A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Ought (verb)

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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1428

Ought. verb imperfect. [This word the etymologists make the preterite of owe, but it has often a present signification.]

  1. [Preterite of owe.] Owed; was bound to pay; have been indebted.

    Apprehending the occasion, I will add a continuance to that happy motion, and besides give you some tribute of the love and duty I long have ought you. Spelman.

    This blood which men by treason sought,
    That followed, sir, which to myself I ought.
    Dryden.

  2. To be obliged by duty.

    Judges ought to remember, that their office is to interpret law, and not to make or give law. Bacon.

    Morals criticks ought to show. Pope.

    She acts just as she ought,
    But never, never reach'd one generous thought.
    Pope.

  3. To be fit; to be necessary.

    If grammar ought to be taught, it must be to one that can speak the language already. Locke.

Sources: Bacon, Francis (396) · Dryden, John (788) · Locke, John (269) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Spelman, Henry (4)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Ought (verb)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: May 29, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=9631.


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