noun, plural sans-cu·lottes [sanz-kyoolots, -koo-; French sahn-kylawt] /ˌsænz kyʊˈlɒts, -kʊ-; French sɑ̃ küˈlɔt/.

  1. (in the French Revolution) a revolutionary of the poorer class: originally a term of contempt applied by the aristocrats but later adopted as a popular name by the revolutionaries.
  2. any extreme republican or revolutionary.


  1. (during the French Revolution)
    1. (originally) a revolutionary of the poorer class
    2. (later) any revolutionary, esp one having extreme republican sympathies
  2. any revolutionary extremist

n.also sansculotte, “lower-class republican of the French Revolution,” 1790, from French, literally “without breeches;” see sans + cullotes. Usually explained as referring to the class whose distinctive costume was pantalons (long trousers) as opposed to the upper classes, which wore culottes (knee-breeches), but this is not certain. Related: Sans-culottes; sans-culotterie.

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