The No Name Decades

Last decade we all struggled to find a widely accepted name for that time. And here we are, fresh into another decade and once again it has no generally accepted name.

It made me laugh last decade to hear one particular radio station skirt the issue. They said, “we play the best of the ’80s, ’90s and today”. Now, even they’ve given up on the decade tags.

So what did they call the 19 zero whatevers? Maybe we can lift something from that. They called it the turn of the century. Maybe we could get away with calling last decade the turn of the millenium.

But that doesn’t sound right somehow. Turn of the century was coined in a much more pretentious time. Millenium is an even harder word to handle than century. And the dominant part of society right now seems to like things more bare bones and stripped down. So what should we do?

So what is the zero in the decade spot? Why it’s a place value of course. Maybe that’s what we could call last decade – the place values.

But I’ve heard people when talking about the turn of the century decade or the millenium decade refer to a specific year as oh nine for either 1909 or 2009. It’s this which gives me fire for how it’s worked out in my mind. So last decade could be known as the ohs.

And finally, at the very end of 2009 I heard a couple attempts of decade naming, calling it the oughts. As well I offer noughts as meaning the equivalent. So there you have it, not one name for last decade but five. I prefer the oughts, noughts or ohs. Just quit being so meek by not naming it. Pick one and say it every time. I at least will know what you mean and be accepting of any of the above choices. At least, finally, someone will be putting themselves on record.

This decade is relatively easier because I see fewer choices. There is the obvious one that doesn’t roll off the tongue “tens” which could also be written ’10s. But I prefer teens. I think most people would. But I know there are naysayers out there who will say that the teens don’t officially start until 13. I say we have the power to define teens any way we want.

I have made my picks and it is ohs and teens. So if you see me referring to last decade or this decade as anything else, call me on it. I’m planning to make this stand. Rather than the word vacuum we’ve lived through thus far, I’d rather you called these decades something even if it’s one of the other possibilities or something else you’ve latched onto.

And remember, at the end of this decade, we’ll be able to look back with 2020 vision.

About Larry Russwurm

Just another ranter on the Internet. Now in the Fediverse as
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14 Responses to The No Name Decades

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  6. Bob Jonkman says:

    Of course, the first decade of the millennium isn’t over yet for another 8 1/2 months.

    And MilleNNium *is* much harder to handle than Decade…


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  9. laniwurm says:

    i vote for noughts and tens, though i echo Bob that it’s too early to start talking about that decade as a discrete thing deserving its own name. In my calculations, we have until about 2015 before we need a consensus, as that’s when people will start saying things like “back in the ____, the world was a much simpler place.”

    A similar problem is how to refer to city blocks where addresses have only 2 digits (__ block, 100 block, 200 block, etc.)

  10. I think it was Stephen Fry who called the decade we’re in the “Noughties”, which works for me.

    I’m inclined to think of the subsequent one as the teens, but it doesn’t strike me with any oomphh.

  11. Christopher Taylor says:

    I always participate in the “Earth Hour”. This event is a symbol that we should be more aware of our environment and that we should focus on protecting mother earth.

  12. Bruce says:

    Just thought you’d be interested to know that I have added your site to my Google bookmarks.

    I’ve seen your other blog posts as well and I think you’ve got great ideas. Keep it up!

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  14. t3h faek says:

    Yep. Back in the good old years between 2000 and 2009 we decided to quit trying to categorize social trends by the decade in which they became a source of generation-specific nostalgia.

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