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I have read the following sentence in a French language learning tool:

Elle vend un ancien chapeau.

According to https://about-france.com/french/adjectives.htm, the adjective "ancien" means "former" when it precedes a noun and "ancient" / "old" when it comes after it. Larousse examples in the definition of the adjective "ancien" seem to confirm it. As "a former hat" makes no sense, is the sentence above incorrect?

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"Former hat" is not idiomatic but "hat she used to wear" is, and that is what "ancien chapeau" means. It remains to find a word or at least a shorter combination of English words to express that, if possible. I know of none that should be unambiguous. "Previous hat" is not better than "former hat".

You can say "old" in English though, as in "my old school"; it means "former" as you'll probably recall, but if "former" is not idiomatic for "hat", I think that "old" is (OALD, number 5).

  • She is selling an old hat of hers.

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