Meaning of OUGHT in English


I. ˈȯt verbal auxiliary

Etymology: Middle English oughte (1st & 3d singular present indicative), from oughte, 1st & 3d singular past indicative & subjunctive of owen to own, owe — more at owe

Date: 12th century

— used to express obligation

ought to pay our debts


ought to take care of yourself

natural expectation

ought to be here by now

or logical consequence

the result ought to be infinity

II. ˈȯ(ḵ)t transitive verb

Etymology: Middle English oughte, 1st & 3d singular past indicative of owen

Date: 13th century

1. chiefly Scottish : possess

2. chiefly Scottish : owe

III. ˈȯt noun

Date: 1678

: moral obligation : duty

IV. ˈȯt, ˈät

archaic variant of aught

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.