Inspired by this question, we have

  • 80's : "The Eighties"
  • 90's : "The Nineties"
  • 00's : "The Naughts" or "The Naughties"
  • 10's : ???
  • @FumbleFingers The asker has acknowledge the source of inspiration already! – Kris Dec 10 '13 at 6:09
  • @Kris: It seems to me the original question contains both comments and answers indicating that there are no commonly-used terms for either of the first two decades. Personally, I've only ever heard naughts/naughties used facetiously (I doubt many native speakers really think of it as a "valid" word). – FumbleFingers Dec 10 '13 at 16:21

Although "the teens" are to be avoided per the CMS, I would still refer to that decade as the teens. if "the Nineteen-" or the Twenty-" **does not precede the word.

The only precedent I have to go on is how the medical profession refers to, say, illnesses in the second decade of life, e.g.

The incidence of Hodgkin's Lymphoma peaks in the teens, and again in the late forties/early fifties.

If "the Nineteen-" or the Twenty-" preceeds it, I would also say, tens.


I would avoid using 'the teens.' It strikes me as a rather ridiculous expression in this context.

I would use 'the tens.' This is not an expression I have any familiarity with; I don't think I've ever seen it. (I suppose I don't read enough history.) However, it is consistent with 'the twenties,' 'the thirties,' etc.

Google Books returns 292 documents on a search of Nineteen-tens, and 546 on a search of Nineteen-teens

  • I like your use of google book search! – Caleb Jares Dec 10 '13 at 16:16
  • I think you need to be careful using anything like this. Some people really know what they're doing, but I'm not one of them. Google is an incredible tool and can help anyone find information. Reaching conclusions requires caution, I'd say. I found the results of those searches interesting in light of the comments regarding the CMS. – Eric Sherman Dec 10 '13 at 18:45

The Chicago Manual of Style recommends:

To refer to the second decade (i.e., without writing “second decade”), an expression like “the 1910s” might be used if absolutely necessary, but “the teens” should be avoided.

There apparently is no commonly accepted way to refer to the second decade in a generic way (e.g., "The Tens"); for example, the current decade is commonly referred to as the 2010s.

  • 3
    If the Chicago Manual of Style says "the teens" should be avoided, that means that's what native speakers normally say. The CMS exists to produce writing that falutes higher than anyone else's. Use it if you want to publish with the University of Chicago Press, but not otherwise. – John Lawler Dec 10 '13 at 1:03
  • 1
    @JohnLawler I think CMoS has/had the opposite intent of faluting lower (at least per author CJ Cherryh's rant ): "I detest the Chicago manual as a national disgrace, because I remember why it was created, and by whom it was created. It was a teaching device accompanying the New Math, and it was designed to dumb-down the rules of English to make it easier for see-it, say-it methods." – Gnawme Dec 10 '13 at 16:49
  • Well, that may be where it came from, but it certainly doesn't describe the current status. Though I agree that it's a crock, it's certainly a very successful and distinguished crock. No doubt it will soon run for elective office. – John Lawler Dec 10 '13 at 18:46

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