Provided that the years within a decade starting from the third can be collectively referred to by using the –ies ending (the twenties, the fifties, etc.), what would be the collective nouns for the years of the first and second decades? For the first one, all I could find was "the noughties"; although I'm not sure it's commonly used by native English-speakers.

  • 1
    We do hear "the teens" for the second decade. But (this time) there was no agreed short term for the first decade, such as "the naughties".
    – GEdgar
    Mar 5, 2018 at 21:05
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    I've also heard people say "the nineteen tens" to refer to dates from 1910, to 1919.
    – Element115
    Mar 5, 2018 at 21:05
  • The aughts, is also out there.
    – Lambie
    Mar 5, 2018 at 21:59
  • A future question (as yet unanswerable) is will the 2020s be known as the "twenties" (creating an ambiguity with the 1920s) It seems that the first decade be named like this was the "gay 90s" = 1890s
    – James K
    Mar 5, 2018 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


The most common term I've heard is the two-thousands (as compared to the twenty-tens). Individually you can refer to the years as oh-one, oh-two, etc.

The aughts is another term in infrequent use. Individual years are aught-one, aught-two, etc.

All the other names (like The Naughties), while clever, never really caught on.


There are no standard terms.

The "Noughties" has been used, but often in a slightly jokey way (it sounds like the "Naughties"), and I've heard the "teens" used for the second decade. Neither is very standard.

In the UK, the first decade of last Century came to be known as the the "Edwardian" period, as it coincided with the reign of King Edward. One could also say "In the nineteen-hundreds" The second decade was so dominated by the Great War, that there isn't a clear culture associated with the decade. We would just say "during world war 1". In the nineteen tens would be possible for this decade (but not the "tens")

Given these options the clearest words to use would be "In the first decade of the twenty-first century" or "in the second decade....". An alternative could be "In the twenty-hundreds" and "In the twenty-tens", but neither is common.

  • I fear it will in future be known as the "pre-Brexit period", or worse: "the pre-War period"... Mar 6, 2018 at 15:16

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