Definition of naught in US English:



  • Nothing.

    ‘he's naught but a worthless fool’
    • ‘I think of political prisoners on hunger strikes around the world; my suffering is naught compared to theirs.’
    • ‘When naught remained of the wound but the scar, the flow of light to the wound stopped, flowing about her hands, then vanished.’
    • ‘‘He is my little brother, he is naught but seven years old,’ Katrina spoke up as she rose from her chair.’
    • ‘He has it by my leave, so there's naught to worry about.’
    • ‘Chris' expression betrayed naught but the purest innocence.’
    • ‘First, think of a person who lives in disguise, who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.’
    • ‘Yet, tragically, the effort seems to have been for naught.’
    • ‘Against our resolve, their millions shall count for naught.’
    • ‘He's sailing as we speak, he just left the harbor naught but an hour ago.’
    • ‘So be sure that naught but truth lies upon these pages.’
    • ‘Sounds like you're really working it - make sure you get adequate rest, or all that work could be for naught.’
    • ‘‘I seek naught but to rule alongside my mother over this land,’ Rene said simply.’
    • ‘But suddenly, your preparation seems like it was all for naught.’
    • ‘But these were naught but the idle dreams of a fanciful girl.’
    • ‘As Lucretius has stated, naught from naught can be created.’
    • ‘I found that my benevolent intentions, not to mention my philanthropic soul were all for naught.’
    • ‘There's naught to get my teeth into, naught to be telling me what they mean.’
    • ‘With naught but a tent for shelter, the traveler is in constant danger - both from bandits and the elements.’
    • ‘And Unless we keep this planet healthy, everything else is for naught.’
    nothing, nothing at all, nought, nil, zero
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North American
  • The digit 0; zero.

    • ‘From zero to naught, I cannot be free of this thought, inside my head,’
    • ‘It is a series of numbers, hyphens, naughts, strokes, and zeds.’
    • ‘Or maybe they forgot to put a extra naught on the end of the figure they offered.’
    • ‘Ryan was just hysterically laughing, asking how it was a twenty-one year old could lose to a five year old child in naughts and crosses.’
    • ‘Those naughts and ones are then what we call modulated, or carried if you like, as a passenger on a radio frequency signal.’
    • ‘In reciprocation, however, he got a big naught.’


  • bring to naught

    • archaic Ruin or foil.

      • ‘All of the divisions of Us, predicated upon the beast within, are brought to naught.’
      • ‘In 1989, courageous people brought to naught the Berlin Wall.’
      • ‘Such recommendations will only bring to naught efforts to increase cooperation and decrease politicization among States.’
      ruin, wreck, destroy, devastate, wreak havoc on, reduce to nothing, blight, smash, shatter, dash, torpedo, scotch, make a mess of, mess up
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  • come to naught

    • archaic Be ruined or foiled.

      • ‘Hopes were then pinned on the disciplinary investigation of 20 senior officials - which has come to naught.’
      • ‘Yet all will come to naught without international political, administrative and financial support on an unprecedented scale.’
      • ‘Many years of work and negotiations came to naught.’
      • ‘My attempts to raise money in France and Germany have come to naught.’
      • ‘He said unless the boxers worked on their fighting skills, the quest for effective competition and excellence on the international scene would come to naught.’
      • ‘Attempts so far to forge a compromise have come to naught, leaving the upcoming session disturbingly unsettled.’
      • ‘I believe all this arguing and toing and froing will come to naught in the end.’
      • ‘Now it seems all their efforts have come to naught.’
      • ‘Everything he tries with the boy comes to naught!’
      • ‘All the extravagant statements come to naught.’
      fail, founder, be unsuccessful, not succeed, lack success, fall through, fall flat, break down, abort, miscarry, be defeated, suffer defeat, be in vain, be frustrated, collapse, misfire, backfire, not come up to scratch, meet with disaster, come to grief, come to nothing, miss the mark, run aground, go wrong, go awry, go astray
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  • set at naught

    • archaic Disregard or despise.

      • ‘In the other case the Court will not allow its process to be set at naught and treated with contempt.’
      • ‘It is not easy to trace the motives of the reformers or their inheritors as they gradually set at naught large elements of symbol in worship.’
      • ‘It only helps to be able to lock people up without trial if you know who they are - if you don't, your strategy is set at naught.’
      • ‘In this way a party who is in breach of the contract will be able to set at naught an exclusive jurisdiction agreement which is the product of the free will of the parties.’
      • ‘The fact of the matter is that rising inflation is setting at naught the modest gains in take-home pay granted through tax reform and income rises.’
      defy, refuse to obey, go against, rebel against, scorn, disdain, show contempt for, fly in the face of, thumb one's nose at, make a fool of, poke fun at
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Old English nāwiht, -wuht, from nā ‘no’ + wiht ‘thing’ (see wight).