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Nov 28, 2003
This week's theme
Words formed in error

This week's words

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aught, also ought

(awt) Pronunciation RealAudio

pronoun: Anything whatever.
adverb: In any respect.

[From Middle English, from Old English from á, ó (ever) + wiht (thing).]

noun: 1. Zero. 2. Nothing.

[From a naught, misdivided as an aught.]

Other words formed from the same process of respelling or false splitting are nickname (from "an ekename"), apron (a napperon), adder (a nadder), uncle (a nuncle), umpire (a noumpere), auger (a nauger), nonce (from the phrase "for the nones", by misdivision of "for then ones").

"Now, as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas's position, question his motives, or do aught that can be personally offensive to him."
Abraham Lincoln; A House Divided Speech; June 16, 1858.

"No parent seemed to be aware of him, he made no effort to approach any of the traders. He patiently sat and waited for aught."
Roger Harrison; Adam and Eid; Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia); Nov 20, 2003.


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