Wiktionary:Tea room/2009/December

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December 2009


It seems to me that all these senses except the last one (which should be the first one) could be combined into one definition saying something like, ‘A military rank below that of captain, now often having various sub-divisions’. The numerous differences between countries and services seem borderline-encyclopaedic and not really to do with what the word lieutenant means. Ƿidsiþ 07:03, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes. And the adjective is just attributive use.
Some non-military have military ranks: police and fire, some fraternal organizations (?), Salvation Army, etc. In many organizations it is the lowest of a set of marked ("commissioned officer") ranks that are "above" any non-com ranks. I think that our wording should allow for such things. Other systematic information about ranks in a given service seems to belong either in Appendices here or in WP. I would think that we would want a to such or to one or more indices of such. When complete, this discussion should go on its talk page, so the energies of would-be contributors can be productive. DCDuring TALK 10:25, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

love letter? XD

Ok I know this might be more suited to translation requests but I think it'll get better attention here anyway... Here goes nothing...

Incidentally the book I was bought for Physics this year was second hand. Upon nosing through it prior to my return to school I found what seems to be a mini love letter/note (in Spanish no less!). Here's a transcription (please be ready to check for spelling errors and the like because the handwriting is a bit diabolical :/):

Para Marta,

Mi hermanita! ¿Que tal? Yo muy bien, sin cole! Bueno lo primero que tengo que decirte es que te quiero muchisimo y te eano mas de menos aun

So there, any ideas? 50 Xylophone Players talk 16:54, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

"For Marta, my little sister! How it's going? I'm fine, [except for school? not having school?]! Well, the main thing I have to say is that I love you very much and I miss you [even more than previously?]." Equinox 17:07, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Wow, thanks...I was kinda wrong then XD 50 Xylophone Players talk 18:26, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I was wondering where that letter of mine got to. If you can, forward it to Marta. --Rising Sun talk? 13:07, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Uhh, what?! XD Are you joking or serious? ^_^ Does this mean you've secretly learned some Spanish? And that you live in Ireland? ROFL, that'd be soo freaky...! 50 Xylophone Players talk 21:32, 9 December 2009 (UTC)


Is this really what it is? Google Books suggests it is something else (or something in addition). Equinox 20:42, 1 December 2009 (UTC)


Ety says "blend of booboisie and mobocracy". Can that be right? Surely it's just booby (fool) + -o- + -cracy. Equinox 21:49, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Isn't it an H L Mencken coinage (US)? Accordingly it must be from "boob", which is the way we have been saying it for a while. I think Mencken also coined "booboisie", but not "mobocracy". DCDuring TALK 22:32, 1 December 2009 (UTC)


Has a third translation gloss "pseudo-fruit" with one Vietnamese entry. Any ideas what to do with it, anyone? -- ALGRIF talk 13:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)


Currently we have:
2. An unborn or young person, a minor, especially one who has not yet entered into puberty.
Using 'child' to refer to a(n unborn) fetus/embryo is (aside from the contentiousness of implicitly using "unborn person") very distinct from using it to refer to a born child that has grown beyond babyhood (this is what I think would be the standard meaning), and therefore I think warrants a separate definition, something like:
3. Sometimes used to refer to an embryo or fetus, in anticipation of its birth and growth beyond babyhood. --Tyranny Sue 23:34, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't object to splitting the senses like this (but I'd drop the "sometimes used to refer to"). Equinox 23:42, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok. More discussion about this is at the talk page.--Tyranny Sue 00:43, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


2nd definition, "opposed to logic". Isn't that illogical? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

  • The OED has
    • alogical - "Non-logical; not based upon reason or formed by an act of judgement; opposed to logic. Also absol., that which is alogical."
    • illogiical - "Not logical; devoid of or contrary to logic; ignorant or negligent of the principles of sound reasoning." SemperBlotto 12:02, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Chambers has: alogical - outside the domain of logic. Being opposed to logic makes some sense in such domains. Pingku 13:32, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


I think we are missing two non-transitive senses here: to change by translation ("dog translates into French as chien") and something similar but figurative that I can't quite define (e.g. "the resulting economic improvement for Turkey will, in the end, translate into economic benefits for the EU as a whole"). Equinox 15:21, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

I took a stab at them. Please take a look and revise. DCDuring TALK 15:38, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Looks great. Equinox 16:51, 4 December 2009 (UTC)


Sense 3: "Nearby; at hand" ("The fasting month is offing.") This is under the Noun heading, which cannot be right. Equinox 00:37, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree. The usage example makes little sense and fits no usage I found at b.g.c. I wish I could find some evidence of an intermediate usage between the nautical senses and the "in the offing" sense. There is a hint of something that might be right: the area of the sea visible from one's vantage point (limited by the curvature of the earth). Also, the sense I added doesn't really seem supportable apart from "in the offing". It'll need a fresh look tomorrow. DCDuring TALK 02:02, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

eeny, meeny, miny, moe

I added a Mandarin equivalent of this kind of children's counting-out game (i.e. not a literal translation of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe"). I think this is inline with Wiktionary guidelines... and encourage other contributors to add versions of this game in other languages. Tooironic 10:07, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

cool, jewel

I'm not that good with IPA, but these entries seems to say that cool and jewel don't rhyme. Is this correct? --Yair rand 22:24, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Certainly not for all speakers. There's a hint of two syllables in most of the pronunciations of "jewel" that I hear (NY, USA), some cartoonish exaggerated double syllable pronunciation, as well as the rhyming pronunciation. DCDuring TALK 22:40, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

glamourous, clamourous, humourous

Aren't these all erroneous forms, even in British English? Chambers has none. Equinox 22:44, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

BNC shows them at 2-5% relative to the one-ou forms. But in COCA (US) they are less than one tenth as common as that. I am amazed that the UK ratio isn't higher: "humor" has 13 hits vs. 2166 for "humour". Who conjured up that spelling convention? Why no rebellion? DCDuring TALK 23:32, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
  • In UK English, typically the nouns and verbs have a U (after the French) whereas the derivatives have no U (after the Latin). However in these cases, all of these used to be standard and so this looks like another job for {{obsolete spelling of}}. Ƿidsiþ 13:10, 8 December 2009 (UTC)


If we call this English (as we now do), won't we just end up with a large number of language sections that add no value. Wouldn't it be better to call it Translingual and just have transcriptions for those languages/scripts that would have a transcription? DCDuring TALK 22:47, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Although there are several languages using these letters to represent a word with the same meaning as English, the words will still be different. They will be pronounced differently, so having different language sections would allow us to represent that. These words will be inflected differently, so that too we can represent in the different language sections that we are likely to get if we were to decide to make the separate sections. And there are more things that will be different, that can all only be represented in the different language sections. Also, I wonder just how translingual this actually is. The French word for DNA is ADN, for example, and German uses DNS alongside DNA. I would guess this would also lead to adopting different letters to represent cDNA. And these are both major western European languages that have long history of contact with English. How different will other languages be in their usage? Still other languages will indeed use different scripts like cyrillic, making it difficult to maintain this really is translingual. It is not tranlingual like IPA characters are, not even like an exclamation mark, that is at least shared by all languages using the roman script (as far as I'm aware). I think these are all good reasons not to represent these words in one translingual section, but instead create a large page listing all languages that use these letters in this combination. Groeten Grunnen 13:01, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment. It fully answers my question. Our use of translingual is not sharply defined, but includes the shared use of CJKV characters and use that is only common among those languages using the Roman alphabet. Judging from what you say, this is at best minimally translingual. Were it not for users inserting translations anyway, a translingual section might save some low-value translations. MWOnline has a tag for "International Scientific Vocabulary". DCDuring TALK 13:13, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
A short search on Wikipedia yields the following results: German uses cDNA, as do Dutch, Catalan, Greek (!), Persian(!), Finnish, Indonesian, Hebew(!), Italian, Malaysian, Japanese (!), Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish and Chinese(!). Spanish uses ADNc, as does French. Furthermore, Russian uses кДНК, alongside cDNA, and Ukrainian uses only кДНК. I can't figure out what Urdu uses, but the letters cDNA aren't found on the page about cDNA. So indeed it is used widely, also in languages that do not use roman script, and it certainly behaves much like a translingual lettercombination, but there are languages that do not seem to use it too, making it hard to claim a translingual status, I think. And the argument about differences in pronunciation, inflection and the like still holds. Groeten Grunnen 13:25, 8 December 2009 (UTC) sorry I bring this up so late, I was just curious as to exactly what languages used it. So it's actually quite a lot, way more than I expected
Interesting. I had previously noticed instances of Roman-letter abbreviations embedded in non-Roman script, often for similar scientific abbreviations. This seems to contain a realistic mix of interactions with other languages and scripts. I wonder what others think is the best presentation in light of your findings. Translingual with translations only for those languages that don't use identical forms and a usage note to list in-text (not vertically) languages that use cDNA and/or CDNA? If we don't get enough attention here over the next week or month, this might be worth putting on WT:BP. DCDuring TALK 15:26, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

ladies man

What's an "idiomatic alternative spelling" exactly? Is the misspelling template not appropriate here? Equinox 10:12, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

It hadn't occurred to me before, but one could analyze this as attributive use of "ladies", eliminating the need for an apostrophe. Could one say that someone is a "man of the ladies" or "man of ladies"? At the moment the attributive analysis seems better to me, but I might be missing something. DCDuring TALK 12:48, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps should be the base form, since presumably you need to woo or to chat up more than one (and not necessarily one at a time) before becoming known as such - unless you mean something like uxorious. "Ladies man" could then be an alternative form, although misspelling might be more accurate in many or most cases.
I note ladies man appears in a citation for lady's man. Pingku 13:36, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
At COCA ladies' man (109) outnumbers ladies man (31). At BNC the referent appears relatively less often (12/100MM vs. 140/400MM) and ladies' man (10) outscores ladies man (2). 3.5:1 vs 5:1. Given these number and the existence of a plausible alternative construction that is not a misconstruction, alternative spelling seems a better choice to me. Or one might tag it as being mis- in the UK and alternative in the US. DCDuring TALK 15:41, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I wasn't focused in my comment. At the moment everything points back to lady's man, whereas (to my mind anyway) it should be ladies plural. Ladies' man sits in the middle... Pingku 17:08, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I did miss your point. At COCA, lady's man has just 20 hits; at BNC 5, clearly indicating it ought not be the primary form. DCDuring TALK 22:32, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I think we can safely lose the word "idiomatic". DCDuring TALK 15:44, 8 December 2009 (UTC)


I contest strongly this revert of the IP's edits and its subsequent blocking. In fact, the IP has not done anything wrong, it just made this only valid spelling into a full-fledged entry in lieu of the reprehensible redirect to a proscribed spelling frowned upon by the majority of people familiar with etymologies. Is there any particular reason why the proscribed spelling cliche can duly make use of the Template:alternative spelling of to lead the reader to the correct cliché, whereas in this case the prædominant spelling redirects to the proscribed one? In the future, it would be advisabe to put the Template:alternative spelling of on naive and retain the definitions and translations only at naïve. I am eager to listen to other administrators' opinions, since Ivan seems to favour the naive spelling to my dismay. Also, I plea to unblock the misfortunate IP (talk), which has not done anything amiss (in this page). The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 17:52, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

naive is not a misspelling, it's an Anglicized spelling of the term. I almost never see naïve in texts because:
  1. It's old fashioned
  2. It's hard to type

Hence normally you get it in stuff written before 1950, a bit like how people use boite in French instead of boîte. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:03, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

I have not used the term misspelling in the exposé. I used proscribed as a stronger adjective/particle than discouraged, but if you insist, I can switch to discouraged. And here is the prove that Atelaes indorsed naïve as a habitual English word and explained this to Ivan (albeit not dismissing naive, but here we are discussing only whether naïve deserves a full-fledged entry and whether the blocking Ivan committed was justified). The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 18:09, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Besides, cliché is not easier to type (is it?), but is the prævalent spelling. Not to speak about rosé and what happens, if someone is indolent enough to omit the accent... The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 18:18, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

The most widespread spelling should be used as a lemma, and in all of these cases it's regularly the form without diacritics. If English had officialized orthography that would be entirely different matter, but since it doesn't the only "rule" is actual usage. --Ivan Štambuk 18:08, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Ivan, it is about consistency. If only the most widespread spellings are to be full-fledged entries, then why do we have recognise, analyse and so on as such entries, considering that analyze, recognize and so on are used in the entire USA and some 30% of Commonwealth writing texts (influenced by the Oxford orthography)? This obviously makes them by far more widespread than recognise, analyse and yet analyse and recognise have their full-fledged enties here. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 18:15, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
There is no such thing as "consistency" in natural language. Neither there are "rules" other than broadly generalized usage practices that might or might not be acceptable from certain quasi-historical reasons. The differences between American/British English orthography such as with -ise/-ize that you mention are entirely different set of issues - they are regular (i.e. there is no person that writes simultaneously both styles) orthographic registers and can be handled in some unified manner. AFAIK, the common practice is that the entry that is created first is given "full" status, and the other one is soft-redirected, in order no to favor either of the spelling varieties. The content duplication that occurs at [[recognise]] and [[recognize]] is ridiculous and needs to be terminated. --Ivan Štambuk 18:26, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Ridiculous? Needs to be terminated? I would agree only if recognize lead to recognise as an entry containing the information about the word, but that is not going to happen. Nor can the opposite, because they both are widespread. And the lack of consistency and rules is pernicious to any organisation and Wiktionary as a project is supposed to be organised. So if you are not willing to juxtapose the Commonwealth/US issue, then could you explain why cliche redirects to cliché and not vice versa? Simply because of temporal præcedence in the creation and why the same approach is not applied to naïve/naive? But where is the rule here stipulating that the fastest wins? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 18:37, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
It's not problem in Wiktionary as a project, it's inherent in the language as a system. Specifically in the widespread indolence and unintelligence of human species that utilize language for communication. We're merely describing the language as it's used and not forcing some kind of authority over it (and we can pretend to do it, but it would have no affect on the general trends which are unfortunately unstoppable). Lexicography is like archeology at a much faster and recent pace. I don't know why [[cliche]] points to [[cliché]] and not vice versa, but I can imagine that there was some kind of associated discussion about that. If you ask me, it would definitely be the other way around. As I said, I'm not familiar that there is a Wiktionary-wide "rule" on how to handle the -ise/-ize, -our/-or and similar dualities, but the temporal precedence is a reasonable compromise I'm sure most can get along with. It's much less of a problem to redirect a new spelling variety to the existing entry, rather than other way around (which might be interpreted as PoV pushing). --Ivan Štambuk 18:54, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
And I favour the status quo at cliché, but not the one in naïve because of my prædilection for consistency, which means præcedence of the spelling established through centuries over the colloquial and the one which recently became fashionable. Ok, I am well aware with your point of view, but let us listen to the opinions of other native speakers, especially SemperBlotto, who added the definition in the entry back in July 2005. Do they agree with your compromise about the fastest wins approach. And I would be ineffably appreciative, if you unblocked the misfortunate IP, because he/she must be feeling pretty desolate and/or indignant and/or aggrieved at being blocked for amending the entry. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:14, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
The IP is unblocked for some time now. And this is not "my compromise" but what I observed to be a more general community-wide practice (tho I could be wrong, given that I don't normally edit English entries). --Ivan Štambuk 19:22, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily have reverted the IP, but everything Ivan says is in accordance with practice and/or policy. Apart from possible ruffled feelings, there is nothing wrong with the result. There can be occasions were there is something slightly different to say about one spelling vs another. Using {{trans-see}} can keep translaters from wasting some time. If we had facts about which spellings users entered in search boxes, we might rely on relative frequency from that source (probably less favorable to diacritics and ligatures than printed work frequencies). DCDuring TALK 22:48, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Ivan, you are wrong, and you were wrong to revert the entry, and you were wrong to block the IP. Why would you block someone who was clearly making a good faith effort to improve the Wiktionary, especially without making any effort to contact the user, and without even looking at the discussion page for the the entry, which clearly shows that the user was correct? You need to stop editing English entries, and you need to take a hard look at how you encourage others to contribute to the Wiktionary. DCDuring, you're wrong, too: the result (blocking the user) was completely uncalled-for. Ivan should have commented on naïve's talk page without reverting, or, at the very worst, reverted with a comment. 18:23, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Please feel free to provide some evidence in support of the spelling of naive you prefer, preferably based on actual usage facts in one or more corpora of contemporary English usage. Most people with strong opinions about how language ought to be are too lazy and ignorant of facts to bother even collecting references from "authorities", let alone actual usage. As for authorities Garner's Modern American Usage (2009) characterizes your preferred spelling as "invariably inferior" to naive. That puts your spelling in the wrong side or prescriptiveness. But I think Garner's judgment is too harsh even in the US. Also, it might possibly be a useful tool to promote pan-European and pan-Canadian unity. DCDuring TALK 20:29, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
I have looked at several style manuals, and none of them mention spellings and/or diacritics except possibly to defer to a preferred dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster. I don't have access to authoritative print dictionaries at the moment, but I will look into it. I've also looked briefly into print magazine usage, but haven't caught use of either spelling of "naive" in the wild. That said, I was mostly complaining about the banning--not the spelling--which has not really been addressed here. What are the rules/mores on banning and the standards for having someone to ban less avidly? 17:42, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

mental health problem(s)

I'm hesitant over whether this is SoP. I think it's general enough to mean "any problem with one's mental health" but it's used in specific contexts. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:00, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Except for euphemism, it seems no different from health problems, which is more clearly SoP. There is less stigma and less need for euphemism in "physical" vs. "mental" health, though that was not always the case. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah SoP. What about mental health? Health that is mental? Mglovesfun (talk) 08:30, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
That feels OK. I'm not sure how to attest to its idiomaticity. That it is used as a unit attributively in "mental health (facility, problem, professional)" (at least in the US) is suggestive. A few general and more specialized dictionaries have it. DCDuring TALK 11:28, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Same in the UK. I don't fancy writing a definition mind you. Maybe a short one with a link to WP. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:31, 9 December 2009 (UTC)


A few senses missing for this French entry...What do you call in English

  1. the holes in the shoe, through which a shoelace is thread? laceholes?
  2. the hole on a boat, or on the mooring, which the ropes pass through a ring? --Rising Sun talk? 23:20, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
1. eyelet 2. grommet I suspect there might be other words you can use, too. -- ALGRIF talk 09:24, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

honkin', honking

While creating two senses at honkingly I noticed an odd disparity between honking and honkin'. Perhaps some merging is needed. Equinox 10:23, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

I am not sure whether honkin' or honking is used more often in the senses (now) shown at honkin', adjective and adverb. At COCA it was close. I have cleaned up and expanded honkin' and wouldn't object to a merger. DCDuring TALK 11:52, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

along the way

Shouldn't this phrase have an entry? I think it's a border case of SOP, but I think it is justified. __meco 11:10, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Cambridge idioms has it. DCDuring TALK 11:53, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

the real deal / the real McCoy

Shouldn't both real deal and real McCoy be prefaced with the definite article? Also, they don't come in plural form, do they? __meco 17:06, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

As to the plural, consider: "These cigars are Havanas, the real deals/McCoys, not some Tampa knock-off".
Though it is not common, folks say "a real deal" in the same sense, not just the "bargain" sense. DCDuring TALK 19:00, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
As for people saying something that is tangential to an idiom doesn't mean that that is correct use of the idiom and that the idiom should be expanded to include those uses. To your first example, it sounds wrong in my ears and I'd definitely assert that the correct statement should have been "These cigars are Havanas, the real deal/McCoy, not ...", and to the second example I'd say that is not the idiom at all, i.e. that "real deal" is an unidiomatic SOP which bears a close resemblance to the idiom "the real deal" (however, if I could see some example I might be persuaded to think otherwise). __meco 09:28, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

prophecize/prophecise nonexistent?! Yes? No? POV?

This has really thrown me for a loop. o.O At Talk:impending an anon. asked a question about the word's usage. So I replied and gave an example sentence which you can see on if you follow the given link. However, I typed "prophecised" and saw that Google's spellchecker underlined it as a misspelling. Seeing this, I just thought the dumb thing was, as usual, being racist towards everyone that's not American/discriminating against everyone that does not like "-ize" spellings. ;-) Then, I saw that when I right-clicked the word "prophecized" did not appear as a suggestion. Later still, much to my astonishment, I discovered that we do not have an entry for prophecize OR prophecise. Hence I searched Wiktionary and from the search result saw that it is on a page of "the Hotlist". However one b.g.c. hit for the -ize spelling calls it wrong (i.e. it says that prophesy is the right word) or something, as does this possibly POV page. Why it puzzles me so is that I have always known prophecy, but never prophesy So, who can verify or the correctness (or lack thereof) of these words? 50 Xylophone Players talk 21:54, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

My experience (U.S.) matches the b.g.c. hit you mention: the sole noun is "prophecy" (pronounced "-see"), the sole verb "prophesy" ("-sigh"). —RuakhTALK 22:16, 9 December 2009 (UTC) Edited 13:38, 10 December 2009 (UTC) since PalkiaX50 doesn't seem to have understood the previous version.
This pair is part of a class of words whose verbal and nominal forms are distinguished by being spelt with an ‘s’ and a ‘c’, respectively. Other examples are licenselicence, practisepractice, and adviseadvice. Usually, the verbal and nominal forms are homophonous (in the UK, at least; I can’t comment on Ruakh’s dialect), but adviseadvice is an exception (/ədˈvaɪz//ədˈvaɪs/), which makes it something of an aide-mémoire.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 22:28, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, and no offense but your replies are or less useless to me; I'm mainly asking about the (in)correctness of the -ize/-ise words...And Doremítzwr, while you obviously could not have known this, I know all that stuff already... So, anything else to add, anyone? 50 Xylophone Players talk 22:37, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, if you want to use an -ize word, then prophetize is your best bet, since it has a Classical precedent in the Ancient Greek προφητίζειν (prophētízein, to prophesy) and has been around since Middle English.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 22:56, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting...so are the -ize forms I gave wrong altogether, or are they legit. and bastardised (if that's an appropriate word to use) forms? 50 Xylophone Players talk 23:40, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
That depends on what criteria — if any — you use for prescription. If all you’re interested in is intelligibility, then I’m sure you could you use any of those words to convey what you mean (and I’m sure *profecize would do, too). If your only desire is to avoid falling foul of usage authorities and grammaticasters, then the page to which you linked is pretty unambiguous in advocating prophesy. If you like functional distinctions, then the only word closed to you is the properly nominal prophecy. If you’re on the side of tradition, then go for prophesy. If you care about etymology (and words being well-formed according to its various conventions), then prophecize and prophesize (as well as their -ise forms) are to be avoided (in all cases, the -ize forms have the slight upper hand here). It’s difficult to answer the question of whether prophecize and prophecise are legitimate, because it’s unclear what are your criteria for legitimacy.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 02:11, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

COCA has fourteen one occurrences of forms of prophesize vs hundreds of "prophesy", BNC has none. Garner's American Usage (2009) gives "prophesize" a rating of 2 ("widely shunned") on his 5-point acceptability scale. MWDEU (1994) remarked that it was not well attested despite the prophesy/prophecy "confusion". It would seem best avoided, especially in writing and more formal speech. But let's see if things are different in 2013. DCDuring TALK 02:50, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

And COCA has but one use of a form of "prophetize"; BNC none. DCDuring TALK 02:54, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
And forms of "predict" are 50 times more common than forms of "prophesy". DCDuring TALK 03:01, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
And another thing, COCA reports tiny amounts of usage of other spellings of forms of "prophesize" with "c" for "s" and "s" for "z". Although the COCA usage is not enough for attestation, mere presence in COCA means that these are probably attestable, though we might choose to dismiss them as uncommon misspellings.
  • Isn't it an interesting data point, the feeling one gets on being told that a word one has in mind (and possibly has had for some time) is in some way inferior? DCDuring TALK 12:12, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
    • I can’t say it bothers me. For example, I totally accept the argument that -ize spellings are better, but I ne’ertheless use -ise forms consistently. It’s one thing to accept prescriptive principles; it’s quite another either slavishly to conform thereto or to insist that one’s idiolect shapes those principles. Just as it shouldn’t be particularly bothersome to discover that one is not morally perfect, so one ought not to be surprised that one’s manner of speaking is somehow imperfect.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 12:28, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Does all that answer your question and help you to come to some conclusion, 50 Xylophone Players?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 04:54, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

See: google books:prophecise foretell predict "The third force in seventeenth-century thought". The first two paragraphs touch on nuances of historical usage. Pingku 11:36, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

  • No Dylan fans here? "Come writers and critics / Who prophesize with your pen / And keep your eyes wide, / The chance won't come again!" etc etc. The word has been around for nearly two hundred years, it's perfectly standard (though less common than prophesy). Ƿidsiþ 12:36, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
    • Yes, the OED’s first citation of it (as prophecising) is from 1816; however, its earliest citation of *irregardless is from 1912. Moreover, its first citation of the verb prophesy (as prophecieden) is in Middle English from circa 1350; whereas its earliest citation of prophetize (as prophetysed) is also in Middle English from ante 1338. Errors and catechreses can see usage for centuries, and yet they may never be accepted as standard; furthermore, authorities and literary giants are not immune from erring.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 12:48, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
      • What error or catachresis are you talking about? Ƿidsiþ 13:55, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
        • Adaption, compare to, singular they, and idiosyncracy, to name four.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:41, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Ok, thanks for the input everyone. 50 Xylophone Players talk 21:37, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Did you come to any conclusions?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 03:39, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

all very well

I have called this an adjective, but it isn't grammatically, I don't think. It does seem idiomatic and worth an entry. It seems to only appear in an idiomatic sense after a form of "be" or "seem" (and copulative senses of other verbs). Is it or was it once an ellipsis of some more grammatically complete expression? Can the entry be improved? DCDuring TALK 02:28, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

See sense 10 of the OED’s entry for “well, a.”.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 04:52, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Not available to non-subscribers. DCDuring TALK 15:28, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
In "That's all very well," it appears to be used as a subject complement, in the sense of a predicative adjective (or predicate adjective). ("That's all very well, but," I hear someone muttering.) Pingku 13:47, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
It's all very well that it so appears, but are you endorsing my calling it an adjective? DCDuring TALK 15:28, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. Not so the imputation of doubt in the gloss, however. I think that comes from the seeming inevitability of the following "but" or other qualification. Pingku 15:49, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
I dunno. I read (I don't hear it so much in US) often (usually?) a sense of dismissal of what had preceded, whether or not a but or equivalent follows. DCDuring TALK 16:38, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
If you say so. Most of the b.g.c. hits have a "but" soon afterward, and of those that don't, most IMHO are not uses of this idiom. For the few that do seem to be uses of this idiom, but don't have a "but" — this one, for example — I can't tell whether there's a sense of dismissal. —RuakhTALK 17:25, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
In the fourth usage in that work, the "but" appears only after 2 or 3 sentences, all of which seem to explain what immediately followed the "all very well". Perhaps "all very well" signals a qualification. As the sense under discussion says, perhaps it hints at an element of doubt, prepping the reader for the "but" clause to come. I think I just read someone using the word prolepsis for this, though it doesn't seem an precise match. DCDuring TALK 20:12, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
My problem is that the phrase is almost always used in the context of rhetoric or debate (or perhaps an attempt to start a debate). Therefore the listener is primed by hearing it to expect a rebuttal of their argument: to the extent that if one is not presented, it can be implied that the speaker wishes to appear dismissive of the argument.
If one could remove all possibility of the (formal or informal) rhetoric or debate context, then what is left but an affirmation? Is it ever used outside that context? Pingku 17:56, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
To me, informal rhetoric is also called discourse, hardly to be excluded from consideration here. I can't imagine a context tag that would limit this appropriately, except, possibly "colloquial".
This seems to have a role clearly distinct from "yes", "certainly", "indeed", "surely", "you're telling me" and other less qualified affirmations. As I recall, one dictionary defined it as "true as far as it goes". That seems decidedly qualified. DCDuring TALK 22:16, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

name after

Here is an example of an entry which probably should be included in Wikt (therefore I'm not using RfD) but it is definitely not a phrasal verb. Reason; there is no way to put the head verb and the "particle" together in the active voice (the non-defining clause example given in the entry notwithstanding). E.g. you cannot say "John named after his son (prep) the president". You have to always separate as "John named his son after the president". I draw attention to this example to show how the use of the argument "this entry is not a phrasal verb, therefore delete" is not always a valid argument. Also, I present this example as one of the major phrasal verb tests; non-separation of verb and particle. A similar phrasal example would be give away where we can say "John gave away the book to Mary" and "John gave the book away to Mary". -- ALGRIF talk 18:03, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

See also: name for
. That definition could do with improvement. --Rising Sun talk? 00:36, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

word(s) for winged penis?

The ancient Romans, if not other cultures as well, had various depictions in art of a winged phallus. Was there a word they had for it, or is there one now? 21:10, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps you’re refering to fascina.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:43, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
  • In English at least, it just seems to be called a "winged phallus". Whether there was a specific word for it in Greek or Latin I don't know. Sometimes the fascinum or the ithyphallus had wings, but I don't think there was a specific word for it. Ƿidsiþ 18:12, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

at last

Merge senses? The dog example seems to fit sense 2 just as well as sense 1. Equinox 21:16, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I think there is a distinction in the the senses, but that the usage examples don't support it. The first sense just refers to mere passage of time. "At last the dog stopped barking." The second sense seems to refer to the conclusion of a process, a figurative journey, an effort, a trial. "The dog, at last satisfied that the stranger had left, stopped barking." or "At last, just when I was about to grab my shotgun, the dog stopped barking." I don't think that every synonym carries both meanings. DCDuring TALK 22:48, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Added some usages. Sentence/verb/adjective use of the adverb. Sorry about the textbook-style repetition :) Pingku 19:15, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Folks have been telling me that our target user for English is a language learner. What could be more appropriate than minimal-difference sentences? DCDuring TALK 22:24, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

box and whiskers plot

Should this be listed at box-and-whiskers plot instead, or in addition? --EncycloPetey 04:16, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Plenty of bgc hits for each, so we need both. Not sure which is primary, though. We also need box and whisker plot and box-and-whisker plot.​—msh210 20:41, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Tukey could rank with Shakespeare, Milton, Joyce, Nabakov, Tolkein and Burgess as a coiner of terms. I'm betting a higher percent of his stick, too. DCDuring TALK 22:49, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I've always heard it as "box and whisker plot", though I don't know why, because there are normally two whiskers. Should we have "alternative form of"? Dbfirs 13:05, 2 January 2010 (UTC)


Hello, Here I found the following sentence: This view portaits a point of view inside the asteroid belt, which is assumed here to lie between the two outermost planets. I am only speaking english basically. Are there an english word portaits? If not, what were the right way. --Diwas 03:40, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

English would normally say "This view shows a point of view..." or This view depicts a point of view..." --EncycloPetey 04:46, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Thank you very much. --Diwas 05:00, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
The writer probably meant portrays. Equinox 03:55, 13 December 2009 (UTC)


There are two temporal meanings given in our entry:

  1. At all times; ever; perpetually; throughout all time; continually:
    God is always the same.
  2. Constantly during a certain period, or regularly at stated intervals; invariably; uniformly;—opposed to sometimes or occasionally.
    He always rides a black galloway. --Bulwer.

I have added a terse mention of frequency and duration in usage notes. MWOnline has what look to me like frequency and duration senses.

As I see it, there are three possible temporal senses of the word, based on generic adverb categories: "duration", "frequency", and "temporal location".

  1. I wouldn't even mention "temporal location" were it not for the God usage example.
  2. The definitions given (taken from MW 1913) seem to be entirely about distinguishing between infinite and finite, and include both duration and frequency elements.
  3. I would expect that duration and frequency would be distinguished in many languages, probably more so than infinite/finite.

That leaves me with questions about what should be done:

  1. Should we let sleeping dogs lie because the infinite/finite distinction is important and the duration/frequency distinction is not in English or in translations?
  2. Should we add subsenses for duration and frequency?
  3. Should we add senses that are explicitly distinguish between frequency and duration?
  4. Should there be subsenses for finite and infinite?
  5. What should be done about the numerous existing translations?

-- DCDuring TALK 12:03, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

I would suggest that continuity is a more important distinction that what you've described. That is, it can be persistent and continuous or episodic and discrete. That's the principal difference I see in the two definitions given at the outset of your comment. --EncycloPetey 16:42, 12 December 2009 (UTC)


The first definition for score is:

  1. The total number of points earned by a participant in a game.
    The score is 4-0 although it's not even half-time!

I find the example sentence really confusing because the definition says that it's what *a* participant earns, but the sentence has two numbers, 4 and 0, connected by a hyphen. Perhaps an additional meaning is needed to refer to the score as a ratio or comparison of two or more participants.

Also, two cricket definitions are given:

  1. (cricket) A presentation of how many runs a side has scored, and how many wickets have been lost.
    England had a score of 107 for 5 at lunch.
  2. (cricket) The number of runs scored by a batsman, or by a side, in either an innings or a match.

I think the defining characteristic for the first cricket meaning is the mention of wickets. It seems likely that this sort of terminology would be used for other sports as well. For example, do you say, "The (baseball team) Red Socks have a score of 5 and 2"? Probably "score" is not used this way, but perhaps there is another sport where it is.

I have a similar concern for the second cricket meaning. How is this different from the very first meaning (The total number of points earned by a participant in a game)?

One final comment: The cricket definition(s) should be moved next to the first meaning, and perhaps made a part of it, something like this:

1a. (sports) The total number of points earned by a participant in a game.

The red team has a score of four points.

1b. (sports) The total number of points earned by two or more participants in a game.

The score is 8 to 4 to 2, with Portugal winning, followed by Zambia and Costa Rica. --> provided there is a sport where three or more participants are actually listed in the "score."

1c. (cricket) [one or both definitions here]

Wakablogger 22:15, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

I have added a new sense to try to deal with the 4-0 situation. Equinox 03:58, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. That is closer, but in games such as tennis, the first number refers to the person serving the ball, not the person who is winning. I want to know more about cricket, too, before revamping the definitions. Wakablogger 09:31, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

I need help in translating the words below and I don't know what language is it?

Sami sugi pula curva mica ce iesti tu —This comment was unsigned.

Looks like Romanian. Equinox 22:09, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
It's Romanian. Means something like "sami you suck dicks little whore what are you". Courtesy of opio. --Vahagn Petrosyan 22:18, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

satanic vs. Christian

How is it that satanic is written with a lower case s whereas Christian is spelled with an upper case C. Aren't these terms higly comparable and should be dealt with on par terms? __meco 23:27, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Yup. Move the former to Satanic.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:13, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I will if consensus remains in a few days. __meco 17:02, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe they "should" in some abstract sense, but in practice, "satanic" and "Satanic" are of comparable frequency, whereas "christian" and "Christian" are not. —RuakhTALK 01:58, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the lower-case form is restricted to the sense of “evil, fiendish, devilish, or diabolical”.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 02:30, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

More score - music

The music meaning of score is

A book or set of pages showing all the parts for a musical composition.

However, http://www.dramaticpublishing.com/RentalInfo.php?products_id=302 shows a piano "score," a "trumpet score," a first guitar "score" and more for what appears to be the same musical production. This matches my understanding that the score does not necessarily show all of the parts. Is there something else going on here? Wakablogger 00:07, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Single character for 五百

Hi all. There is a Chinese character for 二十, namely 廿. Is there similarly a single character for 五百 (five hundred)?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 05:02, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Not to my knowledge. But in addition to your 廿 (20), there is also (30), (40), and (200). Bendono 06:23, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
OK. Thanks.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 07:04, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I do not know one either, but and both mean thirty and means forty. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 22:52, 14 February 2010.

previous spelling

Whereat in the defenition of a word does it tell you if the word has been changed from its original version? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 07:54, 14 December 2009 (UTC).

If a given entry includes such information, then you’ll most probably find it at the very top of the language section, under an Alternative spellings header; see, for example, scion#Alternative spellings. I hope that helps.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 08:04, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

fascinum and fasces

Surely these two must have the same root? Could we make an attempt to determine this? __meco 17:20, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

The Latin words from which these derive have separate roots. The cognates of each word in Greek are less alike than the Latin words are. --EncycloPetey 04:21, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Are they then Greek in origin, not Latin? __meco 13:07, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
No, EP is saying that, although the Latin words look kinda similar, comparing their Greek cognates (with which they are related by common derivation from a Proto-Indo-European rootan ancestor language) shows that they are very unlikely to be related. (It’s funny: a friend of mine thought the same things about these two words (well, fascīna (fascine) instead of fascēs) a couple of days ago.)  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:38, 15 December 2009 (UTC) [edited]  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:20, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Could you point me towards some research into this? __meco 20:43, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
I’m afraid that I’m really not the person to ask about PIE; it’d be worth starting with w:Proto-Indo-European language and seeing where you go from there…  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 21:11, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Fascinum may or may not be related to βάσκανος, as the entry suggests, but if so, they don't come from Proto-Indo-European. For one thing, Latin "f" can't correspond to Greek "b". Latin "f" can come from PIE *bh, *dh, or *gʷh, while Greek "b" can come from PIE *b (which is extremely rare) or *gʷ. For another, *a is very rare in PIE unless it comes from *e next to a laryngeal, and this word doesn't really "have room" for two laryngeals (one next to each "a"). If the two words are related, they're probably both borrowed from some non-Indo-European language rather than being inherited from a common ancestor. —Angr 00:19, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Both Latin and Ancient Greek words are of obscure origin (and Latin fascinum cannot be borrowed from Greek βάσκανος), definitely not from Proto-Indo-European. Likely both from some pre-IE European substratum. --Ivan Štambuk 02:34, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

It is true that kinship is not mentioned in Meillet’s dictionary, but he confers Irish basc (necklace) next to fascis. If they are related, then what kind of substratum must have been that in order to stretch from Éire to Peloponnes? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 08:28, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
(1) Which word needs a substrate that stretches from Ireland to the Peloponnese? Fascis has a possible Celtic cognate, and fascinum has a possible Greek cognate, but does either word have cognates in both Celtic and Greek? (2) Substrates aren't the only source of loanwords. (3) While fascinum and Greek baskanos can't be descended from a common ancestor, fascis and Irish basc can be, since Irish b can come from *bh, which is one of the sources of Latin f. —Angr 10:45, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
@ Bogorm: according to Pokorny INE root *bhasko ("bundle") --Diligent 13:14, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

stay low, stand small

newby, I'm not sure I should ask my questions here as I wasn't able to read a single question from anybody else

so 1) Could you explain "standing small" in this song of ABBA "the winner takes it all"

  • The winner takes it all
  • The loser standing small

2) Should it be a new entry in the wiktionnary or to be incorporated in another meaning of to stand

3) Could you explain "staying low" in this song of ABBA "the winner takes it all"

  • The judges will decide
  • The likes of me abide
  • Spectators of the show
  • Always staying low

4) Should it be a new entry in the wiktionnary or to be incorporated in another meaning of to stay

5) thank you Sneaky 013 18:17, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

The lyrics of songs (and poetry) are not always clear or meaningful as standard written English. In this case, the lyrics were written by Swedes, which removes them one more step from standard English. The best explanation is that the language in the song is poetic, and not part of normal English speech. It is intended to evoke an image, and not necessarily to use a standard meaning. I think "standing small" refers to a felling of being diminished over the loss, of feeling less of a person. I've no idea what "staying low" refers to. --EncycloPetey 04:17, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Possibly "staying low" could mean "not to interfere". Thanks for answering Sneaky 013 09:09, 15 December 2009 (UTC)


None of the current senses AFAICT allows for "This potion will make you into a toad" or "Basic training will make you a man". The latter perhaps should be added to

5. (second object is an adjective) To cause to be.
The citizens made their objections clear.
This might make you a bit woozy.

by modifying its context tag, though perhaps it should be a separate sense. In any event, we need at least one new sense, and I don't feel qualified to write it.​—msh210 19:01, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

But then again, who does? By the time you begin to feel almost qualified to try, wiki-fatigue is likely to be setting in. That's why so many of these basic entries are inadequate. It seems as if all anyone feels capable of is adding the senses appropriate for the their special interests (sport, profession, hobby). I'm gradually working my way up to the words of one or two syllables. Just a few thousand more definitions of easier multi-words and multi-syllabic words. DCDuring TALK 19:38, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, at the very least, I don't feel qualified to add the two new senses unless I get confirmation from others here that they're what are needed.​—msh210 19:48, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
For such words, I like Longmans (I use DCE 1987). They have 21 senses of make, language notes, etc. For one sense of make "cause to be or cause to do" they show three possible types of complements ("obj + adj", "obj + noun", "obj + v-ed").
I think our structure pushes us toward either:
  1. separate senses-with-context-tags and usage examples for each OR
  2. one sense with generalized context tag and 3 usage examples.
DCDuring TALK 20:12, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I like the second of those two, personally. Does the DCE have any "obj + v-ed"-complement examples where the verb is not one we'd list as an adjective? (Compare *"make this dog walked" with "make him excited".)​—msh210 20:21, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Their example is "made himself heard", which doesn't seem very adj-like. DCDuring TALK 22:43, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: "into a toad". I just call such thinks adjectives. Otherwise we just have too many types of complements to be useful to a typical reader. After all, what about gerunds, infinitives, clauses as complements? DCDuring TALK 20:16, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
But it's worded as an adverb, isn't it? (Can PPs be adjectives?)​—msh210 20:21, 14 December 2009 (UTC) Yes of course they can be adjectives. It still sounds like an adverb to me, but never mind.​—msh210 20:24, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
If it is an adjective, then the definition "cause to be" (from the fifth sense, blockquoted above), doesn't fit: You don't cause someone to be into a toad. Perhaps then "make into" is a phrasal verb.​—msh210 20:28, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I didn't say it was an adjective (too metaphysical for me). I just call it one, when forced to choose (and I may regret my choice). I also call it a prepositional phrase. Perhaps one can't dispense with an adverbial-type prepositional phrase example. Or one can take direction from both Longmans DCE and McGraw-Hill idiom and phrasal verb dictionary having entries for "make into". I don't know if it qualifies as a phrasal verb. (All phrasal verbs are idioms, but not all idiomatic verb + preposition constructions are phrasal verbs.) DCDuring TALK 22:43, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
We also need make something of (to make or become important) and make something of it (usually said in order to start or prevent a fight (do you want to make something of it!)) SemperBlotto 22:53, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
McGraw-Hill has 9+ pages of entries beginning with "make", 250-300 entries. I can't make search give me something useful to make an estimate of what we have. But we only have 65-70 in Category:English verbs and 60 more in Category:English idioms. There might be a few more more elsewhere. That would make it likely that there are about 125-170 or so additional entry candidates. If we clean up ours we may actually have fewer that our apparent total. Sigh. DCDuring TALK 23:28, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
"Make" is a very complex verb, with generally long entries in most serious dictionaries. make into is a borderline phrasal verb, in that some dictionaries include it and some don't. Given the complexity of "make" I believe it could be considered to be a useful entry as a phrasal verb in Wikt, with a definition such as to cause to become and a reference to turn into, along with a repetition in the main entry at "make". My 2c -- ALGRIF talk 11:35, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Off-loading senses from complex entries into valid multi-word entries is a very useful component of improving English-definition-quality. (We seem to do better with entries of shorter length.) This looks valid, whether or not we call it a phrasal verb. Other short English verbs have similar issues. DCDuring TALK 12:47, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Fine, thank you all. I've modified the "cause to be (adj.)" sense of make to allow participles and nouns as complements also, and created [[make into]].​—msh210 17:53, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing this up. I've been working on the idioms beginning with make to give them proper inflection lines and PoS categories, RfV/RfDing. There seem to be perhaps 10-15 headwords that we have that McGraw-Hill does not and 70% duplication between the verb and idioms category membership, so we probably lack nearly 200 of McGraw-Hill's entries. Sobering about our completeness. DCDuring TALK 18:04, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

must, usage note

When I added the last usage note from Webster 1913 (The principal verb, if easy supplied by the mind, was formerly often omitted when must was used, bold by me), I thought that this omission was exemplary of archaic or at least dated English by 1913, but the quote I found is from 1936! Does that mean that this usage (which is the same in German) is still alive and widely practised in contemporary English and that Housman's Forth I must does not sound peculiar to a modern oar? If so, then we must replace the was with is in the usage note. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:29, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

I have added the two lines that preceded the quote given: "Forth I wander, forth I must, And drink of life again." It is then possible to read the omission as an anaphora for the previous "wander".
Also, the prosodic needs of poetry reduce the value of the quote for other purposes. It doesn't tell a user much about acceptability of the construction in writing prose, informal or formal, let alone speaking.
There is nothing really distinctive about "must" vs other modal and auxiliary verbs (or some subset of them) and other verbal constructions:
  • "Have you done the dishes?" / "Yes, I have."
  • "I've decided to re-enlist." / "Well, if you really want to, OK."
—This unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs) at 19:54, 14 December 2009.
Ok, your examples are clear-cut, but my quæstion was rather whether constructions of the type:
  • I am late. I must forth now.
  • I can't stand this place any more. I will forth.
are acceptable in contemporary English (when the omitted verb had not been mentioned immediately beforehand). Yes, I agree that the anaphora is not facilitating the unambiguity of Housman's quote, so I shall look for other similar usage of modal verbs in his and others' works. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:07, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I'd venture that it would be hard to find at all in the last 75 years. Probably longer if one excludes poetry and "high" literature. But facts often surprise me. DCDuring TALK 23:36, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Other adverbs might be more likely than "forth". "Away" would be my best candidate. Shakespeare gives it a good pedigree. "must away" can be found in books over the last 75 years, but mostly in reprints and historical novels. It would get an "archaic" label were it to merit an entry. DCDuring TALK 23:54, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

English vocatives

Re: bastard#Interjection. Isn't this just the noun used as a vocative? Like cunt, bitch whatever. Is it useful to anyone to have these as interjections? I mean, I think the noun covers all of these. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:51, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

The specific sense is different from the way it is used in the US, where it is mostly limited to anger directed at a person. That kind of variation suggests caution in moving nouns out of Category:English interjections.
I wonder if we need to review our treatment of the ever-popular entries for insults, invective, obscenities, etc. Category:English interjections is heavily populated with nouns often used to express anger in the manner of interjections. Are that category and the Interjection header the best treatment of them from a content PoV? There is also the human-engineering aspect. If we eliminate the interjection treatment (replaced with a sense line in the noun section), won't users just add them back? DCDuring TALK 12:40, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Interjection is the hardest to define, I think as you can shout anything you like without it being a 'true' interjection. I don't particularly favour removing bastard from Category:English interjections, but for me personally that meaning doesn't help me. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:45, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Which meaning? The RfVed one or the other? Should we keep the category but remove the header in that case or in similar cases? What helps passive users? What helps active contributors make better entries? DCDuring TALK 13:10, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Essentially I'd have RFV'ed the other meaning, and not the one that is currently at RFV! Well bitch doesn't have an interjective sense, and I wouldn't add one as for me it's just the noun being shouted. For the third one, re: passive users, I don't actually have an answer. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Timmy's stuck down a well

I've heard the comment Timmy's stuck down a well a few times recently, and it seems to have enough usage to have an entry. But how is it best discribed. I think it's a parody of those animal shows like Lassie or Skippy, but not sure of the attributed usage. What part of speech also, idiom perhaps.--Dmol 23:53, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

PS, just noticed, Timmy's stuck in a well gets more hits onlne.--Dmol 23:54, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Also, variants such as "Timmy fell in the well" and "Timmy fell down in the well". According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lassie_%281954_TV_series%29
The catch phrase "Timmy's in the Well!" (in response to a dog barking) was used by Jon Provost as the title of his autobiography. He points out that Timmy fell into abandoned mine shafts, off cliffs, into rivers, lakes and quicksand, but never fell into a well.
As a collie owner, one of the uses I hear a lot is (intended) humor when someone sees my dogs. There are also a few hits (and I have heard a few times) variations on this using "Jimmy" instead of "Timmy". Wakablogger 20:13, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Timmy's stuck down a well's recent popularity possibly comes from the Simpsons episode "Radio Bart" Bofoc Tagar 08:13, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Pronouncing "ae"

How is the "ae" properly pronounced in words like "formulae" and "lacunae"? I've heard vowels like "tree", "tray" and "try" (British accent) from various people. Equinox 22:54, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Regarding the Latinate case endings (the one you’re talking about is the feminine first declension nominative plural), traditionally, the pronunciation of has been ē (/iː/), that of -i (Latin , that of the masculine second declension nom. pl., as in cacti) has been ī (/aɪ/), and that of -a (Latin -a, that of the neuter second declension nom. pl., as in data) has been ə (/ə/). (There are a number of other case endings that I could talk about, but those three are by far the most common, AFAICT, and the others aren’t particularly relevant.) However, in Classical Latin, -ae is pronounced as [ai] and as [iː]i.e., phonetically speaking, the reverse of their traditional English pronunciations. Consequently, for and -i, there is competition between the traditional phonemic pronunciations of ē, /iː/ and ī, /aɪ/ and the Classical phonetic pronunciations of [ai] (~ī) and [iː] (ē). Which one is correct depends on whether you favour the traditional phonemic pronunciations or the Classical phonetic pronunciations; almost no one is completely consistent in his pronunciation. The ā (/eɪ/) pronunciation of is rather less explicable; in the case of formulæ (*fôrʹmyo͝olā, */ˈfɔːmjʊleɪ/), it may be due to the influence of the related adjective formulaic (fôrmyo͝olāʹĭk, /fɔːmjʊˈleɪ.ɪk/). I hope that helps.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 02:47, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
In that case, it seems that British pronunciation differs from American. In my experience U.S. speakers usually use ī for such plurals, and sometimes ā, but I don't think I've ever heard "formulē" or "alumnē". (But for taxonomic names — "vespidae", "homininae", etc. — I've heard all three, most often ā. I'm not sure why the difference.) —RuakhTALK 15:40, 17 December 2009 (UTC)


This term is a non-constituent, that is, its components "haf" and "ta" would be analyzed as parts of different constituents of a sentence. This kind of term is variously presented in en.wikt as "contraction", "eye dialect", or as being the part of speech of the "stronger" component, in this case, "verb". Do we want to be consistent? Some of the entries in en.wikt that are non-constituents are to be found at Category:English non-constituents.

In the case of this particular entry we present it as a verb with an infinitive "to hafta". I am reasonably sure that does not exist. What might exist would be something like "I'm gonna hafta kill 'im." To me the effort to develop some parallel grammar for a written representation of this kind of pronunciation is a really fun bit of self-indulgence but not a great thing for principal namespace. DCDuring TALK 03:56, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Under have to it's listed as an "alternative form." That hasta be right, don't it? It makes a kind of sense then to treat "hafta" as a phrase, or whatever it is that "have to" actually is. (It looks to me like a defective modal adverb - manner only.) Pingku 10:22, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
What irks me about non-constituents is that they are assigned grammatical roles as if they had them. The particle "to" is the entity that causes most of the trouble. To assign it to the auxiliary or modal verb makes things a little harder for a language learner trying to infer what the general pattern for its use is. "To" does not combine with most verbs so tightly in pronunciation, but only with a few common common forms of a few common verbs (eg, want, wants, going, have, has, had). They are not all purely modal or auxiliary verbs. How people pronounce the word combination is not the issue, nor whether we should have the entry. The issue is solely whether this is in any way worth presenting as if these were forms of a defective verb (already an improvement over the "to hafta" mess).
My own preference is call all one-word non-constituents "contractions" and "eye dialect". They are contraction of eye-dialect renditions of the pronunciation of the very common, more readily analyzable forms from which they have apparently developed. I also have nothing against referencing in the entry a discussion of alternative grammatical analysis of the terms. Under some circumstances I could imagine that the analysis as separate verb forms with distinct grammatical properties could become appropriate. It is not as if a dictionary has an important role in teaching language learners (or any one) how to speak this kind of term. The value would seem to be in decoding speech or written renditions of speech. At best this might be the early stages of the emergence of new modal verbs. But, it seems like the grammatical equivalent of a neologism. DCDuring TALK 12:09, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

"inkwell words"?

There is a word for especially archaic words scholars found used in only one or two texts or invented words with limited ability for application which I thought were called "inkwell words" or were some word of Latin or Greek nature literally translating as something like inkwell words, but I can't bring it to mind. Anyone know? 11:39, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

inkhorn words. DCDuring TALK 12:09, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
You can read about inkhorn terms hereat. Another term you may find useful is hapax legomenon.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 21:47, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Ah! Thank you both! It's frustrating when a word eludes one like that, remaining on the tip of the tongue or just out of mind, like the word for something remaining on the tip of the tongue or just out of mind... which eludes me at the moment... :-D 01:22, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

You’re thinking of lethologica. ;-)  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:07, 18 December 2009 (UTC)


Purported noun PoS, labeled as a neologism.

  1. It isn't a neologism, is it?
  2. Is it worth presenting as a separate PoS? Many adverbs of temporal or spatial location are used as if they were nouns (and vice versa, for that matter). We often dispense with separate PoSs for such features of grammar (eg, no Noun PoS for every Proper Noun, no Adj. PoS for attributive-only use of a Noun). DCDuring TALK 12:53, 18 December 2009 (UTC)


I've noticed some uses of meanderings where I would have expected maunderings. Is this a metaphorical extension (as happened with to ramble), or is it an eggcorn or other error, or what? Should we have a separate sense for it? —RuakhTALK 02:03, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Once upon a time

The Chinese translation given for once upon a time is 往事, but Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_upon_a_time_%28phrase%29) has 很久很久以前. Can anyone who knows Chinese shed some light on this? Wakablogger 21:17, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

往事 is often used to translate titles e.g. 美国往事 (Once Upon a Time In America). But I think in terms of using it as a sentence introduction, 从前 or 很久很久以前 would be more appropriate. Will fix that now. Cheers. Tooironic 23:51, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Thank you! Wakablogger 19:20, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

ass into gear

Claims to be a verb. How should this fragment of an idiom be presented? Move it to get one's ass into gear to make an honest verb/predicate out of it? Should anything redirect to it, like idiom starting with other verbs "put", "set", et al? DCDuring TALK 04:05, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

The move sounds right to me. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:00, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Moved to get one's ass in gear, the dominant form per COCA. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 17:18, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


While looking for quotes for the Intertubes entry, I came to learn that this was actually a genuine word. I couldn't find any explications, though, It seems to relate to some quite possibly now outdated electronic constituent. Anybody willing to dig into it? I think it would be an awesome word to feature in the WOTD! Circeus 16:15, 20 December 2009 (UTC)


I suspect that arbolar means "to plant trees", though this definition is not stated in the entry arbolar yet. --Daniel. 06:50, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I suspected that too, but the RAE does not include that definition. We'd have to find three supporting citations to add that as a definition. --EncycloPetey 15:34, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
On a double-check, it is sandwiched into the RAE defintion. I'll add that. --EncycloPetey 15:38, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Good. Thanks. --Daniel. 21:55, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

The Enlightened One

I extracted this from the entry enlightened. Do we do honorific names of religious figures? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 23:15, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Personally, I would like to see them for figures venerated in major world religions, as they are likely to be encountered and possibly without further context. --EncycloPetey 15:37, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree with EP. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:58, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I have noted some non-inclusive attitudes occasionally displayed on political and religious subjects. Does this particular entry need context tags? It seems to be used fairly often in general contexts. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 16:31, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


"Common misspelling of lexicographical." Really? It seems to be related to lexigraph. Equinox 23:41, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Not only that, but Webster 1913 (and 1828) defined lexigraphy as "the art or practice of defining words; definition of words." That definition would probably merit being called obsolete, if we can even find evidence of its actual use in that sense. Our entry at lexigraphy is helpful. logographic seems to be a synonym of the second sense and syllabographic is a coordinate term, I think. A more polylingual scholar than I should sort this out. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 17:03, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Plaid Cymru

Considering making an entry, but baffled about language header. Is it Welsh? as the individual words undoubtedly are, or English? as it is a political party in the British parliamentary system, holding seats in both the Parliament and in the Welsh National Assembly, and so it's name occurs frequently in English body text. -- Regards, Clueless AKA -- ALGRIF talk 15:53, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Should this be an entry? Aren’t the names of political parties outside our scope? Leaving those issues aside, this name is properly pretty much {{historical}}, since the party now just goes by the name Plaid (Party); this is undoubtedly English influence, since just “Plaid” sounds rather sinister in a purely Welsh context. Make of that what you will.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:00, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
While Pedia claims that "Plaid" is the accepted name, in the press the full title is what is normally encountered. And as it will occur in body text with no real identifying context, then in the same way that you could encounter any British political party in a printed text, it should be included in Wikt, as are Labour, Labour party, Conservative, Conservative party, Tory, Liberal, Liberal Democrat, etc. (unless Wikt has suddenly become partisan ;-) ) But this still leaves me with the problem of which language header to use. Any takers? -- ALGRIF talk 11:04, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

walks of life

OED lemmatizes this in singular, as walk of life, with 2 distinct meanings:

  1. A person's social grade, station, or rank.
  2. A person's trade, profession, occupation, or calling.

But the above entry claims that the phrase is plural-only?! Are these two different regional idioms or sth? --Ivan Štambuk 22:13, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

OED is basically right, as you'd expect. Our contributor must have focused on the much more frequent use of the plural. COCA shows the plural five times a common as the singular, probably almost the inverse of the usual ratio. I doubt that there is regional variation. Some other dictionaries also show it as plural only, though. Encarta shows it as singular, but joins most of the others to show a usage example in the plural involving the cliche "all walks of life". DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 00:03, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
The singular form is usually modified by "every", "any", "other", so a truly singular sense is uncommon. It is as if we should show the plural as the lemma and show the singular as "singular form of" the plural, not that that would do users any good. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 00:09, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
I wonder if the truly singular sense might be archaic; b.g.c. searches for google books:"his walk of life", google books:"that walk of life", etc. pull up page after page of century-old hits. —RuakhTALK 01:10, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
The COCA hits are all current. Some of them seem like true singular uses. They are form talk shows and newspapers. Of the 587 hits there for "walk/walks of life", 387 are for "all walks of life". Of the remaining 200, 93 are for the singular form. It is such a cliche in the plural in political and religious discourse that there seems to be spillover usage in the singular. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 02:35, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Now if someone could rectify/move the entry in accordance with the output of this discussion, that'd be great. I'm very hesitant about editing idiomatic entries in English. --Ivan Štambuk 07:06, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

I've done the basics. Though the distinction the OED makes is certainly valid, I think current usage (often political or religious) blends them, as does our definition and those that other dictionaries have. To me it seems like a sense (most common current usage) and subsenses (sometime use in a more particular way). It would take some work to confirm my beliefs. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 11:58, 25 December 2009 (UTC)


Hi, everyone, this is my first time in the Tea Room ... please bear with my gaffes...

Recently I added what I thought was an important additional sense to the definition for perky, and had it immediately undone as a "sarcastic or ironic usage". I feel quite strongly that this is not what I was recording, although my example sentence may have been somewhat wanting. I've tried to explain my (still undone) edit on the talk page for perky. (Please note that the usage I'm familiar with is contemporary American).

I hoped that someone here might have access to OED online; I'd be very interested to see what the OED says on the subject. Happy Holidays all - --Krnntp 03:11, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

The OED online says "Lively, cheerful, jaunty; attractive, neat; (also) conceited, cocky". Perhaps you were thinking of the "also" senses? There is an earlier sense (applied to wheat) of "early or forward in growth", but this is retained only in a regional dialect. Dbfirs 18:03, 24 December 2009 (UTC)


It seems that these days decrepid is a common misspelling of decrepit but until the first part of the 20th century it was a valid alternative spelling. The very last google books hits for decrepid seem to be about 1933 but it wasn't common after about 1915-1920. Should we include it as an entry marked as a common misspelling and as a dated/archaic alternative spelling? Should we include it as just one of these? Thryduulf 15:15, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

If we call it obsolete that would do the job, IMHO. "Obsolete" is about as (appropriately) prescriptive as "misspelling". Since you've got some extra information, why not have a usage note, too? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 16:02, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I've added it per that suggestion. Thanks. Thryduulf 10:30, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

word(s) for declaring something dying/dead or that we're post-(thing)?

One finds in many different areas people proclaiming "the horror genre is dead," "Wikipedia is dying," "we're long past the need for feminism," "we're in a post-racial society," etc. Is there a word or phrase (or fallacy?) for such a proclamation or belief? Thanks! 18:08, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps premature + obituary. See quotes at google books. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 18:20, 24 December 2009 (UTC) Also premature + eulogy. See [Google books]. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 18:22, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

It's usually a combination of wishful thinking/speaking and opinion stated as truth, expressed (as DCDuring described) in the form of a premature obituary/eulogy. You could also call it a false obituary, maybe a wishful obituary? Very interesting question. --Tyranny Sue 06:23, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

to close ranks

I really think we need an entry for this but I'm not sure how to define it. Anyone?--Tyranny Sue 06:26, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

All I can contribute is from what I believe to be the etymological origin, in which military ranks file close together for mutual protection. --EncycloPetey 06:34, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

cat person & dog person

Should these appear as derived or related terms under the entries for person and cat or dog (respectively)? --Tyranny Sue 13:44, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Derived and derived.​—msh210 15:46, 25 December 2009 (UTC)


The English section of this seems to include two Russian senses. Why is that? --Yair rand 19:10, 25 December 2009 (UTC)


I just added this, then realised it might be an erroneous form of anaplastic. There seems to be moderately wide usage though. Comments? Equinox 13:10, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

bottoming the house

I've never encountered this (dated) idiom before, but wouldn't the lemma form be bottom the house? Tooironic 23:10, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

I didn't find evidence of other forms. It may be that it we should therefore call it a noun, but I half expect more evidence to materialize. We have a number of entries for multi-word expressions that seem to have such a lack of attested forms (one of the reasons to use {{infl}} instead of {{en-verb}} for them. I suppose that in inflected languages one doesn't need each inflected form of each lemma to be attested, but in English we can afford to look at each individually. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 23:43, 26 December 2009 (UTC)


The definitions here are a complete mess. What does "The power or explaining" mean? I propose the first three senses be changed to these:

  1. The act of interpreting something by explaining the parts which are obscure.
  2. The act of translating spoken utterances from one language to another, and often back and forth.
  3. A person's understanding or comprehension of a literary text, e.g. a novel, film or religious scripture.
  4. A lawyer or judge's application of a legal principle, legislation or precedent.

I think that is a lot clearer, what do you think? If we change it this way we will obviously have to reorganise the translation sections. Tooironic 23:45, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

The six Websters 1913 definitions that are there seem to me to break down into possibly 4 general senses and two specific ones. The general ones I think might be understood as:
  1. An individual act of interpreting
  2. An output of interpreting (tangible, objective)
  3. (uncountable) The profession, practice, faculty of interpreting. ("power")
  4. A manner of interpreting that influences or informs another process. ("artist")
These would cut across specific contexts such as language, law, arts and literature, physics, etc. We certainly wouldn't want to have all four senses for each possible context, but I would think we would need to show each of those four with updated wording. I'm not sure about whether 4 is really general. It may be specialized for arts and literature.
I don't yet understand sense 5 or the physics sense 6. They might be dated.
"Interpretation" in the specialized sense of a a type of translation needs to be separately mentioned. I think one could now say "That isn't a translation, that's an interpretation" and vice versa, though apparently that wouldn't have made as much sense in 1910. Further I think "translation" should be removed from the other definitions. We might want to mention that formerly interpretation included all forms of language translation, if that is indeed true.
Your sense number three is a general sense missing from Webster that must be a product of cultural change. We now pay more attention to the active participation of a recipient's active role in converting, consciously or unconsciously, something external/objective to what the recipient actually retains.
I am not at all sure that there is anything very distinct about any legal sense. Similarly for the physics sense (6), though I have less confidence.
Imagine doing this for all of Websters 1913 definitions. I hope we can figure out the generic characteristics of Websters definitions to address their improvement more efficiently. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 01:46, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
It may be that all or most of the context specialization should be done at the verb or possibly in some cases at other derived terms of "interpret", such as interpreter. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 01:50, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

work someone's ass off

This has both simple transitive and reflexive senses. Does it need two translation tables and senses? I think this one would be the target of some trans-sees. Should work someone's tail off and work someone's butt off direct to this or to something a little less crude? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 16:30, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. "Ass" is too rude. One thing, though. I have just added two Russian ideomatic translations, they are different in levels crudeness, are made of single words but use different stems. Not sure I want to add "вьёбывать" (vulgar!) to the translation of work someone's tail off (mild), "вкалывать" is colloquial but not so crude. Any suggestions? Not every language will have a mild and a crude version, of course. Anatoli 23:00, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
COCA frequency counts "butt" 94, "ass" 74, "tail" 47. IMO: "tail" is least crude, "ass" is most. "Arse" is not common in the US. I don't have a sense for UK English.
But what about reflexive and simple transitive? Do they need different trans tables? I am interested in this because it would affect sense division sometimes for idiomatic expressions, especially those with "one's" or "someone's" in the headword, but also some transitive verbs. DCDuring TALK 00:57, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Must be reflexive, IMHO - the most common. If "butt" is the most common, can we make work one's butt off as the main entry, with trans-sees for others? Sounds less vulgar but still strong and ideomatic. The reflexive form is more likely to have/to need translations, the transitive for other language will be in some kind of causative form, as far as I know. Anatoli 01:09, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I moved my translations to the reflexive work one's butt off, the heading in translations for work someone's ass off confused me. Anatoli 02:52, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

wipe the floor

Should this be wipe the floor with? US only? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 17:47, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Possibly Us only, but the "with" is defnitely not a part of the construction, just the most common preposition following the expression. --EncycloPetey 23:52, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
How about (usually with "with")? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 00:10, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I should have done my research first: Of 30 hits at COCA for forms of wipe the floor, 20 are with "with", mostly in the figurative sense. All of the ten without "with" are literal. Surprisingly, I get similar results at BNC. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 00:21, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, you shouldn't have unintentionally(?) removed the Usage note which mentioned this exact point. I've re-inserted it. -- ALGRIF talk 13:26, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
I had intentionally replaced with usage note section with a sense-line mini-note. I have inserted a few of these of the form (usually with "X") where "X" is an indicator of the type of complement. For polysemic words, the complement type is typically not associated with all the senses. Accordingly, sense-level seems the right placement for such information, especially as it could eventually generate some kind of list of entries with that kind of complement. Uniform sense-level placement for one- and multi-sense also offers the advantage of training users (or reusers) where to find such information.
This would enable us to present a range of complement types (not just prepositions), helping us provide definitions more specific to the usage pattern and making the entry more useful to language learners. This approach is one of the most admirable features of my 1987 edition of Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. I don't know whether Longman continues it in newer editions, but Landau, for example, seems to share my admiration for it. CGEL expends a considerable amount of ink on such complement information, as do other reference grammars.

wage war

Noun: "A figurative allusion to pay discrepancies." Hunh? Was this an attempt to produce a definition that evaded CFI by being unintelligible or wrong. What would a "wage war" be but a (figurative) "war" about wages. "Allusion"??? "Discrepancies"??? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 23:28, 27 December 2009 (UTC)


This train car has one single-leaf red door and two double-leaf red doors

The current definitions of leaf do not include door leaves. Particularly related to railway rolling stock (I'm not sure if or how common this is outside of this context) a doorway with only one door is described as single leaf, whereas a doorway with two doors is described as double leaf and as having two leaves. I presume it's related to the existing sense about book pages, but I don't know what the etymological relationship (if any) there is, nor whether this def should be expanded (if so how) or whether an additional def is needed (and if so, how to phrase it). Thryduulf 23:42, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

I can find "single-leaf door patterns" in carpentry books on a b.g.c. search, and it's a term I've heard myself with no railway connection. I can also find carpentry works that refer to a "door leaf", so leaf itself does seem to have an additional meaning of a "hinged panel". --EncycloPetey 23:50, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
"Hinged panel" would seem to be a logical meaning, although as a definition it doesn't tell the whole story as it is now applied also to sliding doors - presumably by extension from hinged doors. Thryduulf 08:50, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Certain kinds of moveable bridge, particularly bascule bridges, can be single leaf or double leaf. Here a "leaf" is a span that can be moved on demand. The basic concept is that of a hinged panel, the original model being the drawbridge. Pingku 11:32, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
So a leaf is a moveable panel, originally one that hinged but now also applied to other designs of the same type object (e.g. moveable bridges, doors) but where the movement is not necessarily by means of a hinge. Obviously it would need phrasing better than that before we add it to the entry though. Thryduulf 12:19, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Subsenses would help, if the numbering didn't look so bad. Maybe ordering would help. One group is the original plant part and its physical forms along the path to utilization. The "tea leaf" should be generalized. Tobacco leaf as a commercial product is referred to as "leaf" as are the leaves of spice plants etc. The other group includes all the non-plant analogs. It starts with things thin and flat, panel-like. The attachment seems inessential (some table leaves, gold leaf, leaf spring, as well as some door leaves). Including attachment means might lay a false trail. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 12:52, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

I've added a definition to the entry based on my previous comment here. It needs serious improvement though! Thryduulf 23:25, 28 April 2010 (UTC)


Plucked at random from the redlinks on User:Brian0918/Hotlist/P; I can find nothing on Google or Google Books to suggest to me that this is a word in the English language. bd2412 T 00:38, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

It's in the OED, defined as "A pantry", marked as both obsolete and rare, without a single use, and with only this mention. I tend to doubt it meets our CFI, and I don't think I mind that one bit. ;-)   —RuakhTALK 03:11, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Have we any place for these sort of things? bd2412 T 04:17, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Given that the cite is from a 15th-century manuscript, and "pantyr" appears in the definiens/gloss rather than the definiendum, I think it might reasonably qualify for a Middle English entry alternative spelling entry, or at least inclusion as an alt spelling in the main entry, which perhaps should be at panetrie. -- Visviva 05:35, 28 December 2009 (UTC)


Everyone knows that the word which Wiktionary, Wikimedia and Wikipedia are derived from is the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning quick (at least according to a jillion pages on WT and WP). However, the entry on wiki only shows a verb sense: "to hasten; quick, fast". To the best of my knowledge, "quick" is not a verb. Should this be under multiple POS headers? --Yair rand 06:40, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

There are no adjectives or adverbs in Hawaiian, though we have categories and templates for them. A verb can behave like an adjective/adverb in a certain position. Hawaiian POS headers should be renamed but since nobody here really knows Hawaiian it's a bit difficult. I remember reading somewhere that "Wikipedia" was inspired by "Wikiwiki" airport buses in Honolulu, and whoever named them didn't necessarily know Hawaiian, maybe it was just meant to impress tourists.--Makaokalani 17:32, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Shakespeare, common noun?

What would you think of an entry like this?

Shakespeare (uncountable)
# The works of William Shakespeare.
Mglovesfun (talk) 11:38, 28 December 2009 (UTC)?
As in - "They are dropping Shakespeare from the syllabus." - looks OK to me. SemperBlotto 11:44, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Isn't that a proper noun sense, already at sense 3 of Shakespeare#Proper noun? —This unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs) at 28-12-2009.
I did say "common noun". Mglovesfun (talk) 12:38, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
But the definition provided above is one appropriate for a proper noun. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 13:06, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
I think it's both. In "he never read much of Shakespeare", it seems to be a proper noun, and in "he never read much Shakespeare", it seems to be an uncountable common noun. Personally, in the case of Shakespeare, I find the latter much more idiomatic, though for an author who wrote only one work, a proper-noun usage sounds O.K. (taking the author's name as a sort of metonymy for the individual work). In addition, there's the countable common-noun use mentioned below by Thryduulf, where each work is a Shakespeare; again, with Shakespeare, it sounds unidiomatic to me, but for some authors it sounds much more natural. —RuakhTALK 15:21, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Conceding that it is used as a common noun, how does this use differ essentially from what can be done with all kinds of proper nouns in various analogous ways? Consider: "I went to Chicago to see all the Frank Lloyd Wrights that are in the suburbs." or "Most Sinatras have a few Mercers, a Cole Porter, and a couple of Gershwins.". Does it really help us to do this kind of thing for every proper noun that we might have allowed under CFI or under our current practice or any future regime? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 15:54, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
The uncountable common noun is probably not worth including. The countable common noun is tricker, because we don't currently have any provision for including its plural without including its singular. (We had a vote on that topic at some point, but it didn't pass.) —RuakhTALK 18:13, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

It seems that George W. Bush has been very widely quoted as saying (in 2006) he "read three Shakespeares", meaning "three Shakespeare plays", using it as a common noun. Thryduulf 12:33, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

I've been an American under two Bushes, owned two Subarus, and own three Tuftes (works by w:Edward Tufte. As EP has long pointed out, the grammar of proper nouns always allows them to have corresponding common-noun uses. It is only unusual ones that we give special treatment for, as Shakespeare#Noun. Otherwise, they are as redundant as separate adjective sections for attribute use of nouns. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 13:06, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
I am unsure whether a "Shakespeare work" is unambiguously a common-noun phrase rather than a proper-noun phrase. The individuals of the class "literary work" are selected under the head of "Shakespeare work" by their relation to an individual picked by the proper-noun phrase "William Shakespeare". Whether the division into common nouns and proper nouns works with such compound phrases as "Shakespeare work" is unclear.
For another example, is "Peter's sister" a common-noun phrase or a proper-noun phrase? I do not know; I only know that it is a noun phrase, one which would be marked in Wiktionary as "noun" if it were not SoP. --Dan Polansky 15:19, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Afterthought: the existence of multiple instances of "Shakespeare work" would suggest its being a common-noun phrase. It still seems odd to me to classify it in this way. --Dan Polansky 15:23, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Back to the original example: that's not a common noun definition, as it specifies a particular referrent "The works of William Shakespeare". That's a specific and unique thing, albeit somewhat abstract. The word also does not have the usual properties of common nouns, such as accepting articles or adjectives. This word, in the sense(s) discussed above, does straddle the line a bit between proper noun and abstract common noun, but I believe it is better classified as a proper noun.
That said, there is a sort of common noun version possible, as when one says "I own an original Shakespeare." In that sentence, it refers to a particular (but unidentified) work by William Shakespeare, of which there are several possible referrents. This means that Shakespeare, in that sentence, refers to one member of a class of related items, which is a property of a common noun. As you can see, it also has an article and a descriptive adjective modifying it, which are both common noun properties. We may or may not wish to include such definitions, but this is a common noun usage possible for any of a group of works created by an author or artist. --EncycloPetey 17:09, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't quite follow. To me, "the works of William Shakespeare" and "a work of William Shakespeare" are either both common-noun phrases or both proper-noun phrases or the classification is given up. While "the works of William Shakespeare" is a uniquely identifed single object, that alone does not make the phrase identifying it a proper-noun phrase. Consider "Martin's head": if we assume that Martin is a human and it is a normal healthy human, we can conclude that he has exactly one head; does it make the phrase "Martin's head" a proper-noun phrase? Or if we consider the "world" in the sense of the collection of all the things that exist: there can be only one such collection, but the oneness of the collection does not make "world" in this sense a proper noun, does it? Or if I consider "the human person with the fingerprint <so and so>" such that the phrase uniquely identifies a human person, the phrase is still not a proper-noun phrase. Put differently, if a noun phrase specifies a set of characteristics whose conjuction is so specific as to select a unique individual, I still consider the noun phrase a common-noun phrase. By contrast, "William Shakespeare" does not in any way specify characteristics of the individual, so I can safely conclude that "William Shakespeare" is a proper-noun phrase; it is an identifier of sorts. But I am at a loss with "the works of William Shakespeare", as it is a combination of proper-noun phase refering to an individual, the common noun "work" and the term "of" that invokes the author-of relation. --Dan Polansky 13:27, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not completely sure I see what you're asking, but: I believe "Shakespeare work(s)" is a common-noun phrase. (Inside it is the proper noun Shakespeare used attributively, but the phrase as a whole acts as a common noun: we say "a Shakespeare work", "several Shakespeare works", etc.) Similarly "work(s) of William Shakespeare". "The works of William Shakespeare" is a determiner phrase, at which point I think we're beyond what can be classified as "common" or "proper"; however, it's the sort of definition you might expect to see for a proper noun rather than for a common noun. Does that address your points? —RuakhTALK 14:15, 30 December 2009 (UTC)


I've just come across a use of stand that I'm not familiar with, and that doesn't seem to be in our entry:

  • 1927, Herbert Asbury, The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld, Paragon House (1990), ISBN 1-55778-348-9, page 170:
    The police and troops captured eleven thousand stand of arms, including muskets and pistols, together with several thousand bludgeons and other weapons.

(B.g.c. has "No Preview Available" for the edition I'm reading, but it does have "Limited Preview" for another edition with the same text.)

I take it this is like "head of cattle"? If so, I imagine that each musket or pistol or the like is one stand of arms?

RuakhTALK 18:41, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Update: Dictionary.com has "Chiefly British. a complete set of arms or accoutrements for one soldier" (Dictionary.com Unabridged) and "Military meaning 'complete set' (of arms, colors, etc.) is from 1721, often a collective sing." (Online Etymology Dictionary). —RuakhTALK 19:29, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
  • The OED's rather brief definition (sense IV,23c) is ‘Mil. A set (of arms, colours). Sometimes unchanged in plural (after numerals).’ Ƿidsiþ 01:23, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks. I've taken a stab at it. —RuakhTALK 02:18, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

donkey punch

An impressive number of speedy deletions, all with the same meaning. Makes me think that it might be attestable. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:50, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

This is a term I've heard many times, but couldn't define it well without looking at a lot of books. It is a sexual term, so be forewarned if you intend to research it. Here is a source that may or may not be usable for a citation, but which provides a detailed explanation. --EncycloPetey 21:56, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

2009 (UTC)

I'm not getting any preview available for that book, but [1] looks like a citable use, although it is consistently capitalised "Donkey Punch"/ [2] maybe also (I'm not 100% certain whether it's use rather than mention), but again this is capitalised. [3] is another possible, but I'm not certain if it is use or mention or whether it is the same meaning. [4] is definitely a use, but is it the right meaning? [5] I'm pretty certain is just a mention. Note that I've not checked these for independence or date. [6] looks to be a solid citable use in a usenet post, I've not got time to look any further through the groups hits, but if you do try searching for "donkey punches"/"donkey punched" etc, as the infinitive seems to pull up mostly word lists in spam messages Thryduulf 23:47, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

quick time event

[7] Is this really appropriate? It seems prescriptivist and a bit silly. Who says it would refer to what is claimed? Equinox 23:44, 28 December 2009 (UTC)


Just added this entry. Not sure about the third sense. I encountered it in a book I was reading. Can anyone perhaps find another citation for me to back it up? Thanks. Tooironic 06:56, 29 December 2009 (UTC)


Are the two senses given really all that different to each other? I think Wiktionary editors tend to be scared to give just one definition, but I don't see how more than one sense could exist in this case. Certainly the translation table doesn't make this distinction. Tooironic 08:39, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I cannot see the difference. Lmaltier 08:46, 29 December 2009 (UTC)



I've added to [[little]] the sense "Used with the name of place, especially of a country, to denote a neighborhood whose residents or storekeepers are from that place" (as in "Little Italy"). I'm not sure, though, whether the correct spelling is Little or little. That is, is the adjective truly Little (as it always appears) or is it like Street in "Elm Street": truly little and only appearing as Little because it's always in a place name? The same question applies to innerbelt/Innerbelt (w:): is the word truly lowercase but always appears capitalized because it's part of a name, or is it truly capitalized?​—msh210 19:44, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Metaphysically, it may well be Little, but I would keep it at little however the metaphysical discussion resolves. Data-freely speaking, I would expect that users would be more likely to type in "little" or "Little Italy" than "Little". I doubt that users would note and follow an {{also}} link at the top of a long entry such as "little", though they would be more likely in a short entry such as Little. BTW, Little Italy seems like an example of a toponym that belongs in Wiktionary even under current (or is that former) CFI. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 20:10, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
And why don't we have a proper noun entry for Little? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 20:12, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
Is there a proper noun Little? —Angr 14:18, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
I only meant as in the surname of Stuart Little or Arthur D. Little. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 16:43, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Hm, innerbelt is lowercase, per bgc hits for the plural.​—msh210 18:50, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

cs verb–noun spelling distinctions

The discussion hereinbefore got me thinking about that “class of words whose verbal and nominal forms are distinguished by being spelt with an ‘s’ and a ‘c’, respectively”; e.g., adviseadvice, devisedevice, licenselicence, practisepractice, and prophesyprophecy. I’d very much like an exhaustive list of these word pairs. If you can think of more of these, please post them in this section. Thanks.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 21:50, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

In U.S. spelling, it only occurs with the ones that have a change in pronunciation as well: we always write "license", never "licence", and "practice", never "practise". BTW, I don't know if this counts, but believe-belief, live-life, halve-half, breathe-breath, bathe-bath, and teeth-teeth all seem to demonstrate the same pattern, where the verb has a voiced fricative and the noun has the unvoiced counterpart, and sometimes a different-but-related vowel. (But I don't think it ever happens with the one remaining such pair, /ʒ/-/ʃ/.) —RuakhTALK 06:11, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Sure, cool. Keep ‛em comin’! :-)  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:21, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

turn on

There are 4 senses and three grammatical categories (idiom, ergative, phrasal verb). Which categories coincide with which senses? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 12:51, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

I've marked nº 1 as ergative. They are all phrasal (I think). All idiomatic too, I suppose. -- ALGRIF talk 16:57, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
From the definition "ergativity" doesn't seem to be a property of either a transitive sense or an intransitive one alone, but rather of the related pair of senses or the combined sense. If that is correct, wouldn't we want them to be on both of the separated transitive and intransitive senses. I hope there aren't instances where a given verb can have two ergative senses. How would one note that? There is a sense with the usage example "Turn on and accelerate quickly." Is that UK only? It certainly sounds un-American to me. Also, how can we have a grammatical category (phrasal verbs) without some operational criteria written down that suggest what is and what is not a member? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 17:43, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Re: ergative: I agree.   Re: "turn on and accelerate quickly": That sounds weird to me as well. (But "turn on the next road" sounds O.K. to me, though not as good as "turn onto the next road.")   Re: phrasal verbs: I think any idiom consisting of a verb followed by one or more function words (particles, prepositions, etc.) can be considered a phrasal verb in a broad sense. Though personally, I tend to use the term only when there's a single particle, and it's of the type that follows a lightweight object and precedes a heavyweight one ("I turned it on" vs. "I turned on the computer that you said was broken"), though that has the problem that it's only testable for the transitive ones. —RuakhTALK 06:23, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, yes. I simply marked the ergative usage. Of course the verb itself is ergative if in a sense it can take the object as the intransitive subject. So 1 & 2 are the ergative senses. - turn on and accelerate as a born Brit. sounds v.odd to me, too. I would have said that this defn belongs at turn into So, 1, 2, 3, 5 are all phrasal and idiomatic. 4 is debatable and should probably be rfv -- ALGRIF talk 11:15, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
RfVed questioned sense. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 11:43, 31 December 2009 (UTC)


I wonder whether it merits an English sense as a very common respelling of pack in commercial brand names relating to packaging and compilation: Z-pak, Tetra Pak, Game Pak... Equinox 19:38, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good. I've added. Tweak, natch.​—msh210 18:57, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

an interesting proverb

love and hate are two sides of the same coin... I heard this today while playing Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Could someone perhaps elaborate on its meaning and create an entry? :) And just so people know, I'm not going to be on Wiktionary any more until tomorrow, so i won't be able to reply until then. 50 Xylophone Players talk 23:29, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Odd. I heard a similar quote in w:The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: "Shadow and Light are two sides of the same coin, one cannot exist without the other." :) Maybe the actual proverb is "two sides of the same coin" which we do have a Mandarin translation for: 一而二,二而一. --Yair rand 23:48, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
The set phrase would be better as two sides of the same coin as this expression is used for many, many pairs apart from the ever popular "love and hate". In Spanish, also, there is an equivalent dos lados de la misma moneda used in exactly the same way. -- ALGRIF talk 11:04, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh really Yair? :) I don't remember that as I haven't played that LoZ game in a while as I'm busy with Spirit Tracks atm as far as LoZ games go :) 50 Xylophone Players talk 15:02, 31 December 2009 (UTC)


i have recently had a member of my family labeled a sociopath and i cant seem to find an entry, this maybe because of my limitd abilities on a computer or because it is not an entry could someone please offer their inerpretation

We do have an entry on sociopath. --Yair rand 07:13, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

weigh in

I am interested in providing information about optional complements. This entry illustrates some questions of presentation. (It is also quite possible that there is substantive error.) Is the complement information at this entry adequately presented. There are details of the format (eg, the comma, possibly the italic inner parenthesis) that may not be satisfactory. Are they important?

  • What about the use of double quotation marks around an indicated word?
  • What about the more verbose complement information? Putting it in usage notes risks losing the connection with a specific sense. Do/can usage notes substitute for it?

--DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 12:53, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I prefer double quotation marks to boldface for indicated words, but current use is so heavily weighted towards boldface that it is probably preferable to stick with bolding (especially since there is no right or wrong in such matters).
  • For simplicity and ease of scanning, I would prefer that information about complements always be presented as a separate sentence following the definition.
  • To the same end, I'm thinking that it would scan better if the mentioned complement is also bolded in the example
  • Maybe something like this:
3. (intransitive) To weigh. Always followed by Template:en-term.
He weighs in at upwards of 250 pounds.
4. (intransitive) To bring one's weight, metaphorically speaking, to bear on an issue. Often followed by Template:en-term or Template:en-term.
Everyone wanted to weigh in on what kind of car he should buy.
NB: At this writing the pertinent definition of weight is missing.
  • On balance, I think that putting usage information in the context tags tends to obscure the definition (putting less-important data at the front). On the other hand, putting it in the same sentence as the definition (after a semicolon) tends to complicate the definition unnecessarily. -- Visviva 21:07, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Wherever we put it, it needs to be set apart from the definition. In italics and parentheses would be fine:
3. (intransitive) To weigh. (usually followed by at)
He weighs in at upwards of 250 pounds.
He weighed in lighter than he ever had.
4. (intransitive) To bring one's weight, metaphorically speaking, to bear on an issue. (Often followed by on or with).
Reasons I preferred placement at the head of the line are:
  1. the prepositional complement information is not different in kind from the trans/intrans/bi-transitive information.
  2. dictionaries like Longman DCE put it there.
  3. complement information tends to be a "hard" fact useful for orienting a user. The sense is often what is ultimately sought as the product of scanning the entry.
For a sense that was always followed by a preposition or adverb I would be inclined to offload the content (full set of defs, usage examples, syns, etc) to an entry like weigh in at with:
3. (intransitive, with at) See weigh in at.
This has the very desirable effect of shortening some of our longer verb entries (for the short verbs like "let", "get", "set", "put", "have", "sit", "fit", "go", "run", "stand", though its effect on users of this entry may not be a net positive. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 00:57, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

quote unquote

Is this not also variously applied verbally to the preceding word very often, not only the following? __meco 12:55, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

It seems like "Maybe you should ask your... friend, quote unquote, what happened to the money" could conceivably work, but I can't say I've heard or seen it done. Do you have an example where it was? Peptonized 15:16, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't, but I have this feeling that because it sounds "not wrong" many people will automatically choose that variant. I, at least, have on several occasions been unsure which way to go with this choice. __meco 16:54, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
I've heard it. I've added "or sometimes preceding". Revert ad lib.​—msh210 18:48, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
To me, the expression sounds wrong on either side, and is needed only by those who are unable to use intonation to convey meaning, but I agree that it is used by some. Should we not have some indication that it is informal, and that there is no such concept as "unquote"? ... later ... sorry, I'm being too prescriptive and pedantic! e e Cummings used it in 1935! Dbfirs 16:52, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
... and even later (after checking instead of just reacting!). According to the OED, the first published use of the (split) expression was by the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1921, though there is an earlier 1918 use in a telegram. The first use following the words to be quoted was by K. FEARING in Collected poems (1940), and they give a 2001 usage by T. MEDINA & L. R. RIVERA in Bum Rush with the expression preceding the words quoted ("quote-unquote proof") Dbfirs 17:19, 3 January 2010 (UTC)