A Decade known as the Noughties? Please, no…

Alex Proimos, Noughties, Decade, Head in Hands, Statue
Image courtesy of Alex Proimos, http://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/4199675334/

We had the 70s, 80s, 90s and then, well, we got a bit stuck. What are we to call the decade that appeared fresh-faced and eager on the first of January 2000, soothing our fears of a Millennium technology meltdown, and retired triumphantly on the 31st of December 2009 after 10 years of loyal, untiring service?

I don’t know if this is just a British thing (bear with me, readers from other countries) but the name The Noughties, has stuck in the British mind and also at the back of my throat, as a name for this decade.

I am very upset about this choice of name. VERY UPSET. What’s that I hear you say? I should be focusing on other aspects of worldly injustice? Oh just shush yourselves.

I discovered a forum (click here) which discusses this very topic, and I was appalled to discover that many British people were  embracing this name. Malcolm (Brighton, England) proudly stated

2000-09 is well known as the noughties, 2013-19 is the teenies, leaving 2010-12 as the inbetweenies.

While Antony (Norwich, England) boasts

2000-2009 are the noughties. Everyone must know that by now!

I don’t recall attending the World Decade-Naming Summit, in which the name Noughties was chosen. Just because you were in attendance, Antony, doesn’t give you the right to be rude about it. Really, some people.

Anyway, jokes aside. Why am I so appalled by this choice of name? Some might say that it is logical, in a linguistic sense, to call the decade The Noughties. After all, zeros are sometimes known as noughts (most famously deployed in the game Noughts and Crosses). Some might say that it rolls off the tongue like a piece of penne pasta. However, I find that the name Noughties is not only twee and prissy, but it makes me want to be violently sick. 

The word Noughties has inevitable connotations with the word naughty, which reminds me of people doing things that they think are daring but are actually quite tame, such as eating chocolate before dinner. How Naughty. Heaven forbid that in the same way that people say things like that’s a very 80s look, that they would start saying things like that’s a very Naughties look, to which you would reply oooh I know…it’s quite cheeky isn’t it?

An equally unfortunate name, which is particular to giggling Scottish people, is to call it The Nochties. You know how excited Scottish people get about the word Loch (e.g. Loch Ness Monster)? People often happily pronounce Nessie’s home as Lock Ness, blissfully unaware of the hoards of Scottish people angrily hissing – It’s not pronounced Lock, it’s pronounced Locchhhhhhkkkkkkkk. I don’t know how to write the correct pronunciation, as you might have guessed, but if you are doing it right, it should sound a bit like television or radio static.

I have no problem with giggling Scottish people, in fact I find them delightful. But the name Nochties is elitist, as you have to be able to pronounce the -och sound properly in order to get the joke, or you’ll get kicked in the shin.

I don’t want the decade 2000-2009 to feel pigeon-holed by a silly name. The 80s and 90s don’t have silly names. Those decades were allowed to flourish and develop a sense of personal identity. It’s not fair for the decade 2000-2009. What did it ever do to you?

What would you call the decade 2000-2009? 


6 thoughts on “A Decade known as the Noughties? Please, no…”

  1. Bloody hilarious, Charlie, and so astute too! I have always thought ‘noughties’ revoltingly twee – and, like you, have a strong urge to reach for a large bucket ( and then fill it!) whenever I hear it. It has the sort of mentality espoused by people (using the term in its loosest sense!) who giggle at ‘rude’ words. Bollocks to them, I say – regularly! Thanks for cheering up an otherwise somewhat depressing day! xxx

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It is a ridiculously twee name. The problem is that it’s a bit hard to know what to call that decade. The zeros would be fine with me. But I suppose it might sound a bit depressing! I’m glad it cheered up your day 🙂 x

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