Wiktionary:Tea room/2008/December

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
This is an archive page that has been kept for historical purposes. The conversations on this page are no longer live.

December 2008

I've added the french translation of an other sense as in establishing a Good Offices Committee to sponsor further negotiations but I'm not able to add the definition itself. Serpicozaure(talk) 13:20, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Verb definition was not accurate. "To sponsor" can refer to any of the noun senses of "sponsor". It does not mean merely "to give money to", or even "donate" or "finance". "Finance" would usually imply that it was done with an expectation of repayment and even profit. The object of "to sponsor" is an event or program or, less often, an organisation. The object of "to donate" is the thing given. DCDuring TALK 15:34, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

ibreve and halfe from wanted words list.

"ibreve" has a number of meanings, but the only ones I can come up with should be hyphenated. I-breve in the legal sense, i-breve in the sense of an "i" with the breve above, etc. What to do with this?

Update: I've still been looking for a valid usage of this "word". The longer I look, the more sure I am that it's either hyphenated or else it's not a word. I vote to remove it as Ruakh says below, unless someone comes up with a meaning real soon. -- Pinkfud 08:40, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

"halfe" is a word in German, Dutch, Swedish and Danish at least, possibly in other languages as well. In all but German, it means (or can mean) "half". In German it's a form of "helped". How ought one to decide which language to create an entry in when this is the case? -- Pinkfud 20:11, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

If you're convinced that a wanted word isn't really a word, or if it sits for a long time with no one adding it, you can remove it and explain why on the talk-page (Wiktionary talk:project-wanted articles). In the specific case of "ibreve", it does get at least one real-looking hit on Google Book Search; it might be worth asking an Italian-speaker, such as SemperBlotto, Paul G, or Barmar, to take a look at the hit and see if it's a typo or something.
For "halfe", you can choose one, or create all the ones you know, or whatever. The wanted-words list is no substitute for the language-specific requests pages (Wiktionary:Requested entries:German and so on), and words on the wanted-words list should also be on one of those. So, you don't need to worry about what language was intended: it will be gotten to eventually anyway.
RuakhTALK 20:28, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
halfe is not a German word. There is half and halfen but not halfe.-- 15:38, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I can handle a bit of Italian too, and it isn't a word there either, or at least not common if it's a word. Breve is, meaning short or brief, but not ibreve. But thanks very much for the input! -- Pinkfud 20:43, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Ah. Looking at that G-Books reference, I translate the sentence as "The significance of these cespuglietti mycelium could not (be determined?) because they degenerated in a short time." Thus, the word in question probably is a typo. -- Pinkfud 20:53, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Halfe is no word in Swedish, at least not modern Swedish. In modern Swedish the forms halv (adjective) and halva (adjective form, and noun) are used, and in archaic spellings (before the 1906 spelling reform) the spellings were half, halfve and halfva. If halfe ever was used, I has to be a really old spelling. \Mike 19:04, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Supplier vs. vendor

What is the difference between a supplier and a vendor. Thank you. —This comment was unsigned.

A vendor is always a seller. A supplier might possibly not be. High schools might be said to be suppliers of students to colleges, though that wouldn't be the best word. They would probably be arrested if they were vendors. DCDuring TALK 23:02, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Is there also the difference that vendor always refers to a person but supplier might refer to a firm? --Duncan MacCall 23:36, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
In the US I've heard "vendor" regularly used in organisations to refer to companies. DCDuring TALK 23:55, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
In the context of w:Vendor (supply chain), I think the meanings are identical. But each word also has distinct meanings: as DCDuring noted, a "supplier" might not always be engaged in a commercial transaction, and in real estate the "vendor" is simply the seller of a property. -- Visviva 03:06, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

making wiktionary better

i think we can put the search on the middle of the page and remove some ads

—This unsigned comment was added by Love21400 (talkcontribs) at 09:41, 3 December 2008.


The entry great-aunt refers to the generation of one's grandparent. My understanding is that that is US usage and that UK usage is the generation of one's great grandparent. Can anyone clarify this? Wakablogger 09:42, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

My understanding (UK) is that your great-aunt is your parent's aunt, ie your grandparent's sister. Ƿidsiþ 09:56, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Same in the U.S. My grandmother’s sister was my great-aunt. —Stephen 23:13, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Thank you both for the feedback. Wakablogger 09:09, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Confusion, Misuse, due to mis understanding

I am keen to hear if anyone shares the opinion that Axis and Axle are generally misunderstood? leading to a misuse of both words? (unsigned comment by User:Gary Birch)

Apparently, axis is Latin for axle (and perhaps in other languages: Dutch?), so perhaps the misunderstandings tend to arise from non-English languages. Equinox 22:42, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I have never heard of anyone confusing axis and axle. To me it’s easier to confuse mustard and catsup than axis and axle. —Stephen 23:10, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Gaming and video games

Can we merge {{gaming}} into {{video games}}? The contents of both categories are about video games, and the latter category is more distinct. (You could feasibly see "gaming" as referring to traditional games that don't require a computer.) Equinox 22:42, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

I think some sorting out of the category is needed, but many of the terms tagged "gaming" are not specific to video games -- e.g. HP and XP, which I believe date back to early D&D (in the mid-70s, when Pong was a cutting-edge video game). -- Visviva 02:24, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
To me the term gaming is much more established with gambling and casinos, when I hear it used in relation to Video games it always makes me think of the first generation to grow up with video games need for a more grown up word for their hobby when they started turning 30 and 40 than "playing games" (-: — hippietrail 23:17, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Further to Hippietrail's point, I think "gaming" is best reserved for casinos, and the betting industry generally. It may be that some items now categorised as "gaming" shouldn't be there. I suppose some terms relating to video games based on the gambling games and to on-line gambling might be in more than one category. DCDuring TALK 23:57, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Try to find a name that combines differentes business under one roof...

i need help —This comment was unsigned.

conglomerate? DCDuring TALK 12:45, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

partnership, merger? Michael Z. 2008-12-04 15:52 z
Often several one-man law firms share office space (and, often, a receptionist, or even a legal secretary). Sometimes doctors do the same thing. I'm not sure what to call this: it's not a partnership or merger in any way: the businesses are completely separate for all purposes: they have different sets of clients, etc. (Otoh, I don't know whether this kind of thing is what the OP meant.)—msh210 17:04, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
You weren't thinking of group practice? or just "sharing chambers" or "sharing an office". DCDuring TALK 00:00, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Danish ske

The Danish term ske has either two senses or two homonyms. I rather expect that happen/occur is not related to spoon but weirder etymological things have happened. Could somebody in the know either split the article by etymology are add a note to the current etym explaing how happen came to also mean spoon. — hippietrail 23:29, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

I have created two etymologies. The section whould be fine now. I notice it lacks inflection though. __meco 09:57, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks meco, I've used your work on the Norwegian equivalent too! — hippietrail 10:36, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Very nice. __meco 10:52, 8 December 2008 (UTC)


Is this a suffix or a combining form. If it is not a suffix what PoS should it have or should it be merged with [[dimensional]]? See Wiktionary:Requests for deletion#n-dimensional. DCDuring TALK 23:42, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Semantically, "three-dimensional" = "{three dimensions}-al", not "three-{dimensional}", right? If I'm not mistaken, this is what linguists call a "bracketing paradox": in form, the -al has lower attachment than the three-, since it's actually incorporated into dimension to form the derived adjective dimensional, but in meaning, it has higher attachment, since the three modifies (determines?) the implicit dimensions, and -al serves to adjective-ize the whole thing. That makes it interesting, and I'm guessing it's what motivated the entry's creation; but if I've got this right, bracketing paradoxes are incredibly common (I believe "{blue-eye}d", "{transformational grammar}ian", "{North America}n", etc. are all examples), and I don't think the solution is to treat the together-in-form part of them as an affix or combining form. I don't know what to suggest instead, though. (I think this is related to the issue of non-predicating adjectives — "medical student" doesn't mean "student who is medical" — but I might just be confusing two separate issues.) —RuakhTALK 16:46, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I think I see your point. I didn't know what the name of the phenomenon was, but I had noticed it in etymologies. When (and in what order) a stem acquires one or more suffix (Greek; classical, late, vulgar, medieval, new Latin; old, middle, or Norman French; old, middle, or modern English) is often very meaningful, but elementary purely "morphological" etymologies just jump to classical stem plus affixes. I really don't buy inviolable "deep grammar" transformational rules, because folks like Pinker and Searle don't. Just as evolution does not treat DNA is inviolable, so do "rules" of transformation often get violated when rules conflict with other rules or with larger phenomena.
In this case, notwithstanding your arguments, "-dimensional" seems a meaningful lexicographic unit. But, strictly speaking, "dimensional" seems like a combining form, not a suffix. I cannot get over the disappearance of the "s" in the purported transformation of "two-dimensions" to "two-dimensional" (and in all multi-dimensional compounds). That the solid spelling (multidimensional might be an exception) is much less common (~1:10), is also suggestive that this is not "really" a suffix. Too, Quinlon, at Affixes: the Building Blocks of English], does not treat "-dimensional" as an affix. OTOH, little harm (except fewer helpful hyphens) comes from treating it as one, and some users may be helped. If we had some good treatments of combining forms and if ordinary users grasped the distinctions, this might be easier. I have no neat solution and doubt that there is one. DCDuring TALK 18:34, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Taxonomic species names

I'm talking about entries like M. minimus and K. kieneri- are these things we really want to have? I can see having species names, but something about the abbreviated forms just bothers me, especially when it seems they are created just to make an entry for the Christmas competition. Nadando 02:13, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

See discussion of B. splendens at Wiktionary:Requests for deletion#B. splendens. DCDuring TALK 02:37, 5 December 2008 (UTC)


Hello. I must request conjugation template at sano#Latin of Latin word sano. --Volants 14:32, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Done. The usual way to make such requests is to add {{attention|la}} to the page. The specific request can be included <!-- as a comment, like this --> after the tag. --EncycloPetey 18:58, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Need a word

What is the verb for when someone who has no historical connection with a country becomes a member of the country because they have lived there for a certain length of time? Donek 16:41, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

naturalize Robert Ullmann 16:50, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

bad apple

The etymology currently says this comes from the proverb about bad apples, but recent poking around suggests to me that it may be a pseudo-calque from the Latin cotonia mala, which is literally "bad quinces", but is tied etymologically to Cydonius (Cretan). The Romans held the Cretans in very low regard, and stereotyped them as lazy, immmoral, etc. It also seems quite possible that it may come from a Latin malum malum, from apple + inflected form of bad. --EncycloPetey 23:45, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

  • b.g.c.'s oldest cite for "bad apple" with "spoil" is just 1881 or so, which surprised me. "one bad apple" gets only 8 more years. This quote from 1863 makes the saying seem less than proverbial as of that year:
  • 1863, Rev. John Cumming, Driftwood, Seaweed, and Fallen Leaves, page 72:
    A bad man is necessarily an injury ; he affects other men. The dry-rot in a single timber will soon destroy the ship; a bad apple in a basketful will injure the whole. Individual life, therefore, affects the State
    DCDuring TALK 01:40, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Another suggesting that bad apple as a simile may have had a life independent of the full proverb:

  • 1861, Aubrey De Vere, "The Bard Ethel", The sisters, Inisfail, and other poems, page 148
    "I am like a bad apple unripe yet rotten !" DCDuring TALK 05:26, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

The ‘full’ proverb as I have always known it is ‘the bad apple (that) spoils the barrel’. In the Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs it appears as ‘A rotten apple injures its neighbour’, and is traced back as far as the Ayenbite of Inwit of 1340: ‘A roted eppel amang the holen, makeþ rotie the yzounde.’ They note a Latin precedent, too: ‘pomum compunctum cito corrumpit sibi junctum’. Ƿidsiþ 16:36, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I wonder if the proverb was out of currency for a while or whether the authors I cited above just liked to use terms that were clichés. DCDuring TALK 00:06, 8 December 2008 (UTC)


Please help me list the correct order of living organisms from simple to complex. —This comment was unsigned.

The idea of ordering iving things from simple to complex is called the Great chain of being (or scala naturae). It is a pre-Darwinian British idea that died with the Victorian era. --EncycloPetey 02:37, 6 December 2008 (UTC)


Another odd word from that Wanted list. Anyone think this has a meaning other than as a proper noun - the name of an angel said to be able to open prison gates? -- Pinkfud 08:31, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Word removed. Explanation is at Wanted list talk page (where any subsequent discussion should also be). -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 09:14, 7 December 2008 (UTC)


It seems this word is used primarily recently for Internet groups, e.g. a Wikimedia meetup. I assume because generally Internet-group users don't meet face-to-face, compared with businesspeople. I'm sure I said "Let's meet up" 20 years ago, but I'll add some citations next time I'm online to back this up. --Jackofclubs 11:56, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

"Let's meet up at the meetup." -- Pingku 18:25, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

lobster as plural?

It wouldn't bother me to say "we caught many lobster" or "we caught many lobsters". Googling finds examples of "many lobster" that are using lobster as a plural (as well as some false hits 'like many lobster lovers'). Should we add that lobster can be used as the plural and if so how to we indicate that? In a usage note? RJFJR 14:35, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

This applies to nearly all sea food and fish(es) BTW. Perhaps we could have a template for this? It would certainly be alright to put a usage note AFAIC -- ALGRIF talk 15:34, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
One worthwhile item for such a usage not would be to indicate the lower level of acceptability of plural verbs with "lobster" referring to the living creatures, especially when still in the wild. In what contexts is "The lobster are running" acceptable? —This unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs).
A quick look at the first page of a basic Google search for "lobster are" gives:- 1. farmed lobster are considered to be pale in colour. 2. Most species of lobster are caught in pots or traps. 3. Maine Lobster are better then Canadain (sic) Lobster. That's just for starters. A proper search would certainly pull up many good examples, I reckon. -- ALGRIF talk 16:24, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Example 2 is specious, since the verb refers to "species" as its noun, not "lobster". -DrGaellon | Talk 01:38, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I estimate that more than 90% of the almost 650 raw b.g.c. hits (limited and full preview only) for "lobster are" are not hits for the plural use of lobster. More than 90% of the almost 800 hits for "lobsters are" are hits for the plural. Thus "lobsters" would seem to be ten times more common in b.g.c. as a plural. "Two lobsters" gets more than 600 raw b.g.c. hits almost solely true plural use. In the first 50 hits of "two lobster" (of 280), I found no true plural use. I conclude that "lobster" is a rare and possibly less preferred plural. I don't know what the results would be for shellfish, marine mammals, true fish, or other large aquatic animals, let alone plants and small animals. DCDuring TALK 16:29, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I think this can apply to most wild animals. The invariant plural seems to suggest a way of relating to the animal as a more abstract entity. "There are bear in the mountains" [1] may be usefully distinct from "there are bears in the mountains"; one refers to the general fact that the mountains are bear habitat, while the other would, in some contexts, indicate the presence of specific bears in some specific area. Likewise, "there are lobster in the funnel" suggests that it is lobster (by the pound), and not individual lobsters, with which one is concerned. Presumably related to this, but complicating the matter, many prominent wild animals -- deer, moose, fish, salmon -- have invariant plurals only. Visviva 16:47, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Should we have separate senses to support the distinction? Alternatively, we could add it to the notional list of "subjects we should have appendices for, to be linked to in usage notes", which list is stored in our collective and individual "circular files" or "bit buckets". DCDuring TALK 16:59, 6 December 2008 (UTC)


Considering adding an entry for dincha (common slang for didn't you, easily citeable back to 1930s or earlier, e.g. dincha hear me?), but I don't know what part of speech it is! Seems it would be a verb, but it actually has the pronoun fused into it, so does that make it a "phrase" or something? Equinox 20:08, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I would classify it as a contraction- see betcha, gotcha. Nadando 20:10, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
WT:POS allows it as "standard" non-PoS Level-3 header. I view it as a last resort, but a good one if no single "real" PoS applies, as here. DCDuring TALK 20:30, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I would tend to agree with the assessment by Nadando (talkcontribs). Cirt (talk) 07:17, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

full English breakfast

Please can a Brit verify the ingredients of the full English breakfast - i.e. does it have to contain all the ingredients to be a full breakfast, and waht is the difference between this and an English breakfast. --Jackofclubs 12:25, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

It is fairly variable. Eggs can be scrambled, fried, or poached. I think white pudding occasionally turns up too. Hotels often say "English breakfast" to distinguish from a continental breakfast. Equinox 16:47, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • What, no hash browns? Ƿidsiþ 17:49, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
    I thought kippers would be included, no? --EncycloPetey 20:20, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
    No! You still get kippers for breakfast round some parts, but they're not part of a "full English". Ƿidsiþ 12:27, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • My (admittedly hazy) memory includes sausage and inedible fried bread. Pingku 18:00, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Hash browns might be included from American influence, but tradition has (edible) fried bread, and the eggs were fried. There is no definitive list, but the plate must have a selection of at least six (in my view) including bacon and egg to qualify as a traditional full English breakfast (and it often runs to eight or ten ingredients from a generous host!) Dbfirs 13:32, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
  • For me a "full English" needs to contain at least sausages and/or bacon, egg (fried or scrambled, occasionally poached) and at least two or three from mushrooms, baked beans, fried tomato, fried bread, hash browns and black pudding. Thryduulf 21:07, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I had never even heard of hash browns as a child in the sixties, so i would say that if we are talking about the traditional dish (as given in the entry) we would have to exclude hash browns.

Wiktionary:Idioms that survived RFD

Hi. Is there a procedure to follow to add items to this section? The page is very lacking in useful additions of precedence. For instance, how about adding it's a pleasure to "Once upon a time test", as it has just passed RFD? -- ALGRIF talk 17:09, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Run a few up the flagpole and see if they salute. DCDuring TALK 17:41, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, please edit. It's just an informal list, so no prior discussion is needed IMO. -- Visviva 02:03, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

shear-up or shear up

sultans and others whose authority had been shored-up by the Dutch, were attacked as soon as Japanese authority left (from Indonesian National Revolution Serpicozaure(talk) 11:57, 11 December 2008 (UTC) )

The verb is actually shore; see shore up. -- Visviva 15:06, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and most (I think) usage guides would have it without the hyphen in that usage and usually, except when used as an attributive adjective, though practice varies. DCDuring TALK 15:17, 11 December 2008 (UTC)


There's another definition needed, about poetry apparently. My knowledge of poetry is extremely poor, and I couldn't undestand the definitions given on other webistes. A couple of useful links are here and bartleby. --Jackofclubs 10:06, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Oddly, though both of those links attribute their noun senses to the same person (Gerard Manley Hopkins), their definitions seem completely different. Your first link seems to be referring to something like this:
This is a very long line of poetry that extends to the next line in the form of
                                                                    an outride.
whereas your second link is referring to unstressed syllables in sprung poetry poetry with sprung rhythm. (I'm not sure if it's referring to all unstressed syllables, or specifically to those unstressed syllables that Hopkins marked with a grave accent for some reason that I don't understand, but either way, it doesn't seem to match the other definition. I mean, I see how one could cause the other, but it seems odd to use the same word for both.)
RuakhTALK 15:47, 12 December 2008 (UTC) fixed mis-link 18:34, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia [2], "He used diacritical marks on syllables to indicate which should be drawn out (acute e.g. á ) and which uttered quickly (grave e.g. è )." Equinox 17:02, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, but why? Why were some unstressed syllables marked with graves, and some not? *shrug* —RuakhTALK 18:33, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I found this somewhat helpful. Here Hopkins and the author are clearly using the term to refer to the part of a line (or foot) that extends beyond its metrical end. It is easy to see how this could be extended to apply to a line tht extends beyond its physical end as well. In fact it wouldn't be surprising if some editions of Hopkins' work mark outrides in exactly this way (haven't checked).
On another note, I feel compelled to note that if poetry were treated under the same criteria as fiction, this term would probably not qualify for inclusion; it is apparently only used in reference to a single poet. -- Visviva 13:27, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm good

I was wanting to make an entry for the expression I'm good when used to indicate no as an answer, or to indicate that the person has enough of something. Examples would be: Do you want cake? with a reply I'm good meaning no, or at least no more. But what I am unsure of is what part of speech would it be listed as.

Secondly, I always think of this term as being American, but is it limited to certain places in the US?--Dmol 09:53, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

The POS should be the same as analogous expressions like "no thanks", which we currently have as a "Phrase". (I would have been inclined to call it an interjection, but "phrase" is hard to dispute.) I don't think it is regionally limited, but I think it is fairly recent in common use; I don't recall hearing it growing up in the 80s-90s.
In fact, the earliest pertinent match for "No thanks I'm good" on b.g.c. is from 2000. [3] The earliest match for "No I'm good thanks" is 1998. [4] The phrase has got to be somewhat older than that, but perhaps not by much; it certainly doesn't seem to have had much traction until 2002 or so. -- Visviva 12:47, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
I've never heard' I'm good used in this way, but the much older I'm fine is still used with the above meaning in parts of the UK. Should we have an entry for this?
We do now hear the imported phrase I'm good, thanks used in the UK to replace I'm fine, thank you and I'm well, thank you. Dbfirs 13:18, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
The earliest newspaper reference on NewsBank is an article by one Nathan Bierma writing for the Chicago Tribune, entitled "'I'm good' not a bad way to send several messages", dated 17 August 2005. Among other observations, he has this to offer:
"In online [language] usage forums, it's been suggested that the expression derives from draw poker -- a player who stands pat, or doesn't need to draw any cards, will tell the dealer, 'I'm good ,'" says Benjamin Zimmer, lecturer in anthropology at Rutgers University and a consultant for the Oxford English Dictionary. "Of course, it has also long been a formulaic expression in bars, where 'I'm good' is a standard negative response to a bartender who asks if the patron wants another drink."'
- Pingku 13:58, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
The bar derivation seems plausible. On further examination, I find a few b.g.c. breadcrumbs going back to this one in 1991, which does occur in an alcoholic (though non-bar) setting. -- Visviva 14:27, 13 December 2008 (UTC)


Which of these (36!) forms should be our main entry? Oxford dictionary says it doesn't matter, so I suppose it shouldn't matter much to us either. --Jackofclubs 14:38, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Although they said it didn't matter, they led with "poppadom". That's how I'd spell it. What matters, of course, is how they spell it on restaurant menus. My guess is they got it right. - Pingku 16:53, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, they say it doesn't matter which one you choose, but their listing should be an indication of the frequency of use. NOAD has only pappadam, while the CanOD has “pappadum . . . (also pappadam, papadum, poppadum)”. Since all three dictionaries share a database, I interpret this as an indication of regional usage. Of course it would be nice to compare to some other good dictionaries, too. Michael Z. 2008-12-13 17:49 z
Restaurant menus getting it "right"? Are you kidding? They are all over the place. And there isn't a "right" answer, although some are better than others. From what I've seen and heard, the first two vowels should be "a", and the last "u". But that is just one single (set of) observation(s). WP uses w:papadum. The reason this is difficult is that it is not just a transliteration of the Tamil word, it is a successive borrowing, with lots of variations in spelling and pronunciation at each stage. Given the Tamil, pappadam would seem the best. We also need papad as a near-synonym. Robert Ullmann 18:05, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Tamil has பப்படம் (pappaṭam), but Tamil has no "d", and the ṭ sound is often transliterated as a "d" (in contrast with , which is a regular "t"). —Stephen 21:54, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

σπηλιά, σπήλαιον, shpellë, and spelunk

What if any is the relationship between Greek σπηλιά (spiliá, cave) and σπήλαιον (spílaion), Albanian shpellë, and English spelunk? It seems they all ultimately come from Slavic. — hippietrail 12:55, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Are you sure spelunk ultimately is from a Slavic language? I don’t know what Slavic language it would be. Russian has спелеология (speleologija), but that’s borrowed from Greek. I think English spelunk is from Ancient Greek σπήλυγξ (spḗlunks), related to σπéος (spéos) and to σπήλαιον (spḗlaion). —Stephen 09:47, 27 December 2008 (UTC)


I don't see how this would be incorrect or what sources proscribe this. Teh Rote 14:48, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Me neither. I removed tag, put in a cite. Let's keep it open for a while for other views. Just found great quote. DCDuring TALK 15:31, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Easy enough to find works weakly favoring "more stupid" over stupid, but relative usage frequency is not very different. DCDuring TALK 15:38, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Connel originally tagged it "nonstandard" (see stupider?diff=1319817), presumably based on a gut feeling; Circeus later downgraded this to "proscribed". Judging from Dictionary.com's entries, AHD and Random House do not share Connel's feeling, but Webster's 1913 did. —RuakhTALK 16:55, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I think it should be tagged (stupider) Robert Ullmann 16:36, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

word history

I need to know the changes in meaning of the following words since its entry into English language

1. Lie (verb) 2. cheerful 3. machine 4. ornament(noun) 5. vulgar 6. humour 7. quaint 8. honest 9. testify 10. romance

—This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 09:56, 16 December 2008 (UTC).

It sounds like you want us to do your homework for you. Shouldn't you be offering money or something? ;-)   —RuakhTALK 12:46, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Have you ever checked the etymology-section on those words in wiktionary (comes with every word...)? It's just one of the features I like wiktionary for ;-)! - Jack-72 11:53, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

psychokinesis, telekinesis

Psychokinesis is defined as "...movement..." and telekinesis as "...ability to move...". Which is right? Or are both right, so that each entry needs another sense?—msh210 21:48, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

I've always understood both words to have both meanings. Thryduulf 22:45, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I have always understood the two to be distinct, except I have never been able to apprehend the distinction. Hopefully we can now have this sorted out once and for all. __meco 14:50, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I assume that both words have the same range of meanings, but it seems very likely that some speakers (experts, as it were) maintain a distinction that we should mention. —RuakhTALK 15:05, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I was somewhat surprised to find that there is an attestable plural telekineses, which implies a countable sense. Some authors (possibly of the Gaia persuasion) seem to use telekinesis to refer to "action at a distance" apparently due to causes beyond our present understanding The Weather Makers. Perhaps gravity was once telekinesis in this sense. DCDuring TALK 15:44, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
The etymologies imply that the first is explicitly by mental powers, while the second is merely at a distance, by undetermined means. I don't know that they are conventionally used that way. Michael Z. 2008-12-17 16:29 z
Almost all of the usage of telekinesis (attested only from c. 1890) is basically synonymous with psychokinesis (attestable only from c. 1914) afaict, with mostly pedants like us making a distinction and preferring one over the other. The phrase [[w:Action at a distance {physics)]] had long before captured the more general physical sense, leaving "telekinesis" available to those who wanted to leave open the possible mechanism. At the time psychology was still almost as much the study of the "soul" as of the "mind", so debunking "psychokinesis" may have seemed more anti-religious than debunking "telekinesis". Even if this conjecture is supportable, I am not sure that it is worth expressing it in our definitions. DCDuring TALK 17:41, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm okay with that. Just FYI, NOAD differentiates the two with “by mental effort alone” and “at a distance by mental power or other nonphysical means”. Michael Z. 2008-12-17 20:25 z


Seems like the third sense, "A merit-based scholarship", and the fifth, "A stipend that supports the pursuit of an advanced degree and/or research", should be combined. Also, is the second sense, "A feeling of friendship, relatedness or connection between people", the one found in the church members met for fellowship, or does that phrase use a sense of fellowship that we don't have?—msh210 18:39, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Zeelandic or Zealandic or Zeeuws


I recently added an entry for Zealandic. During my WP harvest, for which I used the Dutch word nl:Zeeuws as the base, found that the English WP refers to it as Zeelandic though. A google fight ([Thu Dec 18 2008] [09:14:13] <know-it-all> Googlefight: 'Zeelandic' beat 'Zealandic' with 26,100 to 21,200 hits. [17:03] <know-it-all> Googlefight: 'Zealandic' beat 'Zeelandic' with 21,200 to 10,400 hits.) slightly favoured Zeelandic at first and then favoured Zealandic 8 hours later.

When using Google directly the pages for Zeelandic seem a lot more language related.

The bureaucrat of the Zealandic WP who is asking for a Ze[a|e]landic Wiktionary project talks about Zealandic though Zealand is also the English name of the region where the language is spoken, in Dutch it's Zeeland, of course...

The iso639-3 language code is zea. Since it's the name of a language, it's rather important we get it right, since it appears in translations sections and in the {{zea}} template. If we choose to keep using Zealandic, we may have to try and convince the WP crowd to use that as well. --Polyglot 16:17, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

There isn't any reason we have to get them to go along with the English spelling of the name; the cross-wiki links are by code. (We do have to agree on meaning of the codes; als (which is Tosk Albanian) vs gsw (the correct code) has been a problem.) In this case the native language name the s/w defines is Zeêuws; we have the language named Zealandic. Doesn't cause any more trouble than 日本語 and Japanese. (Look at the source for this 'graph to see what I'm showing.) The English WP has redirects from Zealandic to Zeelandic; also not a problem.
All that said; we should ask ourselves if Zeelandic would be a better name for us to use. The WP use of it is odd, since the place is w:Zealand. The 'crat is correct on that point. (And that spelling is very standard in English, cf. New Zealand, not "New Zeeland"). But as noted, no problem if we stick with "Zealandic". Robert Ullmann 16:58, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
The reason why I bring it up is that I was surprised to find WP uses Zeelandic. It didn't seem logical. I do think it's not nice if our entry is Zealandic and when one clicks on the Wikipedia link one gets redirected to Zeelandic. That's why I would like to see both projects use the same name. It also seems important for us as a dictionary project to determine whether one is really an alternative spelling of the other or whether it's an error. If only to decide if we add it as a synonym or not. --Polyglot 18:07, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Re: your first paragraph: Agreed.
Re: your second paragraph: Not agreed. I believe Wikipedia is correct in its distinction between Zealand (a Danish island) and Zeeland (a Dutch province). (As Wikipedia says, the spelling Zealand does sometimes occur for the latter, but google:"Dutch province of Zeeland" gets 13,100 Google hits to google:"Dutch province of Zealand"'s 622.)
RuakhTALK 19:33, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Ruakh, it's not entirely clear to me whether you are saying we should start using Zeelandic for the language name, or not. You start talking about the entry for Zealand. I wouldn't mind splitting of the Dutch province meaning to Zeeland, if that's the right thing to do. But I'd especially like for everything to be streamlined. It's true that Zealand/Zealandic seems more 'English-like' than Zeeland/Zeelandic. So Robert has a point there, but on the other hand there are many language and location names that are not very English-like. Polyglot 20:46, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I guess what I'm saying is that your first instinct — the Google-fight — was correct. We should figure out which name is more standard. My comment was a bit off-topic, because it dealt with the name of the province (usually Zeeland), which doesn't necessarily determine the name of its language. In fact, oddly, it seems (from b.g.c. searches) that the English prefers Zealandic to Zeelandic — but that may not be relevant either, because it seems to prefer Zeeuws to either one. For example, google books:"Zeeuws dialect" gets 47 hits, google books:"Zeelandic dialect" gets 3, and google books:"Zealandic dialect" gets 2. (But funnily enough, with "language" instead of "dialect", google books:"Zealandic language" gets one relevant hit and the others get none.) —RuakhTALK 23:45, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
So should we use Zeeuws then? That's very hard to read for native English speakers (or maybe most readers not familiar with Dutch), I think. It is what iso639-3 calls it though.) --Polyglot 14:27, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
What "iso639-3" prefers isn't necessarily relevant. My experience is that, when there is not an obviously preferred English name for a language, they use the native language name (provided it's in Roman script). There's no intrinsic reason for us to prefer their name in this situation. Personally, I think I prefer Zeelandic because it's less likely to be confused with New Zealand (which is more familiar to most English speakers than the Dutch province). However, that's purely a gut feeling. --EncycloPetey 18:33, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
But then the native name is Zeêuws; Zeeuws is Dutch (;-) Here, we have an English name, or rather, one too many. Robert Ullmann 15:36, 23 December 2008 (UTC)


It is vital to recall that there is also the Danish isle of Sjælland (spelt Zealand in English) and Zealandic may also refer to its dialect of Danish. Is there any objection against adding a 3rd meaning? Bogorm 14:58, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Alrentates for Gold, Silver, Bronze classifications

Trying to come up with new award standard for Sales Goals. ANy suggestions?


I'd like to put the quotation with one of the definitions, but it's not clear to me which one it belongs with. Can anyone help? -- dougher 05:55, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

I think we need a source for the quote before we do anything with it. It's not in the Jowett translation (the one that Gutenberg et al. have), or in any other translation indexed by either Google Web or Google Books. But to answer your question, judging from this translation it should be under sense 2. That said, translations aren't ideal usage material even when they can be properly identified. -- Visviva 06:29, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

all but

I find that this term is often misused to mean something along the lines of 'absolutely', even in professional works, and very rarely actually sees use to mean 'almost'. Any concensus here? Dantai Amakiir 20:29, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

practically is probably closer to the actual meaning intended than absolutely. Care to indicate actual cites that are unambiguous? Circeus 22:34, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
I've always understood it as "almost". Like Circeus, I'd be interested to see contrary quotations. —RuakhTALK 23:49, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
I'd vote for "almost", but three usable cites for another sense trump our votes. DCDuring TALK 00:18, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

the gift that keeps on giving

what is it? I heard this expression all the time, and everyone seems to know what it is but is means different things too.

hello? can I get some help here?

The first citations I find are indeed ads for Victrolas, early record players. It is currently being used with a smirk and emphasis on and pause before "giving" in ads for a "natural male-enhancement" product. DCDuring TALK 20:06, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
knowledge is sometimes called the gift that keeps on giving, as an answer to a riddle. -- ALGRIF talk 19:03, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
so, basically, any gift that basically has some special secondary effect, like being reusable, or having a benefit you can pass on? also thought I'd heard it used for VD.
Yes, anything with a continuing benefit. As with any popular positive expression, it is increasingly likely to be used sarcastically, as with VD. DCDuring TALK 21:05, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
FWIW "The X that keeps on giving/X-ing" is a good example of a snowclone. Circeus 18:23, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

What do you call the mammary glands of a mammal?

Hello! and happy holidays. I was wondering if there is a word for the mammary gland of a mammal animal (not humans)? Kurdish uses the term گوان (gwan), and so I was curious to know and to also add the Kurdish translation.
Many thanks in advance.Gbeebani 08:07, 25 December 2008 (UTC) (stuck in the Seatac airport hotel due to bad weather)

That sucks; good thing you have internet access. Re your question, the first word that comes to mind is teat, but it doesn't really refer to the entire gland, just the area immediately around the nipple. Don't know if that would match the Kurdish word closely enough. (There is also udder, but it applies only to a few large herbivores.) -- Visviva 08:47, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
w:Mammary gland says that "The mammary glands of domestic mammals containing more than two breasts are called dugs." Though from your comment it sounds like گوان applies to more animals than dugs does. —RuakhTALK 09:44, 25 December 2008 (UTC) (also visiting Seattle, scared I'll be stuck here as well, apparently this town can't handle snow)
I found a few references from which it seems that mamma may refer both to the part of body containing mammary glands and to the glands themselves: [5], [6] - --Duncan 13:38, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
That would make etymological sense: mamm(a) and mamm(ary) being clearly related…  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:49, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
A cow’s udder refers only to the large bag that collects the milk. It supports four teats. In the case of dogs, I think people just say nipples (if that’s what you’re talking about...the gland itself is called the mammary gland). —Stephen 06:44, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks! Udder would be the correct word for گوان. I don't know if dugs is another word for گوان, so I will have to ask my dad about that.
From reading the definitions of tit, it seems that the first definition may need revision because sense # 1 defines tit as mammary gland, teat. From what I can understand from w:Mammary gland, mammary gland is an anatomical term that refers only to the milk secreting glands. I don't know if the word tit is that specific to refer to the milk producing glands. Am I correct? Gbeebani 03:07, 28 December 2008 (UTC) (finally arrived back home in Michigan)

A tit is a fatty, globular structure that has one nipple and contains a mammary gland. Tits apply only to the breasts of human women, rarely men, so there are strong sexual overtones. It’s the same structure as the breast, only vulgar. —Stephen 18:34, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

When you say mammary gland, do you mean the externally visible bump or the internal milk-producing structure? In English, the word refers to the internal organ, which is not visible externally. The extrnally-visible structure is called a teat or mamma by zoologists (for all mammals and humans), or vulgarly a tit or titty (usually implying the enlarged female form, and not the male structure). --EncycloPetey 20:18, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Anglo-saxon word for colour / color

What word(s) was or were used in Old English for the concept of colour before the Romance word was imported? It seems that Dutch also has a romance word for this concept. Did both languages formerly have cognates of farb/farg? Are there any cognates remaining in more obscure English or Dutch words? — hippietrail 00:24, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Bosworth-Toller gives hiw, heow, hiow, heō. This does seem to be related to ModE hue. (Wiktionary gives hīew for this etymology. Dunno the source of that spelling.) —Leftmostcat 00:33, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
OED gives most of the above forms (including "hiew"), which are indeed the origins of modern "hue". It also notes that hue and colour were treated as identical through the 16th century, so this looks to be the answer we're looking for. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 20:26, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

after edit conflict:

Are hue and dye dead ends? DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 00:36, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

off the deep end

It seems to me that The Free Dictionary and Merriam-Webster online have slightly different meanings for this idiom than on off the deep end. Could some native speaker check it? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 13:00, 29 December 2008 (UTC).

My experience matches our definition rather than theirs; however, I agree with their decision to have go off the deep end (TFD MWOD) rather than off the deep end. "Go off the deep end" = "go crazy", so logically it would make sense that "off the deep end" = "crazy", but I'm not sure that's actually the case. If I want to say that someone is (now) crazy, I'd say "He's [=he has] gone off the deep end", not ?"He's [=he is] off the deep end." —RuakhTALK 20:02, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Concur with Ruakh. Go should be part of the headword, with the current title redirecting. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 20:07, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree that go off the deep end is much more common than "be off the deep end". But the latter is attestable and not rare. It is already going gradable ("too much off the deep end"), though not yet comparable, afaict. It seems part of language evolution for a sense to proceed from use only with "go" to use as an adjective (eg, ape, apeshit, ballistic, bananas, bonkers, etc.). Can medieval and postal be far behind? DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 20:41, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
But if go off the deep end is older, and still several times as common, then it warrants special mention. For one thing, I think it means that adverbial use of "off the deep end" is more common than adjectival use of same, but we're defining it solely as an adjective. ("Go" can be used with adjectivals, as in "go crazy", "go sour", "go missing", etc., but "off the deep end" is an adverbial metaphor, and I think its continued attachment to "go" suggests that it's kept that adverbiality for many speakers.) If we want to keep the entry at off the deep end, then I think we need to add an adverb POS, an etymology, and a usage note of some sort. —RuakhTALK 21:14, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I was not arguing against the "go" form, just for also retaining the bare form. I had put in an RfD for another entry like this, which RfD I think is wrong. I think I agree with everything you say about this entry and that portions are relevant for many of these "go" forms. They seem to be an incubator for new senses of words and phrases and for totally new phrases. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 00:16, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Also consider its use with verbs like "jump", "leap" retaining the idiomatic/figurative sense. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 20:45, 29 December 2008 (UTC)


I have just added the example sentence "My socks smell awful" to awful, but I suspect I have added it under a wrong sense—an adverb one. What is the lexical category AKA part of speech of "awful" in that sentence? In my mother tongue—Czech, it would be an adverb, but I am not so sure in English.

My intuition betrays me in that I would expect to find "well" instead of "good" in the sentence "The bicycle looks good", as in my mother tongue, "good" modifies the verb "look" and thus is rendered in an adverb form in that sentence. --Dan Polansky 14:36, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

  • As far as I can tell - 'awful' is describing the socks, not the verb 'smell', so is an adjective. It reminds me of the joke :- "My dog's got no nose" "How does he smell then?" "Bloody awful!" Παρατηρητής 14:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
The socks could also "look awful", meaning the person describing them as awful does not like their color or pattern, isn't it? So AFAICT it is not just that the adjective "awful" is unambiguously attributed to "socks", in an analogy to "the stars are bright"; the attribute in question is further specified by the verb, be it "to smell" or "to look". I can also say that the look of a thing is great or the smell of it, such as in the sentence "Its smell is foul", in which the adjective "foul" is attributed to the attribute "smell", not to the object. Also compare "is great" vs "looks great". --Dan Polansky 16:09, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Several verbs behave this way. I can list some, but have not yet come up with a good rationale for the usage. My list includes senses of: seem, act, appear; look; taste; sound; feel; smell. These are connected with basic sense perception. I can't think of others, but wouldn't be shocked to find more, even whole additional unrelated classes. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 16:12, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I think you're looking for copular verb; see also w:Copula (linguistics). We should have a category for these. -- Visviva 16:26, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I have adjusted awful accordingly by creating a new adjective sense and moving the quotation there. An aside: From the point of view of a Czech speaker, the really interesting copular verbs are not "to be" and "to become", but the other ones, including "look", "smell", "sound" and "taste", as in Czech they are followed by an adverb instead of an adjective. --Dan Polansky 16:40, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Dan (for asking) and Visviva (for answering). Does this merit a Beer Parlor discussion on whether category, context-generated category, or some other approach is the best way to present this? DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 16:49, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
(To DCDuring) How about glow? Thomas Carlyle writes "St. Edmund's Shrine, perpetually illuminated, glows ruddy", not ruddily.Bogorm 18:41, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's the same. That's like a star shining bright or a ball falling wide. Equinox 11:03, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Link verbs (copula verbs if you prefer) generally fall into 3 categories. Two already identified above are 1)opinion/perception (be, seem, appear, etc). 2) Sensory (look, taste, smell, feel, sound, etc) And the third group could be called change of state verbs (become, grow, go, get, turn, etc). Mostly you can use these verbs both as copular and as normal. John looked happy. and John looked happily at his wife. All depends on how you want to use the verb (active or linking) and on what you want to say. A category would be a good idea, imo. -- ALGRIF talk 17:33, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
How is new sense 7 different from sense 1 "terrible"? --EncycloPetey 21:38, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Hello. You are veteran here. Can you respond my question? What is the criterion for inclusion in Wiktionary, usage, proper usage or references from authoritative sources? I need to know the response for a different issue. El imp 22:51, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
See Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion --Duncan 23:02, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Good. I have abused it a bit to include senses:
A term or sense should be included if it's likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means. This in turn leads to the somewhat more formal guideline of including a term or sense if it is attested and idiomatic.
Now, taking the adverb example an awful good girl,
1.- Results 1 - 10 of about 21,300 for "an awful good girl". (0.19 seconds).
2.- Books 1 - 10 of 52 on "an awful good girl". (0.05 seconds)
3.- Scholar Results 1 - 2 of 2 for "an awful good girl". (0.07 seconds) Is this valid?
Idiomatic. Definition: 1.- Pertaining or conforming to the mode of expression characteristic of a language.
Adverbs in English are typically formed from adjectives by appending -ly
IMHO, awful as adverb should be rejected because awfully exists. I see it as improper usage. However if an academic journal comments about it, even to reject its use... El imp 00:12, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Rejecting a word because there exists a synonym that is more common or more approved in some (dominant) versions of English is simply not how Wiktionary works. The criteria for inclusion merely require that something be attested and not be a mere misspelling (only common misspellings are included.). We sometimes refer to usage authorities, who are mostly not highly prescriptive themselves nowadays, for issues that concern us. The issues for us are usually how to properly label senses that don't meet high acceptance and whether a usage note is required. "Nonstandard" is the most pejorative. But "awful good" might be "standard" in Afro-American Vernacular English or rural Southern US English or any of the numerous regional and national versions of English. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 01:14, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
No need to argue about the adverb. It's at various English dictionaries, but with an informal gloss. Wiktionary lacks any gloss.
The sixth sense is present at Merrian-Webster but a bit more concise: 4: exceedingly great —used as an intensive <an awful lot of money>
Similar to the answers.com fourth sense: 4. Formidable in nature or extent: an awful burden; an awful risk.
That is, large, great, big, formidable... But not exceedingly good or bad. This is what causes trouble to me. At answers.com thesaurus synonyms are referenced as very bad, not very good or very bad.
"But "awful good" might be "standard" in Afro-American Vernacular English or rural Southern US English or any of the numerous regional and national versions of English."
Maybe this is the key, formidably good, largely good, but awful should remain impermeable to a bizarre synonymization with good, because it's origin is just the opposite. Talking about synonymization, I think this word should be at Wiktionary. Scholar All articles - Recent articles Results 1 - 10 of about 10,500 for synonymization. (0.12 seconds) El imp 03:58, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Origins are not always strictly adhered to by users of a language - compare the 42,100 hits you get when googling "is pretty ugly", where the initial sense of pretty was not a general intensifier but the exact opposite of ugly. Wiktionary is, after all, like any other good dictionary documenting how words are used, not setting rules telling people how they should or should not be used. --Duncan 09:20, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I think what I've said is clear. Pretty doesn't have an ugly sense and ugly doesn't have a pretty sense. A word meaning something and the contrary, an antonym, loses the message. Look at my first phrase here "An awful addition". What I wanted to say? Exceedingly good or exceedingly bad. You don't know because Wiktionary says both cases are possible. Even if this odd thing where happening to awful, then it deserves an additional sense entry indicating context, location...
Awful needs an informal tag at the adverb. Adjective seventh sense entry is not necessary, it's implicit at terrible's fifth sense. Sixth sense needs the removal of exceedingly good or bad. A note in proper and enciclopedic 'dictionaric' English saying Read the terrible entry if you want to catch this word in full would be nice. But this is my view, I don't know if someone shares it and other options are surely valid. El imp 14:23, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

An awful (very good or very bad, you choose) and necessary addition due to 6 to rebalance things. I have made a scheme[7] about this. What is the criterion for inclusion in Wiktionary, usage, proper usage or references from authoritative sources? El imp 17:09, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Re "How is new sense 7 different from sense 1 "terrible": The seventh sense of awful—"very bad"—is synonymous to terrible in its fifth sense—"very bad; lousy"—but nonsynonymous with the first sense of terrible—"dreadful; causing alarm and fear"—and AFAICS nonsynonymous with the first sense of awful—"Oppressing with fear or horror; appalling; terrible". From what I understand, the sense of "very bad" originates through the figurative use of "oppressing with fear or horror", but is distinct from it. --Dan Polansky 18:54, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

knock up

We seem to be missing the tennis sense - batting the ball back and forth before a match. The OED does not have this sense, and I have never played the game - so, am I mistaken? SemperBlotto 10:33, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I hadn't heard of it before, but it's here for instance. [8] Equinox 11:01, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Well OALD (2000 edition) does have it: "knock up (in tennis, etc.) to practise for a short time before a start of a game" and it also has the derived noun: "knock-up noun (BrE) a short practice before a game, especially of tennis" --Duncan 11:09, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks - added. SemperBlotto 11:18, 31 December 2008 (UTC)


...seems to have some specific meaning in law which I can't quite pin down. Can anyone explain it? Here are a few instances:

  • Under Belgian law, pledgor and pledgee establish a valid and opposable security over the credit claim...
  • ...the retention title should be valid, or more correctly, opposable only to the creditors of the purchaser, only if it has a sure date and earlier in reference with any distraint.
  • Under the same conditions there shall also be opposable against third parties the real rights obtained by State...

And so on. Something along the lines of ‘able to be enforced’..? Ƿidsiþ 11:45, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

It seems to mean something like "(of a right) Able to be enforced against competing claims (of)". I found this b.g.c. hit very helpful; it uses "[a] right [that is] opposable (to)" in parallel fashion with "[a] duty [that is] owed (to)". More explicit, though oddly not as helpful IMHO, is this b.g.c. hit, which seems to define "opposable (to)" as "(of a situation) Which can be legally invoked (against)", and ibid, which defines it very explicitly but as (of a unilateral act taken by one State (relative to another)). —RuakhTALK 20:12, 31 December 2008 (UTC)