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Jan 21, 2016
This week’s theme
Clothing terms used metaphorically

This week’s words
brass hat
sackcloth
straitlaced
sansculotte
bootleg

sansculotte
Sansculotte (left), culottes (right)
Photo: “Mitglieder Der Kommune” (NYPL)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

sansculotte or sans-culotte

PRONUNCIATION:
(sanz-kyoo-LOT)

MEANING:
noun:
1. An extreme radical republican during the French Revolution.
2. 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.

USAGE:
“The bigger deal is that the council ... was snookered into signing on with a group of environmental and legal sansculottes.”
Colin McNickle; Thrice the Hubris; Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh); Nov 21, 2010.

See more usage examples of sansculotte in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The gods of the valley are not the gods of the hills. -Ethan Allen, revolutionary (21 Jan 1738-1789)

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