Wiktionary:Tea room/2008/January

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January 2008[edit]

how do u use the word naive in a sentence?[edit]

do any of ya'll noe how to use the word naive in a sentence? -- unsigned

Here's where a combination of Google and Wikisource can help out. Click on this link for lots of non-copyrighted example sentences. -- A-cai 10:23, 1 January 2008 (UTC)


What does the word pickle mean?

Did you look at the page for pickle? --EncycloPetey 20:09, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Relationship of Declunus/declunus to Delancey/DeLancey/Delancy/DeLancy[edit]

I in wonder and ofcourse some research of this topic words and or names are Declunus a God and a Goddess Decluna my wonder is the Language of it ,could it be in relation to DeLancey, as sometimes letters are silent in such would be perhaps the c in declunus in variant portions of time and literature and when as far back as the period of the fourth king or rular of roman peoples this is in the time of the 3rd or fourth hundred B.C. the sound of the u is manufactured as is today though sounding differently as the first u perhaps is different from the second u, i shall continue at another time Thank You,2:44 p.m. David George DeLancey 2:37 P.M. E.S.T. 1-2-2008 Happy New Year.

I don't think we have entries for the proper names or Celtic deities, though we probably should. Perhaps we have something at Declan. DCDuring 20:24, 2 January 2008 (UTC)


Several nonce words formed by analogy with trilogy have their own entries at Wiktionary (like duology and tetralogy). The problem with nonology is that an incorrect number-suffix has been used. Unlike these other entries, this suffix has a Latin rather than a Greek origin. If the word with the form and meaning desired by the author existed, it would be something like ennealogy. As far as I can tell "nonology" is a figment of someone's imagination - certainly I can find no precedent from Google or Google Books - but I'm not really sure what happens in such situations. -- 21:03, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Usually the procedure is to bring up at WT:RFV for discussion any entry you think has none of what you call precedent.—msh210 23:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Assembly language[edit]

Should this be moved to Assembly Language?—msh210 23:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

I think it is assembly language except when it refers to the assembly language of a specific processor in which case it might be (e.g.) 8086 Assembly Language (however, since assembly langauges are NOT unique to each processor but rather to each assembler it might not even be capitalized in that case). RJFJR 13:40, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


Macbeth Act II, Scene I

Now o'er the one half-world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd Murther, Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost.

Is that a use of alarum as a verb? RJFJR 01:09, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah. Alarum is just an old spelling of alarm (as a noun or a verb), which has stayed around for some reason as a deliberate archaism. Widsith 22:46, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it certainly is. Robert Ullmann 22:50, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Should the noun be marked archaic or something and the verb added with templates for archaic and maybe also rare? RJFJR 19:08, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

That sounds perfectly reasonable. --Thecurran 02:00, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Tour de force[edit]

It is strange and interesting how foreign expressions may have different meanings in different languages by which they have been adopted. "Tour de force" is a French expression meaning "feat of strength", and in English it means more or less the same as in French. It is a positive connotation of something if it is a tour de force (it manifests strength, brilliancy etc.). However in Italian "tour de force" means something very different: a tour de force is an endeavour (a job, a travel, a visit, a walk for Christmas' shopping...) which proves or is expected to prove particularly stressful, because it involves doing many things or one difficult thing in a short amount of time. Something of the French meaning is preserved: it takes strength to accomplish such a thing. But the implication is that, were it possible, a tour de force is something to be avoided. Nor is there anything necessarily admirable in a tour de force, as when (e.g.) a tour de force is made necessary by our failure to schedule appropriately. Nor, again, is a tour de force necessarily coronated by success. It is to be wondered about how the Italian meaning came to be what it is. I also wonder whether my understanding is only partial, and other Italians actually give the expression a meaning similar to the French or the English one.


I ran across this word, I think it some type of disease because the references I found included disease vectors from Golden Hamsters (1986) and a news article about a 2 year old boy being treated for "jungle borne leishminiasis."

Thanks! —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

You probably mean leishmaniasis. Widsith 22:39, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


Is this the same as a kill file? Or is it a verb? SemperBlotto 22:54, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems to be a noun, and yes, it seems to be the same as a kill file. —RuakhTALK 03:48, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Our definition for kill file reads "A file in which individual users of newsgroups can ignore postings by certain other users, or that match certain criteria". Huh? I can ignore postings in a file? So this obviously needs a touch-up. But I'm not sure what to change it to. I would have changed it to something like "A file containing data about e-mail senders and/or Usenet posters, used with a filtering program to prevent a user from seeing those senders' and posters' messages". But now I'm not sure, since you say it's the same as killfilter, which I would have guessed (not familiar with it) means "A filtering program used in conjunction with a kill file to prevent a user from seeing certain senders' e-mail messages and/or Usenet posts". But you say that the two nouns mean the same thing: which meaning do they have, then?—msh210 17:31, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


The first definition at convention is

  1. The gerund (verbal noun) of to convene; a meeting or a gathering.

Should this be split into two senses or otherwise clarified? RJFJR 14:54, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes. That first portion should be placed in the etymology, the definition could certainly be written more clearly. --EncycloPetey 15:51, 5 January 2008 (UTC)


The second sense of the Adjective section contains this example: “Tater” is short for “potato”. Is "short" in this sentence really an adjective? --Panda10 12:54, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

If you take the position of looking at the individual words as separate, then yes. The word short would be a predicable adjective (one that occurs in the predicate, after the verb, but modifies the subject). On the other hand, you could argue that be short for is a compound verb. --EncycloPetey 15:23, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


I am thinking of adding military police, mounted police, and riot police. Question is... would they be considered to be SoP's? I would be interested to hear opinions before adding them. - Algrif 15:03, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Mounted police is certainly O.K. I'd also say military police is probably O.K., since if you didn't know what it meant you might assume it referred to a group that doubled as both military and police in some respect (e.g., soldiers acting as peace-keepers or something). I'm really not sure about riot police; to me it seems quite straightforward, but perhaps not? —RuakhTALK 15:18, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
They seem idiomatic to me, both on simple introspection and because they are more than SoP, describing certain dedicated kinds of officers rather than attributes of a police officer at a particular moment.
  • Military police are not just police who happen to be in the military; the conscripts who handle traffic and crowd control in Korea, for instance, are definitely not military police.
  • If a riot breaks out unexpectedly, the police on the scene will not become riot police; instead they will probably call in the riot police.
  • A police officer who commandeers a horse in order to catch a criminal does not become a member of the mounted police by so doing, although he will soon wish that he had been trained as one.
Anyway that's how I see it... but I could also see each of these leading to yet another pitched battle on RfD. I'm afraid we haven't found the magic pill for that yet. -- Visviva 15:22, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Sound reasoning. Unlike traffic police, who would be just any old policeman assigned to traffic duty. I think I'll add them and put your comments into the talk pages. Thanks - Algrif 16:17, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
They would certainly belong. We already have Water Police and I'm sure there are others.--Dmol 16:35, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and shore patrol which is clearly not SoP. Robert Ullmann 17:11, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Should these be capitalised, as Water Police is. I had listed it as a proper noun, being the name of that department, but others seem to be in lower case. --Dmol 18:57, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
No. Lower case. I've moved the capped page to water police. - Algrif 19:02, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


Is the Dutch pronunciation correct? IPA is given as /xyn/ --Keene 18:29, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

It's close, and possible correct. Dutch g is a guttural gargling sound. Dutch has gone through several spelling reforms designed to restructure spelling to match pronunciation, so each letter (or letter cluster) usually represents a particular sound. If the Dutch phonology page on Wikipedia is accurate, then the Dutch word gun should be pronounced ɣʏn, which isn't far off what appears in the page now. The notes in the 'pedia article suggest that xʏn would be correct for the dialect of Amsterdam, which is ever closer. --EncycloPetey 03:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Gerard recorded his pronunciation and uploaded it to commons:, (now linked) if that helps. --Connel MacKenzie 18:20, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it does. I've adjusted the page to ɣʏn accordingly. --EncycloPetey 02:58, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


To beat a dead horse...

This form is pretty universally proscribed in deference to dissociate, right? But it clearly meets our CFI. What's the best way (in the current atmosphere) of indicating this?

--Connel MacKenzie 17:17, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

If this is used for all senses of dissociate, and proscribed for all of them, then I'd say to use # {{proscribed}} {{form of|Form|dissociate}} or # {{misspelling of|dissociate}}.—msh210 17:53, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not proscribed at all, just less common. Widsith 09:54, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The OED has disassociate as a synonym of dissociate, without even a frown! dbfirs 00:42, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
MW3 has a weak implied negative take on disassociate. At "disassociate" they offer "dissociate" as a synonym, but don't have the much longer entry for "dissociate" return the favor. They also offer fewer relatives for "disassociate" than for "dissociate". All this without any explicit proscription. DCDuring 01:12, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

You could have knocked me down with a feather[edit]

Yes. Another one of those entries. What is the general opinion:-

  1. Interjection, with the sentence as written?
  2. Phrase, with the sentence as written?
  3. Verb, with knock one down with a feather? (Yuk!!) - Algrif 12:25, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Sum of parts meaning exactly what it says (using exaggeration, of course, but so what?). Don't create. That said, if it is to be created, then: It can't be under knock one down with a feather, as only common use (that I know of) concerns the ability to knock, the act of knocking. Yet be able to knock someone down with a feather also seems (very) wrong. (I hate to criticize suggestions without offering one, but I haven't got one, assuming this deserves some entry.)—msh210 21:05, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
"... assuming this deserves some entry" - I know what you mean, however the problem is that you only find it as an idiomatic way of saying, I was overwhelmingly surprised. If someone who does not know that comes across it, it would be difficult to guess from the parts. Context might not always be very helpful. What happens in most examples is that it appears as a kind of interjection. So when he told me he was getting married, well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. - Algrif 13:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Very well.—msh210 17:09, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


From User talk:SemperBlotto:

You wrote: to bake eggs in their shells. Are you sure? A quick web search seems to disagree (although Web pages disagree with one another also). Perhaps there's more than one definition?—msh210 17:56, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Ah - The American Heritage Dictionary says "To cook (unshelled eggs) by baking until set.". Perhaps we disagree on what unshelled means: I take it to mean "not shelled", but perhaps they mean "with the shells removed"! The OED says "To poach (eggs) in cream instead of water". Feel free to modify/correct as you see fit (especially if you are American). SemperBlotto 18:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I am American but have never seen shirred eggs, nor heard the word. I only know it from books and and from Googling it in connection with the instant discussion. Any objection if I copy-paste this discussion to the TR?—msh210 18:12, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

End of quotation from User talk:SemperBlotto.

        • By "unshelled eggs", the AHD means eggs removed from the shells. Synonyms include baked eggs and eggs en cocotte. They are similar to poached eggs. You pour the eggs into ramekins and bake at about 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes. —Stephen 00:15, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
          But you forget, then you put them on spinach, and cover with Mornay sauce. (The very first serious dish I was taught to cook. ;-) Can sometimes mean poached. Robert Ullmann 12:51, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Just an aside: the OED gives both of these meanings of "unshelled" (as the past tense and past participle of the verb "to unshell", meaning "to remove the shell(s) from", and as an adjective meaning "not shelled"). Such words are called "auto-antonyms" (or "Janus words", or "contronyms", among other names) and Wikipedia has an article on them and a list of such words. — Paul G 21:16, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

I've added "unshelled" to Wikipedia's list. — Paul G 21:26, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

German prost, Swedish prosit[edit]

The etymologies in both articles are worded in a say that makes it look like two Latin words were borrowed individually into each language where a new word was then created. It seems much more likely that there was already a Latin phrase which was borrowed as a unit. — Hippietrail 02:14, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Just about the only Latin I know is through reading etymologies in dictionaries, so I'm not up on when the various cases need to be used. I know that the nominative is used for the subject and the accusative for the object, but does this apply when the verb is "to be"? In Modern Greek it is not — the subject and object are both in the nominative when the verb is "to be", so I am wondering whether the same is true of Latin.

Specifically, I want to know how to translate the phrase "God is good" into Latin for a project I'm working on — is it "Deus est bonum" or "Deus est bonus"? Further, I believe that word order is not important in Latin because subject and object can be deduced from their declensions, but if the cases are the same, how can this be done, and does this mean that the word order must be restricted to subject, verb, object when the verb is "to be"? I ask because I would really like to be able to put "est" at the end of the sentence.

Incidentally, all of these phrases appear on the web, with "Deus est bonum" getting the most Google hits, so I would imagine that "Deus bonum est" is OK.

Thanks for any help. — Paul G 20:51, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

The sentence is grammatically correct for Latin, as you have guessed. The issue here is not whether you should use the nominative or accusative (nominative is correct), but whether you are using deus as a masculine or neuter noun. The sentence Deus bonum est. is using a neuter subject. If you are referring to the Christian deity, you want Deus bonus est. to have a masculine subject. --EncycloPetey 02:12, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that, EncycloPetey. I am referring to the Christian deity ("God") rather than any old deity ("god"), so masculine it is. — 18:15, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


As what PoS is "worth" being used in an expression like "more worth having"? DCDuring 01:31, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Probably adjective, but Ican't be certain from the incomplete example you've given. --EncycloPetey 02:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm guessing he means something like "Friendshipi is more worth having ___i than money [is]", i.e. roughly "If forced to choose, I'd rather have friendship than money." I agree that it's an adjective, but it's an interesting one in that it takes a directly construed nominal as an obligatory complement (as in "worth + nominal"); I can't think of any other English adjectives that do that. —RuakhTALK 02:58, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Didn't mean to be so ter. yes to above. Maybe I can think of another similar word. I was interested to correctly putting in PoS for its comparability. 15-20% of adjs. deemed comparable have proven not to be. end of. DCDuring 03:15, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
According to dictionary.com, it is a preposition, "having" being a verbal noun (or gerund, if you prefer). "Worth" is not comparable; that is, you can't put "more" in front of it, so "Friendship is more worth having than money" is not grammatically correct. You need to rephrase your sentence as either "Having friendship is worth more than having money" or "It is worth more to have friendship than to have money." — Paul G 18:30, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Hm, I hadn't read the usage notes at worth. If it is an adjective, then it should be comparable as described, but this gives the difficulties Ruakh has identified. Should we be saying it as a preposition after all? — Paul G 18:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I am aware that the bard is no authority on grammar, but:
  • The Winter's Tale, Page 157, 1887 ed.
    Fore your Queen died, she was more worth such gazes / Than what you look on now.
Other authors using the construction include Lord Chesterfield, Fielding, Walpole, Browning, Chesterton, Barrie, Emerson, Pound, Sherwood Anderson. I think we need to find the grammar that justifies this widespread use in many well-known works.
Fowler spends 2.5 columns on this, mostly on the need for exactly one "object", including: "The important fact is that the adjective worth requires what is most easily described as an object." He explicit mentions the non-incorrectness of using the construction with a gerund, but prefers the infinitive. DCDuring 19:11, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I can't see any reason to believe it is functioning as a preposition in any of the examples above, in part because there is no other preposition that I can find to replace it yet retain a grammatical sentence. My Webster's says that worth is a noun, adjective, and auxiliary verb. I'm not sure, but this could be an auxiliary verb usage (which actually has a separate etymology for the noun/adjective). --EncycloPetey 01:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Here is something old interesting in support of the notion of worth as a preposition. Also MW3 calls it a preposition and labels both of worth's adjectival senses as archaic. The Internet Grammar includes "worth" in its class of "marginal prepositions" with "minus", "granted", and a few other words derived from verbs. I have not net found any authority that deals with the awkward fact of fairly common usage of the comparative "more worth [present participle] than ....".
Judging from all this, I can see that I am unlikely to come up with any other word that is quite like "worth".
EP: I see what you mean about the auxilary verb, but it doesn't seem to have the "value" meaning and still doesn't explain the comparative. "More" doesn't seem to modify the participle, it seems to modify "worth". "worth [present participle]" seems to form an adjective without obvious restrictions on the nature of the participle. Any verb that reflects anything that consumes time or resources can be more or less "worthy". DCDuring 04:46, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
The OED is unequivocal: as well as being a noun and a verb, "worth" is an adjective, not a preposition. The OED's lexicographers know their stuff, so I think we are safe to go with their view. — Paul G 09:56, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I finally found the CGEL coverage of this issue. It's in a footnote on page 1407. Apparently, they too find no other words that function as worth does in this capacity. This is in the section on extraposition, and has the examples:
  • In discussing the future it is also worth considering the impact on Antarctica...
  • It was stupid telling my parents.
  • It was stupid to tell my parents.
The point they make is that worth is the only word in English that requires use of the gerund/participial in this construction, while other words may take an infinitive instead. The portion following worth (or stupid in the example above) is a clause/phrase functioning as the subject of the sentence. Extraposition places the subject in a somewhat unusual location, but it is still the subject of the sentence. --EncycloPetey 17:30, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
This unique construction is worth analysing without including complications like the use of "it", as in the cases CGEL provides. In the immediately preceding sentence, for example, the participle does not seem to be the subject. I'd love to find a comment on the comparative uses, too! I think someone has written an article about characterizing worthy as a preposition, but I couldn't suss out their conclusion from reading the one teaser page I had access to. DCDuring 18:16, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Not the subject? Depends on how you read it. In the sentence: "This unique construction is worth analysing", I see analysing as the subject participle, with an object of "this unique contruction", then a predicate linking verb and adjective. Extraposition puts the elements in a non-standard order. That's not the only way this could be interpreted (as you have noted another way yourself), but that's the way I would personally interpret the grammar. In any case, "worth" is uniquely weird. --EncycloPetey 02:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
How do you finish the analysis, then? "Analysing this unique construction is worth[X]" "Worth" still wants something. Possibilities include: "-y", "-while", " the effort", " the time", etc.. From the discussions here, I am under the impression that the old grammarian's ploy of saying that there is something "understood", but omitted, is no longer considered to be playing fair or modern or post-modern or .... Conceptually or metaphorically, the idea of worth implies a kind of balancing of labor and/or time against the value gained by the costly activity reflected in the verb. But the grammar shouldn't be so dependent on the semantic content, should it? DCDuring 02:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)


This can have casted as a past. I figure that some meanings use cast as past, others use casted and I assume others can use either as past. How best to show this? --Keene 12:14, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I would tend to favor usage notes, although marking individual definitions is also an option. From a cursory look at b.g.c., disregarding a handful of transparent errors, casted seems to be used only where a physical cast is involved -- i.e. in medicine, metallurgy, and construction. These seem like they ought to be etymologically separate from the "throw" meanings, in which case there would be no problem, but apparently that is not the case.
BTW, note that casted is also an adjective from caste. -- Visviva 14:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I think you need:
  1. an indication on each sense line that can use the "casted" form for the past and past participle
  2. the variants in the inflection line and
  3. an explanation of anything else in the usage note.
I don't know that I have ever seen a really attractive example of how to do this and can't even remember any particular example of anything similar being done other than pluralization, which doesn't usually need (or, rather, get) the usage note. It would be a little easier if we had groupings and hierarchies of senses. DCDuring 15:25, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


Noun. "The fallen". There are two senses that I am not familiar with, but don't seem too much of a stretch semantically, but do grammatically:

  1. "the Devil". I could successfully imagine "the fallen one", but not "the fallen" for this.
  2. "an evil spirit". I can imagine this as referring to all of the evil spirits who have fallen, but not one at a time.
I think that the fallen is really "plurale tantum", but these senses have stopped me. I have added two senses for casualties, which might be combinable. DCDuring 21:01, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


I extended this a bit, but I am unsure of my wording, please someone have a look at it. H. (talk) 17:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Not bad, IMHO. I'm less happy with the pre-existing college athlete sense, because it happens in professional sports too and may generalize to settings beyond sports and entertainment. Using Google Books to find the range of uses can be fun. DCDuring 17:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Walk-on has an adjective sense too - he had a walk-on part in the movie.. --Keene 14:29, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
This reminds me of a recent part-of-speech discussion where editors were trying to determine whether these "borrowed" and "attributive use" words really became the part of speech they appeared to function as. "A walk-on part" may seem adjectival, but it really just creates a noun phrase. Try adding another adjective and you'll see what I mean. "A memorable walk-on part." You can't say "A walk-on memorable part," nor can you say "His part was both memorable and walk-on." This word is linked inseperably as part of a noun phrase. Take a lesson from German language. They would make one word out of it: "Hiz memorabl valkonpart." Final thought - my trusty old encyclopedia dictionary defines walk-on n. A performer having a very small part; also, the part. -- It seems they understand this is somehow a noun sense. (side note: See how "encyclopedia" in "trusty old encyclopedia dictionary" seems like an adjective? In this similar case, it may be easier to see how it is indeed not an adjective.) However, determining how to properly label this common type of language effectively is surely one of our current wikt-enigmas. -- Thisis0 19:05, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I think I agree with you. I am loath to create an adj PoS just to cover noun-as-adjective usage. My personal rule has been to enter the Adjective PoS if the adjectival use can be made comparative.
It doesn't have to be able to be made comparative - we have loads of uncomparable adjectives. Here walk-on behaves just like dairy. There are noun and adjectival meanings. --Keene 19:30, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, just like dairy. The phrases "dairy plant", "dairy products", and "dairy cow" have no real adjectives. "Large dairy plant", "tainted dairy products", and "black-and-white dairy cow", however, do. Just try flipping any of those words; they do not function the same. Dairy, like so many others, is listed here with adjective (and sometimes adverb) senses because that's currently the best way to make sense out of this usage. A better way is what is up for debate. -- Thisis0 20:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I just find that adjectival meanings for entries that also have related noun PoS very often seem to me to be derived from the noun senses. I can slice noun senses very finely, but have trouble seeing adjective senses DCDuring 19:55, 15 January 2008 (UTC).
As to the word-sequence argument, however, I am not sure that I would agree with you. We can say "pretty, red rose" much more easily than "red, pretty rose". [OK, you might say, red could be a noun.] We can say "tall, leafless tree" more easily than "leafless, tall tree" or "interesting, technical book" more easily than "technical, interesting book". That doesn't make "leafless" or "technical" nouns. DCDuring 19:23, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
You have to slow down a bit. You are arguing a preference for word order, while I am giving examples of words that seem to function as adjectives, but are not. Though a writer may have a clear preference, there is no impossibility with "leafless, tall tree" or "red, pretty rose". Red does not become part of a noun phrase in "pretty, red rose" like it does in "delicious red wine", "loud red alert", "tasty red beans and rice", and "several red blood cells". Those are examples where 'red' joins the noun phrase and is inseperably linked. Try flipping any of those; you'll see. As far as "technical", it could be either depending on context. Remains adjective: "It's an interesting, technical book." further example, adjective Becomes part of noun phrase: "That was the most interesting technical book I've ever read." further example, noun phrase -- Thisis0 20:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I was only addressing one clause in one sentence: your argument from word order about "memorable walk-on part" being preferred to "walk-on memorable part". You provided only two tests for the characterization of a noun-noun collocation as making a unit noun phrase. I don't buy this first as conclusive. As to the second, I have heard it used either humorously to good effect or clumsily to bad. Accordingly, the second would be the test I would run on my "ear". My analytical skills in this area aren't very good, so my "ear", research, and reference are what I need to rely on. It seems to me that you are also relying on a further analysis that seems to depend a great deal on the possible semantics of a subset of the meanings of walk-on. I am more interested in whether there are simple, reliable, arguement-stopping tests that do not depend as much on the semantics. If not, then we will have to have more tea-room discussions about specific words. DCDuring 22:40, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I understand your desire for a proper "test" or definition. When I demonstrated an inseparable word order, it wasn't meant as an "ear test" -- judging by it "sounding right" -- but rather, it's a simple demonstration of how these particular words cannot be separated from the noun like adjectives. What they truly are, instead of adjectives, are noun adjuncts, forming part of a compound noun. From Wikipedia: "While the notion of compound has been very important, clear definitions that work even within one language (much less across languages) have not been articulated. The study of compounds in English, for example, often includes expressions that are written as two words. This lack of precision and agreement has hampered the cross-linguistic study of compounds and even a good study within English." As you see, the issue needs some exposure, which I hoped to garner here by addressing it when it came up. Since it's obviously a confusing issue even for linguists, don't be frustrated as you try and grasp the subtleties.
What's funny is that walk-on is already attributive use of a verb to form a noun. And then, that precarious noun is being used as a noun adjunct in phrases like "walk-on part" or "walk-on role", dipping into what seems like adjective territory. Oh, English! All I wish to demonstrate right now is that in a case like "walk-on part", "dairy cow", "car park", or "chicken soup" these are noun adjuncts and don't work like other adjectives you could apply. -- Thisis0 23:33, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
At a practical level concerning WT entries, anything that could be done to reduce the number of pointless adjective PoS sections for nouns would be nice. Some kind of simple notation that simply mentioned that a noun could be and was used as an adjective and allowed a location for corresponding usage examples would be nice. For me the adj inflection line is warranted only if the comparative is possible. A separate adj. PoS section is certainly warranted if there is any new meaning for the adj. not present in the noun. OTOH, I have also noted that sometimes it is hard to quickly and clearly derive an adjectival sense corresponding to a noun sense. Anyway, thanks for the education. DCDuring 00:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


I am confused by this word. What PoS is it in all its various uses? I have entered it as an adverb. It apparently does not appear in many dictionaries despite its fairly frequent use (much in bodice-rippers, potboilers, and ripping yarns). It is very often used in questions where "Why ever" could be substituted. DCDuring 19:47, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, it's an adverb. I had always thought it should be two words; it's in the OED though, with the earliest quote being from 1891. Widsith 09:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. OED support always makes me feel more comfortable. Someone online had said they didn't have it. End of. DCDuring 12:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

hot wind[edit]



There's more that could be added to this entry - "Simple past of can" is the only definition we have - there are nuances of politeness here (i.e. "could you help me out" v. "can you help me out"), and there's no mention of its purpose as an auxiliary verb. An etymology too, maybe. s--Keene 14:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Moving to Talk:could. --Keene 14:33, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
(Note to self---must et my finger out and finish that appendix modal verbs that you started some while back.) OK I'll (will=promise) see what I can do in the short term. Yes. All the modal verbs need to be pulled together into one big, but succinct usage appendix. My backburner project. -- Algrif 13:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

word usage[edit]

The butterflies loiter around the flower. Is loiter the right word? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Not wrong, but a bit peculiar. Loiter implies wasting time, being lazy....and because of the legal phrase loiter with intent, it has slightly antisocial overtones. Widsith 10:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
There is also the term "loiter time" used by the military, meaning the time that an aircraft can remain close to a ground target but allowing fuel for the return trip. This is closer to the quote above.--Dmol 17:11, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure it isn't the first sense that is meant in the quote. Unlike a bee that would be interpreted as busy (making honey, etc), people perceive butterflies as just lazing about. RJFJR 17:17, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

mixed countable/uncountable[edit]

Sense 2 of tolerance is countable (e.g. "tolerances stack"). How do we format this? RJFJR 16:43, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

  • See latest version - feel free to correct any other senses that are countable. SemperBlotto 16:52, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. I'll use that format when it comes up in the future now that I've seen it. RJFJR 17:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


craftsman is defined as "a male craftsperson". While that may be a modern use I believe that historically it could be used non-genderly (what ever the term is for applying to either gender). Even if craftsperson is now preferred by the politically correct, shouldn't we include a note that historically it could be used as a synonym for craftsperson? RJFJR 17:14, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

It certainly needs some kind of note. But can we make the note substantive? I wonder how long the use of the term craftsman to cover all practicioners of a craft was operative. Was that just a brief transition as women left the home and entered some of the crafts, but before they exercised their influence to change some language use? With the amount of attention devoted to women's studies these days, there ought to be some relevant reearch. DCDuring 18:02, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I just defined a toymaker as a "craftsman who makes toys". (Note term craftsmanship, meaning quality, is still used). I'm not sure where to get the information on historical trends. RJFJR 19:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
b.g.c. searches for "woman craftsman", "she was a craftsman", and so on, all pull up relevant hits, over quite a wide date range; so, I think our current definition is simply wrong. Further, "craftsman" gets many more hits than "craftsperson", so I think we should define the latter in terms of the former, not the other way 'round. —RuakhTALK 00:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
How have similar words borne out on WT:BP? My mum was among the first female professional firefighters in the US and there the word, "firefighter", came into common acceptance quite quickly & I saw it in children's books in the 80's. The same kind of books from the UK still showed fireman, postman, & policeman this century though. I don't think I've even heard policeman or fireman from an Australian. I'm not gonna harp on about how much PC is too much or too little but for words that are undergoing transition like Secretaries' Day -> Administrative Professionals' Day or Nigra -> Negro -> Colored -> Black -> African-American, there must be some way to show that both are accepted but one is more/less common and one is on the ascent/descent, right? B} --Thecurran 01:20, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Hi, I would appreciate some serious wordsmiths taking a look at the entry screwed. Quite some time ago, I added a quotation that shows 1641 usage of the word by an English merchant, using the word in its sense of "in a lot of trouble" or "beset with unfortunate circumstances that seem difficult or impossible to overcome; in imminent danger." I'm not much of a wordsmith myself so I don't believe I added anything to the definitions, just the example of usage.

This sense has recently been labeled "vulgar/slang" and I am not sure that is correct. Clearly their is a common usage today that is vulgar, and I don't know if slang is also true but maybe so; not for me to say. But I don't really think that the use of the term in the 1641 quotation was either.

So my question is: is this sense of the word labelled properly? Should another sense (or two) be added? Thanks. N2e 04:05, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Is the quote still on the page? Which one is it? Can you direct me to a copy so we could get more context? DCDuring 04:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Assuming it was the uncited quote, I tried Google books to search for it and failed to find it. DCDuring 04:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for taking a look DCDuring. Yes, the quote is still on the screwed page, and it is most definitely fully cited on that page. Here it is, repeated, for your reference: "merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement." Richard Chambers (merchant), 1641. (Taylor, Hannis, The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, part II, Houghton Mifflin:Boston, 1898, quoted in
1997, Ekelund, Robert B., Jr. and Hébert, Robert F., A history of economic theory and method, 4th, ISBN 1-57766-381-0:)"
I have the Ekelund and Hébert book on my bookshelf for work I do in Economic History. A somewhat longer quotation, for context, would be: "The episode in question involves Charles I and his battle with Parliament over customs duties. King Charles claimed an "ancient right" to customs, but Parliament ultimately seized the exclusive power to set these duties in 1641. While Parliamenet was dissolved, the King reasserted his claim of absolute authority to levy taxes. However, merchant importers refused, in their own interests, to pay customs to the king, obeying instead Parliament's decree to refuse to pay any dutires not authorized by itself. The King retaliated by seizing the merchants' goods, whereupon several of them resisted and were brought befroe the Privy Council. Merchant Richard Chambers brazenly declared that 'merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement' (Taylor, Hannis, Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, p. 274)." (In other words, the Ekelund and Hébert book (1997) quotes secondary material from Taylor (1898) which quotes the record of the merchant Chambers' speech before the Privy Council (1641).
I do not know if I have correctly referenced all of this in the Wiktionary entry according to the proper Wiktionary style. I do believe that the 1641 very early usage of this word is, in fact, quite useful to Wiktionary entry, which is why I took the time to add it in two years ago. Cheers, N2e 17:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's not woory about the details of format too much. Your citation is a good one. It seems to reflect the sense of "putting pressure on somoeone", {"putting the (thumb-)screws to or on someone"), in this case with the Crown (screwer) doing the screwing of the merchants (screwees). I'll bet that the expression is put in the passive without the screwer being named because to accuse the Crown directly would have been an "impoliteness" that risked the further wrath of the King and his Privy Council. As a result we have an expression that reads just like our use of "screwed" as an adjective, which use requires no particular "screwer" be identified. I like the quote because it illustrates the transition of past participle and passive forms of verbs to adjectives, a fairly frequent occurence, it seems. I am a rank amateur at this, but perhaps one of the true mavens will take a look also.
I don't know when screw got the meaning of copulation. But I don't think it is derived metaphorically from this sense of screw. In any event screwed now carries the sense of "fucked", which makes it hard to use in formal settings and usually gets titters in an undergraduate class.
I'll have to see whether the Privy Council proceedings are now available on-line for the direct quote. If not yours will be fine. Wikitionarians like the sources available on-line because they can readily get more context and can verify. Thanks. DCDuring 18:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't know when "screw" came to mean "copulate", but I'm pretty sure swive (related to "swivel") had a copulation sense a long time ago. We currently only have that sense, but I think the original meaning was something like "turn" or "rotate", similar to "screw". Mike Dillon 03:17, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Screw=copulate goes back to at least the 18th century where it appears in some early slang dictionaries. swive has always meant copulate in Middle and modern English, though the OE source swīfan only seems to have meant "move quickly, progress". Widsith 17:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
As for the vulgarity - I personally would just tag this slang. It's not quite vulgar by my standards. --Keene 17:35, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the opinion on the 'vulgar' tag, Keene. That was my original question. It appears that several folks have edited the article now, and someone has removed the 'vulgar' tag from this one particular sense of the word. Furthermore, since several wordsmiths have looked it over, I will assume the 1641 quotation is now in appropriately handled as far as placemet, format, heading title, etc. N2e 19:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe that the quote supports the particular use of screwed in the modern sense, even though it reads as if it did. I would defer to the judgment of those with who have more familiarity with Early Modern English than I. DCDuring 19:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
On Australian public television in 2006/07, an ad not limited to late night asked if you were being screwed by your mortgage/real estate agent and was accompanied by an image of a screwdriver in action, with a human body replacing the screw. That kind of mainstream usage that I've also heard from politicians makes me believe that it is not universally vulgar. :) --Thecurran 01:04, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is there a word (which I'm possibly misspelling) exemplative, an adjective meaning that it makes a good example? RJFJR 21:09, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

600+ raw g.b.c. hits, but not in MW3. It looks like it means what you say. Seems often used in ref. to moral examples. DCDuring 22:37, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Try, "exemplary". It's definitely a word and it has the right connotation. :) --Thecurran 00:54, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Exemplative is definitely a word too, but contrast in that "exemplary" has connotation of moral rigor. Circeus 21:15, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Need help with Cherokee translation[edit]

Need some help we have a black stallion that we want to name black warrior in Cherokee hope you can help wado tee tee —This unsigned comment was added by Hawkstt (talkcontribs) at 23:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC).

gv-na-ge-i a-ya-wis-gi (the "v" is a vowel that is pronounced "uh", as in "but"). —Stephen 00:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Broken Skin[edit]

What is this a euphemism for; open wounds, healing wounds, freshly healed wounds, scratches, abrasions, grazes, rashes, hives, itches, eczema, bedsores, heat rashes, hives, inflamed skin, scar tissue, acne, pock marks, keloid scarring, swollen skin, puffy skin, boils, corns, warts, cold sore, leprosied skin, herpetic skin, splinters, or something else? I usually see it on bathroom products in the phrase, "Do not apply to broken skin." and I find it too ambiguous. :) --Thecurran 00:51, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I'll bet it applies to most of the things you say, but a dictionary is not a substitute for medical advice from a professional. A break in the protective membrane seems to be what they are referring to, which would exclude inflammed skin, scar tissue, swellings, rashes. But many conditions could lead to dry skin and cracking which might lead to a break in the skin or a crevice in which, say, an acidic compound could do damage, given enough time. DCDuring 01:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Can somone, pls, put this in WT:GL#S or SoP? You guys aren't using the one I know and use in Australia, "Standard of Practice". I'm sure I'm not the only one confused here. I'm glad that, "PoS", made it on to PoS, because the Aussie, "POS", means, "point of sale", as in ePos like so many "e-"s or EFTPOS, which means, "electronic funds tranfer [at] POS", and is spoken in every store with any card payment facilities and even most that don't ("Sorry, no EftPOS/EFTPOS"). --Thecurran 01:45, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Sum of Parts - comes up in discussions of idiomaticity of phrases. DCDuring 02:06, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. --Thecurran 07:27, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is this a typo of b.g.c or a new term for WT:GL? --Thecurran 01:54, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I think I did it. It was supposed to be for Google books. mea culpa. my bad. DCDuring 02:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it's a blend of "GBS" ("Google Book Search") and "b.g.c" ("books dot google dot com"). —RuakhTALK 02:09, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is sense 2 really translingual? If so, is there a decent way to indicate that it's informal in English, but not necessarily in other languages? Also, is there a decent way to include English-specific derived terms (such as +ve)? —RuakhTALK 02:03, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


I am curious as to how to use word "hostage", only in singular or in plural too in such prases as "to hold smb (as a)hostage, to take smb hostage? in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary there are given examples: "Three children were taken hostage during the bank robbery"; "He was held hostage for almost a year". According to these examples, should i conclude that "hostage" can be used only in singular in this (I suppose, fixed expressions)? what does it depend on? Thank you.

I could say: "I took the hostages hostage". It is as if I were saying "I took the hostages into the state of being hostage." or "I took the hostages as hostage." The noun hostage is being used in two senses, one referring to the individual hostages, which can have a plural, another referring to the state of "hostage", which would very rarely be plural (only in some kind of rarified discussion of distinct types of being a hostage}. DCDuring 02:12, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with DCDuring, except that I think it's actually an adjective in those examples. (Compare "he was hostage to …", "the hostage children", etc.) I don't know why we don't list an adjective sense in our entry. —RuakhTALK 02:16, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
MW3 says that the "state of a person given or kept as pledge against performance of an agreement, demand or treaty" sense is "obsolete". But the obsolete sense is pretty close the word's meaning in the "keep/give/hold/take hostage" constructions. DCDuring 02:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I would interpret it as a compound verb take hostage, as separate from the noun hostage which is wholly countable. I don't recognise it as an adjective at all, in any of Ruakh's examples - though "hostage children" is attributive. Widsith 18:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I think take hostage merits an entry. It is a nice way to interpret it current usage, whereever it came from. DCDuring TALK 14:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

social work[edit]

can someone explain the difference between direct vs indirect social work prcatices ?

to me a direct approach means that you are physically managing a situation. The indirect approach, requires a more administrative or clerical effort. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).


could someone help find the meaning/translation of the word pantavila/pantavilo: a russian woman calls me this whenever we have friction in our relationship; and, she refuses to give me the real meaning/translation, instead, she tells me to look it up!



  • And it's not old English. It was written only a few decades ago.--Dmol 17:47, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Thank you soo much and please excuse the all caps. Yes it is , desiderata , and it was a gift that my father had given to my mother and she gave to me, many years ago. I never knew where it came from as far as the author, but the message is very profound. Thank you!!!


I've added Webster 1913's definition, but there seems to be another: Some academic journals' papers have the word "Oblatum" on them (in the headmatter), followed by a date. (Here's an example, but it's some 800 KB. The word appears just above the abstract on the first page.) Any idea what this is?—msh210 19:05, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Could it mean "submitted"? The publication date could be well after the date an article was completed. The springerlink protects the text of the article you suggested as an example so I can't tell whether my notion is consistent with the facts of even that article. I would expect that the date after "oblatum" would always be prior to the publication date, but rarely by more than two years, probably varying by discipline. DCDuring TALK 22:43, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I didn't realize it wasn't accessible. The article reads:
Oblatum 20-III-2002 & 30-IX-2002
Published online: 18 December 2002
So you may well be right about its being "submitted", but I really don't know. I suspected it might mean "received", which is not the same thing. (Note that math articles, at least — though I suspect the same is true in other disciplines — get resubmitted after the referee's recommendations are taken care of. (The paper linked to above is a math paper.))—msh210 23:01, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I should have mentioned that oblatum is past participle of Latin offrere (to offer). An oblate is someone who has offered/dedicated their life to God. The only real possibilities for a publication were "dedicated" or "submitted". DCDuring TALK 23:42, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, well, then, you (or someone else who knows enough Latin) can add that L2 section, and we have a winner for the other English sense, I think. Thanks.—msh210 05:57, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
The etymologies for oblate and oblatum, referring to a flattened sphere can't be the same as for the sense having to do with offering, submission. Could they come from ob "in front" and the root verb ferro meaning carry in the sense of "pregnant"? DCDuring TALK 12:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I think there is some confusion here. Classical Latin oblatus is a form of the verb offero (offer) and is the source of the English oblation. But English oblate (in the sense of a flattened sphere) doesn't seem to come from this word. The OED gives it as a medieval or modern Latin coinage from ob- + lātus (broad, wide), an hence "spread(ing) out, widening out", which makes much more sense anyway. I see that this has already been corrected in the entry. --EncycloPetey 00:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


lap#Etymology_3: to slurp up (a liquid) as a dog. And slurp is defined as: to eat/drink (something) noisily. Is this what lap means? I thought it meant to lick something (and hence, usually, eat it). Consider

    • 2000, Robert B. Parker, Hugger Mugger, chapter 1,
      "I was at Claiborne Farms once and actually met Secretariat," I said. "He gave me a large lap."
      He smiled a painted smile. Horse people, I have noticed, are not inclined to think of horses in terms of how, or even if, they kiss.

msh210 22:15, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I would have defined it the way the entry reads, pretty much. Connected to liquids, ice cream, and, perhaps, pate and kibble. I wouldn't have gone for "lick" as a sense, although the meaning of contact from the animal's tongue in the quote is consistent with my understanding of the word. But, then, I have a dog. DCDuring TALK 22:31, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
My understanding agrees with the entry. I remember a Bible stories book I had as a kid describing a battle before which, among other things, H' instructed the men to drink water from a river, and only a small portion of the men did so by lapping up water like dogs instead of by cupping their hands and bringing water to their mouths. It definitely used the word lap. —RuakhTALK 02:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
But that can mean lick, no?—msh210 17:20, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I think maybe the reason it seems confusing is because it's always used with up, which could make you think that in itself it just means "lick" - because you could equally say "lick up water" or whatever. But the primary sense of lap, with or without "up", always had the sense of getting liquid into your mouth by use of your tongue. Widsith 09:50, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Use of "lap" with the metaphorical sense of "licking" is very common, though:
I say we define it as something along the lines of "lick, especially for the purpose of eating or drinking". Circeus 20:44, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
"to take up liquid into the mouth using the tongue" is my adaption of Webster's 1913. --Keene 11:13, 23 February 2008 (UTC)


I'm a little surprised that this one hasn't seen more controversy; perhaps the alternate pronunciation is regional?

I've never heard this pronounced the way the audio file currently on it, sounds. For some reason, when I saw this as a Word-of-the-day, I was shocked that we could have such a grotesque misspelling of laxsidaysical on our main page. (Then I looked it up. Ouch.) While lacksidaisical gets enough b.g.c. hits to probably merit an entry, that particular pronunciation-spelling lacks the lax prefix that I was convinced was etymologically related, somehow.

Anyone able to identify what regions the "lac" + sibilant + "idaisical" pronunciation is specific to? Furthermore, do we want the alternate spelling entered as an entry? If so, how should it be listed/described? Is the connotation with lax completely ephemeral, or is there a reference about it that I didn't find? Thanks in advance,

--Connel MacKenzie 06:03, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

It's just a mistake – a common one – based on assimilation with lax, and is not limited to any one region. This is what we call an eggcorn. Perhaps laxadaisical warrants a {{misspelling of}} entry, it's certainly common enough. Widsith 09:14, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, I did see "Common Errors in English Usage" come up on one of my searches. What I'm talking about here seems to be original research, so I hesitate to add anything about it to actual entries. Sorry if it seems like I'm suggesting new entries: I'm really not, I'd just like to satisfy my curiosity. My earlier point, is that that particular assimilation with lax has forced the proscribed pronunciation to be primary in some regions (at least where I grew up.) So my questions grow now: why is the variation proscribed? The assimilation itself is reasonable. Being descriptive do we assert only the prescribed variant, or should there be mention of the proscribed pronunciation (and if so, what description fits?) Also, is it only assimilation with lax, as I thought at first, or borne from the natural elision of the full-stopping "K-uh" transformed into a "zih" sound? About the eggcorn assertion: are you saying the "lacsidasical" pronunciation is common in the UK too? The more I look at the variants that are out there, the more my curiosity about this grows. --Connel MacKenzie 17:32, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
It's proscribed just because in prescriptive terms it's simply "wrong" and is not a real word found in any printed dictionaries. As a descriptive site though we should definitely have it - yes it's common in the UK as well. But I think a "common misspelling" entry is more appropriate than a "alternative spelling" only because if you use this in an essay or job application you wouldn't last long! Widsith 09:48, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I must admit I had never heard it any other way than "laxidaisical." It wasn't until Connel put it in the Tea Room that I noticed there was no x or ks, etc. How odd. Seems to me that it might be worthwhile to provide an alternative pronunciation within the current spelling. Atelaes 09:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I've always heard [ks] said but seen <ck> written. However, laxadaisical does get a number of uses on b.g.c., as do various other spellings that attempt to reflect the [ks]. —RuakhTALK 13:20, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I've heard both, but more often /k/ alone, which is what I say, too. I've only ever (as far as I recall) seen <ck>.—msh210 17:18, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


The state or quality of being being? What's that meant to mean?--Keene 15:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

As opposed for example to the state or quality of being doing, or doingness; also the state or quality of being nothing, or nothingness. Did this word exist in English before the first translations interpretations of Hegel, I wonder. -- Visviva 15:44, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
By all appearances, it did not. [1] It would seem that we have Stirling's Secret of Hegel to thank for this. (although it might have cropped up independently in translations of Rosmini's work.) This is basically a translation of Seiendheit, I believe (not to be confused with Seiendsein, or "being-a-being"). In the Hegelian system this has a particular significance related to the emergence of being-there from the interaction of being and not-being; not sure how best to express that in a definition though. -- Visviva 15:54, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


wingspan is listed as uncountable. Is it sometimes countable as wingspans? RJFJR 17:00, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd think so, e.g. "I was comparing the wingspans of the two planes" sounds right to me --Keene 17:02, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Adding {{context|usually in singular}} seems reasonable. --Connel MacKenzie 17:35, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Any Surfers out there who know surf jargon?[edit]

{{}}Hello I wish to add a word to the wiktionary: bitchen. It is a surf term meaning really neat, groovey, outtasite etc. It is the ultimate in desireable............

I think it's spelled bitchin', which we should have, agreed. We do have bitching, note.—msh210 21:06, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
We have a few surfing terms and wouldn't mind a few more. Put in any suggestions here (for now) and in Requested entries. DCDuring TALK 21:17, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Even better, put what you know into Appendix:Glossary_of_surfing_terms. There are some 200-300 terms in there. Most of them are already in the main dictionary and most (not all) of what we have is in there. Bitchin/bitchen/bitchin's/bitching isn't in there because it is not, strictly speaking, about surfing and is used by a larger subculture. DCDuring TALK 15:28, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


See the talk page.—msh210 21:21, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Now fixed.—msh210 17:23, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

In contrast to / By contrast[edit]

Can someone explain the difference in usage between 'by contrast' and 'in contrast'. In past I have used 'In contrast, we assumed ... ' or 'In contrast to our assumption...' (not necessarily to mean the same thing). A search of Wiktionary past archives only turns up the expression 'by contrast' once.

What is heat resistance certificate of copper busbar ?[edit]

what is heat resistance certificate of copper busbar ? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

You'd probably have better luck at Wikipedia with such a question, for example here. This is a dictionary. Atelaes 08:34, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


Is it possible to create an entry at "Ka" (without using the <sub>a</sub> formatting, that is)? This is a scientific symbol used to denote an acid dissociation constant, and should have an entry if that is technically possible. Cheers! bd2412 T 08:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

You could use the Unicode character for subscript-a, viz. . (does that display correctly in your browser? mine neither.) But an entry at Ka with an appropriate note might be more suitable (and searchable). -- Visviva 10:32, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. Searchability is a good point. I'll do that. bd2412 T 10:34, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
We do have the entry Ka with that sense. It is typeable, searchable and simple;.however, it might deserve a usage note about often being Ka. RJFJR 14:55, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I just checked and it's at Ka but the headword beneath the part of speech is written as Ka. Might still warrant a note saying this since it can be overlooked (I did). RJFJR 14:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
That's because bd2412 just created it. :-)   I've now added the usage note. —RuakhTALK 16:48, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Of interest may be T2.—msh210 17:11, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, but I'm not a Schwarzenegger fan. DAVilla 01:22, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


I would very much like to discuss this word. On the page, I have written the various forms which have come up as translations in dictionaries on GoogleBooks. But they are still translations to be checked - I don't know if this word has died in any of those languages. To what extent is this exactly the same as block and tackle? I'm also confused because interwikis on wikipedia take you to all sorts of different pages, obviously a lot of languages express this machine in different ways. If anybody has any information or can check the translations, that would be appreciated. Harris Morgan 00:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC).


Todays' word is skedaddle. I didn't knot that one. However, I think I have heard an American-English word, or interjection rather, which has a similar sound. I tried to google skiddlydoo but got just a handful of hits. Google suggested I try skullydoo instead. Are there any Americans who can tell me what my word is? __meco 10:26, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Possibly w:23 skidoo? -- Visviva 14:26, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Or w:skidamarink?—msh210 17:09, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I think we are in the general ballpark, but I hope we can get a bit closer still. __meco 19:29, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


The only definition given (English noun) is: "A belief in the importance of the power of the state over an individual, used to describe more extreme views." I'm okay with the first part of the definition, but am unsure about the correctness of the last part. As I see the word used in the social science literature (principally economics and sociology), I don't find it implying extreme views. In other words, I think it definitely has a use in vernacular English today of implying only "A belief in the importance of the power of the state over an individual." -- with no sense of the extreme-ness of the view. N2e 19:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe put the "extreme views" bit under "Usage notes" with "sometimes used to ..." I would have trouble proving such usage, but I've heard it. Putting an "-ism" on something is a little like putting "scare quotes" around it. DCDuring TALK 19:40, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
On a side note, shouldn't Category:English nouns ending in -ism be at Category:English nouns ending in "-ism" for the sake of consistency? bd2412 T 19:49, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, I have always called this étatisme. Widsith 15:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I edited the page along the lines of the discussion above, and added a comment to the talk page. Feel free to look it over, modify, and/or remove the rft if appropriate. I don't know what the culture is for leaving the rft on a word for a certain amount of time, or not. N2e 14:39, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

information search[edit]

Looking for information and location of BUSCHOLT GERMANY

Try an atlas or maps website. Maybe a Gazetteer. You are currently on a dictionary website, which is not a good place to look for this information. --EncycloPetey 02:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

E. & O. E[edit]

E. & O. E? I'm looking for the terminology "E. & O. E." mention in International Commercial Invoices. I tried looking for it but could not find anything helpful. Can anyone help me get to the right source of information. —This unsigned comment was added by Shootingstar77 (talkcontribs).

If you could add a bit of context, it may help. Atelaes 05:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  • It means "exceptions (or errors) and omissions excluded (or excepted)" and is normally written E&OE. SemperBlotto 12:03, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

be successful[edit]

I'm hesitating about making this entry. Reasons for: translation is difficult. In Spanish it would be a verb form tener exito or dar resultado. Other languages the same? OTOH it would be just SoP in English, wouldn't it? Comments please. -- Algrif 11:50, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Isn't "to be successful" just the same as "to succeed"? I would translate the Italian riuscire as either just as well. SemperBlotto 12:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Doesn't "be successful" refer more to a durable state than succeed does? It does seem very SoP to me in English, but many distinctions elude me. What are you trying to capture by entering it? DCDuring TALK 12:18, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
It's possibly more than SoP because by default it means more than having success in a particular area, it means having success in life. But then, succeed can mean that too, so I'm not really supporting its creation.
Looking at translations isn't going to tell you whether an expression is idiomatic though. Tener exito is also SoP, just like tener calor, which failed an RFD. There's the same problem with tener hambre = be hungry. Could this be handled with usage notes on both the English and the Spanish side? DAVilla 00:58, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
That's why I brought it here first. OK I think usage notes is probably the best way to go with this one. Thanks. -- Algrif 12:34, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Proper nouns following articles[edit]

Is there a word that describes proper nouns that follow articles, e.g. the United Kingdom (I live in the United Kingdom v. I live in United Kingdom); United Arab Emirates; Golden Gate Bridge; Soviet Union; White House. Forgive me if this discussion's arisen before. --Keene 17:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

United Kingdon and United Arab Emirates and Soviet Union take the because they are plural or collective. Every proper noun that's plural or collective does so; another is Netherlands. Certain other proper nouns do, too, such as Ukraine (dated), Congo (dated), Sudan (dated), all oceans, and many (all?) rivers. This topic comes up periodically on the Usenet newsgroup alt.usage.english, which you can search at Google Groups; here's one sample thread on this topic and here's another post (whose thread you might also wish to check out).—msh210 18:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I should note that as a general rule, AUE is a good resource for questions on English usage. It's populated by users of English, not (for the most part) linguists, though some have some training. Google Groups makes its archives accessible.—msh210 18:30, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Don't most nouns require an article? I play "a" cello or "the" cello, not so much "I play cello". I mean, you can say it, but it's less literate. bd2412 T 21:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Sure, but that's not true for proper nouns. While on my boat, Secretariat, on Lake Superior, I spoke to John about going to New York to see Gracie Mansion.msh210 22:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls these “weak” proper nouns (as opposed to “strong” proper nouns, which can stand alone), but I don't know if that's widespread usage. If you want to be fancy, I suppose you could describe them as “arthrous”. :-) —RuakhTALK 00:31, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

walk into[edit]

I'm a teacher of English (but not native speaker) and I can't solve this question: Two people collide in the street and we say: "Tom walked into that teenager". Or we could say "That teenager walked into Tom", but is it possible for both to walk into one another? What verb should we use instead? : Bumped into? Ran into? Thanks —This comment was unsigned.

I would say "Tom and the teenager bumped into each other." However, this could mean "met" rather than "collided". SemperBlotto 22:50, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
"Walk into" = collide; "bumped into" and "ran into" imply accidental meeting. Ignore the impossible geometry. We could actually say "Jack and Jill walked into each other", implying that the collision was not Jack's fault more than Jill's. DCDuring TALK 22:56, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Is this a phrasal verb? DAVilla 00:47, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is. Added. -- Algrif 12:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Dutch courage pejorative[edit]

Following the comment at Talk:Dutch courage, can this be pejorative - I had always assumed not, but then again there are those who can find anything derogatory. Conrad.Irwin 00:45, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Almost any of the ethnic/racial/religious/gender/sex-pref/hair-color/nationalisty/disability-based labels of supposed behavior or attibutes could be viewed as insulting and are sometimes intended that way. Maybe we need boilerplate language for Usage notes that could be modified to suit individual entries. I think the term "pejorative" means that the sense labelled is insulting to the person addressed or described. If so, that tag doesn't do the job. DCDuring TALK 03:04, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Created {{offensive to}} and took it for a test drive in Dutch courage#Usage notes. Improvements welcome. -- Visviva 07:24, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
It's a good idea, but I wonder what proportion of "offensive-to" terms fall into the "may be considered" category instead of the "is sometimes considered" or "is often considered" or "is usually considered" or "used to be considered" categories? "May be considered" is probably a good default, but maybe it would be nice to support other values? —RuakhTALK 13:07, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
You're saying add another parameter that takes value of (-,sometimes (default), often, usually, formerly) and generates a smooth sentence. DCDuring TALK 14:56, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I had more elaborate thoughts in mind, but what you've done is better for entries. Perhaps it would be nice if we had a link to some WP article or WT entry or appendix on the subject of offensive language, that helps folks intellectualize the perceived insult, understand WT's descriptiveness, see that it might be jocularly intended, etc. Actually, I doubt that an ordinary WT entry is good enough. I think it needs a paragraph (or more). I'll search later. Does anyone know of such material? DCDuring TALK 13:18, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
If this is even necessary, which I'm hesitant to agree with, might I suggest a simpler form than the present? Anything more than the following could be written out afterwards:
{{offensive to}} {{offensive to|}} {{offensive to|-}}
This term may be considered offensive.
{{offensive to|...}}
This term is considered offensive to ....
An additional option of offendee= is not a parameter that would see use elsewhere, so is somewhat superfluous. DAVilla 16:08, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, the "offendee" parameter can certainly be dropped (I can't think of any reason this would need to take advantage of MediaWiki's differences in handling numbered vs. named params, I've just gotten in the habit of allowing for both). But I think the primary application of this is to words which may specifically be considered offensive to someone other than the person actually described or addressed; more ordinary cases are already handled by {{pejorative}}, {{vulgar}}, et al. Because of this I don't see much use for a version which does not specify the offendee in some way. -- Visviva 17:09, 31 January 2008 (UTC)



What is the possessive form of "Mother-in-Law?"

Is it "Mother's-in-Law" or "Mother-in-Law's?" —This unsigned comment was added by FolkExplorer (talkcontribs) at 19:42, 29 January 2008.

The latter: mother-in-law's. Atelaes 01:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
English nouns don't really have possessive forms; instead, we just tack -'s onto the end of the phrases they head. —RuakhTALK 01:55, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


On this page: http://linguistlist.org/issues/18/18-3770.html, the word ‘resolve’ is used as a noun. Could someone please add the noun sense, with the appropriate quote? H. (talk) 10:52, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Good catch. I added "# Determination, will power." RJFJR 12:06, 30 January 2008 (UTC)