AskDefine | Define ought

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

ahte, past tense of āgan.

Pronunciation

Verb form

ought
  1. simple past of owe
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Folio Society 2006, vol. 1 p. 182:
      witnesse Aristippus, who being urged with the affection he ought his children, as proceeding from his loynes, began to spit [...].

Verb

  1. Indicating duty or obligation.
    You ought to vote in the coming election.
  2. Indicating advisability or prudence.
    You ought to stand back from the edge of the platform.
  3. Indicating desirability.
    You ought to have seen the film; it was very good.
  4. Indicating likelihood or probability.
    You ought to arrive by noon if you take the motorway.

Usage notes

  • Ought is an auxiliary verb; it takes a following verb as its complement. This verb may be appear either as a full infinitive (such as "to go") or a bare infinitive (such as simple "go"), depending on region and speaker; the same range of meanings is possible in either case. Additionally, it's possible for ought not to take any complement, in which case a verb complement is implied, as in, "You really ought to [do so]."
  • The negative of ought is either ought not (to) or oughtn't (to)

Synonyms

See also

Translations

indicating duty or obligation
  • Danish: burde
  • Finnish: pitää in conditional, tulla in conditional, kuulua in conditional
  • Portuguese: dever
  • Spanish: deber in either indicative or conditional.
  • Swedish: borde
indicating advisability or prudence
  • Danish: burde
  • Finnish: pitää in conditional
  • Portuguese: dever
  • Spanish: deber in either indicative or conditional.
  • Swedish: borde
indicating desirability
  • Danish: burde
  • Finnish: pitää in conditional
  • Portuguese: dever
  • Spanish: deber in either indicative or conditional.
  • Swedish: borde
indicating likelihood or probability
  • Danish: burde
  • Finnish: pitää in conditional
  • Portuguese: dever
  • Spanish: deber in either indicative or conditional.
  • Swedish: borde

Pronoun

  1. alternative spelling of aught

Adverb

  1. alternative spelling of aught

See also

References

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