A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

What will the first decade of the 21st century be called?

January 1, 1975

Dear Cecil:

We call the decade from 1910 to 1919 the Teens, from 1920 to 1929 the Twenties, and Lord knows aging baby boomers never tire of talking about the Sixties. But what do you call the first decade of a century? We're going to need something pretty soon, you know.

Dear Joyce:

This is what we at the Straight Dope call a Darn Good Question, meaning basically that we haven't the foggiest. Let's see. We could try the Aughts, as in nineteen-aught-five. With luck and a little sociological cooperation you could end up with the Naughty Aughties, which would definitely be a decade to die for. Assuming youthful nihilism were back (or still) in fashion, you might want to go with the Zeros, the Zips, or the Ciphers. If those don't cut it either, I suppose we could always fall back on the Turn of the Century--pretty lame, but amply supported by precedent.

While I try to think up some better ideas, let's move on to a related question. When people refer to the dawning of the millennium they always say "the year two thousand." But that's too cumbersome to use on an everyday basis. So what will we use instead? "Two thousand" by itself sounds a bit strange, and "twenty hundred" isn't much better. And how about the following year--will we call it "two thousand and one," as Stanley Kubrick fans assume, or "twenty-oh-one"? If you ask me, we'd better get a presidential commission working on this pronto.

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A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams

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