"something, anything," late 12c., from Old English awiht "aught, anything, something," literally "e'er a whit," from a- "ever" (from Proto-Germanic *aiwi- "ever," extended form of PIE root *aiw- "vital force, life; long life, eternity") + *wihti "thing, anything whatever" (see wight). In Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope, aught and ought occur indiscriminately. Chaucer used aughtwhere (adv.) "anywhere."
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