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The Very Unnaughty Noughties

In previous centuries each decade has generally had a label based on its numerical value:

  • 1950-1959: The Fifties
  • 1960-1969: The Sixties
  • 1970-1979: The Seventies
  • 1980-1989: The Eighties
  • 1990-1999: The Nineties

Now it seems that the first decade of the 21st century (2000-2009) is being called The Noughties (“nought” = 0 or zero).

We must take care not to confuse this with the adjective “naughty”, which can mean:

  • disobedient (especially for children)
  • slightly rude, badly behaved, indecent, sexually “improper”, obscene, pornographic etc

Wonderful as it might be to call the 21st century’s first decade The Naughty Noughties (like The Swinging Sixties), this is impossible as it was one of the most proper – even pious – periods in history, in which political correctitude came of age and fundamentalists of all religions gained ascendancy.

24 Responses to “The Very Unnaughty Noughties”

  1. nadira says:

    the naughty noughties… i wonder what noughties mean?

  2. Joe says:

    nought = 0
    2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09
    The Noughties is the decade beginning with “nought”.

  3. Linda k (Hollywood) says:

    Hi Joe
    Happy New year 2010. I hope you are enjoy
    the wonder of the beautiful holiday season.
    “The Very Unnaughty Noughties ” Is meaning A decade
    has 10 years. It starts with year “1” and end at the conclusion of year “10” The first decade of
    the 21st century began Jan 1 2001 and will end
    31 2010 10 full years later.
    Happy New year
    Linda kosolsak (Hollywood)

  4. Pooh says:


    I have something to say about ” NAUGHTIES “.
    I met with my life partner in ” NAUGHTIES “.
    I got married in ” NAUGHTIES “.
    I had my first baby in ” NAUGHTIES “.
    I had good a time in ” NAUGHTIES “.
    And will never ever forget ” NAUGHTIES “.
    ” Happy New Year to all “.

  5. Dr.S.P.Singh Bhadauria says:

    Dear Josef
    Happy new year2010
    thanks a lot for giving us the new meaning of the word naughty.Its very interesting and realistic too to know the meaning of the word,and at the same time to label this decade as naughty is highly realistic.
    thanks and regards

  6. Samir Alyousef says:

    Hi Josef
    Happy new year to all
    It is nice to tell us the meaning of the word naughty.
    Best regards
    and thank you

  7. Tiky says:

    Thanks Josef. It’s interesting. I will tell my students. Happy noughties.

  8. sarah says:


    I was wondering about how we should say “2010”. “Two thousand ten” or “Twenty ten”?

    Who could help me???

  9. mohammed says:

    hi everbody
    i wish you all the best

  10. Huyhuynh says:

    Happy new year 2010.
    thank you very much for help me alot the last year on learning English.
    in this lesson I only see that on the decades be gin with 0, 5,6,7,8,9 are the noughties, fifties… and I wonder what about the decades with 1,2,3,4. how to call? could you help me?
    Thank you.
    wish for all of us this year happy, safety and many lucky.

  11. Umesh says:

    hi Joe wishing u glorios & NAUGHTY naughty hapy new year 2010. May u get all kinds of naughties

  12. Joe says:

    Note to Sarah above:

    There are variations but personally I say twenty-ten for 2010, just as most people say nineteen-ten for 1910.

  13. pierre corso says:

    Happy New Year 2010 and Happy Naughty Noughties !
    thank you so much for your great website and wish you ‘ll be naughtier 🙂 .

  14. Inoue Aiko says:

    Hi… Joe
    Thanks to specially to you
    Joe actually base on your tips 2009 is being noughties which is 2,010
    we’re not be able to confuse noughty.

  15. Afra says:

    The Very Unnaughty Noughties”
    Very unaughty, it means , not bad.
    Noughties, it means Noughtiest, badly behaved, especially by being mischievous or disobedient

  16. ekasofia says:

    how about 2011?how to call?
    i also confused how to say number n time

    would u help me?

  17. Josef says:

    I’d say the same as @Ian(17), “twenty-eleven”, but I think the trendy new way to say it in Wall Street is “two-eleven”.

  18. Ian says:

    Ekasofia: I think I can help you. We mostly say twenty-eleven for 2011.

  19. queen says:

    hi joe!!
    what is the mean of noughtie??
    i can’t understand!!!

  20. lolaaa says:


  21. lolaa says:


  22. bichphuong says:

    hi everyone.I’m a new member. happy new year to all of you. let’s study hard

  23. Joshua says:

    Hello! I’m joshua! Can you be a little bit clear with this! From 2000 to 2011 and 1900 to 1999?

  24. Joshua says:

    I’m used to following this siteweb! But today I want to ask this questions!

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