Definition of nil in English:


Line breaks: nil
Pronunciation: /nɪl


  • Nothing, especially as the score in certain games; zero: they beat us three-nil
    More example sentences
    • They were winning by eight points to nil until Ronan Conway scored the only goal of the game well into injury time.
    • After the home side led at the break by a goal to nil, the visitors scored two early goals at the start of the second half to put them in the driving seat.
    • Vikings started strongly but were unable to convert and so the game was locked at nil all in the first half.
    nothing, none; nought, zero, 0; Tennis love; Cricket a duck; Northern English nowt
    informal zilch, nix, not a dicky bird
    British informal damn all, (sweet) Fanny Adams, sweet F.A., not a sausage
    North American informal zip, nada, a goose egg
    British vulgar slang bugger all, sod all, fuck all
    Computing null character
    literary null
    dated cipher
    archaic naught


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  • Non-existent: his chance of survival was virtually nil
    More example sentences
    • Unlike losing golf balls, the chances of any further payments are virtually nil.
    • Like all ideas that involve huge spending today to save money tomorrow, it has been spent to nil effect.
    • There was nil wind on the ground, but I had a perfect two-stepper landing.


mid 19th century: from Latin, contraction of nihil 'nothing'.

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a small amount; a little