10 Ways to Say Nothing

10 Ways to Say Nothing

As a new school year starts, I look forward to hearing “nothing” quite often. I’ll ask: “What did you do today?” Reply “nothing”. Here’s a list of words to keep your parents up to date on your life without really saying a thing. At least they won’t be so bored!

The beginning of September…the weather starts to change, the leaves are changing, everyone settles into a new routine.  With a teenage boy starting grade 9, angst is quite common in our house.  He is just beginning to be a teenager.  I’m not sure why being a teenage boy is so like being a spy — the less information let out, the better.  I know without a doubt that when my son comes home from school today he’ll tell me absolutely nothing about his day, regardless of how hard I try to pry.  I usually resort to asking his friends!  Here’s a list of words kids can use instead of nothing:

1.  Trifle:

alternately described as a word pertaining to a thing of little or no value or significance, or a very small amount or to waste time frivolously.  I think this would be a perfect word for my son to use describing his school day without really telling me anything as teenagers are apt to do.

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “No mom, school was but a trifle today.  Especially math, I trifled away my time in math.”

This word could also refer to the popular English desert of cake and pudding and fruit.  Which of course is a much more delicious use of the word.

2.  Naught: 

this word is described as an equal to the word nothing.  Alternatively means ruin, failure, disregard, scorn, disdain, worthless, ruined or wicked.  These are all excellent words for the teenage boy vocabulary!

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “It matters naught what happened today.  Naught happened.  Naught at all!”

3.  Void: 

this word is described as without content, useless, an empty space.  Also an excellent word for teenagers of all kinds.

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “My day was void of all meaning.  The entire day was a aching chasm of voidness.”

An alternate meaning of this word is to urinate, which gives the last sentence an entirely different tone altogether!

4.  Empty: 

which of course, means nothing or containing nothing.  It also means without purpose, value or substance, drained of energy or emotion.

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “My day was empty.  It was so boring, I feel empty inside.”

5.  Zero:

  the mathematical expression of nothing.  An absence of all quantity and magnitude.  The number that is less than 1.

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him: “Zero.”

This one is great as it requires only a one word answer.  Synonmous with zip, zil and nada.

6.  Nullity:

  really just the long form of null, I guess.  Means the state of being null — without value, consequence, use, distinction, or character.

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “Null.  My day was chalk full of nullity today.  I expect more of the same tomorrow with perhaps, a continuance into next week.”

7.  Nonentity: 

literally means the state of not existing.  Also refers to insignificance of a person or thing.

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “My day was completely a nonentity.  Especially English class.”

8.  Unimportant: 

literally to lack importance.  Worthless, meaningless.

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “My day was unimportant.”

This does not mean that my day was of any importance to him either.  Or that anything was important for that matter.  It simply means Nothing!

9.  Cipher: 

I especially like this because I didn’t know it’s obsolete meaning of zero.  Also can mean a person or thing of no importance (see unimportant above.)

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “My day was a cipher.”

An interesting coincidental meaning of this word is a code or secret means of communication.  Just like teenagers speak in a code, or “cipher” of which we parents lack the key!

10.  Bagatelle: 

I personally have never heard this word before.  This word seem to have 3 very distinct meanings, only one of which applies here.  a) a short, light piece of music b) a board game where balls are struck into holes with pins being the obstacles and c) something of little value.

Me:  “Anything interesting happen today?”

Him:  “My day was a bagatelle.  Go find the dictionary mom!”

Perhaps share this list with the teenager in your life.  It will increase their vocabulary repertoire making them seem more intelligent while at the same time, maintaining their code of silence.

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esha, posted this comment on Sep 20th, 2008

it doesn’t matter what i say, my mom still goes uh huh thats nice…..i tell her i wanna join a club….ok sounds nice, how much? ok………

it drives me nuts! cause she just says that i do things for attention, but she still don’t pay attention to me!! so whats it matter if i tell her something or not?!

i wish my mom would ask me what i did at school today or if i had a good day or if i did good on a test, rather then me having to tell her myself and she doesn’t even listen!

Paula Mitchell-Bentley, posted this comment on Sep 20th, 2008

That totally sucks Esha! Maybe there’s another adult in your life that you could talk to or maybe you could tell her what you just wrote here! Maybe I’ll have to write another article entitled “uh huh” and you could email it to her! lol Hope things start looking better for you…

Sotiris, posted this comment on Dec 19th, 2008

Nice article! Very creative :)

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