Wiktionary:Tea room: difference between revisions

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(Caramel carmel)
(Schrödinger's cat: attempt to clarify my comment, because BenjaminBarrett12's reply to it makes no sense to me . . . :-/  )
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::: "Cat" in the citations for the proper noun meaning is not capitalized, but there is no article indicating the proper noun POS is correct. I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of "Is there a John in the room?" --[[User:BenjaminBarrett12|BB12]] ([[User talk:BenjaminBarrett12|talk]]) 08:56, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
::: "Cat" in the citations for the proper noun meaning is not capitalized, but there is no article indicating the proper noun POS is correct. I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of "Is there a John in the room?" --[[User:BenjaminBarrett12|BB12]] ([[User talk:BenjaminBarrett12|talk]]) 08:56, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
:::: I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Judging by the quotations, it looks to me like there're just two different conceptualizations of Schrödinger's cat (both the term and the concept): some people (myself included) imagine the thought experiment as applying to a single, specific, imaginary cat, whereas others apparently imagine the thought experiment as an experiment that is imaginarily performed repeatedly on many imaginary cats. —[[User: Ruakh |Ruakh]]<sub ><small ><i >[[User talk: Ruakh |TALK]]</i ></small ></sub > 17:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
:::: Re: "I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of 'Is there a John in the room?'": I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Judging by the quotations, it looks to me like there're just two different conceptualizations of Schrödinger's cat (both the term and the concept): some people (myself included) imagine the thought experiment as applying to a single, specific, imaginary cat, whereas others apparently imagine the thought experiment as an experiment that is imaginarily performed repeatedly on many imaginary cats. —[[User: Ruakh |Ruakh]]<sub ><small ><i >[[User talk: Ruakh |TALK]]</i ></small ></sub > 17:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
::::: I don't understand how you get that from the quotations. Under the common noun section, there is one quotation using the indefinite article and one using the plural form. Under the proper noun section, the quotations are all singular with no article (which is a characteristic of proper nouns). --[[User:BenjaminBarrett12|BB12]] ([[User talk:BenjaminBarrett12|talk]]) 18:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
::::: I don't understand how you get that from the quotations. Under the common noun section, there is one quotation using the indefinite article and one using the plural form. Under the proper noun section, the quotations are all singular with no article (which is a characteristic of proper nouns). --[[User:BenjaminBarrett12|BB12]] ([[User talk:BenjaminBarrett12|talk]]) 18:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Revision as of 21:37, 5 July 2012

Wiktionary > Discussion rooms > Tea room Wiktionary:Tea room/header

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Oldest tagged RFTs


January 2012


Is this really a noun? is used to create adjectives, in Chinese anyway, don't speak Japanese though... ---> Tooironic 20:20, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

We have decided to call them so recently, based on the fact that they are indeed nouns grammatically. See Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Proper label for Japanese "quasi-adjectives". — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 10:54, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

non divisi

Is non divisi a sum of parts if its entry (if it will have one) has:




# {{music}} not divided

====Usage notes====

* to make every player play all of the notes in a non-[[arpeggiate|arpeggiated]] chord or other groups of notes played simultaneously

Celloplayer115 20:49, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

I wouldn't say so, because the term isn't actually English but Latin. In Latin it would be SOP, but not in English. —CodeCat 21:16, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Italian, not Latin - like many terms from music. SemperBlotto 08:41, 2 January 2012 (UTC)


This is a Dutch verb that describes some kind of dance, often associated with carnaval. But I'm not really sure what it actually is, or how to define it. Can anyone help? —CodeCat 14:05, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Dutch wiktionary describes it something like "to dance and jump about as a group". Maybe to square dance? SemperBlotto 14:45, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
    • It's not usually performed in a square but in a line, so it seems more like conga. —CodeCat 14:48, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Does this describe it a bit?

--MaEr 14:18, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't understand the last link but the other two show it well yes. :) —CodeCat 14:42, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
About the last link: just click the search icon, this will start the google image search for "hossen", skipping all manga stuff with "Silvia van Hossen". --MaEr 14:53, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Could this be a w:en:Polonaise (Dutch w:nl:Polonaise)? --MaEr 15:07, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

The Dutch article does contain this sentence:
Aanvankelijk betekende het 'langzame Poolse dans in driekwartsmaat', maar later werd het vooral gebruikt in de betekenis "dans waarbij men in een sliert achter elkaar host, met de handen op de schouders van de voorgaande persoon"
At first it meant 'slow Polish dance in three-quarter measure', but later it came to be used especially in the meaning "dance where people hos after one another in a line, with the hands on the shoulders of the person in front"
CodeCat 15:11, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
So hossen is the same as dancing a polonaise? If yes, you could add the missing definition. --MaEr 18:23, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
As I understand the article, the modern form of polonaise dancing involves hossen. The only real defining feature of hossen that I can think of, aside from the polonaise part, is taking steps in the rhythm of the music, so that everyone moves together. —CodeCat 18:25, 10 January 2012 (UTC)


The entry for /. "(computing, proscribed) the punctuation mark /, properly called "slash"; see below." The notes claim that / is often misread when reading out Internet addresses. I've never heard this mistake made. Are others familiar with it? Is it really so common? Equinox 14:37, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

I've heard it many times, even from people who I think probably do know which one is the slash and which is the backslash, but who get it wrong sometimes in speech (or in listening — hear "backslash", type /); but I really don't know how common it is. Obviously the error stands out much more than the correct version. It pretty clearly meets the CFI that we apply to non-errors:
but we do apply a "common"-ness requirement to misspellings, and we've sometimes applied that to certain other types of clear errors, so if people want to treat it only in usage notes, I think a case could be made.
RuakhTALK 22:05, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
A commonness requirement for misspellings is important because we accept cites from Usenet, where typographical errors and lazy typing are rampant, and, for that matter, from published works, where typographical errors are not at all uncommon. Use of backslash for slash is not a typographical error or a misspeaking or a lazy typing but a wrong choice of word, which is the kind of thing we as alleged descriptivists should not bar form full entry in the dictionary. MHO.​—msh210 (talk) 17:02, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay. I don't object to us having it if it's real, and Ruakh's examples seem to show that. (I'd really like to see that kind of thing in the entry to support the usage note.) Thanks. Equinox 00:29, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
O.K., I've added the cites to the entry. :-)   I think the definition and usage notes should be rewritten, though. Or maybe the usage note should just be removed, and the definition reworded. —RuakhTALK 01:21, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
The usage note surely belongs on \, not on backslash. 10:37, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
For the record, I was referring to a usage note that's since been removed (by me). The usage note that you refer to doesn't pertain to this sense. (But yes, I agree.) —RuakhTALK 21:05, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
  • My feeling is that backslash can now refer quite acceptably (if confusingly) to either / or \. Ƿidsiþ 11:00, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Perhaps some Windows users, accustomed to seeing backslashes as directory separators, don't notice that slashes in URLs go the opposite direction. In other words, to those who don't recognize the difference, backslash may signify not / per se, but either / or \. ~ Robin 23:57, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Robin: people unaware of the handedness of slashes use backslash to mean “file-system pathname delimiter,” or perhaps just “slash character,” and not specifically back- nor forward slash. However, since this contradicts all of the subject experts (glossaries, standards, and style guides in writing, computing, typesetting, etc.), we should indicate that it is considered an error, even if we documentary lexicographers refuse to hold it as such ourselves. Michael Z. 2012-01-12 18:04 z

Proto-Germanic -eu- in Saxon (and/or Dutch)

Moved to Wiktionary talk:About Middle Low GermanCodeCat 22:23, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

acknowledg, judg

Can someone check these out and confirm they are not just scannos? I'm worried Pilcrow doesn't know what he is doing and is inadvertently creating garbage (e.g. he had created the definitely wrong forms judgs and acknowledgs). Equinox 23:07, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

acknowledg would find ready attestation at google books:"acknowledg". A search for judg yields many hits for the abbreviation of the book of the Old Testament. But Locke's Of Human Understanding has the verb abundantly and I think that would be a well-known work. DCDuring TALK 02:29, 8 January 2012 (UTC)


Do you really pronounce pronounce /pɹəˈnæwns/? Should that /w/ be there for a start? 10:35, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I do, which is why I added that transcription to the entry. I see it's now bene changed to use /aʊ/ instead. Is that a British thing? I really do think Americans have an /æ/ in there, not an /a/.​—msh210 (talk) 16:44, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I pronounce it /pɹəˈnaʊns/. —Stephen (Talk) 16:54, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I think in most varieties of both General American and RP the starting point is closer to [a] (not [ɑ]!) than to [æ]. At any rate, it's a custom of long standing to transcribe the mouth vowel as /aʊ/ in broad transcriptions (which is what we want here) of both GenAm and RP. Whether we transcribe the end of the diphthong as /w/ or /ʊ/ is much of a muchness; /ʊ/ is more customary in IPA-based transcriptions, while /w/ is more customary in Americanist transcriptions. Our {{IPA}} links to w:International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects, which uses /aʊ/. Our own WT:ENPRONKEY also uses /aʊ/, though why {{IPA}} doesn't link there, I cannot fathom. —Angr 18:02, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I pronounce it closer to [æʊ] or even [ɛʊ]... —CodeCat 18:13, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Yeah well, you're Dutch. ;-) —Angr 18:20, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
*points to the native English speaker tag on her profile page* I was raised speaking Dublin English! —CodeCat 18:21, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I've been to Dublin. Frankly, Dutch is easier to understand than Dublin English, and I don't even know Dutch! But I suppose in Dublin, your Netherlandic tendency to change th into t or d won't be particularly noticeable. (I once bought something in Dublin for £3.30 and was told "Dat'll be tree turrty.") —Angr 18:31, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
But I don't have any Netherlandic tendencies, I still speak Dublin English with my family. You're right dough, I do dat... —CodeCat 20:59, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I actually only edited it so the IPA matched the rhyme, I dunno what the 'correct' IPA is. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:08, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
However msh210, I seem to think we've been here before with dominoes. I mean, I couldn't say /ow/ if I wanted to; is your accent just a bit unusual? I think it would be best to avoid rare pronunciations as otherwise we would have literally dozens of pronunciations in some entries. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:46, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think he's indicating a rare pronunciation; he's using an alternative transcription of a common pronunciation. Transcribing the vowel of pronounce as [æw] isn't wrong and doesn't indicate some minority pronunciation, it's just another way of transcribing exactly the same sound as [aʊ] indicates. But [aʊ] is the more usual transcription in IPA--very few print dictionaries and phonetics textbooks that use IPA will use anything other than [aʊ], and Wiktionary should use it too. —Angr 12:33, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

I've been wondering about that some time ago. /aʊ̯/ is used for German <au>. While my dialect pronounces German /au/ as [ɒʊ̯], I am constantly exposed to the German pron. [aʊ̯] through school, university and media. It does sound very much like -ou- in pronounce. It does however not sound like English /au/ in thousand, which always and in every dialect sounded more like /θäo̯zə̯nd/ to me. Are those two really the same? Because no German pronounces Haus like any English-speaking person I've ever heard in my life ever pronounced house. Ever. Dakhart 17:12, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Apart from the fact that the ou in pronounce is nasalized, I don't hear a difference between the ou in pronounce and the ou in thousand. It's true that Haus and house sound very different, but that's a matter of precise phonetic realization, which isn't within the scope of a dictionary's pronunciation guide. The fact that German /aʊ/ and English /aʊ/ don't sound the same doesn't mean it's wrong to transcribe them the same way when your goal is a broad phonetic transcription. German /iː/ as in Miete and English /iː/ as in meet don't sound the same either, but we use the same transcription for both. (In a phonetics paper where the difference between the two sounds is the topic of discussion, of course two separate transcriptions would have to be found.) —Angr 17:22, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
I think we should provide both a broad and a narrow transcription, when possible. A narrow transcription can help aid in the exact pronunciation especially when there's no audio. —CodeCat 18:25, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
... but we'd need dozens of different "narrow transcriptions" and lots of new symbols if we were to precisely represent every possible variant. Most readers struggle with simple standard IPA. ... also, could Dakhart please explain how German Haus differs from my northern English house? I've always heard them as homophones. Dbfirs 17:08, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Ree (Latin)

In response to the Latin form, double e is very unlikely (as vocative of reus). Is this backed up by any other dictionaries (mine doesn't say)? Might it form a vocative singular like deus instead?Metaknowledge 16:05, 13 January 2012 (UTC)


I have no idea what this word means, or even that it existed once. I found it in this book: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38540/38540-h/38540-h.htm#Page_202 Is it a bycycle, or something else? 03:07, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

It seems to be only in that one book. A few lines later, it is referred to as a "pedalmobile". Equinox 02:37, 16 January 2012 (UTC)


Listed as an alt spelling of at large. Is this real? It would be non-standard (at best! — IMHO wrong) to say "the criminal is at-large", but perhaps you could talk about an "at-large criminal" (?). Equinox 02:36, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

As you know, in English you hyphenate an adjective placed before a noun if it contains spaces, like a book out of print vs. an out-of-print book, and coding from scratch vs. from-scratch coding. Don’t they have different stresses, by the way? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 10:38, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Ego Eris, correct standalone

I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly. I'll be finding out the hard way, I suppose.

In the phrase "Tu fui ego eris" are the parts of the phrase grammatically able to stand alone? Is "Tu fui" grammatically sound? Then is "Ego eris" able to stand alone as well? Looking at the words individually in their tenses all seems correct, but I wanted to be sure. Many thanks for any information.


Neither its parts nor its whole would be grammatically correct. It's like saying "tu suis, je seras" in French (using present rather than past for illustration), deliberately misconjugating être in the wrong person to suggest "I [you]-are, you [I]-will-be". ~ Robin 10:21, 18 January 2012 (UTC)


Paucity is defined in Wikipedia as few in number. This is inaccurate. Specifically the meaning is "not enough". This is a critical distinction. A person may not have very much money but they may be considered as having enough and therefore are not paupers.—This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

  • I have adjusted the definition. You could have done so yourself. SemperBlotto 15:44, 19 January 2012 (UTC)


This is a colloquial or humorous variation of the imperative of 'help' that's pretty common on the internet. I'm quite sure it would meet CFI, but what is it exactly? Is it a misspelling (but it's intentional), is it an alternative form? —CodeCat 14:40, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

How about {{nonstandard|humorous}}? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:45, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
That particular template application appears to work perfectly for this entry. ;) -- Cirt (talk) 23:29, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Halp is also the archaic spelling of the noun help and the archaic strong past tense help, halp, (ge)holp(en). --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 16:21, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Really? I've only ever seen holp for the strong past tense, at least in Modern English. You seem to think of Middle English helpen (in view of your mention of holp/holpe(n)geholpen with the prefix is only Old English, for all I know), for which halp is apparently attested as a variant of holp; but on Wiktionary, Middle and Modern English are treated separately. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:34, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Devoicing next to voiceless cons.

There is a phenomenon in German and Polish, similar to Terminal Devoicing, where a voiced consonant becomes voiceless when preceded by a voiceless consonant. (Sucht = /zuxt/, Streitsucht = /ʃtraitsuxt/) What's it called?Dakhart 21:13, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

I think it's called voicing assimilation, and it happens in many languages, not just those with terminal devoicing. For example, Latin scribo has the participle scriptus. English has leaves /liːvz/ but sleeps /sliːps/. It doesn't always work the same in every language though or even the same in one single language, for example the equivalent Dutch words are strijd /strɛi̯t/ and zucht /zʏxt/ but the combination can be either /strɛi̯dzʏxt/ or /strɛi̯tsʏxt/ depending on the speaker. —CodeCat 21:50, 20 January 2012 (UTC)


We have an entry for the abbreviation xtal but I'm used to seeing it XTAL. What should be placed at XTAL? RJFJR 23:41, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

There is no good reason for capitalising "xtal" (no good reason to abbreviate either, but that's another story). When seen capitalised, it is usually in electronic parts lists, which tend to captitalise everything not nailed down anyway. SpinningSpark 22:29, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

(colloq. Japan)

What does "(colloq. Japan)" mean in the current version of ronin? --Daniel 14:25, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

colloq is short for colloquial. How does it look now? We need citations for this def in English. I know it's totally valid in Japanese. JamesjiaoTC 01:25, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

+ and/or ++

There appears to be a fairly widespread Internet phenomenon of applauding particularly clever comments by responding with pluses, usually with two together. I imagine such a thing would be nearly impossible to document in a CFI-worthy fashion, but it still seems to me to be a clearly widespread use. Any thoughts on that? Cheers! bd2412 T 16:23, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I would think + would be enough, other iterations would then become SoP as + + + (yeah I know, it looks pretty funny) -- Liliana 20:20, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
But it might very easily be derived from the ++ used in programming languages to increment, or add one, i.e. a geeky way to say "me too". Equinox 20:27, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the preponderance (at least in my experience) of pluses coming in pairs suggests that Equinox's theory is the more likely explanation. How do we search for citations for something like this? bd2412 T 14:26, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Dunno. Try Usenet, perhaps? -- Liliana 17:32, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Right, but how? How do you search Usenet for ++? —RuakhTALK 15:25, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps subscribe to a newsserver for a few weeks and then search around a bit? -- Liliana 16:01, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I read Usenet more or less regularly, so if you have a particular newsgroup in mind, I could subscribe for a month and then search the downloaded text. The ones I read are a little too old-fashioned to use this ++ notation. Equinox 00:20, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

It may be a typical German/Swiss thing: there is regularly used and official classification of apparatus in terms of efficiency fo using or wasting energy. Highest class was "A", but since some time they became even better; so now we have A+/A++/A+++ for e.g. refrigerators. RMK, 14.05.2012 —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) at 10:20, 14 May 2012 (UTC).

A/A+/A++/A+++ exists in the U.S. as well, but the question here is just + or ++ alone (without the A). —RuakhTALK 11:48, 14 May 2012 (UTC)


I'm suspicious of the plural forms. In English (paganism), it varies, but isn't it always uncountable in Latin? Metaknowledge 22:56, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I have no answer to your question, but would like to point out that Paganismus is one German translation of paganism. Cheers! bd2412 T 05:35, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
While I agree that the plural forms sound strange, you could only be sure by searching through the whole known corpus of Ecclesiastical Latin, I guess ... --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:37, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Ravel==unravel, is there a name for this?

I was watching an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" where a character uses the pseudo-word "un-unravelable" to mean something like a mystery that can't be solved. So, I wondered if "ravelable" was a word, checked here, and was surprised to see that definition #1 of ravel is unravel. So, I wonder if there is a term for this situation that can be added at the definitions of ravel and unravel? Cheers. Haus 02:40, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Sadly, there is but one cite for un-unravelable, but I shall add it to Citations:un-unravelable and hope that more shall poke up at some point.--Prosfilaes 08:16, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. I see that my question was probably unclear - let me try again. Is there a name for the situation where un-word means the same as word? Thanks! Haus 02:48, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't know what the word for the phenomenon is, but another facet is that "ravel" itself means both "untangle" and "tangle", which makes "ravel" an auto-antonym, contronym or antagonym. That doesn't describe its relationship to "unravel", but I would guess most words that are synonymous with unwords are probably also their own auto-antonyms. Another example of the phenomenon is "unthaw" (meaning both "freeze" and "unfreeze") and "thaw" (also meaning "unfreeze"). Phol 08:14, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
It's related to the contranym but I'm not sure what they're called. Other examples are debone and bone, regardless and irregardless, flammable and inflammable. DAVilla 03:33, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Interchangeable pairs, or pseudantonyms. Other pairs are flammable/inflammable; regardless/irregardless; caregiver/caretaker; restive/restless; iterate/reiterate; candescent/incandescent; loosen/unloosen. —Stephen (Talk) 04:17, 28 January 2012 (UTC)


Wiktionary currently has two senses relating to women:

  • 3. A young (especially attractive) woman. Three cool chicks / Are walking down the street / Swinging their hips
  • 4. A woman. Check that chick out.

I wonder about the following:

  • Do we need two senses? (Dictionaries often have only one sense relating to women.)
  • Age
    • Is being young a necessary condition for a chick as a woman?
    • Is being young an "especially" condition for a chick as a woman?
    • Is being young a condition at all for a chick as a woman?
  • Attractiveness
    • Is attractiveness a necessary condition for a chick as a woman?
    • Is attractiveness an "especially" condition for a chick as a woman?
    • Is attractiveness a condition at all for a chick as a woman?

See also chick at OneLook Dictionary Search. I am interested in informal perceptions of native speakers, and, formally, in attesting quotations. --Dan Polansky 09:55, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

My informal perception as a native speaker is that young is an "especially" condition for a chick as a woman, but not an absolutely necessary one. Attractiveness is not a condition at all for a chick as a woman--I myself have been known to refer to women as "chicks", but for me the properties "woman" and "attractive" are mutually exclusive. —Angr 10:11, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Chick is a slang term for a woman, particularly a young women. As for attractiveness, however, Google Books returns 500+ hits for "ugly chick". bd2412 T 20:09, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd say they are a single sense, but it needs to be broadly worded to include what bd2412 says, which is almost exactly what I was going to say. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:18, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I've long noticed the striking similarity between American English slang chick and Spanish chica. Perhaps the formation of the American English slang term was inspired (or at least reinforced, given that the metaphorical sense of chick(en) referring to humans seems to be much older, but not necessarily particularly frequent prior to the 20th century) by chica in the area of North America where Spanish and English are in heavy contact – as in, for example, monolingual AmE speakers picking up the term chica in English context and re-interpreting it as chick. Possibly, this idea could be supported with evidence if one looked into it. I notice that Wiktionary mentions an attestion from 1927, and etymonline.com even speaks of an origin in "U.S. black slang" (AAVE, then), which wouldn't necessarily contradict this. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:32, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


Can someone research this and/or flag the entry? I've added an note on the discussion page, but have some doubts that this is an accepted word...?? About the only authoritative place I've found it is here! Samatva 19:22, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

It’s okay. Valid citations are easy to find. For example, this one. —Stephen (Talk) 00:01, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it's certainly an accepted word. Good source cited above by Stephen G. Brown (talkcontribs). -- Cirt (talk) 23:28, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Places for language-specific discussions

Is there a place where aspects particular to a single language can be discussed? I was thinking maybe the 'WT:About' page for that language, but is that common practice? —CodeCat 21:48, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

I think so. --Yair rand 22:52, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
The "WT:About" pages are to discuss how we treat languages. (what are the templates, POS headers, definitions, romanizations, etc.)
I'd use the Information desk for linguistic questions like "WTF is the difference between 'tu' and 'você' in Portuguese anyway?" or "How is the order of words in this Egyptian Arabic phrase?" --Daniel 08:30, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
But for consensus-building discussions about a single language? —CodeCat 11:30, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Wiktionary talk:About Languagename.​—msh210 (talk) 19:16, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

be be a form of be!

In a sentence like "I try not to offend them: I be polite, I take off my shoes when entering their house, etc", what form of "be" am I using? The infinitive? A conjunctive/subjunctive form? I am aware that I could also say "I am polite", but isn't "I be polite" also grammatical, if literary? What form am I using in the sentence "I'll make you a deal: I be nice to your friend John, you be nice to my friend Jane"? Phol 07:54, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

You be nice is imperative. I be polite is, I believe, an antiquated form of the present indicative. —Stephen (Talk) 09:31, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
That use of be is part of AAVE. Some linguists who study the dialect assert that it is usually used to indicate a habitual or characteristic or, at least, continuing state or condition. Superficially, it seems to me to be used to cover more tenses, aspects, and moods than that. DCDuring TALK 15:04, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
It's not just AAVE. It's relatively rare, but I remember noticing it in a preview for Bratz: The Movie; one of the lead characters asks, "What do we do?" and another replies, "We be ourselves." (N.B. I don't know if this exchange occurred in the actual movie; previews are not always accurate.) I think everyone can agree that "We are ourselves" would not have worked (though I'm sure that many speakers will find that even "We be ourselves" will not work for them). As for what form — I think it's just a regular old non-third-person-singular present indicative form, but of a certain, defective sense of be. ("Defective" in that it doesn't have a complete conjugation; I'm fine with "We be ourselves", but I would not be fine with "So what did you do?" ?"I be'd myself!". Some speakers, however, do accept "be's" and "be'd", so for them I guess the conjugation isn't defective.) CGEL, by the way, refers to this sense of be as "lexical be", giving the example of "Why don't you be more tolerant?"[2]RuakhTALK 15:23, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
This work has be's as an inflected form sometimes occurring in the corpus used. OTOH, be'd seems much rarer. DCDuring TALK 17:24, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I think we need to backtrack a bit. Above, I wrote, "It's not just AAVE"; but really what I should have written was, "it's not AAVE at all". I disagree with your statement above, "That use of be is part of AAVE." There is a use of "be" that is part of AAVE, but Phol is (I believe) asking about a different use. My comment was about the use that (s)he is asking about. So the book that you link to, with its AAVE quotations that use be's, is not relevant to my comment. —RuakhTALK 18:23, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
See under Observations. —Stephen (Talk) 18:32, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
All these non-subjunctive senses might well be archaisms reflecting the Old English dual conjugation of the copula, see beon-wesan. In fact, ic bēo(m), þū bist, hē/hēo/it biþ, wē/gē/hī bēoþ, which would then be continued more or less directly in I be, thou beest, he/she/it be, we/ye/they be (which is also found as the general paradigm dialectally), do seem to have had a habitual sense originally. Note that AAVE can very well continue dialectal/archaic features conveyed through Southern American English dialects. Fascinating stuff. --Florian Blaschke 19:43, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
@Stephen G. Brown: Yeah, that may be what Phol has in mind; I wouldn't have thought so, except that (s)he describes it as "literary", which is a fair description of that use, and not a fair description of the use that I mentioned. —RuakhTALK 19:44, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Thinking over it again, the usage that Phol describes (and you, Ruakh, too, in your movie example) may rather be something else than an archaism – just an infinitive with a pronoun prepended: "What do we do?" – "We? Be ourselves." or "We, be ourselves." Though this might eventually have been supported by the archaic or (also) AAVE usage. --Florian Blaschke 19:59, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Re "What do we do? ―We be ourselves", is that because there's an elided "do" in there ("We [do] be ourselves"), copied over from the question? Does the answer to that question make any difference?​—msh210 (talk) 22:01, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
This source characterizes non-imperative "do be" as part of Irish English and not part of Standard English, the latter being in accord with my ear.
There are a few things you can't quite say without it. "So what do we do? Do we be ourselves?" Definitely cannot use "are" here. Equinox 20:25, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I would be nice to know more about the context of the usages Phol has offered for discussion. DCDuring TALK 22:27, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
sorry, i've just been following this discussion rather interestedly. Perhaps this is actually a (rare) example of a first-person plural imperative being attested in English? Piddle 05:14, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
CGEL's "lexical be" seems like a simple infinitive to me, at least in the example given. Phol 06:52, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
No, sorry, you misunderstand me. CGEL's "lexical be" is not a form, but a sense. Like, the word "child" has one sense where it means "young human" (as in "hundreds of children attend the school") and one sense where it means "a human's offspring" (as in "all of her children are in their thirties"). In the example sentence, "Why don't you be more tolerant?", the form is the infinitive, but the sense is the so-called "lexical be". —RuakhTALK 14:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, gotcha. Phol 21:12, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
So would a good definition be "To exist or behave in the manner specified" with a usage note about how it differs from the usual be?​—msh210 (talk) 22:01, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, now I gotcha (I hope); it is easier to handle this as a sense (with its own conjugated forms), rather than as a conjugated form. [[Hang]] might be a model for how to explain the differing conjugations of the different senses. Phol 00:30, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I can't be sure it's the same form, because I'm not sure what the form is, but I think "what do we do? we be ourselves" is great example of the form I'm thinking of. An alternate indicative rather than a subjunctive seems like a good explanation. In fact, I would guess that Ruakh's defective conjugation of "be" is Stephen's archaic conjugation, which just lost a few forms as it made its way into the modern era. (It's not missing past tense forms for me; I'd say "what did I do? I was myself"; but I am missing a third person singular indicative.) The difference between the conjugations for me is that "I be" connotes doing, whereas "I am" is static. "I am polite to them" means I am unremarkably showing them the politeness I generally show everyone (and note this as I list everything that should lead to them not being offended), whereas "I be polite to them" emphasizes that I show them politeness (even when they test me with rudeness, or even when my politeness is not sincere). Hence I wrote "I be" in an e-mail, but then I questioned the grammar. (And FWIW I would say "We’re in Japan! What do we do? We be ourselves.") Re: my second, hypothetical example: I suppose whether "I'll make you a deal: I be nice to John, you be nice to Jane" is subjunctive or imperative depends on whether it's truly an offer or a demand. Phol 06:52, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Re: "'I be' connotes doing, whereas 'I am' is static": Yes, exactly: "I be polite" is a lexical be, whereas "I am polite" is a regular copula be. —RuakhTALK 14:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
So, how's this for a usage note? (Maybe we should have a giant collapsible table of forms like rechercher#Conjugation.) Phol 21:12, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
In the case of I'll make you a deal: I be nice to your friend John, you be nice to my friend Jane? ... That's a subjunctive form. Fee, fie, fo, fum / I smell the blood of an Englishman; / Be he alive or be he dead, / I'll grind his bones to make my bread. (Jack and the Beanstalk) --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 15:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
This is correct. --Jtle515 (talk) 23:20, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Irish sí and English sidhe

Isn't sidhe/Sidhe simply borrowed from the pre-reform spelling sídhe/Sídhe of ? Both words mean "(of the) fairy-mound", and seem to be pronounced identically; however, the pages note no connection, and lacks an etymology.

Note that the pages sídhe and Sídhe have been deleted for unclear reasons. Also note Scottish Gaelic sìdh, sluagh sìdhe, bean-shìdh and the like.

More precisely, I think the derivation is (and MacBain agrees): Proto-Celtic (Nom. Sg.) *sīdos, (Gen. Sg.) *sīdesos (a neuter s-stem) 'seat' > Old Irish síd, síde (neuter, I think) 'fairy dwelling/hill/mound' > Modern Irish sídh, sídhe (modern spelling: , ) and Scottish Gaelic sìdh, sìdhe, with the genitive abstracted from set phrases such as fir síde, daoine síde and áes síde already in Old Irish as síde 'fairies', from whence Modern Irish sídh ~ sígh (modern spelling: ) 'fairy', Scottish Gaelic sìdh ~ sìth. Proto-Celtic *sīdos is apparently also the origin of Old Irish síd 'peace' and its modern descendants. A mailing list post suggests that the ambiguity could be employed in Old Irish deliberately, to interpret the Áes Síde as 'people of the peace'. --Florian Blaschke 20:44, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

judgment of Solomon

Has anyone else heard of judgment of Solomon to mean 'really good judgment'? It's one of those things where I say it, and I'm not sure if anyone else does. Compare patience of Job. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:41, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm familiar with wisdom of Solomon. I'm not sure it's idiomatic.​—msh210 (talk) 20:13, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I've heard it in connection of decisions that appear to be impossible to make. "It will take the judgement of Solomon to make a fair settlement in this divorce". SpinningSpark 22:16, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I've had a go. feel free to improve. SemperBlotto 22:22, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Daniel come to judgement is similar. In the case of Solomon, the famous judgement seems to be the one about cutting a baby in half to appease two woman claiming to be its mother. (The one who refused to have this done was the real mother.) Equinox 21:27, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I'd have to agree I've certainly heard it used in that fashion. -- Cirt (talk) 23:24, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
In German, we rather use salomonisches Urteil, i. e. "Solomonic judgment", and it seems that variant is in use in English, as well. A salomonisches Urteil is a wise judgment that satisfies all involved sides. Apparently the German sense is different from the English (and from the original story), or simply more general. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:33, 2 March 2012 (UTC)


The noun meaning of batshit is given as "alternative spelling of bat shit", but bat shit redirects batshit leaving no definition at all. Also, this does not have a plural, surely. SpinningSpark 22:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Fixed. JamesjiaoTC 22:43, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The etymology is simply fascinating! -- Cirt (talk) 23:20, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

lord of creation

In the entry for weaker vessel there's this quote:

    • 1868, Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, ch. 41:
      When women are the advisers, the lords of creation don't take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do. Then they act upon it, and, if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it. If it fails, they generously give her the whole.

Does "lord of creation" refer to men? If so, is it a common enough usage to merit an entry? I searched Google for this term, but found little evidence, but perhaps it's dated. Capitalized it seems to refer to God. In Finnish there's the expression luomakunnan kruunu (crown of the creation), which refers to men, and I would want to find a proper translation for it. "Men" will do, of course, but I want something that catches the spirit. --Hekaheka 05:51, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with that phrase in lowercase referring to mortal men, either. But I suppose patriarchal Judeochristians may hold a doctrine that Yahweh created Adam in his image to be lord over Yahweh's creation. ~ Robin 06:57, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Plenty of bgc hits in the plural. I'm not sure if it means men, though, or has some other meaning with men as the most common referent.​—msh210 (talk) 15:55, 27 January 2012 (UTC)


Could someone not previously involved in editing this entry please check it over and make sure it conforms to this project's policies, please? Definition 2 seems particularly gratuitous. --Anthonyhcole 14:31, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Note: Admin CodeCat (talkcontribs) has dutifully explained matters pertaining to site policy at the talk page for the entry, and admin Robin Lionheart (talkcontribs) has been quite helpful with adding additional sourcing and referencing for the page, both at its main definition page with quotes, and at the citations page with additional referencing. -- Cirt (talk) 16:14, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Definition one is absolutely solid. Definition 2 is a bit more precarious, and I will be happier when we get more printed citations and fewer usenet ones. But it still looks like it passes CFI. (Arguably, the two could be combined without much loss.) Ƿidsiþ 08:45, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I made this edit to the etymology to correct some POV. The wording "equated homosexuality with bestiality" was particularly nebulous IMO. Equated in what way? You could read that as "he said that homosexuality was equally as bad as bestiality" whereas his opinion was really that bestiality is another thing that a "healthy family" is not. It was enough to say that his views were "perceived as anti-gay" in the spirit of NPOV. Although even for NPOV it wouldn't be a too much of a stretch to say that they were anti-gay, someone might take exception to that and WT:NPOV does say "It's OK to state opinions in articles, but they must be presented as opinions, not as fact." —Internoob 03:56, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Update: Admin Robin Lionheart (talkcontribs) created a Citations page for this entry, at Citations:santorum. Cheers, -- Cirt (talk) 04:04, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I just realised we copied the definition verbatim from spreadingsantorum.com and several other sources. Isn't that a copyright violation? Shouldn't we reword the definition? —CodeCat 21:11, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
If it originated at spreadingsantorum, I wouldn't worry, since that site's name (and the fact that the definition is its entire contents) makes it clear that it wants people to share and distribute the definition. I wouldn't even be surprised if such a site was using our definition — perhaps cause and effect are reversed here? If it comes from somewhere else then we should think about it more. Equinox 21:14, 6 March 2012 (UTC)


This Italian word is defined as meaning morphosis, which doesn't appear to be an English word at all. Is morphosis a word that needs to be added, or is morfosi bogus/unclear/otherwise problematic? Metaknowledge 23:45, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Added English word. I know we have nearly three million words, but there are just as many that we haven't got yet. SemperBlotto 08:40, 29 January 2012 (UTC)


How come this is defined as an alternate form of gelatine? In my experience, it is exactly the opposite. Can we switch these two? Metaknowledge 21:00, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

The label of "alternative form" does not mean "lesser" or less common. It means that the spelling is an alternative, and the difference may be regional. --EncycloPetey 21:13, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
It's probably a US/UK variation. In these cases our normal policy is - whoever bothers to actually add the word gets to choose which is the primary form and which is the alternative. It is considered impolite to swap them around later. SemperBlotto 21:17, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
What about a case such as this in which gelatin is 75 times more common than gelatine in the US and just one-third as common in the UK (based on COCA and BNC)? And generally are evidence-based changes rude? DCDuring TALK 23:07, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Interesting. I suppose we could use ((mostly|UK)) and ((mostly|US)). IMO, in general, if one form is significantly more common than another, and without large variation between major Englishes, we should put the main content at the common form and have others link to it. But (i) ideally those "links" should probably be drawing in the content from the main entry, rather than forcing us to click again, and (ii) the commonness of forms is definitely variable across the time dimension. Equinox 23:19, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I have a package of "Gelatine" which clarifies itself by saying "Ingredients: Gelatin" :P - -sche (discuss) 00:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
The other ingredient is an E number. Equinox 00:46, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
@ -sche on my packet of ibuprofen it says "do not take if allergic to ibuprofen". Mglovesfun (talk) 12:26, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

February 2012


Can someone write a real definition for it? The current one isn't very helpful. — Jeraphine Gryphon 10:11, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree; LART needs work too, if attested, in both cases. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:27, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Good now? (Both entries.) Incidentally, for future reference, you can use [[WT:RFC]] for issues like this.​—msh210 (talk) 21:13, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd say both entries look pretty understandably worded right now, good work. ;) -- Cirt (talk) 23:18, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


I think there's at least a phonetics sense missing here, which might possibly even make contour tone SoP. -- Liliana 00:56, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Added it. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 01:35, 4 February 2012 (UTC)


This does not seem like a real word after a quick Google search. Attestation, anyone? Metaknowledge 02:33, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Striking as an RFV has been started. Equinox 13:10, 5 February 2012 (UTC)


I seem to remember occasionally hearing the word "upstate" used in a euphemism for killing an animal (like put out to pasture... hmmm... the entry doesn't mention that meaning, either). On 1/31, Colbert's "The Word" had a screen suggesting that the Arapaho people were "Sent to a Reservation 'Upstate'". Does anyone know more about such uses of "upstate"? Rl 10:02, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

they two

"third person dual pronoun." From User:Shoof, who IMO has done quite a few strange/non-standard entries. I would like to know if this is either non-standard (versus "those two", "the two of them") or NISoP. Equinox 20:04, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

they two sounds alien. I’ve never seen it or heard it before. If I encountered it, I would think they were saying "they too". —Stephen (Talk) 20:34, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
you two failed RFD, so I would guess this is also SOP. - -sche (discuss) 20:56, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I would have supported keeping "you two." I'd note that "us two" also doesn't sound horrible, and I've heard it used before, though "the two of us" or "both of us" sounds better. With "them two," you've got not only "two of them" and "both of them" but "those two" as well, yet I can still see it working. On the other hand the term in question: "they two" definitely sounds weird. --Quintucket 21:39, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with the misgivings. It seems rare, at best, though it looks like it might be used ocaasionally to translate certain pronouns (Arabic & Tok Pisin?) - which consideration should be ignored. See [3].— Pingkudimmi 23:31, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Dual seems wrong as English, to the best of my knowledge, has never had a dual. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:04, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Old English had dual forms for we (wit) and you (ġit). I second what Quintucket said. You two is very common, at least in my region, ... as is us two and them two ... I'v even heard we two tho us two is more common. An aside here ... When you admin folks delete an entry please put something more than failed RFD ... that tells the reader absolutely nothing!. Either provide a link to the RFD discussion or provide a one or two sentence comment. Forwhy you two failed, I don't know. But it couldn't hav been for the lack of cites. Byspels of its usage are many. ... Back on topic, they two can be found in a few versions of the Bible:
  • Matthew 19:5: And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh?
  • Mark 10:8 And they two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh. or noting twain: And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 15:26, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

In the expressions discussed so far, the first word is a determiner functioning as a specifier (or a determinative functioning as a determiner, in CGEL terminology), and the second word, the number, is a noun functioning as the head of the NP. As a determiner, they is likely archaic or at best regional, but it's essentially the same as other determiners like you, these, another, and every. It's strictly SOP.

  • Ezekiel 1:8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.

--Brett 01:06, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

So now subject pronouns are determiners? I don't know if calling this a dual is the right meaning but it's an unusual use and more than the some of its parts. In fact, I ween that it's seld-seen usage argues that it isn't normal and deserves some type of comment. Some SOPers hav an unreasonable dislike of two-word terms. I'm sure that full time would hav been dismissed as SOP but yet now we hav full-time and fulltime. For this, I'm guessing that it is more of stilted translation (or mistranslation) of the original Greek or Hebrew (in the case of Ezekiel). Both Classical Greek and Hebrew had duals. I say it feels stilted because the more natural "duals" in English note the objectiv form of the pronoun ... OE often has pronouns in the dativ case where we now hav subject pronouns which may explain why "them two" and "us two" are common whereas "they two" seems mostly found in the Bible or references to the Bible. So maybe the meaning should be something like "a calque sometimes used in Bible translations for Greek and Hebrew duals" (assuming that is the origin of them) and marked nonstandard. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 17:05, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
The original Greek for Matthew 19:5 is "οἱ δύο" ("the two"), with a plural- not dual- article. Classical Greek had the dual, but it was pretty much lost well before Koine arose. I believe δύο could be technically construed as dual, but the fact that it takes a plural article here argues against any influence on the translation. Chuck Entz 17:47, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Not all pronouns have a second life as determiners, just you, we, and us, as in you people are good or it's different for us players.--Brett 20:23, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
@AnWulf: It's true that Hebrew has a dual, but it's very limited, and there are no dual pronouns. Brett's Ezekiel quotation uses they four to translate Hebrew אַרְבַּעְתָּם (arba'tám), which is an inflected form of ארבע (árba, four); the narrowest translation would probably be "the four of them". —RuakhTALK 21:17, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I found a translation of Beowulf with they two in the section header and they twain in the body. I looked at the OE and I would hav a written they both. They twain or they two is more skaldic so I think what we hav here is poetic license even in the Bible version. So rather than calling it a 3rd person dual. Change it to: Template:poetic they both ... Then if someone looks it up (huru an outlander), they'll understand that it isn't some usage that they can throw out in everyday speech. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 23:14, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
There's no need to call it anything. It's just a poetic/archaic/perhaps-regional use of determiner they where standard current English would expect the or those. It can be they two, they three, they four, they others, etc. There's nothing special about they two.--Brett 00:57, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I've added the determiner sense to they.--Brett 14:21, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
They is a subject (nominative) pronoun. It is NOT a determiner any more than you is a determiner in you two. The byspels that you posted are poor grammar rather proper byspels of it being a determiner. Darn'd if they Cockney Chaps can zee there worn't nort but lie in him. Really? Would you also like to claim that worn't is a past tense of "to be"? It would be like posting you is and claiming that is is a valid 2nd person plural verb form and I could eathly find byspels of you is in books. Further, claiming it is a determiner could be befuddling. In "they both", the determiner is "both" not they. I am far from a prescriptist but even I have limits. I wouldn't call "they both" proper or even good English but I'll give it a pass as poetic since that is where it is mostly found. But then, I see that wiktionary has "they" as a possessive as well ... So what the heck! Call it anything you want. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk)
Your comment is very confused. First of all, Brett explicitly wrote of "other determiners like you, these, another, and every", so your attempt to compare it to "you two" was preempted by the opposition. ;-)   Secondly — and much more importantly — this is nothing like claiming that is is a valid second-person plural verb form; it is only like claiming that is is sometimes used as a second-person plural verb form. —RuakhTALK 21:58, 5 March 2012 (UTC)


The forms enthraling and enthraled seem very much obsolete, and rare. I get the impression that the usual inflections of this verb are enthralling and enthralled (just as the L can double in, say, travelling). Equinox 23:34, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the participle forms with the single ell don't exist in British English, and if American English always uses "enthrall", then the single ell form for the participles must be a mis-spelling. I've changed the entry, and also removed the false impression that "enthrall" is not used in British English. I think the mistaken impression arises because British English removes an ell before -ment (as in enthralment, instalment, etc.), so some people assume, by back-formation, that the word enthrall has only one ell. The single ell version is not unknown, of course, and the OED includes it as an alternative spelling (with just two cites out of seventeen using the single ell, and those are from 1695 and 1720), but does not permit the single ell participles. My preference would be to have just "alternative spelling of", rather than a separate entry for the single ell version. I believe that Garner's modern American usage is wrong in its claim that "enthrall" is American and "enthral" is British. Search Google books for evidence, where both spelling are used on both sides of the pond. What does anyone else think? Dbfirs 08:09, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Agree with all you said. Just to add 2c .. I am of the informed opinion that when the stress of a word like this falls on the last syllable, the ell is normally doubled in British English, and in participle etc. formations in both UK/US English. Hence traveled in US and travelled in UK, but enthralled in both language pools. -- ALGRIF talk 12:30, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
That rule doesn't fulfil my expectations. Dbfirs 18:11, 12 May 2012 (UTC)


Do I have the correct part of speech for this? Metaknowledge 03:30, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd say it appears to be a preposition. —Quintucket 09:59, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I didn't know, so I just put it as an adverb because it seemed like a broader form of sic#Latin. Metaknowledge 16:41, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd say it appears to resemble, based on the definition give, the English preposition "like." ("You worked him like a dog.") —Quintucket 17:30, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I didn't define it well enough. If x is a noun, then Samoan: fa'a x can be translated to English: x-style. Metaknowledge 17:44, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid I still don't understand. —Quintucket 18:00, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that in English we'd use the preposition like, or another preposition, for a word with that meaning — except that sometimes we'd use the noun style (appended, after a hyphen). In general, AFAIK, what POS something is isn't dependent only on its meaning, and doesn't necessarily translate from one language to another. You need to know Samoan to answer this question. (This is but one of the reasons people shouldn't add entries in languages they don't know.)​—msh210 (talk) 18:23, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I am ignorant about many POS designations even within English, my native language. If there is a way I can help you tell which one this is by means of usage, let me know. Metaknowledge 03:02, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Can you give us some example sentences with word-for-word translations? I also suspect it's a preposition, but I need to see it in its native habitat to be sure. —Angr 11:14, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Common phrases using it include: fa'a Samoa ("Samoa-style", or "the way it is done in Samoa"), fa'a tama ("like a [male] child", usually translated as "tomboy"), fa'a fafine ("like a woman", referring to certain feminine men). "Fa'a Samoa" if treated as a single word would be an adverb or adjective, depending on usage, but "fa'a tama" and "fa'a fafine" usually function as nouns when each is taken as a single word.Metaknowledge 01:51, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
It's almost certainly a preposition then, as it's always followed by a noun. The noun-like usages of fa'a tama and fa'a fafine are substantivized prepositional phrases. —Angr 11:12, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Changed it. Metaknowledge 05:08, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I Just noticed the subtle changes you made there, Meta. The spacing between fa'a and Samoa is entirely optional. In fact, more often than not, the two are written together with fa'a acting as a prefixed preposition to the name of the country/culture following it. JamesjiaoTC 00:58, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
As I understand it, fa'a is also somewhat like "to make" or "to do", with a multitude of senses. It's much more complex than this single construction. Chuck Entz 22:33, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
It is an intensifying prefix (AFAIK) when not isolated, but as Jamesjiao pointed out, orthography can vary in this regard, and in many cases if fa'a were to be separated from the verb, it would take the form of "make" or "do" with the verb interpreted as a noun. I thought about making fa'a-, but the subjective decision of what a prefix is or isn't seems to be too much for me. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:56, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

queen of beasts translations

How sure are we that the translations given under "queen of beasts" mean "lioness" and not just "queen of beasts" ? Shadyaubergine 22:33, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

They all are "Queen of Beasts". None of them contains any literal term for lion or lioness. Chuck Entz 21:41, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

win and victory

So, to win is to obtain a victory and victory is the state of having won a competition or battle. Is this a circular definition or not? --flyax 22:49, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

I think we are missing a victory sense; the current one seems to be uncountable, and the one we are missing would be a synonym of win (noun: an individual victory). But I can't think of a definition which isn't circular. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 03:44, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
The "SB rule of dictionary circularity" states that EVERY definition in EVERY dictionary is ultimately circular. They all define words in terms of other words whose definitions do the same. To avoid circularity you would need to start with a word (or words) that need no definition because they are self-evident. SemperBlotto 08:28, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Ultimately, yes. However there is a difference between a circle of 5 and a circle of 2 words. It seems we have here the latter. --flyax 11:56, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Even in American Sign Language, where it seems like things should be self-evident by pointing, only the numbers 1-5, you, I, and he/she are self-evident, and the latter three wouldn't be self-evident if you tried to used them to explain a spoken language. See w:Gavagai. That said, it's possible that these could be clearer. I'll think about it and y'all should too. —Quintucket 11:44, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with SB about the ultimate impossibility of escaping circularity of definitions. Further, I think that in practice we are likely to have instance of circles of two. From a user perspective, it is probably satisfactory if at least one of the headwords in the circle has either, 1., a good set of usage examples in the appropriate sense or, 2., an ostensive definition, such as, 2a, an image or, 2b, another reference to one or more examples, such as the, 2bi, examples of rhetorical devices or, 2bii, the sound files. Still, checking to see how other dictionaries word their definitions wil;l almost always reveal an approach to, 3., rewording. DCDuring TALK 17:04, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Bingo. If, theoretically, we wanted to avoid circular definitions, DCDuring hits on the way we could do it: not self-evident words, per se, but words defined by pictures (and videos and sounds). Of course, it would be impractical to sort through our entries to be sure they were all noncircular, so let's not... but we could expand this' circle if we defined win as "to obtain success, to triumph" or such. - -sche (discuss) 18:12, 7 February 2012 (UTC)


It's 3am and I'm tired so I'm not going to touch this one, but suffice to say the definitions are far from adequate. "Delete" is more than just "remove, get rid of, erase" - it is only used in written or computing contexts, for one. An example sentence wouldn't go astray either. Who can help? ---> Tooironic 15:50, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Can it also be a euphemism for kill/destroy? Is the computing sense correct, to hide? Mglovesfun (talk) 14:44, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so. It's true that "deleting" is often used in computing contexts to refer to actions that don't actually expunge something from existence (for example, "deleting" a file just unlinks it from the filesystem, but doesn't immediately affect the contents of the file; and "deleting" a bit of text doesn't mean that Ctrl-Z can't retrieve it), but I think that "delete" still means "delete", it's just that sometimes expunge-from-existence is an adequate abstraction even it's not really what's happening. —RuakhTALK 00:52, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I was referring more to the context in which the word is used, not the actual process that occurs when you delete something. I've modified the definition to "To remove, get rid of or erase, especially written or printed material, or data on a computer." It's not perfect, but it's closer to being a clearer, more helpful definition. ---> Tooironic 11:56, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

judical vs judicial

Hello, guys! I'm from russian wiktionary and we have the entry judical (ru:judical). I think it's a common mistake (typo) in english, and it's a word for immediate deletion. And others think is a word spelled by a small community, for example by emigrants or it's a intentional typo. And the number of entries in google can prove it, according to their opinion. I think not the number, nor the small community not explain the addition of the word to the wiktionary. Have you heard about this word? The discussion in russian wiktionary (in russian) -- #1 #2, #3 Thank you! -- 16:21, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Hi there. I think that many of its usages are spelling mistakes / typos for judicial, but that it is (or has become) a real word. I can see many Google hits from government (and similar) websites. It seems to have a slightly different flavour of meaning - maybe "pertaining to judges" rather than "pertaining to courts". We should have an entry for it, SemperBlotto 16:31, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
    I don't see it as other than a misspelling. The "pertaining to judges" sense is just missing from our definition of judicial, I think. To test the independent word theory we could see whether the distribution of meanings for judical was about the same as that for judicial in contemporary usage. Though we don't have multiple meanings for judicial, MWOnline has five, some of which seem current. DCDuring TALK 19:31, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
    I don't see this difference neither. I agree with DCDuring. I think if we talk about difference we should view a constant use of the word in a part of a book (1st sense) and in other part of a book (2d sense "pertaining to judges"). And i don't see it. I don't see the strong system of 2 different senses of this two different words. In fact i see statistically irrelevant results in google. May be, i missing something because i'm not a native speaker... -- 12:30, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with DCDuring and the anon: I can only find what appear to be typos for judicial. Like SemperBlotto, I see many Google hits from government web-sites, but in most of them, the typo appears only the page's "title" (where it's easy to miss), with the exact same phrase appearing correctly-spelled in the page proper. The only page I can find that even could be using them non-synonymously is this one, and even there, I see no reason to interpret it that way. —RuakhTALK 18:38, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
... agreed, so should we have just "common mis-spelling of judicial"? Dbfirs 13:18, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd say no; it's probably a typo not a spelling error. In the same way that to is spelt ot if you accidentally invert the letters. The mean reason I say this is the two can't really be homophones, since -cal should be pronounced /kəl/. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:43, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the rules about soft and hard "c"s are taught much these days, but you are probably right. It's an amazingly common typo with over nine million ghits, and nearly a quarter of a million in Google Books. I can see that it is very easy to omit the second "i" when typing, but the fact that the errors don't seem to have been noticed suggests that some people must think that "judical" is a correct spelling. Perhaps people are just less observant than I expect them to be? Dbfirs 17:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I think it's chiefly that people don't notice it. Like I mentioned above, there are a lot of web-pages that use it in the page-title, but not in the body; to me, this suggests that it's a simple typo that best escapes notice in small print that no one reads very carefully. —RuakhTALK 21:08, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree too, that is not a spelling error, but a pure typo. I think it may be a recognition error also. I compared the book on BNC [4] (judical) and on google books [5] (judicial). -- 14:29, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Policy violation w/ regard to spelling variations?

Hi, just wanted to check on Wiktionary policy regarding spelling variatons between US, Canada, Commonwealth, NK, AU, and so on. The only thing I can find regarding this is on Talk:color, where User:Stephen_G._Brown says,

Any spelling that is normal in the U.S. carries exactly the same weight as a different spelling that is normal in the UK or NZ, regardless of which came first or which is truer to etymology or any other reason.

If this is correct, then I wanted to bring to someone's attention the recent edit to aeroplane (UK/NZ/AU spelling) and airplane (US spelling). Previously, airplane was defined as "an aeroplane; [rest of definition]" and aeroplane was defined as "an airplane; [rest of definition]". This was just changed by User:SemperBlotto, who has removed aeroplane from the definition of airplane, and replace the entire definition of aeroplane with the text "an airplane". Is this as per Wiktionary policy? Edam 17:04, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

There really isn't any policy on this as we don't agree. Some argue that having a full entry for color and colour in English is impractical as editors will edit them separately, so they'll say different things. Others say that since they're both very common, both need an entry and there's no way to choose which one to 'soft redirect' to the other. In cases where one variant is common and all other variants are uncommon or a lot less common, {{alternative form of}} is usually used uncontroversially. The problem is situations like this, where both are very common. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:08, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Wow. I'd have thought you'd have a clear policy for this! Well, SemperBlotto is an Admin and, as a simple user, it's probably not appropriate for me to roll back his edits. So who would I raise this with? How should I resolve this if there is no policy!? Edam 17:17, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Just negotiation I'm afraid. Unless anyone else has a better idea. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:18, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
To me, it makes no sense to duplicate definitions as we do on color/colour. We should choose just one to have the definitions etc., and the other should be a soft redirect. On color/colour we have a synchronization warning at the top, but editors only see this if they edit the entire article (rather than a section). SemperBlotto 17:23, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't like it either; I always use US spellings when editing for the same reason, despite being British. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:24, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi SemperBlotto. Thanks for replying! No, I agree that having two separately maintained definitions is a poor solution. The only reason that I think it is a better solution than one being defined in terms of the other (or a redirection) is that it gives greater credibility to one (and in this case, defines one in terms of a word that doesn't exist in the same language variant!). Let me ask you this: as an Admin, how would you have reacted if someone had edited those entries in the reverse, so that airplane was defined as "an aeroplane"? Edam 18:01, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
That would be even better (I'm English and "aeroplane" is the spelling that I use). SemperBlotto 19:45, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, fair enough.  :o) So, IIUC, you are saying that you find having to maintain separate definitions more obnoxious (even where the definitions are trivial) than redirecting one to the other (even where the other spelling variation is not valid in places where the one is used). If this is your preference then I suppose that will probably be unable to sway you to revert your edit. Edam 00:09, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
On a slight side-note, a nice solution would be if the technology allowed for two separate pages to display the same content. Not a redirection, but an "alias". Then, the one page, accessible via all spellings, could list the spelling variations. Edam 18:01, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
The technology does allow for that. (We call such a thing a "redirect", sometimes a "hard-redirect", as opposed to the soft-redirection discussed above and (I assume) in the comment of yours I'm replying to.) We've decided not to use it for things like this.  :-) ​—msh210 (talk) 21:14, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
But a redirect does not allow two pages to show the same content. It only allows one page to show the same content as a second "master" page. There is still one page that is clearly the main, true, master page. If we redirected colour to color then it would be clear that colour was the poor relation. Equinox 23:46, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I just had this idea... The problem with different spellings doesn't just happen with term entries but also with definitions that use those terms, even definitions of words in other languages (such as German Farbe). In the end, a user is probably only going to be interested in the spelling native to their area, and will expect US spellings to be 'alternatives' if they use British spelling, and British spellings if they use US spelling. So in a sense this is really a localisation issue, and what users expect to see depends on each individual user. So, could a script of some kind be made so that users can set their preferred spelling standard in their preferences, and then entries can be formatted in such a way that it takes that setting into account? That way, color could show 'US spelling of colour' if their preferred spelling is British, but contain all the right definitions if their preferred spelling is US. —CodeCat 18:09, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Even if that's feasible, it'd only help the very few users who set preferences.​—msh210 (talk) 21:11, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Speaking of German, that brings up a similar issue. If someone is making an entry of a German loanword (as an English entry), he/she might as well make one in lower case (in the case of a noun) and without an umlaut (if it has one). Most English speakers don't speak German and aren't aware of German orthography. If they encounter a "clean" German word (minus the umlaut and capitalization), they won't know about umlauts and German capitalization to try and find it. And if there is a redirect to the German word (or German spelling of the word), there usually isn't a usage note telling the reader that under English orthography that capitalization and diacritics aren't required. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 15:35, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree that spellings within articles are a localisation issue, but I'm not sure that I would agree for the entry names themselves. What if an Englishman wanted to look-up an American spelling? I like the idea of a script that handles in-article spellings though. Edam 00:09, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
See also the pair mold/mould, although that might be controversial. -- Liliana 21:19, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Since some people get so touchy about this, I think we should have a user-level setting or preference saying "I want to see N.Am. spellings as the primary spellings", or "I want to see British spellings as the primary spellings". Citations aside, we could then present the same content under either form. This would also work for those madmen who liketh ye Spællings of Olde. (Obviously this is over-simplified and I know there are forms of English that are neither US nor UK. I'm really having a jab at the modern Democracy2.0 where you stick your fingers in your ears and downvote anything you don't like.) Equinox 23:08, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
D'oh, CodeCat got there before me. Well done. Equinox 23:44, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
The solution, when we find it, needs to be easily available to all users, even casual IPs, so I'm not convinced that a settable preference would work. I've suggested elsewhere (with help from others) that both spellings should be redirects to template space where the full entry is shown with both spellings (as in the OED and other good dictionaries). I'm not expert enough in the way things work here to risk testing this out, and I don't want to upset the experts here who work so hard to improve Wiktionary. Are there reasons why this method will not work? Dbfirs 13:10, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
It breaks things like Random page, AutoFormat, Statistics, and others. Bad idea. -- Liliana 13:18, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, yes, I got that wrong, didn't I? I should have suggested having both as real entries (without redirect), but using a template that has both spellings and contains the definitions . Can anyone suggest a better solution? Dbfirs 13:22, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
We've had that before, for translations only. It was a lot of trouble because it made the pages really confusing to edit for newcomers. -- Liliana 13:53, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
If MediaWiki were to support page "aliases" (where the same content is displayed an can be edited via multiple page names), this wouldn't be a problem. Edam 00:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
To Edam, this is exactly why we have no policy on this; there are many ideas of how to handle this situation, and none of them has something even close to a majority. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:41, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

That's all well and good until someone realizes they actually aren't used in exactly the same way. We've been through these kinds of conversations before, and no preference has always been the recommended course. Corrected. DAVilla 21:21, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


Scrabbled together from Wikipedia. Can someone who knows about tasty PIE check that my definition makes sense, please? Equinox 13:10, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

It was a little confusing so I changed it a bit and added a usage notes. The definitions of amphikinetic and proterokinetic are much more vague, though, especially in the context of PIE... and when compared to hysterokinetic and acrostatic which are much clearer. —CodeCat 13:18, 10 February 2012 (UTC)


I don't do "social networking", but I've come across this term wall for a sort of personal Internet notice-board that shows an ongoing stream of messages related to its owner (e.g. stuff posted by their friends). Is this only used on Facebook or is it a generic term? For example can you have a "Google+ wall" or a "LiveJournal wall" as well? Equinox 17:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

I've only heard it on FaceBook, but Google Plus calls it a wall and apparently people apply the term to MySpace and other social networking sites. LiveJournal is closer to a blog and doesn't seem to have it. DAVilla 21:10, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd agree with this assessment by DAVilla (talkcontribs), it seems to be primarily a term that grew out of Facebook and is quickly becoming applicable to multiple other spheres of social networking. -- Cirt (talk) 23:16, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I've tentatively added the following: "(internet) A personal notice board listing messages of interest to a particular user." Equinox 22:06, 19 February 2012 (UTC)


The definition reads, "boldly self-assured; aggressively confident; cocky". This is not the meaning I am familiar with. I always thought it meant something like you are confident but not in an aggressive way. Apparently this is also how the Oxford Dictionary interprets it. ---> Tooironic 11:16, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

The definition seems within range of some of the usage I hear. AHD: "Inclined to bold or confident assertion; aggressively self-assured." DCDuring TALK 14:59, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
In my impression, the word often alludes to aggression as well as confidence. Assertive people are usually calm, and make sure-footed progress towards a goal often at the expense of other less assertive individuals. They tend to be more in favour of their own ideas, and would voice them without giving others a chance to voice theirs. JamesjiaoTC 21:53, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I've encountered the word usage in various mediums as all of the definitions discussed, above. Perhaps the best approach would be to document each definition, with appropriate citations. -- Cirt (talk) 23:08, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


The extended definition of "háček" that has been entered into háček, resulting in this revision, seems unduly encyclopedic. The pronunciation háček is used to indicate in various languages is not part of what the diacritic is. I am inclined to remove the recent additions to the definition, leaving only this: "A diacritical mark: 〈ˇ〉, usually resembling an inverted circumflex: 〈ˆ〉, but in the cases of ď, Ľ, ľ, and ť, taking instead a form similar to a prime: 〈′〉" or this "A diacritical mark 〈ˇ〉 used in some West Slavic, Baltic, and Finno-Lappic languages, and in some romanization methods, e.g. pinyin, to modify the sounds of letters", which was the definition before recent additions. I do not see two senses of "háček" but only one. --Dan Polansky 09:31, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

I think you're right that the word háček just means 〈ˇ〉, but ˇ needs all the information that I've currently added to háček. I'm a bit swamped IRL at the moment, so could you give me a couple of weeks to transfer to and re-present that information in various sections of ˇ, so I can show you what I mean? — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 18:51, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Done and done; is that alright? — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 21:55, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Since the original complaint has now been addressed, I'll strike this section's header and remove the {{rft-sense}} from the entry. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 19:22, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

in I don’t know how long

I have seen in I don’t know how long several times, and its meaning is clear, but isn’t it unusual grammatically? The preposition is directly placed before the proposition. I can’t find a grammatical explanation here on Wiktionary. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:44, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

It's not too unusual:
  • "You have to ask permission before each and every action, from smooching to you know what."
  • "He's engaged in God knows what {activities|shenanigans|nonsense)."
  • ":It's been in business since I don't remember when."
It does seem best considered grammatical, not lexical. CGEL, I think, characterizes such clauses as constituting "nominals" in such usage. DCDuring TALK 16:27, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Okay, they are similar to the French je ne sais (like in je ne sais quoi) but freer grammatically. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:48, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
For a contrasting case of one particular instance of preposition + nominal clause that may be idiomatic because of a semantic shift, see in that. A few OneLook dictionaries show in that as an idiomatic run-in entry at in. DCDuring TALK 01:00, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
In French too, it's used: in I don’t know how long = dans je ne sais combien de temps. Lmaltier 21:00, 17 February 2012 (UTC)


(Adjective) I have discovered numerous uses of "more plural than", sometimes seeming to me to mean "more pluralistic than". However, some of the citations don't really fit that definition. What definition would fit? DCDuring TALK 17:08, 12 February 2012 (UTC)


Someone pointed me to this on Youtube [6]. Obviously the whole thing's in Italian, but what's the instrument called if not a hang? The artist describes himself as a "hang player", presumably both of those words are from English. Do we need another definition for hang, and if so, what's the etymology, maybe Mandarin or Korean. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:26, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Probably German. W:Hang_drum. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 23:32, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Just noticed. We already have this entry at Hang. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 23:34, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmm. I've added it at hang (English & Italian) as well. SemperBlotto
Note there's an oral citation for musicoterapia in the link above. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:02, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

enjoy your meal

Is this just a sum of parts, or am I missing some odd idiomaticity? Metaknowledge 05:56, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

It's SOP. It's arguably, but probably not, phrasebook material.​—msh210 (talk) 07:01, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Probably is phrasebook material. Many people would want to know how "Bon appetit" is said in the local language. A rather important word in terms of politeness/etiquette, and for practical purposes--they would like to know what the waiter/waitress is saying when they bring their meal, etc.-- 10:56, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Right, but because "bon appetit" is used in English, we can list the translations there and delete this (IMO). - -sche (discuss) 16:50, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Discussion continued at [[WT:RFD#enjoy your meal]].​—msh210 (talk) 19:23, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

's for does

At 's, to the meaning "contraction of does" I have added the following qualifier: (used only with the auxiliary meaning of does and only after what). Can anyone think of any exceptions to these conditions? I can't think of any other time when does contracts to ’s. Probably not after who (*?Who's he think he is?), certainly not after non-interrogative pronouns (*He's not see her for He doesn't see her), and definitely not after non-auxiliary does (*What's its best? for What does its best?). Other ideas? —Angr 13:31, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Not specifically what — consider "Where's he live?", "When's he get […]?", "How's he do […]?" — but I agree that it's only with auxiliary does, and I can't think of any examples without subject-auxiliary inversion. —RuakhTALK 15:02, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, BGC also has several hits for google books:"who's he think he is". But perhaps only after wh-words (a group that includes how). —Angr 15:36, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Is this relevant?​—msh210 (talk) 17:01, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure; I don't see anything there but a description of the book. Is there a possibly relevant quote you mean? —Angr 17:59, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry. I've added it to the right.​—msh210 (talk) 18:07, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, in that clearly nonstandard and possibly nonnative variety of English (a pidgin or creole, perhaps) it's difficult to say. "He's" may be "he is" followed by a bare infinitive rather than the present participle. In "he's come" and "he's sed", of course, it may be "he has". —Angr 18:36, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
An American Indian dialect, FWIW. (Per the book's intro.)​—msh210 (talk) 19:29, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


There are several prominent Pakistani people whose name is of the form Xyz-ul-Haq (e.g. the cricketers Inzamam-ul-Haq and the less famous Misbah-ul-Haq (currently 0 not out against England)). What does the term signify. and is the entire name a surname (or what)? SemperBlotto 15:55, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

From Arabic الحق (ul-Haqq, the Truth), one of the epithets of God in the Qur'an. The whole name (such as Misbah-ul-Haq) forms the person’s last name. مصباح (miSbaH, lamp) + الحق (ul-Haqq, the Truth) = Lamp-of-Truth or Light-of-Truth (where Truth is a figurative reference to God). —Stephen (Talk) 18:38, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I think "the Truth" is al-Haqq. As I understand it, ul-Haqq is "of the Truth", with the u being a Classical nominative-construct ending from the previous word (and the al getting reduced to l as a result). —RuakhTALK 18:58, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I don’t think it’s like that ... different countries and different languages that use Arabic words romanize the Arabic differently. In some countries such as Egypt, it’s usually el-. In others, it’s il-, in others al-. In some like Pakistan, it’s ul-. And u being a Classical nominative-construct ending from the previous word is Classical Arabic, it’s not Urdu, and generally not the case with modern Arabic dialects. —Stephen (Talk) 19:23, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Obviously Classical endings are Classical, what else would they be? ;-)   But you said yourself that this construction is from Arabic. I'm just clarifying what (I think) the ul means, and that it's ultimately that way from Classical Arabic. It's pretty common, cross-linguistically, for borrowings to act as a bit of a "freezer" while the original language changes; speakers of modern Arabic dialects have updated the "ul-" to "el-/il-/al-" in such names because they no longer use the case endings anywhere, but Urdu-speakers have no reason to do that. Like how in English we write connoisseur, even though the French no longer use that spelling, because once we'd borrowed the word we no longer had to keep it up-to-date. (And I think that Urdu speakers probably have some idea of the Classical meaning of ul in such names, because in romanization they'll sometimes attach the ul to the preceding name-part, e.g. by writing "Zia-ul-Haq" as "Ziaul-Haq".) —RuakhTALK 22:08, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
It would be different if we were speaking of the spelling or construction in Perso-Arabic, but we are not. This is just the romanization. Romanizations don’t do those things that you mentioned. Even in Classical Arabic, the ul- did not mean "of the", it only meant that the head word was in the nominative case. Hebrew has a feature where a word like Template:Hebr is analyzed as "houses-of", but Classical Arabic does not have anything like that. Classical Arabic has true noun cases, so "lamp of truth" would have the word al-Haqq in the genitive, which is al-Haqqi. The head word, if the subject of the sentence, would be in the nominative, giving ul-Haqqi, but in other parts of the sentence, the head word could be in the accusative or the genitive, giving al-Haqqi or il-Haqqi. But "of truth" is in the Haqqi, not in the ul-. But in Urdu, we are talking about romanization only, and the u of ul- is the English u of uh. —Stephen (Talk) 00:45, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Re: " [] Classical Arabic does not have anything like that": Well, it does, but you're right: in that case Haqq should also be in the genitive. (And I see what you mean about the romanization.) —RuakhTALK 01:52, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I knew that somebody here would know. So, do we need an (English?) entry for any of ul, ul-Haq or Haq? SemperBlotto 19:29, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
No, because they don't seem to be productive in Urdu, just as we don't need al- for words like algebra. I suppose someone could check for haq in Arabic, but I'd be astonished if we didn't already have it. Chuck Entz 17:58, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Just to back up Ruakh's explanation: it's really the reanalysed Classical Arabic case-ending -u (...u 'l-Haqq, (al-)baytu 'l-kabīr[u]), attached to the article instead. In contexts such as these, case endings remain even in Modern Standard Arabic, by failing to be dropped as they regularly are at phrase endings. It's a big headache because many people do not realise that the a of the article al- is volatile; it's basically a Stützvokal (supporting vowel) already at the Classical stage, much like i- before consonant clusters, which explains why it varies so much in dialectal Arabic: il-, el- etc., but it's really underlyingly l-, and the preceding vowel simply coalesces with it, leaving the syllable boundary different from the word boundary ((al-)baytul-kabīr[u]), see w:Al-#The vowels in al-. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:00, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


I'm not sure, but think we may be missing the sense(s) of both found in "Both of them are..." and/or in "Give me both." (which latter usex we do have, but I think it may be under the wrong sense).​—msh210 (talk) 19:35, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

These are standard determiner constructions (cf., many/none/all/etc. of them are & give me many/none/all/etc.). What is missing is the function as a marker of coordination (e.g., it was both good and bad). This is still the determiner, but it is being used in a different function (analogous to a noun phrase being used not as a subject, but as a complement).--Brett 22:24, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Entry for aza

I occasionally come across entries that are or may be in error. The latest find is for "aza". The word has been categorized as an English noun (uncountable) when I believe it should be an English adjective (not comparable). One can see from the quotation cited in the definition that the word "aza" is used as an adjective, and througout the source cited, "aza" is used in the same manner as "azo", a word that is noted in many dictionaries as an adjective. I did not find any use for "aza" that could imply its use as a noun. 09:10, 16 February 2012 (UTC) Stuart K

Only occasionally? I do it a dozen times a day, if not more. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:00, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Full - prefix or compound

Is full/ful a prefix or part of a compound word? In the etym of fulfill it is written as a prefix (category full- is red-linked); in full-time/fulltime it is a compound; in fullbring, it is a prefix; there is no etym for fullback … Which would it be … prefix or compound? There are a lot of hyphenated full- words … prefixes or compounds? --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 21:14, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

I would say that ful- is trivially a prefix because it is not a stand-alone word. In contrast full is and seems to lend its meaning as an ordinary word to the words formed from it. Thus, fullback would seem to be a compound of full words. DCDuring TALK 16:01, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Then what about fulsome? It's given as full + suffix -some in wikt ... other wordbooks have it as full + some ... same for fulfill, full + fill. Then there is fullbring. It looks and acts like a prefix there even tho is has both L's. There are a lot of full words. Do we want a category to track them? To me it could go either way. Since full is noted so much as the lead word, it feels like a prefix. Should we hav it both ways ... for byspel, list the etym of fullback as a compound but add the internal category marker of a prefix so that that it can be grouped with other full+ words? There doesn't seem to be any consistency across these words. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 21:14, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Generally, I would be loath to add a term like full- when full exists. But if there were no current sense of full in any good dictionary that suits a word starting with full, there would be nothing for it but to add full- with the sense in question, which may be an obsolete sense of full. It can be helpful to determine whether the prefix is "productive" and place it in Category:English unproductive prefixes and note the unproductiveness for each sense or in a usage note. DCDuring TALK 23:14, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Just another sense

There's one sense of just that we don't seem to cover in our current definitions. It's derived from "only, simply, merely", but it's not quite the same. It seems to be a marker of unimportance applying to the whole sentence rather than just the verb. For example, "I just called to say 'hi'" (not "I only called to say 'hi', not to do anything else"). I've heard it used in prayers by US Protestant Christians of a more evangelical bent as sort of a marker of humility, as in: "We just want to thank You and praise Your Name...". I'm not quite sure how to incorporate it into the current framework of the entry. Chuck Entz 18:03, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

We have Category:English sentence adverbs, which may give you ideas of how to proceed. DCDuring TALK 18:53, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I added two senses. What do you think? Chuck Entz 20:39, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I had previously punted on this entry, despite having a copy of CGEL and other references at my immediate disposal. I find many of the adverbs that don't end in -ly to be difficult to define well.
I reordered the senses, split a sentence-adverb use from the first sense, added {{non-gloss definition}} and broadened the prayer sense. Senses 2 (split from 1) and 3 and 4 (yours) seem to overlap, but I can't quite figure out how. DCDuring TALK 23:03, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Did you mean to move the "Just follow the directions on the box" sentence to the "prayer" sense? It looks better under the 2nd sense, which you just added Chuck Entz 23:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Thanks for catching the error. We could compare our definitions with the references at just at OneLook Dictionary Search or consult the OED. DCDuring TALK 00:02, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm a speaker of US English and I'm not sure humility is the key sense, or only sense, behind the "prayer" usage. Perhaps part of it, but it also serves as an implicit intensifier, and, ultimately, it seems to have become formulaic, increasingly difficult to discern the specific function other than being an accepted or expected norm (in certain circles, of course).-- 10:59, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
That "de-intensifier" meaning might cover other senses as well, I suppose. DCDuring TALK 12:42, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
You're right. Your interpretation makes more sense than mine. The intensifier sense is another we're missing: "I just love that song!", for example. As for the opposite, "de-intensifier" meaning- that interpretation might tie together a couple of the definitions we've been discussing. Chuck Entz 15:44, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Hm, I don't think "Lord, we just want to thank you" is that different from the first sense, "only, simply merely", or any different from the "I just called to say hi" sense. (I was baffled when I read above that there was a "prayer" sense of "just", and had to click through to the entry.) One could possibly even subsume the "reduce an imperative" sense ... although after looking at this further, I see what you mean by distinguishing those senses from the first one. (Still, I don't think "Lord, we just want to thank you", "I just called to say 'hi'" and "Lord, I just called to say 'hi' and 'thank you'", lol, are any different.) - -sche (discuss) 16:43, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I would also consider putting "moments ago" and "by a narrow margin" as subsenses of one sense. - -sche (discuss) 16:52, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Let me clarify: I was agreeing with the anon. that the prayer sense is an intensifier, rather than to show humility. When used in prayers, it's sprinkled throughout, with little attention payed to the semantics of the verbs it goes with- definitely used to establish a tone or a register, much as "thee" and "thou" and other King James bible language is used in more old-fashioned prayers. Chuck Entz 17:37, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the agreement, Chuck :) In any case your suggestion that its use is sprinkled throughout also adds to the argument that it is implicitly formulaic, as you said, forming a feature of this particular "register" or mode...And just to touch on another point (this use of "just" was unconscious, I promise), I would argue strongly that its use in "Evangelical" prayer language can not be reduced to merely the "only" sense.-- 21:01, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more it seems like the use of "just" in prayers is to evoke a feeling that the speaker is having trouble finding the words to express strong emotions: "pouring one's heart out to the Lord". IMO this is in line with the evangelical Christian philosophy that religion should be very personal and intensely emotional. Chuck Entz 21:31, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Incidentally, CGEL characterizes all of the the adverbial use of just as "informal". I'm not sure that "all" is correct, but some senses certainly seem "chiefly informal". DCDuring TALK 18:11, 19 February 2012 (UTC)


Which of these synonyms listed in dustman is the most popular in English? I want to merge translations to one table and add {{trans-see}} on other pages. Maro 23:12, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

It depends. Each of the regional varieties of English have their own "most popular" form. On a related note, I think the relationship of dustman to dustbin needs to be pointed out, and I suspect that the use of "dust" rather than "garbage" in both is the result of euphemism Chuck Entz 00:20, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
In the U.S., I think "garbage man" is the most common, but even so, I think it would be better to list the translations at "garbage collector" than at "garbage man", because the latter is more colloquial and less gender-neutral. (Or, potentially, they could both have translations sections, in the hopes that the differing translations would reflect these nuances.) —RuakhTALK 00:26, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
In my household they are the binmen. Of course, dust is no longer the major part of the rubbish because there are far fewer people with coal fires, and much more packaging to be disposed of. SemperBlotto 08:07, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I've generally heard them casually called "dustmen" (southeast England) but "binmen" isn't uncommon. Anything with "garbage" or "trash" sounds American. Official bodies like the council are likelier to call them "refuse collectors". When I once referred to the rubbish collection vehicle as a "dustcart" (father's term) I was mocked by contemporaries. Equinox 22:01, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
To me, binman is the most common. I guess that an American term would be the "most popular in English", simply because there are more Americans than Brits, Canadians, Aussies and so on. Am I right? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:06, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I generally call them, informally, 'bin vanners', it is gender-neutral. I do not know what I'd call them informally, I have never had to talk about them in that way.

"Where in" vs "What part of"

Suppose I'm talking to an English person and looking for an answer like "London" or "Yorkshire". Is it more natural to ask "where in England do you come from?" or "what part of England do you come from?" I'm also kinda curious as to how other languages would handle this kind of question. Shadyaubergine 17:35, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

I think it depends on what kind of answer you're looking for. If you asked me the first question I would be more inclined to say something like Liverpool or Cambridge, while the other question might lead to answers such as the Midlands, Yorkshire or the Southeast. In Dutch, my other native language, it's the same more or less. You can ask 'Waar in Engeland kom je vandaan?' or 'Uit welk deel van Engeland kom je?' and you might expect similar answers. —CodeCat 21:52, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
To me (British) they are basically synonymous, though "what part" might carry an extra hint of wanting to know the county. Equinox 21:58, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
In France I would say "tu viens d'où en France" (or vous venez, let's not split hairs). Not sure if a native speaker would say the same. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:18, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Re: English: If someone asked me (American) "where in the U.S." I come from, I'd probably say "Ohio" or "Cleveland", but if they asked me "what part of the U.S." I come from, I'd just as likely say "the Midwest". Re: other languages: in Hebrew, you can say Template:Hebr (lit. "from where you in …?"), but I'm having a hard time picturing a conversation where that would sound natural. I think that in a typical conversation, this question would be a response to "I'm from …" (e.g., "I'm from the U.S."), so the most natural question is just Template:Hebr (lit. "where in …?"), with no need for the "from" or "you". —RuakhTALK 03:29, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
If you want to elicit a specific answer, I recommend you to use more specific wording, such as Which town in England are you from?. I realize it's unusual, but you can't expect people to read your mind. JamesjiaoTC 21:09, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

be off

Today an anon added a new sense at be off: [7]. The content is good, but is it under the right headword? It seems to require an adverb, i.e. it is not (ever) just be off. Cf. well off (but this doesn't cover the "how are you off for milk?" sense). Equinox 21:57, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Well, you can say "How are you off for money" as well as for milk. But well off seems to be almost unrelated. Thinking ..... SemperBlotto 22:01, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
    There's badly off too. But you can never simply ask (as be off might suggest) "Are you off at the moment?" Equinox 22:09, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
    It's ruddy hard to think of another adverb that goes with off in this way. You can't be brilliantly off or terribly off. Not with the same meaning anyway. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:11, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Perhaps there should be more at off#Adjective?— Pingkudimmi 16:41, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
    Well, MWOnline has six senses (16 subsenses), including "started on the way" <off on a spree> and "circumstanced" <worse off>. DCDuring TALK 17:28, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
    The latter would seem to be it.​—msh210 (talk) 18:59, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

programmer and developer

There's recent discussion at http://programmers.stackexchange.com/q/135911/30490 about these two entries.​—msh210 (talk) 18:56, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree with the comment there that "one who designs software" is a misleading definition for programmer. It is common for somebody else to do the design, and the programmer to do the actual implementation of that other person's design. But in general a programmer is anyone who writes computer programs, so that would be a fine def. Equinox 17:51, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
In my days (i.e. in the last century) the design was normally done by a systems analyst - at least in the commercial world of data processing. SemperBlotto 17:54, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I would say programmer is a hyponym of developer. —CodeCat 18:00, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I have gone ahead and changed programmer to "One who writes computer programs; a software developer", moving it away from the inaccurate focus on design of programs. Equinox 16:29, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

buy a dog and bark oneself

Can anyone define this? See google books:"buying a dog and barking yourself|himself|herself". Mglovesfun (talk) 19:39, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

To use an inferior approach when a better one is readily available. Chuck Entz 20:34, 20 February 2012 (UTC)


how the heck do you pronounce this? short a or long a? whichever it is, this entry should have a pronunciation entry.—This comment was unsigned.

And now someone's added it. Short a.​—msh210 (talk) 00:25, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

geek vs nerd

We have geek and nerd as synonyms, more or less, but I have always thought of them as being defined based on usefulness and applicability of knowledge/interests (nerds having the "useful" interests). Is this a definition particular to my social subset or an actual definition that should be added? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:02, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Your definition isn't universal. Note the corporate/brand name "Geek Squad", applied to technical support services. The rise of the "tech-savvy" sense is recent enough that it's hard to pin down established usage. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:33, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm thinking that these defs are all too similar to cite, anyway (how would you know which def a citation referred to in most cases?). --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:13, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
You also have to realise that this discussion renders itself moot (see xkcd 747). 15:25, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

"thru" versus "through"

Is "thru" synonymous with "through''"? 12:02, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, because they are the same word. Read the usage notes in thru for more information. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 13:40, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
... except in British English where "thru" is considered incorrect by most people (or is just not used). Dbfirs 23:53, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
... and in American English, where the same is true. (And probably all other national forms of English as well, though I suppose you never know!) —RuakhTALK 00:47, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Definitely nonstandard, though no one seems to mind it in advertising or when used as a sort of abbreviation (signs, notes on plans, etc.). Chuck Entz (talk) 01:07, 25 February 2012 (UTC)



Defined as "A name given to Messiah in the Old Testament". POV, anyone? Jews don't interpret the verse in Isaiah as describing the messiah at all. I suggest "A person in the Old Testament". (That's if we're to have this sense at all. Personally, I don't think we should have "character" senses at all: the second sense, "A male given name", is sufficient. But I think I'm in the minority on that.)​—msh210 (talk) 00:18, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

The POV problem is a direct consequence of encyclopedic content. There might be a way of rewording though, perhaps using {{non-gloss definition}}. DCDuring TALK 00:35, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
How about Immanuel: "a biblical name which Christians believe prophetically refers to the messiah." It provides information to those who run into it in Christian writings without pushing a POV Chuck Entz (talk) 21:14, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
That fixes the "what Christians believe is correct" POV, but it leaves the "we only care about what Christians believe" POV intact. —RuakhTALK 21:28, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
True. Of course, it probably is more significant to Christians than to others, but I'm not familiar with other interpretations. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:46, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
After looking at the wikipedia entry for w:Immanuel, it would seem too complicated to explain both interpretations. The messianic interpretation is too common in Christian theological usage, though, to simply omit it. Perhaps we need a separate sense, with context appropriately marked, of Emmanuel as a Christian term for messiah. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:02, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe various groups' beliefs about who he is should be a usage note? E.g. define I/Emmanuel as "a figure mentioned in the w:book of Isiah", perhaps even "a figure mentioned in the book of Isiah as to be born to a virgin mother" (which is the text of the verse), and then have a usage note explain that different groups regard him as X, or Y. - -sche (discuss) 22:53, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be pretty easy to cite as a synonym for messiah, starting with "Jesus, our Emmanuel" from w:Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:09, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, good point. It even acts a bit noun-like, rather than strictly proper-noun-like, in usage like that — although strictly speaking, I could still interpret that as "Jesus, our [figure mentioned in Isiah as born of a virgin]", heh.) What does everyone think of something like this? If anyone has suggestions for a {{Judaism}} sense, please make them. Also: do we want to rephrase references to the 'Old Testament' in this and other entries, to something like 'Hebrew Bible'? - -sche (discuss) 01:07, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I think "Hebrew scriptures" sounds less POV to me. I also use "the Christan New Testament" in similar situations for the New Testament Chuck Entz (talk) 01:14, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
My impression of the difference between Christianity and Judaism here is it amounts to a uniform article of faith vs. a more open debate. It doesn't seem to be amenable to summary in the same way. Also, in Christian usage it becomes at times sort of a title. Google "He is the Emmanuel" and you'll see what I mean. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:25, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
"The Emmanuel" might be a noun derived from the proper noun, rather than the proper noun per se. Actually, a Google Books search for "are Emmanuels" supports the idea that Emmanuel can be a noun. - -sche (discuss) 02:03, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
To muddy things further, the word translated as "virgin" has multiple senses such as "young woman", with "virgin" being one of the least common. I don't think you can mention "virgin mother" without being POV. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:24, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, right; I've modified that bit. - -sche (discuss) 04:10, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
@Ruakh or msh210: can you check the Hebrew in the etymology I added? - -sche (discuss) 02:22, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
The obvious quibble is that it's a compound, with the 'Immanu and the El being separate words. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:30, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Or to analyze it further, the 'immanu part is the preposition עם + the suffix form of the 2nd-person plural pronoun אנחנו/אנו Chuck Entz (talk) 03:27, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I presume it's also considered a whole unit (namely a name) in Hebrew, too, though. - -sche (discuss) 04:10, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
It looks ok to me as a single name, but you shouldn't take my word for it since my knowledge is rather limited. I did find some names in Wikipedia that had Hebrew interwikis on the side, though, and the Hebrew articles seem to use the same spelling. I notice that the Hebrew disambiguation page doesn't even mention the Isaiah passage [8]. I also notice that Immanuel is also the name of an Israeli West Bank settlement w:Immanuel (town). I suppose the further etymology could go in the article for the Hebrew, but we don't have one yet. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:58, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
@-sche: Yes check.svg Done. I've also created [[עמנואל]]. —RuakhTALK 00:07, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! Are there still problems with the entries, or should I remove the RFT tags now? - -sche (discuss) 00:36, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


aphrodisiac: There is a new one called azulinstant: wouldlikea write up on it including the contents. Itis an all new one put out by noveau life pharmaceuticals and sold at Wlgreens soon.

This is a new brand name that appears to only show up so far in press releases and discussion in financial media about the company and its marketing of the brand. It doesn't seem to have entered the language in any way that would pass our Criteria For Inclusion. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:24, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Change from plural to singular

The entry cellophane noodles says it is only plural, but of course like noodle in general, one cellophane noodle is singular, more are plural, and a dish is typically plural. Since the page itself has the plural "s," what is the best way to change this? BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 03:35, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm a newbie myself, but I believe you would want to create a new page for the singular, then edit the plural to make it a "plural form of" page for the singular page. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:00, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Chuck Entz is right. I've done basically what he suggests, except that I've moved the page so that the "lemma" has the history (of who created it, etc). It would have been perfectly alright to have just created the singular and modified the plural without moving anything, of course. - -sche (discuss) 04:09, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you so much! BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 08:28, 25 February 2012 (UTC)


There are two senses that say "with a capital initial letter". Should these be moved to Sana, then? Equinox 16:26, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I assume so, also the synonym, according to the entries themselves, is for the wrong sense of sana. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:41, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

pervert the course of justice

Sum of parts? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:29, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Of course. DCDuring TALK 11:35, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so. It's a specific offense with a definition that goes beyond perverting justice's course. See the Wikipedia entry. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:26, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
It seems very much like a concept, referred to by various SoP terms.
The article says that in England and Wales the offense is variously referred to as "perverting the course of justice", "Interfering with the administration of justice", "Obstructing the administration of justice", "Obstructing the course of justice", "Defeating the due course of justice", "Defeating the ends of justice", "Effecting a public mischief".
I did not find compelling the NSW statute citation, in which perverting the course of justice is used in the title. DCDuring TALK 12:53, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Hatschek’s pit

What is the full name of the discoverer of Hatschek’s pit, for whom it is named? — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:24, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

It is probably Berthold Hatschek (1854–1941). Equinox 15:28, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
This corroborates that. Thanks. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:56, 27 February 2012 (UTC)


This is used in support of a w:United Ireland (a single country spanning the whole island of Ireland). It's supposed to indicate that the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland and the 6 counties of Northern Ireland together make 1 Ireland. I'm quite sure this can meet CFI because it appears all over the place, but what is its definition? —CodeCat 21:32, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

I suppose the definition is what you said: "The 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland together make one Ireland." Equinox 21:34, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
United Ireland. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 21:38, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I created the entry now, is this ok? —CodeCat 21:54, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Attested? I see nothing on ggc.​—msh210 (talk) 23:19, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't seem like something that would show on google books, it's a popular slogan. You'd more likely find it on t-shirts and bumper stickers. Maybe usenet? —CodeCat 23:36, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
That's what I meant by ggc.​—msh210 (talk) 02:05, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


Usage note says: "Possessive forms: princess's (main form used by academics and book publishers) The princess's golden hair.; princess' (main form used by newspapers) The princess' golden hair." This seems remarkable to me. Can we find any evidence for these two disparate forms per media? Equinox 00:07, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

I've never heard this pronunciation (except as a dialectal omission of possessive), nor seen the spelling in newspapers, and if I did I would think it an error, but I'm willing to learn otherwise if someone can find some cites. Dbfirs 17:42, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Both versions are definitely citeable; that's not even a question. But I agree with Equinox; there's no way there's a categorical distinction here between academic/book usage and newspaper usage. I doubt there's even a tendency toward such a distinction. —RuakhTALK 22:30, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Maybe it's a terrible way of saying "(some) newspaper style guides (e.g. AP) prefer A, (some) academic style guides (e.g. Strunk & White) prefer B", in which case it would be better to name specific authorities. - -sche (discuss) 04:19, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Is it only in American newspapers (or other publications) that Princess' is common. If I saw it in a British newspaper, I would blame a lazy typesetter! Dbfirs 18:30, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Ordinal numbers (or not?)

Does anyone know the correct term for numbers such as 'primary', 'secondary','tertiary', and 'quaternary' ? And, more important, does the sequence continue (fifth, sixth, etc.), and if so, what are the further terms? Where could I find that information?

wikipedia:English_numerals#Ordinal_numbers BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 00:35, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry about that. Wikipedia calls them ranking numerals. It seems there are words for one to ten and twelve: Ask Oxford. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 00:46, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
See arity. In addition, Google gives you undenary for 11-ary. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 07:16, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Isn't undenary strictly for designating base 11, analogous to binary for base 2? The Latin derivation of the ending seems to be the same, but the meaning is different. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:35, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
This class of words seems to be formed, for the most part, on the stem of Latin distributive numerals + -ary, although primary, secondary, tertiary, and nonary are instead formed on the stems of Latin ordinal numerals + -ary. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:02, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

French audio for renaissance

Hi, I'd really love to hear how the French pronounce this word (seeing as it's theirs originally). If anyone with a knowledge (preferably native) of French is able, could you please upload an audio file here? [9] Thanks! --Person12 (talk) 12:13, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

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 ([[10])] 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, "Template:intransitive To put things together to form a group", or else our existing sense "Template: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)

April 2012


I've created a page for doust. The problem is that I couldn't find it in any online dictionaries (except The Free Dictionary, but their definition - "to punch" - seems to be wrong). All the definitions of I found came from Victorian collections of West Country slang and Victorian mining handbooks. None of these cared about pronunciation or etymology, and they all have senses that the other dictionaries don't (one of which - "to dust" - I can't attest, though given that I can attest "to separate dust from ore", it seems likely). Can anyone with access to a more definitive dictionary (presumably British) make sure the definitions are correct? Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:58, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

I personally don't understand which meaning of put out applies to the first definition. The OED has "doust" only as a noun, but includes it in one of the citations for "douse" (meaning to strike, punch, inflict a blow upon): "To death with daggars doust." BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 20:45, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
It seems to be put out as in extinguish, judging from the sailor who "dousts" his skylights ("put out" was one of the definitions I came across in a Victorian slang dictionary). Surprised the OED doesn't have it, though. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:27, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the OED records "eye-dialect". It does have a link to dust (and the cite mentioned above in douse). Are we claiming that "doust" is a word in its own right, and not just a spelling of dust or doused? Dbfirs 14:05, 25 April 2012 (UTC)


I would think Israelite qualifies as being archaic (except for the second noun definition), but it doesn't have that label. Is there a reason for that? BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 20:37, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't think it's archaic; so far as I know, it's still the term people use. (Do you use a different term?) {{historical}} would make sense, though. —RuakhTALK 21:39, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
"Israelite" refers to the people of ancient Israel. The people of modern Israel are Israelis. The glossary seems to allow either historical or archaic for this example; it's not very clear. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 21:51, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Re: your first two sentences: right, so it's historical, not archaic. Re: your third sentence: feel free to adjust the definitions to make them more clear. —RuakhTALK 22:07, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
{{historical}} or {{biblical}}Michael Z. 2012-04-05 05:57 z
I don't see "biblical" in the glossary at all! Also, the definition of archaic seems to be better than the glossary entry. Still thinking about this (and "rare" and "uncommon" above). BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 06:03, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure why it needs a qualifier; the definition should make it clear what it is, and it should be obvious that thing is historic. It's surely not archaic; a quick search on Google Books shows a host of 21st century uses.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:50, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
I think obsolete words are ones not used currently. Archaic words are still in use, but have an old feeling to them. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 09:00, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Archaic words are words that are in use only by people deliberately trying to affect an old feel. If you use an archaic word in an academic work, you will get nasty remarks from your editor, and it will be removed before publication. Heck, most of the time if you use an archaic word, you will get eye-rolling from your audience. (Authors of historical literature, maybe fantasy, and people at a Renaissance fair may get passes.) Israelite does not have an old-time feel to it; it is the perfectly modern word for something that happens to be historical, used by academic authors and other authors for a professional audience.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:59, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Archaic words also still survive in fixed expressions, near-quotations, etc.; "to thine own self be true" probably won't trigger an eye-roll, but "just be thyself" probably will. —RuakhTALK 13:36, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
It is certainly not archaic in the religious/biblical context. I am reasonably sure that we can find citations of its current application to those we usually call Israelis, possibly with an allusive intent. DCDuring TALK 14:12, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
I said it the other day by accident, so it might be worth entering a separate definition with attestation :) BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 16:56, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
And conversely, Israeli is sometimes used in reference to the people of ancient Israel. (In some cases I think there's a political/PR dimension to that — sort of fighting back against the standard-but-misleading coincidence whereby Palestine means "ancient Israel" and Palestinian means "Arab from the formerly British-held part of the Levant", despite the lack of relationship between those two referents — but in other cases I think it's just a sort of de-distancing of the Bible, a way to make the Bible more relevant/current/relatable.) —RuakhTALK 19:41, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Digging through the quotations at Google Books, I see a lot more support for Israelite meaning Jew or Jewish, particularly in France. EB said "Mardochee, a member of the first Israelite family who settled in Timbuctoo, has described the Daggatoun" and Jewish citizenship in France[11] frequently uses it as a calque of the French word Israélite (which, BTW, is just defined as Israelite; I don't touch French, but it looks clear to me that Israélite has a pretty strong sense of Jew in that language). The Politics of Everyday Life in Vichy France[12] says "Historians have noted the divisions within the Jewish community between French men and women of the Israelite confession and the unassimilated Jewish immigrants." There's also some use by various Christian or new religious groups for themselves.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:52, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

time over

Is this the same as time and time again? __meco (talk) 20:50, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

I haven't seen it with that meaning. What context did you have in mind? Dbfirs 07:44, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps Meco is thinking of many times over? "Time over" is not a separate entity. This, that and the other (talk) 04:24, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, I'm not able to cite a usage. I'm thinking that it sounds idiomatic to my ears that someone would say "I've said it time over that ..." But I surmise I'm wrong on this. And as This, that and the other suggests, it might be an idiosyncratic contamination based on having heard many times over. But then again, isn't there an idiom somewhere in there? That's hardly a mere sum of its parts term, is it?__meco (talk) 07:21, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
It sounds like "time and time over again" to me. This seems reasonable as an idiom. It certainly qualifies in Google Books. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 08:32, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I've only seen it (unrelatedly) in video games where you run out of time (cf. game over). Sonic the Hedgehog is one. Equinox 10:42, 11 April 2012 (UTC)


I don't know the least bit of Chinese, but it seems rather unlikely that the word means LP record and CD album, but not SP record or EP record or a 78. Google Translate gives w:zh:唱片 as "The album is a musical communication media summary of its physical form can be divided into early wire LP bakelite 78 record, vinyl record and today's CD-ROM. Now, the album (commonly known as the "album"), the single has become a mainstream record." so I'm guessing I'm right and this should be phonograph record.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:08, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

The terms 唱片 covers various types of music records - phonograph record (or gramophone record), vinyl disc. LP is translated specifically as 密纹唱片.
From NCIKU dictionary: album; phonograph (or gramophone) record; disc; vinyl. I have more doubts about the 2nd sense - "CD album" --Anatoli (обсудить) 09:45, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Verified both senses. Redefining. --Anatoli (обсудить) 13:11, 6 April 2012 (UTC)


I created this misspelling page because, up until yesterday, I thought it was spelt and pronounced like this. There are quite a few hits on Google Books too so it seems I'm not the only one who's been fooled. Anyone else aware of this misspelling? ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:40, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

I hadn't come across the mis-spelling before, but I'm surprised how common it is (including lots of photos of it [13], and a dictionary entry [14]). Thanks for drawing my attention to the etymology. Dbfirs 07:42, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
No worries. Up until yesterday I thought "remuneration" was spelt and pronounced "renumeration". Oh dear. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:01, 15 April 2012 (UTC)


I added a simple etymology to this German word using the {{prefix}} template. Should I have used "Di-" or "di-" as the prefix (neither related German category exists (and I am not a German speaker)). SemperBlotto (talk) 08:38, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


From Chambers - a further meaning: a white or light patch or stripe on a horse esp. on the nose —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) at 10:22, 8 April 2012.

  • We're also missing the sense used in internet forums and the like, where only part of a previous post being replied to is quoted. See [15] for example. I don't have time to add it myself now. Thryduulf (talk) 23:07, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
That should probably be a sub-sense of "The act of snipping; cutting a small amount off of something." Equinox 23:12, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
It's also used as what I guess is an interjection(?), see [16] for example. It represents omission in the same way as […] I suppose. Thryduulf (talk) 03:22, 2 July 2012 (UTC)


This has to be one of my favourite entries! :D But I'm wondering about the etymology, it doesn't really make much sense to me. Isn't the entire word just an onomatopoeia, rather than a compound of two of them? —CodeCat 22:23, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

The etymology should say that it comes from observing evil genius behavior, I suppose. __meco (talk) 21:26, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
That's not really what I'm asking. The etymology says that it's a compound of mu + hahaha... which implies that it is a compound of two onomatopoeias. But if you pronounce two onomatopoeias in sequence, doesn't that just create a new one? I very much doubt anyone would see it as a compound! —CodeCat 21:47, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Calling it a compound sounds pretty stupid. With no reference we may assume it was the assumption of the editor who wrote it, and I think we should removed it. __meco (talk) 21:52, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Can somebody explain the subtle semantic nuances distinguishing muahahaha, mwahaha, and bwahaha, and the relevance of the number of repetitions of ha? Muahahaha. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:10, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
No real difference. Just variations of the sound. I have noticed that Bowser (the enemy from the Mario game series) is often given "gwa ha ha" in dialogue. Equinox 16:15, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


Is this a plurale tantum? Isn't rather "headqurters" both the singular and plural form? __meco (talk) 07:13, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

I would say so. I've always thought the important thing for users might be to know the number of the verb that is standard. The terminology plurale tantum is supposed to indicate that only a plural form of the verb is standard, I think.
BTW the term plurale tantum seems quite pedantic. Note that no OneLook source except for WP and Wikt has it. If it fails to convey information about subject-verb agreement usable by normal users, it should probably be replaced. DCDuring TALK 11:56, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why. It is the correct term for a grammatical quality, just as singular and plural are.Korn (talk) 14:45, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Who do you think are the target users for Wiktionary? Do you think that we should help them understand using their existing vocabulary or that we force them to learn technical vocabulary? If this project is to be limited to linguists, then it doesn't really deserve the financial support of WMF, the general public, or of whatever other funders WMF may have. DCDuring TALK 15:19, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
It takes one click to understand the term. It's no hard learning effort. And when looking into a dictionary, you have to be prepared to be confronted with language-y terms. We cannot restrict the terminology to every-day speech without at least looking at the edge of a slippery slope. But that's a thing for the Beer Parlour.Korn (talk) 15:25, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I think you overestimate the likelihood of clickthrough and underestimate how easily many (most?) users are discouraged by the least impediment to immediate understanding. Many users don't seem to click through to lemma entries from form-of entries, judging from our feedback page. DCDuring TALK 15:41, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
So, how do we distinguish between plurals the can have an indefinite article in front of them and those which can't? Or don't we bother with that far-fetched linguistic quirk? __meco (talk) 21:23, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I do think that something like 'plural only' or 'no singular' would be more helpful than 'plurale tantum'. But I don't think any of those terms apply to 'headquarters', which clearly has a singular and a plural to me. Depending on the sense, it's either an uncountable noun that is morphologically plural, or a countable noun with an identical plural, like 'sheep'. 'The headquarters' seems more like an uncountable collective to me, whereas 'a headquarters' is a countable unit that can be pluralised as 'many headquarters'. —CodeCat 21:59, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
@Meco: I think that {{countable}} addresses that specific issue, although possibly that doesn't cover all situations.
@CodeCat: I have the feeling that plurale tantum is a lingering form of prescriptivism that does not capture the facts of usage accepted as normal or even correct. I doubt that investigation of any large corpus would fail to show pluralia tantum used both with singular and plural verb forms. Moreover, close investigation would probably reveal that a singular referent of a word like "scissors" might be referred to both by "the scissors is" and "the scissors are". DCDuring TALK 22:34, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
This happens more often with terms for a single entity consisting of multiple parts. 'United States' is another notable example. But with 'headquarters' it's less clear, because the semantic connection with 'a quarter' seems much weaker. —CodeCat 22:38, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
It's probably better without the semantic connection, since headquarters in many organizations tend to behave like hindquarters ... Chuck Entz (talk) 05:09, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Headquarters also sounds like the plural quarters in “officer's quarters.” A headquarters can be a place, but it can also be an organization or the members of a staff, which is often singular in American English but plural in British English (e.g., “Sony is/are releasing a new camera”). Headquarters is also referred to with or without an article: “report to the regimental headquarters/report to regimental headquarters.” I think there are too many valid overlapping and indeterminate kinds of usages to pin it down. Michael Z. 2012-04-11 07:08 z

Long consonants/Geminates in West-Germanic languages

I have read several elder (~1900) Grammars mentioning the existence of true (=pronounced) geminates, and none gives a description, assuming the reader is familiar with long consonants. But there are two systems, with for example a /p:/ being either /p.p/ (as in modern Polish) or ambisyllabic /p̚p/, as it is - I assume - in modern day Swedish. Does anybody know about West-Germanic languages? (Any language, at any point of history, really.)Korn (talk) 14:41, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic had true geminates, and presumably so did all the 'old' Germanic languages as well. Many Germanic languages (if not all) experienced lengthening of vowels in open syllables, which was conditioned by consonant length as well, since a following geminate closed a syllable and therefore kept the vowel short. The dating of the lengthening can be used as evidence that geminates were retained until that time. So they were retained in Dutch until sometime during the Middle Dutch period (1200-1500), after the lengthening. —CodeCat 21:44, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
But what was the pronunciation (of the stops, specifically)? Two separate full-consonants with release or a single release with a longer held closing beforehand?Korn (talk) 14:39, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
I would say that they were single long consonants. Germanic also had an alternation between voiced stops and fricatives, and apparently they were fricatives when single and plosives when geminated. So -ada- was [ɑðɑ] but -adda- was [ɑdːɑ]. —CodeCat 17:01, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
The same is true for GML/NDS. So the Swedish system it is. Thanks. 11:39, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Polish does not have geminates; double consonants are something completely different and only occur at morpheme boundaries. Check Finnish or Hungarian for typical geminates. That said, the Proto-Germanic system does seem to have been like Swedish or Italian because I do not remember any cases of long vowel + long consonant the way they can be combined in Finnish, for example. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
That is mostly because of a sound change in early Proto-Germanic. According to that change, geminates were de-geminated when following a long syllable (one with a long vowel or diphthong). Before that time, an 'overlong' syllable like -ōss- or -aiss- could have existed, but it was simplified to -ōs- and -ais-. This happened in the word Template:termx for example. —CodeCat 16:50, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Ah, good point; Latin has an analogous shortening. Are you familiar with w:Kluge's law, by the way? It would also have operated after long vowels, in principle. The shortening would have followed Kluge's law, then. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:24, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


What sense of "race" is used in phrases like "the human race", "a salve against the race of elves", "join the race of gods"? It isn't really "A large group of people distinguished from others on the basis of a common heritage", because it isn't always people, and group membership isn't always about heritage — I've added several quotations of the form "join the race of" to Citations:race. Incidentally, I also found a few thoroughly abstract uses like "join the race of faith" (apparently meaning "community"). - -sche (discuss) 20:02, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

What do you mean it isn't always people? All the examples you gave were people. The fantasy sense of "race" seems to be something like an informal name for subspecies. I pedantically could argue that the human race, Homo sapiens sapiens, is a subrace of Homo sapiens; in the mermaid cite, I would argue that it means "A large group of people distinguished from others on the basis of common physical characteristics" (that is, the people who don't have tails and don't breathe water); in many cases, it's a kickback against meanings 1-3, implying there is no meaningful large group of people distinguishable from others on the basis of common inherited physical characteristics. (#2 is not quite an accurate definition, as the fact is that if your parents were the same race (#2), you will be considered the same race.)
I'd almost make senses 1-3 subsenses of one sense and add a fantasy sense to include elves and gods and whatnot.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:08, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm confused by your first comment ("All the examples you gave were people")... as you note later, several of the citations I added pertain to elves / gods, not people. I do think it seems to be synonymous with "species" (why do you say subspecies?), though our current relevant definition (sense 1) of [[species]] needs improvement. Modifying your "common physical characteristics" idea slightly, "A large group whose members are distinguished from nonmembers by common attributes" (such as divinity in the case of a "race of gods") seems like a good definition.
I've added another citation, this one discussing an extraterrestrial race.
Re combining senses 1-3: dictionary.com separates a sense "a group of peoples" ("the Slavic race") from "a people with a common history" ("the Dutch race"), which seems even stranger than our current separation of 1-3. I do think we could have a general sense like "A group distinguished by common characteristics", and make all of the other senses (human, animal, 'fantasy' etc) into subsenses of it. - -sche (discuss) 07:55, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Elves are people. Whether gods are people or not is more complex, but on the mortal realm, I'm sure I can find cites showing that most sapient creatures have been people. I'd be interested to see cites showing that elves, Vulcans and Wookies aren't people.
The conception of elves as a race that can interbreed with humans and produce fertile offspring certainly makes them subspecies in the modern biological sense, though that gets a little silly in settings that have dragons and angels interbreeding with humans.
I think your new definition is still missing the concept of heritability. The one thing virtually all definitions of race is that if your parents are of a race, you will be too. (Occasional sci-fi sudden mutation, and bad science 'throwbacks', like the concept that Downs syndrome was a reversion to Mongolism, aside.) "by common inherited attributes", perhaps.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
A race was originally thought of as a large group of people sharing a common ancestry (in a broader sense), with characteristics stemming from that common ancestry- in other words, a different "kind" of people (this even applies to cases like "the Anglo-Saxon race").
In cases like elves and gods, the concept of "people" is broadened to include such beings. In traditional racist views, other races are held to be an inherently inferior kind of people, just barely people, with terms reminiscent of animals being used for gender and other subcategories: a male might be a buck or a brave, a female might be a squaw, a child might be a pappoose or a pickaninny.
The idea of characteristics beyond superficial ones like skin color and facial structure being different between races has pretty much been debunked, but I think the modern senses refer back to the original idea, even if there's disagreement with part of the basic premise.
I think most of the "join the..." senses should be metaphorical rather than literal (though I haven't looked through them, so I could be wrong). As for the "race of faith", that brings to mind the metaphor of running a race that Paul used in the Christian New Testament. In the case of "joining the race of gods" I think that's a magical transformation of "kind", much as one might be magically transformed into another species, such as a frog- an exception to the rules, not an example of them. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:28, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


Elves are not people! People exist, elves don't! Mglovesfun (talk) 09:30, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, we currently (correctly) define "people" as "a body of human beings", and "person" as "an individual human"... which an elf is not. - -sche (discuss) 06:42, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

They've been called the Little People for a long time. BGC turns up "Because if it was true, the elf-people would help her.", and "The clever Elf people had been very busy with the mountain- peak to make it elegant", "the little people who help Santa Claus to make Christmas toys are elves" and "A Natural History of Elves: The Hidden People of Iceland and the Arctic Circle", "Elves, people of the woods and waters, celebrate and protect the natural beauty of Middle Earth." and ""My people call me Nir," said the elf.". Beyond elves, we have "A bug is an insect, sweetheart. The Thranx" (giant alien bugs) "are not insects. They're people, just like you and me, and they're supposed to be very smart." and "“Really, Char Mormis,” he observed in the delightfully musical voice of the thranx, “inhospitality is hardly the mark of a successful businessman. I am disappointed. And this looking for a hidden weapon on my person." and "The quintessential Klingon person, of course, is the warrior, and there are several words for “warrior.” " and "As soon as I started creating the Klingon crew. the absolute first person I wanted in there was Leskit because he was a snide. obnoxious Klingon. which is never simple."
A large swath of science fiction has been engaged in proving that just because someone is covered in scales and has a tail, doesn't mean they're not a person, so I'm sure I can find an endless stream of quotes from that direction.
(In contrast, of course, is "I realized that it wasn't a person sitting on the root of that tree—it was an elf.")--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:58, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I see no reason why we should accommodate fictional universes in this way. There is no common word characterizing people that cannot characterize fictional near-people or characterizing animals that cannot characterize fictional near-animals or characterizing vehicles, or clothing, or devices....
If someone would like to document what has or has not actually been imagined to exist in such fictional universes, that might be an interesting wiki. It could probably even be a money-making proposition. DCDuring TALK 10:35, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I think you're missing the point; the original point was that this sense of race doesn't only apply to human beings. Elves was one of the initial examples given, up couldn't it also apply to non-human animals like dogs or cats or whatever. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:52, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

OK Corral

I am inexperienced with Wiktionary and would appreciate it if someone helped flesh out the defintion(s). The ACLU citation in particular strongly suggests multiple definitions. More complicated (and hence my posting here) is that sources like this one make me wonder if gunfight at the OK Corral and other permutations might be a set phrase. Thanks. BDavis (talk) 17:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


Is this really pronounced with a different vowel (/bʊti/) than butter (/ˈbʌ.tə/), or is Stephen MUFC (talkcontribs) adding weird pronunciations again? (See also assume and Maryland.) - -sche (discuss) 06:31, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

I've always heard it pronounced with the same vowel as butter, but what vowel that is will depend on the accent. Some Northern English accents pronounce the "u" as /ʊ/ (as in, "it's grim oop north"), and in that case butter would be pronounced /ˈbʊ.tə/ as well. Stephen MUFC (talkcontribs) claims to be from Manchester, so presumably he's put it up with a Manchester accent. Here's a southerner (from Berkshire, I think) saying /bʌti/ (about 30s in) and here's a lot of notherners (from South Yorkshire) saying /bʊti/ (again, about 30s in). Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:11, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
(Incidentally, I can't vouch for /ˈmɛɹələn/, which seems odd to me, but /əˈʃuːm/ sounds right for assume, at least as pronounced in the UK. Here's a couple of examples. To my ears, they don't sound like /əˈsjuːm/) Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:22, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, on second thoughts, I think I can hear the /j/ sound in the first video. The second still sounds like a-shoe-m to me though. John Wells, a linguist at UCL, says /əˈʃuːm/ is a rare British pronunciation. Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:51, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
They both sound like /əˈsjuːm/ to me, though the second one does have a little palatalization of the /s/ before the /j/. But it doesn't sound like a full-fledged /ʃ/. —Angr 13:13, 11 April 2012 (UTC)


Shouldn't this page (which was moved to Rhymes:English:-ʌnʃ and which contains entries like bunch) be moved back? Or is this a US-vs-UK thing? - -sche (discuss) 06:38, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

In the UK it's /ʌntʃ/, the version without a /t/ might be a valid colloquial option, but not worth a separate page. PS I'm not that far from Manchester, so it's not another Stephen MUFC Manchester-versus-the-rest-of-the-world thing. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:49, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I think it's a matter of non-contrastive variation of the same sound: whether you pronounce it /ʌntʃ/ or /ʌnʃ/, you don't have (AFAIK) /ʌntʃ/ words that rhyme with other /ʌntʃ/ words, but not with /ʌnʃ/ words, and likewise in reverse. One could debate which version to move to which, but they shouldn't be independent categories. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:54, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


w:toad says that toads are an ill-defined subset of frogs. I was going to update the definition along those lines, but neither the Wikipedia article or our current definition really help me, and I'm not really familiar with the subject.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:54, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Hmm, how about defining toad as "(1) a member of the order Anura, especially one belonging to a species with relatively dry and bumpy skin", "(2) a member of the family Bufonidae (also called true toads)", and defining frog as "a member of the order Anura, especially one belonging to a species with relatively moist and smooth skin"? That seems to cover the popular distinction without doing too much violence to the taxonomic facts (that there is no firm biological distinction between toads and frogs, except that all Bufonidae are called toads). —Angr 12:22, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I believe that originally toad referred to a species of Bufo, which was a predominately dry-land species with dry, warty skin, and frog referred to a species of Rana, which was an aquatic species with smooth, moist skin. Frog has since been become the general term for all tail-less amphibians- including toads- but when used specifically it refers to species reminiscent of Rana, while toad covers those reminiscent of Bufo (in both cases, reminiscent especially in the skin characteristics).
I don't know about using "especially" in the toad definition, since it would imply that it's ok (but not preferable) to refer to any member of Anura as a toad. The two aren't parallel: toad is a subset of the general frog sense differentiated by skin type (I'm not sure how dwelling in drier habitats figures in, but it might), while frog is both a general term for Anura and a specific term for the subset that has moist, smooth skin. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:32, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


The definitions given for the noun sense of this word, all based on whether or not it contains curry powder, seem completely wrong. Curry powder is a European invention from the imperial period, as a way of using dried spices to replicate Indian cuisine in Europe. Not all curries are cooked with curry powder - Thai curry, for instance, uses vegetables and spices pounded together into a paste as its base, Sri Lankan and Indonesian curries tend to get a lot of their flavour from curry leaves and even many Indian and Anglo-Indian use spice mixes that don't include turmeric (indeed, garam masala is the most commonly used spice mix in The Curry Secret, a fairly definitive Anglo-Indian cookbook). As it stands, our definition means that Thai red curry is not a curry, but coronation chicken and kedgeree are. A better definition might be something along the lines of "One of a family of dishes consisting of meat or vegetables flavoured by a spiced sauce." Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:00, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Absolutely. I would go so far as to say that truly authentic curries don't use curry powder. Curry powder is more a seasoning reminiscent of curries (of a certain type) than a seasoning to be used in them. Just about any book on Indian cuisine will have a section on curry powder in order to debunk the very common myth that curries are made with curry powder. Most disparage curry powder as a very crude, one-size-fits-all imitation of the multitudinous art of Indian seasoning. Another, less-common, myth is that curry leaves are what makes a South Asian dish a curry. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:58, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Heh. I love curry. And I agree here -- curries need not have any particular spice or herb to make them curries, but consist more of the blend of spices in a sauce. American chili always struck me as a curry of sorts. Likewise for Hungarian paprikás, though that depends on how it's made -- a strict paprikash that only uses paprika would probably not qualify, as it's only using the one spice. But the way I've generally seen it made uses paprika, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, and a few other spices to boot. And there are some wonderful curry dishes in the Caribbean, apparently based on recipes brought over from western Africa -- a Ghanaian friend once made us a traditional fish curry that was out of this world.
If I ever got into the restaurant business, I'd love to open a place that did curries of the world, as a kind of restaurant cum culinary museum -- wander through the museum part, get some background on the history of the cooking and the spice trades, get to smell samples of spices, herbs, and mixes, and then at the end there'd be a restaurant instead of just a gift shop, where you could order up a bowl of whatever tickled your fancy.
I can dream, anyway.  :) -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 17:42, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


I've had a go at adding IPA for what I hear in the US. I'd appreciate it if someone could double-check this, and ideally add renderings for pronunciation in the UK and anywhere else as appropriate. -- TIA, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 20:30, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

I haven't heard it pronounced, myself, but it wouldn't surprise me to find a "net-sucky" pronunciation out there somewhere. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:03, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, American pronunciations of Japanese words make me cringe much of the time. A few have made it into English in semi-recognizable forms, such as skosh from JA 少し (sukoshi), but a lot of things mutate in the borrowing. -- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 17:50, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Synonyms for some sex-related terms

[17] What are others' opinions? I don't think the meaning is the same. Substituting one for another in a sentence would be very misleading and even offensive. Equinox 13:46, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Feedback urgently wanted please, to avoid revert war. Equinox 19:38, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I've replied on the user's talk page. - -sche (discuss) 19:52, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

great-aunt, grandaunt / great-uncle, granduncle

It looks like great-aunt is a full synonym of grandaunt, essentially making it an alternate form. The only difference between the entries that could justify separate listing is the etyl. Otherwise, these two terms are identical.

Could one be turned into a soft redirect to the other? Otherwise keeping the content in sync becomes a problem. And for some reason the great-aunt entry doesn't point to grandaunt, but grandaunt does point to great-aunt.

Same for great-uncle and granduncle. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:32, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

I'd never seen "grandaunt" before today. It is glossed as US-only. Equinox 16:34, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I am definitely a great uncle (here in the UK), not a granduncle (which I have never heard of). SemperBlotto (talk) 16:37, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I’ve never heard of "grandaunt" or "granduncle" before today, either, and I’m in the U.S. Where do they use those? —Stephen (Talk) 16:46, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I've seldom referred to such relations using any terminology at all, but when I have, it's usually been using the grand- forms. I don't recall when or where I learned the terms. I grew up in the DC area, and my parents were from upstate New York and Minnesota, FWIW. When referring to such relations one generation further back, I've used the terms "great grandaunt" / "great granduncle", by analogy from "great grandparents". -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 18:11, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm with Stephen. I grew up in the States, and I only ever used or heard great-aunt and great-uncle. I don't mind "grandaunt" and "granduncle" being labeled "U.S." as long as "great-aunt" and "great-uncle" aren't labeled "U.K.". —Angr 19:15, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't see a need for soft redirects. None of the pages has very much content. The only content that seems to be problematically duplicated is the translations, and those can be merged by using {{trans-see}}. (By the way, like Stephen and Angr, I'm an American who's only ever used and heard great-aunt and great-uncle. The fact that grandaunt and granduncle are tagged (US) should not be taken to imply that all Americans are familiar with them.) —RuakhTALK 19:18, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Symbol comment vote.svg My research (Talk:grandaunt) suggests that "grand-aunt" / "grand aunt" was used throughout the English-speaking realm in the 1800s, even in the UK — indeed, it's used in Jude the Obscure. It may always have been much rarer than "great aunt", though. It seems it's only still in use (post-1980) by some Americans and non-native speakers. Perhaps we should tag it (obsolete outside some US dialects) or (obsolete except for some US speakers)? Or would that discourage the US speakers who still use it? - -sche (discuss) 21:11, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Funnily enough, Jude the Obscure only uses "grand-aunt" once: elsewhere Jude's great-aunt is referred to either as "aunt" or as "great-aunt". (The narration seems to use "aunt" and "great-aunt" with equal frequency, and "grand-aunt" only once; reported speech and correspondence use "aunt" almost exclusively, "great-aunt" only once, and "grand-aunt" not at all.) —RuakhTALK 23:37, 14 April 2012 (UTC)


Isn't the adjective just an attributive form of the noun? ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:20, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree. And I also think the noun’s definition is too encyclopedic. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 02:49, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Ditto on the adjective sense. FWIW, I think the noun def is just fine as it is -- describes what asbestos is and why it might come up in public discourse. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 03:02, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, I read the definition and assumed it had already been modified since this debate had started. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

at table

Today, I encountered for the first time the apparently abundantly attested phrase "at table". Should we have an entry for it, like we have an entry for in hospital? (google books:"sitting at table with a") - -sche (discuss) 06:11, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes. Go for it. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:55, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
    and thank you for improving it. Now I know what it means. (I couldn't figure out from the uses whether it was more than "at a table" or not, hence my initial definition of it.) - -sche (discuss) 07:16, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
This seems to be like the German idiom zu Tisch(e), where the article is conspicuously absent, too. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:39, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


I heard it several times on TV. Drew Carey Brought up US) sometimes seems to use it exclusively for preterite, I think Ryan Styles (brought up Canadian, lives US) used it thusly too and Ricky Gervais (England) has at least once used it as a conjunctive. Is it a nonstandard form or were those just a row of slip-of-tongues?Korn (talk) 14:04, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I made an entry for it (taked) and wrote a note about it (take#Usage notes). Any revision is welcome. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 14:43, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
We have a few such entries; teached for example. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


I was surprised by the pronunciation section because it's not how I've been pronouncing it in my head at all. I pronounce the 'pasta' part just like the separate word. Are both pronunciations in use? —CodeCat 01:13, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

I've been pronouncing it in my head the same way as you, but I'd never actually heard it pronounced, so I suppose that doesn't say very much! —RuakhTALK 02:13, 17 April 2012 (UTC)   Update: synchronicity-ically, I just now overheard it at work — pronounced like the foodstuff. So, that answers that. :-)   —RuakhTALK 13:26, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Is the /peɪstə(r)/ pronunciation perhaps specific to the UK? I'm in the US, and the few times I've heard this term in speech, it's always been /ˈpaːstə/ for the latter half. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 05:55, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
It has an alternate form “copy pasta”, and my inclination would be to pronounce it like a notional foodstuff. ~ Robin (talk) 06:08, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
The normal UK pronunciation is just like the foodstuff, /ˈpæstə/. BigDom (tc) 07:29, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, Russian borrowed the term as копипаста with /a/ not /eɪ/, though that was surely influenced by the existence of паста. These links have it both ways:

I say we give both pronunciations, pasty-/eɪ/ and noodly-/aː/, as possibilities. - -sche (discuss) 06:27, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

I have only heard it like the foodstuff pasta. The ety seems to support this (since it was based on "paste" and then that part was humorously replaced by "pasta"). Equinox 13:31, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


Two points, looking for guidance on both.

Usage notes: "Adjectives often applied to "rhetoric": political, legal, visual, classical, ancient, violent, empty, inflammatory, hateful, heated, fiery, vitriolic, angry, overheated, extreme." Is it a good idea to give example of adjectives that combine with a noun? It feels a bit iffy to me, a bit "point of view".

Second point, there are two noun definitions, aren't we lacking a countable non-pejorative meaning? Like on the news "Iran's rhetoric" or "Obama's rhetoric". I don't think this is "The art of using language, especially public speaking, as a means to persuade" nor "Meaningless language with an exaggerated style intended to impress". Mglovesfun (talk) 19:28, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

My understanding is that the Usage notes are an example of an attempt to enable wikisearch to find common collocations without requiring an entry for each, possibly non-idiomatic term. I think DanP was doing some of these. In order for the attempt to be worthwhile to normal users it would need to be in principal namespace. It is hard to think of a better location under our current headings for such material. Incidentally, a search for "vitriolic rhetoric" does find [[rhetoric]], so the effort does have benefits.
MWOnline has 5 senses/subsenses. A definition like "a characteristic type or mode of language use" with usage examples might include the usage instances you give, I think, though "(uncountable) language in a characteristic style" is distinguishable and may be a better definition, especially of the "Iran" instance. DCDuring TALK 20:27, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I still feel uneasy about the usage notes. What about if we had to woman "Adjectives often applied to "woman": beautiful, sexy, angry, jealous, ugly, horrible, nasty, vindictive...". Where would it end? If the person's actually done some frequency analysis to list the 15 most common collocations, then hats of. If it's personal opinion, hats not off. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:05, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
A justifiable, if hard to execute, approach that might address your uneasiness would be to ignore "free combinations" (eg, "angry woman"), no matter how frequent. We could retain those words that co-occur with the headword preferentially. Perhaps the mutual information (MI) score should exceed a threshold value. For less common terms this doesn't work with a controlled corpus, even a large one like COCA, due to statistical unreliability. It is also less than helpful with polysemic terms, like head.
Using a minimum number of adjective occurrences of 10 and a minimum MI score of 9 (both criteria arbitrary) on the COCA database yields 14 terms: AL-QA'IDA, BELLICOSE, INCENDIARY, INFLAMMATORY, HIGH-MINDED, ANTI-AMERICAN, ANTI-GOVERNMENT, OVERHEATED, BELLIGERENT, POPULIST, FIERY, NATIONALIST, LOFTY, and APOCALYPTIC. Also, we would probably want to do this for nouns used attributively as well and move AL-QA'IDA to that list.
Interestingly only three or the fifteen adjectives listed in the usage notes (inflammatory fiery and overheated) appear on this list, suggesting that it was probably not comparably prepared, quite possibly based on subjective impressions from a Google Books search. DCDuring TALK 13:56, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Surprising to me, no noun used attributively has a sufficiently high MI score to make the cut, though "class warfare" would. DCDuring TALK 14:03, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
What is this collocation obsession? If people are really too unconversant with dictionaries to try looking up two spaced words separately, then the solution is not to pack this extra stuff into entries but to overhaul the search functionality so that it looks up each individual word in their search string. Equinox 16:17, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes I forgot about that. Usage notes are not all about accuracy, they are supposed to be useful as well. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:24, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
The question is useful to whom. To understand (aka "decode") an English expression, collocations are unnecessary. For a (usually non-native) speaker to produce (aka "encode") an English expression, the collocations can be helpful, even essential to produce idiomatic speech.
Practically, I think it is a question of whether we compromise Wiktonary as a monolingual dictionary in our efforts to make it also a bidirectionally translating polypanlingual dictionary, a project which seems to have no precedent. DCDuring TALK 16:38, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Sounds to me like a question of scope: how far do we go in being descriptive? Such collocation information is certainly pertinent to describing terms and how they are used. And if someone does add substantial collocation information to an entry, at what point does "a lot" become "too much" to where some other editor feels the need to prune? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 21:21, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "fajita"

I often wonder about the pronunciation of foreign words and names in English, but there are disappointingly many cases where neither Wiktionary nor Wikipedia are particularly helpful (band names, especially in the realm of metal, are a pet peeve of mine – I mean, Drudkh, WTF, there's not even an etymology: it seems to be a made-up word; but I digress). Case in point: fajita. What do you guys pronounce it like? Wiktionary, Wikipedia, Merriam-Webster and this guy (who doesn't even seem to have a clue what he's really saying, because the "fast" and the "careful" pronunciation are completely different) all contradict each other. Frustrating. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:43, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

It is pronounced /fəˈhitə/ in English. Drudkh is supposed to be a transcription of a Sanskrit word meaning forest, but I don’t know how Ukrainians transcribe Indic languages, so I can’t figure out what the Sanskrit word is. merriam-webster.com says the same, except that they use a different system to represent the sounds. We use IPA here. —Stephen (Talk) 17:14, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
IME fajita is fəˈhiɾə rather than the fəˈhitə SGB notes: that might be a pondian difference.​—msh210 (talk) 17:47, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
You and Stephen are on the same side of the pond, and I don't think any dialect of U.S. English has /ɾ/ as you suggest; rather, [ɾ] is said to be an allophone of /d/ or (as here) /t/. See w:Intervocalic alveolar-flapping. My personal impression (not based on anything I've read) is that in some dialects (including mine), the distinction between /d/ and /t/ in some words is completely neutralized by flapping (except in hyperarticulated speech, which doesn't count), such that there's really an archiphoneme /D/ — and Google suggests that I'm not the very first person to have that impression — but even so, I don't think that makes /ɾ/ its own phoneme. —RuakhTALK 23:13, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think I'v ever heard an 'r' in fajita in the US. A fajita is more tex-mex food ... Overall yu won't find a good fajita in Mexico once yu get away from the border area ... til yu get to Belize! (I know, I'v been all down the east side of Mexico). The point is, that word is more tex-mex and is said pretty much the same on both sides of the border with a slight sunderness of the 'a' in the 'fa' in sundry places (see Florian's comment) ... but I'v never heard it with an 'r'. In the US, adding a 'r' in there would sound hickish and (likely done for humor). I can't speak for the other side of the pond. Maybe saying it with an 'r' is the wont there. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 14:00, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
An ɾ is not an r.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:49, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
That's right. The "ɾ" sound being talked about is the sound common in US English in words like "butter" and "fodder" where the t/d becomes a flap sound. The general rule is t/d before a schwa becomes a flap. You can test this by saying "butter" and then purposefully saying the "t" sound very slowly and clearly. If you have this flap in your pronunciation, you will notice a clear difference that you do not notice in normal speech. --BB12 (talk) 22:29, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
I know that M-W doesn't use IPA, but it mentions a variant pronunciation. How about /fɑˈhitə/, /fəˈhitɑ/, /fɑˈhitɑ/, /fæˈhitɑ/ or other pronunciations that may approximate the Spanish more closely – are they wrong or not in use? (As for Drudkh, I am aware of the Sanskrit explanation, but I can't take it seriously: the closest I've been able to find is druminī "collection of trees, forest" besides words for "tree" such as dāru- and rukṣa- or rūkṣa-, a half-Prakritised version of vṛkṣa-, rukkha- in Prakrit; and -dkh doesn't fit Sanskrit phonology anyway, unless we admit some schwa-dropping as in Hindi-accented pronunciation, but d(a)rudakha- is again nothing except a vague lookalike of Indic tree/forest-words, just enough to make you hesitate to dismiss the explanation outright. The point about Ukrainian makes no sense to me.) --Florian Blaschke (talk)
fəˈhiɾə is fine when you use a pronunciation with flapping, but that is optional in every accent it occurs in, and we don't show it in pronunciation sections here since it's always predictable and never obligatory. —Angr 18:18, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Using YouTube videos to determine pronunciations is an iffy business. I'm certainly not going to modify our given pronunciation of curaçao on the basis of this. —Angr 18:22, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
You know that PronunciationManual's videos are spoofs of those pronunciation videos, right? See KnowYourMeme. Anyway, you see I actually used the video to demonstrate how questionable these videos are (even the serious ones, I mean), given how the one I gave was even internally inconsistent (first the guy said /fəˈhitə/, then /fɑˈhitɑ/), but it also made me suspect that even native speakers aren't sure how to pronounce this word. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:14, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
No, I had never encountered either the genuine ones or the parody ones until today, so I didn't notice they were from different sources. Anyway, I think the "slow pronunciation" /fɑˈhitɑ/ is more likely to be due to the fact that people are unsure what to do with a schwa when they're pronouncing a word extra slowly and putting full stress on each syllable. Me, I would have gone with /ˈfʌ ˈhi ˈtʌ/, but this guy seems to have gone with a spelling pronunciation instead. —Angr 21:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Videos or audio of any source seem to be the main way to get samples of how people pronouncing things. Stuff like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm5QpjF_svU seems like a pretty good example of how people actually pronounce fajita.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:55, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's a pretty good example of how people who are familiar with Spanish pronounce it. She doesn't reduce the unstressed vowels and she uses a dental [t̪]. That isn't the usual anglicized pronunciation, which you can hear here. —Angr 23:42, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I seem to go with something like fʌhitʌ when pronouncing it extra slowly. I'm a little iffy, but I think even at normal tempos it's fəhi'tʌ (or fəhi'ɾʌ), not fəhi'ɾə.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:49, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the stress is ever on the final syllable. —Angr 23:42, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Prosfilaes, in IPA, the stress mark goes to the front of the stressed syllable, not after its core – it's not like the acute accent.
Thank you, guys, for clarifying this for me. So /fəˈhitə/ it is. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:24, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I realize where the stress mark goes in IPA. If we were physically colocated, I'd have more discussion about the issue, but as it is, I'll chalk it up to my lack of formal training in phonetic transcription. Maybe I'll upload a sound file if I can get a decent audio recording.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:30, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Sometimes it's pronounced /fə'dʒitə/ but then it's anyone's guess what the cooks are actually making. DAVilla 06:24, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Maybe they're cooking up a storm... Chuck Entz (talk) 23:00, 23 June 2012 (UTC)


This is currently listed as a noun meaning (heraldry) Two figures of the same form, interlacing each other. This probably exists in some form, but I am pretty sure it is not a noun. What other part of speech could it be? -- Liliana 22:51, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

It's an adjective, but it follows its noun (sometimes with a comma between them), which is probably what led someone to think it was the noun. It usually modifies chevronels (usually three), but also often chevrons (usually three) or annulets (usually two). —RuakhTALK 23:35, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
The word order is normal for heraldry. I believe it's a relic from Norman Old French, which has all but a few adjectives following their noun (much the same as Modern French)). —This unsigned comment was added by Chuck Entz (talkcontribs) at 01:01, 22 April 2012‎ (UTC).
Yes, exactly. —RuakhTALK 02:16, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
See braced in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911 for additional confirmation. Definition there is "in heraldry, interlaced or linked together". DCDuring TALK 23:49, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

aetiology, alternative spellings

aetiological (what i searched) leads to etiological leads to etiology leads to aetiology (the definition i wanted)

due to switching back and forth between "accepted" and "alternative" spellings, which differ. could not all of the "alternative spelling of" pages just be replaced with redirects? NonNobisSolum (talk) 02:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Redirects would be too heavy a hammer for this problem, but I'll try cleaning up these words to make searching faster. —Angr 08:43, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

adrift of

I added this as a preposition, but I'm not sure if that's correct. There's nothing at [[adrift]] that fits with the new quotation, so I created this page instead --Itkilledthecat (talk) 09:56, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

It doesn't seem any more a preposition than south of. If there were 2 more citations clearly showing the meaning, it might be better to show it as a sense of adrift with ''(often with "of"), but it might conceivably occur more often without "of", which would make it exceeding difficult to find citations for. It looks like the kind of metaphorical usage that sports journalists sometimes dream up, this time trying perhaps to convey a lack of direction on the team that was behind. It's interesting, but is it part of the language as generally understood? It reminds me of various novel uses in poetry, which we don't normally count as valid attestation because often the success of poetry lies in novelty of the use of words. DCDuring TALK 12:40, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I think DCDuring is right that "adrift of" is like "south of" in this case. Searching for "Boro adrift" (as in the perennially struggling Middlesbrough football team) finds uses like:
Boro were left needing snookers after a toothless goalless draw with Dead Men Walking Doncaster left them well adrift and fading in the chase for a Championship play-off place. [18]
Four points adrift, two to play, rampant Rugby League-alikes Southampton up next to play a demoralised and toothless Boro who can't score past a team who have shipped 77 goals this season and who are one paced and one dimensional at home, live on TV and with the season possibly terminated before kick-off. [19]
Although performances improved considerably, Boro still finished the season well adrift at the bottom of Division Two [20]
Though it's more commonly used with "of", there's certainly use of "adrift" on its own to mean behind or at/near the bottom. Incidentally, behind doesn't quite seem right - Boro are also stated to be "five points adrift of the play-offs". Perhaps "Away from" would be a better definition. (As to whether it's English as generally understood, searching for the name of any football team + adrift gets hundreds of thousands of Google hits, so it's understood at least in British sport. The results for "knicks adrift", "packers adrift" and "steelers adrift" all failed to find any examples of this use of "adrift" (except for uses by some British and Australian teams also called "Steelers"), so I'm guessing it's a UK/Commonwealth phrasing). Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:51, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, just found the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary page, which says:
adrift (of somebody/something) (British English) (in sport) behind the score or position of your opponents.
Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:53, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Excellent research. Can you tell if this is a modern or long-standing usage? DCDuring TALK 16:08, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I can track it back at least to 1990 ("The club is six points adrift of the leaders before a two point deduction") and possibly to 1983 (an article in The Listener describes someone's wife as being "several points adrift of his social class", which might be a reference to the football use of the phrase). I also found quite a few uses of it in political contexts ("The Party's mean poll rating was [...] still four points adrift of its 1992 vote share.", "This was Gallup, which was still seven points adrift of the actual level of Conservative support.", "The Czech Republic in 1994-95, with a pegged nominal exchange rate and nominal deposit rates of 7 percent, was several percentage points adrift of the interest parity condition"). It's certainly not brand new. Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:29, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
It does seem plausible that it would come from sports. I found a UK use from 1970 and US use later in the decade. DCDuring TALK 23:19, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok, so how does
{{context|UK|chiefly|sport|often with ''of''}} Behind one's opponents, or below a required threshold in terms of score or position.
The team were six points adrift of their rivals.
sound as an additional definition of adrift? Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:13, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
The definition seems fine, but how about: {{context|chiefly|UK|often with ''of''}}. It does seem to get some US usage and usage outside the sports context. The usage example conveys the use in sports. DCDuring TALK 23:21, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Done. I've also been bold and redirected adrift of to adrift. Feel free to revert if anyone objects to this. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:23, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Thanks to Itkilledthecat (who detected the usage) and SMurray we have a good, well-cited sense at adrift#Adjective. Macmillan and CompactOxford among on-line dictionaries have this. Macmillan applies a context tag of "journalism" and Oxford "informal". DCDuring TALK 13:15, 25 April 2012 (UTC)


My German isn't great, but so#German seems to be missing a sense along the lines of thus or "in this way/like this" - for example, as it's used in "So bauen Sie ein Haus", meaning "This is how you build a house". Is this right, or does one of the senses already there capture this? I know "so" in English can sometimes mean "thus", although usually in the phrase "like so" rather than on its own, but that's a fairly obscure sense of the word - if someone asked me to give a definition of the English "so", that certainly wouldn't be my first choice. Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:14, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I think you're right, it is missing this meaning. Even German Wiktionary is missing this meaning (it's also missing the English word so completely). —Angr 15:00, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, now I've added the meaning. If you're satisfied, you can remove the tea room tag from the entry. —Angr 15:15, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that looks really good! Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

lineup line-up and line up as a noun

I would prefer to see line-up as the main entry here for the noun. lineup is also a possibility, but line up is a verb, IMHO. I see there are some who would agree with me. What say? -- ALGRIF talk 17:40, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree (as you saw on the talk page). Unless line up (noun) is much more common than I think it is, it should only be there as a misspelling, if anything. Equinox 17:51, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

augmentative and superlative: culón

Could someone smarter than Lucifer and I tell us the difference between a superlative and augmentative. And am I right in calling a culón an augmentative? One more thing, can you put the kettle on, we're dying for some tea. --Itkilledthecat (talk) 22:18, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I think a superlative applies to adjectives and an augmentative applies to nouns. An augmentative also has an opposite which is a diminutive. But most languages that I know of don't have something that's opposite to a superlative... the closest is usually the superlative form of the base word's antonym. For example, the opposite of biggest is smallest. —CodeCat 14:41, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


Within the context of the online virtual world w:Second Life this verb normally means to 'spawn' or 'create' an object. I imagine that meaning came from the gaming sense 'resurrect' that's already listed. I'm not sure if this new meaning would merit inclusion because I haven't seen it with that meaning outside SL, but SL seems like a rather large community so it would seem at least somewhat widespread. —CodeCat 23:47, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Compare derezz and render (I've seen things like "textures not rezzing properly", whatever that means). Equinox 23:51, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Some of the meanings might be or be derived from resolve. DCDuring TALK 13:14, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


There's a discussion on the Talk page about what this term can and cannot mean; note also my <!--commented-out--> comments in the entry itself: I think the proscribed sense should be, well, its own sense, rather than a usage note; among other things, that would better handle the quotations I just added. - -sche (discuss) 08:56, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

If we stuck to the strict meaning of a word life might be a lot easier - I would say "of course" the everyday usage should be a separate defn. What proportion of users know the strict definition? (cf decimate) — Saltmarshαπάντηση 11:13, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I have split the page into two definitions, but have left the translations with the mathematical sense. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:29, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Metaphorical meanings of the noun overweight?

This edit gave me pause – I mean, it's pretty clear what overweight means here, and it's clearly not obesity, right? In fact, it was crystal clear to me that it is literally over-weight, namely "excessive (metaphorical) weight": preponderance or predominance/predominancy. (Uhm, is a difference between predominance and predominancy? Or, that said, between preponderance and those two?) Right? Right? – But overweight doesn't tell me that, admittedly. Only about fat people. Boo! – Or is the metaphorical sense a foreignism, Germanism (Übergewicht has both senses), archaism? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:38, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

It's almost certainly a translation mistake; probably, as you say, a Germanism. It dates back to the creation of the page, when it was written by an editor who was a native German and/or Russian speaker, but apparently not fluent at English. That said, I can find one example in Google Book Search which might be of this kind of use:
Give us brain, give us mind, however ungovernable, however preponderant its overweight to the physical powers, however destructive to the powers of the body.
That's from 1861, however, so if it ever was used to mean "predominance" in English, it's almost certainly archaic now. (There was one other example, but that's from a paper translated from German, which is further evidence that it's most likely a Germanism). Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:26, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Hm, thank you. Fine. I did see that it was added by an apparent non-native speaker, but it actually just sounded bookish or archaic to me, not necessarily foreign; but that might as well be my German misguiding me.
I've often been surprised how frequently archaic English constructions, idioms etc. look as if literally translated from German, and have apparently inadvertently created archaisms myself when unconsciously doing the same. Early Modern English is more like German in so many ways than Modern English is – syntax, morphology, idioms, meanings, vocabulary –, it never ceases to amaze me. (Especially the use of auxiliaries as main verbs as in try as you might or do as thou wilt, or usages such as they will/would not work, which has long baffled me because may/might to me indicates only the potential mood, would only the subjunctive and will only the future tense, suddenly made sense to me when I realised I simply need to convert these turns of phrase into German 1:1.) While much of the similarity can be chalked up to older usages or words which have simply disappeared in contemporary English but remained in German, I also suspect some degree of convergence and calques – from (Middle) Dutch and Low German especially – at play, in the Late Middle Ages or so, reinforcing the existing similarities. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:54, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Relatedly, the securities investment community often talks about over- and underweight as adjective, noun, and verb. The use is derived from the concept of weight as in weighted average. I have added the adjective and noun senses. The existing general verb sense seems to cover it adequately. DCDuring TALK 22:53, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Words for non-gypsy

I have just added gadjo as the French word for a non-gypsy. I can't remember the English term (I thought it was gajo or something like that). It would be good to have the terms for this in foreign languages, but presumably they would have to be in a translations section of a term that we (probably) haven't got yet. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 21:22, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia lists this word, with the slang variation "Gadgie" in North East England and Scotland. --BB12 (talk) 22:12, 29 April 2012 (UTC)


This entry has a translation section with seemingly two duplicated sense subsections:


  1. (obsolete) ...
  2. A fire to burn unwanted or disreputable items or people: proscribed books, heretics etc.
  3. A large, controlled outdoor fire, as a signal or to celebrate something.

Translation glosses:

  1. fire to burn unwanted items or people
  2. large, outdoor controlled fire
  3. large, controlled outdoor fire

You'll see that even though there are three senses and three translation subsections, that sense #1 is obsolete and has no translation subsection while sense #2 has a translation subsection and sense #3 has two translation subsections with slightly different wording.

Unfortunately both subsections have different content for Hungarian so we might need an expert in that language to help fix this problem without creating new subtle issues. — hippietrail (talk) 10:26, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

máglya is like a funeral pyre, and örömtűz literally says "pleasure fire." So örömtűz is the equivalent of a common bonfire, and máglya is a pyre ... máglyahalál = a burning at the stake (literally, pyre death). —Stephen (Talk) 10:50, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Ah so maybe máglya should go under the obsolete sense I didn't include which is actually "A fire in which bones were burned"? — hippietrail (talk) 20:41, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I don’t know of that tradition. How and why was it done? I suppose if they were just using bones as a substitute for wood, it would still be a pleasure-fire; but if the bone-burning was some sort of funeral ritual, then it would be a pyre. I don’t know, maybe the Hungarian for a "bone fire" would be literal, like csont-tűz. —Stephen (Talk) 02:04, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Isn't a funeral pyre a bone fire? I'm only familiar with funeral pyres of the sort used to dispose of bodies, be it a Viking lord's burning longship, the burning ghats in India, or a pile of wood on Endor with Darth Vader on top. So if a máglya is a funeral pyre, then it would also seem to be a type of bonfire. No? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:51, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

stop Translingual?

I believe there is a case for a translingual entry for stop as it seems to be internationally used as a highway command at a road junction. What do you think? -- ALGRIF talk 15:30, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

What? Hardly. Also, I think we argued this already with pizza. -- Liliana 15:51, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Italian stop sign.
I think this is closer to the situation with mayday (which is translingual) or pan-pan than pizza, in that it's a word that has been given international use by a treaty, even in languages where it's otherwise meaningless. For context, the international regulation is that a stop sign needs the word stop written in English, in the local language, or both. There are definitely countries which write "STOP" on their road signs despite not using the word in language otherwise. Italy, for instance, uses "STOP" rather than "FERMATI" or similar. I think that probably pushes it into translingual territory, although unlike "mayday" or "pan-pan", which are corruptions of French that have taken on a life of their own, Translingual "stop" means English "stop", except in a more limited context. Smurrayinchester (talk) 16:02, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
But there are also places where the English word STOP does not appear on stop signs, but something else does. Take a look at w:Stop sign#Sign variants and the gallery there for examples of stop signs that say ARRÊT or ALTO or the like, but not STOP. —Angr 16:06, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Does our definition of translingual mean it has to be used in every single language/area? I agree that it's certainly not universal, but it's used fairly widely across Europe, and more in more scattered areas across the rest of the world - if the gallery at commons:Stop is correct, it's used in Poland, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Indonesia and even Russia, where it's written in an entirely different alphabet to the language used in that country. That said, if other users agree it's not widely used enough (I'd admit that the fact that local alternatives are allowed harms its possible status as a translingual term), then I'd have no object it not being listed. Smurrayinchester (talk) 16:21, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • FWIW, I thought the ==Translingual== heading implied that the terms so listed are understood and used in multiple different languages, not that they are necessarily the only terms covering the stated meanings in those languages that use the terms. As such, the presence of signs in Russia saying both "STOP" and "СТОП", for instance, would in no way reduce the translingual-ness of "STOP", as I currently understand things here at WT. Am I in error in this regard? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:32, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
if the situation is as described above, I agree with Angr we should list it as translingual. What POS and definition, though? Is it an imperative verb, as in English? (Some languages that use it may not even have imperative verbs.) Is it just a ===Symbol=== or ===Particle===, with definition along the lines of {{n-g|Used on road signs to instruct motorists to temporarily stop their vehicles}}? Other ideas? Also, should it be listed under stop or under STOP? (I like the former, but perhaps with a redirect. But arguably, especially if it's a ===Symbol===, and if its form is STOP only, it should be listed under STOP.)​—msh210 (talk) 17:04, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I didn't say we should list it as translingual, so I'm not sure how you can agree with me that we should. I merely pointed out that it's not universal. In fact, I'm not convinced it is translingual. I'd be more inclined to call it an English word that is used in many places worldwide, including places where English is not spoken locally. —Angr 17:38, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, Algrif, not you.​—msh210 (talk) 18:30, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
The question is whether it's truly language-independent, or just out-of-place English. Here in the US we get lots of bilingual English-French product packaging: not because of any significance to US customers (few of whom can read French), but because the manufacturers don't want to create separate packaging for Canadian markets- where French is required. Such labeling is French, not translingual: the intended audience is French-speaking, while everyone else is expected to ignore it.
According to this, English is explicitly specified as the alternative to local languages on stop signs. by international agreement. I'm sure it's the shape and color that makes it a stop sign, so the text is just filler- if it wasn't for the Vienna Convention, it could just as easily have said LOREM IPSUM instead of STOP Chuck Entz (talk) 05:33, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Chuck makes the key point: the very convention that calls for the English word "stop" to be used on signs in non-English-speaking countries calls for the English word "stop". (I think it's not translingual.) - -sche (discuss) 08:06, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Not really an argument in itself, since Translingual is not a language and therefore all words which we call Translingual are words in specific languages (often Latin). Ƿidsiþ 04:27, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Yet even such drivers as claim to know no English know the word. We don't generally rely on standards to say what's a word in Italian and what's not, so I'm not sure that the convention has much bearing.​—msh210 (talk) 17:01, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Even drivers who claim to know no English actually understand what a single English word signifies? Not surprising, IMO, especially given that they're exposed to it in contexts that make it unambiguous. Would they ever use the word themselves under any circumstance other than when making a stop sign? If someone used "stop" in French or Russian (or other languages) in some way, e.g. the way English uses "full stop"/"period", there'd be a case for translingualism. As it is, it's like "Москва", which is attested (in Cyrillic) in texts in German and English and probably other non-Cyrillic-script languages, but which was deemed to be Russian, not translingual. ("Москва#English", you'll remember, was actually used in sentences, and was still deleted by consensus; "stop" just appears isolated on signs.) - -sche (discuss) 21:44, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure that people in all languages talk about the STOP sign in their daily lives, incorporating the word STOP into their native language. This alone makes it as translingual as H2O. But just to add more grist ... when I started searching for reasonable phrases in other languages including the word STOP as part of the sentence, I discovered that in many European languages, the word in its general sense seems to have been adopted almost universally. Interesting, I think. With all this in mind, I would still propose a translingual entry. -- ALGRIF talk 09:58, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Interestingly, I just came across a Web copy of a 1928 booklet on how to write telegrams which includes about stop "It is interesting to note, too, that although the word is obviously English it has come into general use In all languages that are used in telegraphing or cabling.".​—msh210 (talk) 16:48, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Interesting, indeed! Also interesting is to Google search the word stop in any language they list. Arabic for example, gives nearly 55 million hits of mostly running text with the word "stop" in the middle as part of the text. -- ALGRIF talk 12:39, 6 June 2012 (UTC).

May 2012

pigtail vs. ponytail

I was looking at pigtail and ponytail, and it turns out they disagree on the definition of ponytail. Pigtail says "Either of two braids or ponytails on the side of the head", but ponytail defines it as "A hairstyle where the hair is pulled back and tied into a single "tail" which hangs down behind the head.", so a pigtail can't be two ponytails.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:47, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I would agree. Pigtails are on the side, a ponytail is at the back. However, when you just have the hair pulled into one strand on one side, it tends to be called a side-pony rather than a single pigtail. Ƿidsiþ 09:54, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I didn't think that unbraided hair formed a pigtail under any circumstances, but citations could prove me wrong. I think one could have one or two pigtails or one or two ponytails. I would not find it much fun to try to verify such specific meanings. DCDuring TALK 12:40, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
  • For that matter, growing up, one of the additional distinctions was length -- pigtails were shorter than ponytails (much as with the actual animals). Someone with two short bunches of hair on the side would be said to have pigtails, while someone with long bunches of hair on the side would be said to have ponytails. Though, generally speaking, girls tended to keep their hair towards the back when it got long, so double side-ponies were rare. (This was in Virginia in the late '70s, early '80s.)-- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 15:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

food miles

I don't think this is plural only; there are plenty of hits for "a" or "one" food mile on Google Books. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:29, 2 May 2012 (UTC)


I think this needs rework. The first three def.s are currently:
1. great meal/in the evening
2. meal in the evening
3. great meal/at noon

So it seems to me that dinner means: 1. evening meal 2. great meal. And further the translations are problematic. The Germanic names for the supposed "main meal" all mean either "mid-day meal" or "evening meal". I think most denominate neither size nor importance, but only the time of the meal. (The German term certainly means time only, the Danish means - I think - a warm meal around noon.) So the same is probably true for the other languages as well.Korn (talk) 12:20, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I've taken the "lighter" out of definition 3 - for some people (esp. working class) in Northern England, dinner is any midday meal, even just sandwiches (here's a clear example, though it may be hard to cite, since it's explained that they're having sandwiches for dinner in one paragraph, and that dinner is at midday in another). The usage note explains the somewhat complicated situation with how the word is used in the UK (personally, I always thought it was a geographic thing rather than a class thing, with northerners using it to mean "lunch" and southerners using it to mean "tea", but I'll defer to the experts on this). Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:29, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
(I think you're right with regards the German translation, though. I think the proper translation of "Main meal, regardless of time" is Hauptmahlzeit) Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:37, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
In a way you're right of course, but then you're not. Hauptmahlzeit has the clinical sound of a medical term, you might find it in an ethnographic context but never in common use as in Will you come to dinner? As noted above, in German you don't have the ambiguity of time, when invited to dinner you never need to ask what time of day the host is talking about. Axel-berger (talk) 07:39, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

demissionary cabinet

This is a term specifically used to refer to a type of cabinet in Dutch politics. I'm not quite sure how to format this in a definition though, nor whether it belongs to demissionary (with {{context|Netherlands|of a cabinet}}?) or at demissionary cabinet. —CodeCat 20:07, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

I took a run at an additional definition at demissionary that included both political and ecclesiastical usages. In the political usage not only cabinets, but governments and ministers can be demissionary apparently. DCDuring TALK 22:42, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! —CodeCat 22:49, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

haulmier and haulmiest

Apparently only in Scrabble, as the comparative and superlative of haulmy which neither can I find in print nor in any dictionary, though someone might still check the OED. Do we have an appendix for these?

If it is used in Scrabble, it will appear in the official Scrabble dictionary (and I'm sure others, like the OED) and thus be eligible for addition to Appendix:English dictionary-only terms. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:09, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I've added it to the appendix. If someone wants to track down the OED's 1 citation go ahead. Nadando (talk) 04:30, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Haulmy itself is in the OED, but the three citations are all from the same 17th century work, and all spell it as ‘hawmy’. So the comparative and superlative are purely speculative and the word itself probably doesn't meet our main CFI. Ƿidsiþ 04:36, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I should have done even the most cursory check first. Haulmy definitely exists, and I've now cited it and created an entry; I'll take it off the appendix. Haven't found any comparative or superlative forms yet, but still, by normal English rules, they seem valid enough. Ƿidsiþ 04:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Definition of SOP definition

Most dictionaries including Wiktionary have entries for "hour hand", "minute hand" and "second hand". Given that one meaning of 'hand' is "each of the pointers on the face of an analog clock, which are used to indicate the time of day", it seems to me that the meaning of these expressions is derivable from the meanings of the constituent words... Assuming that editors of so many dictionaries couldn't all be wrong, I'd like to be educated on why a definition for "minute hand" in the form of "the hand of a clock or watch face that revolves once each hour and indicates the minutes" is not considered a sum-of-parts definition. --İnfoCan (talk) 14:44, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Judgment call, I guess. Perhaps other, seemingly simpler and more obvious, yet incorrect meanings could be derived too. Michael Z. 2012-05-04 15:05 z

antenna, antennae, antennas

Our entries make a clear usage distinction in the plural form between the entomological meaning (antennae), and the radio meaning (antennas) which I believe is misguided. Certainly, there are some who follow this distinction, sometimes energetically, but as an electrical engineer myself I am certain it is not the commonly accepted distinction, at least in my field. This can be demonstrated with numerous citations. IEEE Xplore returns nearly 100,000 hits for "antennae", if anyone was policing correct terminology in this field I would have thought it would have been the premier professional organisation in the field. Google scholar returns 877 hits for "microwave antennae" and 1,700 hits for "radio antennae". Likewise gbooks gets 17,000 hits for "radio antennae". There does seem to be a marked preference for "insect antennae"over "insect antennas" but it is by no means unused. SpinningSpark 17:56, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

One more thing, the antenna entry gives the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as a reference for the distinction. I do not have access to the concise edition, but the entry in the full online OED makes no distinction between meanings as far as plurals are concerned. It does say that the plural forms are antennae, rarely antennas. SpinningSpark 18:04, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

I think you are correct that both biologists and engineers prefer the Latin plural, but I suspect that installers often use the colloquial plural, and it is often heard in Beetle Drives. Perhaps our distinction is too rigid. Dbfirs 14:55, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, that may be going too far the other way. There is a similarly large number of hits in engineering for "antennas". Not many from biologists though. I will compile some citations from the more well known authors. SpinningSpark 21:48, 5 May 2012 (UTC)


"For" originally means "towards", or "in support of somebody". But since it indicates some causality, it can also indicate causality with something from the past. Am I right ?

Do you mean in the sense of "because"? If so, then yes, past, present or future. I have an issue with sense 9: "Despite, in spite of" because I claim that this is not a sense of "for" on its own, only the meaning of the phrase "for all that". Dbfirs 15:01, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I meant in the sense of "because". Thank you.

only for

Looks like a conjunction to me. Sense not covered at only and possibly not at for either. --Coctel (talk) 23:37, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

What about only to? ("He got up, only to fall down again.") Equinox 12:31, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
For (sense 10) alone can introduce the actor for a following infinitive. It can be used without only in this way: "For Chelsea keeper Petr Cech to show brilliant reflexes is unexceptional." It may be that we lack an appropriate sense of only. DCDuring TALK 13:16, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
MWOnline has an adverb sense of only: "with nevertheless the final result", which seems to include the usage in the sole citation at [[only for]] and in only to + [bare infinitive]. We lack such a sense at only#Adverb. I am not sure that it has this sense with other following constructions.
If the following constructions are not clauses, it is not a conjunction in any event. DCDuring TALK 13:35, 6 May 2012 (UTC)


I don't know French, but the conjugation seems off. Check out an inflected form like syndiqueerons and you'll see the problem. What is going wrong here? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:13, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

I think I fixed it. There was an -e at the end of the stem in the template that shouldn't have been there. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:44, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I should say: I fixed the problem on the lemma page. Someone created entries for all the bogus forms it produced, so there's a bit of moving and editing to do. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:47, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
They were bot-created, actually, but I deleted them somewhat manually. I'm pretty sure I got them all, but it would be great if someone could check. Just compare this diff with this log. Thanks --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:11, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I've now deleted [[syndiqueé]], and Special:PrefixIndex/syndique looks as it should. :-)   —RuakhTALK 17:15, 8 May 2012 (UTC)


This page contains a reference to the OED, which is fine, but includes a link, which is not. The link doesn't work because the OED is searchable without a subscription. I haven't changed the reference but it needs to be fixed. How many other similar links are there on Wiktionary? — Paul G (talk) 10:21, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

This is definitely an annoyance, but there is no real option that I see for a solution, except removing the links by bot, which would serve no purpose. If you're curious how many OED links exist, the answer is more than 300. This main namespace search shows all of those entries. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know if I agree that the link "doesn't work". Presumably it does work for those with access to the OED Online. It might be more polite to indicate that the link requires a subscription, but I don't see much point in removing it entirely. —RuakhTALK 23:41, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think anyone would object if an article referenced an academic paper that needed a subscription, or a link to a newspaper like The Times which is behind a paywall. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:43, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
... but the link doesn't work even for those of us logged in to the OED. I get redirected to [[21]]. Does this happen for everyone? Dbfirs 13:48, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Quite possibly. That's what it did for me, but I was hoping that for people with genuine OED access it would still work. That's annoying; why would they break all inbound links to their site? It required a subscription before, and it still does, there's no reason for it to stop working. —RuakhTALK 14:02, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
They've changed their website fairly recently. I've just tested a genuine link in my sandbox and it goes straight to the entry, so I've changed the link at zoon to point to the new website. Try it to see if it works now (if you have a subscription). Is it worth changing all the other links? Dbfirs
Re: "They've changed their website fairly recently": Yes, such that entries are now on www.oed.com instead of dictionary.oed.com; but there's no reason they couldn't have set up the redirects to actually work. —RuakhTALK 18:59, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, fair comment, though they've no obligation to arrange their website for the convenience of rivals! Dbfirs 22:50, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
[22]​—msh210 (talk) 23:24, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
An excellent recommendation, but how many websites implement everlasting links? Certainly not the BBC, or government in the UK. They all seem to assume that they can redesign their websites without redirecting old links. Dbfirs 08:17, 15 May 2012 (UTC)


Collins defines verbid as "any nonfinite form of a verb or any nonverbal word derived from a verb". I'm not sure I've ever seen nonverbal used in this way. DAVilla 07:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

I've seen it before, but it would be living hell to cite. I'll add that sense anyway, and you can RFV it if you want and make somebody else deal with it. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:40, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I've seen it too, and I agree it will be difficult to track down examples. The first place to look is in scholarly writing on morphology and syntax. —Angr 17:36, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
As I do not have access to a good means for generating citations from scholarly journals, I tried this search, yielding a raw count of 380 hits at bgc to get a start. A more experienced linguist than I could refine the search and sort through the jargon to identify the most relevant citations. DCDuring TALK 17:47, 9 May 2012 (UTC)


The adjective has a sense specific to US politics. But a similar sense is also used in the Netherlands, where it also means a blend between red (socialist) and blue (liberal or conservative). And I imagine that in other countries where a colour association exists, similar terms are used as well. So rather than listing a sense for each country, could the sense be made more general somehow? I'm not sure how to word it... —CodeCat 16:20, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Unless a great many English senses turn out to meet the CFI, I think it would be best to list each of them separately. For one thing, the usage patterns are likely to be quite different; in the U.S., for example, the red/blue/green/purple system is mainly applied to geographic areas, whereas the red/pink/[unmarked] system is mainly applied to individuals and groups. —RuakhTALK 17:04, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Judging from w:Purple (government), the Dutch and US senses are the most common. —CodeCat 17:08, 8 May 2012 (UTC)


I am trying to find (invent?) an English translation of this Italian word. It is used to describe train systems in which all the trains travel at the same speed (and all make the same stops). homotachic might fit, but it gets very few Google hits. Any ideas? (p.s. homotaxic is to do with homotaxy, so that's not right.) SemperBlotto (talk) 08:39, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean something along the lines of a funicular, where the train cars are all linked, and so they all have to travel at the speed and stop at the same time, or a line that doesn't mix local and express trains? Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:02, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
The second. Something like the Central Line on the London Underground where the trains are more or less forced to go round and round at the same speed (and there is no possibility of overtaking, or waiting in a siding for the express to go through). SemperBlotto (talk) 21:13, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
"Single-service" seems to get a few Google Books hits, though I'm not sure how many mean it in this particular way (the ones talking about the Trans-Siberian railway certainly won't mean it like that). Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:12, 11 May 2012 (UTC)



I don't think we have the right sense of what used in expressions like what's the rush/what's the hurry. It seems to mean "why". We show that as an obsolete sense. If it is obsolete, then the terms which seem to use it are idioms. But no OneLook reference shows them as idioms. Thoughts? DCDuring TALK 16:36, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but I think that in those examples, the sense of "cause" may be in rush and hurry rather than in what; compare "there's no rush/hurry" (meaning "take your time"). —RuakhTALK 19:12, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
Is the same to be found in urgency' brouhaha, rumpus, fuss; delay, hold-up? It seems as if there are elisions in the expressions: something like What's the X (about/for)?. That would argue for all of the common (widespread) expressions being idiomatic. There would be greater economy and generality in amending our possibly deficient entry for what#Pronoun. MWOnline has 14 senses/subsenses/sub-subsenses; Wiktionary has four, plus the two determiner senses. DCDuring TALK 00:21, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Another, similar construction: what's the matter?, though what's the problem? may be closer. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:42, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
MWOnline simply has a sense for matter (problem). Does matter have this sense in any other expressions? Is it the same sense as in "There's nothing the matter with me' there's something the matter with the room: it's tilted."?
I can't construe "what's the matter" as an elision either. DCDuring TALK 01:26, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
BTW, we don't seem to have a sense that fits matter in There's something the matter with the room. DCDuring TALK 01:30, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it's not elision, but metonymy: "the reason for your rush" being represented by "the rush" (or something along those lines) Chuck Entz (talk) 03:03, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
google books:"what's the rush" "the rush is" finds plenty of hits where the person replying to "what's the rush?" takes "the rush" to refer to the reason for urgency (as well as some hits where (s)he does not). That's not exactly ironclad proof — google books:"me too" "me three" finds plenty of hits where someone has taken the "too" in "me too" to be the number two, which certainly is not the case — but I think it's suggestive. —RuakhTALK 04:19, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh, what's the use. DCDuring TALK 06:17, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
"Why's the rush?" doesn't sound grammatical, except perhaps as a stereotypically ludicrous philosophical question (from the citations given (a longer version of the Milton quote is here), it looks like the obsolete what-as-why behaved grammatically like modern why) - we'd say "Why the long face?", not "Why is the long face?" - indeed "Why the rush?" gets a lot of Google Books results. "Why is the rush?" only appears as part of larger sentences ("Why is the rush to professionalization so pervasive in society?"). That doesn't necessary mean it can't be the root cause, of course - there are plenty of idioms that don't make sense when analysed with basic grammar - but without extra evidence I'd put a separate sense at "what" or create a page for the idiomatic "what's the"/"what is the" rather than describing this as the continued use of what-as-why (that sense comes from 1913 Webster, incidentally. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:37, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
I always liked the expression Why the long face?, which I have come to associate with John Kerry.
I had come to this from the idiomatic expression what's the rush/hurry/fuss/delay?. In this expression what's could be glossed as "why" and so could what is. How could one gloss what? Does it need a {{non-gloss definition}}? Or should what is and what's be glossed as "why"? My brain isn't functioning (yet?) so I'm having trouble clarifying this.
What is the scope of the omission of is in short questions? Why certainly permits, even requires, the omission. Are there other question words that have this? Is this connected to the various idiomatic questions intensified by the fuck, the hell etc? DCDuring TALK 12:56, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Hold one's...

Special:PrefixIndex/hold one's, specifically hold one's pee, hold one's poop, hold one's urine, hold one's water and probably hold one's breath too, is there no way to cover this at hold? Otherwise, surely there have been to a few more variants that are attested; hold one's crap, hold one's piss, hold one's poo, hold one's shit, etc. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:22, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I think "one's" is there to semantically limit it to one's person, somewhat like "me" in "Je me casse la jambe" or "mir" in "Ich habe mir das Bein gebrochen". Another expression you missed is "hold one's liquor". Chuck Entz (talk) 01:16, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
That one seems to be a different meaning, that's why. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:29, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


It looked attestable on Google Books, so I created it. Not sure if it can be considered "eye dialect" though. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:56, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

I've seen it used many times. I'm not quite sure what nuance it's supposed to convey though. —CodeCat 12:20, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
In my experience it usually conveys one of two things: (1) the slurred speech of intoxication, head trauma, etc.; (2) a lateral lisp (a.k.a. "slushy S"; see w:Lisp). I'm certain that both of these are citeable. —RuakhTALK 14:35, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


As far as I can tell, based on their Wikipedia pages, the definition given here is more for a combination lock rather than a padlock. I.e. a padlock is opened by keys, not a combination of numbers. ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:53, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

may well

Valid as an entry, or part of may/well? --Airforce (talk) 12:20, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

We could well delete it. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:28, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
We may fairly need to add a sense of well#Adverb for this. We have an intensifier sense that doesn't seem to me to capture this. I think there are a significant number of modal (I think) adverbs that can fit in the slot occupied by well. I think indeed, truly, reasonably, and really are examples. Note also that comparative and superlative forms of well work: "may better", "may best". DCDuring TALK 14:11, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
might well, could well, may very well, may just as well... Equinox 14:15, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
The last one of those is different. Siuenti (talk)
We do have an entry for just as well, which describes it as an adverb just like the others. Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:01, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
may very well is sum of parts of may well + very, whether or not may well is valid or not. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:18, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

enemy combatant

Way back in 2007 I added the Bush defintion of "enemy combatant" to the wiktionary's entry for "enemy combatant". It was reverted the next day.

Apparently I asked the contributor who reverted me for an explanation, in 2008, and we started a discussion on User talk:Geo Swan#Could you please explain more fully?. They stuck to their guns, and wouldn't agree to restore the second definition I had added. They suggested I call for a broader discussion here.

I participate here very intermittently, so I am initiating that discussion now. The justifications for reverting the definition I placed were:

  1. too narrow;
  2. US-centric;

Apparently my correspondent forgot, or didn't notice, that the original definition was also US-centric.

I think it is very unfortunate that the definition I added was removed as this was the definition used throughout the Bush administration -- not the definition that sits in the entry -- and I think this was a very serious disservice to wiktionary users.

In early 2005, a handful of the Guantanamo captives, finally had their habeas corpus petitions reviewed by a judge. Joyce Hens Green questioned a senior Department of Justice official about the Bush administration definition of "enemy combatant", she asked whether a little old lady in Switzerland, who donation to what she thought was a legitimate charity could be considered an "enemy combatant" if unknown to her some of that charity's resources were siphoned off to fund a terrorist enterprise. She was told the little old lady could be considered an enemy combatant.

There has been a tremendous amount of confusion over this term, and similar terms, some of which used in the Geneva Conventions. And the removal of my contribution to the entry provided no help in resolving that confusion.

"lawful combatant" and "privileged belligerent" are two terms used in the Geneva Conventions. From my reading of the GC they are synonyms. There are vast differences between the Geneva Conventions' definition of a combatant and the definition of "enemy combatant" used by the USA following the attacks of 2001-9-11.

Under the Geneva Conventions once demobilized or discharged a soldier becomes a civilian. If their country is invaded, the demobilized soldier remains a civilian, provided he stays at home, and minds his own business.

Most of the Taliban are illiterate. After decades of civil war the Afghan civil service was understaffed. The Taliban had come to the point where they press-ganged some of the few Afghan civilians who could read and write and forced them to fill positions in Afghanistan's civil service. These individuals were forced to hold positions as clerks, secretaries, even executives of the national bank. Filling this kind of position, either through choice of compulsion, would leave one a civilian using most definitions of combatant. But the Bush administration, using the definition the other contributor reverted, used their positions within the civil service to justify calling them "enemy combatants".

The Bush administration classed men captured in Afghanistan as "enemy combatants" for prior military service, even though they had been demobilized, and would have been considered civilians under the Geneva Conventions definition -- and I belive under the sole remaining definition the reversion of my addition left in our entry.

I suggest the addition I entered, which was reverted, should be restored.

I believe wiktionary should also have a definition for lawful combatant and its synonyms. Geo Swan (talk) 15:42, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

It looks like the definition you're citing comes from one particular case - note that the "definition" starts "For purposes of the Order, the term "enemy combatant" shall mean an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces" (emphasis mine). It's only relevant with respect to detainees of Guantanamo Bay detention centre. In other words, this isn't a definition of enemy combatant, it's just defining the legal shorthand used in this particular document. Here, as a completely random example of why this doesn't define the term "enemy combatant", are the T&Cs of a sales document by a company called Litho Circuits:
The term "The Company" shall mean Litho Circuits Limited and its trading divisions, successors and assigns or any person acting on behalf of with the authority of Litho Circuits Limited.
The term "The Customer" shall mean any person, the firm or company who purchases any Goods or Services from the Company, this shall mean any person or entity described or identified as such in the invoices of application for credit, quotation, work authorisation, claim or any other forms to which these Terms and Conditions apply, this should mean any person acting on behalf of this and with the authority of such person or entity.
This doesn't mean that I can add "Litho Circuits" to the page company though, nor "Person who buys from Litho Circuits" to customer. It's a specific legal reading of a broad term only used in the context of one particular company, and not a total redefinition of the word. That's all this document does, as far as I can tell, to the word "enemy combatant". Smurrayinchester (talk) 19:49, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Sorry, your reply says this definition "comes from one particular case". Where in heaven's name did you get that idea?
With the exception of Iraqis apprehended in Iraq, in the separate Iraq war, every captive apprehended by the Bush administration was considered an "enemy combatant" using this definition -- not the sole definition currently carried by the wiktionary. This was true no matter where they were captured. Some were captured in Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and the USA.
Consider American citizen Jose Padilla, apprehended at a Chicago airport: "From June 9, 2002 until January 5, 2006, without any judicial fact-finding to support his detention, Mr. Padilla was detained as an “enemy combatant” in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was held in complete isolation and denied access to the court system, legal counsel and his family."
Consider Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent who was unlucky enough to have a namesake who was a suspcted terrorist. Traveling on vacation in Europe, his name was flagged by Macedonian border guards, and he was sold, for a bounty, to the CIA -- who shipped him to a torture site known as "the salt pit" He too was considered an "enemy combatant"
The DoD treated the Afghanistan and later Iraq war as two separate wars. In theory every captive apprehended in Iraq was supposed to be treated in full accordance with the Geneva Conventions. (Yes, I know that at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere Iraqi captives were abused, but this was a lapse from policy.) It was Bush policy that captives apprehended in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Captives held in Afghanistan, who never made it to Guantanamo were also considered to fall under this definition of "enemy combatant".
The DoD had to be ordered, by the US Supreme Court, to convent the 2004 Combatant Status Review Tribunals. And like naughty schoolboys DoD officials set up CSR Tribunals they thought complied with the letter of the SCOTUS order, while flagrantly violating the spirit of the order.
A key element of these controversial tribunals is that it was always the position of the Bush administration's DoD that the CSR Tribunals were merely part of a long process during which these captives had been determined to be "enemy combatants". It was always the position of the DoD that these captives had already satisfactorily been determined to be "enemy combatants". It was always the position of the DoD that the 2004 CSR Tribunals were merely confirming earlier determinations that the captives met the definition for "enemy combatants". At Bagram the commandant had the responsibility to oversee "enemy combatant review boards". Those boards were less formal, and even less fair, than the 2004 CSR Tribunals. And they were secret. Was this 2004 order the first time this definition was published. I don't know. Maybe. But this doesn't matter, because the Bush administration was using this definition from very early in the Afghanistan war -- maybe from the first day the first elements of the CIA and US special forces entered Afghanistan in October 2001.
Sorry, your analogy based on corporations makes no sense to me. Perhaps that is because it is based on your serious misconception that the order only applied to a single case in Guantanamo, when it applied to all captives, captured anywhere, held anywhere, or anywhere except Iraqis captured in Iraq. Geo Swan (talk) 23:40, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't really follow your argument. Firstly: The Bush Administration used the term enemy combatant in reference to such people precisely because it was claiming that they were enemy combatants in sense #1 ("Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war"). Secondly: You copied your definition directly from a document titled Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal, only removing the phrase "For purposes of the Order". Smurrayinchester's analysis is correct, and his analogy is apt; that order's definition does not demonstrate that a new sense of "enemy combatant" exists, it's merely doing the same sort of locally-scoped redefinition that Litho Circuits is doing. Thirdly: Your argument seems to be disturbingly political. Statements like "Those boards were less formal, and even less fair" have no place, so far as I can see, in determining whether the term enemy combatant has a second sense. —RuakhTALK 00:36, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Ruakh has said everything I was going to say, so all I'll add is this: our current definition of enemy combatant - and the one that was in use when you edited the article, reads "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW, and the courts declared their detention legal. It's definitely still possible to disagree with the courts on this issue, but it doesn't change the fact that the people declared "enemy combatants" at least fit the definition given in the article - note that the article does not say that an enemy combatant has to be someone who was a combatant, and our usage notes make clear that "Enemy combatants in the current conflict are not defined by simple, readily apparent criteria such as citizenship or military uniform, and the power to name a citizen as an 'enemy combatant' is therefore extraordinarily broad." The "definition" given in the Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal is an example of the government using this ability to name people enemy combatants according to broad criteria. Khalid el-Masri was not someone who had fought for al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but he was someone who the US believed (falsely as it turned out) could be detained under the laws of war, which is why he was declared an enemy combatant. Someone can be declared a murderer and then found innocent, but that doesn't change the definition of murderer. Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:56, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I am going to thank User:Smurrayinchester, and User: Ruakh, for responding here. I said I was a newbie, with less than 2 dozen edits and I am going to assume that it was their intent to explain to a newbie what steps would be necessary to demonstrate the second entry I proposed were appropriate.
  • Unfortunately, they offered counter-arguments that were rendered meaningless by the very serious factual misconceptions they were based on. The clearest example is this passage:
"our current definition of enemy combatant - and the one that was in use when you edited the article, reads "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW, and the courts declared their detention legal."
  • The first misconception Murray repeated "The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW" is wrong, wrong, wrong, incredibly wrong, and incredibly damaging to the integrity of this project. In fact the Bush administration went on record soon after al Qaeda's attacks on 9-11 -- individuals whose captivity was triggered by those attacks would not be treated as combatants. Following a little publicized doctrine called the mosaic theory, it was useful to apprehend, detain, interrogate -- even torture -- individuals who weren't themselves suspects, but who were merely acquainted with suspects, or who merely traveled in the same mileui, were held as combatants -- even if they were totally oblivious to all terrorist activities.
  • Murray then went on and wrote: " and the courts declared their detention legal."
Murray, are you aware that four Guantanamo related cases were considered by lower courts, and rose to be considered by the US Supreme Court? In Hamdi v. Bush, Rasul v. Bush, Hamdam v. Rumsfeld and Boumediene v. Bush the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the captives. In Boumediene v. Bush the SCOTUS ruled that the US Congress did not have the Constitutional authority to strip the protections of the rule of law from the captives, and they had to be allowed to have access to civilian habeas corpus. Following that restoration, when US District Court Judges had were allowed to consider the secret evidence that had been used to justify the captives' detention they started to rule that in well over half the cases the "evidence" were merely highly unreliable rumor and innuendo. They ruled that, in those cases, the USA had never had a legitimate justification for holding those men. Bear in mind, this was after the least suspicious two thirds of the captives had already been repatriated. The DoJ appealed some of these rulings to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals -- often described as one of the most conservative courts in the land. They routinely ruled that the lower court had erred in considering the credibility of the evidence in its reviews. They ruled all evidence offered by the executive branch should be considered credible. Some commentators and legal critics have stated that these rulings render reviews irrelevant, and are essentially a rebellion against the SCOTUS. Others say that the SCOTUS will not take up the captives cases one more time.
So I suggest that it is a lot more complicated than the claim that "the courts declared their detention legal."
Further, I suggest, even if, for the sake of argument, the SCOTUS does not take up the captives' cases one more time, leaving "their detention legal", your assertion that the new definition was synonymous with the old, and not worthy of inclusion is also wildly incorrect.
  • I am going to return to the assumption at the beginning of this note -- that Murray and Ruark's intention was to help a newbie navigate internal rules here. Would it be possible for you to reconsider the misconceptions? Would it be possible for you to simply explain what would be required to add this definition to the entry? Geo Swan (talk) 00:35, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but I still just don't see your point. Even if the Bush administration had declared that all non-citizens were enemy combatants and indefinitely detainable without right of habeas corpus, and even if every court in the land had replied by saying "WTF mate?" and explaining that it isn't supposed to work that way, that still wouldn't mean that the term "enemy combatant" had a new and distinct sense. To show that the term "enemy combatant" has a new and distinct sense, I think you'd have to find quotations that simultaneously (1) describe someone as an "enemy combatant" and (2) acknowledge that they're not actually an enemy combatant in the conventional sense. And I just don't think you can do that, because I don't think there's anyone who uses the term "enemy combatant" in such a way. —RuakhTALK 01:39, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
To reply to the original point/question, it's a stone-cold straightforward revert. For so many reasons, I won't even attempt to list them. Mglovesfun (talk) 02:48, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Hmm. I'd thank you, if you decided to make a helpful contribution to this discussion. Geo Swan (talk) 20:04, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Ruakh, I think I already quotted the questions US District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green made. A little old lady, from Switzerland, who innocently donates to what she thought was a legitimate charity, would nevertheless be classed as an "enemy combatant" if someone at that hcarity diverted donations to finance a terrorism related project.
  • UK captive Moazzam Begg is a well educated guy. Prior to his 2004 CSR Tribunal he was entitled to request documents, and he requested the POW card that had been issued to him. His request triggered a lot of confusion in the agency responsible for the status reviews (a separate agency than that responsible for running the camps and the interrogations).

    Initially the President of his Tribunal was going to rule his POW card as irrelevant. But she decided to ask for an official legal opinion from the agencies legal advisor, a JAG officer named James Crisfield. He concurred that it wasn't relevant.

    Why? Because the Geneva Conventions definition of combatant wasn't relevant:

pages 5-6
The detainee proffered that this witness was an ICRC employee who would testify that the detainee had previously been issued a POW identity card at a U.S. detention facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Tribunal President initially determined that the witness was relevant, but after consultation with the Assistant Legal Advisor, she changed her determination. She based her decision on her conclusion that the Combatant Status Review Tribunals do not have the discretion to determine that a detainee should be classified as a prisoner of war—only whether the detainee satisfies the definition of "enemy combatant" as provided in references (a) and (b). In my opinion, this decision was correct.... [I]n a written statement prepared by the detainee especially for the CSRT, the detainee specifically says that he does not claim POW status (see exhibit D-e).
The sole current definition in the wiktionary's entry for enemy combatant is a paraphrase of the Geneva Convention definition of "combatant". The legal opinion I quoted here establishes that it was the official position of the DoD and Bush administration that they were using a different definition of "enemy combatant". As Begg correctly noted, under the Geneva Convention he could be classified into one of three groups. He and the officer assigned to help him state his case get the three classes slightly wrong. He could be a civilian bystander, captured in error; he could be a POW, because he was a "lawful combatant", who had fought, but according to the established laws and customs of war; or he could have fought in a way that violated those conventions, so thus wasn't eligible for POW status. What the Geneva Convention requires is that a captor should convene a Tribunal to determine the captive's status "when doubt exists". Crisfield notes Begg didn't claim to be a POW. It is a sneaky assertion because Begg claimed to be an civilian bystander.
Neither the Geneva Conventions, or domestic US law allows the President to assert captives aren't entitled to POW status. Both the GC and US law require all captives to be treated as POWs until a Tribunal determines their status. While the Combatant Status Review Tribunals the DoD convened in 2004 -- under duress when forced by the SCOTUS are sometimes described as if they fulfilled the USA's Geneva Convention obligations, they did not do so.
Under the standard definition of combatant, a veteran is a civilian, once they are discharged or demobilized. But under the Bush administration definition demobilized veterans, who had not engaged in hostilities, were nevertheless considered "enemy combatants". Geo Swan (talk) 20:04, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
I get the feeling that you're not paying attention to other people's comments, and are instead more focused on trying to eke a political debate out of anyone you can. Please don't waste our time further with this, or at least provide the evidence that Ruakh has requested and is required under the CFI. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:21, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I take at face value that you think other contributors have clearly explained what Wiktionary requires that was missing from my efforts to get this definition added.
You told me to check WT:CFI -- important and helpful information Murray and Ruakh skipped. Thanks for that.
This definition was the official US government definition for over seven years. The Obama administration retired the term "enemy combatant" on 2009-03-13, when it changed the rules on detention. In commentary following the retirement of the use of this term this Salon magazine article explains how the Bush era definition differed from the new rules.
Under the new rules an individual had to provide "substantial support" -- not merely "support". And the substantial support had to be to "armed" groups. Thus, according to Salon magazine the new set of rules: "does not justify the detention at Guantanamo Bay of those who provide unwitting or insignificant support to the organizations identified in the AUMF [Autorization to Use Military Force]."
Ruakh demanded I show the Bush era definition applied to individuals who would not be considered combatants under the older, Geneva Convention compliant definition. I think I have done that. Absurd as it may sound, the "little old lady" who donated to what she thought was a legitimate charity could unwittingly make her an "enemy combatant" under the Bush definition. She would not be subject to detention under the new rules. This is not just a theoretical distinction. Lots of captives who would have been considered civilian bystanders under the older Geneva Convention compliant definition were nevertheless classed as "enemy combatants" under the Bush era definition.
Following find a bunch of references to the Bush era term being used or discussed.
  1. I'll start with Scotusblog. Although "scotusblog" misleadingly contains "blog" in its title, it is actually one of the most respected legal websites in the USA. Lyle Denniston, one of the site's highly regarded commentators discussed the Bush era term in dozens of articles. Here is one entitled Defining a wartime “enemy”
  2. Here is William Teesdale's declaration.
  3. Justice Richard Leon's analysis of the definition.
  4. Obama DoJ withdraws the Bush "enemy combatant" definition on 2009-03-13.
  5. Washington Post
  6. USA Today
  7. Solon
  8. does a CNN broadcast count?
Metaknowledge, thanks for referring me to WP:CFI -- the first actually helpful advice in five years. Please tell me if you think I have satisfied the "attestation" requirement. Geo Swan (talk) 13:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
@Geo Swan, I'd thank you, if you decided to make a helpful contribution to this discussion. I don't think you have yet. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:17, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Consider my thanks to you here as proportional to the actual effort you made to be helpful. Geo Swan (talk) 13:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Consider my thanks to you as inversely proportional to the amount of trolling your doing (that is, getting lower and lower by the minute). Mglovesfun (talk) 13:11, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Re my talkpage: Geo Swan, I obviously don't feel like dealing with this, and it appears everyone else feels likewise. Obviously, blogs (even if they are respected legal websites) don't meet our requirements. If you want me to take you seriously, read WT:CFI#Attestation, figure out how many citations you can muster that meet the criteria (durably archived, independent, etc) and add them to per the guidelines in WT:". Then we can talk. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:32, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

  • You seem to be telling me to go ahead and (1) try to create a Citations:enemy combatant; (2) restore the Bush era definition. I took a crack at that. Geo Swan (talk) 00:37, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • I removed the def, which I did not say should be added. Your citations need work; for many of them, taking a look at w:use-mention distinction will show you that they are mentions ("known as 'enemy combatants'", "the term 'enemy combatant'", etc). Also, Mr Hamad is obviously using the term with the meaning of the first definition; if he meant it as the second, his statement would be nonsensical at best. I don't think that leaves with enough cites. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:14, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
      • You say you don't think there are "enough cites" -- how would a newcomer learn how many were enough? Is there a policy document that gives guidance as to how many are enough?
      • Is there a way a good faith newcomer can learn how many further steps they will be asked to undertake prior to restoration of material? Geo Swan (talk) 01:33, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    I have gone through the citations you provided and sorted them under headings showing my estimation of their "durably archived" status. I also note that they do not go very far toward establishing a very specific meaning (cf. "show meaning" in CFI). To the extent that the term is used in legal documents, official legal definitions can be assumed to be supported, though I gather that more than one official legal definition exists. That might make it harder to "attest" a specific definition. There is a simple strategy for handling this complexity and controversy: punt. We sometimes use non-gloss definitions for this. See the Talk:enemy combatant. DCDuring TALK 02:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Thank you. I saw you working on this.
    • The Bush administration used the term, without publicly defining it, for some time. The first official published definition that I am aware of is that in the Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal, from 2004-07. I am not aware of any other published official definitions.
    • Because I read all the transcripts -- close to 1000 -- I think I know what the definition meant -- in practice. But it is the theoretical definition that counts here?
    • I may be able to find references that regulars here are happier with. But I don't understand regulars want. Geo Swan (talk) 02:41, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Well, speaking as one regular, the main thing I want is for you to suppress your political and emotional outrage. Your "little old lady in Switzerland" feels like an attempt to manipulate us into applying emotional considerations to a question of linguistic fact. Such an attempt is doomed to backfire. Your goal here should be to demonstrate that the Bush administration used the term "enemy combatant" in reference to people without suggesting that those people could lawfully be detained. Instead, you seem to be trying to demonstrate that the Bush administration wrongly claimed that various people could lawfully be detained. (Imagine that I point at a blue car and claim that it's red. I'm not using a different meaning of the word "red"; I'm just lying.) —RuakhTALK 03:06, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Clarification please. Metaknowledge told me I should do what you asked, and once he or she pointed me to WT:CFI and some other policy pages, and once they explained to me that they thought you wanted me to add entries to Citations:enemy_combatant. I added entries. Did you make your comments immediately above after reading Citations:enemy_combatant?
    • I didn't offer examples to push an agenda. Have you forgotten that you and Murray initially argued that there was no point in adding the second definition, as it was functionally equivalent to the first definition? The examples I offered demonstrated that the two definitions differed.
    • Your car analogy mystifies me.
    • I have no idea why you made your comment about lying. Geo Swan (talk) 03:59, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Re: Citations:enemy combatant: Yes, I saw it.   Re: functional equivalence: Neither Smurrayinchester nor I ever used the term "functionally" or "equivalent", and I don't think either of us made a claim like you describe. Perhaps you misunderstood what we meant?   Re: car analogy, lying: I've really been grasping here, trying to understand what you've been trying to say. Apparently I failed. The car analogy was a response to the point that I thought you were making; if you don't get it, then apparently that's not the point you were making, in which case I have no idea what any of your comments have been trying to say. I think I'll leave this discussion now, since my participation seems to be fruitless; hopefully you'll have better luck communicating with someone else.   —RuakhTALK 06:03, 13 June 2012 (UTC)


I have created a raw translation of a German citation but I don't dare to remove the <!-- comments -->. Could some one please check and correct the English translation? Then we can remove the "Tea room" template from this article (after two years). Thank you! --MaEr (talk) 16:43, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

I tidied it up a bit, but basically it was fine. I've uncommented it, but of course others are welcome to take a look and polish it some more. —Angr 21:58, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to all of you! --MaEr (talk) 16:48, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Google suggests that there's some debate about the haru- part. Some sources connect it to a noun hīra (intestine), but other sources seem to be more circumspect about claiming that hīra means "intestine", or even that it exists. A few sources just say outright that its origin is unknown. I don't know Latin at all, and am not even remotely equipped to judge these claims. —RuakhTALK 17:27, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I added some etymological information to the Latin part of the lemma.
    Eiríkr, -spex is indeed related to specto, specio. I guess it's like -fex (in pontifex) to facere.
    Ruakh, unforunately I cannot say much about the discussions about intestines. I just tried to write the etymology section in such a way that some other theories can be added easily (I hope). --MaEr (talk) 18:01, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
    Thank you, MaEr, that's interesting stuff. From this I also gather that English yarn and cord ultimately derive from the same PIE root. Fun. (Yes, I'm a geek.  :) ) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 18:06, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

"Vem" (Czech)

Is this imperative a part of the verb vzít or vést? Filelakeshoe (talk) 15:40, 18 May 2012 (UTC)


One of our adverb senses is:

  1. Template:dialect Indeed.
    The water is so cold! —That it is.

But that seems wrong to me. It's true that "that it is" means "indeed it is", but I don't think it's because "that" means "indeed"; rather, I think that "that" here is standing in for "cold".

Does such a dialectal sense really exist? If so, maybe it could use a better example?

RuakhTALK 20:34, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm with you: the that in the sample sentence (and in other examples that I can think of) is referring to the predicate of the preceding statement. Used this way, it functionally means the same thing as indeed, but that's not quite the same thing as saying that that has a sense meaning indeed. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:45, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, one can substitute the antecedent for "that". It seems odd, because one would expect "that" to be used- but it's grammatical. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:31, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
The OED describes this as a demonstrative adverb thus:- " a. [Closely related to the adjective use in II. 4.] To that extent or degree; so much, so. (Qualifying an adj., adv., or ppl., †rarely a vb.) Now dial. and Sc.; also colloq. with a negative: not (all) that , not very." SemperBlotto (talk) 21:40, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, but that's our sense #2. (And I don't think that "indeed" would be a good gloss for it.) This sense is ostensibly different. —RuakhTALK 21:53, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Isn't this that#Pronoun? It seems to be an anaphora. It is essentially the same, I think, in the following:
"He sure left quickly last night." / "That he did." = "Last night, leave quickly is what he did."
But this could be compared with:
"He sure left quickly last night." / "So he did." which might have either the same interpretation or it might focus on the manner of leaving ("quickly"). The response using that could have the same adverbial focus, I suppose, so perhaps it could be deemed an adverb.
The pronoun interpretation allows more flexibility if we could interpret that as "what was just said" without being to particular about grammatical (PoS) niceties. DCDuring TALK 23:19, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
We can do that. It's called a summative consrtuction and is both extremely common and grammatical. Circeus (talk) 19:18, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
But DCDuring's example goes a bit further than that. In the uses that Dr. Zwicky describes in the page you link to, "that" is functioning as a subject. Its antecedent is, somewhat atypically, an entire previous sentence (or at least, more than just a noun phase), but within its own sentence, its grammar is exactly a normal use of a pronoun. But in DCDuring's example, "that he did", "that" is behaving somewhat atypically for a pronoun; you can't say *"it he did", for example. (You can, however, say "him I like", so it's not completely unique.) —RuakhTALK 03:25, 28 May 2012 (UTC)


Is that lowercase spelling correct? Currently cossack is a redirect. Maro 23:13, 19 May 2012 (UTC)


Is this definition copied from Merriam-Webster or is that definition taken from an earlier source? —Internoob 00:52, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

  • The text was certainly identical. I have modified it (you could have done so yourself). SemperBlotto (talk) 07:15, 20 May 2012 (UTC)


Is this really non-productive? ambigram, ambisense and ambisexual (in the orientation sense - ambisexual for "of unknown sex" seems older) seem to be 1980s coinings, ambigendered seems 1990s, and there are continued coinings of nonce words like ambiracial. What are our conditions for non-productivity? Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:52, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Seems you are right. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:42, 20 May 2012 (UTC)


Is there such a thing? Do some people pronounce the "p", or is it just a spelling convention? Chuck Entz (talk) 05:43, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

The sound file in exempt seems to pronounce it. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 05:46, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I certainly pronounce the [p] in such words. I find it difficult not to, and when I'm speaking German I have to make a concerted effort not to put a [p] into words like Zimt and Amt. —Angr 05:54, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I would only pronounce the [p] if I was making an effort to speak clearly. Siuenti (talk) 10:04, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
This is an example of w:Epenthesis and it may differ per speaker. /mt/ may just be realised by some speakers as [mpt], and /mpt/ may be realised as [mt], so there is no actual underlying phonemic difference between the two (and no way to tell which is original). Compare the way hamster is pronounced by some speakers. —CodeCat 12:14, 21 May 2012 (UTC)


USA TODAY has the headline "Mali protesters hospitalize interim president". The article says "Mali demonstrators attacked interim president Dioncounda Traore at his office Monday, knocking him unconscious", i.e. the headline is using "hospitalize" to mean "[injure and] cause the admission to [a] hospital of". I haven't seen this usage before, and it seems like headlinese. Is it common enough to add? - -sche (discuss) 18:34, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

The first two hits (conveniently!) on GB for "hospitalized him" provide further evidence:
Closer to your specific meaning:
HTH. --BB12 (talk) 19:00, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Seems like a simple shift to a causative meaning for an otherwise intransitive verb.
(I like some of the badly written examples Benjamin gave. Reminds me of Eats, Shoots & Leaves.) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:13, 21 May 2012 (UTC)


This doesn't occur outside the phrase in petto in Dutch or English. By itself, it doesn't actually mean anything and it has no part of speech. So what kind of part of speech is it? Should it even have a part of speech heading? Or should it be left out and the definition line given by itself without the 1. in front? —CodeCat 22:15, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I would say it is a noun, albeit one in an unusual case that merits a usage note. It is similar to de facto and a good deal of other examples, where the second word is a noun in the language it was borrowed from, and would function thus in English if it had been borrowed independently of the phrase. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:37, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The tricky part is that "in" is found in all three languages, so it's tempting to assume that it's English or Dutch.It's neither- it's Italian, and can only be independent of the phrase in that language. The phrase was borrowed as a whole, and can only function grammatically in English or Dutch as a whole.
The best example I can think of to show how this works is bona fide. I know it's a Latin phrase with two words of two syllables each, but If I were to pronounce it that way to someone who doesn't know Latin, they wouldn't recognize it. Instead, I have to pronounce it as if it were the past tense of the imaginary verb "*bonify". The two halves have completely lost any function or meaning outside of the phrase. in petto hasn't had enough time or usage to be absorbed that completely, and the "in" probably confuses things, but it shouldn't be that long before no one realizes that it's not just another way of spelling "impetto" or that it didn't always rhyme with "meadow". Chuck Entz (talk) 06:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
So then what part of speech do 'bona' and 'fide' have in that phrase? How should we list them in Wiktionary? —CodeCat 11:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The same POS as the "ov" in "over"- none. It doesn't really function as a separate grammatical unit in English. I suppose there might be a soft redirect for those who aren't aware of this, but not a POS header. I think we're headed into the same territory as the "What is sum of parts?" discussion, in that these are separated by spaces like words, but really aren't words in any practical sense. By the way, there's also the term bona fides, which we treat as uncountable, but which looks like a plurale tantum to me. Chuck Entz (talk) 12:55, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I've removed the part of speech header and the headword line. It looks quite strange to me now... —CodeCat 13:52, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I've added the Dutch and English words sub the Italian entry for petto as descendants. I think we can (indeed, should) remove the Dutch and English entries forpetto.—This unsigned comment was added by msh210 (talkcontribs).
But why should we? It's quite likely that someone who sees the phrase will not realise it's idiomatic (and this is a sensible assumption) and will look up its constituent parts. They will find 'in' but they will not find 'petto', nor 'bona' nor 'fide'. It's kind of the opposite of SoPness. —CodeCat 19:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
What about having {{see also|in petto}} at the top of the page? Hopefully anyone who finds petto while trying to decipher in petto will see it and go to the correct page. Smurrayinchester (talk) 05:53, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Because they'll find the foreign-language entry. The English phrase can link to the individual foreign words in its Etymology section. But I suppose you're right that the English section should exist as an {{only in}} or {{only used in}} or the like.​—msh210 (talk) 21:51, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
{{only used in}}? Circeus (talk) 19:14, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Ancient Greek declension template request

Hi, could someone please add the right template from Category:Ancient_Greek_declension_convenience_templates to γραφή? This is so that people can see what the plural etc. is at a glance. Thank you. It Is Me Here t / c 19:43, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

I added the right declension template, but it isn't in Category:Ancient Greek declension convenience templates. It's in Category:Ancient Greek 1st declension templates. —Angr 22:10, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

tomato juice

Second definition reads: "(standard of identity) A fodd obtained from the unfermented liquid extracted from mature tomatoes of the red or reddish varieties of Lycopersicum esculentum P. Mill, strained free from peel, seeds, and other coarse or hard substances, containing finely divided insoluble solids from the flesh of the tomato." A fodd? A food? What is this? ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:54, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Clearly, it must be an acronym, standing for "fresh or diluted drink", and rhyming with Todd. Either that, or it's a typo. —RuakhTALK 01:08, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Why not check the source:
§ 156.145
Tomato juice.
(a) Identity— (1) Definition. Tomato juice is the food intended for direct consumption, obtained from the unfermented liquid extracted from mature tomatoes of the red or reddish varieties of Lycopersicum esculentum P. Mill, with or without scalding followed by draining. In the extraction of such liquid, heat may be applied by any method which does not add water thereto. Such juice is strained free from peel, seeds, and other coarse or hard substances, but contains finely divided insoluble solids from the flesh of the tomato in accordance with current good manufacturing practice. Such juice may be homogenized, may be seasoned with salt, and may be acidified with any safe and suitable organic acid. The juice may have been concentrated and later reconstituted with water and/or tomato juice to a tomato soluble solids content of not less than 5.0 percent by weight as determined by the method prescribed in § 156.3(b). The food is preserved by heat sterilization (canning), refrigeration, or freezing. When sealed in a container to be held at ambient temperatures, it is so processed by heat, before or after sealing, as to prevent spoilage.
--Hekaheka (talk) 07:09, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Typos aside, the second definition is really just a restatement of the first in very lengthy legalese. I've taken this up at RFD, which seems like the proper place for it. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:44, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Category:English synonyms

Err... is this something we really want? "English synonyms" could contain an almost infinite number of words. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:05, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Doesn't even make sense, something isn't a synonym on its own, something is a synonym of something else. FWIW there was a similar French Wiktionary category fr:Catégorie:Synonymes en français which was deleted as it offered nothing useful to readers, and was more or less redundant to fr:Catégorie:français, that is to say that category which lists all French words. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:22, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
PS can we move this straight to WT:RFDO with your permission Tooironic, please? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:23, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes please. And then delete it and all its associated templates etc. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:42, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I second that. ---> Tooironic (talk) 22:37, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Comment. It looks like this category isn't for all English terms that have synonyms, but rather, just for terms that we actually define as {{synonym of|…}}. In that respect it's like Category:English alternative forms. —RuakhTALK 11:10, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Then in that case it's extremely badly named and defined - it explicitly says "This category is for all English synonyms", which it clearly isn't. Does it serve any purpose that simply checking template:synonym of's transclusions doesn't? Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:37, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Isn't there a faster-reached limit on the number of transclusions that can be examined? Circeus (talk) 19:11, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Symbol, Prefix, or Abbreviation?

In music, intervals are abbreviated by either a +, M, P, m, or d before a number, for example, P5. Would the bolded characters above be considered symbols, prefixes, or abbreviations? Celloplayer115 21:41, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

I'd say + (standing for augmented) is a symbol and M, P, m, and d are abbreviations (of major, perfect, minor, and diminished respectively). Incidentally, the entry [[perfect]] is lacking the relevant musical definition. —Angr 22:21, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I just added one for perfect, but the [[minor]] one did not have a definition regarding intervals, and the [[augmented]] definition was inaccurate before I made changes to them. Celloplayer115 00:20, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I must say I'm not thrilled with the definition of [[minor]] relating to scales: "Of a musical scale in which some notes are sounded flat." Does that mean a B-flat major scale is minor, since it contains B-flat and E-flat? Or a major scale played on an instrument that's out of tune, or sung by someone who's off-key? —Angr 00:27, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Either way, the definition would not be accurate. Celloplayer115 00:43, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
That was Angr's point. —RuakhTALK 14:00, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Capital cities as symbols of national government

I've been starting to add definitions like this one, for Tbilisi: "(by extension) The government of Georgia", fully cited. Are these in fact independent of the first sense, that of the city itself? Are they just examples of common figurative language instead of real meanings? Or are they different enough to merit inclusion? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 13:36, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

It seems common to use the name of the place housing some kind of institution instead of the name of the institution itself. In Britain, 'Downing Street' refers to the office of the prime minister, 'Stormont' refers to the Northern Ireland parliament, in the Netherlands 'Den Haag' refers to the Dutch government. I suppose even 'The White House' when used to refer to the office of the US president is like this. —CodeCat 13:40, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
It goes back a ways: pharaoh literally meant "big house" Chuck Entz (talk) 14:07, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I feel strongly that metonymy and synecdoche are not separate senses, but, that said, it is quite difficult to know how a dictionary should treat them. It's not just capital cities but buildings (Matignon = the French prime minister), streets ("Downing Street refused to comment"), and general districts (Hollywood = the US film industry). I don't think the way you've done it looks that bad, but I worry slightly that it opens the door for any kind of metonymy to be given a new sense-line, when this is a actually a very normal and productive aspect of the way English works, and can be applied to all kinds of words. Ƿidsiþ 13:43, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
    Well, that is a problem. Where exactly do we draw the line? (As a semi-related note: only a few streets, buildings, etc are citeable but tons of capital cities as minor as Tbilisi certainly are, even in English.) --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 13:49, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
    (Edit conflict) I don't see the problem with noting metonymies. For someone not necessarily familiar with cultural context, "Brussels issued new laws regulating Harley Street, overriding previous regulations from Whitehall, which led to a furious response from Fleet Street" isn't clear even if you know that Whitehall is "a wide street [that] houses several government offices" and Fleet Street is "A street in Westminster that runs from Ludgate Hill to the Strand, formerly the centre of English journalism." Noting specifically that Whitehall is a metonym of the British Civil Service or that Brussels is a metonym for the European Union doesn't harm the project and potentially helps our users a lot. I'm not sure it's quite as productive as you say it is - a term has to be very widely known to work as a metonym. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:04, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be noted whenever they can be cited. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 15:54, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't see the reason to include these. Anyone who sees the definition "the government of Georgia" under the meaning of Tbilisi will understand the connection. For Whitehall, the definition can be changed from "; it houses several government offices" to ", where a large number of national government offices are located." --BB12 (talk) 23:16, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
But it's the definition "the government of Georgia" that's under discussion here. Another example is Foggy Bottom, metonymic for the U.S. Department of State. —Angr 17:47, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

It can get more local. See Broadway (for the government of Manitoba). Michael Z. 2012-06-27 03:45 z


I am sure this has been covered before, but I can't find anything and based on what it is I am looking for, there won't be an easy way to find an earlier discussion. But under the definition of 'a', it is missing this definition and I am not sure how to word it, or even if it is warranted. "used before plural nouns like few, many couple, great many, etc." It is in my copy of American Heritage Dictionary, and WNCD, Thanks Speednat (talk) 19:18, 25 May 2012 (UTC

Second thing on a: The definition that from the 3rd etymology and the 2nd definition of that etymology, or in other words "In the process of; in the act of; into; to" is repeated under a-, which is how I believe it is more readily used. In fact the Dylan song is hyphenated and all my dictionaries show it with the hyphen. So I believe that the non-hyphenated entry should either be removed or point towards the hyphenated entry. Speednat (talk) 20:02, 25 May 2012 (UTC)


Usage note is debatable --Maria.Sion (talk) 14:56, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Certainly American English uses a hyphen after a double ll. Something may be "ball-like" or "pill-like", but not *"balllike" or *"pilllike". Maybe even after a single l; I think I'd be more likely to write "gel-like" than "gellike". —Angr 16:00, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
I've edited the usage note to say "sometimes" for American usage. If you think it should say "often" instead, then please edit it. Certainly the note should not imply that the hyphen is always omitted in America (or always inserted in Britain). Dbfirs 16:19, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
-like Is not the only suffix/suffixoid subject to this kind of variation. Look at -pants, for example (not to mention the longstanding variation in english compounds in general). Circeus (talk) 19:08, 27 May 2012 (UTC)


I think this word Snuggie should be included here, perhaps with a kind of copyright notice, as this may be trademarked--Maria.Sion (talk) 23:11, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

I don't think we need to make trademark notices, do we? But I'm pretty sure the second meaning of snuggie, currently undefined, is the same thing as Snuggie. —Angr 10:36, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

dole out

Definitions here are crappy--Maria.Sion (talk) 09:32, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Isn't meaning 3, currently undefined, simply definition 1 "distribute"? —Angr 10:37, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I have moved the cite to sense 1, deleted the rfdef, and added "in small amounts" to the first sense. Also added {{en-verb}}, replacing {{head}} (Why would anyone use {{head}} for something in English?)
Can anyone guess which sense of generate is meant in definition 2? I have RfVed that sense.
Are there other problems? DCDuring TALK 12:51, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I might use {{head}} for something in English, simply because I don't edit English that much and am not sure what headword-line templates are available for it. —Angr 13:52, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I was cranky. I normally used {{infl}} for languages I don't know and now use {{head}}. In English every true PoS has a good template of the form {{en-PoS}}. On inspection, this instance of {{head}} is the result of a mass replacement of {{infl}} by {{head}}. DCDuring TALK 14:46, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I think some people prefer to use {{head}} for multiword idioms where only the syntactic head shows inflection; for example, it's not clear that [[walk a mile in someone's shoes]], if it existed, would benefit from fully listing out the inflected forms "walks a mile in someone's shoes", "walking a mile in someone's shoes", in "walked a mile in someone's shoes" (especially since these would be self-links: someone who clicked on them would find themself at the same entry they were already on). —RuakhTALK 15:31, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
When I'm cranky, I'm often wrong. That's what I do myself. I even used to use infl/head for phrasal verbs with irregularly conjugating verb heads. DCDuring TALK 15:43, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
This is yet another of WF's entries (original and current version). Although most of his entries are good enogh, his attempts at defining English terms are crappy (to use his own term). SemperBlotto (talk) 13:59, 28 May 2012 (UTC)


I added this several years ago as an alt spell of xiphioid (swordfish). I'm not sure about it now. G.Books seems to suggest that it's something akin to ziphiid (whale), i.e. still fishy but not a swordfish. Anyone know for sure? Equinox 01:32, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

I've just spent some time examining google books:"ziphioid" and google books:"ziphioids" and so on, and found that:
  • It's obsolete, or at least archaic. The Google Ngram Viewer's graph shows it more or less dead by 1920.
  • It's chiefly found in the phrase "ziphioid whale(s)", meaning "beaked whale(s)", i.e. "ziphiid(s)". (I'm quite confident of this identification; a few of the cites list four genera of ziphioid whales, namely Mesoplodon, Berardius, Ziphius, and either Hyperoodon or Hyperoödon. w:Beaked whale lists a few other genera in addition to these four, but all of those other ones are either (1) extinct or (2) not described until after 1920.)
  • It's often used as a noun meaning "beaked whale".
  • It's often used in phrases such as "ziphioid genera" (meaning, in that case, "genera of beaked whales"); I'm not sure if that's best viewed as an adjective or as an attributive noun ("ziphioid genera" = "genera of ziphioids").
RuakhTALK 15:31, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Definitely whales. I've changed to be an alt-form of ziphiid, both as a noun and an adjective. I haven't given it any context labels about obsoleteness or the like because it seems familiar enough to me, but given the Ngram data, I'd welcome something along those lines. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:02, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

come on home

Just created this entry. Not sure if it's idiomatic. Doesn't seem to be 100% intuitive to a non-native speaker. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:40, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Oh, come on! That can't be right. ;-)
I think we lack the right sense of come on#Verb. It is an informal or colloquial sense as in "He came on over to visit.", "The dog was coming on back before he called him". It might be related to the idiomatic sentence "Come on!".
Perhaps the particle on is just there for prosodic reasons. DCDuring TALK 13:14, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Not just for prosodic reasons- it definitely has a semantic dimension, if only to change the tone or register. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:26, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
How would you characterize what on adds? It certainly softens an imperative.
Other adverbs that follow come on are in/out, here/there, down/up, by, around, behind,. Prepositional phrases don't seem impossible, but few seem acceptable. "Come on to Times Square." seems implausible to me, though not "Come on up/down/over to Times Square." DCDuring TALK 17:26, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

June 2012


What the best way of dealing with verbs that have identical infinitive forms, but different conjugations? German has quite a few verbs which have both separable and inseparable forms; umgehen for example conjugates as "Ich umgehe" when it means "I bypass" but "Ich gehe um" for "I deal with". übersetzen ("translate" in the inseparable form, "ferry" in the seperable) and umfahren ("drive around and avoid" in the inseparable, "crash into and knock over" in the separable) are the same. At the moment, umgehen simply has two verb headings (which perhaps makes most sense, but isn't very clear), übersetzen divides them by etymologies (which seems wrong to me - both are über- + setzen, it's only the grammar that differs) and umfahren divides them by pronunciation (which kind of makes sense - the stress is different on a separable verb). The German Wiktionary has separate headings of Verb, trennbar and Verb, untrennbar for these cases, but I'm not sure whether this is a system that would work well in the English Wiktionary. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:08, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Using two verb headings is good and clear enough, IMO. Übersetzen could also be divided by pronunciation. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 15:48, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  1. I suspect that [[übersetzen]] has two ===Etymology=== headers to get around the (since deleted) strong language prohibiting use of multiple ===Pronunciation=== headers, as discussed at Wiktionary:Grease_pit#Handling_sense-specific_pronunciations_under_a_single_etyl. The general consensus was that multiple ===Pronunciation=== headers is preferable instead of multiple ===Etymology=== headers for situations like [[umfahren]] or [[übersetzen]], where the etymologies for the different pronunciations are identical.
  2. The [[umfahren]] entry is exceedingly sparse in detail. This might suffice for someone already fluent in German, but for learners, it's impossible to tell what's going on. The [[übersetzen]] entry at least has conjugation tables, which shows the prefix as separable or inseparable.
Some suggestions for clarifying German verbs:
  • How hard would it be to add "separable" / "inseparable" to the German verb header template? That seems like the kind of information that would go on the POS header line.
  • Could we add a link to Appendix:German verbs to the header of the conjugation table template, as we have for some other languages? See the verb conjugation table headers at 躊躇う#Conjugation or hablar#Conjugation for examples.
  • Could someone expand Appendix:German verbs to explain (or at least mention) separable and inseparable prepositional prefixes? Or perhaps just link through to w:German verbs, which appears to be quite complete.
-- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 16:16, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
Dutch has verbs like this too, like voorkomen. Maybe you can make the entry like that? —CodeCat 16:19, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's correct to say that the separable form is voor + komen while the inseparable is voor- and komen. This is possibly a very pedantic point, but I think that grammatically (at least in German; I assume the same is true of Dutch), the separable part of the verb is still considered a prefix. I'm not an expert on either language though, and especially not Dutch. Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:04, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
The reason I would analyse the prefix in that way is because it behaves the same as other unstressed prefixes which do not have a separate equivalent. For example, there is no word 'be' that corresponds to bekomen in the way that voor might correspond to voorkómen. Furthermore, they also have in common that they do not gain ge- in the past participle, although that may be caused by the lack of stress in the existing prefix instead. In any case, there is a real and predictable difference in meaning between the stressed and unstressed prefixes. A word such as omzeilen means 'to go (literally sail) around' when the prefix is not stressed while it means 'to sail into so as to knock over' when it is stressed. And a final point is that I don't think all separable prefixes (which are essentially adverbs that are partially fused to the verb) have an equivalent unstressed variety. For example I don't think there are any verbs beginning with unstressed bij-, in-, op-, tussen-, and no Dutch speaker would be able to predict the meaning of a verb that added any of those prefixes to words. The meanings of newly-formed words with existing unstressed prefixes are often quite readily predictable, on the other hand. So there is quite a significant difference in how the two forms of the adverbs in verbs (stressed/separable or unstressed) act in word formation, and one form may be productive while the other is not or even nonexistent. —CodeCat 22:31, 3 June 2012 (UTC)


I'm having some trouble finding a good definition for this word. The word's meaning is easy to describe, it is a screen to protect against the wind. But it's not a windscreen on a vehicle, that's called voorruit in Dutch. So what is the English term for this? —CodeCat 00:05, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Could it be a windbreak? Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 00:32, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it could be but I've not heard of that word before. And a hedge or fence would not usually be referred to as a 'screen' in neither English nor Dutch. The Dutch word, being a screen, refers specifically to a flat solid object with few or no holes. An example of a 'windscherm' could be a small metal panel attached to a barbecue or stove to keep the wind from blowing out the flame, or a human-sized glass panel that you can stand behind out of the wind. —CodeCat 00:35, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Take a look at this: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Windbreakers_(sheet_of_material)
English: A Windbreaker, or Windbreak or Breeze Blocker, is a sheet of solid material or stiff fabric, supported by posts, poles, and/or cables to protect an outdoor location from the wind.”
Maybe windbreak and windbreaker are missing that sense. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 00:50, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Some of the pictures are actually named 'windscherm' so unless they're misplaced it does seem right. —CodeCat 01:10, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
There's a freakishly large amount of interference between terms here: I might translate this a windscreen, but that's because I use windshield for the car part. It might be reversed for someone outside the US. Windbreak is actually correct, but it's been taken over by the tree subsense. Windbreaker is usually thought of as an article of clothing around here. "Wind block" doesn't have any competing meanings that I know of, but I don't know how much it's actually used for this. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:30, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I found some quotations and added the new sense to windbreak. But you are right about the word being much more commonly used for the first sense. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 01:33, 2 June 2012 (UTC)


It seems that this entry only has a Croatian definition. I suppose the Croatian definition should be moved to the 4 Serbo-Croatian Wiktionaries and replaced here with a Serbo-Croatian entry in English? Saimdusan (talk) 11:27, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Seems we all missed it, anyway, deleted. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:29, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Supernatural collectives?

I guess it could just be all creative invention but...is there any chance any of this could be attestable? Just something I thought I'd throw out there if people are interested in doing some research. 50 Xylophone Players talk 14:35, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Amazing! We do have host of angels (etymology 2), but I doubt many of those can be attested. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 17:09, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, Wondermark is a vaguely surrealist humour webcomic, so I'd imagine most of those are made up. Interestingly, some people do seem have taken up "a lunacy of werewolves" - it's even used in one video game - though I doubt there's enough to get it listed here (yet). Smurrayinchester (talk) 17:38, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Maybe some day! 50 Xylophone Players talk 00:01, 3 June 2012 (UTC)


Three definitions:

  1. To yield to an overpowering force or overwhelming desire.
  2. To give up, or give in.
  3. To die.

I was gonna add "to be beaten, to be defeated". There's a lot of overlap here, I think my definition is another wording of "To yield to an overpowering force or overwhelming desire.", also "To give up, or give in." and "To die." seems to be a specific example of succumbing (that is, giving in or being defeated).

How would anyone else define this, how many definitions? How broad should those definition be? Mglovesfun (talk) 13:46, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

I’d keep the third and add yours. I’m not sure about the second, depending on which senses of give up and give in it’s referring to it could be the same as the first definition. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 16:44, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
It looks to me like 1) a transitive sense of yielding/giving in to something overwhelming or overpowering, 2) an intransitive sense of being beaten/defeated, and 3) "to die", which is really short for "succumb to [whatever the cause of death was]", but which is too idiomatic to be SOP. Anything else is just a variation on one of the three. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:30, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think SoP is the phrase you're looking for, the dying one is perhaps distinct enough from the being defeated/beaten sense that is deserves its own sense. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:31, 4 June 2012 (UTC)


So, this was recently created...Is the definition really correct? Is this dated/obsolete English perhaps? Also Scots, or only Scots? 50 Xylophone Players talk 03:30, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Scots for sure, English unlikely. I'll switch it to Scots, and if anyone disagrees, they can add English with the same def (although be warned, I'll probably rfv the English if you add it). --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:41, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I readded it with quotations. One of them has “Church yaird” so I concluded it must be an obsolete form of yard, and given that all three were ultimately written by Scotsmen, this is probably a Scots influenced spelling. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 04:41, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Nice! Thanks for saving us the trouble of an RFV. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:59, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I would have thought that the modern Scots was just eye-dialect, but the word existed in (Scottish) Middle English with that spelling. Dbfirs 08:42, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Scots <ai> is a fairly normal development of Old English <ea> – compare bairn, from bearn. Ƿidsiþ 08:46, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Oddly, our entry for bairn implies that the Scottish English came directly from Middle English, rather than via Scots. —RuakhTALK 13:35, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that's correct. Bairn is not just Scots, but is still in use in Northern English, though the pronunciation and spelling "barn" is more common in areas with a strong Norse influence. The language called "Scots" is just a relatively modern development of Northern Middle English. Dbfirs 22:06, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, although it tends to be referred to as Middle Scots in Scottish contexts. Ƿidsiþ 11:38, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the border kept moving up and down the island (in influence and allegiance, if not in law)! Dbfirs 08:54, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

-leaks or -ileaks

Has the time arrived yet to add a protologism suffix of -leaks or perhaps -ileaks? Back-formation from wiki + leaks, such as, example, Vatileaks? (similarl to -gate) -- ALGRIF talk 13:45, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Well, I'm sure it's citeable, but we need a few more examples to tell whether it's -leaks or -ileaks. Both wiki and Vatican are "i-stems" for these purposes, so we can't tell whether the i is coming from the suffix or the original word. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:02, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Many blends involve some overlap, e.g. motel < motor hotel. It's fruitless to ask whether the -i- in "Vatileaks" comes from Vatican or Wikileaks; it comes from both. —Angr 07:40, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Use of Occam's razor would suggest that terms without the -i- are from leaks, not -leaks. It is -ileaks that would seem to be a suffix extracted or back-formed from wikileaks, if it is attestable or demonstrably productive. This process of suffix formation is fairly common. We have a number of them at the beginning of Category:English back-formations. (Ruakh, at least, objects to this use of the term back-formation. See WT:TR#Category:English back-formations.). DCDuring TALK 16:21, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Category:English back-formations

A lot of these don't seem like back-formations to me. -zilla, for example, was not derived from Godzilla by removing the well-known prefix God- (actually is, rather than just having characteristics of); -gate was not derived from Watergate by removing the well-known prefix Water- (relating to the Watergate Hotel); and so on. Do I have too narrow a view of what constitutes "back-formation", or does someone else have too broad a view? —RuakhTALK 17:10, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Well, clearly the full words predate what are now productive suffixes whose sense is transparently derived from the full words. I suppose we could call the process blending, but I think the process is now less evocative of the original words than that would imply. Comparing with productive suffixes like -ization or -ation is instructive. The latter two affixes seem to be derived from the entire family of Greco-Latin derived words with such endings, whereas the two in question are clearly derived from single words. The process of extraction of the morphemes seems otherwise quite similar. I would have used {{back-form}} for the -ization and -ation if the template would have accepted "entire family of Greco-Latin derived words ending in [X]".
If there are better terms for this process that are as intelligible to normal users, we should use them instead. DCDuring TALK 17:44, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that most "normal users" have no difficulty understanding terms like "from", "alluding to", "after", "on the model of", and "by analogy with". You know how you want to distinguish words that merely contain a given suffix from words that were formed in ModE by adding the suffix to a specific ModE word, because you don't think the term "suffix" is applicable otherwise? Well, you now have my sympathy, because I want to distinguish terms that were formed by back-formation from terms that were merely formed by taking part of an existing word, because I don't think the term "back-formation" is applicable in the latter case. —RuakhTALK 18:57, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I guess I have my own peculiar broadening of a definition of back-formation, such as MWOnline's: "a word [morpheme] formed by subtraction of a real or supposed affix [morpheme] from an already existing longer word". What is the proper term for the extraction of an affix from am alternative morphological construction of a word? DCDuring TALK 22:22, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I would call things like -zilla and -gate extractions. —Angr 23:18, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
But would anyone else? In context we might get away with it, but I don't think the the term is clear enough to pull its weight in "Category:English extractions". It is even a little confusing as in discussing etymologies of affixes that were, say, "of Germanic extraction". DCDuring TALK 01:37, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
As far as POS is concerned, I'd call -zilla and -gate suffixes, but their etymology is that they were extracted from Godzilla and Watergate. But they aren't back-formations by any means. Just put them in Category:English suffixes. —Angr 07:43, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Cologne and cologne in Persian

Could someone who knows Persian please take a look at the Persian translations of cologne and Cologne? Google Translate suggests that the translation at cologne is really more of an explanation in Persian of what cologne is rather than the Persian word for cologne, and that the translation at Cologne is also an explanation of what cologne is rather than the Persian name for the city in Germany. Thanks —Angr 21:14, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi, the city of Cologne in Persian is called کلن (pronounced Koln) and is derived from Köln, the German word for that city, while cologne is derived from the French term, "Eau de Cologne" and that has the spelling ادکلن (more common) or ادوکلن or rarely اودوکلن, and the romanization of first one is odkolon or odokolon and the second one and third one should be always romanized as "odokolon".--Forudgah (talk) 03:42, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, Fordugah! And thanks Stephen G. Brown for correcting the articles. —Angr 07:31, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

grammar question

Which of these is correct/more common?

Cheers. ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:15, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

The first is correct and widely used (an adverb modifying an adjective). The second is ungrammatical and wrong (an adjective modifying another adjective). The third could work if hyphenated and used as a modifier for a noun: "environment-friendly products" (noun used attributively and combined with an adjective to make a compound adjective). Of course, fewer and fewer people are learning how to use hyphens correctly, so I'm sure "environment friendly products" is common enough. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:20, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I wonder if my suspicion can be confirmed that these are calques of German umweltfreundlich. I first encountered the German word in 1989 and wondered how we would say it in English; at the time, I dismissed "environment-friendly" and "environmentally friendly" as sounding ridiculous in English, but they have since caught on. —Angr 07:30, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
It seems pretty likely - according to Google ngrams, "umweltfreundlich" was coined some time around 1965, and use took off at the end of the 70s. "environmentally friendly" meanwhile starts in the mid 80s and takes off in the 90s. "umweltfreundlich" also appears in a handful of English texts (assuming they aren't misidentified German texts) before "environmentally friendly" was coined. I also found a couple of books from the 1980s that hint that the phrase originated in German (borrowing the word, then giving an English translation) (eg) and, interestingly, a few German guides (1 2) to English from the 80s that claim umweltfreundlich should be translated "ecological" not "environmentally friendly". Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:39, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
It looks like the English texts where umweltfreundlich can be found are (1) dictionaries and language-pedagogy books, (2) misidentified books actually in German, (3) English texts where the term is mentioned but not used. I certainly haven't found any indication that umweltfreundlich has been used in English the way, say, gemütlich is. —Angr 21:47, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
AIUI, environment friendly requires a hyphen according to traditional grammar, i.e. environment-friendly. Equinox 16:24, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
According to traditional rules of orthography, not traditional grammar. Spelling and punctuation aren't part of grammar. —Angr 21:47, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Really? I don't see apostrophes as part of spelling, especially when they indicate a grammatical thing like possession. Equinox 22:11, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Not spelling, orthography, which covers both spelling and punctuation. —Angr 19:57, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
It's true that spelling and punctuation aren't part of grammar, but I think they might well be part of "traditional grammar". —RuakhTALK 22:14, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Looking at Google ngrams shows that environmentally friendly is much more common but environment friendly is well noted and both came into widespread noting in the mid-80s. Nothing wrong grammatically with environment friendly. It can be eathly found here and here ... and more. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 12:17, 23 June 2012 (UTC)


There's a sense missing from this page (or possibly from way to), but the problem is that I haven't got a clue how to define it, or even what part of speech it is (so I can't use {{rfdef}}). Perhaps by analogy with way to go, there's a phrase "way to..." which seems to indicate (generally sarcastically) that the subject has done well in performing a task. Such as:

2001, Joshua Nedelman, The Garden of Eastern, page 36:
Jimmy leaned forward holding his ear, the personification of naïveté, looking as young as a baby with his oh-so-innocent face. “Oh, way to get us busted, Jimmy,” Curt hissed under his breath.
2009, Linda Winfree, Fall in Me, page 165:
Oh, way to start a rumor, Hope. Angel glared the silent statement at her sister.
2012, Nancy Manther, A Charmed Life:
"Oh, way to care about how I feel." His voice took on an exaggerated “Valley Girl” tone.

So, what part of speech is way (or way to) performing here? Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:12, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

  • It's a noun, with a sort of understood "That's the—" preceding it. I believe it developed from [That's the] way to go! It's tricky, but I think you just have to describe it....the definition could be something along the lines of: As the head of an interjectory clause: the perfect means (to do something), chiefly in expressions of ironic congratulation. Ƿidsiþ 11:35, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Relatedly, what about:
"He's hitting 400 for two months? No way!" / "Yes, way."
I've never heard is in any use other than in a contradiction of a previous speaker's emphatic rejection of a proposition. I don't know that it merits its own sense line, let alone a PoS section, but it does seem worth including in a usage example for no way. DCDuring TALK 16:33, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I've heard that as well. I think that it might have been added some time ago and then removed. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:38, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I believe that that sense was popularized by Wayne's World.​—msh210 (talk) 19:28, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I think in Wayne's World the response to "No way!" is just "Way!", whereas DCDuring is referring to the response of "Yes, way", which in my experience is more common. I don't think Wayne's World was the vector for that. —RuakhTALK 19:37, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Before this discussion we had [[no way]] and [[yes way]]. We now also have a sense at [[way]] and a usex that includes yes way at [[no way]]. Is this too much or not enough? DCDuring TALK 00:16, 6 June 2012 (UTC)


"Hail Columbia" includes the lyrics let its altar reach the skies. Are we missing a sense of altar that means "stuff burning on an (other-sense) altar"? Cf. "the altar burned brighter"[23] and similar.​—msh210 (talk) 19:25, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

o dinosaur!

Is this attestable, even by the presumably relaxed standards used for Volapuk? And as a multi-word vocative utterance, isn't it NISoP? "O dinosaur!" could be a vocative utterance in English, for example. Equinox 00:11, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

As I don't know Volapük and we don't have [[o#Volapük]] (nor, indeed, does frwikt, FWIW), I have no way of judging whether it's SOP.​—msh210 (talk) 04:58, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
The real question is whether to first RFD it or RFV it. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:16, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't even know what terms to search for to find Volapük cites (as I might use the in a search to restrict to English), but trying a few I found in our Volapük categories, google books:"o dinosaur" "kinid|kisi|atos" and the same on ggc turn up nothing. (Links to kinid, kisi, atos for your convenience.)​—msh210 (talk) 06:14, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
If it is a declined or conjugated word form, it does not have to be attested. Declension and conjugation tables, such as those for Spanish verbs, include all the forms for each noun or verb whether or not they are all attestable. Almost certainly some forms never get used, but they still have a place in the table. All of these verb forms and noun forms also qualify for a separate page, such as ayudaba, that links back to the lemma. So, if o dinosaur is a correct form in the declension of the lemma, then it can have its soft-redirect page. (But it should be moved to o dinosaur, without the exclamation.) —Stephen (Talk) 06:28, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I think that only applies for cases where the conjugated form remains a single word, though. For instance, we'd have an entry for the French first person future of voler, "volerai‎", but we wouldn't have the German first person future of fliegen, "werde fliegen", because it can be broken down as werde + fliegen. Similarly, in Spanish the first person past subjunctive of comer is "comiera" or "comiese", which we have entries for, but the rough English equivalent "would have eaten" is just would + have + eaten, which we don't and shouldn't have an entry for. We don't have o dinosaur in English, or o dog, o friends or even o God - instead, we just mention the vocative use at o, which in all likelihood is where a user would go first. Unless dinosaur is totally unique in Volapuk for taking o (which I highly doubt), there's no reason to have this entry. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:09, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. If "o ___" is normal in Volapük, then I think this is SOP and belongs at RFD; if "o dinosaur" is unique or irregular, then I think this does require attestation. We allow an entry for internacionalizabais, even though it seems to be unattested, because that is the vosotros imperfect of internacionalizar whether or not anyone's ever used it, but we don't allow an entry for habíais internacionalizado because it's SOP, and we wouldn't allow an entry for *internacionalicerais without actual evidence that the verb is irregular in that way. —RuakhTALK 15:45, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Surely ‘O dinosaur!’ is the vocative singular in English for dinosaur. Ƿidsiþ 06:33, 6 June 2012 (UTC) Also, according to Volapük, the language does not distinguish a vocative case – only nominative, genitive, dative and accusative. Ƿidsiþ 06:34, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

I found a book of Volapük which does describe "o" as indicating the vocative. Of course, that doesn't mean "o dinosaur" deserves an entry, any more than "o sister" does in English. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:33, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
@SGB: We never have SOP inflected forms! Of course we have monetur, but we don't have monitus sum! The very conjugation table at moneo treats the two as separate words and explains how to use them. In fact, the Latin first declension vocative works much the same way, being usually marked by an o. Any and all Volapük "vocatives" should be speedied, IMO. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:49, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm confused as to what exactly this is supposed to mean? Other than http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k68V_7mR6nk I can't think of any other plausible case for even putting these two words together, much less in a way that would be a set phrase worthy of a dictionary. Geschan (talk) 16:08, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

See w:Apostrophe (figure of speech). —RuakhTALK 16:45, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Note o dinosaurs! was created too. Equinox 17:12, 9 June 2012 (UTC)



(the latter in the sense of "Mankind; human beings as a group")

We have these marked as Template:uncountable ===Noun===s. They seem to be more like Template:singulare tantum or ===Proper noun===s. After all, one cannot speak of more or less humanity the way one can more or less sugar or love; one speaks of more or less of humanity, like more of China or less of the Sun. The especially seem proper (to my lay eyes) in that they don't need a determiner/article. Thoughts?​—msh210 (talk) 05:12, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Not really, AFAICT. For example,
  • "Even more mankind makes pollution and waste." [24]
Yes, it's uncommon, but clearly such usage exists. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:21, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I can't tell what that sentence means in that passage. I have no reason to think it means "Even more of the group of humans makes...". Maybe someone more astute than I knows for certain.​—msh210 (talk) 06:06, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree with your analysis, msh210. —RuakhTALK 12:34, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it looks like there's a comma missing after "more" in that quote. Still, someone could say "More mankind means more waste", though it would sound better with "of" Chuck Entz (talk) 14:07, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
@msh210: I think that so much mankind has trouble with countability/uncountability that we could find many implausible-seeming usage. That is one reason why I so like the feature of {{en-noun}} that allows one to show whether countability or uncountability is present in the majority of uses of a given header, while acknowledging that the other is also present in the wild. DCDuring TALK 14:14, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
@ChuckE: I don't think that the comma reading is necessarily correct. It just looks like what I used to call a mistake. DCDuring TALK 14:14, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Granted, the book appears to be from some crazy doomsday ecocult, so there's a good chance they didn't spend much on copyediting before publishing it. The problem is that there's a lot more of that kind of usage. Take a look:
  • "More and more mankind will discover that we have to turn to poetry to interpret life for us, to console us, to sustain us. Without poetry our science will appear incomplete..."[25]
I stand by my original statement: it's uncommon, even proscribed, but present. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:43, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I parse "More and more mankind will discover" as "More and more [often,] mankind will discover" rather than "More and more [members of] mankind will discover". I agree with msh210 about how to {{label}} the sense; if unambiguous use as an uncountable noun can be found, that usage can be explained in usage notes. - -sche (discuss) 17:47, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

So, Template:singulare tantum ==noun===, or ===Proper noun===? Ruakh? -sche? Anyone?​—msh210 (talk) 16:07, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

heartbreaker - 2

My Mac OS X has a much better definition: "1 a person who is very attractive but who is irresponsible in emotional relationships. 2 a story or event that causes overwhelming distress." Our current definition is a bit too general. Can we rewrite ours to incorporate both discrete senses? ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:57, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

One can be a heartbreaker without being irresponsible, no? Mglovesfun (talk) 15:32, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Just read our definition; yes I think we need at least one more definition, saying "that tennis match was a heartbreaker" and "she is a heartbreaker" are different definitions. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:34, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

帅 - Chinese needs help

The entry uses the Template:hide box template to hide dialectical pronunciations and so they cannot be seen. Can someone familiar with Chinese put these in the correct places so they are visible? --BB12 (talk) 08:18, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

By coincidence, I found the setting that enables that box to be viewed, but still, I don't think those pronunciations should be in a hidden box. --BB12 (talk) 08:22, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
The reason for collapsed boxes is so that side information doesn't swamp the entry. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:58, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
That entry also has "†" before many of its senses. Is that formatting copied from another dictionary, which should be changed to {{obsolete}} or {{context|no longer in use}}? - -sche (discuss) 18:35, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
@MK, I'm not talking about the collapsable boxes, but the use of the hide box template. If you look at the source, you'll see a section that begins {{hide box|Dialectal pronunciations|align=left|, and that copy does not appear when in viewing mode. --BB12 (talk) 23:39, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Er, {{hide box}} displays as a collapsible box to me, and I assume it does for everyone. Is there some setting that is making it display differently for you? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:38, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for responding to my idiocy :) --BB12 (talk) 01:17, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
You can make it up to me by getting the new LDL draft out quickly XD --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:43, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
hahahaha. Walked myself into that one.... --BB12 (talk) 02:07, 8 June 2012 (UTC)



Should the main (short name) pages be moved to The Bahamas and The Gambia respectively, that's what wikipedia does (news motivation)? For the ones for which it's optional (e.g. Congo) I think it's fine to have the lemma not have the article. --Bequw τ 11:52, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

So, would we then define Gambia as:
  1. Found in the name The Gambia.
  2. Attributive form of The Gambia.
    • 2008, [] , page 89:
      They had both been active in Gambia politics since the 1940s when Faye founded the Bathurst section of the West African Youth League and []
  3. Alternative form of The Gambia.
    • 2005, [] , page 31:
      My interest in Gambia stems from living there for 2 years and working as a teacher in the rural areas at a nonformal educational institution []
 ? —RuakhTALK 13:39, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
google books:"the bahamas" -intitle:bahamas shows that the Bahamas is much more common than The Bahamas. I think therefore that our main entry should be Bahamas, with The Bahamas either a hard redirect or a soft one (defined as {{form of|official spelling|[[Bahamas|the Bahamas]]}} perhaps). Either way, a usage notes at Bahamas would seem to be in order.​—msh210 (talk) 16:01, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Most of bgc seems to refer to Gambia as Gambia: compare google books:"to the gambia" -intitle:gambia to google books:"to gambia" -intitle:gambia. Thus, I think that we should have a main entry at Gambia with, just as I suggested for the Bahamas, a soft or hard redirect from The Gambia.​—msh210 (talk) 16:01, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
I spent most of my life speaking about the Gambia and the Ukraine, and now I'm trying to unlearn it. If anything, Gambia & Co. ought to have usage notes explaining the definite article's place in the country's name. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:02, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
We could use head=The Gambia in {{en-proper noun}}. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 18:07, 7 June 2012 (UTC)


"(countable) A person employed to help in the maintenance of a house."

I have thought of this as a collective noun, not used in the plural. I would not say: "advertise for or hire a help." Would other native/near native speakers use "a" with this or use it in the plural? DCDuring TALK 11:54, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd consider it a collective noun too, but I did find some uses of "hired helps":
1836, Richard Weston, A visit to the United States and Canada in 1833, page 178-9:
I was often much entertained sitting at Mr Telford's table of an evening at supper ; he sat at the head, his hired helps, male and female, to the number of upwards of a dozen, sitting on separate sides at the same board, and helping themselves out of the same dish.
1870, “Emigration and Nova Scotia”, The Field, volume 1, number 3, page 242: 
The farmer is at the mercy of his hired helps ; they run rusty and leave him just at the very time he is most in need of their services, and he is often forced, at a heavy pecuniary loss, to suspend operations.
2009, Colin James Isbister, How to be a Lousy Christian in 12 Easy Lesson, page 120:
Even my father's servants are better off than me. I'll go home and beg him to allow me to work as a hired help.
It sounds odd to me, but it does seem to be a fairly established use, with hits in both the singular and plural from the 19th century right through the present day. Probably should be (countable or uncountable). Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:12, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
I checked "hired helps" in COCA, BNC, and the Corpus of Historical American English ("COHA"). It is not in the first two ("hired help" is abundant.), but appears twice in COHA (1852, 1914). Comparing "hired help" and "hired helps" at Google Ngram shows ratios of 500:1, far exceeding normal singular-to-plural ratios. Checking the recent (1999-2008) instances at google books shows most of the hits to be of "hired, helps" or "hired help's", in republications or quotations of older works, in works by non-native speakers, and in works by historians (who may be influenced by the writings of the time they study). The sole News hit for "hired helps" was in "Hero 2 Hired [an NGO] helps servicemembers look for jobs". In contrast, there were 286 hits for "hired help".
Our treatment seems misleading to me. I think the "countable" tag should be removed and an indication of occasional and historical use as countable noun be relegated to a usage note. DCDuring TALK 14:38, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
I think that's a good idea. - -sche (discuss) 07:45, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd be more inclined to allow both countable and uncountable, since the definition is "a person". The OED has lots of cites:

1645 Mass. Col. Rec. II. 139 Such of his servants and helps as have been employed about ye attendance of ye court. 1742 W. Ellis Mod. Husbandman Aug. i. 2 Next to them [sc. hired servants] we should be provided with auxiliary Helps. 1807 C. W. Janson Stranger in Amer. 87, I am Mr ——'s help. I'd have you know‥that I am no sarvant. 1815 Massachusetts Spy 23 Aug., Our lady and gentleman ‘hired helps’ do not understand who is meant when their master is inquired for. 1818 H. B. Fearon Sketches Amer. 80 Servants, let me here observe, are called ‘helps’. If you call a servant by that name they leave you without notice. 1824 Examiner 200/2 The hiring of ‘a help’, anglicè a servant,—a word rejected in America. 1830 J. Galt Lawrie Todd III. vii. v. 49 At this moment‥the help, or maiden-servant, came. 1838 J. F. Cooper Amer. Democrat 122 Those who aid their masters in the toil may be deemed ‘helps’, but they who perform all the labor do not assist‥but they do it themselves. 1861 Thackeray Four Georges i. 26 Fourteen postilions; nineteen ostlers; thirteen helps. 1883 New Eng. Jrnl. Educ. 17 54 The Boston ‘help’ reads Dante while she prepares the succulent pork and beans. a1899 Mod. Advertisements., Wanted, Lady Help. Wanted, Two superior domestic helps to undertake the duties of cook and housemaid. Wanted, young girl, as useful help. Mother's Help wanted immediately, to assist with two children and housework. 1899 Westm. Gaz. 4 Aug. 2/3 Judge: What is a ‘help’? Plaintiff: Well, she's a cook-housemaid-barmaid. 1949 ‘J. Tey’ Brat Farrar xi. 84 Lana, their ‘help’‥‘obliged’ only because her ‘boy friend’ worked in the stables. 1971 Woman 13 Feb. 13/2, I gave Mrs. Candy, the daily help, a suit for her daughter.

... though I agree that most of them are older. Perhaps the countable sense is dated.
Are senses 1 and 2 for the noun really distinct? I would combine them. Dbfirs 08:45, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I've change it to "chiefly uncountable" and added a usage note. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:37, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I've broadened the sense beyond households. My objections are addressed. Have new problems been introduced? DCDuring TALK 14:06, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I've adjusted the usage note because the countable form cannot be obsolete if it was used in Hansard in 1948 and subsequently by Carol Thatcher (daughter of former UK Prime Minister, quoted in Ottawa Citizen on March 3rd, 1982). Also last year by Patricia Wilson in her internet-published novel: Intangible Dream. I'm sure I can find some more recent cites if anyone insists that they've never heard it. Dbfirs 16:55, 9 June 2012 (UTC)


In the second etymology, the headword line and inflection table disagree. One has fabra, the other has fabera. Which one is correct? —CodeCat 15:42, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

  • The inflection table was wrongly coded. Corrected. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:03, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
    I deleted all the incorrect inflected forms. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:23, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
    Not all of them... I deleted the rest now. —CodeCat 16:34, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
    Thanks. (I should've known; I messed up last time this happened too. I should've looked at the diff instead of guessing.) --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:55, 8 June 2012 (UTC)



What are these? As far as I know, ś isn't a letter of Serbo-Croatian, and ć definitely isn't a Cyrillic letter at all. —Angr 22:52, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

I have never seriously studied Serbo-Croation, but this is evidently a side-effect of the great S-C merger. I believe this form occurs in Montenegrin, which joined Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and I'm sure others in that infamous meltingpot. Welcome to the Balkan Wars! --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:13, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it Montenegrin. The letter с́ is a problem, since it is not provided in Unicode (yet). It can be written с́ (Cyrillic с with an acute accent), сј, or ć (Roman letter). I suppose that evenually Unicode will add the proper letter in Cyrillic. —Stephen (Talk) 09:19, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
On that basis, I've tagged them both {{Montenegro}}, but it would be good if we came to some sort of agreement on how to render "ś" in Cyrillic. Using Latin ć is bad not only because it mixes Latin with Cyrillic, but because the exact same letter is used in Latin Serbo-Croatian to represent a different sound, which is confusing. In the absence of a precombined character, I suppose we should use "с́" (Cyrillic с with an acute accent). ćутра uses Latin ć as well. —Angr 10:09, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
There isn’t a law anywhere that tells any country or people what letters they must use for their language. Unicode offers what it offers, but for a number of reasons not every language uses what Unicode suggests. The accent needed for the Cyrillic с is not available on Cyrillic keyboards and not many people are able to insert it. The letter that was originally used for Montenegrin Cyrillic was the Roman one, and it seems to be the spelling that most users use. I don’t think anybody who reads it or writes it gets confused because it came from a Roman font. Some languages that use Cyrillic have been using one or more Roman letters for a long time. The Unicode versions are brand new and are not accepted by the speakers of every language just because a software programmer tells them they must.
Note also that the accented uppercase С́ does not look acceptable in most fonts. —Stephen (Talk) 10:46, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Lowercase "с́" doesn't look right on my computer (Firefox 12, Windows 7, standard Wiktionary skin) either. The accent is drifting too high and too far right. Do the combining accents work properly with Cyrillic? (The accent on е̏ in ćе̏вер is wrong too). Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:45, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
@Smurrayinchester: Same here. —RuakhTALK 22:42, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Cyrillic с with the combining accent is the way to write that in Unicode. Since Unicode 3.0 in 2000, no more characters that can be composed as base characters with combining accents will be encoded. This is so that any program written since Unicode 3.0 can properly identify characters that are the same, whether or not they are composed or decomposed. There is complete support in most systems for combining accents working perfectly with Cyrillic; the issue merely depends on an OpenType (or similar advanced font format) font that properly identifies where to attach accents.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:59, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
But in Serbo-Croatian this letter is not a Cyrillic c with an accent, but with a diacritic. It was not meant to mark a specific tone but a different pronunciation. If Latin ć were Latin c with a combining accent it could be decomposed to c and the stress mark, but I don't believe it was supposed to be so. It is a letter per se. A palatalized t, therefore a letter denoting one specific sound. Such things were designed in the early creation of Serbo-Croatian alphabet. Anglicization of this letter in English language media which either lack this specific grapheme, or its editorship don't want to bother with it, is a different matter. Only if you are treating the German ö, or better yet Spanish ñ as letters with accents, then Latin ć could be regarded as a Latin c with an accent. --BiblbroX дискашн 22:11, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
@BiblbroX: Yes, that's the same thing same thing. In English, the term accent (or accent mark) is frequently applied to any diacritic at all, as well as to diacritic-like marks that are technically considered to be part of a letter. Unicode does specify that ñ is equivalent to n plus . —RuakhTALK 22:42, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Ok, then. I won't make anymore fuss `bout this. Just one remark: I understand that neither accent nor accent mark mention this usage as a general diacritic mark. The only relevant definition reads: A mark or character used in writing, in order to indicate the place of the spoken accent, or to indicate the nature or quality of the vowel marked. Perhaps both entries could use some updating. Regards, --BiblbroX дискашн 23:32, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

What's wrong with the accent on е̏ in ćе̏вер? It shares the same tone as sever and sjever i.e. север and сјевер since all three are cognate. As for the letters, they are newly introduced in the Montenegrin to represent soft [ʃ]. See w:Montenegrin language. I am not sure about their IPA representation. WP reads it is [ç] (w:Voiceless palatal fricative), but śesti suggests it is [ɕ] (w:Voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant). If I understand correctly the latter entry was created by a Serbo-Croatian speaker from Montenegro, but apart from the info on WP my ear also tells me it's more close to [ç] than [ɕ]. Concerning the representation of the letter, it should be the Cyrillic с with a diacritic, but I believe the Montenegrin websites themselves are using the Latin version of it, that is ć - the Latin c with a diacritic. --BiblbroX дискашн 14:20, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Oh, sorry, I didn't mean the accent was the wrong accent, I meant it wasn't displaying right on my computer. It hangs to the right of the letter rather than over the middle. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:57, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I guess the key is just tagging these with Montenegro and realizing that the fact that nobody's storming the gates and demanding we use sj or ш or something is a good thing. I'm rather pessimistic about this, but after seeing how much material (like translations) we still have as Croatian or Bosnian, I begin to suspect that it will never be fully fixed around here. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:22, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I once started "fixing" these translations by unifying them under umbrella term of Serbo-Croatian, but then almost immediately encountered one of those angry anti-serbocroatianists (or how should I call them) so I stopped realizing that those entries might still serve some purpose since they link to corresponding wiktionaries and data there could be useful at some point. --BiblbroX дискашн 22:11, 9 June 2012 (UTC)


I have been hearing usage of this verb that is an extension of this term into realms I did not associate with the word. I have inserted usexes for the two kinds of usage (differentiated by type of object) that I am familiar with and added three citations of the extended usage. I would like to specify the meaning better than our current definition, if necessary, adding a sense, but I am having trouble with it. Help is welcome. DCDuring TALK 12:50, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Is it just "To apply selectivity and taste to."? DCDuring TALK 13:15, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
That sounds more or less right - it's the context I hear it in most often, actually - although it's specifically in terms of producing a collection of things. Users of sites like tumblr and Pinterest are often described as "currating" when they make their blogs. Smurrayinchester (talk) 20:44, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I added ", as a collection of fashion items or web pages.". Do you know how long has the term been used in this way, outside the realms of art and museums? It seems relatively new to me (< five years). DCDuring TALK 21:39, 12 June 2012 (UTC)


I have split the etymology, as I think it is different between the goblin creature (from Old English) and the sea creature (from Latin orca? makes more sense and is what W1913 has). If that's wrong, though, feel free to revert. Equinox 13:24, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

I expanded the second etymology. Is it worth noting that ogre is closely related? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:01, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
Yep. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:12, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

the trash and the garbage

I added these recently. I think they are idiomatic, as a trash can would never before refer to as trash without "the" occurring before it, one can say "throw it in the trash" for "throw it in the trash can", but one doesn't say *"there is an empty trash in the kitchen" for "there is an empty trash can in the kitchen" or *"they sell trashes at that store" for "they sell trash cans at that store". Shoof (talk) 04:42, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

The "the garbage" entry has been deleted without much of an explanation. It seems reasonable to put this under "garbage" and note that it has to take "the," though I see that the man is an entry. --BB12 (talk) 05:42, 12 June 2012 (UTC
We don't have an entry for the cat as in 'I gave my leftovers to the cat'. Mglovesfun (talk) 08:33, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Re-enter as redirects, following the practice of most of those other online references that appear at OneLook.
The man appears in other online dictionaries with the meanings we give it. The trash does not. If one is not a linguist familiar with the extensive, confusing, inconclusive, and possibly irrelevant literature on idiomaticity, one might just think about why online lexicographers don't find this idiomatic. Urban Dictionary has a slang sense of the trash which might be includable. DCDuring TALK 11:05, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Is "the trash" really a synonym of "trash can"? I think it's just talking about the pile of rubbish inside the bin. I mean, I could say the same about soup - "throw it in the soup" and "throw it in the soup pot" are synonyms, "they sell soups" and "they sell soup pots" are not. Similarly, "the laundry"/"the laundry basket", "the compost"/"the compost heap" and "the recycling"/"the recycling bin". Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:14, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Consider take out the trash, which doesn't mean take out the trash can. —RuakhTALK 12:26, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
(Also, I note we already have "A container into which things are discarded" as a definition of trash). Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:31, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
@DCDuring, we don't need the redirects as the search function picks out trash and garbage as the first two results respectively. No different to the cat, the dog, the hat, etc. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:32, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
@MG: Some users seem utterly mystified by links, let alone the search page. What's the resource consumption for redirects?
@Ruakh: The fairly common collocation "put it in the trash/garbage" suggests that it might mean container. That the term is used when the container is empty is even more suggestive. DCDuring TALK 14:12, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
It's more that people will need to learn to use the search function to use this site. If you can use Google, you can use Wiktionary. I consider mollycoddling an obstacle to learning. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:22, 12 June 2012 (UTC)


In one source I found, this verb is actually considered to be two distinct verbs that fell together. One is from PIE Template:termx (*stri-n-g- is an n-infix variety) and is related to strike and stroke. The other is from PIE Template:termx and is related to string. I'm not sure how far this falling-together had gone in Latin, so I don't know if there are any traces of the two distinct conjugations of these verbs (I would expect two different past participles, maybe strictus and strinctus?). But even so, the current entry may be missing some senses. Does anyone know more about this? —CodeCat 18:43, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

*Strinctus would make sense, but I can't find any evidence that it actually existed. In fact, I don't think I see anything remaining in the Latin that would suggest that. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:19, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
It may also be strenctus, or maybe strengitus or stringitus? I don't know under what conditions e would become i in Latin. The main difference between the two conjugations, if there are any traces of a distinction at all, ought to be that one alternates between string- and strig-/stric- and always has i, and the other may be string- or streng- and always has n. —CodeCat 19:25, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
None of those look right to me, but stranger things have happened in Old Latin (cf. fero). I'm afraid I probably can't help much, because all my resources are geared towards classical literature and poetry, not PIE etymology. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:34, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Well maybe you could still help. If there are two etymologies then there also ought to be two distinct senses. Are there any missing senses for this verb relating closer to 'stroke, rub' rather than the currently given sense? —CodeCat 19:41, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I am looking at a source which says that Latin stringo comes from two distinct PIE roots: however, the two PIE roots are identical in form. They are *streig- (i.e. *streyg-) "to rub, tear, cut" (> Latin stringō, -ere, strīnxī, strictum "to strip, draw a weapon"; English strike) and *streig- "to tighten, tie together" (> Latin stringō, -ere, strīnxī, strictus "to tie, lace"; "tight"; Dutch strikken). Both verbs appear to be conjugated the same way. Coincidentally, the form *streig- lends itself to at least one additional root, which means "to stop", but that is beside the point for this discussion. Hope this helps. Leasnam (talk) 21:07, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Additionally, this particular source links English string to neither of the above, but rather to a PIE *strang-/*streng-/*strenk- "rope, cord; to tighten" and relates it to Latin strangulare instead...Leasnam (talk) 21:11, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think they can be identical in this case. The n of *streng- has to be part of the root because it appears in several derived nouns and adjectives such as 'string'. The n-infix in PIE only appears in verbs, so if it appears anywhere else, it can't be an n-infix but must be part of the root. The etymology of 'strikken' is not certain according to Philippa's etymological dictionary, and is even somewhat doubtful for Proto-Germanic because it only appears in German and Dutch. 'strangulare' is a Greek loanword, and presumably derives from the zero grade *strn̥g-. —CodeCat 21:15, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
That's odd. So no mention of Old Frisian strik "rope, cord" (possibly borrowed maybe?); Middle Low German stri(c)k/stricken, in addition to Old Dutch and OHG forms from PGmc *strikkiz "rope"? Leasnam (talk) 21:52, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
No, but I suppose those count too then, unless they are loanwords from the others. That is the hard part of such words with limited spread; it's very possible that the terms got loaned, but because of the limited spread we have no way to tell. —CodeCat 21:56, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't see a thing along those lines. Every possible derived form that I checked also only fit the sense related to narrowness or compression (granted, strix has some weird stuff, but the only relevant def supports our current def for stringo). There's just no trace I can see of any merger. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:28, 12 June 2012 (UTC)


I've just created this article, and I'm not quite sure whether it makes sense. In German, "Spendierhosen" (literally "generosity trousers") are a metaphorical representation of the feeling of generosity - you can put on your Spendierhosen, take off your Spendierhosen, etc, so it didn't make sense to separate entries for each of the attestable variants. Unfortunately, on its own the article seems a bit weird. Spendierhosen doesn't literally mean "sense of generosity", it represents it. You can wear Spendierhosen but you can't wear generosity; conversely one's sense of generosity can grow or fade, but Spendierhosen can't. What's the best way of explaining this in the entry without it becoming too cumbersome? (In English we have a similar issue with words like "kid gloves". We redirect this to "handle with kid gloves" at the moment, but to be honest that seems wrong to me - you can put on and take off kid gloves too, or even use them on their own, as in the In The Loop quote "You know me, Malc. Kid gloves, but made of real kids".) Smurrayinchester (talk) 20:33, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Aren't there similar uses of the English term hat? Put on one's "giving hat" strikes me as one possible (albeit odd) gloss, where hat reads vaguely similarly to the German Hosen (trousers), as a metaphor for a role. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:52, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • There seems to be a whole class of figures of speech where an abstraction is vested in a concrete object: "put on one's thinking cap", "open a can of whoop-ass", "someone beat you in the face with an ugly stick", "wearing many different hats"/"putting on my [...] hat", probably also "putting on one's dancing shoes", "using the veto pen" (of a US president), "wielding a budgetary ax", etc. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:43, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I've made some adjustments. Specifically, I: (1) changed to a non-gloss definition using your exact phrasing above ("a metaphorical representation of the feeling of generosity"), since this sense doesn't seem well-suited to a regular glossy translation; (2) incorporated the literal translation into the definition, since this is an active metaphor, whose literal meaning affects the choice of surrounding words (namely tragen); and (3) added a literal translation of the example sentence in addition to the idiomatic one. Please take a look. —RuakhTALK 21:12, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh, that's a pretty good way of doing it. I like it. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:17, 13 June 2012 (UTC)


It's common in dictionaries to use the word person in definitions. For example, spouse says: "A person's husband or wife." As I understand it, "person" means an entity who is sentient or considered sentient or person-like. So a space alien qualifies for this meaning of "person," and an animal such as a pet often qualifies as well. In fantasy and children's books in particular, inanimate objects can be sentient and qualify as a "person."

The first definition of person says: "A single human being; an individual" but the definition of individual does not help in this regard. The nearest relevant meaning for this in the OED is: " A human being, and related senses," which does not seem to help. I see that while "spouse" does not have "person" in the OED, the word "officer" uses it. This absence has always seemed odd to me.

Is it reasonable to add this meaning to the definitions? --BB12 (talk) 03:39, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Probably; I'm sure the "sentient being" sense could be cited with quotes like, "dogs are people too." However, it might be better to expand the first sense at person instead of writing a new one. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:01, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I disagree with the last part of your comment; "person" needs to have a sense that indicates its use as a synonym of human — think of quotations like "dogs are not people"! Refer also to #race and the following section, #people, above. - -sche (discuss) 06:18, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree. And tellingly, google books:"between dogs and people" gets thousands of hits, whereas google books:"between dogs and other people" gets a big fat zero. (On the Web, google:"between dogs and other people" does get three hits, but examination of the context shows that each one means " [] and people other than the dogs' owners", not " [] and people other than the dogs".) So even if some people claim to believe that dogs are "people", no English-speaker really believes such a thing. —RuakhTALK 06:37, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure to what extent you are agreeing, but driver has "3. A person who drives a motorized vehicle such as a car or a bus. 4. A person who drives some other vehicle." If not dogs, monkeys can surely drive "other vehicles." Rather than changing all instances of "person," I think it makes sense to add a new definition. Are sub-definitions allowed such as 1a, 1b? --BB12 (talk) 09:01, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I disagree... :/ It wouldn't be easier, but I do think it would be more sensible to change "A person who..." to "One who..." where necessary (in [[driver]], [[teacher]], etc), rather than add a new "{{context|in dictionary definitions}}"(!) sense to [[person]] to account for anthropocentric dictionarians' failure to realise that monkeys can be drivers, too. The evidence for such a sense would be conjecture: because monkeys can drive certain vehicles, and a dictionary defines "driver" as "a person who drives", you conjecture that the dictionary thinks of, and intends to include, monkeys as people... but it's just as plausible that the dictionary neglectfully, or even consciously, doesn't think of them as drivers. - -sche (discuss) 11:01, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Of course that would be better, and I'm not trying to make up for other definitions in the dictionary, but it remains a fact that I feel sure that I can cite this, and that you have expressed that it's not the same sense.
@Ruakh, humans are strange, strange beings, and if you can think of a effective way to write a usage note that can explain the contradiction, I will be impressed. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:20, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
@-sche. That makes sense. --BB12 (talk) 16:16, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
So how should the definition for one be modified? It currently says: "Any person (applying to people in general)." --BB12 (talk) 16:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
@BB: I would expand our "indefinite pronoun" sense to something more like what dictionary.com has, "a[ny] person or thing of a number or kind indicated or understood: one of the Elizabethan poets" (or one of the monkeys, one of the brown dogs, one who drives, etc). I am also reminded of our way of defining [[modifier]], [[masher]] etc. : "One who, or that which,...". - -sche (discuss) 21:39, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: I'm not convinced that "dogs are people, too" supports a different sense of "people". Consider that "dogs are humans" is also attested:
"Even dogs are humans, although they sleep their animal sleep — small humans with thick fur, quick tails, and human tongues. Even worms are kinds of small, very wriggly and unpleasant humans."
"In America, Uncle Isaiah, dogs are humans."
- -sche (discuss) 21:39, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I would go for something like "any person, entity or thing" to include space aliens and animals. --BB12 (talk) 21:47, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I wonder if the legal sense of "person" is relevant here. In certain circumstances, "person" can mean anything capable of carrying out premeditated actions - a human, a company, a city, a government. Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:55, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Certainly people can refer to elves: "All elves pledged their loyalty to her court, though many lived their entire lives without ever paying their respects to her in person." "Falstaff did a very good job at cleaning the Wood Elf; the person they saw before them was among the most beautiful women any of them had ever seen" "Well, there the Elf gave his banquet. Now the guest was no less a person than Rapp, King of the Gnomes; ..." as well as other non-human species, like the insectoid Thranx: "The thranx are not insects. They're people, just like you and me, and they're supposed to be very smart." Or angels: "Usually, the celestial ... can tell that the Archangel of Stone shielded the information personally." and "In person, [Archangel] David’s a nice guy, with a lot of the Cherub still in him" (In Nomine: Superiors 1). One of the major themes of science fiction is that all of us are people, no matter what, so I can come up with many cites for this.
I'm not sure people really means "humans". If I were religious, I might say that people are those creatures with souls. If elves and klingons and thranx showed up, I think most humans would accept that they were people, and those that didn't wouldn't be saying the neutral statement that they aren't human; they would be objecting elves and klingons and thranx having rights. google books:"God is not a person" and google books:"God is a person" make it look like this is a live active question, whereas God is not human is a pretty uncontroversial statement.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:26, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
[26] is pretty clear; dogs aren't people because they can't talk or think. Not because they aren't hairless bipeds.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:49, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I am always careful to write "one who..." rather than "a person who...", precisely because I believe that "one" covers any creature whereas "person" is usually only a human. A "bus driver" or "hockey player" could easily be an animal or a teapot in a Disney cartoon. "One" works; "person" might not. Equinox 22:09, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
How would you define one? Currently, it doesn't cover animals and teapots. --BB12 (talk) 23:32, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I suppose I'd want it to encompass anything sentient (or depicted as sentient). Chambers has "somebody; anybody"; unless you are needlessly pedantic about the nature of a body, that's good enough. Equinox 23:45, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Not that I disagree, but somebody and anybody are defined in terms of people, so that still does not solve the problem. --BB12 (talk) 00:00, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, interestingly they are both defined using the word "person" in Chambers too. Dunno, I give up. Equinox 00:03, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I have added a sense to [[one]], per this discussion. I have tentatively added it as a separate sense, because I began to wonder if "driver: one who drives" was grammatically distinct from the "any person" sense, "one mustn't drive drunk or one will be arrested". What do you think? For one thing, one/you can substitute "you" into the second sense ("you mustn't drive drunk") but not the first ("driver: you who drive" has a different meaning). I have also been persuaded that we should add a new sense to [[person]] to account for the designation of elves as people (something which came up in a previous Tea Room discussion, which I linked to above). - -sche (discuss) 01:18, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Very nice! --BB12 (talk) 21:23, 15 June 2012 (UTC)


We currently define a "corniche" as "A road built alongside a sea, especially one cut into a cliff." and "A seaside esplanade or promenade." A user points out that roads along the Nile are also corniches — in fact, according to Wikipedia, our definition is incorrect and the primary meaning of "corniche" is "A road built along a ledge", which only sometimes overlooks the sea, and at other times overlooks a river. Should we keep either or both of the current senses as separate senses when we add the broader sense of "A road built along a ledge" which may or may not be a seaside esplanade, or can we regard them as unsuccessful (incomplete) attempts at the broad sense? - -sche (discuss) 21:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

  • The one along the coast of the French riviera was the original (capitalised). The OED defines the word as "any coastal road with panoramic views" (derived from that original). SemperBlotto (talk) 21:17, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I have changed the definition accordingly. - -sche (discuss) 04:57, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

go to bed

I've seen that this was nominated for deletion once. It is idiomatic, in that animals can be said to go to bed even though they aren't physically sleeping on a bed. It means to fall asleep, regardless of whether or not it's on a bed. Boxieman (talk) 01:58, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

That is why it was kept, as you can clearly see. The discussion is closed. If you want to see new discussions, they're at WT:RFD. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:07, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
That was arguably an erroneous decision. Definition of uncountable bed (the place of sleep, time of going to sleep, sleep) would be consistent with many uses of the word:
I take a drink before bed. (time)
I put the child to bed. (place}
I got to bed around two AM. (place)
It's time to go to bed. (place, sleep)
Get ready for bed, boys. (sleep)
He went there straight from bed. (place, sleep?)
Get into bed.
Bed is looking good to me now. (place, sleep)
The children tried to avoid bed. (place, sleep)
As Ruakh had observed this use of bed is curious, not seeming to accept any of the determiners that uncountable nouns usually take (eg, much).
It looks to me that we didn't tackle the unusual grammar of bed, instead preferring to claim that go to bed is a lexical item. DCDuring TALK 03:10, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
If you were a foreigner, you would be glad to see at least one example of idiomatic usage of "bed", no need to show all variations based on the additional meaning, "to go to bed" is the most common and is included in many bilingual dictionaries. The decision wasn't erroneous. It's a dictionary and we want to make it useful. --Anatoli (обсудить) 03:32, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Additionally, "go to bed" is idiomatic because with normal grammar, it would be "go to a/the bed." While "go to bed" can mean only to lie down on a bed for the purpose of sleeping (at the end of the day), "go to a bed" does not have that meaning at all. --BB12 (talk) 05:23, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Not really. One says "go to school", "go to parliament", "go to work", "go to hospital", "go to prison", etc. Should we have individual entries for those? Seems debatable. It just so happens that "bed" here also has an uncountable sense. ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:41, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure about whether "uncountable" is accurate for these senses or usages, though I think your main point stands. DCDuring TALK 12:04, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
An observation: in Scottish English the construction is different and uses personal adjectives: ‘I'm going to my bed’, ‘Are you still in your bed?’, ‘It's time to go to our beds’ etc. Ƿidsiþ 05:31, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like it deserves an entry! It would never occur to me that that formulation is possible (or even grammatical). --BB12 (talk) 05:37, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
It hasn't occurred to the lexicographers at AHD and MW2, MW3, MWOnline that it was entry-worthy. But what do they know? DCDuring TALK 06:57, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, also, finding out that something is missing in another dictionary is not a signal that this dictionary should not have it. The reverse may be interpreted as also true but I trust my intuition as a learner of various languages and don't insist on keeping just for the sake of keeping or feeling sorry for my translations. --Anatoli (обсудить) 07:03, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
On balance, I agree with DCD that the entry is a bit tenuous. I can see isolating to bed as a prepositional phrase (the OED recognises it as such), but one can retire to bed, head to bed, come to bed, and many other verbs. Ƿidsiþ 07:22, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
For such a common collocation, it is a good indication that professional lexicographers do not think it an idiom. I doubt that the OED would have it, either, preferring to use the collocations to tease out additional meanings of bed. The definitions that we have for the non-idioms involving the uncountable senses of bed are not well worded. I hope the translations actually capture the true meanings.
And now it's time for me to go back to bed. I only got up from bed to report a power outage, now cured. I think there are many redlinks for such collocations involving uncountable senses of bed. BTW, these senses of bed seem to resist modification by adjectives. The only instance at COCA of a modifier able to insert itself between a preposition and uncountable sleep was from Rolling Stone: "I'm not partying. All I'm doing is trying to get out of fucking bed." For a topically related further demonstration of the strength of this kind of intensifier and a good laugh, especially for parents, I must further recommend this from YouTube. DCDuring TALK 07:45, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I would like to know what the many other verbs are. Come, go, head and retire all have the same meaning, though "come" is from a different person's viewpoint. It may be that "to bed" would suffice with a usage note saying that verbs of coming and going (plus retire) are used with this idiom. --BB12 (talk) 18:11, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Searching COCA for [v*] to bed.[n*] gives "go", "get", "put", "come", "send", "confine", "be", "return", "take", "retire", "wear", "head", "bring", "carry", "order", "help", and many others. So, verbs of coming, going, sending, taking, bringing, commanding, and assisting. Plus "wearing". —RuakhTALK 19:11, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
‘With verbs of motion’...? Ƿidsiþ 19:28, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for that collection of verbs, Ruakh. I am to bed sounds a little odd to me, but in any case, it surely means go to bed. Put to bed has an idiomatic meaning even if to bed is made an entry. Get is such a complex verb that it would probably merit note somewhere, and retire similarly seems worthy of note (it's not a word I had thought possible).
As to a definition of to bed, I'm not sure. in bed for the purpose of sleep seems to be the common meaning, with confine being an exception (due to illness). Perhaps backing up to DCDuring's suggestion of just using bed with notes on these verbs would be best. --BB12 (talk) 19:40, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Re: "I am to bed": No, more like " [] wearing the same clothes she had put on yesterday morning, not having been to bed yet [] ". Plus, of course, lots of sexual hits; e.g., "They've probably all been to bed with him." But of course, people do say, "I'm off to bed". —RuakhTALK 19:55, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
@BenB: At the word level, the "uncountable" senses of bed are remarkable for not readily accepting determiners or adjectives. Mostly they seem to occur in phrases headed by prepositions, but a good number of them: to, into, onto; before; after; for; out of; from; by. I suppose we could have entries for each PP. By my reckoning there can't be more than three of these senses, usually one or two, of bed for each preposition. I doubt that there are too many senses of the prepositions involved either. I'm not sure that adding verbs improves anything other than our compliance with the dictates of the newish religion of linguistic "chunking". DCDuring TALK 20:00, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
This rejection of attribution is a good reason to use "to bed" or the entire verbal phrase. I don't think fucking is exceptional because that works as an infix in words (at least three syllables immediately prior to the stress as in absofuckinglutely). I think either the bare bed or with the pp to bed would work, but since the average user is more likely to look up bed, I think going with bed and redirecting from to bed might be the best solution overall. That would solve the preposition issue as well (and I think the prepositions could be added as collocations). --BB12 (talk) 21:34, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I think we are in a position to put this discussion to bed. We have the senses at bed. We can have either redirects to [[bed]] or entries for some or all of the prepositional phrases that we don't have: in bed, to bed, into bed, out of bed, before bed, for bed, from bed. Others are even less common: after bed, onto bed, and by bed. DCDuring TALK 22:11, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Re: "remarkable for not readily accepting determiners or adjectives": Though they're rather like proper nouns, in that they'll pick up both at once: google books:"to a well-deserved bed", "to a much-deserved bed", "to his much-needed bed", etc. (Compare "the great Gatsby", "the unsinkable Molly Brown", etc.) —RuakhTALK 22:24, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I am not too surprised that they are few and that they are a little ambiguous as to whether a countable sense or an "uncountable" one is intended. I didn't find anything in CGEL about this. DCDuring TALK 00:26, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
That might be grammatical. Compare "I ate [∅] breakfast," "I ate a well-deserved/light breakfast." --BB12 (talk) 00:35, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
@BB: FWIW (at the risk of veering off-topic), I would find "I ate a breakfast once. It was a breakfast in bed." to be grammatical, if uttered by a perennial late-riser who usually missed that meal. - -sche (discuss) 01:31, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand this grammar much, but I think it applies to "bed," too. Compare: Speaker A: "I was so happy to go to bed finally!" Speaker B (a cowboy in the Wild, Wild West): "I slept in a bed once." --BB12 (talk) 01:55, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
My comment doesn't make much sense, sorry. --BB12 (talk) 02:52, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly what your "this" is referring to, but have you read the blue box at the bottom of page 409? —RuakhTALK 01:09, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
@Ruakh: Exactly, thanks. It seems I am ever-deeper in your debt. I would have hoped that bed or in bed would have appeared in CGEL's lexical index, since it is mentioned as an example. My lack of formal training makes it hard for me to pick the right headings.
One important implication of what CGEL says is that I should replace the label "uncountable" with a more user-friendly version of "as a bare noun". I had been putting uncountable in quotes because it didn't seem quite right. It turns out to be quite wrong. As I analyze it, it is possible for a noun to have a sense that cannot be determined(!) to be either countable nor uncountable because it does not accept an article or determiner that would so indicate and has a sense distinct from the countable or uncountable senses. So only a subset of bare-noun senses, those unique to bare-noun usage, could be in this small class of noun senses that are neither. DCDuring TALK 02:41, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I worked with this a bit on my commute yesterday (public transportation- no lives were endangered...). I think a missing piece of the puzzle is partial metonymy: there are several place words that won't take determiners, and they can mostly be summarized as "the place where one x-es". I'm referring to bed (where one sleeps/has sex/recuperates), school (where one learns), work (where one works), church/temple/synagogue (where one worships), jail (where one...um...is in jail), hospital (UK) (where one is sick), table(UK) (where one eats). Home is particularly interesting, because it won't take any prepositions when it's the destination, and only a few otherwise(go home, be home, come home, stay home, leave home, but: at home, from home). There's a sort of stative quality to these, and they tend to have metaphorical uses: "I felt perfectly at home", "during the remodeling, they went to school in a church","last night, I went to bed on the sofa".
You can talk (in a strictly limited way) about getting to and from there, and what you do while there, but not about them as physical objects: you can drive home, but you can't walk into home. You can jump into bed, but you can't jump on bed. You can walk to school, but you can't walk to jail. Especially of interest are the limitations on "entering" and "exiting" them. The only way you can do anything physical with them is to act on a part of them with the fact that they're part of it only implied: "I went home and knocked on the door", but not: "I knocked on the door to home". "I adjusted the pillow in bed", but not: "I adjusted the pillow to bed". "I made a hole in the floor in jail", but not "I made a hole in the floor of jail". If you add a determiner, they become normal nouns: "I sat on bed" doesn't work, but "I sat on the/my bed" does.
There are also some cases where "the" doesn't seem be really a determiner at times (or at least there's a set phrase): "go to the store/bank/cleaners/etc.". "The hospital" in US usage acts very much like "hospital" in UK usage, but also like "the hospital" in UK usage: "I was in the hospital for three days with pneumonia", but also: "I was in the hospital visiting a patient"
I'm not sure exactly how to translate this into how we treat it in our dictionary, but it seems to be relevant somehow. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:02, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Your reflections and the page in CGEL that Ruakh directed us to should be helpful. The first thing I would like to do is determine whether there is some empirical support for the "uncountable" tag. In the prototypical usage we are discussing there is no determiner that helps mark uncountability or countability. I think there is some related usage seemingly in the same sense (?"too much bed/jail/church/school") that may help. (I'm going to stick to the examples that occur in US English, because I need the full assistance of native-speaker intuition.)
Perhaps a context note: "usually as a bare noun in prepositional phrases". Also, we could list all of those that CGEL has in something like Appendix:Nouns with distinct meaning when used without determiners or something more felicitous. Of course, we should add other nouns with the same characteristics as we notice them. DCDuring TALK 12:21, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm reasonably satisfied that the "sleep" and "place of sleep/rest" senses are uncountable. I'm not sure about the "time" sense, if indeed it is a distinct sense. DCDuring TALK 12:51, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Lock redux

Lock has a Tea Room tag on it. I see a conversation at Wiktionary:Tea_room/Archive_2010/January#lock.

The conversation is:

"With his hands locked behind his back". Is this just a transitive counterpart of the first sense of lock, "(intransitive) To become fastened in place : If you put the brakes on too hard, the wheels will lock", or is it a more specialized sense, meaning to dovetail or intertwine or something?​—msh210 18:35, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

At lock at OneLook Dictionary Search I found that most unabridged dictionaries have many more than 3 senses for lock#Verb. I think for each distinguishable transitive sense of the verb, there are potentially two distinct semantic aspects: (trans) I locked the door. => (intrans 1) The door locked behind me. + (intrans 2) The main door locked with a key, but she couldn't find it. (is capable of locking or being locked)
This would also apply to the interlacing/intertwining sense that you identify, though the intrans-2 aspect seems likely rare and possibly not worth mentioning. (We locked arms. Our arms locked.
It would also apply to a any kind of physical locking as if by lock or to virtual locking, with the same question as to the value of the "capable of locking" aspect.
I don't know whether there are other transitive or intransitive "aspects" of the transitive senses. For example, there might be a distinction to be noted between locking a particular opening and locking an entire enclosure.
MW has a verb sense having to do with transiting the locks of a canal and an investment sense I didn't understand.
BTW, an interesting usage is to be seen in "By the time he got there, the mongrel and his prize bitch had already locked." DCDuring TALK 19:44, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

AFAIK English has only three transitive/intransitive pairs: raise/rise, fell/fall and lay/lie. "The sun rose" is intransitive and "The sun risen above the horizon" is also intransitive. Therefore, it looks like "hands locked behind his back" is intransitive. Can someone confirm this addresses the issue so we can close this? --BB12 (talk) 07:06, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Sit/set also comes to mind. These all seem have umlaut or dissimilation in common, from a presumed earlier stage of the language where there was a causative suffix starting with a j/y sound, and, in fact, the pairs are better described as causative/not causative than as transitive/intransitive. Either way, pairs without spelling changes seem rather routine: "the destroyer sank the sub; it sank quickly", "I locked the door", vs. "the door locked behind me". In this case, it could be preceded by something like either of the following: "my hands locked behind me in the customary stance, without my even thinking about it" and "I locked my hands behind me". Thus, transitivity would seem to be ambiguous. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:54, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
As for the question at hand, Proto-Germanic *lukanan looks looks suspiciously like just *lukan with an infinitive ending, therefore apparently a verb derived from the noun. I'm not sure this merits considering them the same derivation, though, as one would for an infinitive vs. a present-tense form. For that matter, I'm not even sure for infinitives vs. participles, which are arguably both verb forms. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:13, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
(ec) Yes, a common way of forming causatives in Proto-Indo-European was to take the o-grade of the root and add the suffix -eye-/-eyo-. That -y- is the Germanic -j- that caused umlaut; since the root was in the o-grade in PIE, and since o became a in Germanic, the vowel that got umlauted in Old English was a, which was umlauted to e. There are a few other examples that are obscure because they've drifted away from each other semantically: drench was originally the causative of drink, and singe was originally the causative of sing. Modern German has some distinct pairs that have merged in English, like aufwachen "wake up (intr.)"/aufwecken "wake up (tr.)", hangen "hang (intr.)"/hängen "hang (tr.)", and sinken "sink (intr.)"/senken "sink (tr.)". —Angr 23:19, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I think I was off on the wrong track. Is the use of "lock" in "his hands locked behind his back" the same as "his hands locked"? My feeling is no. In "his hands locked behind his back," I think "locked" is an adjective that just looks like a past participle. --BB12 (talk) 19:39, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Sometimes past participles are used in passive ways, and I think "his hands locked behind his back" is one such instance. As such, the expanded verb phrase that could be used as a complete utterance would be "his hands were locked". Alternately, using the reciprocal instead of the passive, "his hands locked together" would work. (Then again, perhaps I'm misundertanding the sample phrase.) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 21:05, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
That seems like a reasonable solution. Do you think "hands locked behind me" is essentially the same as "the door locked with a key"? If so, I say remove the tag. --BB12 (talk) 21:22, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Achromatic redux

Achromatic has a Tea Room tag on it. The conversation is at Wiktionary:Tea_room/Archive_2008/September#achromatic and says, 'The current definition for sense 5, "being achromatic in subject" is rather self-referential. I think that it means, "dull, uninspiring, grey", but I'm not certain. The etymology is also in need of some attention. Thryduulf 00:54, 15 September 2008 (UTC).'

The OED concurs with dull. Is that acceptable to close this? --BB12 (talk) 07:11, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

I would go with the more literal "colorless" (forgot to sign earlier) Chuck Entz (talk) 22:17, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
The sentence (not very good) is: "The lecture was achromatic, the speaker used politics to suppress the weight of his/her subject." Would "colorless, uninteresting" work? --BB12 (talk) 21:19, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
"being achromatic in subject", ha, that is a rather poor def. There already is a literal sense ("without colour"), so I prefer BB's proposal to a second "colorless" sense. "Uninteresting, dull, colorless"? "Dull" refers to an optical phenomenon, too, so I would put "uninteresting" first in the definition, to make clear that optical dullness or colour are not what is referred to. - -sche (discuss) 22:06, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I was thinking in terms of changing "dull" to "colorless" in Thrydulf's phrase, but wasn't very clear. Your version would be fine, also. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:22, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I've been looking for an example, but cannot find one. Here is where I left off. I found two citations that I think mean unbiased: [27] and [28]. --BB12 (talk) 19:29, 16 June 2012 (UTC)



Both of these entries have two etymologies and two PoSs. The basis for this is that the evolution of the terms was apparently slackline#Noun => slacklining#Noun (by suffixation) => slackline#Verb (by back-formation) => slacklining#Verb (by inflection).

Is this excessive?

As this pattern of derivation (-ing and -ed denominal forms preceding the formation of a corresponding verb) is probably very common, it would probably apply to many, many entries which do not show it. Is it worth showing this excruciating diachronic detail when it is in the distant past? DCDuring TALK 14:59, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Yes, this excessive, and no, they shouldn't have separate etymology sections. I doubt either the suffixation or the back-formation occurred in the distant past, though. —Angr 15:44, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It seems ludicrously pedantic to list the two possible derivations under separate etymologies as if they were different words derived from different languages. No other dictionary does this (for similar words -- very few dictionaries have "slackline"). I suggest that we mention both possibilities under the one etymology. Dbfirs 15:51, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I've been bold and merged the etymologies, making a note that the verb slackline is a back-formation from slacklining. —Angr 16:55, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that looks much better. Dbfirs 08:18, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

To bridle that in thilk

Hello. Sorry for my bad English, I am French speaking. I want to know what will say :

Aristotle also
Whom that the queen of Greec so
Hath bridled that in thilk

from John Gower ? (I must write it in French...) Thank you in advance, --Égoïté (talk) 08:00, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Well you're missing a bit of the line there, and it doesn't make sense to end in ‘thilk’. What Gower actually says is I syh there Aristotle also, Whom that the queene of Grece so Hath bridled, that in thilke time Sche made him such a Silogime, That he foryat al his logique. This is a complicated translation from Middle English for you! What does it mean? Roughly, ‘I also saw Aristotle there, whom the Queen of Greece had bridled, such that at that time she played such a trick on him that he forgot all his logic.’ The passage is part of a long list of men who have been conquered by women in Gower's poem, and the image is of the philosopher bridled like a horse by this woman (although I'm not entirely sure who this Queen of Greece was exactly...the story is not familiar to me). Some of the tricky words: syh, a past-tense of see; thilk (this/that); and silogime, an old spelling of syllogism, which used to have a secondary meaning of ‘trick, artifice’. Good luck! Ƿidsiþ 08:26, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Marvellous ! I understand. So in French : J'y ai vu aussi Aristote que la reine de Grèce a bridé, lui jouant à cette époque un tel mauvais tour qu'il en oublia toute sa logique.
May I ask you the sense of practique in
There was no art of his practique
Through which it might be excluded
That he ne was fully concluded
To love, and did his obeisance.
I think translate so : Il n'y avait aucune étude de sa pratique qui permette d'exclure qu'il ne soit pleinement décidé à aimer, et lui rendre hommage. Thank in advance, --Égoïté (talk) 09:46, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, someone gives on the fr.WP a modern version. See, please, here - search on the word Aristotle. Is this translation in modern English good for you ? --Égoïté (talk) 09:58, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that looks good although it's not very modern English -- a rather old-fashioned translation. Ƿidsiþ 18:38, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much. My translation in French is : J'y ai vu aussi Aristote que la reine de Grèce a bridé comme un cheval de telle sorte qu'elle lui joua en ce temps un si mauvais tour qu'il en oublia toute sa logique. Aucune compétence dans l'apprentissage de sa pratique ne permettait d'exclure qu'il ne soit pleinement décidé à aimer, et à lui obéir.. --Égoïté (talk) 12:16, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

frais#French (noun)

The headword line says "frais m (plural frais)", but isn't the word for "cost, charge" simply always plural in French (a plurale tantum)? Shouldn't it say "frais m pl" instead? —Angr 15:10, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes. See the version on French Wiktionary. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:24, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Hmm, but the version on French Wiktionary gives the example sentence "Le frais de taxation fît bondir Martin", which is clearly singular. —Angr 15:32, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
      • And google books:"le frais est" gets two thousand hits, so the singular does exist. Looks like someone needs to correct fr.Wikt. - -sche (discuss) 21:42, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
      • One of those "when does the mistake stop being a mistake?" cases. Doesn't help that the word is spelled with an -s that would probably not be dropped in the singular (unlike with english pease). Circeus (talk) 05:35, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
By my count, the ratio of "le frais" to "les frais" on GBC is 1:32. Perhaps a usage note describing the singular would suffice. - -sche (discuss) 06:20, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Historically, it is a plural form (originally, the plural of Old French frait). So I think we should mark it up as such, with perhaps a usage note per -sche's suggestion to note the existence of the singular. Ƿidsiþ 06:29, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
There are others possibilities to translate. Search "frais" on this dictionary. Friendly, --Égoïté (talk) 08:50, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Cqui (talk) On the google search, use of "le frais de"/"les frais de" is more efficient, you usually talk about fees or cost indicating what they are about just after... I have the feeling that singular use is more cannadian that European. A search for "le frais de" on google.ca gives more than 40 000 hits. Other use of "frais" as a noun are short for air frais like in "Prendre le frais" or a wind, a breeze of beaufort force 7 un "Grand frais" like in the common forecast "Avis de grand frais" --10:02, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I added a note on the fr.wiktionary entry : [29]. Dakdada (talk) 11:20, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your help. I've edited our entry [[frais]] to present it as a plurale tantum, and made a similar usage note about its occasional use as a singular. —Angr 20:55, 19 June 2012 (UTC)


These are a group of islands mentioned in Moby Dick, wich User:David R. Ingham equated with the Prince Edward Islands. I can't tell if "Crozetts" is indeed an obsolete name for the islands, or if the Prince Edwards Islands are just interpreted as the inspiration for Melville's Crozetts. Other citations of "Crozetts" might help clear things up. - -sche (discuss) 20:53, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Looks like an alternative spelling of Crozets to me. Different islands, but not far from the Prince Edward Islands. —Angr 20:56, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh, that makes sense. :) - -sche (discuss) 21:37, 17 June 2012 (UTC)


In baseball, what is nubbing?

Doesn't mean anything to me, I watched Major League Baseball for about ten years! I'll try and find some citations. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:30, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
It seems to mean to hit the ball weakly, I see to think a nubber is a weakly hit ball, usually "a little nubber". Mglovesfun (talk) 17:35, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
In fact we already have nubber! Mglovesfun (talk) 17:42, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
For the baseball sense, which came first: nub#Verb or nubber#Noun? I doubt that nubber came from nub, at least not directly. DCDuring TALK 18:19, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
I have no idea, I was asking myself the same thing. Could well be a separate etymology to our current, confusing one ("Either directly from Low German, or from knub, from a Low German word"). Mglovesfun (talk) 09:24, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

in bed

Related to #go to bed. There have been two wordings of the non-sexual sense: "While on a bed." and "Lying in bed" with the following usage example:

Reading in bed and breakfasting in bed are two of my three favorite activities.

The first gloss seems wrong. If I sit on my bed in the middle of the day to tie my shoes, I am not in bed. And, of course, if my laundry is spread on my bed, it is not in bed.

But the second gloss is off too. If I lie down fully clothed on top of the bed and take a nap, I would not use the expression either. OTOH, if I sleep in my bed without a sheet or other covering (but not in my street clothes ?), then I am in bed. And, if, as in the usage example, I am sitting up to read or eat breakfast (ie, not lying down), then I am still in bed.

Saying this is SoP (which it may be) does not resolve the definition problem, but transfers it to bed.

CGEL refers to this kind of use of bed as relating to bed as a "frame" of an everyday activity. Bed is a kind of metonymy for that frame. I found that I needed three senses for bed to permit substitutable definitions for "sleep" and for the spatial and temporal uses of bed. And even so, I am not happy that the senses cover the usage. Usage example seem much more constructive than the definitions. Would a non-gloss definition be better? Would a hand-waving definition like the UK sense of hospital be adequate? Does anyone have any ideas or preferences for this? There are a large number of words that have this or a similar kind of usage, both commonly (school, lunch, class, dawn) and less commonly (in country, without leave, in session, in barracks), so a generalizable approach would be useful. DCDuring TALK 17:46, 18 June 2012 (UTC)


I feel like I did a shoddy job on this - massive etymology, semi-helpful user notes, and it isn't really a "common misspelling". The reason I brought it here instead of RFC is that I'd like some opinions on how much information we should even give, assuming that we should cover it in the first place. Note also w:medireview. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:30, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Ah, this is exactly like another word we had once, which was purely an artefact of some automatic system. I think it got deleted in the end. Anyone remember what that was? Equinox 08:57, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
It was some form of façade. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:06, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Talk:faccedilade Equinox 09:14, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Both are interesting instances of a new "word"-formation process, not unrelated to pwn. Human error and misconstruction seem to be fairly common participants in word formation. A programmer's error would seem to count. After all, artifacts of manuscript production and printing have crept into the language, haven't they? Aren't some hapax legomena from Shakespeare thought to be printer's misspellings?
I don't think this is common enough to be a "common" misspelling, though we have no criteria. I would think we would need a spelling to be either absolutely abundant or abundant relative to the accepted spelling. How abundant I don't know. DCDuring TALK 10:56, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure it counts as a misspelling at all. No-one has ever written medireview thinking that was a legitimate term for the Middle Ages - it's an artefact of computer processing, not unlike the OCR errors that plague Google Books. The appendix approach used at faccedilade seems like a good way of covering this, but having a full entry for this seems to imply that someone might be expected to understand and use this "word". Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:25, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm all: quoting

Looking at the entry all, there's a sense that's only hinted at there, but which is lately raising the blood pressure of proscriptivists thoughout the US: I'm referring to the use of "I'm all", "she's all", etc. to introduce quoted speech.

We have an example under the first adverbial sense ("intensifier"): 'She was all, “Whatever.”' Having heard exchanges like 'She's all, "he said he was going to ask her out", and I'm all, "really?", and she's all, "uh-huh", and I'm all, "No way!"', however, I think don't think "intensifier" begins to cover it. I'm not sure, though, how we handle such things.

Opinions? Advice? Projectiles? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:27, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

All is not the only word used like this. Like (particle), fourth sense, comes to mind. Maybe hey and well are useful models, too. Also quote should be, but isn't. DCDuring TALK 03:43, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Maybe they each indicate a different degree of literalness or accuracy, quote / unquote being the most literal, unmatched quote a bit less, all much less, and like least of all. DCDuring TALK 03:52, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it would be hard to cite, but my instinctive understanding of "like" and "all" is that they don't necessarily introduce quoted speech, they introduce paraphrased and abridged speech, where the general sentiment expressed is more important than the literal facts. A Google search for "teacher was like no way" finds a lot of hits where it's unlikely that the teacher literally said "no way", and "teacher was like fuck that" gets quite a few hits too, even though I doubt any teacher literally said "fuck that" in the classroom. "teacher was like now" finds a few hits that seem to be quoted text ("the other day at yoga class the teacher was like "now come on your chin" and i started laughing my ass off"), but mostly it is the non-literal meaning that seems to predominate. For "teacher was all now" there does seem, from a very unscientific scan, to be more literal quotation than for like, though without knowing what the teacher actually said, there's no way to know how literal the quotes are. Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:22, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I have the general impression that all seems to have implications that the discussion being reported had an emotional charge in itself or an emotional impact on the reporter. Also, it can only (?) be applied in this sense to sentences or larger units, whereas like can be applied to individual words and phrases. DCDuring TALK 13:29, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Also all like and go. And all of these can introduce non-speech as well; I can say, "so X is all", and then shake my head like crazy, and provided I'm talking to someone who can actually see my gesture, I will likely have conveyed that X shook his/her head like crazy. —RuakhTALK 20:47, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

without more

(current redlink) I see this phrase in legal opinions and other law writing some. Does it mean more than its SOP? If so, what does it mean?​—msh210 (talk) 19:47, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Looks SoP to me, i.e. "with nothing further", "without anything more". I just found "mere carnal intercourse, without more" (contrasted with a promise of future marriage). Equinox 19:52, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
The OED has it, but as an obsolete phrase meaning "without further ado", no citations beyond the 17th century. Not sure if this is the same as what you're talking about. Ƿidsiþ 19:57, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I could see some use of it, like the OED sense in some circumstances, as a formulaic phrase, meeting CFI under some reasonable combination of Pawley justifications. But it seems to be a fused-head construction with the missing head being context-dependent. Without anything further is another variant of Equinox's synonyms in a legal context. DCDuring TALK 22:11, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm thinking of things like "It is a commonplace of constitutional law and practice that if treaties are to affect private rights they cannot do so without more, and that only legislation can affect such rights." and "A regulation or decision addressed to a member state will not be regarded as being of direct and individual concern unless it applies, without more, to the private party and unless the identity and individuality of the applicants are such that they must be treated as if they had been singled out for operation of the decision." and "The scheme of the Act is that the former provisions are, without more, to have full effect in the United Kingdom." (all three of which are from [30]) and "A specific charge, I think, is one that without more fastens on ascertained and definite property or property capable of being ascertained and defined; a floating charge, on the other hand, is ambulatory and shifting in its nature [] ." (from [31]). That last one may be SOP, but I'm really not sure; and there are many other similar hits. The others don't seem to be, I don't think, and I'm not sure what the phrase means there.​—msh210 (talk) 17:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I have heard John Sexton pronounce this something like /wɪðɑwt ˈmɔɹej/. Of course, a sample size of 1 doesn't prove anything, no matter who it is.​—msh210 (talk) 17:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Those examples seem to mean something like "per se, in and of itself/themselves, in the absence of further action/legislation". But that pronunciation is fascinating; it seems to suggest that it's the Latin mōre ((without) custom, usage, wont, rule), but that doesn't fit the examples very well. Maybe it was originally Latin, but influence from the regular English more has affected/broadened its meaning? —RuakhTALK 18:40, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Or maybe it's just hypercorrection on Sexton's part. At any rate, I see we're missing a meaning from [[more] which is pronounced [mɔɹeɪ], namely the backformed singular of [[mores]]. —Angr 18:49, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I suspect it may be hypercorrection, yeah. And I guess you're right, Ruakh, as to the meaning of the phrase in those examples, which would make it SOP. Never mind, then, I suppose.​—msh210 (talk) 20:39, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't seem SOP to me; given the meanings of the component words and several examples of its use, we can divine its approximate meaning, but that just means it's possible to write a dictionary entry, not that it's unnecessary to. And I'm certain that, even if Sexton's pronunciation is a hypercorrection, it's not one that he applies to all occurrences of the word more. If it's specific to the phrase without more, then that is very strong evidence that he perceives the phrase as a distinct idiom. —RuakhTALK 11:46, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah! I've found a citation which I think may be in which I heard Sexton pronounce it that way. "And, of course, today's decision does not mean that all incidents of government which import of the religious are therefore, and without more, banned by the strictures of the Establishment Clause."[32] FWIW.​—msh210 (talk) 20:54, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
That seems fairly clear to be an anaphora with the same referent as therefore. DCDuring TALK 21:04, 25 June 2012 (UTC)


Hello. I am searching for the meaning of this word that you can find in the Forme of Cury (book of recepts from the 14th century) and for the translating in French. Thank you for your answers. --Égoïté (talk) 10:31, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

  • It looks like it could be from a combination of coriandre and carvi (the main ingredients of the sauce) - or whatever the equivalent words were in Old French. SemperBlotto (talk)
    • Thank you verey, very much ! --Égoïté (talk) 11:11, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

brick, stone

I can't help noticing we have adjective senses which seem to be noun senses. A stone wall and a brick wall, are these adjectival or mere the noun used uncountably? Mglovesfun (talk) 13:27, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Unless there is evidence of gradability or comparability (eg, "That wall is very stone|brick."), the senses are duplicative of the noun senses and constitute attributive use of the noun. There might also be some way of detecting some use after a copula that reflected a sense not in the noun, but not for the two frinstances you've given, IMHO. DCDuring TALK 14:08, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that criterium really holds in this case. In Dutch, the word stenen is unmistakably an adjective, but it's not gradable and it can't be used in a predicate either (*Die muur is stenen is generally wrong, although it did still occur like that in Middle Dutch), so it is restricted only to a modifying position like the English word: De stenen muur "The stone wall". So if a Dutch word could fail your 'adjective test' yet still be an adjective, the same could conceivably happen for an English word. Also, I don't think it would be wrong in English to say That wall is stone, which does not mean that the wall is a stone, but rather that it's made out of stone (an adjectival sense!). —CodeCat 14:41, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It is excellent English to say "That wall is stone|brick". But not all words appearing in predicate position are adjectives.
  1. English makes semantic distinctions among "That wall is the stone (that we had seen in the quarry)", "That wall is a (single, really big) stone" and "That wall is (made of) stone". The same bare-noun usage appears in "The front of the house was done in stone."
  2. I have no idea what, if any, tests might work for universal grammar or Dutch grammar. I am only interested in tests for English grammar. Perhaps this kind of discussion should be on an "About English" project page.
  3. Not only can most mass nouns be used in this way, but words reflecting method or style of construction, composition, or design can as well. ("That house is frame.")
  4. Semantic criteria alone, such as the grammar of a gloss, are slender reeds on which to rely for grammatical determinations. In any event, the gloss of "made of X" (grammatically, participle + PP, functioning as a predicate) on which you seem to base your assertion only works for predicate use and not for attributive use. (For a related case of the irrelevance of the grammar of glosses: Many English prepositions can be glossed as present participles. That does not make them verbs, verb forms, or present participles.)
  5. What dictionaries show brick or stone as adjectives?
I hope I haven't blundered in some way in this. I am very concerned with eliminating needless duplication of semantic information between adjective and noun PoS sections (and between adverb and adjective PoS sections for prepositional phrases, as well as other cases). English has plenty of undeniable instances of PoS conversion without adding all the questionable cases. BTW, I do think we need more instances of varied common grammar in usage examples, eg, attributive use of nouns, use of nouns as objects of prepositions). DCDuring TALK 15:58, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps another argument comes from COALMINE: a stone house is something very different from a stonehouse, which shows that the morpheme 'stone' has distinct senses depending on the spacing. That is not the usual situation for compounds, so I argue that stone house is not a compound but a noun phrase. —CodeCat 16:28, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
And to clarify, even though stonehouse could also be spelled stone house, there are actually two ways to pronounce it: /ˈstoʊnhaʊs/ "house that has something to do with stones" and /ˌstoʊnˈhaʊs/ "house made of stone". The first intonation pattern is consistent with that of a compound, and it is also the intonation that the Dutch compound stenenhuis has (with the same meaning). On the other hand, the second intonation pattern is that of a noun-adjective phrase, just like the Dutch equivalent stenen huis. Compare also green house /ˌgɹiːnˈhaʊs/ "house that is green" and greenhouse /ˈgɹiːnhaʊs/ "house that has something to do with greens (i.e. plants)". I would say this is very strong evidence that the sense of stone meaning "made of stone" is syntactically an adjective. —CodeCat 12:07, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I look forward to seeing what the attestable meaning of stonehouse might be. My expectation is that it could be a definition reference (the Stone (family) house), a proper name (capitalized), a conversion of a proper name, a building used to process stone, or a building that contains a (large) grinding stone, not merely a house/building made of stone. DCDuring TALK 12:51, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't have any attestable meaning, but like most compounds, its most likely meaning is transparent and predictable. —CodeCat 14:12, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
But then what bearing does it have on the question of the PoS we should show for stone when used attributively.
I would think that, 1., the straightforward application of basic "rules" of interpretation of such collocations, 2., the lack of any other adjective-like behavior of stone, and 3., the benefits of having a single location for the meanings of stone (almost all available for use attributively) combine to argue against an adjective PoS. DCDuring TALK 14:27, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

lūpa as translation for lip

Latvian lūpa was listed as a Latvian translation to be checked under lip. It works fine for the basic meaning 'lip'; but for the meaning 'something on the body that looks like a lip', there is a split. You can use Latvian lūpa to refer to the vaginal labia (usually as kaunuma lūpa, lit. 'genital lips'), but as far as I know not to refer to the edge of a wound (the latter strikes me as a very English, or at least Germanic, use of the word 'lip'; perhaps 'vaginal labia', which is much more widespread, should be listed as a meaning independent from 'wound lips', etc.?). So lūpa works in one case (vaginal labia) but not in another case (wound lips). For that meaning, can it still be listed as a translation, or should it be left out of the translation table altogether? If I simply add it, I'm afraid the casual reader will assume that lūpa is used in all cases, when in fact (as far as I know) it isn't. --Pereru (talk) 14:29, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Maybe we should split up defn. 2 into "labium of the vulva" (not actually the vagina, right? I'm afraid female genitalia are a closed book to me) and "edge of a wound". Are there any other parts of the body beside the mouth lips, the vulva's labia, and the edges of wounds that are called "lips"? —Angr 15:27, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Is "edge of a wound" even a distinct sense? I think that it and "the rim of an open container" are just two subcases of a general "edge of an opening" sense that we're missing (see google books:"the lip of the"). For that matter, perhaps the same could be said of the "labia" subsense; I'm not sure. —RuakhTALK 15:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be better just to add a gloss to the translation like ('female genitalia')? Unless you think it's really an independent sense in English (or etymologically distinct as a translation from labia) Chuck Entz (talk) 15:45, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I thought about the possibility of adding a gloss/qualifier, but then it occurred to me that it's probably not just Latvian that uses the word for "lip" metaphorically to mean labium but does not use it for the edge of a wound. I suspect there are a lot of languages that do the same thing. That's why I suggested splitting the definition. —Angr 16:57, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

British Sign Language glossary

Courtesy of Dan Goodman on the American Dialect Society, 119 physics words have been translated to British Sign Language: "Obscure physics words get sign language equivalents". --BB12 (talk) 02:30, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Interesting. Alas, it's top-down (translation by fiat) rather than in use.​—msh210 (talk) 05:59, 25 June 2012 (UTC)


The last two definitions are not very clear. Aggregate has many meanings, and "a batch of things that go together" is rather vague. 03:20, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

This looks like an attempt to cover "the whole schmeer" (="the whole ball of wax" = "the whole kit and kaboodle" = "the whole shooting match", the whole megillah, etc.) which is a Yiddishism that's made its way into regular US English.
Note that I spelled it differently- we need {{alternative spelling of}} entries for schmeer, shmeer, and shmear- if not others. I suspect that the phrase is idiomatic enough for us to create an entry for it and move those senses there.
As for etymology, I suspect there's a connotation to schmear of filth (German terms like Schmiergeld and Schmierpapier are suggestive of it), so it might be equivalent to "all that crap", but that's just a guess. Chuck Entz (talk)

kindergarten, nursery school and preschool

Is there a difference between these three? I thought there was. There are indeed different Wikipedia pages for kindergarten and preschool. But we list these three as synonyms of each other. ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:09, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

There are differences. First, it depends on the country. In UK, a nursery school is what Americans call kindergarten, with certified, degreed teachers. In the U.S., kindergarten is the part of the formal system of education and it immediately precedes grade one. Kindergartners are five years old, first-graders are six. In the U.S., nursery school and preschool are optional programs and not part of the educational system, but are essentially babysitting programs, and the "teachers" do not need degrees. There is no requirement to attend preschool or nursery school before enrolling in kindergarten.
Nursery schools are day-care facilities that have trained staff, and they accept children from six weeks of age through age five, and usually offer some form of preliminary education.
Preschool is similar to nursery school, except that enrollment is limited to three- and four-year-olds. Children that have attended either nursery school or preschool, or both, usually have an easier time when they reach kindergarten, and are much more likely to pass kindergarten successfully. —Stephen (Talk) 07:04, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll just add that there's also nursery, which (among its other meanings) refers in the States to a specific grade of preschool, namely the one three years before 1st grade, so for three-year-olds. The year after that is pre-kindergarten or pre-K, followed by kindergarten. (These names are used e.g. in a preschool attached to an elementary school.) (However, in some U.S. schools — I suspect it may be, specifically, east-coast Jewish schools — the four-year-old grade is called kindergarten rather than pre-kindergarten, and the five-year-old grade is Pre-1A (or pre-1A) rather than kindergarten.)​—msh210 (talk) 07:20, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
When referring to a Japanese 幼稚園, any of these terms is used because the 幼稚園 encompasses all of those ages. See w:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Japan#School_grades, where it shows children aged three to six attending 幼稚園. --BB12 (talk) 21:08, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
That is oversimplifying it. ja:w:保育園#.E6.A6.82.E8.A6.81 says that 保育所, a redirect from 保育園, is stipulated by law as being for children from the moment of birth until elementary school (and older in special cases). The two systems simply do not match and so the terms do not match. As Liliana points out below, this problem exists at least in Germany as well, so the definitions of these words should be crafted so they can be flexible while indicating there are slight differences among the terms. --BB12 (talk) 19:45, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah, thank you Ben, I had misunderstood your previous post to mean that 幼稚園 was equivalent to both preschool / nursery school and kindergarten. I agree, the two systems do not match. And now that I look at 幼稚園, I believe that entry might need tweaking. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:15, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

In Germany, Kindergarten is where three-year old children go and stay until they're six or seven. Vorschule is a separate concept where five-year old children go to get prepared for elementary school, however Wikipedia says that the Vorschule has been abolished in Germany (it was very obscure even while it existed). -- Liliana 19:35, 26 June 2012 (UTC)


I rolled back this edit because I'm very familiar with usage like "you had ought to go", but had I ought to do that? "Had ought to" as I'm familiar with it is often just an emphatic present tense. Is "ought" also used as a past participle? - -sche (discuss) 04:38, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

It can be, but as a past participle of owe (archaic, dialectal). Hits in Books for constructions like "have/has ought to [verb]" seem to be constructions of this, as is the emphatic use above (= you had owed to go). I don't believe ought can be the past participle of itself (?) Leasnam (talk) 15:50, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Of course. Fine. This is a defective modal verb, and as such should not have an inflection template. -- ALGRIF talk 16:37, 27 June 2012 (UTC)


Sense 3 of this Latvian word refers (if my sources -- a couple of paper dictionaries plus an online one -- are to be trusted) to a "small sharp ribbed protuberance/stud (? which is better?) at the bottom of a horseshoe to increase traction and prevent slipping", which reminded me of cleats on shoes. But is it possible in English to speak of a 'horseshoe cleat'? Would this work as a translation for radze? Clearly my English isn't enough here -- I don't have the faintest idea. I couldn't find any google examples, so I wondered what you guys who are native speakers of English would think of it. --Pereru (talk) 14:33, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

See calk and w:caulkin.​—msh210 (talk) 17:33, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! That's exactly what I needed to know. --Pereru (talk) 17:46, 27 June 2012 (UTC)


  • Merriam-Webster.com has "a sound like that of rain falling in large drops" as a definition for spat.
  • AHD online has "A spattering sound, as of raindrops" and also "Template:informal A slap or smack".
  • Collins online has "Template:rare a slap or smack"
  • OED online has "A smart blow, smack, or slap. Also fig." and "A sharp, smacking sound".

The above are under the same etymology as the "quarrel" sense.

  • OED online also has, under another etymology, "A small splash of something" ("Spats of mud" is in a citation there).

We have no sense comparable to any of these.

I'm not sure what to make of the collection at [[citations:spat]] (which, n.b., was collected by searching only for "a spat of").

Any input would be appreciated.​—msh210 (talk) 21:20, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

I can read the 1998, 2001, 2003, and 2010 citations as spate. Your search would find such misspellings (by my lights), if that's what they are. DCDuring TALK 23:36, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I can read them that way, too, but the dictionaries cited above seem to think there's a distinct spat (perhaps influenced by spate? No idea).​—msh210 (talk) 18:48, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
The two (three with "spate" sense) would hard to cite but can so many lemmings be wrong, especially when one is the OED? DCDuring TALK 19:01, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

right of way

In which sense should "way" be taken ? As a "road" or "path from one place to another"?—This comment was unsigned.

I imagine it could be either. It may have originally had the first, more literal meaning (the right to travel over a road) but then have acquired other senses. —CodeCat 00:47, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. —This comment was unsigned.
Our entry shows a few senses of right of way, which show that various senses for way might be appropriate depending on the particular sense of the entire phrase that is intended. DCDuring TALK 02:17, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


There are a lot of verb senses but I can't really make sense of what they are supposed to mean... I think they need example sentences, and maybe they should be cleaned up some too. Could someone have a look please? —CodeCat 00:44, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Ruakh had inserted some usage examples. I have consulted Century and MWOnline and cannot make sense of three of the senses, one of which MW calls archaic. I have provided no usage examples for those. I have added transitive and intransitive tags for all, even, in a fit of overconfidence, the two I don't really get and for which MW offers no guidance. I have added usage examples for those I think I understand and added a sense, which Century had, which might encompass the two senses I don't understand. HTH. I moved one of Ruakh's usage (with over) examples to sense 1 from the sense whose definiens includes over.
Please ask more of this kind of question whenever an entry seems poor. DCDuring TALK 02:55, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Can 3 be deleted? It seems to be adequately covered by 1. --BB12 (talk) 07:01, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


Interesting... "(slang) nudity, particular bare breasts."... does it have to be breasts I wonder? ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:46, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Sounds odd. Whenever I've heard it, "Showing some skin" always means stopping short of actual nudity. It's the sort of phrase leering newspaper editors use about women in bikinis, and I don't think I've ever heard it used to refer to someone showing parts that society might consider indecent. Smurrayinchester (talk) 18:37, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd have to agree. Skin in this context refers pretty literally to "skin" - this is of course synonymous with nudity, since humans' skin is mostly hidden by clothing, so uncovered skin can be considered "nude" and nudity of course involves skin. But I would not consider breasts to be included in this specific definition, never mind "particular[ly]". The quotation "Let me see some skin" is also not one I'd expect to be used to encourage a woman to expose her breasts. If the definition remains, the typo "particular bare breasts" should at least be fixed. -- 20:48, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

aeroplankton analogs

A few observations: the plural of plankton is planktons (as in, different bodies of water will contain different planktons) but the plural of aeroplankton is listed as itself. Shouldn't it also end with 's'? Also, shouldn't there be definitions for aeroplankter and aeroplankters (individual organisms)? I can't find any refs online but it's analogical reasoning. (Please forgive my fascination with floating spiders.) Duga3 (talk) 02:44, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

The answers to your questions mostly hinge on usage: we're a descriptive dictionary, so we describe terms as they're actually used rather than how the could be used. If people write aeroplankter, then we should create an entry for it, otherwise, we shouldn't. Likewise, the plural should be what people use, not what makes sense from similar words (though we should mark whether it's considered to be incorrect English with usage notes and context labels such as {{context|proscribed}}) in the case of the plural, though, the plural being the same as the singular may be an attempt to indicate that it's normally uncountable. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:11, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
"Aeroplanktons" is very rare, but attested; the phrase "aeroplankton are" is also attested. It probably is appropriate to format both entries identically: usually uncountable, but sometimes pluralised with -s. - -sche (discuss) 03:54, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice! I've searched up all those terms in several websites, including dictionaries and search engines. I can't find anything though. If I have a chance, I'll drop by a library this weekend and see if I can find any published usages of the words, in which case I suppose I could make entries for them.Duga3 (talk) 02:16, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you could also research epiplankton, nanoplankton, phytoplankton, zooplankton and probably many more. The words seem to be mainly used as both singular and plural (along with "plankton"), but if you can find cites for respective populations in different environments, then do go ahead with the entries. Is "plankters" a more common plural than "planktons"? Dbfirs 08:15, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
It wouldn't matter, because they have completely different meanings! 'Plankters' is equivalent to the singular 'Plankton'. It's admittedly confusing, but I've done enough marine biology in my day to get so used to it that I get annoyed when the terms are misused. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 09:25, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I wasn't intending to suggest an exclusive choice between plurals. "Plankters" refers to multiple individuals, and, as you say, is almost equivalent to saying "plankton are ...", though I imagine a larger group (not distinguished as individuals) when the the word "plankton" is used. (And "planktons" should be reserved for reference to different populations, of course.) Dbfirs 08:56, 2 July 2012 (UTC)


The translations given at the adverb sense don't match the senses listed. I'm not sure which would be more worth keeping, the translation senses or the current senses. Of course keeping the translation senses would allow us to keep the translations themselves so it's a bit more convenient. —CodeCat 16:27, 30 June 2012 (UTC)


"An academic grade given by certain institutions." That ought to be D- because is a typographical dash, not a minus sign. Agree? Equinox 22:58, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Yep (and C−‎, etc). Should it also be a {{non-gloss definition}}? - -sche (discuss) 23:02, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
But is exactly a minus sign; I mean, the official name of that codepoint is "MINUS SIGN", which I think is pretty unambiguous. Maybe you're confusing it with (EN DASH)? —RuakhTALK 23:26, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Touché. - -sche (discuss) 00:24, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I was. I'm used to the "ASCII" minus, which I suppose is meant to be a hyphen? Equinox 00:26, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
ASCII - is a single character for both hyphen and minus (Unicodified as "HYPHEN-MINUS"); since Unicode views hyphen and minus as separate characters, and there's no way to extricate either from that ASCII character, it provides a separate hyphen - (HYPHEN) and a separate minus (MINUS SIGN). (Actually, several separate hyphens and separate minus signs, because Unicode thinks codepoints are potato chips.) —RuakhTALK 01:01, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Striking.​—msh210 (talk) 17:35, 3 July 2012 (UTC)


It seems that a certain noun sense of the word, ie a celebrating or identifying movement such as w:Gay pride is missing from this page. Since there are several pages of this kind on Wikipedia (w:Black pride, w:White pride) and they are listed on the pride disambiguation page, it seems strange not to include them on the Wiktionary page. This whole thing came up because a friend said she was going to a local pride at the weekend, reminding me that it is common usage to refer to these celebratory events as such. -- 09:36, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

worse (noun)

Does this actually suggest a noun? "His mood took a turn for the worse." Equinox 11:05, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I wouldn't say so. You can put any comparative there: 'for the better', 'for the greener', 'for the more grammatical'. I think it's just a substantivised adjective. —CodeCat 11:38, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
It should be removed then. Also how about the noun at "new": "out with the old, in with the new". That's just elliptical for "in with what is new". Not a noun. Equinox 14:32, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
CGEL (p 529 "Further adjectival functions") calls this a "fused modifier head ... combin[ing] the functions of internal modifier and head in NP structure.". "Fused-head constructions": They're not just for determiners. DCDuring TALK 17:39, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I would speedy delete this as an adjective, not a noun. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:36, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Acronyms no longer

Is there a term (or category) for names that used to be acronyms (or initialisms) but no longer stand for them (e.g. w:BRAC (NGO) used to stand for "Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee" but no longer does)? This is visually similar to names that the holder prefers to be in all caps (e.g. w:Gigabyte Technology likes their name to be "GIGABYTE"). --Bequw τ 11:46, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I seem to think ESPN is the same. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:00, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia calls them Pseudo-acronyms Chuck Entz (talk) 16:15, 1 July 2012 (UTC)


I have never seen a independent Usage of this as a Conjunction, unless you count the ampersand. It is used in Phrases to be sure though, but it seems implied here that it was us’d in general. --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:34, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm guessing you meant the term in English? —CodeCat 14:56, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is what the Link returns, does it not ? --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:59, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
On Wiktionary you can never rely on a link pointing you to the right section, unfortunately. In this case, there are many Conjunction sections on the page, and you are linked to the first one, but for all I know you could have meant the French or Latin one. —CodeCat 15:24, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
These would make a good rfv, wouldn't it? Use of 'et' to mean and in English sentences. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:08, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure it would have no difficulty passing RFV overall (just the first two pages of results at google books:"et so on" already find one · two · three cites), but we might have some difficulty finding appropriately obsolete cites. :-P   —RuakhTALK 20:28, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I hardly disputed that the Significance exists, but I expected the Scope of its Usage to be much more limited. You can go ahead and test this in Requests for Verification, I am going to pass. --Æ&Œ (talk) 20:35, 1 July 2012 (UTC)


The header says 'verb' but the sense is an adjective. I think the sense may be wrong because fr:panggang lists verb senses, but I don't know Indonesian so I can't be sure. —CodeCat 18:45, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

no such thing as

"There is/are no such thing(s) as ____" is a common set phrase in English, but it seems to me that a learner wouldn't be able to deduce how to create the phrase, even if s/he knew the definitions of each part. Would that make it NSOP and deserving of an entry? Or could some of the the individual entries (or such as) be improved to explain this kind of phrase? Siuenti (talk) 11:57, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

IMO no, because we are a dictionary, not a grammar book (though a WikiGrammarBook would be a fine project). How would such an entry cover all the bases: "no such thing", "no such thing as", "there isn't/wasn't such a thing", "does such a thing exist? no"... A dictionary cannot be an all-purpose sentence construction kit; it deals with units (word and set phrase); rules must be shown as rules and not by a million examples. Equinox 12:15, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
See b:English Grammar. Textbooks are Wikibooks' domain, not ours. —Angr 13:08, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
This expression is certainly decodable using a dictionary. Encoding phrases, including those that are decodable piecewise, seems to be the province of a phrasebook.
If we had a well-defined purpose and agreed-on criteria for phrasebook entries, rather than simply treating it as a dumping ground for SoP expressions that would have otherwise failed SoP (or worse), then expressions such as this, which are not included in any monolingual dictionary, would be good candidates for inclusion therein, IMO. DCDuring TALK 13:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Schrödinger's cat

I'm not sure what the distinction between the common and proper noun is, if any. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:58, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes. They both look encyclopedic, devoid of lexicographic value, even in a translating dictionary. DCDuring TALK 23:20, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The more I look at it, the proper noun almost looks like a deliberate joke. It's a bit like saying my cat is a proper noun because there's only one of it. Sigh. Mglovesfun (talk) 00:01, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
It's a Daniel Carrero entry, telling them apart from deliberate jokes is sometimes a bit tricky. Harsh but true. Mglovesfun (talk) 00:04, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
The difference is the syntax: one is used as a common noun, and one as a proper noun. It's just like having a separate ===Noun=== and ===Adjective===, or a separate {{countable}} and {{uncountable}}, when a single sense shows syntactic diversity. —RuakhTALK 00:41, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
So... it remains in an undefined state- neither noun nor proper noun- until you use it in a sentence? ... Chuck Entz (talk) 05:52, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
"Cat" in the citations for the proper noun meaning is not capitalized, but there is no article indicating the proper noun POS is correct. I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of "Is there a John in the room?" --BB12 (talk) 08:56, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Re: "I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of 'Is there a John in the room?'": I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Judging by the quotations, it looks to me like there're just two different conceptualizations of Schrödinger's cat (both the term and the concept): some people (myself included) imagine the thought experiment as applying to a single, specific, imaginary cat, whereas others apparently imagine the thought experiment as an experiment that is imaginarily performed repeatedly on many imaginary cats. —RuakhTALK 17:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand how you get that from the quotations. Under the common noun section, there is one quotation using the indefinite article and one using the plural form. Under the proper noun section, the quotations are all singular with no article (which is a characteristic of proper nouns). --BB12 (talk) 18:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Chuck you made me giggle... that was clever. :) —CodeCat 10:34, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
It is redundant to have this at both noun and proper noun, when they mean the same thing. Compare Jesus, Talk:Jesus. Equinox 19:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

a square peg in a round hole

I don't understand the definition at all. It's worded as a verb, but the phrase and the (only) translation rather suggest a noun. -- Liliana 08:26, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

No usable content? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:25, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Beer parlour#User:Sae1962. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:40, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

have someone going

I cannot find this treated as an idiom in any OneLook reference. It is superficially an instance of the construction used in "I had him whitewashing fences for me in no time.". But I could not identify a sense of go#Verb that fit the meaning it seems to have here, perhaps "upset, excited", either in Wiktionary or at MWOnline. Nor could I find a suitable sense at any PoS at going. I cannot imagine go being used with this meaning in any other expression. Is this an idiom or have my less-than-exhaustive research and imagination missed something? DCDuring TALK 15:16, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes, but I'm having trouble coming up with a really good definition. An example :- "You had me going there for a minute!" means "I was taking you seriously for a while - until I realised that you were joking". SemperBlotto (talk) 15:55, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
    @SB For that example, our closest seems to be go#Verb (to make an effort). Perhaps this sense from MWOnline captures it: "to begin an action or motion". With some extension of the wording, "or an emotional state or thought process", that might encompass both my thought about how this is used and yours. Perhaps broadening to "To begin an action or process".
    Does this sense of go exist outside this expression. MWOnline has a usage example for their sense "Here goes." It is clearly semantically related to "he is going to do something" and some dialect use of go as an auxiliary or intensifier. Is it an "intransitive" version of "She went riding". DCDuring TALK 17:50, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
    • There are at least two meanings for to have someone going. One is as both SB and msh say, but there is also "to make someone upset, to provoke someone". These meanings are certainly derived from a sense of go, but is enough meaning added in the whole expression to constitute an idiom? DCDuring TALK 17:55, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm thinking it's an idiom, but I wonder why others don't. DCDuring TALK 18:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
"Get" can be used in place of "have": "He really got her going." "You got me going there for a moment." The usual distinction between "have" and "get" (someone is in the state of "going" vs you bring someone into that state) applies, but seems too subtle to merit having two entries or trying to move the content of the idiom to [[going]] just because it can take two verbs, not one. It certainly does, as you seem, seem like an idiom. - -sche (discuss) 19:48, 3 July 2012 (UTC)


I do not believe that this term should be classified as an alternative spelling, but Ruakh disagrees. I would rather not continue arguing about this with him, so I would like to see your opinions on this instead.

‘Publically’ and ‘publicly’ mean the same thing of course. So do uncorrect and incorrect. However, the affixes in these terms are significantly separate, and thus I believe that they should be treated as synonyms. If you have objections, please explain your positions. --Æ&Œ (talk) 20:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Are they pronounced differently? I suspect not, except perhaps out of hypercorrectness. DCDuring TALK 20:25, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Not that many of the (underlying) references at publically at OneLook Dictionary Search have publically except as a redirect to publicly. MWOnline presents it as they would an alternative form or spelling, but also some derived terms. WordNet (which doesn't have alternative forms, being a semantic network, not a dictionary), has the two as synonyms. Most of the others convey no information relevant to the distinction under discussion or incorporate or reference WordNet. DCDuring TALK 20:40, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I recall in my primary-school spelling tests, we were read a lot of words like politically and publicly to spell, and we would listen closely to try to discern a telltale -al- in the pronunciation, but our teachers always read in a way that we could not hear any difference. We often spelt them "politicly" or "publically", which were considered incorrect spellings and unacceptable. So for us at least, "publicly" and "publically" were one and the same word (except that only one of them was correctly spelt). —Stephen (Talk) 21:04, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

get fresh

Am I the only one who feels like this idiom means more than just "flirt"? I think it also has a connotation of doing so inappropriately. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:43, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Just realised we already have the two meanings at fresh - 1. Rude, cheeky, or inappropriate; presumptuous; disrespectful; forward. 2. Sexually aggressive or forward; prone to caress too eagerly; overly flirtatious. - Perhaps this idiom is SoP after all? ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:50, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

And the word fresh is often used playfully in speech, as part of flirting. DCDuring TALK 16:49, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
While looking at the entry, I added the "inappropriate" sense (i.e. "to come on to (someone)"). I specifically remembered this usage from televion shows when I was a kid. Leasnam (talk) 21:19, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Blood flushing the fruit

"Who plants a seed begets a bud, Extract of that same root; Why marvel at the hectic blood That flushes this wild fruit?" (Fruit of the Flower by Countee Cullen, 1925)

  • What is the meaning of the "flushing" here = a rush of juice into the fruit that makes it ardent\colourful, or "flushing" closer to the "flushing" of game by hunters, i.e. making the fruit appear\come out of a plant? I think the first one. Then wouldn't it be proper to change the (intransitive) mark in the article on flush (verb, meaning 4) or add an additional meaning with markings (poetic, transitive) to the list? --CopperKettle (talk) 03:03, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

sērsna snow crust?

I'm wondering if there is a better English expression or word for this concept -- frozen snow, a layer of frozen snow. Is 'snow crust' OK? Is it the best term? Thanks in advance! --Pereru (talk) 04:51, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Well, both w:Alpine skiing and w:Types of snow define crust as a thin layer of hard snow with softer snow under it. Is that what sērsna means? —Angr 07:25, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
snow crust and snowcrust look attestable. DCDuring TALK 11:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
See this technical glossary for non-technical definition and more encyclopedic explanatory material. DCDuring TALK 11:53, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Chinese characters in Vietnamese translations for some words

I'm curious to know why there are Chinese translations in the Vietnamese translation section for some English words, for example: brave (strong in the face of fear). I'm a Vietnamese myself and I can confirm that nowadays people there don't speak Chinese at all. It's confusing to see the Chinese characters in those sections. So I tried removing them, but then some bots reverted it back. I'm new here, so please help to explain. Thanks! Ben —This unsigned comment was added by Pckben (talkcontribs) at 12:19, 5 July 2012‎ (UTC).

Weren't Chinese characters originally used to write Vietnamese, though? —CodeCat 12:48, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
It's not Chinese, but rather Chu Nom (a writing system, based on that of Chinese, that was formerly used for Vietnamese). But I agree with you; there's no reason to give Chu Nom renderings in translations-sections of English words. —RuakhTALK 14:39, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Caramel carmel

I came to Wiktionary hoping to learn how acceptable/unacceptable is "carmel" for "caramel". I find that carmel rudely (without warning) redirects to Carmel, and Carmel currently does not acknowledge at all the common noun carmel to be itself enormously common (as a variant?/misspelling?/mispronunciation?). I am not arguing that "carmel" must be accepted as a valid variant, but I am arguing that the matter cannot be completely ignored (as it currently is). I don't know what to do about it. Ideas? --→gab 24dot grab← 20:32, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

If carmel is a common misspelling of caramel, then it should be de-redlinked and labeled a {{misspelling of}} caramel. But if people frequently pronounce caramel [ˈkɑɹməl] while still spelling it caramel, then [ˈkɑɹməl] should be added to the pronunciation line and labeled {{nonstandard}}. —Angr 20:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
People do frequently pronounce caramel ˈkɑɹməl while spelling it caramel: wealready have that pronunciation listed, and I don't know that it's nonstandard. I don't know whether carmel is a common misspelling: cites will tell.​—msh210 (talk) 21:11, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
google books:"eating|of carmels", restricting to those works whose previews Google lets me see, shows me exactly four relevant results, one of which uses a lot of eye-dialect spellings, of which this may be one. The same search with caramels yields hundreds.​—msh210 (talk) 21:28, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
How is Carmel pronounced? If with emphasis on the first syllable (/ˈkɑɹməl/), then we can link between it and caramel using {{homophones}}.​—msh210 (talk) 21:11, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I think I've heard both /ˈkɑɹməl/ and /kɑɹˈmɛl/ for it. —Angr 21:33, 5 July 2012 (UTC)