Ought
Ought Ought, imp., p. p., or auxiliary. [Orig. the preterit of the verb to owe. OE. oughte, aughte, ahte, AS. [=a]hte. [root]110. See {Owe}.] 1. Was or were under obligation to pay; owed. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

This due obedience which they ought to the king. --Tyndale. [1913 Webster]

The love and duty I long have ought you. --Spelman. [1913 Webster]

[He] said . . . you ought him a thousand pound. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. Owned; possessed. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The knight the which that castle ought. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

3. To be bound in duty or by moral obligation. [1913 Webster]

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak. --Rom. xv. 1. [1913 Webster]

4. To be necessary, fit, becoming, or expedient; to behoove; -- in this sense formerly sometimes used impersonally or without a subject expressed. ``Well ought us work.'' --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

To speak of this as it ought, would ask a volume. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things? --Luke xxiv. 26. [1913 Webster]

Note: Ought is now chiefly employed as an auxiliary verb, expressing fitness, expediency, propriety, moral obligation, or the like, in the action or state indicated by the principal verb. [1913 Webster]

Syn: {Ought}, {Should}.

Usage: Both words imply obligation, but ought is the stronger. Should may imply merely an obligation of propriety, expendiency, etc.; ought denotes an obligation of duty. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ought — [ ɔt ] modal verb *** Ought is usually followed by to and an infinitive: You ought to tell the truth. Sometimes it is used without to or a following infinitive in a formal way: I don t practice as often as I ought. It is also used in an informal… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ought — In current use the verb ought is followed by a to infinitive: • You ought to have a cooked breakfast, these cold mornings David Lodge, 1988. Since it is a modal verb, it forms a negative directly with not and forms a question by plain inversion:… …   Modern English usage

  • ought — ought1 [ôt] v.aux. used with infinitives and meaning: 1. to be compelled by obligation or duty [he ought to pay his debts ] or by desirability [you ought to eat more] 2. to be expected or likely [it ought to be over soon]: Past time is expressed… …   English World dictionary

  • ought — ► MODAL VERB (3rd sing. present and past ought) 1) used to indicate duty or correctness. 2) used to indicate something that is probable. 3) used to indicate a desirable or expected state. 4) used to give or ask advice. USAGE The standard… …   English terms dictionary

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

  • Ought — ([add]t), n. & adv. See {Aught}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ought — [[t]ɔ͟ːt[/t]] ♦♦♦ (Ought to is a phrasal modal verb. It is used with the base form of a verb. The negative form of ought to is ought not to, which is sometimes shortened to oughtn t to in spoken English.) 1) PHR MODAL You use ought to to mean… …   English dictionary

  • ought */*/*/ — UK [ɔːt] / US [ɔt] modal verb Summary: Ought is usually followed by to and an infinitive: You ought to tell the truth. Sometimes it is used without to or a following infinitive in a formal way: I don t practise as often as I ought. It is also… …   English dictionary

  • ought — ought1 /awt/, auxiliary verb. 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 …   Universalium

  • ought*/*/*/ — [ɔːt] modal verb summary: ■ Ought is usually followed by ‘to and an infinitive: You ought to tell the truth. Sometimes it is followed by ‘to but no following infinitive: I don t spend as much time with them as I ought to. ■ Ought has no tenses,… …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

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