or nought



a cipher (0); zero.


lost; ruined.
Archaic. worthless; useless.
Obsolete. morally bad; wicked.


Obsolete. not.


    come to naught, to come to nothing; be without result or fruition; fail.
    set at naught, to regard or treat as of no importance; disdain: He entered a milieu that set his ideals at naught.

Origin of naught

before 900; Middle English; Old English nauht, nāwiht ( no1 + wiht thing). See nought, wight1, whit
Can be confusednaught nought Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for naught

Contemporary Examples of naught

Historical Examples of naught

  • So it seemed that they had naught to fear, save the daily chance of life and death.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • Of that performance let naught be spoken, save in reverence.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • I mind the time when her yellow arms were naught but bone and parchment.

  • They, having eaten, had naught to do, and were only waiting a decent hour for departure.

  • This time he thought he was dead himself; he was naught but an empty sepulchre.

British Dictionary definitions for naught



archaic, or literary nothing or nothingness; ruin or failure
a variant spelling (esp US) of nought
set at naught to have disregard or scorn for; disdain


archaic, or literary not at allit matters naught


obsolete worthless, ruined, or wicked

Word Origin for naught

Old English nāwiht, from no 1 + wiht thing, person; see wight 1, whit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for naught

Old English nawiht "nothing," lit "no whit," from na "no" (from PIE root *ne- "no, not;" see un- (1)) + wiht "thing, creature, being" (see wight). Cognate with Old Saxon neowiht "nothing," Old High German niwiht, Gothic ni waihts. It also developed an adjectival sense in Old English, "good for nothing," which by mid-16c. had focused to "morally bad, wicked." In arithmetic, "the figure zero" from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with naught


see come to nothing (naught).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.