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Jul 8, 2020
This week’s theme
Shirts and pants as metaphors

This week’s words
redshirt
smarty-pants
sansculotte
descamisado
bloody shirt

sansculotte
Sansculotte (left), culottes (right)
Image: NYPL

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

sansculotte or sans-culotte

PRONUNCIATION:
(sanz-kyoo-LOT)

MEANING:
noun: A radical or revolutionary.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French, literally, without knee breeches. In the French Revolution, this was the aristocrats’ term of contempt for the ill-clad volunteers of the Revolutionary army who rejected knee breeches as a symbol of the upper class and adopted pantaloons. As often happens with such epithets, the revolutionaries themselves adopted it as a term of pride. Earliest documented use: 1790.

NOTES:
You don’t have to be a radical or a revolutionary to go without pants. Take part in the No Pants Subway Ride.

USAGE:
“[Steven] Pinker is not a sansculotte running amok with a box opener through handbooks. Instead he simply advocates cutting free from prescriptive ancien grammatical regimes.”
Sam Pickering; The Essence of Style; Sewanee Review (Baltimore, Maryland); Spring 2015.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The court is like a palace built of marble; I mean that it is made up of very hard and very polished people. -Jean de la Bruyere, essayist and moralist (1645-1696)

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