"nary a "

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue May 29 17:10:29 UTC 2007

On 5/28/07, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
> as i say, not in the OED (and hard to search for via google).  i'm
> away from my DARE -- does it have an entry for "ary"?  anyone have
> any information on this item?

Yes. DARE says it's used "throughout US, but esp Sth, Midl." There are
cites for the primary sense "any, either; a single" back to 1818 (in a
_Ladies Monitor_ list of provincialisms to be avoided). There is also
a second sense of "ary" meaning "nary," but only from DARE respondents
in 1965-69.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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