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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Aught \Aught\, n. [OE. aught, ought, awiht, AS. [=a]wiht, [=a] ever + wiht. [root]136. See Aye ever, and Whit, Wight.] Anything; any part. [Also written ought.]

There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord has spoken.
--Josh. xxi. 45

But go, my son, and see if aught be wanting.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English ahte "owned, possessed," past tense of agan "to own, possess, owe" (see owe). As a past tense of owe, it shared in that word's evolution and meant at times in Middle English "possessed" and "under obligation to pay." It has been detached from owe since 17c., though he aught me ten pounds is recorded as active in East Anglian dialect from c.1825. As an auxiliary verb expressing duty or obligation (late 12c., the main modern use), it represents the past subjunctive.


"zero, cipher," 1844, probably a misdivision of a nought (see nought; for misdivision, see N); meaning probably influenced by aught "anything."


Etymology 1 adv. (alternative spelling of aught English) at all, to any degree. n. A statement of what ought to be the case as contrasted with what is the case. pron. (alternative spelling of aught English) anything vb. (context obsolete English) (en-simple pastowe) Etymology 2

n. (alternative spelling of aught English) cipher, zero, nought.


Ought may refer to:

  • One of the English modal verbs
  • One of the names for the number 0 in English
  • A band on the Canadian Constellation Records
Ought (band)

Ought is a Canadian rock band from Montreal.

Ought formed in 2012 when its members began living together in a communal band practice space while they recorded their earliest material. Their debut EP, New Calm, was released in 2012.

After signing with Constellation Records, they released a full-length, More than Any Other Day, in 2014. The album achieved critical acclaim, including a Best New Music rating from Pitchfork Media. It was noted in numerous year-end lists for 2014 including Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Drowned In Sound, Loud and Quiet, Exclaim!, Crack Magazine, and Paste. The Album reached #20 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart in the United States.

In October 2014, the band released Once More With Feeling, an EP featuring B-Sides from More Than Any Other Day and re-recordings of earlier songs.

In July 2015, the band announced a follow-up to More Than Any Other Day, entitled Sun Coming Down.

Usage examples of "ought".

For ourselves, while whatever in us belongs to the body of the All should be yielded to its action, we ought to make sure that we submit only within limits, realizing that the entire man is not thus bound to it: intelligent servitors yield a part of themselves to their masters but in part retain their personality, and are thus less absolutely at beck and call, as not being slaves, not utterly chattels.

The two officers thought that they ought to accede to the proposition, notwithstanding the decree of death which had been pronounced against the whole garrison, in consequence of the town being token by storm.

I can be your doctor, and you ought to know that your accepting my treatment would make me happy.

The only difference is the acknowledgment which a man ought to make, that he does good and thinks truth not of himself but from the Lord, and hence that the good he does and the truth he thinks are not his.

According to the analogy of all other pulvini, such joints ought to continue circumnutating for a long period, after the adjoining parts have ceased to grow.

As with horizontally extended radicles, of which the tip has been cut off or destroyed, the part which ought to bend most remains motionless for many hours or days, although exposed at right angles to the full influence of geotropism, we must conclude that the tip alone is sensitive to this power, and transmits some influence or stimulus to the adjoining parts, causing them to bend.

The anti-courtiers alleged, that the queen could not send a message to any one house to adjourn, but ought to have directed it to both houses.

Sir Alured had said that on such an occasion he, the heir, ought to be on the property with the shortest possible delay.

I said that the tone, the manners I adopted towards her, were those of good society, and proved the great esteem I entertained for her intelligence, but in the middle of all my fine speeches, towards the eleventh or twelfth day of my courtship, she suddenly put me out of all conceit by telling me that, being a priest, I ought to know that every amorous connection was a deadly sin, that God could see every action of His creatures, and that she would neither damn her soul nor place herself under the necessity of saying to her confessor that she had so far forgotten herself as to commit such a sin with a priest.

If a feeling of modesty does not deter you from shewing yourself tender, loving, and full of amorous ardour with me in his presence, how could I be ashamed, when, on the contrary, I ought to feel proud of myself?

Since nobody was going to come looking for them, and knowing that the four others of the Ampersand party ought to have arrived in the vicinity, they had spent two weeks driving brazenly around Weissenberg and the surrounding area in the hope of spotting one of the group or of being recognized themselves.

But when a bunch of men take an' lock you up four years, it ought to have some meaning.

She is acting by me like an angel, and if she were to command me to turn anchoret, I know I ought to obey her.

Christ being now come, all those ceremonies cease: and, therefore, the anointing of kings ought not to be used in the New Testament.

Instead of answering with a caress, as she ought to have done, she began to cry.