Wiktionary:Tea room/2013/July

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"you tell me", French "à toi de me le dire"[edit]

Would this expression you tell me and his translation à toi de me le dire be acceptable here? --Fsojic (talk) 08:28, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

The three words in English are often a sum of parts, but the idiomatic usage implies more than the simple meaning of the words, so I would support adding it. Dbfirs 12:41, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Is there a plural to Latin sodes?[edit]

Good evening,

Does anyone know if there is a plural sodete to the Latin word sodes (from si audes, a second person singular), which means please (more or less), and that could be used when addressing several people? Or is sodes completely lexicalized? --Fsojic (talk) 21:10, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

No plural is mentioned in the Oxford Latin Dictionary. —Angr 20:26, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Mistake in declension of derjenige[edit]

I think there might be a mistake in the following page: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/derjenige

Shouldn't the genitive plural of derjenige be derjenigen instead of denjenigen?

I would say it should be derjenigen, yes. BigDom (tc) 13:18, 2 July 2013 (UTC)


So what does it mean? The definition doesn't tell me anything... —CodeCat 16:16, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Similarly hocayım - the verb form of a noun! SemperBlotto (talk) 16:23, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
    • Actually, it does make sense to me more now thanks to your example. I think the copula in Turkish is a suffix, so -yım means "I am" and I suppose -dır means "is". The definition isn't really very clear on that, though. Neither olmak nor hoca make any mention of suffixed copulas, so the user is left guessing. —CodeCat 16:32, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
      • So, hocadir means "he is a master", and hocayım means "I am a master" - maybe? SemperBlotto (talk) 16:35, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
        • Yes, I think it's like that. How would we write a definition to indicate that, in such a way that it's easy to extend it to any noun? We could write "I am a master" but if we are going to do that for every sense of every Turkish noun it could quickly become a maintenance nightmare (which is why we avoid repeating definitions in form-of entries to begin with). So we probably need a template that says something like "the word (word) + the copula (copula suffix) (meaning of suffix)" so that it is clear what it means. w:Turkish copula explains a bit more but I don't understand all of it. —CodeCat 16:43, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
          • In Italian, we have many terms that are combined forms of verb forms and pronouns (See abbandonandola as an example). But the work needed to add the translation is just far too much and we normally omit it (and we only generate the forms that are actually used in the real world - not mass bot generated). I can't think of anything combining random verbs with nouns (or is the verb always "to be"?). Is it always the present tense? SemperBlotto (talk) 16:51, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
            • I think it's only the present of "to be". That's what the wiki page seems to say anyway. From what I can gather, every Turkish noun or adjective has 4 or 5 of these copula forms. Turkish is agglutinative but it's not polysynthetic like some American languages are, so you can't just combine arbitrary words. This kind of thing is not all that unusual though, the same happens in Zulu and its relatives as well (but they use prefixes instead). —CodeCat 16:58, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Turkish is as User:CodeCat states an agglutinative language. Words like hocadır bring me into a scism. On the one hand, they are clearly a predicative form of a noun. On the other hand, they resemble somewhat a verb: It is also the third-person "simple present" form of hoca olmak (to become a teacher/master. So, I sometimes make a verb entry in such cases. --Sae1962 (talk) 17:57, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
    • But hoca olmak isn't a real verb, and we would never create an entry for that. So that means we need some other way to show the definition. How is my proposal above? Also, olmak is missing information about the copulative suffixes, and noun declension tables should probably include these copulative forms. I think that's important. Personally, I would rather call them "nouns" than "verbs" because a copula isn't strictly a real verb when seen from a universal point of view, and in many languages there isn't even a copula verb, or (like in Turkish) it is replaced by some other formation in certain cases. —CodeCat 18:02, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
    • I've created {{tr-copulative form of}} and updated the entry hocadır to use it. My knowledge of Turkish is very limited, so I used an online resource. I hope I did it right. —CodeCat 19:13, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
      I've asked one of our other Turkish speakers to comment. :) - -sche (discuss) 21:11, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
      In the declension tables, all possible forms can be seen, with the verb "to be" in present, past, and unwitnessed past forms for all subjects, the possessive forms and cases. I really don't think that we should create seperate articles for all possible derivations. That'd really get out of control. I don't agree with Sae about the verb-resembling-part. You can say whatever you want as "I am ..." and that doesn't turn them into verbs or verb forms. If we're talking about verbs, third person singular, simple present form of "hoca olmak" would be "hoca olur", and that's something completely different. Of course not a real verb, again you can say whatever you want like "he/she becomes a(n) ...". Sinek (talk) 00:56, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

anlamamak as the antonym of anlamak[edit]

I don't disagree that anlamamak ("not to understand") is the antonym of anlamak ("to understand"), but I'm 100% sure that it's wrong. "İyi" ("good") is the antonym of "kötü" ("bad") but the negative forms of the verbs cannot be antonyms. And the category "Turkish verbs" is full of verb forms such as "I understand", "you understand", "they understand" etc. while they belong to the Category:Turkish verb forms. So there are tons of entries with miscategorizations and incorrect titles.

What's worse, "gelir" (he/she comes) has been listed as the Third-person negative singular simple present indicative form of gelmemek. ("not to come"). And it's not the only one. I've been away from Wiktionary for a while but how could this get so crazy? Sinek (talk) 01:31, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Re "how could this get so crazy?": Sae1962 is known to make lots of grammatical, formatting, and other errors. A fair number of us clean up the English and German errors, but not many of us speak Turkish... - -sche (discuss) 02:29, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
User:Sae1962 may have made a few mistakes in his entries. Feel free to make corrections. —Stephen (Talk) 04:19, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
It should probably be listed as the negative infinitive form of anlamak. — [Ric Laurent] — 19:52, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

get around[edit]

I think we are missing a sense, as in, "I'm sorry, I haven't got around to doing that yet." How would we define it in this case? Struggling with this. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:35, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

See get around to. The definition includes "procrastination" as an essential element, which it is not, at least not in the most common meaning of "procrastination". DCDuring TALK 11:53, 5 July 2013 (UTC)


I've just added some adverbial senses to ruhig. Could other German speakers, especially native speakers, take a look and see if I've gotten the implications right? It's one of those notorious German adverbs or particles that corresponds more to tone of voice than to any English word. —Angr 17:08, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

I (native speaker) think your definitions are fine :) I'm not sure if we (should) include "SoP" senses like 1 and 2, though. Every adjective can be used as an adverb in this way. Longtrend (talk) 15:46, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, I wouldn't add senses 1 and 2 if they were the only thing ruhig meant, but if we only include senses 3 and 4, readers might get the impression it can't mean "quietly, calmly", which of course it can. Sort of the way we often include {{&lit}} senses for our idiomatic entries (cf. vier Buchstaben). —Angr 20:13, 9 July 2013 (UTC)


This term originally referred only to the Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, but in the US refers only to trees in the genus Abies. Until today, the Pinus sylvestris sense wasn't even mentioned in our entry (except in reference to an Old English word), and Wikipedia still only refers to Abies in the w:Fir article. I'm trying to put together a usage note to clarify all of this, but I don't know enough about usage outside the US. Is the Abies sense used in the UK/Ireland, and, if so, how much has the Pinus sylvestris sense displaced it? What about Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.? Chuck Entz (talk) 23:36, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

All we can do is try. Range data, maps etc can help make it clear which species rural folks might need or have needed a name for. Commons has a surprising number of such maps, which also help in translation requests. DCDuring TALK 01:19, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
I've created Pinus sylvestris, with a distribution map, showing the last bit in the Highlands. I suppose Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa know it as a landscape specimen, unless the forest products industry there finds it superior (which I would doubt). DCDuring TALK 01:32, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
The Century Dictionary has Scotch fir as meaning Scots pine. In the US BTW, don't most people call the Christmas trees Scotch pines? And, they grow Pinus sylvestris in New Zealand. It is considered invasive in some parts of North America. DCDuring TALK 01:56, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
See Scotch pine, Scotch fir, and Scots pine also. DCDuring TALK 02:06, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
I see little use of Scotch fir in the 20th century in newspapers. Before that, it was used in Scotland and New Zealand, with small amounts of usage in the US, UK, Canada. DCDuring TALK 02:18, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
The distribution of newspaper usage of Scots fir is about the same.
I would infer that the usage of fir to means Scots pine is about the same: pre-20th century, chiefly in Scotland and NZ. DCDuring TALK 02:23, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
To start with, "Scotch" is proscribed in reference to anything but the drink, and as people have caught on to this fact, it has progressively disappeared from modern usage, so it's not a good indicator. I'm quite familiar with the distribution of the different species: Pinus sylvestris it the only needled conifer native to the British Isles. Abies alba is native throughout the mountains of southern and central Europe. It was well known to the Romans, and their name for it, abies, has been inherited in most, if not all, of the the Romance languages- but never made it to England. It used to be that "fir" was the pine, while the introduced Abies was "silver fir". The pine was driven to extinction in the wild in Britain a few hundred years ago (except for Scotland), but was widely reintroduced as a planted tree. It then became known as the "Scots fir".
In the US, names tend to get switched around: the most common deer in the US has no counterpart in the UK, so it took the name from the closest counterpart to the English deer, the wapiti. This, in turn took the name away from the counterpart of the European elk, which then became known as the moose. Just as the average person in the US would be astonished that the European elk is the same as the US moose, they would also be astonished that Europeans would refer to a pine as "fir". This leads to confusion: the University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary starts out out its definition of firre with "An evergreen coniferous tree of the genus abies; a fir tree;". The only problem is that Abies wasn't introduced to England until the time of Modern English, so that has to be wrong. I think that this ambiguity has lead to a tendency in the UK (at least in books) to refer to Pinus sylvestris as "pine" to avoid confusion, which leaves "fir" to the silver fir. I have no idea, though, whether pines are still referred to as "firs" in modern usage, and which predominates. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:28, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
In the US, per COCA, Scotch pine get 23 uses, Scots pine 7, Scots fir 1, the other three possible combinations (also including Scottish) 0.
I don't have any good ideas about how to determine the referent of the word fir occurring alone, except by looking at a lot of cites. One might hope in a newspaper to get a locally tuned explanation of the the words in the course of an article. I don't see how one can get frequency data though, except through something like DARE. DCDuring TALK 08:15, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Or we could rely on Century, whose entry for fir has a long list of referents conveniently reported at Wordnik. DCDuring TALK 08:29, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Our entry certainly needs adjusting. In the UK, "fir" can mean any conifer. This usage goes back many centuries (as in "Spruce fir, Scotch fir, Silver fir, Weymouth fir" from Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London). Scotch Fir is now more usually known as Scots Pine (at least in formal documents). I look out of my window every day at a lone specimen on top of a hill. I haven't found out whether it was deliberately planted a hundred years ago or is the last remnant of a Caledonian forest. Dbfirs 08:22, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
I've made the UK entry more general, but please adjust as more evidence comes to light. Dbfirs 08:59, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

A script error[edit]

I do not do much here, but I noticed a script error on commencer. Please fix it. Воображение

It was almost certainly caused by a template on that page rather than the page itself. At any rate, I don't see any script error at commencer now so I guess it's been fixed. —Angr 09:01, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

up a storm[edit]

Adverb as part of speech is misleading here. It's not talk + up a storm (like bark up a tree); it's talk up + a storm (like chop up an onion). Since other verbs than talk can be used, I don't know what to call this if not adverb, though. Perhaps it should be relegated to usage notes at storm (noun). Equinox 10:39, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Talk up a storm is decidedly not like chop up an onion, unless it is a TV weather person dramatizing his subject. There are numerous instances of up a storm with verbs that do not normally occur with up. For example, dance up a storm, baked up a storm.
This is almost a case of two adverbials being used together, though if a storm is or was used adverbially apart from up, I would find it archaic. MWOnline includes this. Is it mostly US? DCDuring TALK 12:59, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Both of the OneLook idiom dictionaries that have this are books of American idioms. DCDuring TALK 13:12, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
I meant "talk up + a storm" grammatically, not in the sense of "talk up = exaggerate". I meant that up a storm is not an appropriate lemma/decomposition, in the way that up an onion would not be the appropriate reading for chop up an onion. A better analogy to the chatted "storm" might be whip up a meal (produce from nowhere). Equinox 21:07, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I think grammatically storm is better characterized either as a direct object of the verb or an adverb (like a lot) with up being adverbial. Even if a storm is construed as direct object of the verbs, we have numerous non-constituents as entries in Category:English non-constituents. I'd just as soon keep it more or less as is. DCDuring TALK 22:06, 9 July 2013 (UTC)


Is this really a word or a misspelling? It's not in the OED and google finds it necessary to insert [sic] in this book title. On the other hand gbooks and scholar have enough examples of it to justify an entry as a common misspelling even if it is incorrect. We also have an example ourselves at klusi. SpinningSpark 13:56, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

It looks like a common mis-spelling to me. What does it mean, other than unobtrusive? Dbfirs 15:47, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
I've corrected the typo at [[klusi]]. —Angr 16:02, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
obstrusive seems to come up just as often. SpinningSpark 16:08, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
At Google news, which has relatively credible counts, there are 4 instances of unobstrusive and more than 1000 of unobstrusive. The ratio at COCA is similar. The raw count at Google Books is extremely unreliable. As I paged through the results, the last page showed the total to be 77. At Google Scholar we learn that peer review doesn't lead to good spelling: 2.7K of the misspelling and 98K of the right spelling. If the portion misspelled is 3% or less does that make it common, at least in combination with a large absolute count?
I think a criterion like: natural log of raw count × ratio of misspelling to correct spelling > .3, when the data are drawn from a large corpus with reliable counts (like Scholar or News or COCA or BNC, but sadly not the Web or Books), apporoximates our intuition. Perhaps it should be the square root of the raw count or perhaps 0.3 should be 0.2 or 0.5, but the general idea seems right to me and it would simplify the determination. We could calibrate the formula against our past decisions. If this seems like a bad idea, I blame the lack of air-conditioning. DCDuring TALK 16:21, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
I trust you mean more than 1000 of unobtrusive. How many hits does "apporoximates" get? Anyway, trying to quantify this mathematically seems like a good idea at first, but how do we accommodate things that are misspellings of one word but correct spellings of another word (e.g. there/their/they're, your/you're)? —Angr 17:03, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Gnews has way more than 4 results if the time is set to "archives". I like the idea of setting a numerical inclusion rule, it at least has the benefit of being an objective test, but there are some exceptions that need to be carefully thought out. Angr raised one, another is that accidental typos need to be distinguished from misspellings due to the author believing them correct. SpinningSpark 19:06, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
  1. Angr: Thanks for catching my typo above.
As to there/their/they're: we don't now treat them as misspellings of each other. I can't think of anything helpful we could offer beyond pointing to the homophones line in the Pronunciation section. I'd be perfectly happy to admit defeat by homophones.
My interest is in finding some systematic way of treating at least some of the cases. Upper and lower bounds on zones of inclusion and exclusion could leave a gray area in between to be resolved by voting as at present. This is intended only to apply to spellings not better considered alternative spellings, for which usage at a rate greater than 20%-30% in some identifiable usage group seems to be sufficient to convince us not to treat it as a misspelling. ::::If we never resolve this little issue, we'll just spend a bit more time on misspellings than we would have to. If there is any positive response here to the general idea (The formula might need changing and some discussion of corpora wouldn't hurt.), I'll take it to BP. DCDuring TALK 19:24, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Since no one appears to be positively saying we shouldn't have these, I have gone ahead and put them in. SpinningSpark 13:45, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Given unobtrusive, unobstrusive at Google Ngram Viewer, its frequency ratio in year 2000 of 155 and the absence in both obstrusive at OneLook Dictionary Search and unobstrusive at OneLook Dictionary Search, this looks like a common misspelling to me. While the frequency ratio for Google Ngram in year 1980 is about 50, that is still misspelling-ratio to me rather than an alternative-spelling one. --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:01, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I put them in as misspellings, not normal entries. SpinningSpark 09:42, 13 July 2013 (UTC)


Latin pronuntiation is [ˈfas.ci.num] (ɸʌsʦɪnʊm) not [ˈfas.ki.num]! --Kusurija (talk) 18:47, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

ɸ and ʌ in Latin?? — Ungoliant (Falai) 18:53, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
[ˈfas.ki.num] (well, [ˈfas.ki.nũ]) is correct for Classical Latin. Ecclesiastical Latin would be [ˈfaʃ.ʃi.num], but I don't know if this word is used in Ecclesiastical Latin. —Angr 19:39, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
As Angr says, it probably started out with a k sound, but, beginning in the Middle Ages, the pronunciation of "s+ci" diverged regionally. In Latin used by English or French speakers nowadays, it would normally be si, by Italians and/or those who follow the Ecclesiastical pronunciation, ʃi (with ʃ single or doubled), while Germans and most Eastern Europeans would use your pronunciation of sʦi. Our practice of following the Classical pronunciation is probably best for an international resource like ours, though an argument could be made for using English (it is English Wiktionary, after all) or the Ecclesiastical pronunciation. Your version is completely alien to most English speakers, but would be fine for the German, Polish, Czech or other similar Wiktionaries. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:24, 7 July 2013 (UTC)


The example about "pronouncing a couple man and wife" is misleading. "Pronounce" is a performative verb. Illocutionary force is the intention of the speaker, and that could be pronouncing a marriage, giving out information, lying or indeed anything at all.

It's not quite that simple. The concept of illocution has changed over the years, and with it the usage. As a descriptive dictionary, we have to cover terms as they're actually used, not as they ought to be used. If someone reads about "I now pronounce you man and wife" as an illocutionary act, we'll want to have a definition that covers the word as it was meant. I think we may have to have two definitions at illocution and all of its derivatives to cover usage adequately. My linguistics education dates back to When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, so I'll leave it to others to decide exactly how to deal with this. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:43, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

check into[edit]

I'm not really sure, but isn't this just check followed by a prepositional phrase whose head is into? Similarly for the other currently "wanted entry" on the recent changes page, check up on (= check up + on). Longtrend (talk) 15:29, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

I think your assessment is correct. But I am apparently not representative of prevailing opinion here. I think that check up = check#Verb + up (intensifier). DCDuring TALK 17:11, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, this entry should be deleted.
“Are you checking up on me?” can imply inappropriate or unwelcome micromanagement. I think it may have an idiomatic sense that is perhaps not captured in the definition. Michael Z. 2013-07-08 17:23 z
I moved it to RFD. Longtrend (talk) 19:33, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Latvian šūt[edit]

I'm not sure if the third sense of this word ("to join metal sheets, parts, etc.") can be rendered into English as "to sew"; it seems possible, but it also sounds strange to my (admittedly foreign) ears. The translation of the example given also seems weird... Could I perhaps ask some of the native speakers here who happen to know something about metallurgy (not my field...) for suggestions and comments? Thanks in advance! --Pereru (talk) 15:55, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

welding, brazing, and soldering are some metal-joining methods. Spot-welding is used where a sealed joint is not required, but that seems wrong for most pipe applications. There is a process called seam-welding, which also uses a word with etymological roots in sewing. DCDuring TALK 21:04, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

bernard l'ermite[edit]

Could someone with good French please check out my translations of the quotes at bernard l'ermite and make sure they're right? Especially the second one, I'm not at all sure what "car je l’estime de nature à prêter grandement à réfléchir" means. Thanks! —Angr 20:06, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

You seemed to do fine, and got the general point of "car je l'estime de nature à prêter grandement à réfléchir" means. It is very oddly worded; it literally translates to "I deem it of the nature to lend much thought.". I changed your wording a bit.Воображение
Actually, I didn't; I got help from some people at Wikipedia and had changed the translation based on their suggestions before you saw it. What I originally put was "because I esteem it for the thoughts it leads me to". —Angr 16:02, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
One thought though. It seems to me that bernard-l'ermite seems more commonly used than bernard l'ermite. Even the French wiktionary says so. I think you should transfer all the code from bernard l'ermite to bernard-l'ermite. Воображение
I agree. French Wikipedia also uses the hyphen, as do both quotes I added (though one of them capitalizes it as well), so I've moved it to bernard-l'ermite. —Angr 19:44, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the most common spelling is bernard-l’hermite (hermite is an old spelling of ermite, but it's still used in this word). Lmaltier (talk) 20:15, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Merci pour votre suggestion, but would not it matter based on your location? I think the dialect of French most used here is Parisian French, as is the same in le wikitionairre, so if you are absolutely sure that you have seen somebody Parisian spell it the -hermite way, I think that we should go with the -ermite. Воображение
I live near Paris and work at Paris, but this is irrelevant. I was surprised when I read your spelling. After checking on Google, I find: "bernard-l'hermite": 1,900,000, "bernard-l'ermite": 815,000. Actually, my conclusion is that I was used to the spelling with an h, but that both spellings are commonly used (and both were already used during the 19th century). According to Google Ngram Viewer, the trend is clearly favourable to bernard-l'ermite, but both spellings are still common: http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=bernard-l%27ermite%2Cbernard-l%27hermite&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=19&smoothing=3&share= although this is not the case for the plural: http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=bernards-l%27ermite%2Cbernards-l%27hermite&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=19&smoothing=3&share=
Note that, unlike bernard-l'hermite, hermite is, very clearly, an obsolete spelling (you can still find it sometimes, but rarely, and it's considered as an error). Lmaltier (talk) 21:27, 12 July 2013 (UTC)


Is there any chance of chronosynclastic meeting our CFI. As far as I know, it was only ever used in one book. If not, I shall have to delete the Italian translation (cronosinclastico). SemperBlotto (talk) 11:02, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Sirens of Titan is not a well-known work. Looking at Google Scholar, there are 26 raw hits, a large number of which are probably just mentions and some of which are not in durably archived media. But I'd be surprised if we couldn't find three good cites. I had recently RfVed an invention of Gerard Manley Hopkins, but that seems to have survived. Why not this? DCDuring TALK 12:02, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm surprised you would say Sirens of Titan is not a well-known work. By what criteria? Siuenti (talk) 20:10, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Ask 100 people at some place other than a university. Will ten of them have heard of it? Ask 100 students at a university for which the book is not used in a course. Will thirty of them have heard of it? Ask one hundred faculty members not in liberal and fine arts. Will thirty of them have heard of it? How many students take courses in which it is required reading?
Compare KJV, Ulysses, Hamlet, The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Moby Dick, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Origin of the Species, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, Lolita, Catcher in the Rye, The Satanic Verses. DCDuring TALK 21:00, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
<by the bye> I've read all of those except two. SemperBlotto (talk) 21:08, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Without me, many works of lesser quality in our public library wouldn't be read at all. Second-rate works, too, deserve their audience. DCDuring TALK 21:26, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Works like Moby Dick are known to about everyone but in terms of works discussed by other authors, gbooks shows that Sands of Titan is rather more well known than some others on DCDurning's list, Letter from a Birmingham Jail for instance. Hundreds of these books discuss the term chrono-synhchastic infundibulum. That alone should warrant an entry, but I have two sources which use the term independent of any reference to Vonnegut or his works.
Your wife smiles bravely as you wax eloquent on where the chronosynclastic infundibulum market is headed. (Sam Hill, Sixty Trends In Sixty Minutes)
The more diversity you have, the greater the breadth of the resident knowledge, and hte more likely you are not to get stuck by an unanticipated question like "Is the chronosynclastic infundibulum market really growing?" (Sam Hill, Sixty Trends In Sixty Minutes)
Through the action of a singularity in space-time, or chrono-synclastic infundibulum, one sock of a pair is instantaneously projected along an unstable vector to an unknown region of the cosmos. (Perditus Perdale, The Meaning of Lost and Mismatched Socks)
Those, together with Vonnegut's original work and the thousands who have discussed it, I think makes the CFI requirement for three uses even if Sands of Titan is not to be considered a well-known work. SpinningSpark 10:50, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm not at all familiar with the {{w:Sands of Titan}}.
I intentionally included Letter from a Birmingham Jail because it is much more widely known among the general population than any novel since Gone with the Wind, novels like The Godfather being known not as novels but as movies. I think that we should disqualify ourselves from opining on what is a well-known work and stay to matters such as Spinningspark discusses.
For literary works, the question in my mind is whether any number of discussions of the meaning of a coinage like this in books of literary criticism constitute use rather than mention. To call it "use" seems to be a stretch that contributors here favor because we are bookish. DCDuring TALK 12:01, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
The two cites I gave above are unquestionable uses, they do not discuss the term, Vonnegut, his works, or its definition. That is why I chose them. So I don't see how you can portray them as mentions. Or if you are not so portraying, what your point is. You may think that Letter from a Birmingham Jail is known to everyone (and possibly it is in the US) but I had never heard of it prior to this discussion. SpinningSpark 17:56, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Esperanto noun forms not green[edit]

Anyone know why the noun forms for Esperanto nouns are not showing up green any longer? Thanks, Razorflame 02:08, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

See WT:Grease Pit#Two little things. — Ungoliant (Falai) 02:27, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks :) Razorflame 02:29, 12 July 2013 (UTC)


For the article on quis (Latin), quae is listed as the feminine form in the declension table, but quis is in the upper part. Is there a reason for this? 15:29, 12 July 2013 (UTC)


Compare first two senses: "something that someone possesses, but to which he does not necessarily have private property rights"; and "something that is owned". Can someone explain the difference, and confirm that these are separate senses of the word and not merely separate contexts? (Compare "something that one owns but has lent to somebody else", which is a conceivable kind of possession but would not merit a sense line.) Equinox 20:42, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

ownership and custody or occupancy are often confused. MWOnline finesses the matter nicely with: "something owned, occupied, or controlled", which seems to cover both of those definitions. DCDuring TALK 21:27, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Latvian valganums[edit]

In the final sentence (quote) example for this word, I translated valganums as "dampness", but it seems somehow strange to me to speak of the "dampness of enthusiasm and passion" in someone's eyes. Doesn't "damp" or "dampness" usually suggest (in metaphorical contexts) sadder, more depressive feelings? In this case, how should someone talk about the "moistness" in a person's eyes who is happy and enthusiastic about life, as children often are (which I think is the intended meaning in the quote I tried to translate)? --Pereru (talk) 11:56, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Yes, dampness has more of a negative connotation. There's the expression dewy-eyed, so dewiness might work, though that has a bit of a flowery Victorian poetic feel to it. For a looser translation, brightness would be a closer fit, but it doesn't have the same literal meaning. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:03, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

sleep with the fishes[edit]

Not sure how things work around here, but here is a note on the etymology of the above - [1]. If the link doesn't work, just put - "sleep with the fishes" Sketches of Germany and the Germans - into Google. It's a usage of the phrase from 1836.

This looks like a case of live metaphor vs. set phrase. In your quote, it's in the context of actual fishes, though the sleeping part is idiomatic. The modern usage has a perceived association with organized crime as portrayed in the popular media, and probably comes from the quote in The Godfather, as stated in the etymology. The etymology should be modified to account for previous use as a live metaphor. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:54, 15 July 2013 (UTC)


The fourth definition of modality is "(medicine) any method of therapy that involves therapeutic treatment". But what does that mean? I tried following the linked words, and I am none the wiser. JonH (talk) 18:21, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

"(medicine) A form or method of treatment."
I'll try to get some usage examples and citations for this. DCDuring TALK 18:45, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Modality also refers to methods of diagnosis, especially now of diagnostic imaging.
In all the medical and caring fields it seems to refer to readily distinguished means of therapy. So ultrasound is a modality of diagnostic imaging, but there could be different means, methods, or techniques of using it. It would not be impossible apparently for someone to use the more specialized word to refer to a means, method, or technique that seemed to them to be significantly different from others. DCDuring TALK 19:41, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick reply and the update to the definition. I get the idea now. JonH (talk) 22:26, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for seeking clarification. If you can't improve it yourself, drawing attention to a problem definition is very helpful. And this space is better than the talk page. DCDuring TALK 23:21, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Problem with assignment of the possessive form of the Turkish word koordinat[edit]


Although I consider myself a good Turkish speaker, I run into problems with a possessive form. I wanted to add all the forms for the new entry koordinat, but do not know which templates to use for koordinatınız and koordinatlarınız. The first is for "your" (second-person singular, subject pronoun). Siz on the right column is you for the second-person plural (a group of people you meet). I think the templates are somehow confusing to me.--Sae1962 (talk) 11:03, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

The organisation of the table is a little confusing as well. If you look at the order of the suffixes, the possessive suffix comes before the case suffix. So "koordinatıma" is not the 1st person singular possessive of "koordinata", which is the dative of "koordinat". Rather, "koordinatıma" is the dative of "koordinatım", which is the 1st person singular possessive of "koordinat". So it seems like all the possessive forms are like mini-nouns by themselves and take case endings of their own. I think the best solution for this would be to create a custom template for Turkish noun forms, much like the custom template for copulative forms that I already created earlier. Reorganising the declension table of the possessive forms might help as well. I will see what I can do tomorrow. —CodeCat 02:19, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

שבור: Nikud[edit]

Discussion moved to Wiktionary:Grease_pit/2013/July#Hebrew_display_problem.


I find the order of senses very confusing. The most common sense of "truth" is "true facts", not loyalty. The current order obviously caused quite a few mistranslations. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:23, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

The only plausible objective basis for ordering senses of basic words in general use is historical. It is incredibly time-consuming to establish relative frequency of meanings. The OED provides a reference for historical ordering.
I don't know that there is any substitute for reading the glosses, at least all of those not with some restricted usage context (somehow ignoring the confusion between topic and usage context), before doing translations. I know that is asking a lot, especially if you, one of our most diligent and prolific translators, find this confusing. DCDuring TALK 01:06, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't find it confusing, I read glosses but we had a discussion with a mini-vote somewhere - put common senses first. I don't remember how it ended, though. My point is, we get a lot of casual translators or even long-timers who don't read glosses carefully or misread them. When we say "truth", the first thing that comes to mind is "true facts", opposite of lie, most people don't care about historical senses. The current translations: Persian حقیقت, Czech pravda, Serbo-Croatian istina, German Wahrheit, etc., etc. have nothing to do with the first sense of "truth" - "being true (i.e. loyal) to someone". --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 02:53, 18 July 2013 (UTC)--Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 02:53, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
As I recall there was no actual vote and little indication of any consensus. I try to structure definitions with subsenses. Should that be forbidden because someone might find it confusing?
In any event we are very dependent on getting folks to review our content, partially because translators may have made mistakes, but also because many of the English L2 sections themselves are, erm, works in progress or worse. Changes in English definitions and their order can happen without any corresponding change in the trans tables, as you know. DCDuring TALK 21:06, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
I am a linguist, a translator, and a writer. I am also a native English speaker. I have never seen the noun "truth" used as a synonym for loyalty. The German word "Treue" means loyalty, but I cannot recall ever hearing the English substantive "truth" used for "loyalty" outside of that example sentence in the definition, which is non-standard English. I have only ever seen the adjective "true" used in this way, or the noun "faithfulness." Correct current usage for the semi-religious statement used as a definition would have given "Being true to one's own feelings is all-important in life" or "Faithfulness to one's own feelings is all-important in life." The non-usage of "truth" for "loyalty" also holds for my experience with 17th century English. In summary: this definition stinks. Not only is the word "truth" not commonly used in English to mean loyalty, but the actual meaning of the word- an adherence to facts- is itself being contested philosophically in academics and culture at large. My opinion? Someone with a fascist agenda is trying to change the meanings of words to suit their personal ends. Just sayin'...Bjoleniacz (talk) 06:29, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
I would like to add the following: Looking at the "other languages" in which the translation of the word "truth" also apparently means loyalty to someone or something- is this some kind of joke? Latin "veritas" and all its Romance derivatives all apparently mean "loyalty" now...When the actual TRUTH is, the Latin translation of "loyalty" is "fides," and its derivatives are "fidelidad," "fidélité," "fidelidade," etc. Persian "haqiqat" is defined as follows in my dictionary: "Fact, Reality, Truth, Actuality" (http://www.loghatnameh.de/). Everything in that first translation window is just plain wrong. At the very least, that definition should have the "archaic" marker in front of it.Bjoleniacz (talk) 06:58, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
I have already corrected SOME but left others, just to highlight the problem and discuss. I don't think there's a fascist "agenda", though. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 07:18, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Added a Coleridge citation (the one from Webster 1913) for the loyalty sense. I don't see how this can be a "fascist agenda" unless the fascists have time travel. Equinox 20:21, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Didn't Karl Popper think that Plato was a totalitarian/fascist in The Open Society and its Enemies, also Gilbert Ryle in Plato's Progress ? DCDuring TALK 22:22, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
I guess, the point about "fascist agenda" that Bjoleniacz made is not about old Webster dictionary but about the entry in this dictionary. I disagree with the terminology but archaic senses should be listed at the bottom and marked dated or archaic, translations fixed (I'll do it if no-one helps). Glosses should be read and understood, anyway. It's obvious that multiple translators were confused with the current order of senses. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:48, 11 September 2013 (UTC)


We have it as a postpositive adjective, but I always thought it was a noun; see google books:"a redux" for example. Does anyone have strong evidence either way (or a lemming test)? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:59, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

It was an adjective in Latin. I'd expect it to retain its PoS as a borrowed word. It is an adjective in all the dictionaries I looked at at redux at OneLook Dictionary Search. I don't have access to the OED. DCDuring TALK 21:36, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Most of the gbook hits are using the word attributively, eg "a redux model" so it is probably not being used as a noun, even in error. SpinningSpark 12:19, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
But there are a couple of hundred raw GBooks hits for "reduxes", the first twenty of which at least are in English and seem to show use as a noun. It really shouldn't be surprising that it is used a noun, I suppose, though it seems "literary". DCDuring TALK 13:22, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
TIL that "redux" comes from Latin and isn't a shortening of rediscuss(ed)... - -sche (discuss) 20:16, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

puzzle through[edit]

There are combinations like to puzzle out and puzzle over. Does puzzle through merit inclusion? --CopperKettle (talk) 15:49, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

puzzle * at OneLook Dictionary Search has only out and over as particles making a phrasal verb idiom in the opinion of idiom dictionaries and Wordnet (not the various "unabridged" dictionaries). DCDuring TALK 21:42, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

sabieħ and sabiħ[edit]

I'm guessing that one of theses is supposed to be an {{alternative form of}}. Does anyone know which one? Hyarmendacil (talk) 05:21, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

A kick (?) a ball[edit]

What is the correct preposition here: A kick at/on/towards/to/? a ball? For an instance of kicking a ball. — Ungoliant (Falai) 14:16, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

of. At implies likely lack of contact, as does towards. The others are less plausible I think.
But no prepositional construction of the form "kick [PREP] [ARTICLE] ball" is common, say, at COCA. I think in discourse about a sport involving a ball any "kick" is assumed to involve a ball. The exceptional cases would be "kicks" directed at other players, referees, fans, benches, turf, etc. It's hard to imagine a real context in which one would refer to a player's performance in a game involving "23 kicks of the ball, 2 kicks of opponents, 3 kicks of the turf in disappointment or frustration, and one kick of the bench after being taken out of the game."
Perhaps you have a particular situation in mind in which it would be natural. DCDuring TALK 14:58, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. It’s for the definition of a Portuguese noun with that meaning, so there can’t be any ambiguity. Kicking people isn’t uncommon in association football. — Ungoliant (Falai) 17:00, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
What's the pt word? Could "the act of kicking a ball" work? I think that sounds better than "a kick of a ball" (which could theoretically mean it's the ball that's doing the kicking, although most balls don't have feet). —Angr 17:54, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Chuto. That’s a better idea, I’ll use that. — Ungoliant (Falai) 21:14, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
If the use is in the context of a discussion of a sport that involves kicking, the idiomatic way of referring to "an act of kicking the ball" is a/the/[DET] kick (His scoring kick with 2 minutes left iced the game); "the practice of kicking" or "one's performance in kicking for a game, a season, a career or part": kicking (His kicking got steadily better over the season as he fully recovered from his injury.). HTH DCDuring TALK 12:11, 21 July 2013 (UTC)


It seems to me that there's another definition of interest beyond those given on the page, meaning "something one is interested in" - as in "Let me see that chair; Victorian furniture is an interest of mine." Or "I'm studying Chinese history. The late Yuan dynasty in particular is one of my interests." Mr. Granger (talk) 12:24, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Added. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. — Ungoliant (Falai) 12:33, 23 July 2013 (UTC)


svlusterna is an uncommon misspelling of Swedish word svulsterna and should be deleted. EmilS (talk)

Moved. But are you sure it’s not a regional or colloquial variant? — Ungoliant (Falai) 09:56, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
"svl-" seems so odd for a Swedish word that I wonder if Swedes can even pronounce it. —CodeCat 23:02, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Probable typo. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:14, 26 July 2013 (UTC)


In the noun section, all the different styles of music that are called "hardcore" are grouped under a single sense. That seems really odd to me as these are totally different styles with very little in common, and they have their own Wikipedia articles. This should really be split but I don't know enough about these styles to write good definitions. —CodeCat 23:00, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

They’ve been split. I don’t know what genre of electronic music it is referring to, so I kept the same wording for that. — Ungoliant (Falai) 09:11, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
That would be w:Hardcore techno. —CodeCat 10:19, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

computer Technology[edit]

To All knowledge Hunters,

Can somebody explain from where the beautiful colours of Computer images / pictures come? when we know that there is not a drop of colour material exist in the Computers? Please Answer.

Umesh Mitkar India

We’re a dictionary, we can’t help you with that. Try this article. — Ungoliant (Falai) 09:07, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
All colors are produced by mixing Red, Green, and Blue on your computer screen (your computer screen contains many thousands of subpixels, or tiny lights, in these three basic colors). See w:Subpixel rendering and w:RGB color model. —Stephen (Talk) 09:16, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Dealing with number entries[edit]

In Swahili, numbers can be nouns or adjectives. For example, -wili means "two" as an adjective (for phrases like two lions) and pili means "two" as a noun (for phrases like "one and two make three"). What should the L3 headers be? What should the categories be? How should they link to each other? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:19, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Haven’t Swahili grammarians created a precedent? If not, what about numeral POS and {{cx|adjectival}} / {{cx|nominal}} in the definition? — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:05, 25 July 2013 (UTC)


This is obsolete, a proposed name for vanadium. A few terms in other languages use it as a definiens. This seems wrong, especially if the term being defined is not obsolete.

It seems as if it should be a general principle that obsolete terms never be used as in the definiens or glosses of any terms, except possible those that are themselves obsolete. DCDuring TALK 19:12, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

I tend to agree. I would define Erythronium#German as "{{context|obsolete}} erythronium, vanadium" but I wouldn't define vanadium#French that way. If you want to see how other obsolete element names have been handled, btw, see masurium and do a search for obsolete element name (not in quotation marks). - -sche (discuss) 20:12, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I'll start with obsolete element names, but I would love to have L2 sections that use any English term in the definiens that only has obsolete or rare senses flagged for attention. It might be nice to exclude the senses of the definienda that were themselves obsolete or rare. DCDuring TALK 20:49, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
What makes it worse is that the French and Italian entries do no include any gloss and I am going to add a botanical sense to [[erythronium]]. DCDuring TALK 20:51, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
But, that's what {{rfgloss}} is for, isn't it? DCDuring TALK 21:00, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

snow leopard[edit]

I have some questions about the translations. Most of them seem to be calques, not just in Navaho and Cherokee, but also in Mongolian and Turkic languages where they seem Russian-derived. Do we know for a fact that in the native range of the snow leopard, the locals have all used a Russian derivation?

Also the Latin uncia seems to be following what might be a semi-jocular taxonomic imitation Uncia uncia of French once, a misdivision of lonce, from Latin lynx, from Greek. DCDuring TALK 00:39, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

in infinite[edit]

Is this real? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:09, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

In what sense is this "an alternative form of ad infinitum? It might be synonymous.
In what sense is this English?
DCDuring TALK 14:21, 26 July 2013 (UTC)


I've previously read elsewhere that English used to have three terms: werman (meaning male human), wifman (meaning female human), and man (gender neutral term for human), and that the terms werman and man eventually merged. Can't find mention of "werman" on Wiktionary at the moment. Did I read something incorrect in the past? --Makkachin (talk) 13:14, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

I think you read something incorrect, or are incorrectly remembering what you read. Old English had a word wer that meant "man", but I can't find evidence that it ever formed a compound with man. The usual coordinate to wīfmann was wǣpenmann/wǣpnedmann, literally "weaponed person" in reference either to literal weapons that men but not women carried or to the weapons between men's legs. —Angr 13:39, 28 July 2013 (UTC)


Is the word "magmatic" -- as in "magmatic rock" and "magmatic meteorite" -- merely a synonym for IGNEOUS? Igneous rock is, after all, solidified magma. —This comment was unsigned.

Magmatic rock is said to be a synonym for igneous rock, but magmatic seems to be used now much more commonly than igneous in combination with words like process. DCDuring TALK 18:27, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

gow or cau[edit]

In a discussion on the English Wikipedia-en channel someone asked what gow meant in relation to linlithgow, and someone politely epxlained the name as 'the place by the lake in the moist hollow' with gow being from cau meaning ‘hollow’, of nominally Brythonic origin.

I'd appreciate confirmation of this, as Wiktionary doesn't currently have that usage listed (albiet it's archaic) Sfan00 IMG (talk) 01:04, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

It looks to me like an educated guess/reconstruction based on Welsh words (see w:Lithgow (surname)) . There's not much direct evidence regarding the Brittonic language of the area (see w:Cumbric language), which was driven to extinction by invading languages such as English/Scots (starting with Old English), Old Norse, and Gaelic (originally from Ireland), but it probably was very similar to, or even a dialect of, Welsh. Although circumstantial, the evidence isn't really that much worse than that for a lot of the place names in the UK- there may be sources listing the names going back to Old English or even Roman times, but there are precious few sources with etymologically-relevant details. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:20, 29 July 2013 (UTC)


More specifically, the noun sense:

  1. An increased amount or quantity.
    If we can sell more, we will turn this business into a success.
    When it comes to parties, the more, the merrier.

This was tagged with an rfc by -sche (talkcontribs) in September of 2011 with the question: "Is it a noun or a pronoun?". I'm skeptical about its being either. As I said on the talk page:

I would say it's neither a noun nor a pronoun: it's really an adjective with the item it modifies omitted. When you say "we need to sell more", you're really saying "we need to sell more <something>". When you say "the more the merrier", you're really saying "the more <people/guests/whoever>, the merrier". The mere fact that it uses "the" doesn't change that, since we're not claiming that "merrier" is a noun, too. It's just an idiomatic construction with "the <comparative form of an adjective construction> the <comparative form of an adjective with a qualitative connotation>, as in "the sooner the better", or "the spicier the better", etc.

If I'm right, it should be removed, not cleaned up- we don't have a noun sense for less, for instance. There are plenty of other constructions where it looks like a noun, too, but IMO they all can be explained as noun phrases with elided nouns. What does everyone else think? Chuck Entz (talk) 04:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

CGEL calls these fused-head constructions and they exist for many adjectives and most determiners. They are a feature of the grammar in their opinion, but not everyone follows them. I'd be inclined to delete, whether we use CGEL's or some other theory and nomenclature. DCDuring TALK 04:38, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with DCDuring, they are fused-head constructions, with implied nouns. In the first one it could also be interpreted as an adverb I guess.
If it were a noun, it would be the name of a product being sold, like “if we can sell wheat, [] ,” which clearly it isn’t. — Ungoliant (Falai) 05:01, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with all of you. One can also say "foobars are very expensive; if we buy fewer, we save money". - -sche (discuss) 05:22, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I have removed the noun section per this discussion. - -sche (discuss) 00:40, 6 August 2013 (UTC)


There are two classes of definitions in other dictionaries:

  1. The narrow ones: species w:Nephrops norvegicus
  2. The broad (lazy?, realistic?) ones: any of several species of European prawns.

I'd be inclined to accommodate both, but I'm having a hard time understanding what "European prawns" could be confused with Nephrops norvegicus. DCDuring TALK 17:57, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

langostino / langostino may contribute to confusion - -sche (discuss) 01:58, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Is it just the standard real-world process of demand for the high-prestige product being met by inferior (or at least different) substitutes? The first English attestation was in 1946 per MWOnline. Would a high-prestige word have been used to market the readily caught decapods, with the catch possibly at high levels due to diminished war-time fishing? Or was a langoustine already then whatever largish decapod that the fishermen caught?
I'm not sure what would count as evidence to discriminate between the two definitions. If the fishermen sincerely believe they are catching Norway lobster, the fishmongers and restaurants believe that's what they're selling and the consumers believe that's what they're buying? What about one out of three? DCDuring TALK 04:27, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

wits' end[edit]

Should it be expanded to "at one's wits' end"? I think "wits' end" on its own is not idiomatic. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 22:51, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Of the 95 instances of "* * wit 's end" at COCA, a few are for proper names (books, bars, etc). Of the remaining 90, "at one's wit's end" constitutes about 2/3 of the instances and "* at wit's end" about 25%. The few remaining are for the idiom, but truncated or with a different preposition. I don't see why one should make the lemma the artificial form with one's under these circumstances. Redirects and usage examples seem like the answer. DCDuring TALK 23:41, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't know if it's easy to check at COCA. Obviously "one's" is dropped in certain circumstances or replaced with personal pronouns, possessive forms. It's not artificial, verifying the term with the actual pronouns my, your, his, etc. would be the right check for such expressions and "one's" is often used here for lemma forms. "at wits' end" (without "one's") would make more sense too than simply "wits' end".
The form "wits' end" is not used in bilingual dictionaries at all, because it doesn't mean anything separately, only "(to be) at one's wits' end" is used. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:18, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Because the actual use of one in speech is almost always considered affected, one's in a lemma is artificial. It is just a placeholder term like someone or something. We could solve the translations problem with a {{trans-see}} to perplexed and show some more synonyms.
I've add some more redirects to those already there and corrected the usage notes and the "misspelling", ie wit's end, and made both out to be the regional preferences that they are. We would need four entries and net eleven more redirects to cover the main variations (excluding plurals) instead of the two entries and twelve redirects we should have (only six so far). The quotations show both at wits' end and at one's wits' end, but some are dated and/or literary. Do users need also need made-up, always-displaying usage examples because they can't deal with those or because they don't have the wit to click on the quotations arrow? DCDuring TALK 00:31, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
OK, I've taken out RFT if you so insist, added {{trans-see}} to perplexed, even though "at wits' end" seems more colourful. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 01:07, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
It does seem to me like the lemma should be at wits' end... how much do we let the uncommon use of other prepositions influence where we put the lemma? - -sche (discuss) 01:51, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I started hesitating after seeing a citation: "Our dozen cabin passengers sorely put to wits' end". What do you think? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 02:00, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm not dead certain that the current state is the right one. What I like is that we don't have three lemma entries, three alternative forms entries, and twenty-four redirects. For our current state we should have one lemma, one alternative form and twelve redirects. (We have only six of the redirects.) I also like that the focus is on the noun element of the idiom, which is central, and the elimination of one's from the headword, one being only a placeholder, very rarely used itself in this expression. With all the redirects and the alternative form we have handled the search problem.
What I dislike are the very things that you dislike: at seems an important part of the collocation, the omission of which is unnatural and the expression usually (90%+) presents itself to a translator as a prepositional phrase, usually with at (95%+).
How we weigh these considerations is not straightforward. We seem to be increasingly concerned with coordinating entries whose substance is purportedly the same (eg, UK and US spellings), which would say we would want to reduce the number of lemmas. But we'd like to have the natural form for translations.
We could keep this headword, but have two translation tables, one for the equivalent of the prepositional phrase with at (one's) wit's/wits' end and one for the noun phrase wit's end/wits' end, both at [[wits' end]]. It may violate a kind of mechanical logic that we'd prefer to have, but it would seem to accommodate our varied lexicographic considerations. DCDuring TALK 04:22, 31 July 2013 (UTC)