Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/March

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March 2012

"damned if"

There is a common construct along the lines of "I'm damned if I know", "I'll be damned if she cheats me out of my inheritance", which really means "it isn't the case or won't happen" (cf. a cold day in Hell). This is also sometimes flipped around (presumably by guilty sinners, for whom being blessed is beyond the realm of possibility) into "I'm blessed if I know" etc. I can't immediately see a good way for us to include this ("damned if" and "blessed if" seem like awkward fragments, in the same way that we wouldn't have, say, "willing to"), but they seem like important idioms. Equinox 00:13, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

I've added a usage note to damned#Adjective. Tweak or supplant as necessary.​—msh210 (talk) 00:59, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
You're probably right that we should handle this at damned rather than damned if, but I say we should still redirect damned if to damned, just to reinforce the relation (so "damned if" shows up in the search autocomplete). - -sche (discuss) 01:12, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
There's also the idiom (I'm/you're) damned if I/you do(,/ and) damned if I/you don't. How would one go about adding such an idiom? There are so many variants. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:50, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

dark horse

I am thinking of extending the political sense to a more general one. I hear this used on a regular basis to mean someone or something who's little known or reveals little about him/herself, but who otherwise possesses talents that are not expected by others. The political sense is really just a specific case of that. JamesjiaoTC 22:36, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with the second sense. It's often used to describe someone or something which has an outside but realistic chance of winning something, despite not being amongst the favorites. E.g. "Chico is the dark horse to win the 2012 Series of Dancing on Ice" (UK cultural reference). Once the person has won, you might say they were the dark horse, not they are a dark horse. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:26, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with you on that. For me it has always referred to the person getting the success, not the success itself. Anyway what do you think of my suggestion of extending the first definition? JamesjiaoTC
I think MG is saying that the competitor can only be a "dark horse" before the success. A "dark horse" who has won a competition is no longer a "dark horse". DCDuring TALK 21:40, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm familiar only with the political meaning, but the Wikipedia entry supports an expanded meaning. The AHD ([[1])] does not seem very good, and the OED is badly dated (last citation: 1893). BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 21:44, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Some dictionaries have a sense under which a successful dark horse remains a dark horse. That isn't how I would use it, but presumably they have citations supporting their definition. DCDuring TALK 23:27, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I think it has been reduced to meaning long shot in much current usage, but has had much more specific meaning in US politics. The entry could stand improvement to include the sense evolution, especially if the US Republican presidential nomination contest leads to a brokered convention, from which "dark horse" candidate in one of the older narrow senses could have emerged at least in earlier days. Sarah Palin might be viewed as having been a "dark horse" candidate for the Republican vice-presidential nomination in 2008, as she was not at all well-known to the US public and media.
I've forgotten where I read that dark meant "of unknown parentage" in horse-breeding. DCDuring TALK 23:49, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Ø superscript

Is there a character that looks like Ø that is superscript, so that it will look like Ø⁷? Celloplayer115 (talk) 04:03, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Ha, what's the context? There's a BP discussion about superscripts. One thing discussed there was small-sup tags, so in this case Ø(⁷). - -sche (discuss) 04:15, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I assume the context is notating half-diminished seventh chords. Wikipedia uses a superscript ø for that. —Angr 19:53, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

on and off

Usually we would say put on and take off as opposites of each other. I've seen that this can be abbreviated if both actions are taken. Something can be put on and off or taken on and off. However, put off and take on by themselves do not have the meanings of removing or replacing. Where should this be documented, if at all? DAVilla 05:39, 4 March 2012 (UTC)


A recent edit by a redlinked user with very few contributions has significantly changed the definitions without an edit summary (diff); it was on 15 January 2012. His edits: "Without artificial additives" -> "Without intervention, "[sic]; two definitions for colors were removed; two definitions were moved. Translation tables were left unadjusted. Should we revert? --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:11, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Yep. He was right (IMO) to remove the two odd noun senses (from the adjective section!), though. - -sche (discuss) 04:16, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


I very much doubt this series of edits were an improvement (diff). The edits made the entry quite messy, and the allegged subsenses ("With verbs, especially past participles", "With prepositional phrases and spatial adverbs", etc.) have nothing to do with semantics, so are not really subsenses. I also find the definition "In a fully justified sense" not so good. The original version has example sentences associated with each main definition; I find example sentences much better than quotations equipped with all that metadata (year, author, etc.) that is of no concern to understanding the definition. I don't know what to do about it; reverting would be an option, and copying most of the citations to citations namespace. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:13, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

That's quite (1.2? 2.3?) ugly! I'm not quite (1.6?) sure what to think... Definitely TMI. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:27, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. The three main headings are good, but the sub-headings of the first two should be significantly pared down. --Jtle515 (talk) 20:08, 5 April 2012 (UTC)


Interesting page; I added {{t+|en|scolopids}} and KassadBot moved it to the top ahead of Catalan. Thoughts? Is adding English translations desirable to translation tables in Translingual entries? Mglovesfun (talk) 12:20, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Normally, we would just include "- the scolopids" as part of the definition. SemperBlotto (talk) 12:22, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I had thought that our practice is to completely exclude Translation L3/L4 sections from Translingual L2 sections. The "translations" that we have in such sections seem to me to be often calques of the equivalent of "scolopid family" or transliterations of the equivalent of "scolopids". Such "translations" are not equivalent in context to the Translingual headword. DCDuring TALK 12:46, 5 March 2012 (UTC)


I'm not convinced this is a word at all, but really llama with the particle me attached to it with no space. The only difference between this and call me is that call me has a space in it. Are we prepared to keep this solely because it doesn't contain a space in the title? I mean nor does Steven's but we don't allow it. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:40, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Isn't that the principle behind Wiktionary:COALMINE, that we should keep those words?--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:02, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
No, not at all. Wiktionary:COALMINE would only apply if we did decide to keep these entries; in that case, it would say that we should have entries as well for any spaced-out forms that are more common than the solid ones — which, as it happens, is none of them. —RuakhTALK 03:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Our rules aren't clear here, but the implication I've got is that in most, non-polysynthetic, languages, a word basically amounted to a space-delineated set of letters.--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:35, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Your comment is indented as a reply to mine, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with mine . . . but I'll try to address it anyway. That definition is a reasonable place to start when trying to understand what the word "word" means, but I think it should quickly become clear that it's not workable as an actual rule. Consider:
  • Plenty of languages aren't written, or aren't written with "letters". Do these languages therefore not use "words"? How about languages whose writing systems don't use spaces — or languages with multiple writing systems, of which one or more do use spaces and one or more do not?
  • In "Maya gave her a why-so-many-questions look, then shrugged", is "why-so-many-questions" a "word"?
  • In "you & I", is "&" a "set of letters"? If not, is it therefore not a "word"?
  • Some English-speakers, historically, systematically wrote o' (of) without a space after it; as a result, combinations like "o'time" and "o'the" meet the attestation requirements. However, it was much more common to write it with a space; as a result, there are combinations like "o'room" that, due to their word-sequences being less frequent overall, seem to have only one or two cites. (If 0.1% of uses of o' don't use a space, and o' room was used only 2000 times, then ceteris paribus, we'd expect o'room to get 2 cites.) Do we say that "o'time", "o'the", and "o'room" are "words", such that "o'time", "o' time", "o'the", and "o' the" merit entries, while "o'room" and "o' room" do not?
In some of these cases we may be satisfied with the space-separated-set-of-letters approach; but I'm not prepared to take it for granted that we want to use it for all of them.
RuakhTALK 16:54, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Is "coalmine" a word? It's clear that does Ruakh think this is a word and does the Tea Room thinks this is a word are not workable as actual rules, and you haven't offered a workable actual rule. It's entirely natural that our definition of word is specialized by language; there's no reason, practical or theoretical, that our definition of word for Chinese should be the same for English or Spanish. There is good reason for our definition of word for English to be the same as German or Spanish, since they're similar languages and the same rule works for them all. It's pretty clear to me that a set of space-delineated letters is our definition of word for English. Since all your questions include non-letters, they don't seem pertinent to the issue. (And no, & is not a word; it's an abbreviation symbol.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:30, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I . . . I actually do think that "does the Tea Room thinks this is a word" is workable as an actual rule. (Not that it's exactly the rule I'd propose, but it's in the right general ballpark.) Can you elaborate on how/why it's clear that it's not? —RuakhTALK 23:44, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
There's 3,000 "words" on User:Prosfilaes/Esperanto corpus/4-5; which of them are acceptable to the Tea Room? On one hand, that's a lot more entries then the Tea Room can reasonably process, all of which involve getting into the details of Esperanto. On the other, when I take the time to add a word to Wiktionary, I like to know my work isn't just going to get summarily deleted. Me adding 3,000 entries to Wiktionary knowing that half my work can go up in flames on a whim of the Tea Room? Not happening.-- 02:09, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
If you have real reason to doubt that the community would accept them, then I'd advise you to ask about them (here or at RFD, as you prefer) before you create them. And I think the Tea room can process a great many entries at once; this discussion, for example, is simultaneously processing several million potential Spanish entries. But in general, there are never any guarantees; we could decide that something is worth including, and then change our minds. Someone could start a vote tomorrow proposing that that Esperanto entries be banned, and — if you don't trust the community's judgment, as you apparently do not — then that vote could pass in a month's time, and all your work deleted. —RuakhTALK 02:51, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that was me.
Yes, a vote could be started. But there's a huge difference between a vote could be started and we as a community could decide to make a change after a month's discussion, and us having no rule and each word living or dieing by ad hoc reasoning of who ever is on RFD that day. I don't see that as not trusting the community's judgment; I see that as having general guidelines for me to work with, and for the community to have generally agreed-upon guidelines on how to decide words.
You still haven't explained why words like coalmine, which is a simple combination of English words and unforgivable, that is a combination of un- and forgivable (which itself was assembled from smaller, completely predictable pieces) are words and llámame isn't. If this were a vote on general principles, I could use the result to figure out how that applies to ĉeesti and ĉirkaŭflugi. If it's an ad-hoc word-by-word decision, I suspect there will be no coherent answer.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:06, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. (By the way, re: llámame vs. unforgivable: me is a clitic, whereas un- is an affix. Though Wikipedia claims, on the basis of a single foreign-language Chomskyite journal article, that me is actually an affix by all criteria; it's clearly violating its NPOV policy by making that claim, since the standard view is that me is a clitic, but at least this suggests that there may be some disagreement on this point.) —RuakhTALK 15:02, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
You're right that it's not a word not a clear-cut word; me is a clitic pronoun both in no me llames (where it precedes the verb) and in llámame (where it follows it). But one difference from call me or Steven's is the addition of the accent-mark; this is just a spelling detail (llama and lláma- are pronounced the same), but still. And in related compounds, there are actual small pronunciation changes: -s, when present, gets dropped before -nos. Overall, I'd prefer that we deleted them — especially ones like llamarme where there's not even the slightest spelling change — but I don't feel strongly about it. I just worked it out on paper, and I believe that allowing these compounds, when attested or at least plausible, would less-than-quadruple the number of Spanish verb entries. —RuakhTALK 03:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC) Edited later to change "not a word" to "not a clear-cut word", since as others point out, there are senses of "word" that this does satisfy. 23:44, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Would it work to put those in as redirects and provide a table that shows how the orthography changes? BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 04:24, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Whether this is word or not depends on the precise definition of the term word. For example one could argue that inflected forms are no words but a combination of the root plus suffixes or affixes. At least applying a phonological criteria (pause in speech) or orthographic criteria (space in written text) llámame is IMHO a word. On the other hand using morphological or syntactic criteria it is not easy to give an unambiguous definition. So we really should give definition of what exactly we understand to be a word.Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 17:37, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with much of what you say; but note that phonological criteria would also count me llamas as a word. The word "word" is definitely blurry around the edges. I strongly disagree with your last sentence. I don't think we can give a definition of what exactly we understand to be a word; if such a thing were possible, it would be great, but it's not, and the best we can do is consider individual situations individually, inform ourselves as best we can, and make decisions that apply as narrowly as necessary. —RuakhTALK 18:21, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Even though we are all amateurs, I find WT:CFI too amateurish even for us: WT:CFI says “all words in all languages” but then doesn't define word or language. Note the language issue comes up just as often if not more; see Category talk:Croatian language. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:53, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Catalan is closely related to Spanish and its orthography follows very similar rules when it comes to accents. The cognate phrase of llámame would be clama'm. But here the orthography is different as the clitic is separated with an apostrophe (and in other forms with a hyphen), the two words are never written together. And the Catalan word does not have an accent mark on any of the letters, even though when written as a single word it would require one (clàmam). I very much doubt this has to do with an inherent syntactical difference in the usage of the clitics. French treats the clitics as Catalan does, but Italian treats them as Spanish does and writes them together. So I think that this is still a matter of orthography to some degree: llámame is a single word in writing, even though it probably is not one in speech. —CodeCat 20:37, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
@Ruakh's comment (several paragraphs ago) "Wiktionary:COALMINE would only apply if...": ah, but BACKWARDS COALMINE!
Er, but on a serious note, I recall that we've discussed the many, many forms of Finnish words. In this case, we aren't dealing with many forms of words, we're dealing with only a few forms per word. I still don't have an opinion on whether we should have entries for the forms or not. - -sche (discuss) 04:27, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

carbonitride, nitrocarburize

These are both techniques for hardening metals, and they both involve carbon and nitrogen, but they are not the same thing. Perhaps somebody who knows more can improve my rudimentary definitions to distinguish the two. Equinox 01:43, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


I noticed this in the English requests. We have English boutonniere (flowers worn in a buttonhole) and French boutonnière (a buttonhole), but we don't have English boutonnière (flowers worn in a buttonhole). Online, I see both spellings. The dictionary app on my Mac has only the boutonnière spelling, and I have yet to find either spelling in any of the older dictionaries online (from before 1922). This leads me to guess that the word was borrowed recently enough that prescriptive sources still insist on the French spelling- accent grave and all- but that it's rapidly losing the accent in everyday use. Which leads to my question: how should I treat the different spellings in English? I could add an English entry to boutonnière as an alternative spelling, move the definition from boutonniere to boutonnière and make boutonniere the alternative spelling, or I could have definitions in both places. I'm sure there are some bells and whistles I'm omitting, but that basically seems to be it. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:50, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't believe there's any really standard rules. Pick one, preferably the one that already exists or the one that is truly dominant if there is one, and make the other alternative spellings.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:49, 10 March 2012 (UTC)


Found by using the "Random word" function: someone added a second sense in this eidt, but it seems redundant to the first sense. Should we combine the two? - -sche (discuss) 05:09, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

The anon had a point. Take a look. DCDuring TALK 14:31, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

German: gerunds/deverbal nouns

German has a few ways of making nouns from verbs..
1.1 Das Verzieren ist eine hohe Kunst. – "(The) adorning is a high art."
1.2 Die Verzierung ist eine hohe Kunst – same as above
2. Die Verzierung an der Jacke passt. – "The adornment at the jacket fits."
3.1 Die Verzierung war eine mühselige Arbeit. – "(The) adornment was a tiring task."
3.2 Das Verzieren war eine mühselige Arbeit. – same as above
I think that are all the uses. Am I using the right terminology if I call 1+3.2 gerunds and 2 a deverbal noun? (3.1 should be interpretable as both.)ᚲᛟᚱᚾ (talk) 12:31, 10 March 2012 (UTC)


I generalized the definition of heartbreaker; google books:"it was a heartbreaker" quickly shows that it's not limited to people. But I don't know if the translations, in Finnish, Norwegian and German can be so generalized.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:12, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

The definition applies now only to things, not to people. It seems possible that "s/he's a heartbreaker" can refer only to love, in which case, the definitions for things and people should be different. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 02:40, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
For me, something includes people, but feel free to change it to "something or someone" if you like.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:05, 12 March 2012 (UTC)


I know that this page is not durably archived enough to qualify as a citation, but it does raise the question, do we need a new definition of intolerant, namely "lactose intolerant"? —Angr 07:41, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

To me, "1. Unable or indisposed to tolerate, endure or bear." works fine for that.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:13, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
You think that on the page I linked to the person meant he was "unable or indisposed to tolerate" in general? —Angr 22:33, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think intolerant is ever used as "in general"; there's always an implied "against other religions", "against blacks", etc. In this case he is indisposed to bear lactose.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:29, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
But lactose is not otherwise mentioned in the utterance; it has to be inferred from the word "intolerant", suggesting that "intolerant" by itself may be used to mean "lactose intolerant". (Do you feel that lactose intolerant is SOP? I don't.) I would look for other, more CFI-friendly cases if I could, but living in Germany I don't get as good b.g.c. results as people in the U.S. do, and I don't really know how to google for cases where the word "intolerant" means "lactose intolerant" in a situation where the word "lactose" does not appear. —Angr 10:31, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
The comments on that imply that the abbreviation of lactose intolerant to just intolerant is not good English, at least not yet. lactose intolerant is a subset of the definitions of intolerant of lactose, so it does sort of work as English without a new definition for intolerant. It strikes me as a one-off example that the audience was slightly intolerant of.
I'm finding b.g.c. hits for wheat intolerance and food intolerance; unless I could find a lot of examples where intolerant was used for lactose intolerant in a way where the context doesn't make the lactose part crystal-clear, I'd look at expanding intolerant to include a food meaning, not just add lactose intolerant.--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:27, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
MSG intolerance is another common one (monosodium glutamate). Equinox 12:29, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
And glucose intolerance has become popular over the past several years. —RuakhTALK 12:52, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I think adding a food/medical definition at intolerant is a good idea, and one at tolerate as well. —Angr 13:18, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


What sense of tour are these: "The soldier is married with two children, and a veteran of three tours in the Iraq War. He was on his first tour in Afghanistan"? I keep seeing it all the time, maybe it needs a new military sense or I am missing something. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 23:43, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

tour of duty Equinox 23:48, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I've added that as a sense to tour.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:56, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you both. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 00:12, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

lateral area

I need to knw the corct defintion nd de equation!!!!!!!!!!!! plz nd thnk you :)

  • I would have thought it was fairly obviously the product of the perimeter of the polygon times the length of the prism. You also seem to have a problem with your keyboard skipping letters. SemperBlotto (talk) 08:00, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Is lower case an alternative "spelling"?

For the English word "delete" the definition reads:

Noun delete (uncountable)

Alternative spelling of Delete. I lost the file when I accidentally hit delete.

Is "Delete" an alternative spelling of "delete"? It's the case that's different. Would "Iphone" be an alternative spelling of "iPhone"?

That is how we do it. For example, German nouns are always capitalised, so they'd have a separate entry from a lower-cased word of the same spelling. I prefer to say "alternative form" though. Equinox 16:57, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, “form” is now preferred, because it covers a range of things that include spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, whitespace, diacritics, etc. Michael Z. 2012-03-14 17:16 z


This is listed under the Translingual header, but I'm not sure how it got there. It was coined in an English work and (besides translations of English works) I can't find any uses in other languages, although it is certainly cited well in English. Can we switch the language to 'English'? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:15, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

I’d consider it an English word, or word-like entity. ~ Robin (talk) 09:15, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Marco Polo and the noodle

The noodle entry has a sample sentence saying that Marco Polo brought noodles back from China. According to wikipedia:Pasta#History, that is a story invented to promote pasta in the US. I don't want to delete a sentence that someone has written, but leaving it seems against the purposes of Wiktionary. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 20:24, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

There's no expectation that example sentences be true, is there? —Angr 21:05, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, if you read something stated as a fact in a dictionary, you generally would accept that as fact. One possibility is something like "is an urban rumor," but I think that would be distracting. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 21:12, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Why not replace it with some real citations? They are always better to have than usage examples. Equinox 21:07, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Why debate this? It's factually wrong, it misapplies quotation marks, and worst of all, it doesn't really serve the goals of WT:ELE#Example_sentences. I'll replace it. Michael Z. 2012-03-18 19:45 z

Nice! BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 22:04, 18 March 2012 (UTC)


acostado was added as a translation of inshore. It does look like "coast", but the only meaning I can find in dictionaries is "lying in bed". Does it, indeed, also mean "inshore"? - -sche (discuss) 17:58, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

After the DRAE definition of acostar that is one of the meanings. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 10:57, 20 March 2012 (UTC)


I have recently been doing some tinkering at wireless, and I realise that I am confused about whether, in compounds such as "wireless network", "wireless communication", and so on, the word "wireless" is truly an adjective, or is really an attributive noun. To me, it seems more like the latter. If that is really the case, then I am struggling to think of any true examples of adjective sense 2, "Of or relating to communication without a wired connection, such as by radio wave." Can anyone shed any light on this? 21:57, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

I suspect that wireless as a noun in the field of computers is a backformation from wireless network. "wireless" certainly feels like an adjective that's become a noun.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:02, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
“Is your network wireless or is it wired?” looks like an adjective to me.
I'm not even sure how you can consider it to be a noun. Certainly, a wireless network is a network without wires, not “a network based on the wireless.” “Has Coffeebucks got wireless” is an abbreviation of “wireless networking,” rather than the other way around. Michael Z. 2012-03-20 02:05 z
In your last example 'has got wireless', even if it is a noun, in that usage it's clearly an uncountable noun. —CodeCat 02:50, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
In 1898, Tesla proposed a system of "wireless transmission of power." — Pingkudimmi 02:51, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
There's another sense that I see a lot in advertising, as an adjective to distinguish cellphone service from regular phone service: "You can save money by combining your wireless plan with your home phone service". It shows up in names of business entities in the cellphone industry, too. I'm not sure how independent it is as a sense, though. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:00, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

me, myself and I

Is me, myself and I a pronoun? I guess so, as it is a combo of 3 pronouns, but it looks a bit like an adjective too. Maybe an emphatic pronoun? --Cova (talk) 08:23, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

put someone up

I've heard this used about men who buy apartments for their mistresses ("he put her up in an apartment on Upper East Side"). Should this be an article? __meco (talk) 12:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

It's put up (to house or shelter). Equinox 12:49, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Okay. __meco (talk) 15:46, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

draw a line in the sand

A RFV resulted in all the senses in this entry being well-cited, but the question remained: are we interpreting the citations correctly? I left this on WT:RFV for a month tagged {{look}}, but it occurs to me it's more of a Tea Room (or perhaps WT:RFC) question, anyway, now that it's cited. For "draw the line / draw a line", Merriam-Webster has "1: to fix an arbitrary boundary between things that tend to intermingle, 2: to fix a boundary excluding what one will not tolerate or engage in". Dictionary.com has "draw a line in the sand: to set a limit; allow to go up to a point but no further". What senses, if any, does the OED have? What senses do we think the citations support? - -sche (discuss) 20:47, 21 March 2012 (UTC)


We seem to be missing the sense found in civil sunrise, civil dawn, civil dusk, civil sunset, and civil twilight.​—msh210 (talk) 15:53, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

I think the sense is 'having to do with government' and covers civil service. I'm not clear that that's distinct enough from Having to do with people and government office to require another sense. Wcoole (talk) 19:32, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

I've never heard of any of the four collocations msh210 suggests, are they US only? Or non-UK should I say? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:56, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so. The UK Air Almanac for the Year 2006, authored by (and I quote Google Books here) "S.A. Bell, Great Britain: H.M. Nautical Almanac Office. Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, C.Y. Hohenkerk" lists times of civil twilight.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:18, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I would interpret it as "sunrise/dawn/dusk/sunset/twilight for civil purposes", "civil purposes" being things like park openings and closings. If there are legal meanings to the terms, we should find out what they are. I could see entries for the legal senses of each compound term more easily than I could imagine a corresponding sense for civil. DCDuring TALK 03:56, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
google books:"civil twilight" come up with several sources (over almost a hundred years) that say that civil twilight is between sunset and the sun being 6° below the horizon.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:14, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
That's the sense I know for civil dusk, with civil dawn being its mirror in the morning and civil twilight being either. Civil sunrise and civil sunset I've come across recently; they seem to mean, respectively, "when the sun is six degrees below the horizon before sunrise" and "[same] after sunset". But what sense of civil is all this? A new one, "referring to the sun's being six degrees below the horizon"?? (Seems very strange.)​—msh210 (talk) 06:50, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It was probably civil=government and then it got specialized.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:34, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
That's good info for an etymology section, then, I'd think. Right?​—msh210 (talk) 16:49, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It looks to me like a very specific definition of each of these terms must have been created for regulatory purposes, and the term civil was used to distinguish between these specialized versions and general usage, after which it spread to places that never heard of those regulations as an independent term. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:21, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Likely, or perhaps some of them (e.g. sunrise and sunset) had regulatory definitions, and people called them civil sunrise and civil sunset, and civil twilight et al. followed therefrom. That's a question for etymologists, and an important one, but my more immediate question is what definition to put.​—msh210 (talk) 19:37, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
(Re DCDuring.) I have no reason to think the term is / terms are lawyers'. (Do you?) Astronomers', maybe? Meteorologists'?​—msh210 (talk) 06:54, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I know it's used in aeronautics; besides the UK air almanac, the term shows up in the works by the Federal Aviation Administration in the same b.g.c. search. I think it's used by anyone needing to make subtle distinctions of light levels as the sun goes down.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:34, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster has "of time : based on the mean sun and legally recognized for use in ordinary affairs"; Dictionary.com has a new and possibly different collocation by its temporal def "(of divisions of time) legally recognized in the ordinary affairs of life: the civil year". Civil day and civil year are other collocations; we either need a vague sense, or multiple senses, or dedicated entires for civil sunset, etc. - -sche (discuss) 19:42, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


Rft-sense: The last noun sense is defined as (informal, attributive) Secretly. This doesn't look like a noun at all to me, but rather some other part of speech. Opinions? -- Liliana 22:42, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

If anything, should be secret, not secretly. A closet Republican is not a secretly Republican, but a secret one. And 'secret' on its own is still way too ambiguous for a definition. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:51, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Other dictionaries have as many as three adjective senses, roughly: "private", "secret", and "theoretical". I'm not familiar with the third. DCDuring TALK 04:07, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I think the missing element is that the person in the closet is the one hiding something from others, though there's also often the implication that it's "out of shame" or "to avoid disapproval" Chuck Entz (talk) 19:19, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
The -ly would mean adverbial, but I can't imagine saying "he closet was a homosexual". I agree with Mglovesfun that it's an adjective. It originated as shorthand for "a homosexual who is in the closet (as a homosexual)", so one could make a case for it being attributive use of a noun sense, but it substitutes for the whole phrase- not just the single word that's left. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:35, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I have a cite for closet drinker from 1940. I have added the adjective sense of "secret". DCDuring TALK 22:50, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

possessive adjective

Currently, there is just one category for possessive adjectives for Catalan. Shouldn't be a separate category for possessive adjectives for all languages? At the moment they are classified as pronouns not even (simple) adjectives.--Forudgah (talk) 07:56, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

liar liar pants on fire

Definition: "There will be discomforting consequences to lying." Is that what it means? I thought it was just a rhyming catcall to be chanted at a liar, without any implication of consequences. Equinox 13:22, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

To the best of my knowledge, you are correct. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:24, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. SemperBlotto (talk) 13:26, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Fourthed. (American.)​—msh210 (talk) 16:53, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Another one I remember from school: copycat, copycat, don't know what you're looking at. (This makes more sense because it is saying that the plagiarist doesn't understand the material being copied!) Equinox 13:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Fifthed. Shouldn't be worded as a proverb. I don't know how many childhood rhymes merit inclusion, but "liar liar...." would be perhaps one of the most meritorious candidates. Are there any attestable chants or rhymes that would not warrant inclusion based on absence of meaning or some other criterion? DCDuring TALK 18:04, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Sixthed. As a child, I always interpreted "pants on fire" as being another example of a lie, as if to say "You're lying, the same as if I said your pants were on fire." —Angr 10:03, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


Really? No reference to the meaning of life? That is kind of shocking. That is probably one of the most important definitions. -- Liliana 12:50, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I added it (we all know it's citable), but I think it needs cleanup from somebody else, because this may be the driest defintion ever made for such a tongue-in-cheek concept. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:35, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't see how this can be given a definition in this regard. All it means is the number two above forty; the fact that that number is the meaning of life in a certain fiction franchise doesn't give it another sense as such. It seems rather like having an entry for 39 because it is a famous number of steps in a book title. Equinox 20:08, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
And yet the sense "the number 2 more than 40" is not listed as either of the current definitions! --EncycloPetey (talk) 20:56, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it should be Translingual (see 99), but numerical figures follow a thoroughly predictable pattern and probably don't (i) require attestability or (ii) require definition in a dictionary. Equinox 21:00, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
At best, 99 is a sum-of-parts construction, not a symbol. The digits 1–9 and 0 can appear in the dictionary because it is our convention to include all symbols, although in most dictionaries this kind of material remains in appendices. Otherwise, numerals should only be included when they form words.
42 is not a word meaning “The answer to life, the universe, and everything.” This is backwards, and no one would say “I visited the mystic to find 42.” Whether you agree with me about numerals or not, this is not a definition of “42,” and it doesn't belong in the dictionary. Michael Z. 2012-04-02 21:23 z
Maybe the "meaning of life" bit should be made into a usage note. - -sche (discuss) 21:39, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
What would it say about the usage of 42? I'd like to see some quotations showing how it is used, anyway. Michael Z. 2012-04-02 21:42 z
I'd always considered this a bit like a punch line to a joke. It was years later that I found out why it was supposedly 42. I'd agree that it's not a definition, no more than we need at 5 "the number of toes on a human foot". Mglovesfun (talk) 22:36, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
The current content of Citations:42 doesn't help, as you can't substitute 'the answer to life, the universe, and everything' for '42' in those citations. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:54, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
There might be citations that support the current definition, but I think the definition needs revision and/or a new definition to match the citations. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 23:04, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

I put up four citations. I searched on "the answer is 42" so that's the expression in each citation. It may be that "the answer is 42" is what should get an entry, but there's no doubt that this is in use in reference to Adams's book. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 22:55, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

I suspect this is not a word, but merely the subject of a joke. But this dictionary isn't a catalogue of jokes and their punchlines, so let's remove that silly definition. It is perhaps even better known that 42 is also “the answer to 6 × 7,” but we're not bloody putting that in. Michael Z. 2012-04-06 05:46 z
Defining what constitutes a word is a pointless struggle. Clearly this term has widespread use, and thus ought to be defined here. I will freely concede my definition needs work (as I said above). However, I see no reason to delete this kind of lexicographic information, instead of improving it. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:49, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
It's not a term with a lexicographical meaning. It doesn't have a definition, any more than “to get to the other side” does (I realize I link that phrase at my peril)). I've added this to WT:RFV#42. Let's move the discussion there. Of course you're welcome to prove me wrong with a better definition, but the current one is not lexicographic information, it's nonsense. Michael Z. 2012-04-06 05:54 z


Could someone check whether the audio file is for the noun or verb senses? — Paul G (talk) 08:49, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I think it covers all senses of both PoSes, except the verb sense "to cry louder than". DCDuring TALK 12:25, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
The audio is for the noun pronunciation, with stress on the first syllable. The verb would have the second syllable stressed. --EncycloPetey (talk) 20:59, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I have heard the verb only with stress on the second syllable. Dbfirs 08:22, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


Is the audio file for the noun or the verb? — Paul G (talk) 09:55, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

It is correct for the noun. Not quite sure about the verb! Equinox 13:22, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
In my (US) experience, noun and verb are pronounced identically in this case. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:25, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
The audio would be noun only in my UK English, where the stress is either equal or on the second syllable for the verb. The Wiktionary entry says that the same is true in American English, but the American Heritage dictionary allows either for the verb. (The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary claims that only American English has the verb stress on the second syllable, but I think they are confused!) Perhaps the stress is changing, and varies by region. Dbfirs 08:16, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


Which part(s) of speech is the audio file for? — Paul G (talk) 10:04, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Again, noun only in my northern UK English, where the adjective tends to have equal stress, but the stress probably varies by region. Dbfirs 08:20, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


It has 11 alternative forms, most obsolete, and currently arranged as a list. What do you think of formatting it like this? It wastes less vertical space and makes the American form more visible, in my opinion. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 16:47, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

  • I would just lay them out as a comma-separated list - on one line. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:50, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
  • What about this? It's something of a combination of both ideas. - -sche (discuss) 17:48, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Pretty good. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 18:20, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Pronunciation of -tion/-sion

The Scandinavian languages, English and Low German pronounce the mentioned endings with /sh/ or /ch/ while not having a notable palatalisation-feature. (As in Polish /s/=/s/ -> /si/=/shi/)
Can anyone provide information on why this is and where it originated?ᚲᛟᚱᚾ (talk) 17:57, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

w:Phonological history of English#Up to the American–British split. "In some words, /tj/, /sj/, /dj/, /zj/ coalesce to produce /tʃ/, /ʃ/, /dʒ/, and new phoneme /ʒ/ (examples: nature, mission, procedure, vision)". Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 18:18, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
But that would mean that all languages took their pronunciation from the fairly uninfluential English in the 17th century. Also, in languages other than English the /sh/ is confined to that specific syllable rather than to /Cj/-pairs. (Cf. djup, matjes, själv, which all sport different sounds.)ᚲᛟᚱᚾ (talk) 14:45, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
The coalescing isn't unique to English, it happens in Dutch too, although the result is slightly different and more palatal in pronunciation, not a true palato-alveolar. /tj/ is often realised as [tʲ] or [c] in Dutch, and /sj/ as [sʲ] or [ɕ]. —CodeCat 21:31, 26 March 2012 (UTC)


Does our entry for [[group]] account for things like these? What POS is "group" in such quotations? It is contrasted with adverbs. - -sche (discuss) 00:31, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

I read the one with seriatum[sic] to be using it a verb: "You say on one hand, you run it seriatum and then [you] group [the results]". (I see how it could be read as an adverb — "You say on one hand, you run it seriatum and then [you run it] group" — but by asking b.g.c. to show me results for "group it" in that book, I found that another part of the page has "When you group[,] it seems to me that you do not introduce any wider [] ", which is clearly a verb.) We do have [[group#Verb]], though depending on your point of view, it either doesn't include this sense, or else it mislabels this sense. (That is, either we're missing a sense, "(intransitive) To put things together to form a group", or else our existing sense "(transitive) To put together to form a group" needs to be tweaked.)
I believe the ones that coordinate individually with group are using it as a noun complement to "housed" or "penned"; "group-housed" means "housed in groups". There's a general tendency for coordinands to have the same part of speech, but it's not a very strong tendency, as long as the coordinands have the same semantic role and the same locally-relevant grammar.
RuakhTALK 01:36, 26 March 2012 (UTC)


Is there a word, "contraeuphemistic," meaning pejorative? That is contraeuphemistic = contra- + euphemistic If so, could you create this entry in the English wikitionary? Thankyou.

The opposite of euphemistic is not contraeuphemistic, but dysphemistic (eu- is from the Greek word meaning "good", dys- is from the Greek word meaning "bad"). Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:49, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Etyl of Japanese term ピン (pin)

I just substantially expanded the entry at ピン, but ran across a puzzle in the background to etyl 1. My sources to hand all list one sense of Japanese pin as deriving from Portuguese pinta, and all explain that pinta means "point". Yet, as the pinta entry clearly shows, it means "he/she/it paints", while the Portuguese word for "point" is ponto.

Does anyone know if there might be a Portuguese dialect in which pinta = "point"? Or are my sources to hand incorrect on the source language, and pinta means "point" in some other tongue not yet included on the pinta page?

-- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 20:28, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

日本語大辞典 agrees with Portuguese "pinta" as the source. See pt:pinta, where the first definition is "mancha de pequeno tamanho." BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 21:20, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Aha, so the issue is that en:pinta#Portuguese is in need of significant expansion to cover the senses listed at pt:pinta. Thank you, Benjamin. I shall amend ピン momentarily. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 21:44, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
pinta means a small dot or stain (especially, but not necessarily, one in the skin). It's not dialectical as far as I know. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 21:44, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
I've expanded pinta and it now includes this sense. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 22:00, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

up to

I question whether the following sense of "up to" is adjectival as claimed:

What have you been up to?

"up to" in this sense, as far as I can see, must have a noun as an object, as in He's been up to something. (In the example sentence I would say the object is "what", which has become detached due to inversion.) Therefore, "up to" would seem to have the properties of a preposition. However, I am not quite confident enough to change it unilaterally. 02:39, 29 March 2012 (UTC)


I have copiously cited a definition of this relating to ethnicity. But I'm having trouble defining it and I'm not sure where I should go with. Right now I have a literal definition of an ethnicity not having a hyphen, but that seems to miss a lot of the real meaning. Some of them have the implications of "real" Americans or Canadians, whereas some (mostly social science material using "unhyphenated whites") have a neutral definition of "those who identify themselves as simply Americans instead of Italian-Americans or the like". Given the complexity of use, I'm not sure how or if to tag it in someway; the idea (of "real" Americans or Canadians) is more offensive then the word, but the two are tied fairly tightly together.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:41, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Attempted. Still seems a little forced, but it's a start.Chuck Entz (talk) 08:14, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
My problem with "belonging to a single ethnicity or nationality" is with African-American or as one cite puts it "Negro-Americanism", which is no more multiple ethnicity or nationality then white American.--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:14, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

“Not hyphenated#Adjective.” Michael Z. 2012-03-30 19:27 z


The entry "papa" gives one definition as "The letter P in the ICAO spelling alphabet." This is correct, but as the ICAO spelling alphabet is international, surely this should be a translingual entry rather than an English one? Furthermore, it is capitalised in other dictionaries in this sense. The translations given appear to be for other words used to represent P in other languages, not for the word in the ICAO spelling alphabet. The same would be true of the other 25 entries. — Paul G (talk) 15:46, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Seems like a good idea to me. Be bold! --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:00, 9 April 2012 (UTC)