What does ought mean?

Definitions for ought

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word ought.

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  1. oughtnoun

    cipher, zero, nought.

  2. Etymology: ahte, past tense of agan

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Oughtnoun

    Any thing; not nothing.

    Etymology: awhit , that is, a whit, Saxon.

    For ought that I can understand, there is no part but the bare English pale, in which the Irish have not the greatest footing. Edmund Spenser, on Ireland.

    He asked him if he saw ought. Mark viii. 23.

    To do ought good never will be our task;
    But ever to do ill our sole delight. John Milton, Par. Lost.

    Universal Lord! be bounteous still
    To give us only good; and if the night
    Have gather’d ought of evil, or conceal’d,
    Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark. John Milton.

  2. Oughtverb imperfect.

    but it has often a present signification.

    Etymology: This word the etymologists make the preterite of owe,

    Apprehending the occasion, I will add a continuance to that happy motion, and besides give you some tribute of the love and duty I long have ought you. Henry Spelman.

    This blood which men by treason sought,
    That followed, sir, which to myself I ought. Dryden.

    Judges ought to remember, that their office is to interpret law, and not to make or give law. Francis Bacon.

    Morals criticks ought to show. Alexander Pope.

    She acts just as she ought,
    But never, never reach’d one generous thought. Alexander Pope.

    If grammar ought to be taught, it must be to one that can speak the language already. John Locke.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ought

    awt, n. (same as Aught) a vulgar corr. of nought.—adv. (Scot.) Ought′lings, at all, in any degree.

  2. Ought

    awt, v.i. to be under obligation: to be proper or necessary.—n. Ought′ness, rightness. [A.S. áhte, pa.t. of ágan, to owe.]

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ought' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2070

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ought' in Written Corpus Frequency: #675

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ought' in Verbs Frequency: #339

How to pronounce ought?

How to say ought in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ought in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ought in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of ought in a Sentence

  1. Michael Isikoff:

    NBC has the full tape of the original Lisa Myers interview, nBC ought to check its archive and run the full interview.

  2. Raymond Chandler:

    Common sense always speaks too late. Common sense is the guy who tells you ought to have had your brakes relined last week before you smashed a front end this week. Common sense is the Monday morning quarterback who could have won the ball game if he had been on the team. But he never is. He's high up in the stands with a flask on his hip. Common sense is the little man in a gray suit who never makes a mistake in addition. But it's always somebody else's money he's adding up.

  3. Francis Bacon:

    He of whom many are afraid ought to fear many.

  4. Ben Shapiro:

    If they are so pathetic that they can't be bothered to show up and discuss my fact-based perspectives with me, they don't belong at a major university, perhaps they ought to try pre-school rather than college, where they can feel safe and enjoy nap time, too.

  5. Senate Republicans:

    We ought not be filibustering things like equal voting rights.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for ought

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    a sharp hand gesture (resembling a blow)
    • A. abandon
    • B. impurity
    • C. scholastic
    • D. jab

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