Talk:absent-minded professor

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

Please do not re-nominate for verification without comprehensive reasons for doing so.


absent-minded professor

This entry was removed from the list of wanted entries by Doremítzwr. So I'd like to know if it is attestable, if possible. --Daniel. 00:19, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Widespread use. DCDuring TALK 00:27, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Agree with DCDuring. A quick google search shows this term to be easily attestable (which is not to say I'm actually going to take the trouble to do so :-P). It is also idiomatic. An absent-minded professor need not be a professor (although they are generally absent-minded). -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 08:09, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
It behooves the person making the entry to take the trouble to cite it or find support from other dictionaries. RfV does not exist to get other people to do work for one's own entry. DCDuring TALK 10:12, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, it depends on whether people are willing to verify a term proposed; I'd appreciate if someone got citations for absent-minded professor despite the fact that I created that entry. Anyway, DCDuring, if your statement were strictly true, RFV probably would not exist because we could simply ask for attestation on the talk page of each respective creator. :) --Daniel. 10:55, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Sense 1 (with quotations) and Sense 2 in a trustworthy (IMO) dictionary. la la means I love you 18:04, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Three citations added to the entry. bd2412 T 19:14, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
The literal sense is SoP. It's the other sense that wants citing IMO. The standard citation ("Oh, John is such an absent-minded professor") is most readily construed as a metaphoric use of the first sense. I'm not sure we should have this entry at all.​—msh210 21:53, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
What would constitute a good citation of a common noun phrase for figurative use? If metaphoric use doesn't count, than there are many senses of many words that should be deleted, eg head. I find it easier to simply disqualify any citation that is more nearly marked as a simile by use of a word like such or like. (In principle, there may some similes that would be idiomatic.) Are there some other practical criteria? DCDuring TALK 22:51, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, "John is an absent-minded professor" admits the metaphoric sense IMO, but not "John is such an...". Sorry for not making that clear. I also didn't Google the former, and was assuming it's not attestable. I may well be wrong.​—msh210 23:00, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that all of the citations we have and the 22 hits at COCA are in the context of a role, image, character, caricature, resemblance or other marker of a simile. DCDuring TALK 23:06, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Here is all of what Google makes available of a mention of the term:
  • 2002, Gabriele Stein, Better words: evaluating EFL dictionaries‎, page 153:
    The only justification for setting up a lemma absent-minded professor obviously is stereotypical illustration:
Take a look at the citations. They are the only 3 of the first 170 at bgc that didn't have an obvious marker of simile, IMO. DCDuring TALK 23:57, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Is "is a ... before his time" not a simile? (That's from the Hallowell quote.) And the West quote seems to be using the phrase literally, no?​—msh210 00:08, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
You are probably right about the Hallowell. In the West, I actually missed that Oak is a professor, though it is right there in the cite. I found 2 others and could probably find more. The question is whether there is any need to jump through such hoops when most of our contributors don't seem to think it worthwhile to exclude such collocations. We have folks who are flummoxed by the attributive-use standard for proper names as well. Is this just a long run for a short slide? The dictionary-evaluation book seems to consider stereotypes worth considering for inclusion. Should all attestable stereotypes be deemed includable on "cultural" grounds for non-natives? If so, why do we exclude company and brand names which are about as significant culturally? DCDuring TALK 00:37, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Re your cites, thanks for the work, and I'm glad to consider this cited. Re whether they're necessary... well, I think so, and AFAICT you (DCDuring) think so, so.... Personally I think that cites of the kind I pushed for, and you've found, here, are necessary for all exemplars, like this one, and like pancake (of flatness), board (of flatness), rail (of thinness), etc. Any exemplar without such citations (that is, with only simile citations) otherwise inclusible should have a usage note saying what it's an exemplar of, but that's it. Just MHO.​—msh210 00:42, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Passed.​—msh210 19:29, 27 May 2010 (UTC)