Does this decade have a name?
January 2, 2006 12:49 AM   Subscribe

It's been six years. Do you have, or does anyone you know use a term, in conversation, comparable to 'the nineties' or 'the eighties' for this decade?
posted by airguitar to Writing & Language (71 answers total)
 
The aughts?
posted by null terminated at 12:54 AM on January 2, 2006


Well, first ten years of the 1900s was called "The Turn of the Century." The logical conclusion I draw from this is that they too thought it was stupid to call any decade "the oughties."
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:56 AM on January 2, 2006


After googling I found this audio discussion of the problem from NPR.
posted by null terminated at 12:58 AM on January 2, 2006


I've seen 'the naughties' several times here in the UK.
posted by wackybrit at 1:00 AM on January 2, 2006


We'll have this problem next decade too, btw.. but I imagine we'll say "the 2010s".
posted by wackybrit at 1:01 AM on January 2, 2006


No.

Wait, scratch that. Someone says 'the aughts' but he doesn't count.
posted by fleacircus at 1:01 AM on January 2, 2006


Wikipedia has some insight on the issue.
posted by mr.dan at 1:04 AM on January 2, 2006


I catch myself referring to them as 'the zeroes'...probably makes no sense when you think about it, but people seem to always understand what I mean immediately.

The 'naughties' sounds much more fun to say though.
posted by fishbulb at 1:05 AM on January 2, 2006


I think the "twenty-teens" will sound okay for the next bits, but, as much as people can argue about it, nothing really seems like it will catch on enough to be used consistently while we're still in this decade. but good topic for AskMeFi post #30000!</small
posted by Mrmuhnrmuh at 1:07 AM on January 2, 2006


What's going to be really strange is forty years from now when someone says to me "Back in the twenties...", referring to the decade beginning in 2020.
posted by Clay201 at 1:15 AM on January 2, 2006


You know, it seems to me that people have mostly just avoided the problem. Seriously! People have just been using turns of phrase that don't require naming the decade.

Has anybody else noticed this?
posted by Afroblanco at 1:16 AM on January 2, 2006


The Naughties seems to have established itself.

The teens works for the next decade.
posted by sien at 1:24 AM on January 2, 2006


There are two topics here: one is the search for something akin to to the "-ies" names in sound or flavor, and one is the search for any name at all for this decade. "The two-thousands" is clearly what's in use for the latter, by far more popular than any other offered. To an extent it's ambiguous across a whole millenium, though I think even in the future people will get the connotation. I'm fairly sure nothing very popular will emerge to meet the other vacancy, though.
posted by abcde at 1:44 AM on January 2, 2006


I think the period we live in right now is largely referred to by a single event that has transformed politics and economics rather than by the decade specifically.

It is "the post 9/11 era".

Sure, this isn't a great term for describing artistic, fashion and other trends, but it certainly describes the most powerful forces affecting us now.
posted by randomstriker at 2:14 AM on January 2, 2006


I've also noticed the phenomenon Afroblanco referred to. Not once in six years have I had to refer to the decade we're in, though I've wondered about how I should do so should the situation arise.
posted by chrominance at 2:51 AM on January 2, 2006


I still just say it's the nineties. When someone points out that it's not, I just shrug.
posted by muddylemon at 3:17 AM on January 2, 2006


It is "the post 9/11 era".

Maybe in the US (though i'd think anyone who used that phrase was taking the piss).

The Naughties is common currency in the UK.
posted by the cuban at 4:20 AM on January 2, 2006


It is "the post 9/11 era."

This is pompous, jingoistic, and horrible.

I use "the naughts," because "The Naughties" sounds too much like a children's television show.
posted by mykescipark at 4:25 AM on January 2, 2006


Another vote for the naughties, it's widely used in the UK.
posted by fire&wings at 5:18 AM on January 2, 2006


I don't know if it's that we're currently "avoiding" using it so much as we don't have a reason to until it's past.

Example: "When did that show come out? It was in the late 90s..."

"I hate 80s music."

Et cetera. It's true that we have plenty of uses for a similar colloquiolism right now for this decade, but it'll become a lot more prevalent once we're past it. Then we'll really be in trouble. I'd heard aughts/oughts, and it was apparently popular back when this was last a problem. (It's happened before. Several hundred times.)

Paying attention to the definition of aught/ought, we have:
aught2 also ought Audio pronunciation of "oughts" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ôt)
n.

1. A cipher; zero.
2. Archaic. Nothing.
So there.
posted by disillusioned at 5:23 AM on January 2, 2006


Forget about the "naughts" -- neither it nor any variation is in actual common use, in the US or with any foreign English-speakers I've ever heard.

In conversation, people refer to it as "this decade." Given that three of the first years of the 2010 decade aren't "teens," I expect that the 2010 decade will also be called "this decade" while the 2000 decade becomes "last decade."
posted by MattD at 5:23 AM on January 2, 2006


I've seen "the naughties" and "the aughties" (although maybe that was a misprint) used in various newspaper & magazine articles.
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:26 AM on January 2, 2006


I think our best bet is to go with something that has almost no relationship to the numbers themselves and just stick with it. Something like "the zippies" or "the knock-outs." Personally, I like "the bagels," as it lets me say: "Man, I hate bagel music."
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:40 AM on January 2, 2006


How about "the mongooses"? That's a cool team name. The Fighting Mongooses.

But seriously, I've just been saying "this decade" for now.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:57 AM on January 2, 2006


Best answer: I've been following Abe Simpson and been calling it 'dickety' (dickety-six). Hopefully the Kaiser won't steal our word for 'dickety'.
posted by plinth at 6:02 AM on January 2, 2006


I'm in the group that has noticed a simple lack of naming. I have never heard anyone use either "the naughts" or "the aughts" (or any other name) except in conversations about naming the decade.
posted by oddman at 6:22 AM on January 2, 2006


The Naughties seems to have established itself.

No it hasn't. I haven't heard anyone call the decade anything (along these lines), and the only time I've seen cute names like "the naught(ies)" has been in discussions like this. There doesn't have to be a name for every decade, you know. When such a name is easy to create ("the twenties"), people spontaneously use it; when it's not, they don't scrabble about to come up with one, they just say "this decade" or whatever.
posted by languagehat at 6:30 AM on January 2, 2006


Personally, I'm really looking forward to the time I can tell my future grandchildren, "Well, that happened back in aught-five..." As for the decade, my guess is that we'll probably say "back at the turn of the century".
posted by MsMolly at 6:47 AM on January 2, 2006


"After it's gone to fuck."
posted by dong_resin at 7:11 AM on January 2, 2006


It's Noughties not Naughties, but either way nobody seems to use it.

Another oddity is that we say Two thousand and Six and not Twenty Oh Six (though recently the BBC has adopted this format) as was the case for Nineteen Oh Six. Somewhere I have read that this is the result of Arthur Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey which established a format of saying Two thousand and One and not Twenty Oh One.
posted by A189Nut at 7:43 AM on January 2, 2006


BBC on the Noughties
posted by A189Nut at 7:45 AM on January 2, 2006


I try to introduce naughties, or really noughties, though I prefer the silliness of the naughties, to friends, but most respond negatively. And I can't say it without sounding facetious.
posted by Gnatcho at 7:57 AM on January 2, 2006


Sorry about the delay. Please be advised that henceforth the decade shall be known as the 'Double-O's'. You may refer to a specific year by prefixing it with the number zero eg 2002 becomes 'oh-two'.
posted by nixerman at 8:02 AM on January 2, 2006


The time of darkness?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:05 AM on January 2, 2006


I try to introduce naughties, or really noughties, though I prefer the silliness of the naughties, to friends, but most respond negatively. And I can't say it without sounding facetious.

Ditto on all points, and until my friends suggest any alternative that's 1/10th as good I shall ignore their negative response.
posted by Aknaton at 8:06 AM on January 2, 2006


No one calls it the Naughties, unless they're ponces. The "two-thousands" is usually what I hear, and what I imagine the inevitable VH1 series will be called.
posted by klangklangston at 8:10 AM on January 2, 2006


Most of my friends call it the Oh-Ohs.
posted by BackwardsCity at 8:12 AM on January 2, 2006


"Since 2000"
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:13 AM on January 2, 2006


Ditto, Backwards!

We call the 00s "the oh-ohs."
posted by Lush at 8:23 AM on January 2, 2006


My friends have decided that since a commonly accepted name hasn't been found ye,t it's still "the nineties"
posted by thecjm at 8:34 AM on January 2, 2006


The Licensed-To-Kill Years.

Maybe you have to be a Bond fan...
posted by planetthoughtful at 8:37 AM on January 2, 2006


No one calls it the Naughties, unless they're ponces. The "two-thousands" is usually what I hear

Seconded. "Naughties" is people trying to show how clever they are with their knowledge of anachronistic terminology, unknowingly uttering a shibboleth since everyone older than spit knows the proper phraseology is 'aught, not the long-hand naught.

The two-thousands. That's the answer.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:38 AM on January 2, 2006


I second the nomination for 'the bagels' ;-D
posted by vanoakenfold at 9:31 AM on January 2, 2006


Definitely the 'naughties', but as with others who have suggested it, I'm in the UK. You septics can call it what you want..
posted by salmacis at 9:50 AM on January 2, 2006


I don't know if it's that we're currently "avoiding" using it so much as we don't have a reason to until it's past.

Example: "When did that show come out? It was in the late 90s..."

"I hate 80s music."


I don't exactly agree. We used those terms in their own times as well. "A woman of the 80s" or "Welcome to the 90s, grandma."

But I am of the opinion that in this case, we won't have a definitive name until after it's over. I don't hear people use any of the terms suggested here, except "post-9/11" ...but I don't think that's being used in the same sense as "the 90s." And I really don't think it will be used that way in the future either...who knows when "post-9/11" will end? Maybe in 2015 we'll still be "post-9/11" ...or maybe we will have considered that era to have ended in 2003. Who knows.

I usually just say "these days" or something like that if I don't have a specific year in mind. I graduated high in 2000 so it's a natural barrier even without it being a numerical milestone. Since 2000 is my entire adult life. heh.
posted by lampoil at 9:54 AM on January 2, 2006


21st Century works for the time being. (It won't in a few years, obviously). Naughties is a comedy alternative.
posted by Acey at 10:06 AM on January 2, 2006


There's always the UN's "International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World."
posted by Acey at 10:08 AM on January 2, 2006


Actually, on 2nd (or 3rd?) thought... I'm glad this decade has no name. It's somehow appropriate that I'm growing up in A Time With No Name.
posted by Acey at 10:12 AM on January 2, 2006


Response by poster: These days...
These days I sit on corner stones
And count the time in quarter tones to ten.

posted by airguitar at 10:16 AM on January 2, 2006


Seconding Civil_Disobedient, I call it "The two-thousands", or occasionally, "Since the millennium".
posted by crabintheocean at 10:40 AM on January 2, 2006


It's really only been five years and I've never heard anyone speak "aughties" or "oughties" though I have seen it in print on very rare occasion.
posted by fixedgear at 10:53 AM on January 2, 2006


Response by poster: It's really only been five years

Count them on your fingers. Start with 2000.
posted by airguitar at 10:59 AM on January 2, 2006


Response by poster: That's what I had to do.
posted by airguitar at 10:59 AM on January 2, 2006


Take your shoes off. Count them on your toes. 2000 is the last year of the previous decade, century and millennium. The 21st century started on 1/1/01.
posted by fixedgear at 11:24 AM on January 2, 2006


We say the 2000s.
posted by GaelFC at 11:40 AM on January 2, 2006


In Canada, my experience is that most people avoid the situation by using "the post 9/11 era", "since September 11", "the past decade", "the past [five] years", or, rarely, "since the turn of this century".
posted by acoutu at 11:42 AM on January 2, 2006


The decade formerly known as "Prince"

The two-thousands is what they get called here, but it is long and awkward. Another vote hating the 11/9s
posted by Rumple at 11:52 AM on January 2, 2006


fixedgear:
You are confusing decades with calendar decades. The 80's, of example, are a decade - a period of ten years. The relationship to the start of the calendar is not a factor in whether a period amounts to ten years. Any period of ten years can be a decade.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:58 AM on January 2, 2006


I always say 21st century, like when my mom says "I called you but you weren't home all day" I say "Welcome to the 21st century, call me on my cell phone"...works for now
posted by radioamy at 12:11 PM on January 2, 2006


what fixedgear means is that the christian time counting started with the year 1
posted by suni at 12:51 PM on January 2, 2006


The Dark Ages.
posted by WCityMike at 1:31 PM on January 2, 2006


As a dictionary editor, I've been asked this question probably a hundred times in the last few years and the result is: the two-thousands, as given by others above. It is by far (by huge percentage points) the term most used in unselfconscious conversation, that is, when people are not talking about what we're calling this decade. As far as I am concerned, based on the data I've seen, this is the only correct answer that does not involve wishful thinking and lame coinages.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:33 PM on January 2, 2006


Before they started I feared they were going to be called the Y2K's. We seem to have dodged that bullet, tho.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:36 PM on January 2, 2006


Thinking along the lines of Thorzdad, BackwardsCity, Lush, and WCityMike, I pronounce the 00's as "the ooze." F'yaskme, aptly summarizes the decade so far.
posted by rob511 at 1:40 PM on January 2, 2006


I prefer the "uh-ohs".
posted by deborah at 1:57 PM on January 2, 2006


Noughties is very widely understood in Britain. Happy AskMe 30,000!
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 2:06 PM on January 2, 2006


To sum up:

1) Apparently a lot of Brits say "noughties."

2) Everybody else either says "the two-thousands" or ignores the issue.

3) Except for a few people who like silly names.
posted by languagehat at 2:26 PM on January 2, 2006


Looking back to the beginning of the 20th century, we often hear "the early 1900s." I think that should work again, "the early 2000s."

I still just say it's the nineties. When someone points out that it's not, I just shrug.
posted by muddylemon at 3:17 AM PST on January 2

My friends have decided that since a commonly accepted name hasn't been found ye,t it's still "the nineties"
posted by thecjm at 8:34 AM PST on January 2


Ditto, I love doing this. "You don't have a (computer/cell phone/voicemail/answering machine/etc.)? C'mon, it's the 90s!"
posted by attercoppe at 8:40 PM on January 2, 2006


I still just say it's the nineties. When someone points out that it's not, I just shrug.

heh, me too. I always find it amusing -- glad I'm not the only one...
posted by jacobsee at 4:25 PM on January 3, 2006


I say "the thousands." It's probably not as correct as "the two-thousands," but it's shorter to say and everyone knows what I mean.
posted by lisaj32 at 8:48 PM on January 13, 2006


You couldn't pay me enough to say "the naughties."
posted by lisaj32 at 8:51 PM on January 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


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