Difference Between Zero and Nothing

Zero and nothing are two different words but sometimes end up with similar meanings, and confusion happens. We often forget the usage of certain words and make mistakes. Zero comes in numeric or mathematic, whereas nothing is an English word with a different meaning from zero.

Zero vs Nothing

The main difference between zero and nothing is their meanings. Zero is a numeric value, whereas nothing is an English term. Zero is used for representing the null values, whereas nothing is used to denote the emptiness of things. Zero has not much more preference of usage when compared to the word nothing.

zero vs nothing

Around 5000 years ago, in Mesopotamia, scientists found evidence of zero in Sumerian culture. To indicate the absence of value they use cuneiform symbols and that was the very first finding for zero. Mayans are the ones who invented zero in 4 AD. In the mid-fifth century, it is devised by India. At the end of the eighth century, it spread to China and many other countries. But only in the 12th-century, the zero reached Europe. To denote the zero Mayans used eyelike characters, whereas Babylonians use two middle wedges.

The word nothing is a pronoun. It means no part or one with no interest in anything. It is also used to denote that something does not exist and to denote the object which is not active. Example- Nothing is there to show. Here nothing mentions that no objects or no feelings. The word nothing is originated from the old English words “nan thing”. It means none.

Comparison Table Between Zero and Nothing

Parameters of comparisonZeroNothing
MeaningZero is a null valueNothing is a word that denotes empty
CharacteristicsZero has many characteristics in subjectsNothing has no characteristics
ConsiderationZero is a numberNothing is not a number
UsageZero is used to increase the value of a numberNothing is used to mention the void
MeasurableZero is a measurable oneNothing cannot be measured.

What is Zero?

Zero is nothing but a number or a numeric value in mathematics. It is an additive identity of real numbers. It has the power to increase the value of any numbers just by adding to it. It acts as a placeholder in digits and the center part of numbers. The term zero comes from various languages like French, Italy. But mainly from the word ‘sifr’ which means empty in the ancient period. In 1598, the word zero was introduced in English. The slang words for zero are “zip”, “zilch”, “nada”.

Zero can be interpreted different in many sports. For example, the zero can be interpreted as love in tennis and duck in cricket. In the accounting texts, Egyptians use symbol for zero in their accounts in 1770 BC. In between the sexagesimal numerals, Babylonians use space to denote zero. No symbol for zero even in ancient Greek time. Zero has various usage in different fields and subjects. It often confused the scientist by its state.

In mathematics, zero is a number that comes before one. It is an even number in mathematics. Zero has no positive, whereas no negative, so people called it neutral. Zero comes under the classification called the whole number system. Zero is completely different from digit zero. The zero in digits place has a different value from the zero in-unit places. In mathematics, Zero is considered as the smallest non–negative integer with neither positive nor negative values.

What is Nothing?

Nothing is an English term that is used to indicate the void of the surroundings or the emptiness of things. It is also used to indicate things that are not in an active state. It is a pronoun with the meaning of void or not. To show the absence of things or something people use the word nothing. Sometimes it is significant to show that there is nothing by using the word nothing. If you need to mention the non-existence state of something you can use the word nothingness which is a philosophical term.

Nothing has many philosophical theories. People use nothing to mention no space, no food, and many things. Nothing will be nothing until people try to reach and fill it. Nothing mentions the empty things like an empty mind and an empty stomach. Nothing is a pronoun and it can not be measured by using any instruments. In eastern philosophy, people denote nothingness means egoless. They need something to refill to overcome the nothingness or emptiness. In data abstraction, many keywords are used and nothing is one among them.

For example, consider a sentence-“There is nothing to talk about our relationship, and it is over now”.
Here nothing denotes every single thing they give up for their relationships. They mention the emptiness in between them and empty promises. They might feel something is missing in between them and that is called nothing.

Main Differences Between Zero and Nothing

  1. Zero is used to increase the value of a number, whereas nothing is used to mention the void.
  2. Zero is a measurable one, but nothing cannot be measured.
  3. Zero is a number, but nothing is not a number.
  4. Zero has many characteristics in subjects, whereas nothing has no characteristics.
  5. Zero is used in mathematics, but nothing has no uses in mathematics.


Zero and nothing are two different words. They have no connection between them. The only similarity in both is English terms with contrasting meanings. Zero is a numeric digit with a null value, whereas nothing is an English term that mentions void or emptiness. Zero can be used to increase the value of a particular number. But nothing is not like zero. It can be measured like zero. It is an unmeasurable one. Nothing shows the emptiness of certain things like an empty bottle, empty mind, etc. But zero is a number used in mathematics and physics for numeric values.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=u-S-DAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR8&dq=zero+and+nothing&ots=M3YXucRFJA&sig=l5rxtfBPlj4and8qS05wkvYzWqo
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661316301255
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