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.
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]