Use the word nil to mean "zero," especially when you're talking about scores in a sporting event: "the final score was twelve-nil."
Saying nil instead of zero or nothing is much more common in Britain than in the United States. In the U.S. you might hear a tennis score include the word nil, while in the U.K. it's a common term for cricket and football scores as well. There's also a common British medical usage, "nil by mouth," a doctor's instruction not to eat or drink before surgery. Nil is a contraction of the Latin word for "nothing," nihil.
n a quantity of no importance
- aught, cipher, cypher, goose egg, nada, naught, nix, nothing, null, zero, zilch, zip, zippo
(Latin) nil; nothing (as used by a sheriff after an unsuccessful effort to serve a writ)
- Type of:
a quantity relative to some purpose