In The Age of the Aughts, Mark Peters discusses the use of "aughts" to refer to the 00s and writes:
Despite the success of "aughts," recent tweets show some people are still paralyzed--or at least amused--with uncertainty as to how they will linguistically look back on 2000 to 2009:
A gold star for word-predicting should go to Visual Thesaurus Editor Ben Zimmer, who speculated on OUP Blog in 2007 that "aughts" had a good chance of winning the race, despite the fact that "aught" isn’t exactly a common word for zero. Zimmer noted that the archaic-sounding word is commonly used in the United States to describe the years 1900 to 1909, and that "mid-aughts" was already starting to pick up steam, potentially sparing us the silliness of no-naming, which Zimmer explained was "…when a radio station announces that it plays ‘hits from the ’80s, ’90s… and today!’
"Amazing how 9 years into this decade there’s still no consensus on what to call it. Can we just go with @maddow’s ‘two-thousandsies’?"
Aug. 21, 2009 Mike McCaffrey
"So we had the 60’s, 70’s 80’s, and 90’s. But what will we call this decade? I'm gonna vote for the Zero’s!"
Aug. 19, 2009 shaythai
"Considering its focus on terror and uncertainty, I propose we call this decade ‘The Dread Naughts’"
Aug. 18, 2009 Fred Zelany
"@rands I propose we call this decade ‘The Holes."
Aug. 18, 2009 rstevens
In some other languages, such as French, this would appear to be less of a problem. The "sixties," for instance, are known as "les années 60" (the '60 years). Analogously, this decade is "les années 2000." In Spanish, as well, the "sixties" are "los años 60" (the '60 years), and this decade is "los años 2000."
Determining a name for the decade has been problematic, especially in the United States. In 1999, anticipating the upcoming awkwardness, a U.S. group calling itself "Project Naughtie" ran a viral campaign in an attempt to popularize "the Naughties" as the decade's name. The term is a portmanteau of naught, meaning "nothing" or "zero", and the names of other decades such as the eighties and nineties, with the intentional implication of naughty as being uninhibited. A limited number of the media has made some use of the term as well, including the BBC (using the common British spelling, nought). The Naughties version was also broadcast regularly in morning news bulletins on UK radio station Atlantic 252 between the end of 1998 and Christmas 1999. An Australian website used the name from 1998. The Noughties is also used in the UK Both spellings have gained some currency among the legitimate press in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia, but there still remains no consensus on what term to use.
Perhaps, in true dramatic fashion, a "silver bullet" will arrive this December 31, with the suggestion of a perfect term that pleases everyone. As this is unlikely to happen, we will probably be left with a multitude of options, such as those that Peters proposes:
(Posted by language fan and friend Silas McCracken.)
Other names suggested over the years have included the "diddly-squats," "the double naughts," "the double nuts," "the double ohs," "the double zeroes," "the goose eggs," "the naughties," "the naughts," "the nillies," "the nots," "the oh-ohs," "the pre-teens," "the uh-ohs," "the unies," "the zeds," "the zero zeros," and "the zilches." "The aughts" feels like an antique by comparison, a verbal relic like "thou" or "fishmonger". But some antiques still get the job done.
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