  1. (obsolete) simple past tense of owe

Verb[edit]

ought

  1. (auxiliary) Indicating duty or obligation.
    I ought to vote in the coming election.
  2. (auxiliary) Indicating advisability or prudence.
    You ought to stand back from the edge of the platform.
  3. (auxiliary) Indicating desirability.
    He ought to read the book; it was very good.
  4. (auxiliary) Indicating likelihood or probability.
    We ought to arrive by noon if we take the motorway.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 3, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      My hopes wa'n't disappointed. I never saw clams thicker than they was along them inshore flats. I filled my dreener in no time, and then it come to me that 'twouldn't be a bad idee to get a lot more, take 'em with me to Wellmouth, and peddle 'em out. Clams was fairly scarce over that side of the bay and ought to fetch a fair price.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Ought is an auxiliary verb; it takes a following verb as its complement. This following verb may appear either as a full infinitive (such as “to go”) or a bare infinitive (such as simple “go”), depending on region and speaker; the same range of meanings is possible in either case. Additionally, it's possible for ought not to take any complement, in which case a verb complement is implied, as in, “You really ought to [do so].”
  • The negative of ought is either ought not (to) or oughtn't (to) (yet oughtn't've: oughtn't *(to) have)
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]
See also[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

ought

  1. Alternative spelling of aught; anything
    • 1658, Joseph Hall, The Devout Soul, Or, Rules of Heavenly Devotion Also the Free Prisoner, Or, the Comfort of Restraint
      Is it a small benefit, that I am placed there [] where I see no drunken comessations, no rebellious routs, no violent oppressions, no obscene rejoicings, nor ought else that might either vex or affright my soul?

Adverb[edit]

ought (not comparable)

  1. Alternative spelling of aught; at all, to any degree.

Noun[edit]

ought (plural oughts)

  1. A statement of what ought to be the case as contrasted with what is the case.
    • 1996, Mortimer Jerome Adler, The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense[1]:
      There are value judgments that are not reducible to observable matters of fact, and there are oughts that cannot be construed as hypothetical and, therefore, cannot be converted into statements of fact.
    • 2004, Jacques Maritain, John G. Trapani, Truth Matters: Essays in Honor of Jacques Maritain[2]:
      Is there a fallacy involved in deriving an ought from a set of exclusively factual or descriptive premises?

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

ought (plural oughts)

  1. Alternative spelling of aught; cipher, zero, nought.

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old English āht, ōht, shortening of āwiht, ōwiht.

Pronunciation[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

ought

  1. anything, everything
  2. something

Descendants[edit]

  • English: ought, aught, owt
  • Scots: owt
  • Yola: aught

References[edit]