Wiktionary:Entry layout explained/Change proposal draft of 20050505

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In our jargon an "article", "page", or "entry" contains every piece of dictionary information that directly relates to a given sequence of letters. The same sequence of letters can refer to different words in different languages, or to distinct morphemes in the same language, each with a different etymology and meaning. This can make the rules about organization somewhat complex, but should nevertheless result in articles that are relatively easy to read.

A very simple (copyable) template[edit]

This shows the most fundamental elements of an article: its language, the part of speech, the word itself, and at least one definition.

# a building in which one lives

Simple cases[edit]

Let's say "hrunk" is a word in both English and German, with multiple senses in English. A very basic article will be organized like this:

  -> Explanation of how the English forms arose.
   -> Spelling example
   -> Text of first English noun definition.
   -> Text of second English noun definition.
   -> Spelling example
   -> Text of first English verb definition.
  -> Explanation of how the German forms arose.
   -> Text of first German verb definition.
  External links

We might translate this organizational plan into Wiktionary syntax like this:

From the Latin [[hrunkus]], to hrunk with vigor.

'''hrunk''' (''plural'' '''hrunkae''')

# A person who furps.

===Intransitive verb===
'''hrunk''' ('''hrunking''', '''hrunked''', '''hrunked''')

# To flrink with cumplus.
# To furp.

From the name of the obscure politician [[w:Hans Hrunk|Hans Hrunk]].

'''hrunk''' (''[[comparative]]'' '''hrunker''', ''[[superlative]]'' '''hrunkest''')
# Glinky.

Languages other than English[edit]

See: Wiktionary:Language considerations

While the format of entries should be as similar as possible between languages, each language has its own requirements and hence variations are inevitable. The layout conventions described on this page are based on considerations mainly on the English language. Feel free to deviate from them in other languages but be so kind to explain what you are doing on a page like this one:

General Stuff[edit]

Since the English Wiktionary distinguishes between capital and lower case letters, there will be different entries for titanic (an English adjective) and Titanic (a proper noun), ba (an English verb), Ba (the chemical symbol for Barium), and BA (the abbreviation for Bachelor of Arts), and kind (an English adjective) and Kind (a German substantive). To help users navigating between these pages, they are linked to each other by adding, in the case of Ba,

''See also'' [[ba]], [[BA]]

on the very top of the page.


Now more details on what articles look like and how to improve them.

Articles are given a structure by headers, which we type as ===header=== (number of = signs varies from two (biggest header) to six or so (smallest header)), and which provide a skeleton to which we have to add flesh, i.e. content. The more of the following headers you include, the better. Additional headers may be needed for irregular, strange words, or in other languages. Try to stick to the order given below but sometimes deviating will be necessary.

A typical article that uses many of the headers below might be organized like this:

 Alternative spellings
 Alternative forms
  Rhymes (linking to the appropriate page in the "Rhymes" namespace)
  -> Spelling of selected declensed forms (e.g. nominative and genitive singular; nominative plural)
  -> Text of first English noun definition.
    -> Text of quotation using the English noun form properly
  -> Text of second English noun definition.
  Related terms
  See also
  -> Spelling of selected inclined forms (e.g. third person singular, imperfect, past and present participle)
  -> Text of first English verb definition.
   -> Text of quotation using the English verb form properly
 Derived terms

  -> Spelling example
  -> Text of first Finnish noun definition.

Now the headings one by one:


The main headings are the language names. You create them by typing ==[language]==, where [language] is a language name in full length according to w:ISO_639. The two/three-letter ISO codes for languages are not used. "Language" headings are the only top-level headings, i.e. the only ones having just four equal signs (apart from entries which are numerals, letters, or other symbols; here an etymology on top-level (and languages on second level) might be desirable).

Categorize each entry into the appropriate language categories.


Second only to the language names is the etymology section of a word. Type its header as follows: ===Etymology===. If a word has different etymologies in a language (lead, row, calf, die, etc.), choose headers ===Etymology 1===, ===Etymology 2===,... and let these be the only second level headers for this language.

Make words that are part of the etymology of the treated word (including those in foreign languages) into links. Italicize words in foreign languages. Categorize any loanwords accoring to the origin (and intermediary) languages.


The pronunciation should be laid out like the following:

*[[Pronunciation guide|SAMPA]]: /pO:t'm{nt@u/
*[[Pronunciation guide|IPA]]:/p\x{0254}:t'mant\x{0259}\x{028A}/

The country [(UK), (US), (Australia), et al] is first if there is national variation, followed by the pronunciation system, (SAMPA or IPA), a colon and then the pronunciation between the slashes. Don't forget to make the system name a link to the pronunciation guide.

Eventually, every entry should have a pronunciation section, and perhaps a sound sample to accompany it. However, non-linguists often have trouble writing down pronunciations properly, so it's OK to skip this section when you are creating or otherwise improving an article.

Homophones and Rhymes[edit]

Below the pronunciations, begin a line with *'''Homophones:''' to list any homophones of the word, wikifying each one and separating them by commas. For "right", for example, this looks like:

Note that the term used is homophone; the term homonym is not to be used as some homonyms are homographs.

Type *'''Rhymes:''', and add a link to the page in the "Rhymes" namespace that lists the rhymes for the word. For example, on the entry for "hat", this would look like

Do not list rhyming words themselves on the page you are editing.

Part of Speech[edit]

Create the part of speech header by typing ====[part of speech]====, where [part of speech] is usually one of these (but others are possible):

Categorize each entry into the appropriate part of speech categories.

There will often be more than one "part of speech"-header per etymology section, e.g. fight is a noun and a verb.


The guidelines laid out here should be applied to English words only. See Wiktionary:Language considerations for other languages. If a words is of a part of speech that can never be inflected (prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, etc.) we simply repeat the page title emboldened in the line immediately below the "part of speech" heading (an exception are mathematical terms, as n-dimensional, which include variables: In such a case we additionally italicise the variable). For words of a part of speech that can at least in some cases be inflected (nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbials, etc.) we generally use one of the following templates to provide inflected forms:

  • Adjectives and adverbs: {{en-ad}} {{en-ad2}} *'''Nouns''': {{en-noun}} {{en-noun2}} *'''Verbs''': {{en-verb}} {{en-verb2}}


These are listed, and soft numbered in an order that takes into account the age, frequency, and kind of the usage. Some usages derive from others; this makes it impossible to firmly prescribe the order in which to arrange the meanings.

Illustrative Sentences and Quotations[edit]

An illustrative sentence is a sentence showing the word being defined in context as to clarify its meaning. You can give such a sentence after a particular definition in the following format:

  1. [definition]
    This line shows how to format an illustrative sentence.

It's in italics and the form of the word (phrase) the definition belongs to (i.e. the page name) is highlighted with bold letters.

Quotations are meant to demonstrate how the usage of a word has developed. They too are intended to enlighten the reader. Quotations come after illustrative sentences and look like this:

  1. [definition]
    • 2004: [quotation] — John Doe, The Title of My Book, [publisher, edition, chapter of the book, etc.]

That's an emdash: — See also Wiktionary:Quotations.

Synonyms and Antonyms[edit]

List words meanings as similar as possible to the word being defined (synonyms), as well as words with opposite meaning (antonyms).

List these words in a table with two columns: synonyms go left, antonyms go right. Wikify them. Group both synonyms and antonyms according to the definitions given for the word they are synonym or antonym to by numerating them, using #. As an example consider "dear" with definitions 1. loved, and 2. high in price. Then a synonym/antonym table would look like this:

  1. beloved, loved
  2. costly, expensive
  1. despised, hated
  2. cheap

# [[beloved]], [[loved]]
# [[costly]], [[expensive]]
# [[despise]]d, [[hate]]d
# [[cheap]]

If you can't provide a synonym or antonym for a definition, add a hash and <br> (forcing a line break) in order to get the numbering right. This looks like:

  1. cheap


A table isn't necessary if a word doesn't have antonyms (e.g. "book").

An experimental complement is offered by WikiSaurus entries. References can be made to WikiSaurus pages. See corpse, body, WikiSaurus:corpse, WikiSaurus:body for examples. Include such a references by typing #:[[WikiSaurus:expensive]] in the line below the appropriate synonym/antonym.

The code for the synonym/antonym table is:

<!--synonyms go here-->
<!--antonyms go here-->


List foreign words that have a meaning as close as possible to the English one.

The translations are listed in a table with two columns (see below for its code). For each language, give the name of the language, preceeded by a *, and followed by a colon and the translation(s), separated by commas, into that language.

Wikify the translation(s) (or the important words or phrases in the translation(s)) by enclosing them in double square brackets; for example, "rouge", the French translation of "red", would look like this: [[rouge]]. If the translation is spelt the same as the English word, wikify it as shown in this example: The English word "zero" translates to Romanian as "zero"; type the translation as: *Romanian: [[zero#Romanian|zero]], using the symbols # and |. The translation will appear as zero, but clicking on it will take you to the Romanian section of the "zero" page rather than the top of it (where the English definition is).

If appropriate, follow translations of nouns by their gender, abbreviated to m (masculine), f (feminine), n (neuter) or c (common), in italics by enclosing it with double apostrophes. For translations of adjectives, give the masculine form only (if applicable).

Conclude each translation by listing, in parentheses and separated by commas, which definitions they belong to. As an example consider the English word "queen" with the following definitions: 1. female king 2. most powerful chess piece 3. third highest playing card. Then the German translations would be typed as follows: *German: [[Königin]] ''f'' (1), [[Dame]] ''f'' (2,3)

The code for the translation table is:

<!--languages from A to I go here-->
<!--languages from J to Z go here-->

Derived terms[edit]

List words that are etymologically closely related, including affixed forms as well as phrases containing these words. For example, under Irish is listed Irish coffee. Under California is listed Californian. Since this section depends on the etymology, give it the third level header ====Derived terms===.

Related Terms[edit]

List words that are morphologically related, but aren't derived terms and aren't listed in the etymology.

See also[edit]

Link to other words that are related concepts.

External links[edit]

Link to external websites (e.g. Wikipedia) that give more information on the term.

More General Stuff[edit]

Interwiki Links[edit]

An Interwiki link is a link to the article, if existing, of same spelling in another Wiktionary. An Interwiki link (usually) starts with the two-letter language code of the language to whose Wiktionary it links.

Interwiki links are included at the end of a page, each on its own line. Their syntax is:


Interwiki links appear as the names of the languages they link to in the column on the left hand side of one's browser under the heading "other languages".

Newcomers sometimes inadvertantly remove interwiki links, perhaps thinking the codes to be detrius from a vandalism. This is especially true when it is not obvious what on the screen is changing. When they do, they are to be gently, politely informed otherwise, and the IW link to be reinserted.

Contributors don't need bother adding interwiki links — the bot RobotGMwikt is doing quite a good job at adding them automatically.

More Information on Creating Entries[edit]

See the Community Portal for more guidance on writing content.