Word of the day – Null

Word of the Day : June 16, 2020


adjective NULL


1 : having no legal or binding force : invalid

2 : amounting to nothing : nil

3 : having no value : insignificant

4 a : having no elements

b : having zero as a limit

5 : of, being, or relating to zero

Did you know?

English borrowed null from the Anglo-French nul, meaning “not any.” That word, in turn, traces to the Latin word nullus, from ne-, meaning “not,” and ullus, meaning “any.” Null often pops up in legal and scientific contexts. It was originally used in Scottish law and still carries the meaning “having no legal or binding force.” In mathematics, it is sometimes used to mean “containing nothing”; for example, the set of all whole numbers that are divisible by zero is the “null set” (that is, there are no numbers that fit that description). But null also has some more general uses. We often use it with the meaning “lacking meaning or value,” as in “By the time I heard it, the news was null.”


“If a teacher organization is found in contempt, any collective bargaining agreement they worked on would be rendered null and they would be barred from collecting dues.” — Jesse Paul, The Denver Post, 23 Apr. 2018

“While negative and null results can often be overlooked—by authors and publishers alike—their publication is equally as important as positive outcomes and can help fill in critical gaps in the scientific record.” — PLOS.org, 6 Apr. 2020