I was wondering if the word sans is correctly used in the following sentences: He was broke sans a few dollars. He was naked sans a shirt. Can it be used in more ways than simply the word without?


The definition of sans is simply without, see for example Merriam-Webster. They also provide some examples of use:

She went to the party sans her husband.

anyone sans shirt will not be allowed in the restaurant

Similarly, the Oxford Dictionary has:

humorous, literary


a picture of Maughan sans specs

So I'm not sure that your usage would be understood. You presumably mean "naked except for a shirt" in your second example, not "naked without a shirt".

  • 1
    He might be understood in 1650, where the word was used to mean "with the exception of" (OED), but that's archaic: 1659 J. Evelyn Let. 3 Sept. in Diary & Corr. (1852) III. 119 All play interdicted, sans bowls, chess, &c. Apr 29 '19 at 12:17
  • 1
    @TaliesinMerlin If the OP edits the question to indicate they have a time machine ...
    – user323578
    Apr 29 '19 at 12:19
  • 1
    @JamesRandom They did, a week ago (but it was reverted next month).
    – TripeHound
    Apr 29 '19 at 15:16

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