Decoding the Decades: What to Call the 2000s and 2010s?

Ava King

Updated Friday, April 19, 2024 at 7:04 AM CDT

Decoding the Decades: What to Call the 2000s and 2010s?

The Confusion of Naming the 2000s

The turn of the millennium brought with it not only technological advancements and cultural shifts but also a perplexing question: what should we call the decades of the 2000s and 2010s? As we explore the various names and their implications, it becomes clear that there is no clear consensus on what to call these transformative periods.

The "00s" or "Ohs": A Decade of Uncertainty

One popular term used to refer to the 2000s is the "00s," pronounced either as "ohs" or "ooze." This name draws inspiration from the double zero in the years, emphasizing the unique numerical pattern. However, this term is not without its flaws. It lacks clarity and can lead to confusion, especially when distinguishing between the 1900s and the 2000s.

The "Noughts" or "Aughts": An Early Attempt at Naming

In the early 1900s, the term "nought" or "aught" was used to mean zero. Some suggested using this term for the first decade of the 2000s, creating the name "the noughts" or "the aughts." However, this naming convention failed to gain widespread acceptance. It felt outdated and unfamiliar to many, leading to its eventual abandonment.

The Familiarity of the "60s," "70s," "80s," and "90s"

When it comes to naming the decades, referring to them as the "60s," "70s," "80s," and "90s" is less confusing. These terms are widely recognized and understood, as they are within living memory or recent history. They evoke a sense of nostalgia and cultural significance, making them popular choices for referring to past decades.

The Evolution to "Twenty X"

In the early 2000s, people often said "two thousand x" when referring to years. However, as time went on, a shift occurred, and the trend changed to saying "twenty x" for years in the 2000s. This change in language usage reflects the natural evolution of how we refer to the passing of time.

The Rise of "Twenty Oh X"

When referring to a specific year in the 2000-2010 decade, many individuals opt to say "twenty oh x" instead of "aught x." This distinction helps avoid confusion, especially when distinguishing between the 1900s and the 2000s. While not universally adopted, this naming convention has gained popularity in recent years.

The Rejection of "The Aughts" and "Noughties"

Despite attempts to introduce names like "the aughts" and "noughties," these terms have failed to resonate with the majority. "The aughts" sounds awkward and is not widely understood, while "noughties" is considered even worse and rarely used. These unsuccessful attempts highlight the difficulty in finding a universally accepted name for these decades.

The Future of Naming: The Twenties

As we enter the 2020s, it is still too early to refer to them as "the twenties." The term "the twenties" is still closely associated with the iconic 1920s, and most people would assume it refers to that era. However, as time passes and the 2020s become a more distant memory, it is expected that future generations will adopt "the twenties" as the official name for this decade.

The naming of the 2000s and 2010s remains a subject of debate and confusion. While some terms like "the 00s" and "the noughts" have been suggested, they lack widespread acceptance. As language evolves and cultural references shift, it is likely that future generations will settle on a name for these transformative decades. Until then, we navigate the uncertainty and embrace the fluidity of how we refer to the times that shape our lives.

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