Wiktionary:Tea room/2009/November

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November 2009


Verb: Taking a horse under a light run in order to understand the running characteristics of the horse and to observe it while under motion.
An IP added this sense. The AHD has a slightly more general horsey definition: "To sprint around a racetrack as a means of exercise. Used of a racehorse." Hence, while it would seem that an equine sense is sensible to have, it seems like the current one is overspecified. Do we have any horse enthusiasts who can comment? — Carolina wren discussió 01:13, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

fishing term

Is there a fishing term, that means to lace something with bait/put bait on a hook? I've looked in a couple of fishing dictionaries, but they don't help. Anyway, the French term is amorcer. I have found bait up, but am not so sure it means the same thing. --Rising Sun 14:38, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

  • It's just bait (according to the OED). SemperBlotto 14:45, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
How about chum#Etymology 2, both noun and verb? Our definition looks a bit narrower than the word as I've heard it. DCDuring TALK 15:23, 1 November 2009 (UTC)


Some discussion has arisen. Is this a) a contraction b) a verb c) an adverb d) none of these ? -- ALGRIF talk 15:30, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

I vote for a) contraction, but all I know about Scottish is from Scotty on Star Trek and Disney's Scrooge McDuck. ~ heyzeuss 18:56, 28 March 2010 (UTC)


Ditto. Is this a) a contraction b) a verb c) an adverb d) none of these ? -- ALGRIF talk 15:31, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

I would say a) in both cases. They are Scottish, but can also be regarded as English Dialect. I suppose opinion will vary. Dbfirs 15:59, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
In both of the cases above I would call them verbs.
I have been trying hard to put everything under as specific a grammatical header as possible based on its head (except in the the case of prepositional phrases). I never use "contraction" because it is not that kind of header. But it is a useful category.
What would be hard for me would be a case where there was a single headword (a compound or a contraction) that was not a grammatical "constituent". (BTW, see Category:English non-constituents.) I have not yet noticed one and hope against hope that there aren't any in English. DCDuring TALK 16:18, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I'm happy to call them verbs since there is no apostrophe to indicate a contraction. canna & cannot, too? We need to be consistent. Dbfirs 16:39, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Certainly. I wouldn't draw the line at apostrophes, either, so can't, too. But one would have to accept that particular tenet of my approach to having PoS headings be grammar based to the greatest extent possible (and limited to the existing list of widely understood PoSs, as opposed to more modern sets of functional terms). DCDuring TALK 16:53, 1 November 2009 (UTC)


The entry for this abbreviation of Public Liability Company has a "translation" that consists not of translations, but of the corresponding abbreviations for companies similarly organized under the laws of other jurisdictions. I think they should just be deleted.

But there is a strong case for an appendix documenting this semantic relationship (analogy) among the various terms. We could start with what we find in Wikipedia and customize it in a lexicographic direction.

Finally, I wonder whether we should check for similar conceptual problems in other entries, starting with abbreviations. DCDuring TALK 16:44, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Legal areas particularly. For instance a solicitor, a lawyer and a barrister do not translate well, not even between UK and US!! -- ALGRIF talk 12:16, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Would it make sense to have appendices for analogs or to have another semantic-relations header for "analogs"? DCDuring TALK 17:49, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

pronunciation of Gaelic word

Hoping someone can help me, I need the phonetic pronunciation of the words: cu mhaige which is early Scots/Irish meaning hound of the plain.

I don't speak Gaelic, and we don't have an entry for mhaige (and only Old English for cu=cow) but I would guess at "koo vey" (slack v), though we must have some Gaelic speakers who can check whether it has a "j" at the end? Dbfirs 19:01, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

'meatloafing' (NZ term? Cat-related sense.)

I was thinking about adding 'meatloafing' (to our meatloaf entry) which I heard when visiting New Zealand a few years ago. Meaning when a cat lies with all four legs tucked underneath its body. I found the term at urban dictionary (there's also a rude meaning there - surprise surprise - so if you're easily offended don't read the whole page!) [1] I guess it'd be either slang or informal. Any Kiwis want to weigh in on this? --Tyranny Sue 02:41, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

I call that a catloaf. Equinox 01:34, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Awwww! Cute. --Tyranny Sue 23:37, 28 February 2010 (UTC)


Like is used informally to form an adverb from an adjective ending in -ly. See, e.g., google books:"all|smiled|smiling silly|friendly like" subject:fiction. Sometimes it's bound with a hyphen to the adjective, as friendly-like, sometimes it's separated from it by a space, as friendly like; I haven't examined relative frequencies, though that would be wise. What POS is this? And what pagename: [[-like]] or [[like]]?​—msh210 17:08, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

If the resulting terms aren't spelled solid, then it should be at "like", I think. It seems to be an adverb. DCDuring TALK 17:15, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I'm seeing some uses that make friendly[-| ]like seem like an adjective: "they are all friendly like to him"[2], for example. Thoughts?​—msh210 18:14, 6 November 2009 (UTC)


Aren't we missing the "proscriptive" sense from this? Mglovesfun (talk) 17:24, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

I think prescriptive and proscriptive are hyponyms. DCDuring TALK 18:34, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I've heard it used that way, for example in a political theory lecture. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:11, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

"That's what she said."

I don't know what this means, can anyone tell me? In great detail? And how this relates to every day life (your life)?

It's just a humorous reply to innuendo: any statement that might mean something rude or dirty if you take it the wrong way. e.g. "That's a big one!" (someone talking about a large bird flying past) "That's what she said." (you are suggesting that "that's a big one" might have referred to a penis) Not really worth worrying about. Equinox 01:33, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, it's much in the same vein as the 'yo mamma's fat' jokes. Tooironic 09:05, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Also as the actress said to the bishop SemperBlotto 17:06, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

survey with a weather balloon

What's the verb in English where one surveys the sky using a weather balloon - can we say "they probed the sky" or "they surveyed the sky" or maybe there's a technical term...the French word for this is sonder--Rising Sun 09:44, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

sond/sonds/sonding/sonded verb sond/sonds noun sonding adjective the noun usage referring to the device being more common, but also sonde/sondes for the device, borrowed directly from French or German Sonde. Try, for example, google "sonding weather -sounding" Robert Ullmann 09:52, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
And don't forget sound/sounding etc, for example in w:Sounding rocket, which is more familiar but also more general. Robert Ullmann 10:08, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

left back, right back and centre back


  1. left back, left-back, leftback
  2. right back, right-back, rightback
  3. centre back, centre-back, centreback
  4. center back, center-back, centerback

I suppose these should be standardised right? Or merely by some sort of measure, like number of Google hits. Center back (-er) seems perfectly attestable. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:46, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Google seems to treat centre-back and centre back as the same thing. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:10, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

crepuscular wakefulness

Does anybody know of a single word that expresses the meaning of the phrase “crepuscular wakefulness”? Also, could someone who knows them please add the German and Latin translations of wakefulness to our entry for the word? Thanks in advance.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:55, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

arsed, be arsed

I'd like to see this redone. Arsed is the past of arse in the sense "have anal sex with". I think we should have be arsed as I think arsed, in the sense "bothered, motivated" is always used with "be". I don't even think you can even use become with it. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:28, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Partridge 2007 says of "arsed": adjective Bothered; worried UK Popularised since the mid-1990s by television situation comedy The Royle Family.[3]
An interesting inclusion might be can't-be-fuckin-arsed-ness. If I cared. Pingku 18:53, 7 November 2009 (UTC)


An IP created this and marked it as Ingñol (another entry created the same IP). Do we have any policy regarding words such as this that are a deliberate blend of two languages and can't be categorized as either one or the other? (Other than the generic CFI and verification rules applying to all entries, that is.) — Carolina wren discussió 05:20, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

I get TWO google hits for "Ingñol". Someone is trying to invent it. (Spanglish, OTOH, is well known ;-) The words in such cases are essentially always used in one language or the other, and not both, so are listed as slang of some type for that language. For example, "extranjerize" gets 7 google hits, all—of course—in Spanish. No English speaker, or person using a word in an English sentence would say that, they would say "foreignize" or some such (as the entry itself suggests).
So we treat Singlish as English words, with local borrowing and usage. If the language does divert seriously (e.g. a pidgin), then it gets its own coding and name. Not in this case. Ingñol is bogus, extranjerize might, maybe, be citeable, but is then certainly Spanish. Robert Ullmann 10:32, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Speedy deletion for Ingñol. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:31, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
FWIW extranjerizar gets 468 Google Book hits, so this could be a conjugated form. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:37, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, you're right — six of the seven Google Web hits are using it as part of the third-person singular present subjunctive of extranjerizarse (to become foreign), and the seventh is an automatically generated conjugation of extranjerizar. However, I can't find anything durably archived for it, and though my Spanish isn't very good, my instinct is to consider it a misspelling: the spelling extranjerice is much more common. —RuakhTALK 12:50, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

as much as possible

I have inserted a grammar-oriented usage note in this SoP entry which probably makes sense as a phrasebook entry. Is it adequate? I suspect that some phrasebook entries can benefit from some explanation of how they might be generalized as few are set phrases. DCDuring TALK 02:29, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Is this supposed to be somehow more dictionary-worthy than any other as X as possible? If so, why? Equinox 02:49, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
The phrasebook is the last refuge of common SoP expressions that don't meet CFI. When I first came across this and as soon as possible, I was thinking to RfD them. I don't know what criteria we have for determining what makes something worth having in the phrasebook, what a phrasebook is supposed to accomplish, or whether it is worth having a phrasebook. Those would be BP matters well worth discussing. I am trying to think of ways of making phrasebook entries less misleading and more useful. DCDuring TALK 03:01, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
I think a "phrasebook", as such it is, would actually be extremely helpful on wiktionary. However some criteria need to be drawn up so we don't have dozens of SoPs trying to pawn themselves off as phrasebook entries. Something like a list of "100 most common phrases" or something to that effect wouldn't go astray. Tooironic 06:05, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
A typical phrasebook in my limited experience is a book of phrases that are useful in daily life, especially for visitors. It will have things like "do you have any vacant rooms" and "I need to speak to the American consul". Many or most of our phrasebook entries (see category:Phrasebook) fit the bill: we have things like how do you do and is it going to rain. Many do not, though: we also have things like in chronological order and seem like a good idea at the time and, well, as much as possible, none of which belong in a phrasebook AFAICT.​—msh210 17:08, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
As we have no separate explicit criteria for inclusion, it seems to me that CFI applies and that we have been mistaken in including these entries in principal namespace. (The same argument may apply to proverbs.) Where should these things go? What would a good phrasebook entry look like? Does anyone care enough to do any work on this? If not why bother keeping them? Do we have any evidence that anyone uses them? DCDuring TALK 17:43, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
The CFI should apply in theory, but we have a tradition of keeping proverbs and phrasebook entries despite the CFI. Personally I'd love the unidiomatic proverbs to go, but we do have that tradition. Unidiomatic phrasebook entries are useful iff people who are interested in a phrasebook can see the list; e.g., there are good links to the category. Perhaps the category can be weeded (per the critria I mention above, or others) and then each of its entries can have a phrasebook-entry banner/box with a prominent link to the category. Perhaps we should also consider having (as Wikibooks has) the ability for users to collect a bunch of pages into a PDF file; this can be useful for a phrasebook, but also for other glossaries. Is that an extension?​—msh210 17:51, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

main page

Was there a decision that this is just SoP and shouldn't have a regular entry? There seem to be a few entries that link to it as if it were a regular entry but right now it's just a redirect to Wiktionary:Main Page. --Yair rand 20:17, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Aha! So you are WF!  :-) ​—msh210 17:15, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any reason for it to have a regular entry. Links can easily be fixed. Equinox 23:39, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
This reminds me of something I heard about Wikipedia. If, for example, someone named their band/album/racehorse etc. "Main Page", it would become very difficult to link. Of course, their could be a page w:Main Page (band), but I don't think it would be linked from w:Main Page. --Volants 15:01, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

per se

Should the second sense ("necessarily, precisely, absolutely") be tagged {{proscribed}}?​—msh210 17:53, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Do we have evidence that it is actually used in that sense? It isn't in the OneLook references AFAICT. Perhsps it should start with an RfV. DCDuring TALK 23:34, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
I'd say "precisely" is a widespread informal meaning of the term, and is what the definition-writer probably meant. Cleanup is necessary, but rfv I think is not.​—msh210 18:59, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
"Necessarily" is close to the sense the phrase has had from its beginning."Precisely" and "absolutely" don't have the same sense as "necessarily" to my ear. DCDuring TALK 23:41, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
Are these not all misunderstandings of the Latin? I would mark these senses as {{informal}} or (by extension). Dbfirs 18:24, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Note that after discussion at WT:RFV, the definition in question has been changed to "As such; as one would expect from the name". My original question stands, though: should it be tagged {{proscribed}}? Or perhaps, as Dbfirs, suggests, {{informal}} or {{context|by extension}}?​—msh210 17:34, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

But what contemporary authority proscribes the sense as previously worded or as currently worded? Collins Thesaurus offers as such as a synonym. It seems more likely to me that there is redundancy in our senses than that any one of them is proscribed. DCDuring TALK 18:44, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
This guy.  :-) ​—msh210 18:53, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Why should we take a forum comment seriously, let alone authoritatively? DCDuring TALK 19:05, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm not seeing hits for the last sense ("As a matter of law"): all law-related citations seem to be for the first sense ("By itself; without consideration of extraneous factors"). Before I RFV it, any comments?​—msh210 18:53, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Garner is editor in chief of West's "Black's Law Dictionary", which I don't have access to. Garner's Modern American Usage (2009) offers that as a definition. I would be hard-pressed in most cases to distinguish the senses so attestation would be challenging. DCDuring TALK 19:05, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I would agree that the third sense offered is really just another expression of the first. Something that is a per se violation of a statute, for example, is a violation in and of itself, without consideration of circumstances. For example, when competitors agree to a price fixing scheme, this is a per se antitrust violation. By contrast, where competitors come to a seeming accord on pricing with no actual communication between them, this is potentially an antitrust violation if certain market effects can be shown. bd2412 T 06:07, 25 November 2009 (UTC)


The definition I had given for the Latin verb nāscor, was "to be born", the same as in my pocket Latin dictionary which I can trace back to the 1950s.

It has now been edited to "I am born, begotten" on the grounds that Latin/English dictionaries have not listed lemma to lemma entries for centuries, and that "to be born" is misleading and fundamentally incorrect.

Given that "nāscor" is the present active, "born" is a past participle, "be born" is a passive, and "I am born" is stative, I fail to see how one is any more fundamentally incorrect than another, especially in the light of what other dictionaries do.

This hairsplitting departure from lexicographical norms affects or has the potential to affect all languages where the verb lemma is not the same form as the English verb lemma, the infinitive. But the meaning is exactly the same wherever there is a mismatch between English lemma, foreign lemmas, and the tenses, moods, aspects, numbers, inflections, etc for all parts of speech for all languages, since they rarely map 1:1. For some reason English infinitives seem to be the first to raise the ire of some who contribute in foreign languages but it is no different from the many other inexactitudes when mapping different languages to one another.

Yet this is a solved problem. Bilingual dictionaries have existed for a long time and they have overcome this problem by mapping lemma to lemma. Why is this a problem for us? Why depart from what dictionary users are accustomed? — hippietrail 05:51, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Ahem. You have misrepresented events in the above paragraphs. The original definition I had given for nascor (when I created the entry) was "I am born, begotten". You changed the entry to a definition suitable for an infinitive (which nascor is not), and I changed it back because the change was grammatically and fundamentally incorrect. The verb nascor is a first-person singular present active indicative, not an infinitive. To translate it as "to be born" is thus misleading as well as an incorrect translation. We discussed the choice of Latin verb lemma forms in 2007 with a large number of participants all agreeing to use the first principal part, just as most dictionaries do. Ancient Greek verb entries (e.g. ἔδω) and Old Armenian verb entries (e.g. զգենում) have been structured in this same way since that decision.
The issue you are raising is a straw man argument. We do (mostly) translate lemma to lemma. But, as I pointed out on your talk page, this isn't always possible. There are many situations where it is preferable to translate to a non-lemma form for accuracy. Consider melior (better) and cunīculōsus (full of rabbits). Do you argue that this should be translated as "more good" or as "full of rabbit", simply because those are the lemma forms in English? It is silly to let translation be governed solely on the basis of what the lemma form is in English. It is much more reasonable to actually translate the meaning of the word.
Some of your concern stems from an incomplete knowledge of Latin present tense meanings. The present tense in Latin can refer to a present action (progressive or not), but it also is used for what is called the "historic present", which is translated into English as if it were past tense. Also, nascor is deponent, which means that it functions as if it were active, but is inherently passive in all its forms. Some of these deponent verbs can be meaningfully translated into English with an active sense, but many cannot. Consider the impersonal verb licet (it is allowed), for which there is no easily used active translation in English, despite the fact that it has an "active" conjugation pattern in Latin. --EncycloPetey 06:05, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
Today after the discussion on my talk page I took the liberty of visiting the largest bookshop in the area as well as the local library. I examined each Latin, Ancient Greek, and Classical Greek dictionary. Publication dates were as recent as the 21st century in some cases. In each case, from the oldest to the most modern, listed "nascor" as either "to be born" or "be born". Greek dictionaries also defined all verbs by English infinitives mostly with "to", occasionally without. Yet you state: "While centuries-old Latin dictionaries often translate verbs in terms of infinitives (continuing the tradition of the earliest Renaissance dictionaries) modern Latin dictionaries (such as Oxford's) and textbooks (like Wheelock's) do not do this because they recognize that such translations are both misleading and fundamentally incorrect."
At least two of the dictionaries I consulted were Oxford publications. Are you saying that the editors and compilers of these dictionaries share my "incomplete knowledge of Latin present tense meanings"? Could it not be that you have an incomplete knowledge of Latin lexicography?
For the job of translating sentences I of course agree that the Latin present active does not translate the English infinitive. But translating sentences is not our job. Any good translator translates in context and our context as that of a dictionary. Bilingual dictionaries use a basic form to represent the entire word in all its forms. For English verbs they use the infinitive for this job. For Latin verbs they use the present active for this job. They list "nascor" on one side because it is that form, they list "be born" on the other because that is the basic form. They do not intend that "be born" should be read as a literal prose translation of "nascor". English dictionaries further often have the tradition the tradition of "to" when describing verbs. This is not meant to imply that the word in the other language is also an infinitive, rather to clarify that in English it is a verb, since English words often conflate nouns and verbs in a single form.
The issue is not whether to put the main entries at their so-called "lemma" entries. It's clear that we all agree on that. The issue is how to word the English side. Are we a literary translation or site or a dictionary site? I say we are a dictionary and we should describe the basic forms of verbs in all other languages using the basic form of the English form, that form happens to be the infinitive, and it happens to be what all users accustomed to bilingual dictionaries expect. It is neither some murky misunderstaning I've dredged up from the dark ages nor some radical concept I'm trying to force upon an unexpecting public. It's how dictionaries work. — hippietrail 09:42, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
You say that it's clear we all agree that main entries should be at their lemma form, but why then this edit and this edit, where you moved information away from the lemma page? Your edits do not agree with your professed opinion. --EncycloPetey 14:02, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
@EncycloPetey: Your summary of the About Latin discussion is accurate, but IMHO a bit misleading. Everyone seems to agree, then as now, on what form should be used as the citation form for Latin verbs; the debate is not over where we should translate the verbs, but over how we should translate them. That point was raised by Kipmaster in the discussion you link to, but he didn't express an opinion, nor (so far as I can tell) did anyone else. (Oddly, the closest that Wiktionary:About Latin comes to addressing this issue is in an example you added, whereby spērō was glossed as “hope, expect” in a etymology; but around the same time, you were creating Latin verb entries that look much like the ones you create nowadays, so I don't think we can read too much into that.) —RuakhTALK 01:14, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree that we should generally translate lemmata to lemmata. In some languages lemma form is in 3rd-person (Sanskrit, Old Irish, Hebrew, Hungarian..) in which case we'd have to translate them as "he/she/it <verb>s" which would look ridiculous. At any case, I think that we should simply follow the most widespread lexicographical convention for a particular language. FWIW, Oxford Latin Dictionary translates Latin citation forms as English infinitives, for nascor giving "to be born" (among other 14 meanings). This isn't such a big deal anyway, as there is very rarely difference between English infinitive and first-person form (basically it's just the addition of the first-person pronoun plus "am" or "was"), so it presents no real educational obstacle to the users. --Ivan Štambuk 11:00, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
    You say that it's "not a big deal", but it is to hippietrail. Look at the edits he's made to nascor and nasci, in which he's moved information away from lemma pages. He's talking out of both sides of his mouth. --EncycloPetey 14:04, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
    Well, I personally don't find it such a big deal anyway to read/type either "to x" or "I x". It's just about the same level of cognitive dissonance to the reader - the first form for not being a direct translation of the FL headword, the second one for being "unusual" to the reader accustomed to having English infinitives in the definition lines. --Ivan Štambuk 16:50, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree 100% with Hippietrail and Ivan. I think it makes Wiktionary look really unprofessional when we translate lemmata to non-lemmata, like we've never looked at a real dictionary to understand the conventions of the field. (N.B.: I say "real dictionary" not because Wiktionary isn't one, but because it doesn't look like one when you see these entries.) —RuakhTALK 12:55, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
    And the editors of Latin, Ancient Greek, and Old Armenian disagree. You did notice that "born" itself is not a lemma? --EncycloPetey 13:57, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
  • To elaborate a bit further: these half-hearted attempts at in-context translations smack of trying really hard to be helpful to totally clueless people — and failing, because the relationships between verb forms are too complex for a dictionary entry to be thoroughly useful to someone with no idea about them.
    Look. It will never happen that some monolingual English speaker will come across the once-popular bumper sticker שמור מרחק מאהוד ברק, take a picture, paste it into Wiktionary's OCR-image-upload-interface, and get a translation. We are a dictionary. If it is our goal to help people understand sentences in languages they know nothing about, languages with radically different grammars and word orders from English — and I think that's a good, lofty goal — then we need to spend more time listening to Robert Ullmann and (I can't believe I'm saying this) Connel MacKenzie, and work on making our content readily machine-readable so that free OCR and translation software can make use of it. Because we're fooling ourselves if we think this sort of translation gets us even partway there.
    RuakhTALK 13:49, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
For 3rd-party software parsing Wiktionary database it's pretty trivial to simply ignore the first-person pronoun (and possible copulae like am, was etc.), as much as they would ignore the particle to. 3rd-party software is of absolutely no interest to us ATM, we're stuck with this website, and our primary target are language learners browsing it. --Ivan Štambuk 01:46, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. I wasn't saying "literalist translations interfere with use by third-party software" (though Hippietrail does seem to be saying that below, and I'd welcome further elaboration on that), but rather "literalist translations are pointless; a static dictionary simply can't hold clueless readers' hands to any useful extent, so the only way we can help with that is to help third-party software to help with that". But it seems that my point was moot; in the past, people have advanced the "our readers are clueless" argument, but this time they seem to be sticking to the "this is the correct translation" argument. Which is also misguided, but not for reasons addressed by my comment. :-P   —RuakhTALK 02:50, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Fourthed, I agree. FWIW on fr:nascor it say naître (the infinitive) not je nais. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:05, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
      You can see the silliness this line of reasoning leads to by looking at what happens on the Latin Wiktionary entry for, where the definition is given as gigni (present active infinitive) but actually links to gigno (the lemma form). --EncycloPetey 13:57, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I also agree. It always seemed strange to me to translate these 1st principal parts literally, but I imagined that this was perhaps the way modern Latin dictionaries had gone. If that's not the case I think Ruakh is dead right – it smacks of misdirected over-enthusiasm. I also respect our Latin and Greek editors, and I'm sure they considered the issue. I can only say it still jumps out at me a bit whever I see it. Ƿidsiþ 14:35, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

While I can see the pros and cons of both sides of this rather unfortunate coin, I have to lead to the side of the literal translations. To give the definition of nascere in the entry for nasco is rather... incorrect. I don't want to hear anymore talk of "this is how paper dictionaries do it" because, you guessed it, we aren't a paper dictionary and we go far beyond their scope. It might look silly to say "he read" for Hebrew and Arabic entries, but their lemma don't mean "to read". — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 14:45, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

And do you wish to use these correct meanings throughout or just for Latin and Hebrew verb lemmas? — hippietrail 14:53, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree completely with opiaterein (14:45, 10 November 2009 (UTC)).​—msh210 19:18, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
Opiaterein is the first to mention "paper" in this topic. I doubt very much that the choice of wood-based fibre as a publication substrate had a lot of influence on the dictionary compilers deciding between "to" and "I" in verb definitions. The only adjective used to describe the other dictionaries here has been "real dictionaries", to which I might add "professional" and "traditional". I'd say these are the qualities rather than paperness that has led them unaminously to use English infinitives in verb definitions.
Ironically, boldly breaking the "infinitives in definitions" tradition actually holds Wiktionary back to being just like a paper dictionary being only useful for reading as prose. Using the standard form of definitions frees up our data to be used in other applications such as educational software, automatic translation, etc. — hippietrail 22:59, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
Again, how hard it is to convert "I x" to "to x" ? --Ivan Štambuk 01:49, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Latin is indeed the easy case since only "to be" is irregular in the English first person singular present. It's a lot worse for languages like Hebrew which use the 3rd person singular present for certain classes of words. Those ending in "y" spring to mind. It would be worse again if there are languages which use a past form as dictionary form. Unless you are arguing for being inconsistent across the various languages perhaps. — hippietrail 03:05, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
@Opiaterein: I think that's misguided, for two reasons. First, [[nascor]] is not specifically about the verb form nāscor; rather, it's an entry for the entire verb commonly identified by "nāscor" or by "nāscor, nāscī, nātus sum". The English verb commonly identified by "be born" or "to be born" is a perfectly correct translation of that Latin verb. And second, if we really want to go about claiming that [[nascor]] is specifically about the verb form nāscor, then how come we translate it only as "I am born", leaving out "am born" and "I'm being born" and "am being born"? Those are all quite plausible translations of the specific verb form nāscor. (I think y'all are trying to have it both ways; you want the "correct" translation of the specific verb-form, but at some point you give up and just choose the simplest-seeming of the possible translations. msh210 puts in a bit more effort, crafting his definitions in a way that simultaneously covers several possible translations, but even then he gives up long before exhausting the list. And rightly so: a full list would be moronic.) —RuakhTALK 21:21, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Re "[[nascor]] is not specifically about the verb form nāscor; rather, it's an entry for the entire verb": Well, yes, to an extent, but not to the same extent as in other dictionaries. They list only one form of a verb, so it makes sense for them to translate it as an infinitive. We, who aim to list all forms, are differentiating treatment of them by having form-specific info on the definition line for most, but lemma info for one.​—msh210 17:30, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I think the term "lemma" can be a bit confusing. It seems to have too narrow scope. The terms "citation form" and "dictionary form" are better. Compounds and phrases don't really have a single lemma since each of their parts would have a lemma. Dictionary form seems the most practical becuase it just means "the form used in dictionaries", and from looking in lots of dictionaries today I can see that even a passive like "to be born" is a dictionary form but not a lemma. The closest lemma might be "bear" which is not helpful at all.
  • One thing that concerns me is that mapping basic forms to inflected forms or sentence fragments restricts Wiktionary to direct human reading. Using it as a resource of data about words would be vastly more complicated. We have the potential to offer the world a multilingual version of something like wordnet. DBpedia is already datamining Wikipedia for information about the world. I would love them to be able to mine Wiktionary for data about the world's languages. We don't have to sacrifice human readability for this. We just have to be like a "real dictionary". — hippietrail 14:53, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
nāscor — AEL

Sorry, EP. The main Old Armenian contributor has changed his mind. I was just monkeying our conventions for Latin before. All Old Armenian dictionaries translate lemma-to-lemma and that's what I think we should do also for Latin and Ancient Greek. That's how all modern Russian dictionaries of la and grc do. Definitions like "I bloom, blossom, flower, froth" as in floreo look awkward and, personally, distract me from understanding translations fast. --Vahagn Petrosyan 15:45, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

We now have a lot of investment in the existing arrangement. Given the present state of affairs, what would change? It makes little difference to what I do. If referring to a Latin verb in an etymology I often use the parameters of {{term}} to show the infinitive of Latin verbs but link to our entry which is not the infinitive. This allows a kind of consistency across languages in the etymology, at least. To me the "to" is very useful in etymology (term) glosses to remind the user that the term is a verb not a noun of the same spelling. DCDuring TALK 20:19, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, the existing arrangement is inconsistent. Latin and Ancient Greek are (almost) entirely one way; Arabic and Aramaic are (almost) entirely the opposite way; and Hebrew and (Modern) Greek are both internally inconsistent, due to nonuniform or non-constant editor preferences. (There are some other affected languages, such as Old Armenian, but none has very many verb entries SFAIK.) Overall, Latin has by far the best representation of these — almost three times as many verbs as the second-place Hebrew or the close-third-place Aramaic — so I'm pretty confident that the majority of affected entries are the literalist way; but the total number of affected entries is on the order of 2500 or 3000, which in the grand scheme of things is not very many. Whichever group we choose to change (assuming we do reach a consensus to change one group to match the other), it's not like we have to change them all overnight. —RuakhTALK 23:25, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
No, verbs inheriting from present active infinitive (as is mostly the case in the descending Romance languages) should be glossed as "to <verb>". Only then one could add, "present active infinitive of {{term|x|y|I <verb>|lang=la}}", to point to Latin lemma form. In cases such as this, it is actually good to have correctly translated Latin etymons. --Ivan Štambuk 01:46, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
To piggyback off what Ivan has just said: For etymologies, forms of verbs should not be hidden using {{term}}. The compromise described on WT:ALA#Romance language verbs is to give the present active infinitive as the immediate form from which the modern Romance verb derives, but to explicitly indicate that it is the present active infinitive of lemma. Likewise, if it is known that a Spanish (e.g.) noun form derives from the ablative of noun X, a similar construction can be used. When glossing Latin verbs in etymologies, I deliberately leave out the "I" unless it would be akward to make clear the word is a verb, but I keep in mind that some translations can be ambiguous. So, I gloss ferō (carry, bear) rather than ferō (bear). I never use the infinitive particle "to" when glossing a first principal part of a Latin verb, and I prefer to leave them out of glossing any verb in an etymology, as it's usually just visual noise if the gloss is carefully selected. However, I agree with DCD that there are times where the infinitive particle may be needed (for verbs in English, Spanish, French, etc.) when it isn't clear that the glossed word is a verb. This point might be worth a separate discussion, perhaps at the editable ELE, to make this point of style uniform. --EncycloPetey 02:51, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
(Not sure where to post this, not to interrupt the ongoing discussion) I prefer "to be born" over "I am born", and have been creating "I am born"-like entries only because that is the current Wiktionary practice. The lemma entry stands for the entire word, not for its particular forms. So lemmas should be mapped to lemmas. In addition, Hippietrail tells us this is the actual practice in printed dictionaries. --Dan Polansky 23:20, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
I repeat a point everyone has overlooked: "born" is not a lemma; the lemma is bear. People who have been arguing for mapping "lemma to lemma" exclusively have not addressed this problem or the similar problems I have pointed out with this approach. --EncycloPetey 23:50, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, Hippietrail did address this "problem" in one of his comments above, by clarifying that "lemma to lemma" had been the wrong word choice on his part. Secondly, the normal way to translate a verb to English is with an infinitival verb phrase (either bare or full, depending on the dictionary — I prefer full, personally), just as the normal way to define a verb within English is with an infinitival verb phrase. It's hardly a "problem" that the resulting translation or definition is sometimes not an idiom. Thirdly, I'm not sure why you're talking about "born". No one is suggesting that nāscor be translated as "born"; we're suggesting it be translated as "be born". And lastly, this isn't really relevant to the discussion as a whole, but — I think "be born" is idiomatic and should have an entry. When we say "bore him in her womb" we mean "was pregnant with him", but when we say "was born", we mean "was expelled from the womb". Give or take. And the usual past participle of "bear" nowadays is actually "borne", but in this sense we always write "born", which definitely suggests it's taken on a life of its own. —RuakhTALK 00:41, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Did you read Dan's comment imediately above mine? Whatever hippitrail may have said, the people participating in this discussiion are arguing for "lemma to lemma". If that isn't what is being argued, then someone needs to clarify exactly what the point is, because "lemma to lemma" is what people are responding to. Otherwise, that will continue to be the point of discussion, since no alternative has been articulated. --EncycloPetey 02:57, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I read it, and I think everyone is arguing the same thing, just slightly abusing the word "lemma". Hippietrail suggested "dictionary form", which seems reasonable, though it does beg the question a little.
Your comment seems to imply that you don't understand what we mean, but that seems unlikely. I think, rather, that you're being a stickler for correct use of the word "lemma". And that's fine, if so — pedantry is the stuff that dictionaries are made on, and words like "lemma" are especially good to get right — but I'm not willing to play a sort of protracted game where I try to explain in good faith, and you pretend not to understand what I mean. If you really and truly don't understand, please come out and say so explicitly — and try to say exactly what part you don't understand, please, insofar as you can pin it down — and I'll do my best to explain it for you.
RuakhTALK 03:42, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Well fine then. If this whole discussion is pedantry, then we can drop it without further discussion. If you are unwilling/unable to clearly state what the discussion is about, then the discussion must not be that important. We can't reach a consensus when different people are all working under different opinons about what the issue is. --EncycloPetey 05:48, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
To me Ruakh seems totally clear: the best citation form is "to be born", because this puts the verb "be" in the infinitive. (It does not require us to put "bear" in the infinitive, that would be crazy for verbs like this.) Whether or not this is called a lemma is a minor secondary point. Ƿidsiþ 10:24, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
To EncycloPetey, unindenting: I admit that lemma is not always used as the translation, which I did not realize before you pointed it out. Nevertheless, lemma is not used at these cases of terms where there is some specific reason to make an exception, as is the case with "to be born". The form "bear" as a lemma seems an oddity to me: a child is born, while the mother gives birth to the child. I would personally be happy to see "be born" as a dictionary entry; I have learned the term as "be born", not as "bear".
Whereas the acceptance of "be born"-like forms instead of the lemma pertains to a fraction of all the terms, the decision to use the present active affects every single verb.
The heuristic rule: map lemma to lemma unless unspecified conditions for an exception are met; yes, the conditions for an exception are left unarticulated. --Dan Polansky 17:12, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Not sure where to put this, but here's a true story. I was struggling through a French text, not knowing any French. Fortunately, it was a technical text in my own field, which helps. I came across the word soit and did not know what it meant. (It's the third-person singular subjunctive of "to be", roughly "let it be".) Suppose we chose the subjunctive as our citation form (lemma form, dictionary form). This might seem an outlandish supposition, but which one we choose is just a choice. I mean, the story with soit could have occurred with any other form. So suppose that were our citation form, and we had "to be" on the definition line and, as so many citation-form entries have, no conjugation table. I would have absolutely no idea what the word meant. I can think of two main uses for an anglophone — and remember, English Wiktionary is meant for anglophones — to look up a foreign word's definition (not pronunciation or what-have-you, which is not under discussion here). One, he comes across the word in context, as I did soit. For those purposes, a lemma-to-lemma translation is almost completely useless, as my soit story exemplifies, and a form-to-form translation is useful. Two, he comes across the word out of context, such as in an etymology in enwikt or another dictionary, or standing alone. For those purposes, the lemma-to-lemma translation is better, I'll admit, but the form-to-form translation is still very useful. So the best choice is the form-to-form translation.​—msh210 17:30, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
I think you're missing the point a bit. nascor is a lemma form: the question is how to translate that into English in its definition line. soit is not a lemma form, and the translation will always say "subjunctive form of" etc., directing you to être where you can see a full declension table for the verb. English-French is easy because both languages use infinitives as lemmas, but in Latin that's not the case. Ƿidsiþ 09:25, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
I think he gets the point; he just disagrees. Nāscor is a lemma form, but it's also a form someone could conceivably come across in actual reading — someone, say, who might have no knowledge of Latin besides what they can piece together from knowledge of Western Romance languages. If such a someone saw it translated as "to be born", they might wrongly infer that it's the infinitive — it even kind of looks like a Romance infinitive, with that <-r> at the end — and fail to understand the sentence. To be honest, this is the only argument I find even remotely convincing. (I'd find it more convincing if the affected languages weren't just so different from English in such features as case and word order and pronoun usage and proclitic prepositions, the sort of features that make it basically impossible to read a text without some knowledge of the language beyond what you can learn by naively looking up individual words. Like, if Scots used a different lemma, I'd find this a much more compelling argument; but Classical and Semitic languages, not so much.) —RuakhTALK 12:49, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
Besides, all Latin verbs are supposed to have conjugation tables which explicitly mention that, e.g. nascor is 1st person present active indicative and nasci is the infinitive. This further reduces the possibility of the confusion Ruakh mentions can happen. --Vahagn Petrosyan 13:44, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
(Yes, Ruakh, you understood me correctly.) Yes, Vahagn, they should have conjugations, but they don't. or maybe Latin does (I don't know), but others don't.​—msh210 15:58, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

As with those before me, I'm not sure if this is the best place to insert this comment, but.. My apologies EP, as I'm sure you'll be kicking yourself now, for inviting me to this discussion, but I'm starting to think that mapping lemma to lemma is, in fact the best practice (putting aside the nuanced, inane distinctions between lemma, dictionary form, citation form, etc. Come on, we all know what's being discussed here). As someone already mentioned, and I think that this is the real crux of the argument, the entry at [[nascor]] is not about the first person singular present active form, it's about all the forms, viewed collectively. If this were not the case, I'd have to wonder why there's a "passive" contag at ἐξαφανίζω. ἐξαφανίζω is not passive, it's active. I think that the distinction between a collection of words, and the specific word cited is one which we often fail to recognize, and it's something which will probably come back to bite us if we're not careful. EP, I think your bit about "more good" is a silly tangent. "More good" is not a lemma in English, it's a disallowed construction. However, it does, inadvertently, raise a good point. If we do decide to do lemma-to-lemma translations, then we have to allow a certain flexibility. For example, we need to allow passive translations, when the active/passive status is different between an entry and its English equivalent. Additionally, "full of rabbit" does not work, for obvious reasons, and yet I would probably put "full of [[rabbit|rabbits]]", as [[rabbits]] is a pretty useless entry. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 03:24, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Atelaes, I my be disappointed that you have taken the boneheaded side of the argument, but I'd still rather have you participating in this discussion than not. As one of the individuals whose edits could be radically affected by the outcome of this discussion, you need to be here. You also have a knack for clarity of expression and for spotting issues and angles that others miss (including myself). So, whether you are agreeable or oppositional, I refuse to kick myself over asking you to participate. --EncycloPetey 05:00, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
I see no problems with labels such as (passive) in the definition lines, marking additional, special meaning that the verb takes in what is otherwise a regularly derived morphological category. For Sanskrit I use some well-defined templates such as {{causative}}, {{desiderative}}, {{intensive}} (I wonder why there is no {{passive}} yet) to mark such. (e.g. at the bottom of the entries तिष्ठति or रोचते). The "normal" senses also make those moods/voices using the regular morphology, but it's pointless to separate those derived verbal stems in their own separate entries. They're all translated as English infinitive forms, with a rather liberal usage of copulae as well as additional words that can be used to convey the meaning (i.e. causative as "to cause to x"). (With all that in mind, I'd actually want to see "be born" sense listed at the entry for bear!) Of course, if the verb is in its inflection defective in some form, confined only to a particular category, such labels are completely unnecessary in the definition lines, and such information properly belongs to the headword itself (i.e. the inflection line). --Ivan Štambuk 04:16, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
Err... slightly off topic, Ivan, but I want to reply to your last sentence about mentioning the type of defectiveness in the inflection line. I knew when I started working on Latin verbs that there would be problems with the irregular and defective froms, but did not appreciate the scale of the problem until I'd actually worked on them for a while. I think Caladon has an appreciation of these difficulties as well. There are more patterns of defectiveness in Latin verbs than any dictionary or textbook ever made clear to me. Yes, some patterns have simple terms to describe them, such as verbs with only passive conjugation (deponent), or verbs that are active only, or ones that are impersonal, or those that are inchoative. But there are scads of others for which no concise explanation exists, such as those that lack all forms derived from the second, third, and fourth principal parts, or those that lack a perfective conjugation, or those whose passive conjugation is limited to third-person forms (and somtimes just the singular forms of those). For a highly inflected language like Latin, there are just too many complicated ways that a verb can be defective to cover all the possibilities on the inflection line in a template (even with added text). For the simple to explain situations, I will mark that pattern on the verb's inflection line, but for many of the complicated verbs, I put that information into the Inflection subsection only. --EncycloPetey 05:00, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
An afterthought: one thing is obscured by the fact that the present-tense first-person form of an English verb is actually the same as its infinitive form: "swim" is the same form in "I swim" or "to swim". So it turns out that by linking the verb form after "I " like "I [[swim]]", we link it to the lemma of the verb. This is not so in highly inflected languages. In German, it would read "Ich schwimme", whereas the lemma is "schwimmen". The markup in a German dictionary would probably have to be "Ich [[schwimmen|schwimme]]". How much ugly this looks depends on taste, but it is a complication of the form-to-form approach, as contrasted to lemma-to-lemma-with-exceptions approach. --Dan Polansky 09:17, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
The same is true in enwikt with other languages, such as Hebrew, which uses a past-tense form as its citation form. (This is not a change of heart from my opinion as stated above. I'm just saying, is all.)​—msh210 15:58, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
So, then, I have to ask the folks who are arguing for grammatically specific translations, what would you do for languages where the citation form is a past tense (or any other tense). Would you do "he [[swims|swim]]" or "he [[swims]]". I guess I hadn't realized that the first person present is also the same as the infinitive in English, and so us classicists hadn't come up against this issue. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:39, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
I link to the citation form and display the conjugated form.​—msh210 17:00, 19 November 2009 (UTC)


IMO, sense #3 and #5 are more or less the same, and could easily be combined. Hell, even #4 could be mixed in, as the only distinction is that it be animal or human. I think this would make the page a lot easier to read (and a lot easier to formulate translations too). Opinions? Tooironic 11:29, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Yes - delete senses 3 and 4, expand 5 a little with e.g. "especially when working towards a common purpose". SemperBlotto 11:34, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

sweetness and light

Can someone pleasey please make an entry for this idiom? There is a whole wikipedia page you can consult, with heaps of usages and a comprehensive etymology. I have a modern quotation to add for it, so we could really make something beautiful here. Tooironic 12:01, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Put the quotation in Citations:sweetness and light for now. I believe there is a list or category of items that have citations, but not entries. DCDuring TALK 16:36, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
Adding {{citation}} to that citations page will so categorize it.​—msh210 16:41, 13 November 2009 (UTC)


Please help me break up the etymologies of the different senses. I just created #3 with a quotation. I have feeling it was made famous in that Karate Kid movie but I'm not sure... Tooironic 13:16, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

IMHO, I think there's no need to have more etymologies - I have changed {{context|idiom|lang=und}} into {{context|figurative|lang=und}}, as I believe, an idiom cannot be a single word. --Volants 12:43, 12 November 2009 (UTC)


Does "thibilant" refer to dental fricatives or sibilant fricatives, like shibilants? I've come across some contradictory information when trying to clobber up a simple wikt definition. ˉˉanetode╦╩ 09:55, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

  • I believe that it is a dental fricative, sometimes called an interdental fricative. SemperBlotto 09:58, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Th is pretty systemetically called an interdental. "s" can be a dental! (all it needs is for the tip of the tongue to reach the teeth as opposed to just the ridge behind them, although most such sounds are described as alveolar for convenience, interdentals are not typically called just dentals). —This unsigned comment was added by Circeus (talkcontribs) at 21:54, 13 November 2009 (UTC).
      • w:Voiceless dental fricative disagrees with you; and w:Interdental consonant agrees with you about American English, but suggests that the British realizations of /θ/ and /ð/ may not be interdental at all. So, there seems to be some variation in the terminology. —RuakhTALK 22:58, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Animal noises as interjections

Should stuff like woof, meow, miaow, baa, moo, maa and whatnot be listed as interjections? Meow and woof have human meanings, some are not listed as interjections, and some are. I mean baa is not an interjection for a human being. If one of these were to get RFV'ed then, what would happen? Mglovesfun (talk) 18:13, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Let me clarify the issues, and forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but I see that there are two issues here. There are three categories of such words:
  1. Some, like low, are verbs or nouns only, and are not used to represent the sound of the animal. What to do about those is clear imo: include them as nouns/verbs.
  2. Others, perhaps, are only used to represent that sound, and never (attestably) as a verb or noun.
  3. The majority, I suspect, are used as both.
The two issues I see are:
  • What to do about the noun sense for the third category. It not be inclusible, as it might be like the "noun" jumping Jehoshaphat in the sentence "He was full of jumping Jehoshaphats that day, screaming the phrase every other minute.".
  • What to do about the interjection-like sense in the third category, or about the second category.
This second issue has been bugging me a bit for some time, and I think Interjection as a POS header is the best we can do unless we invent a new one ("Representation of animal sound", anyone?).​—msh210 18:31, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
That last point is especially good. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:44, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
The class of items is perhaps somewhat broader than what Msh210 refers to, also including noises involuntarily made by humans or by parts of the body other than the vocal mechanism and sounds of machines and of inanimate nature. If I utter "kaboom" in the course of telling a story, that isn't an interjection in the sense of the normal definition, which requires that it carry a speaker's emotion.
But the issues are as stated. I have taken to making categories (sometimes hidden ones) for entries that are not good fits with the PoS under which we present them. For English phrases i have Category:English sentences, Category:English subordinate clauses, Category:English coordinates, and Category:English non-constituents, among others. Perhaps Category:English representations of non-speech sounds (or something briefer) would do while we pondered the possibilities. The category would be useful to track the ones that we already have and provide grist for the mill.
My own preference would be to make these things all nouns. Any noun can be used as interjections (in the sense of an utterance not grammatically part of a sentence). All of these things can be used as nouns (whether or not attestably so). "His kabooms made the children squeal." DCDuring TALK 20:24, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

universalising mother

Would there be any problem universalising (species-wise) sense 1 by changing
"A female that conceives, gives birth to, or raises a child" to "A female that conceives, gives birth to, or raises young"? (Then we can delete def 5: "A female parent of an animal." and move the quotation ("The lioness was a mother of four cubs.") to sense 1.)
Also, I think that the use of "mother" to mean "pregnant woman" (i.e. "female that conceives") is different enough from the meaning "a female who has given birth to, or raised young" to require a separate def.--Tyranny Sue 05:07, 14 November 2009 (UTC)--Tyranny Sue 05:16, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

I think it's worth giving "human mother" its own sense, because I imagine that its application to other animals is by extension. Even if that's not the case historically, I feel like it's the case in current usage. (Actually, I think the primary sense is our current sense #2, where "mother" is relative to the son(s) and/or daughter(s), as in "my mother", "their mother", etc. Consider a phrase like "a face that only a mother could love", where "mother" is implied to be the face's owner's mother, even though there's no explicit possessive.) —RuakhTALK 14:33, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your input, Ruakh. DCDuring & I are discussing it on the mother talk page. I will try to incorporate your suggestion.--Tyranny Sue 04:09, 17 November 2009 (UTC)


What about read in the sense of "for example". "Many actors have tried their hand at playing Abraham Lincoln (read: John Carradine, Henry Fonda and Brendan Fraser)." Does this usage really exist, or is it all in my head? Tooironic 14:11, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

I've not seen it used to mean "for example", quite, but there is a similar usage, that we don't seem to cover, that basically offers a sort of "translation":
  • [4] Sadly for Dug though, he doesn’t have the personality or skill set (read: he’s too sweet, goofy, and innocent) to fit in.
  • [5] [] ; among other things, he developed household uses for powdered gelatin (read: he invented Jell-O), []
  • [6] "We (read: "you") will simply have to learn to do more, with less..."
I assume the origin is in the use of "for ____, read ____" in errata/corrigenda:
There is a typo in the third paragraph of page 7. For "Abraham Linkin", read "Abraham Lincoln".
(see e.g. http://books.google.com/books?id=n98_AAAAIAAJ&pg=PP17&dq=read), which sometimes bridges the gap between the senses:
  • [7] For "nice" read "the least they could do."
but they might just be separate-but-related uses. We don't seem to cover either one.
BTW, Spanish has a similar, easier-to-search-for usage: check out google news:"léase". However, I think of English pseudo-translation "read" as pretty informal, whereas I don't get that impression at all about Spanish léase.
RuakhTALK 15:23, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
There is (at least in the pages of some other dictionaries) a verb sense for this. What is the form/pronunciation for this: imperative/"reed" or past participle/"red"? If it is another part of speech, perhaps some species of adverb, the pronunciation question remains. It does seem to serve a discourse-directing/structuring function, like for example et al. I have put some others like this in Category:English discourse markers. Would that be appropriate for this? Does the category need a different name or membership? DCDuring TALK 18:43, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
I assumed it was pronounced as the imperative, but now that you ask, I'm not sure. And, I don't know what part of speech it is; etymology argues for verb, and no other POS seems to be screaming out dibs on it, so I think I'd go with that. (As for the discourse marker thing, someone else will have to address that. I really don't know what the right criteria are for identifying those.) —RuakhTALK 04:54, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
I can only imagine this being used orally in a scholarly setting or among actors. Perhaps we could ask in some WP scholars' and actors' forums. Working from writing would mean we'd be dependent on rhymes, which don't come up in the use context.
Perhaps we should put candidate discourse markers into the category until we have enough to be worth worrying about, but not so many as to be hard to correct. Some of our more interesting entries do not have obvious PoSs and/or are not constituents. DCDuring TALK 13:37, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Added it in as an adverb, since that's what we have that is and in other words listed as. Circeus 05:28, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks; I've added an {{informal}} tag, and a b.g.c. cite. I've also added the verb sense I brought up, and a b.g.c. cite for it as well. —RuakhTALK 19:22, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

domestic cat et al.

domestic cat, domesticated animal, domestic animal and some others that I haven't found yet (but will). Are these idiomatic? If I want to know what a domesticated cat is, why can't I just look up domesticated and cat? Mglovesfun (talk) 18:31, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

domestic duck and domestic pigeon. Note that domestic pigeon is the synonym of feral pigeon. Hmm. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:39, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
When dealing with living creatures, we have many entries sub-divided way down to minor species level. Just look at some of the bird entries, for example. "Domestic cat" is following the same CFI ..
  1. Genus Felis
  • Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti)
  • Domestic Cat (Felis catus)
  • Jungle Cat (Felis chaus)
  • Pallas's Cat (Felis manul)
  • Sand Cat (Felis margarita)
  • Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes)
  • Wildcat (Felis silvestris)
I must admit I can't find any entry for domesticated cat, so feel free to just look up domesticated and cat.

domesticated animal, and domestic animal are separate issues. Please could you separate them, instead of lumping them all together? Thanks. -- ALGRIF talk 14:15, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't have to be "me" that separates them, you can just start a new paragraph, as can anyone. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:53, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
It's not a question of a new paragraph. Each term to be considered should be in a separate BP section to begin with. Lumping them together leads to confusion as to just what is being discussed. --EncycloPetey 06:55, 23 November 2009 (UTC)


dunk is a perfect synonym to this word

Not perfect, but certainly a possible synonym for the first sense. Do we split synonyms by sense? Dbfirs 18:13, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
* {{sense|some gloss}} [[synonym]], [[synonym]] AFAIK.​—msh210 18:29, 16 November 2009 (UTC)


The verb spreadeagle is listed as alternative spelling of the adjective spread-eagle. Since hyphenation in English is something wherewith I do not consider myself conversant, I plea for resolving this issue. Are both words adjectives, both verbs or (if the parts of speech are ok) this is no alternative spelling. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 17:55, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

There should also be a verb at spread-eagle. That seems to be the more common form for the verb by nearly 2:1. (I compared "spread-eagling" with "spreadeagling".) We should have at least a noun entry at spread eagle. "Spread-eagle" serves as an adverb as well, I think. I don't think "spreadeagle" serves and noun, adjective, or adverb frequently enough to be worth sections for those PoSs, though it might prove attestable. "Spread-eagled" seems to be an adjective (used in comparatives), too.
This jumble is not the most typical pattern of hyphen use in English, but it is one of the patterns. There is a certain level of predictability to it, but one I wouldn't be so bold as to pretend I could adequately explain. DCDuring TALK 23:13, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

article of dress

This is up for deletion on fr:article of dress, however nobody can actually work out what it means, the definition is too vague. Anybody care to work out what this means? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:00, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

The usual phrase in English is article of clothing, not article of dress. It's sum of parts, as far as I'm concerned, since it's also a piece of clothing, item of clothing, etc. --EncycloPetey 06:53, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

save oneself

I just created this slang entry - does it look right to you guys? Any comments are welcome. Tooironic 07:57, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Idiom, yes; slang, no. DCDuring TALK 13:01, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

code words

Are entries like language code, currency code and country code idiomatic? I'm unsure. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:51, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Our current definition for currency code is "A three-letter designation assigned by ISO standard 4217 denoting a given currency" which, if it's correct and complete, means the term is idiomatic.​—msh210 17:41, 16 November 2009 (UTC)


I just noticed we only had URL classified as an initialism, which is how I use it. But on webcasts I've heard others use it as an acronym pronounced the same as earl.

I've always felt that our division between acronyms and initialisms at the part-of-speech level was another case of us being over-fussy, over-literal, hair-splitting, etc, but lacked any good examples why. This seems to be one such example. Other dictionaries just use "acronym" for both but distinguish them from "abbreviations" where we attempt to separate all three.

I've gone ahead and added it as an acronym but it makes the page look pretty silly since it's still only really one word with one sense.

Any way to fix it breaks one or another of our layout rules. Besides the way I've done it which makes it look like two homonyms we could add a new part-of-speech such as "Acronym and initialism" or "Initialism or Acronym".

Then again as we know neither acronym nor initialism are actually parts of speech. They are just a couple of examples of non-POS terms which can go into the field which usually contains part of speech. Most but not all acronyms and initialisms are nouns, which is a part of speech.

Perhaps another way to tackle such problems is to distinguish more clearly the differences between "dictionary entry types" and "word types" where the latter is a subset of the former and the former and the latter is much closer to "part of speech". Another area where this lack of distinction seems to cause subtle problems is "word as a whole" entries vs. "word form" entries. — hippietrail 02:24, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Just for your interest, we French Wiktionarians never use acronym, initialism, or abbreviation as word class. URL is a noun, that’s all. Why don’t you do it in the same way? - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:17, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
One reason is that it saves on space at the start of the entry. A heading of "initialism" simultaneously indicates the etymology and pronunciation without requiring either of those sections be added, which puts the "definitions" closer to the top of the page. If we classified URL as a noun, then it requires an etymology and pronunciation section be added at the outset of the article. The same thing often is true of abbreviations. --EncycloPetey 02:43, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Words found in an article about a Pharmaceutical Company



THANKS FOR ANY HELP YOU CAN GIVE ME —This comment was unsigned.

  1. late - stage pipeline = Products that are almost ready to come to market (generating cash soon thereafter).
  2. powerhouse - something notable, but not able to be labeled by something unambiguous like "market leader". DCDuring TALK 19:01, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

polar cone

CAn any mathematics make some sense of this entry? --Volants 16:31, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

I've rewritten it in English. It's not perfect, but I think it's about as well as can be done, given (1) that understanding of the term requires understanding of the underlying math, and (2) that it's one of those terms, like mother (female parent) or antecedent (what a pronoun points back to) or reciprocal (multiplicative inverse), that's defined relative to something else ("my mother", "this pronoun's antecedent", "the reciprocal of four"), which generally makes for a very awkward definition, as there's no easy way to indicate the something-else in the definition. —RuakhTALK 18:27, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
There is a hypernym to start from: w:Cone (linear algebra), so we don't necessarily require a mathematical description, but we would need the matching definition at cone. Circeus 05:06, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

as far as one knows

1) Should it be translated as as far as one knows OR as far as I know? Because there's a contradiction here in the translation table. 2) The example sentence - John could be dead as far as I know. - doesn't really give the same idea/mood as "To the best of one's knowledge." does it? The implicature is more "I don't care" or something to that effect IMO. Tooironic 19:36, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Snickers & Toblerone

Should these two - and other ones like it - be considered nouns or proper nouns? Tooironic 06:49, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Trademarks. — hippietrail 03:04, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I know, but one comes up as Noun, the other Proper noun, so which one is it? Tooironic 08:28, 19 November 2009 (UTC)


Not really sure what I'm doing here. Would really love it if someone would take a look, make sure I'm on the right track. Tooironic 13:04, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

  • In the example sentence, it looks like a noun to me. SemperBlotto 08:30, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
    Yeah I think you're right... anyone else agree? Tooironic 08:57, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

runs in the family

Not sure if this is covered in run, or should it get its own entry as runs in the family? Tooironic 08:56, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Idiom dictionaries have it, but not the regular OneLook dictionaries. We would have it at the lemma form "to run in the family". An applicable sense does not appear among the 31 senses of run#Verb that we have. This is not too surprising as MWOnline has about 42 intransitive senses (including subsenses and sub-subsenses) of "run" and 38 transitive ones. MWOnline and Encarta includes a sense "recur" which they illustrate with "run in the family". MWOnline also has a distinct related sense illustrated by "They run to big noses in that family". (We don't have that at run to, BTW). DCDuring TALK 10:51, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh yes, I overlooked that idiom entry. I'm sure that will suffice. Thanks! Tooironic 06:17, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
We didn't have it until you pointed out it was missing. Thanks. DCDuring TALK 17:15, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

leucismus ?

Hi everybody.

Is this word an english word ? That's what I found for translating French leucisme (partial albinism) on Reverso, English-French & French-English.

I'd expected leucism, as said in the article albinism.

Thanks for your help. --Szyx 18:09, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Leucismus seems to be used in German, leucismus in Latin. The English leucism can be found in several books. [8] One or two seem to use leucismus in English. --Moyogo 18:23, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, see also w:leucism. Ƿidsiþ 16:50, 20 November 2009 (UTC)


Does everyone agree with the adjective sense I added for this word? And have I done the formatting correctly? (Sorry, I know I've been spamming the Tea Room lately, but I am a perfectionist.) Cheers. Tooironic 06:20, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Your def was worded as a noun, but you correctly had the PoS as adjective. I have given two senses worded as adjective. The second of the new senses includes the first. The first is closer to the wood sense. I have heard figured most often about wood, but I thought of granite and other stone. Other dictionaries mention textiles as "figured". I think the second sense should be sufficient if we have good usage examples or citations showing the range of materials that can be "figured".
Also, it is probably attestable as a comparative. Finally, though WT:ELE specifies alphabetical order for PoSs, I moved the Verb ahead of the Adjective as an ersatz etymology. DCDuring TALK 19:59, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you! It's great to get some feedback. I'm still struggling a bit with creating the odd English entry, so all you wise ones please feel free to edit as you see fit. Cheers again. Tooironic 00:21, 21 November 2009 (UTC)


The entry for magnum has (Gabi) in the heading after magnums. Is this supposed to mean something? RJFJR 15:54, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

It was introduced by anon along with a false plural, so I assume that it is vandalism, unless someone else knows something about Gabi that I don't? Has it really been there for nearly four years? Dbfirs 16:41, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
So much for our error detection. I "boldly" cleaned up the entry and inserted a well-known (albeit not exactly appropriate) quote. DCDuring TALK 20:20, 20 November 2009 (UTC)


What kind of entry would we have for RPMs? Is it a plural? But is RPM a noun? If it's a plural what is being pluralled, the minutes, the revolutions, the number of measurements of RPM? Is it just the spelling of how it is often prnounced in use? RJFJR 16:11, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

It's an either-or situation, as far as I'm concerned. There are quite a few initialisms that can be pluralized, but this case happens to also have a meaning as well, as it can stand for revolutions per minute. However, my experience is that RPM is the norm for representing both the singular revolution... as well as revolutions... and is used more like a unit of measure than anything. That doesn't really help to settle the question, of cource, but I don't have a settled opinon on how we should handle this sort of situation. --EncycloPetey 17:25, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
RPMs is obviously in widespread use and would be readily attestable. It is used as a plural of the noun RPM the PoS of which we do not provide for users, as with almost all abbreviations, as if it could be assumed that users would know. This assumption and the presentation might be justifiable for abbreviations of proper nouns, but is harder to justify for abbreviations of terms that are other PoSs. The sense is clearly that revolutions is being pluralized but its pronunciation is just like that of "ABCs".
I can't tell for sure, but there seems to be a higher relative frequency of the use of RPMs for readings of the actual number of revolutions per minute and lower-to-nil for theoretical or nominal RPM. DCDuring TALK 19:57, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
RPMs can also mean several RPM packages. An entry would definitely serve a purpose. --Hydrox 19:16, 21 April 2010 (UTC)


What's going on with the translations here in the objective case (i.e. French & Italian)? Surely's that's TMI? Tooironic 01:42, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

〈 and 〉

We have and as angle brackets, and list them in a template of Western punctuation. However they (along with , , ︿, , , and ) are actually CJK punctuation, used for book titles & the like.

I didn't want to just switch them around, in case there's some technical issue I'm not aware of, but shouldn't we have , as the Western angle brackets in the template, and clarify that , are CJK? kwami 06:45, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Ah, it looks like a technical problem. Wiktionary appears to be treating U+2329 〈 (Western angle bracket) the same as U+3008 〈 (CJK). I tried changing them at Template:punctuation, and it didn't even register as an edit. kwami 02:36, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't see a technical problem. I could move the pages to the right places no problem... Circeus 17:42, 26 November 2009 (UTC)


I'm trying to find a good way to add a definition to cover the following usage.

  • The Environment Agency says it is mainly the most deprived postcodes that are the most flood-prone. (The Guardian; 3 July 2007; Polly Toynbee) -- ALGRIF talk 13:59, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps "(by extension) The region denoted by a postcode". They are often mentioned with regard to school catchment areas. Equinox 15:20, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Good one. I'll go with that. Thanks. -- ALGRIF talk 15:31, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

sécrèter and sécréter

What’s the difference between the French homœographs sécrèter and sécréter?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:34, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

AFAICT sécréter exists, the other one is a mistake. It might be attestable though. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:42, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
No I can't find a durable use of it, permission to kill it please. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:48, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
OK. What’s all that stuff in the conjugation section about?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:25, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
The verb has a regular phonetic alternation: French does not allow /e/ in closed syllables, so it becomes /ɛ/ in those endings where the next syllables contains a spelled, but unpronounced /ə/. Circeus 19:31, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I see, I think…  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:46, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
For example, the singular indicative goes je/tu/il /sekret/ sécrét- + ∅ (spelled e/es). Because */sekret/ is disallowed by French phonology, it becomes /sekrɛt/ with spelling adjusted accordingly hence je sécrète, tu sécrètes, il sécrète. And so on. Circeus 01:37, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that’s pretty much what I took from your first explanation; thanks for the further clarification, which makes me confident that I understand you.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 08:23, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

gather pollen

Is there a single word in English, meaning to gather pollen. The French is butiner (definition: to go from flower to flower collecting pollen). --Rising Sun 14:54, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

No, not a single word as far as I know. butiner has other meanings as well: to pilfer, glean, gather, pick up, plunder, loot, pillage. Compare butin, which is the noun. —Stephen 09:19, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Mind you, these meanings are given as "dated" in Trésor, and I'd wager "archaic" given they are not even in my 2007 Petit Robert. What I find fascinating of butiner is that it is an accusative ambitransitive (instead of an ergative), which is rare in French. Circeus 17:32, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

serve somebody right

Some translations here don't seem to match the verb definition. Especially French bien fait and Italian ti sta bene! (maybe translation as "serves you right"?). German jemandem gerecht geschehen is probably needing change to jemandem gerecht geschehen, but Portuguese seems fine. The other languages, I can't tell you about. --Volants 13:16, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

The Chinese is fine, though it might not seem "right" to someone who doesn't know Chinese as it doesn't include the word "somebody" (in Mandarin, this verb translates into one word, simply, 活该). Dunno about the other languages. Tooironic 07:35, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

let someone know

Came up in the faire savoir deletion debate. According to let, let is only used with the meaning make in the construction let know. Does it need the someone or not? As pedantic as it sounds, it doesn't always have to be someone, you can tell your cat or your dog know something. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:34, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

It needs to be an entity that can be regarded as having private knowledge or beliefs. A computer system, particularly an AI system, is a definite possibility. I don't know of any significant usages, though. Pingku 15:36, 26 November 2009 (UTC
"Someone" often includes mammals. I behooves a dog-owner to "let the dog know who is boss". One can certainly let a group, organization, or system know. Don't most semantic restrictions to people either start our licensing such extension or aren't they softened to do so? DCDuring TALK 16:05, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
That was my secondary comment. What I really want to know is, what should the entry be? Seems idiomatic enough if you read the current version of WT:CFI. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:13, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
You provided the lead for the "digression", which hardly makes it OT. Furthermore, if one can't follow the discussion where it leads, it simply isn't that much fun to participate. I don't come here to be scolded.
Your sole question was whether it needed the "someone". It does and it does not need "something" for the limited extensions, IMHO. DCDuring TALK 16:59, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
I went for let know because it has more linked pages. I suspect there are a lot of verbs that always need an object, but we only add "someone" for multi-part verbs like this. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:26, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I think this is a mandatorily double-object construction (SoP though it may be). The something can be omitted only anaphorically. Conditionally accepting the headword, what should the inflection line, "context" tags, usage examples, and/or usage notes say to convey that to a serious first-time user. I have seem some uses of "bitransitive" as a "context tag", but it is much too rare for actual users.
My McGraw-Hill idiom dictionary presents it as:
let someone know (about something).
The portion in parentheses is the problem. It is not really optional, though it would seem so to a normal user. The "about" could be omitted or replaced by "of". And "something" can be any or a few types of nominals, including a clause. "Of" works only with some types of nominals, "about" with more, clauses take neither.
The idiom dictionary's usage examples help, illustrating the anaphoric use with a question and answer. They don't show a clause.
My preference is for a few usage examples, nearly minimal-difference pairs, to highlight differences in grammar. DCDuring TALK 18:58, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
If you search for the term "someone" in Wiktionary, you'll find a plenty of model phrases for this case, or at least they seem to bear some analogy to "let someone know":
  • burst someone's bubble
  • light someone's fire
  • grease someone's palm
  • tie someone's hands
  • ... etc.
There are also cases that use the term "somebody", but less common. --Dan Polansky 13:45, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

nearest and dearest

Should we have an entry for this? I suppose it's idiomatic. I am not certain about the part of speech; it is probably adjectival, but almost always used in a noun position ("one's nearest and dearest", like "the rich" or "the ugly"). Equinox 18:52, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

I think that you could do the adjective lemma for this near and dear, with a count at COCA of 94 vs. 50 (47%) for superlative and 2 (2%) for comparative. But, obviously, the superlative relative frequency indicates that the superlative is what is most distinctive. Compare the frequencies of "dear"'s forms (14,492; 59 (0.4%); 851 (6%)). Two Cambridge idiom dictionaries have the superlative, but define it as a noun. Perhaps both the adjective lemma and the noun use of the superlative merit entries, especially in the new anything goes regime. DCDuring TALK 11:13, 28 November 2009 (UTC)


I am suspicious of our definition. Compare Wikipedia's. Equinox 04:14, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

This has been taken to RFV. Equinox 17:19, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Audit schmaudit

I read this phrase in a YouTube discussion. The author probably invented it on the spur, so schmaudit would hence constitue a nonce word, or the entire phrase would. Now, that aside, I recognize in this a pattern which originates in Jiddisch-English circles. Does it have a name? __meco 09:59, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Name shmame. It is what it is. Which is to say: I don't know, but eagerly await a respoonse. DCDuring TALK 10:24, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Methinks that is called w:Shm-reduplication, though while WP uses 'shm' as examples I've always seen it as 'schm'. L☺g☺maniac chat? 13:58, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
name schmame indeed. It does an entry. But entry schmentry, I say. --Rising Sun 17:24, 29 November 2009 (UTC)


honorless (adjective) definition: Destitute of honor; not honored.

examples 1."Over the years we too have made bargains with the honorless and wicked to try and save someone that we love, Lady Liberty." -Capitol Hill Coffee House

2."No longer the careless, handsome youth, nor the honorless man, but the power." -The Rose in the Ring

3."Nocte is a society of the honorless and shameless, and the woman who belongs to it is no longer pure." -The Youth of the Great Elector

4."I'd guess that for every person won over by the boundless and honorless scaremongering, there's a previously fence-sitting voter wholly put off (and pissed off) by it all, to the point where he'll pull the letter for Obama a week from today." -Libertarian Blog Place

5."German spies in this country -- more alarming in its results thus far than the blowing up of munition factories, the setting afire of grain elevators, the enticing of Mexico -- has been the honorless skill with which they have fed the American mind upon the idea of a disgruntled." -Where the Souls of Men are Calling

Added honourless, honorless. The citations above (from Webster 1913) could be added if somebody wants to do it. Equinox 20:47, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

bullet as verb

Bulleted says it is the simple past of bullet; but bullet doesn't have a verb sense. Do we need to remove one or add the other? RJFJR 17:48, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

I suspect there is a verb form meaning to put bullet points into a document. Needs to be attested. -- ALGRIF talk 17:47, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I have added the lemma with 3 senses. There may be more. None are terribly surprising. I have found cites for the bullet-point sense. I have called them all informal, though they appear in edited works; that might be wrong. DCDuring TALK 18:58, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

at ease

I have just added the definition, "(military) (of a standing soldier) in a relaxed position with the feet apart rather than at attention".

It also has (previous to my entry) a definition "(military) Allowed to refrain from being in rigid formation." . I personally don't think this meaning is correct, rather that my meaning is correct. But I don't want to wipe out the previous meaning without checking.

What are your thoughts ?--Richardb 22:19, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

First, your definition conforms to my understanding better than the earlier one. But I don't trust my understanding. It is possible that there is more than one meaning (different situations, services, and countries). Perhaps we should let it remain for a time here, before RfVing the earlier sense.
Second, it gives me a grammatical headache. There is a noun, for which I have added two senses. I do not want to call the command a verb, but it might be considered one: a shortening of the imperatives "be at ease" or "stand at ease". In the case of attention, we do not have an explicit entry for the command; we only have the noun. Though we overuse the "interjection" part of speech, this, "attention", and "ten hut/ten-hut" and "ten-shun", and any other commands not given as the imperative form of verbs probably should be interjections. DCDuring TALK 23:45, 29 November 2009 (UTC)


  • From shoemaker: "A person who repairs shoes is a cobbler."
  • From w:Cobbler: "A shoemaker who repairs shoes, rather than manufacturing them"
  • From cobbler: "A person who makes and repairs shoes."

Does anyone know if, in fact, cobblers make shoes or not? --Yair rand 05:13, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

From my genealogical searching I found out that a Cobbler only repairs shoes, or cobbles shoes together by re-using old leather. A cordwainer was a person who made shoes from new Cordoba leather. But I think we only call them shoe makers these days, if they still exist outside of process workers in a factory.--Richardb 10:59, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, my understanding is that a cobbler only repairs shoes. SemperBlotto 11:04, 30 November 2009 (UTC) (p.s. my father was a clicker but could repair shoes if he felt like it)

Okay, I'm changing the entry to say "A person who repairs shoes". --Yair rand 17:22, 1 December 2009 (UTC)