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Nary a

  • The phrase nary a—which means not one, no, or not a and fits where any of those would work—derives from never a (via ne’er a). As it’s dialectal, it might be considered out of place in formal writing. Yet that doesn’t stop writers from using it in all sorts of contexts.

    Examples

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    But nary a snarl nor bark was heard from this entire bunch. [Wall Street Journal]

    [I]t’s hard to think of a modern action movie that doesn’t feature at least one orgasmic detonation, followed by cool guys strolling away with nary a singed eyebrow. [Guardian]

    There was nary a whimper of complaint about losing a day off after what several players described as an “embarrassing” effort. [Vancouver Sun]

    Though she is the only volunteer who does not use a computer, she is a meticulous organizer, with nary a form out of place. [NY Times]

    The Academy Award nominations were announced on Tuesday and nary was a car movie to be found. [The Globe and Mail]

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