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.

Definitions of nil

n a quantity of no importance

“reduced to nil all the work we had done”
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:
relative quantity
a quantity relative to some purpose

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