ought


ought
ought1
1. (used to express duty or moral obligation): Every citizen ought to help.
2. (used to express justice, moral rightness, or the like): He ought to be punished. You ought to be ashamed.
3. (used to express propriety, appropriateness, etc.): You ought to be home early. We ought to bring her some flowers.
4. (used to express probability or natural consequence): That ought to be our train now.
n.
5. duty or obligation.
[bef. 900; ME ought, aught, OE ahte, past tense of agan to OWE]
Syn. 1. See must1.
Usage. OUGHT1 forms its negative in a number of ways. OUGHT NOT occurs in all types of speech and writing and is fully standard: The conferees ought not to waste time on protocol. OUGHTN'T, largely a spoken form, is found mainly in the Midland and Southern dialects of the United States, where it is almost the universal form. HADN'T OUGHT is a common spoken form in the Northern dialect area. It is sometimes condemned in usage guides and is uncommon in educated speech except of the most informal variety. DIDN'T OUGHT and SHOULDN'T OUGHT are considered nonstandard.
Both positive and negative forms of OUGHT are almost always followed by the infinitive form: We ought to go now. You ought not to worry about it. Occasionally, to is omitted after the negative construction: Congress ought not adjourn without considering this bill.
ought2
/awt/, n., adv.
aught1.
ought3
/awt/, n.
aught2.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • ought — ought·lins; ought·ness; ought; …   English syllables

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  • ought|n't — «AWT uhnt», ought not …   Useful english dictionary

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