See more synonyms for nought on

Origin of nought

before 900; Middle English; Old English nōht, contraction of nōwiht, equivalent to ne not + ōwiht aught1
Can be confusednaught nought


or nought

  1. nothing.
  2. a cipher (0); zero.
  1. lost; ruined.
  2. Archaic. worthless; useless.
  3. Obsolete. morally bad; wicked.
  1. Obsolete. not.
  1. come to naught, to come to nothing; be without result or fruition; fail.
  2. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for nought

Historical Examples of nought

  • Why should we tarry any longer to see everything moiled and set at nought?

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • I said nought to him, for I trow thou wouldst not have him know thy plight!

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • The castle is taken and on fire, the seneschal is slain, and there is nought left for us.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • He took sabbatarianism as a type of the things that should be set at nought.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • "But nought have I to pay thee with, good fellow," quoth the Tinker.

British Dictionary definitions for nought


noun Also: naught, ought, aught
  1. the digit 0; zero: used esp in counting or numbering
noun, adjective, adverb
  1. a variant spelling of naught

Word Origin for nought

Old English nōwiht, from ne not, no + ōwiht something; see whit


  1. archaic, or literary nothing or nothingness; ruin or failure
  2. a variant spelling (esp US) of nought
  3. set at naught to have disregard or scorn for; disdain
  1. archaic, or literary not at allit matters naught
  1. 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 nought

Old English nowiht "nothing," variant of nawiht (see naught). Meaning "zero, cipher" is from early 15c. Expression for nought "in vain" is late 13c. To come to nought is from 1590s.



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 nought


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.