• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Ought Owned; possessed. "The knight the which that castle ought ."
    • n. & adv Ought See Aught.
    • Ought To be bound in duty or by moral obligation. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak."
    • Ought 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.""To speak of this as it ought , would ask a volume.""Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?"
    • Ought Was or were under obligation to pay; owed. "This due obedience which they ought to the king.""The love and duty I long have ought you.""He] said . . . you ought him a thousand pound."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Before coming to the White House, Nancy and Ronald Reagan were actors. During their earlier careers each was involved in a performance that foreshadowed their later lives. In 1939, the then Nancy Davis had one line in a high school play called, eerily enough, "First Lady." It was, "They ought to elect the First Lady and then let her husband be president." She and her future husband also appeared in an episode of the "General Electric TV Theater" called "A Turkey for the President".
    • ought Same as aught. Compare naught, nought.
    • ought Owned; the preterit of the verb owe, to possess, own. See owe.
    • ought Owed; the preterit and past participle of the verb owe, to be indebted or obliged.
    • ought To be held or bound in duty or moral obligation.
    • ought To be fit or expedient in a moral view; be a natural or expected consequence, result, effect, etc.
    • ought To be necessary or advisable; behoove.
    • ought To befit: used impersonally.
    • ought = Syn. 3-5. Ought, Should. Ought is the stronger, expressing especially obligations of duty, with some weaker use in expressing interest or necessity: as, you ought to know, if any one does. Should sometimes expresses duty: as, we should be careful of others' feelings; but generally expresses propriety, expediency, etc.: as, we should dot our i's and cross our t's.
    • n ought Possession: same as aught.
    • n ought Nought; a cipher.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Ought awt (same as Aught) a vulgar corr. of nought
    • v.i Ought awt to be under obligation: to be proper or necessary
    • adv Ought at all, in any degree
    • ***


  • German Proverb
    German Proverb
    “Take the world as it is, not as it ought to be.”
  • Book Of Common Prayer
    Book Of Common Prayer
    “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”
  • C. S. Lewis
    “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”
  • Mark Twain
    “To stop smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know; I've done it a thousand times.”
  • Immanuel Kant
    “What can I know? What ought I to do? What can I hope?”
  • Feoude
    “A man can do what he ought to do; and when he says he cannot, it is because he will not.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Orig. the preterit of the verb to owe,. OE. oughte, aughte, ahte, AS. āhte,. √110. See Owe


In literature:

But I don't know that I ought to tell you about it; I reckon I ought to let it go.
"Old Ebenezer" by Opie Read
It kind o' seems as though I ought to have it; it fits on so nice to mine.
"Janet's Love and Service" by Margaret M Robertson
No, I ought not; mamma thinks I ought not to marry.
"A Little Girl of Long Ago" by Amanda Millie Douglas
You ought all to have cast away your glasses regardless of expense.
"The History of Sir Richard Calmady" by Lucas Malet
That will settle it unless he thinks you ought to go to school.
"A Little Girl in Old Boston" by Amanda Millie Douglas
Youth ought to consider this, and study the human frame.
"The Young Man's Guide" by William A. Alcott
You ought to have heard of him.
"General John Regan" by George A. Birmingham
It ought to be thirty shillings, so it ought.
"Lady Bountiful" by George A. Birmingham
It was impossible that Sophia's studies could go on as they ought to do.
"Deerbrook" by Harriet Martineau
She ought to have done better, for she was really beautiful.
"Floyd Grandon's Honor" by Amanda Minnie Douglas

In poetry:

Liz says we really ought to try
Our best to love our Aunt;
And then, in bed, Liz starts to cry —
The silly! — 'cause she can't!
"A Little Boys Ideas" by John Joy Bell
Don't think that there's any grave here,
Or that I'll come and throw you out…
I myself was too much given
To laughing when one ought not.
"Much Like Me" by Marina Ivanova Tsvetaeva
As no one there can ought require,
Since all enjoy their heart's desire —
So nothing grows in that bless'd soil,
Whereat man's nature can recoil.
"Concerning The New Jerusalem" by Rees Prichard
Was it wronging her Christ-Son, I wonder,
For the Christian to honor her so?
Ought her statue pass out of His temple?
Ask the Feast in its surplice of snow.
"The Immaculate Conception" by Abram Joseph Ryan
I answer, yes, if he who fought,
Fought bravely and believed he ought.
If that can be;
If manhood in the mighty test
Of mankind does its manliest
"Stonewall Jackson" by Albery Allson Whitman
He meant earth for a Garden Spot
Where spirits could return,
And build new heavens as they ought;
And now behold! what men have wrought
By deeds that blight and burn.
"Discredited" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In news:

But I think you really ought to give them a second look.
In fact, we're pretty sure she ought to teach a certification course for local bouncers .
A few things you ought to know about the week ahead Big day at Crane Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the Navy's top admiral, will visit the Naval Support Activity Crane on Monday.
If President is Serious About Negotiations, He Ought to Put Obamacare on the Table'.
Then you probably ought to go to this.
You ought to check out "Don't Trust the B " — it's funny stuff.
In a separate survey, 77% said all Americans ought to be able to pass the citizenship test, and 60% said it should be a requirement for high school graduation.
At a time when so many states have sharp differences with the federal government, prompt resolution of veterans' disability claims ought to be one area in which all parties are able to collaborate .
The boats should be back in port by Wednesday evening, and the first crabs ought to be available perhaps Thursday.
Conservatives are supposed to cherish tradition, to draw on customs and policies which worked well in the past to guide what office-holders ought to do in the future.
Recently, I was reading another article that said that the church should be like Apple computers and pastors ought to be like Steve Jobs.
Anyone who knows Dan Deacon ought to know he's no stranger to television.
) I think all kids ought to be looked at.
And he ought to know.
Looking in the mirror, you the driver ought to give you the walker a piece of your mind, and then switch roles.

In science:

There is yet another choice of parameter that we ought to consider.
Null Geodesics in Five Dimensional Manifolds
Furthermore such an order-parameter function ought to admit a replica-symmetric ansatz or other schemes and an analytic continuation n → 0.
Metastable configurations of spin models on random graphs
The scheme of section 2 ought to be adaptable to calculate charge correlation functions in this case.
Correlations and screening of topological charges in gaussian random fields
The Heisenberg and the Schr¨odinger picture ought to agree on their quantum-mechanical predictions, on expectation values, and this is how we deduce the quantum-state transformations from the linear mode transformations (3.1) [118].
Quantum Physics of Simple Optical Instruments
That ought to be compared with the uncertainty of QED calculations (2 ppm) and the uncertainty of the contributions of the nuclear effects.
Simple Atoms, Quantum Electrodynamics and Fundamental Constants