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Latin for “nothing” or “zero,” nil is a contraction of the Latin word nihil, which itself is a clipping of the word nihilum.

In financial contexts, nil simply means “zero.”

Nil is also used in some Latin legal terms, such as in nil dicit default judgment (“he says nothing”), de dote unde nil habet (“of dower whereof she has none”), nil debet (“he owes nothing”), and nil habuit in tenementis (“he has nothing in the tenements”). In some legal terms, nil and nihil are interchangeable, such as in nil dicit default judgment, which is sometimes referred to as nihil dicit default judgment.

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]