# Nil vs. Zero: Difference and Comparison

Edited by Muazma Batool — By Muneeza Rehman — Updated on September 10, 2023

## Difference Between Nil and Zero

Nil and zero, although often used interchangeably in casual conversation, bear different connotations and applications. Nil is derived from Latin and implies the absence of something or the lack of a value. For instance, in sports, if a team has not scored any points, their score might be described as "nil". Whereas, zero rooted in Arabic and Italian origins, represents a definitive numeral value. It is a fundamental concept in mathematics and serves as a placeholder in our numbering system.

Muazma Batool

Sep 10, 2023

When discussing scores, especially in British contexts like football (soccer), it's more common to hear "nil" than "zero". If Team A and Team B played and the score was 2-0 in favor of Team A, one might say "two-nil" instead of "two-zero". However, in mathematical equations or when denoting temperature, "zero" is the term of choice. For instance, "zero degrees Celsius" or "subtracting zero yields the same number".

Muazma Batool

Sep 10, 2023

Furthermore, "nil" has a more general, informal tone when denoting the absence of something. If someone asked about the quantity of a particular item in stock and there were none left, one might say, "We have nil in stock". Conversely, "zero" feels more precise and formal. In scientific experiments or data analytics, for instance, "zero" might be used to represent no change or no difference.

Muazma Batool

Sep 10, 2023

Culturally, zero has a broader impact. In mathematics, the introduction of zero was revolutionary. It's a fundamental cornerstone for calculus, algebra, and arithmetic. Nil, while significant in its domains like sports or specific terminologies, doesn't have the same vast scope of application or historical importance as zero.

William

Sep 10, 2023

## Nil vs. Zero Comparison Chart

### Definition

Represents nothing or nonexistence.

A numerical value representing no quantity or null amount.

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Sep 10, 2023

### Common Use

Often used in sports scores or to denote lack of quantity.

Widely used in mathematics, temperature, and scientific measurements.

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Sep 10, 2023

## Nil vs. Zero Definitions

#### ◉Zero

Zero is the integer between positive one and negative one.

Two minus two equals zero.

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Sep 10, 2023

#### ◉Nil

Nil can indicate the absence of something.

The response was nil from the company.

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Sep 10, 2023

#### ◉Zero

Zero serves as a placeholder in the decimal system.

The number 204 has a zero in the tens place.

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Sep 10, 2023

#### ◉Zero

Zero denotes the absence of measurable quantities.

There is zero sugar in this drink.

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Sep 10, 2023

#### ◉Nil

Nil is used to represent a score of zero, especially in sports.

The game ended three-nil.

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Sep 10, 2023

#### ◉Zero

Zero implies a null or neutral condition in certain scales.

The temperature outside is zero degrees Celsius.

Kaitlyn

Sep 10, 2023

#### ◉Zero

A cardinal number indicating the absence of any or all units under consideration.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Nil

Nothing; of no account; worthless; - a term often used for canceling, in accounts or bookkeeping.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Nil

A special value for a variable used in certain computer languages to mean no assigned value, to be distinguished from the value zero.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Nil

a quantity of no importance;

it looked like nothing I had ever seen before

reduced to nil all the work we had done

we racked up a pathetic goose egg

it was all for naught

I didn't hear zilch about it

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(Informal) One having no influence or importance; a nonentity

a manager who was a total zero.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Nil

Nil can mean having no legal force or effect.

The contract was declared nil.

Muazma Batool

Sep 10, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(Informal) Not any; no

"The town has ... practically no opportunities for amusement, zero culture" (Robert M. Adams).

Muneeza Rehman

May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

Limited in horizontal visibility to no more than 55 meters (180 feet).

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(Linguistics) Of or relating to a morpheme that is expected by an established, regular paradigm but has no spoken or written form. Moose has a zero plural; that is, its plural is moose.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

The cardinal number occurring before one and that denotes no quantity or amount at all, represented in Arabic numerals as 0.

The conductor waited until the passenger count was zero.

A cheque for zero dollars and zero cents crashed the computers on division by zero.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

The numeric symbol that represents the cardinal number zero.

In unary and k-adic notation in general, zero is the empty string.

Write 0.0 to indicate a floating point number rather than the integer zero.

The zero sign in American Sign Language is considered rude in some cultures.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

The digit 0 in the decimal, binary, and all other base numbering systems.

One million has six zeroes.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

Nothing, or none.

The shipment was lost, so they had zero in stock.

He knows zero about humour.

In the end, all of our hard work amounted to zero.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

The value of a magnitude corresponding to the cardinal number zero.

The electromagnetic field does not drop all of the way to zero before a reversal.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

The point on a scale at which numbering or measurement originates.

The temperature outside is ten degrees below zero.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(mathematics) A value of the independent variables of a function, for which the function is equal to zero.

The zeroes of a polynomial are its roots by the fundamental theorem of algebra.

The derivative of a continuous, differentiable function that twice crosses the axis must have a zero.

The nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function may all lie on the critical line.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

The additive identity element of a monoid or greater algebraic structure, particularly a group or ring.

Since a commutative zero is the inverse of any additive identity, it must be unique when it exists.

The zero (of a ring or field) has the property that the product of the zero with any element yields the zero.

The quotient ring over a maximal ideal is a field with a single zero element.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(slang) A person of little or no importance.

They rudely treated him like a zero.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(military) A Mitsubishi A6M Zero, a long range fighter aircraft operated by the Japanese Navy Air Service from 1940 to 1945.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

A setting of calibrated instruments such as a firearm, corresponding to a zero value.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(finance) A security which has a zero coupon (paying no periodic interest).

The takeovers were financed by issuing zeroes.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(meteorology) Of a cloud ceiling, limiting vision to 50 feet (15 meters) or less.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(meteorology) Of horizontal visibility, limited to 165 feet (50.3 meters) or less.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(linguistics) Present at an abstract level, but not realized in the surface form.

The stem of "kobieta" with the zero ending is "kobiet".

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(transitive) To set a measuring instrument to zero; to calibrate an instrument scale to valid zero.

Zero the fluorometer with the same solvent used in extraction.

George parked in space 34, zeroed the trip meter, closed and locked his car, then went back to the guard shack.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

To change a memory location or range to values of zero; to set a variable in a computer program to zero.

Results were inconsistent because an array wasn’t zeroed during initialization.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

(transitive) To cause or set some value or amount to be zero.

They tried to zero the budget by the end of the quarter.

The bill was over $400, but the server zeroed it out as a gesture of gratitude.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

The point from which the graduation of a scale, as of a thermometer, commences.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

Fig.: The lowest point; the point of exhaustion; as, his patience had nearly reached zero.

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

a quantity of no importance;

it looked like nothing I had ever seen before

reduced to nil all the work we had done

we racked up a pathetic goose egg

it was all for naught

I didn't hear zilch about it

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

a mathematical element that when added to another number yields the same number

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

adjust (as by firing under test conditions) the zero of (a gun);

He zeroed in his rifle at 200 yards

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

indicating the absence of any or all units under consideration;

a zero score

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

having no measurable or otherwise determinable value;

the goal is zero population growth

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May 03, 2023

#### ◉Zero

Zero can refer to the lowest point or starting point.

Ground zero was the site of the World Trade Center attacks.

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Sep 10, 2023

## Nil vs. Zero Frequently Asked Questions

#### Can nil be used in mathematical equations?

It's uncommon; zero is the preferred term in mathematics.

Muazma Batool

Sep 10, 2023

#### Is zero the same as nothing?

No, zero is a numeric value, while "nothing" denotes the absence of anything.

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Sep 10, 2023

#### Is nil a formal term?

It's less formal than zero, often used in casual contexts or specific domains like sports.

Olivia

Sep 10, 2023

#### Does nil always imply a lack of something?

Yes, it denotes nonexistence or an absence of value.

Leo

Sep 10, 2023

#### What does nil mean in sports scores?

It represents a score of zero or no points scored.

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Sep 10, 2023

#### How do you represent zero numerically?

It is represented by the symbol "0".

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Sep 10, 2023

#### How was the concept of zero introduced?

Through ancient civilizations, notably the Babylonians and Indians, and later refined by the Arabic and Italian mathematicians.

Muazma Batool

Sep 10, 2023

#### What's the significance of zero in math?

It serves as a foundation for arithmetic, calculus, and algebra, and acts as a placeholder in our numbering system.

William

Sep 10, 2023

#### Can I use nil and zero interchangeably?

In some contexts, yes, but they carry different nuances and specific applications.

Muneeza Rehman

Sep 10, 2023

#### Why might someone use nil instead of zero?

They might choose "nil" for its informal tone or in specific contexts like sports scores.

Muazma Batool

Sep 10, 2023

### Content Creators

Written by

Muneeza RehmanAt Comparisons.wiki, Muneeza skillfully navigates the vast sea of information, ensuring clarity and accuracy as the lead content editor. With a keen eye for detail, she curates every comparison to enlighten and engage readers.

Edited by

Muazma BatoolAs a content editor, Muazma Batool is not just a grammar guru but a creative mastermind who breathes life into every word. With an eagle eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, she transforms bland text into engaging content that captivates audiences and drives results.