Wiktionary:Tea room

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Tea house party in Japan (not tea ceremony)-J. M. W. Silver.jpg

A place to ask for help on finding quotations, etymologies, or other information about particular words. The Tea room is named to accompany the Beer parlour.

For questions about the technical operation of Wiktionary use the Beer parlour. For questions about specific content, you're in the right place.

Tea room archives +/-

Please do not edit section titles as this breaks links on talk pages and in other discussion fora.

Oldest tagged RFTs


January 2015

cause and effect

I feel like we should have an entry for cause and effect, but for some reason I feel if I create it, it will unfortunately be deleted. Is it a keeper? --Enterloppd (talk) 23:13, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

I've given it a stab. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:17, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
You've defined it as karma?! For example...? Equinox 06:51, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
I can imagine it happen, though probably only as a weakly metaphor-ish interjectional: "Why does this keep happening to me?" "You are nasty to people, they return the favour. Cause and effect.". But the other senses are quite SOPpy, and I doubt even this usage is common or standard. Ultimately this should be determined by citations, I think. Keφr 11:56, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Appendix:Proto-Germanic/sibiz (Engl. sieve, German Sieb)

I'm just flagging an inconsistency here. The termination here is -iz, which would make the word masculine or feminine, but the gender stated is neuter. Is it *sibiz, feminine, matching the gender in Dutch; or is it *sibi, neuter, matching the gender in German. Given the comparative rarity of neuter i-stems (such as *mari, sea), I imagine the first alternative is more likely. Dave crowley (talk) 05:35, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Let's move it. Leasnam (talk) 16:29, 8 January 2015 (UTC)


Are we missing the medical sense - i.e. "we found shadows on your X-ray"? ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:49, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

  • I've extended sense #1 a little. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:03, 4 January 2015 (UTC)


tidy-up and tidy up exist as separate entries, both claiming to be a verb. Is the former not a noun? Compare clean-up, clean up. —This comment was unsigned.

They are probably both found as nouns. I'm not so sure that all the inflected forms of tidy-up (especially tidied-up and tidies-up) exist. The gerund tidying-up might and the bare form tidy-up might, as the entry suggests. As a matter of style I would never write the hyphenated form for any inflection of the verb, but others seem to differ. DCDuring TALK 18:42, 3 January 2015 (UTC)


Can someone better qualified than I have a look at this? I believe the third 'noun' usage is in fact an adjective. There is, however, no section for use of the word as an adjective while we speak of landmark events in history and landmark rulings in law. Perhaps I'm missing something? Happy New Year to all S a g a C i t y (talk) 12:00, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

It's attributive usage, like "crisis point" or "tractor parts". You can't be "very landmark", or say "the event was landmark". It's not truly adjectival. Equinox 15:59, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
It's plausible as an adjective, "a very landmark ruling". I say plausible because I haven't checked for usage. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:03, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
google books:"very landmark" has enough citations without searching for more, including a couple from Jimmy Carter. google books:"quite landmark" gets 5 hits that I can see and google books:"the most landmark" gets hits as well. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:19, 4 January 2015 (UTC)


What is the specific, official, meaning of FLIFO. Any dictionary I can find, including here, only states it means flight information, but I am sure it has an official, more technical meaning. Thanks. --Dmol (talk) 22:26, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

in no small measure, in no small part

Are these worthy of entries, or should they be parsed as individual words? ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:43, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Neither is in a OneLook reference. In no small measure seems to use measure in a sense, possibly archaic or even obsolete, and in a construction that is not common. In no small part uses the same construction, but a common and current definition of part. DCDuring TALK 14:32, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Template problem

The pinyin at this page was wrong for the example 她借着闪烁的烛光读书, which is «tā jiè zhe shǎnshuò de zhúguāng dúshū» and used to be «tā jiè zhù shǎnshuò de 燭guāng dúshū». I tried to correct it, but the template doesn't let me fix it. Right now, the phrase is given only in simpl. characters with [trad. and simpl.] beside it, and the pinyin is only half corrected in that the character in the middle of the pinyin is now properly pinyin-ized, but the "zhe" (著|着) is transliterated to zhuó. How do I fix this? Also, see how Google perfectly transliterates «她借著閃爍的燭光讀書». Why does the template get things wrong? And the phrase is translated with the past tense, but could well be present tense without context, right?

The Pinyin is now fixed, all I needed was the tr= optional parameter. MGorrone (talk) 15:15, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

brick wall

How can we add the sense as in, "having a conversation with you is like talking to a brick wall"? ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:13, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Well, I've had a try now. ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:15, 6 January 2015 (UTC)


If stopcock is 'UK', then what do Americans call their stopcocks? Thanks. Kaixinguo (talk) 18:00, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

To judge from the Wikipedia article on the stopcock, Americans don't have them. I'd guess residential water supply is set up differently in the U.S.  From my childhood in Texas I vaguely remember my father talking about turning the water off "at the mains" when work needed to be done on the pipes. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:19, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
"shutoff valve" DTLHS (talk) 19:27, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Huh. My wife and I are both US-East-Coast-born English speakers, and we both call the shutoff valve for a toilet a stopcock. Neither of us has spent any time living in the UK. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:56, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
shut-off valve. DCDuring TALK 20:48, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
By the Pawley they-call-it-an-X,-we-call-it-a-Y principle, we need an entry for shut-off valve. DCDuring TALK 20:50, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, everyone. I don't know who Pawley is. I think we can use 'shut-off valve' as well in the UK. https://www.google.co.uk/#q=%22water+off+at+the+shut-off+valve%22+site:.co.uk has only two result, but https://www.google.co.uk/#q=%22the+shut-off+valve%22+site:.co.uk does have some results; although it doesn't seem to refer to the 'stopcock in the road' (the water mains shut-off valve), it does have some more general usage as far as I can see.
Sadly, 'stopcock' is being usurped by 'stop tap', leading to one water board website to explain that 'stop tap' means the same thing as 'stopcock'. Kaixinguo (talk) 22:59, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

How about ballcock? Ball rooster :) ? Kaixinguo (talk) 23:00, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

  • @Kaixinguo: Andrew Pawley is a New Zealand linguist who wrote an interesting 20-page article ("Lexicalization", in Deborah Tannen and James E Alatis eds, Languages and Linguistics: The Interdependence of Theory, Data, and Application (GURT '85)) listing various types of evidence that support treating a collocation as part of the lexicon, ie, worth/requiring a dictionary entry. User:DCDuring/Pawley has a summary of the 1985 article that someone here prepared. DCDuring TALK 23:58, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Ooh thanks, that sounds interesting. Kaixinguo (talk) 00:21, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
It is interesting, but it is a long way from providing us with what we need for speedier RfD discussions. DCDuring TALK 01:07, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

sort of, kind of

From my experience and intuition, sort of sounds to be more British and kind of more AmEn, maybe because sort of being direct borrow from French. Google Ngram suggest they're not, the only English dialect where they are close is BrEN2009 around year 1840. The rest of dialects are the same, in all kind of gaining momentum around 1940. In AmEn, % are higher. Any knowledge or idea? Sobreira (talk) 20:14, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

I only sorta, kinda get what you're tryna say. Wanna try again? DCDuring TALK 20:52, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
I am not positive (given your suspicion that sort of is more used in BrEn) is due to any association of the word sort being ultimately from an Old French word. The word sort has been in English for hundreds of years. It is no longer thought of as being connected at all to French, or France...that mindset may have existed in Mediaeval times in Middle English but it certainly doesnt exist today. In English, the two variations sort of and kind of (despite the ultimate origin of the two words sort and kind) are not representative of any Germanic-Latinate pair in the same way that cow and beef are. Both were created in English as variations because the words are synonyms. Leasnam (talk) 16:18, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Merci Sobreira (talk) 10:41, 29 January 2015 (UTC)


Is it an alternative spelling of acquiescence, or a misspelling? — Ungoliant (falai) 22:21, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

I think it was originally entered as a typo, so presumably misspelling, but how common? Renard Migrant (talk) 23:10, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

fetherstane and the -d- of 4 in Germanic

On w:Crimean Gothic, an IP added the following text, talking about the presence of -d- in the word for 4 (Germanic *fedwōr): "However, one should not forget "fetherstane" (cromlech), from Old Northumbrian (Germanic) "four stone", which indicates a partial survival of this D in some dialects of West Germanic." Is it true that there are attestations of this word in Old English which preserve the original -d- intact? —CodeCat 20:58, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

Absolutely! But not as -d-, it has been modified to -ð-, as in the prefix fiþer- (four-, tetra-). Leasnam (talk) 06:34, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
So the IP was wrong, and this is not a remnant of the -d- of *fedwōr? —CodeCat 11:23, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, it depends on how strict or exclusive you choose to be. Would I consider it to be a remnant? Yes. The prefix ultimately is tied to, if not derived from the numeral *fedwōr, so the Old English prefix fiþer- does preserve a reflex of the more original form of the word in regards to it containing a medial dental consonant. But I wouldnt say that it is a survival in the word for 'four', I have never seen a dental in any form or variation of Old English fēower. Leasnam (talk) 15:48, 8 January 2015 (UTC)


Should this not be a proper noun? I don't usually edit English entries so I am checking here. Kaixinguo (talk) 13:55, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Maybe, but since there's no clear definition of the difference between a proper noun and a common noun, it's impossible to know for sure. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:25, 10 January 2015 (UTC)


Hello all,

I'm very new, indeed I joined to add this very word, but I'm also an avid dictionary enthusiast and I greatly appreciate the service done here for mankind, bravo!

So, when I searched online for this term, there are bloggers and individuals using it as I do, very few, it seems very new. It is of concern to me as the term fits me rather well. No "outrovert" was listed here, so I created it, and then signed up immediately afterwards. Since, checking for the term, brings up a false definition! At least it is not one I, or anyone else online, is using.

Outrovert is not just a pointless other term for extrovert, and here I'm a tad annoyed, I shall confess, extroverts already have so much attention and are assumed 'normal', introverts are my under-dog brethren, and "outrovert" is actually being used, in the wild, to mean, well as I already defined it in my entry, an introvert that takes to the outdoors for their solace and recharging time, rather than hiding indoors. It's such a positive term, and one empowering a minority of people to club together, I see it as rather a poor use, and even an injustice, to have it being a mere synonym of extrovert, as a silly quip from introvert. No no no.

Kindest regards, K

I've restored your preferred sense (reworded somewhat to be a suitable definition for a noun rather than an adjective and to be more concise) but left the "extrovert" sense as well, and I've started a request for verification for both senses so that we can see how the word is actually used in durably archived sources. It's possible, of course, that both senses are attested. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:31, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks Angr!

People who invent a word for their personality, and get upset about who uses it, tend to be making up words that nobody else uses. We will see how the RFV turns out. Equinox 01:23, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

foot loose and fancy free

Surprised we don't have this relatively common idiom. Still not exactly sure what it means though. Any ideas? ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:49, 11 January 2015 (UTC)


Is this really an eye dialect spelling? Isn't the pronunciation somewhat peculiar? --Fsojic (talk) 09:29, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

No, it's not eye dialect, though "goverment" would be. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:35, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
@Angr: If it isn't eye dialect, what is it? It certainly seems to me to be attestable as eye dialect, however else it may be used. DCDuring TALK 10:29, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
It's just a nonstandard form. It would only be eye dialect if the standard pronunciation of government were /ɡʌbmɪnt/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:32, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
  1. I think we have a lot of use of {{eye dialect}} to clean up if we use that definition rather than "the use of misspellings to identify a colloquial or uneducated speaker" (AHD, WordNet and its followers). I don't think we have been using the term as the coiner intended. If we had been, we would/should have created {{pronunciation spelling}} to cover the spelling we now include and show as eye dialect.
  2. The spelling is certainly often used as a way of indicating something negative about those who purportedly use the "non-standard" pronunciation, which is implied as being one used by poorly educated speakers from "red" states. DCDuring TALK 11:44, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, people have long been misusing {{eye dialect}} here. I try to clean it up as I discover it. I've changed it now to:
{{nonstandard spelling of|government|nodot=1|lang=en}} {{i|used to reflect a nonstandard pronunciation}}
Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:49, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
We could also call it simply an alternative spelling of gubmint. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:51, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
The question is, should gubmint follow the same formatting as gub'mint? Or does it deserve a full entry? --Fsojic (talk) 14:45, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
They are both eye dialect by the definition of eye dialect that has been used here and seems to be the one most accepted, non-prescriptivist one. DCDuring TALK 16:30, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
The definition we have here isn't different from the one implied by Angr or the one we can find on wikipedia, it has just been misunderstood because it's incomplete, in that it doesn't say that the spelling is only suggestive and doesn't reflect an actual change in pronunciation. So this doesn't apply to gubmint. --Fsojic (talk) 17:30, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't see why this would not be eye dialect. I disagree with Angr, and with their edit in gub'mint. Some definitions here: AHD[1]; Wiktionary in old revision before Angr changed it: this revision: "Nonstandard spellings, deliberately used by an author to indicate that the speaker uses a nonstandard or dialectal speech." --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:21, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
    Later: Angr may be right, and my diff wrong. We need to clarify that. I placed some quotations at Citations:eye dialect. Please let us collect more quotations, even mentions; I think mentions will be more helpful to clarify the various meanings in which "eye dialect" is used. --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:50, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
    The wikipedia article sums it up pretty well:
Eye dialect is the use of nonstandard spelling for speech to draw attention to an ironically standard pronunciation. The term was coined by George P. Krapp to refer to the literary technique of using nonstandard spelling that implies a pronunciation of the given word that is actually standard, such as wimmin for women; the spelling indicates that the character's speech overall is dialectal, foreign, or uneducated. This form of nonstandard spelling differs from others in that a difference in spelling does not indicate a difference in pronunciation of a word. That is, it is dialect to the eye rather than to the ear. It suggests that a character "would use a vulgar pronunciation if there were one" and "is at the level of ignorance where one misspells in this fashion, hence mispronounces as well."
The term is less commonly also used to refer to pronunciation spellings, that is, spellings of words that indicate that they are pronounced in a nonstandard way. For example, an author might write dat as an attempt at accurate transcription of a nonstandard pronunciation of that.
I think we should just stick to the former definition (as does, again, the article), and speak of "pronunciation spelling" in relevant cases. --Fsojic (talk) 19:16, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
You are proposing a change in our practice. I'll quote from Talk:eye dialect: "RFV-failed as sense in that entry (but kept as the definition of the term in our glossary, because it's how our entries and templates use it)." In sense definitions, it seems Wiktionary has been using "eye dialect" in the broader, AHD sense; you now want to change that. The current manner by which Wiktionary uses the term should be verifiable by the current content of Category:English eye dialect. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:30, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
See also Appendix:Glossary#E, "eye dialect". --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:34, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
I do. Wiktionary is a linguistic work, and should be as accurate as possible. There is no reason for us to choose the broader meaning that encompasses two different concepts, especially when there is an appropriate terminology at hand. --Fsojic (talk) 19:58, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
You are implying that the broader meaning is inaccurate, which I do not think to be the case. "cat" originally used to refer only to the domestic animal, and now is used in a new sense to also refer to the likes of tiger, and being late on scene does not make the broader meaning of "cat" inaccurate. If the narrower meaning is much more widely used, a switch in Wiktionary practice may be advisable, though. Such a switch is much better suited for Beer parlour than to Tea room, which discusses individual words rather than changes in practice and policy. --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:08, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
The difference is that eye dialect is a technical term, and cat isn't. Eye dialect is more comparable to felid; it has a firm definition in its field, and although nonspecialists may sometimes use it imprecisely, a reference work like a dictionary should be careful to use it in its technically correct sense. So even if we find that eye dialect is sometimes used to mean nonstandard spellings that reflect a nonstandard pronunciation, we can add that definition (with an appropriate label like "loosely" or "by extension" or something), but we still shouldn't use the {{eye dialect}} tag in the nonspecialist sense. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:36, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
If eye dialect is a term with a technical sense and a more general sense closely connected with the component terms, the technical sense is totally inappropriate for use in a definiens in a general-purpose dictionary for the general population, as Wiktionary is. It seems that the better approach would be to rename or redirect {{eye dialect of}} to {{pronunciation spelling}} and then use hard categories or switches to add categories for finer distinctions. This particularly true as the history of our use of the template clearly uses a definition close to spelling pronunciation and not the narrow, original sense. Clearly we need to show a bit more respect to the work done in the past before wantonly attempting poorly thought-through unilateral reforms. DCDuring TALK 23:08, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't feel any particular need to show respect to poorly researched work done in the past. People who don't know what eye dialect is shouldn't go around labeling things {{eye dialect of}}. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:56, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Such an approach is not appropriate for a work funded by charitable donations and volunteer effort and intended to serve a broad population of users. It smacks of elitist prescriptivism. The use of technical definitions of terms that seem to have a surface meaning significantly different from the technical one is wrong for Wiktionary in all cases, as wrong as using obsolete, rare, and sesquipedalian words unnecessarily in entries. Non-academic published works try to find terms that allow better communication with normal folk.
It seems to me that the solution to the problem is to redirect {{eye dialect}} to {{pronunciation spelling}} immediately, bot-edit all uses of {{eye dialect}} to {{pronunciation spelling}} when convenient, and look for the relatively few instances of actual "eye dialect" and hard categorize them to subcategories of Category:eye dialect. The last thing we need to do is once more subject curious readers unnecessarily to the ambiguity of a term such as eye dialect. DCDuring TALK 21:20, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Without getting into the question of which meaning of "eye dialect" is correct, my impression is that the number of entries which use it in the way DCDuring describes do dwarf the entries which use it in the way Angr describes. Hence, if we want to discontinue use of the term with the meaning DCDuring describes, his suggestion of bot-renaming all current uses is sound, and I would add that we should probably also discontinue {{eye-dialect of}}, lest new uses take us quickly back to the current lopsided ratio of DCDuring-like-uses to Angr-like-uses. However, I question if "pronunciation spelling" is the best replacement term; The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style suggests that it means the same thing as "pronunciation respelling" and refers to a nonstandard spelling used to more closely reflect a (standard) pronunciation. But perhaps if we included, by default, text along the lines of what is currently added by the optional from= parameter, it would work. I.e., by default the template would display "[whatever term we decide to use] of x, representing a dialectal pronunciation.", and by setting the from= parameter one could optionally specify which dialect. - -sche (discuss) 04:55, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support Sounds good to me, though I hypothesize that most folks wouldn't look up the term in The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style but rather in a reference such as those at pronunciation spelling at OneLook Dictionary Search, specifically RHU and AHD to find a more transparent meaning or construct the transparent meaning from the components. RHU uses pronunciation spelling to mark the entries we have been calling eye dialect. DCDuring TALK 11:45, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg SupportMr. Granger (talkcontribs) 15:52, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

judging by

Would "judging by" warrant an entry as a conjunction with the meaning of "according to"? E.g. Judging by the market reports, this sort of product sells well. ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:19, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

IMO no. Standard grammatical construct. Could also say "if we judge by __", "when judged by __" etc. which is not the case with "accord" ("*I hope it will accord to __"). Equinox 18:37, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
I see. Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:22, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm trying to find a meaning for Sabre

anyone knows what Sabre means??

I'm sure someone does. But I don't know what you mean: sabre, any of w:Sabre (disambiguation), or something else? DCDuring TALK 12:07, 12 January 2015 (UTC)


To which sense does the quotation belong? DTLHS (talk) 00:51, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

'eponymous' usage

I'm discussing the cocktail called the Ramos Gin Fizz. Its creator H.C. Ramos called it a New Orleans Fizz, but his name was ultimately the one that stuck. I'm tempted to say the following: The New Orleans Fizz first served by H.C. Ramos didn’t become eponymous with its creator until the early 1900s. I'm not sure this is acceptable, however, and I think I have two related concerns:

  • Can something become eponymous? (my guess is yes)
  • Can something be eponymous with someone? (I have no idea)

I do see some scattered usage in Google searches but nothing that's set my mind at ease. With thanks —JamesLucas (" " / +) 14:03, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

A quick look at COCA finds with to be the only preposition that heads a prepositional phrase complementing eponymous. But Google books search shows abundant use with of and to also. DCDuring TALK 18:28, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for that source. I did see plenty of uses of "eponymous with" but none of them seemed particularly reputable. I think I'm going to scrap this. —JamesLucas (" " / +) 21:14, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

... has your name on it

Was just watching a TV show where one of the characters visits a fortune teller who says, "You will have some very interesting connections in Indonesia in the future. You’re coming and going, coming and going. Indonesia has got your name on it." Was wondering how we can cover this construction of "x has your name on it" on Wiktionary? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:38, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

We have have one's name on it. Cassell's Dictionary of Slang has have one's name on.
Google "have|has|had|having|got my|your|his|their name|names on" (BooksGroupsScholarNews Archive) and Google "have|has|had|having|got my|your|his|their name|names on it" (BooksGroupsScholarNews Archive) show that the literal senses dominate. The extended, non-SoP meanings include "is owned by one" (nearly literal} and "is destined for one". Variant forms like "have one's name all over" and "have one's name written all over" will show a higher proportion of the extended meanings, I think. DCDuring TALK 03:58, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Wasn't the original form referring to a bullet "with ones name on it" - meaning one was certain to be shot? Maybe World War One? SemperBlotto (talk) 08:21, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
    I doubt that it was the original usage, but it certainly popularized the "destiny" sense of the term. DCDuring TALK 11:53, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I've moved have one's name on it to have one's name on in line with the first usage example, which had her instead of it. Feel free to move it back, split the entry etc. It's just a suggestion. DCDuring TALK 12:05, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

affair and love affair

I think we have a problem here. An affair or love affair just means a romantic or sexual relationship between two people who are not married to each other right? It doesn't have to be adulterous as far as I know. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:07, 14 January 2015 (UTC) What I mean is, it can refer to an adulterous relationship, but it can also refer to a non-adulterous one. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:10, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

My understanding is that any two people can have a "love affair", but a plain "affair" in the context of the relationship of two people tends to imply that at least one of them is married to someone else. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 11:16, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Or in a steady relationship. Usually talking about marriage, just not always. Renard Migrant (talk) 11:54, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I think there is always an element of betrayal, that, for at least one partner, the affair is not with the person with whom one is in a more public, long-term committed relationship. DCDuring TALK 12:11, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

you never know

From my understanding, this phrase can have two meanings: 1) it's possible 2) it's not impossible. For example, if my friend says she will never accept a low-paying job, and I say, "you never know", what I mean is that she could actually find herself in a situation where she might accept a low-paying job, that the future is unpredictable. I am not, as the entry currently suggests, speculating about a slight possibility - I am actually expressing doubt about an impossibility. Right? ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:58, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

I interpret that as "actually, there is a slight possibility that you will accept a low-paying job". Equinox 11:34, 14 January 2015 (UTC)


Today's Guardian newspaper has a picture of these strange German things. There is no entry in the German Wiktionary but their Wikipedia has an entry for w:de:Silvesterklaus. My German is not good enough to add an entry here, and I don't know if it should be "Silvesterklaus", "Silvesterchlaus" or even "Silvesterkläuse". I don't know how to translate it as the English Wikipedia doesn't seem to have an entry. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 11:02, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

I think it's Silvesterklaus with the nominative plural Silvesterkläuse. I know that in France every day has a saint's name and the 31st of December it's Saint Sylvestre, so la Saint-Sylvestre is the most common name for New Year's Eve. Renard Migrant (talk) 11:52, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Chlaus I think is an archaic form of Klaus. Also see Silvester which explains what I was saying about saints. Quite common in Europe it seems, but not whatsoever in the UK! Renard Migrant (talk) 11:53, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Chlaus (IPA [xlaus]) would be a Swiss German form of Klaus and related to Nikolaus (called Chlaus in Switzerland as well). I've never heard of a Silvesterklaus or anything of this kind. It's probably restricted to Switzerland, or southern Germany at most.Kolmiel (talk) 16:47, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah. It's a Swiss thing, it seems even restricted to a certain part of Switzerland. (I hadn't seen the Wikipedia article you'd mentioned.)Kolmiel (talk) 16:52, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
It's true, of course, that Silvester (also spelt Sylvester) is the normal German word for New Year's Eve. (Actually the only word there is, I think.) But the chlaus-thing is not common at all. As I said I had never heard of it, even though I'm not uninterested in regional traditions.Kolmiel (talk) 17:00, 19 January 2015 (UTC)


I was wondering about this greek. This word basically means whole,everything or like the whole universe. Is this where peter pan got his name? I would certainly like to know the origin of the peter pan name and if it came from this word.

Peter Pan’s name comes from the Greek god Πάν. See the etymology on that page. —Stephen (Talk) 11:41, 15 January 2015 (UTC)


apparently truculence in French means vividness of style. This is rather different from the meaning in English. Only the English definition is currently available in Wiktionary. RP

translation needed from english to sanskrit

hi. i would like the below verse translated into sanskrit. Live every moment, Laugh everyday, Love beyond words, Accept Life.

Sorry, it is too complex and difficult. I would have to spend hours trying to understand the meaning of some of those lines. I usually allot only five minutes or so to a free Sanskrit translation. —Stephen (Talk) 11:37, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
You almost certainly mean "Laugh every day", not "Laugh everyday". 18:44, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Capitalisation of venturi terms

venturi effect, venturi mask, venturi scrubber, venturi tube. From a glance in Google Books, I think for each of these terms the V is overwhelming or always capitalized. Not so sure about venturi itself. Equinox 15:35, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

A look at COCA suggests otherwise, but does not provide enough data to be relied on. I am afraid that each collocation needs to be looked at individually. Some attributive use of lower-case venturi seems to be attributive use in the sense "venturi tube". DCDuring TALK 15:47, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
venturi scrubber looks more common than Venturi scrubber in running text at Google Books, based on sample of 30. DCDuring TALK 15:55, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
None of the following suggests overwhelming capitalization: venturi scrubber,Venturi scrubber at Google Ngram Viewer, venturi effect,Venturi effect at Google Ngram Viewer, venturi tube, Venturi tube at Google Ngram Viewer. --Dan Polansky (talk) 16:11, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

pronunciation of etymology 2 of dam

Can someone check a definitive dictionary for the pronunciation of this? I've only ever seen it used in writing by Gilbert White, I don't know if it's an alternate spelling of the more common word, and has a diphthong, or if it comes from french damme, and has the same vowel as that one, or perhaps as the other sense of dam, the structure? edit: copied to tea room, I was confused about which section to use for these discussions —This comment was unsigned.

Out of curiosity, why wouldn't you "check a definitive dictionary"?
I would pronounce it like dame#French. I think that the dam spelling is intended to avoid pronouncing dame to rhyme with aim. DCDuring TALK 16:49, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Are we talking about the English word? If so, etymology 2 is pronounced just like etymology 1, and they're both homophonous with damn and rhyme with ham and jam. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 00:13, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I'd say the pronunciation of etymology 2 of dam is [vɛəɹiənt ʌv dæm]. Renard Migrant (talk) 00:26, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

How to denote a noun that consists of two nouns joined by "and"?

I'm a bit unsure how to write the entry schering en inslag. These are two nouns, and the combined phrase acts grammatically like any other conjunction of two nouns. It can be compared to something like fire and water in English. Because it's two nouns, it doesn't really have grammatical gender, and plurals in Dutch have no gender. But this is not really a plural either because it doesn't require plural verb inflection, just like an English phrase would (both "fire and water is" and "fire and water are" can be used). So what is it? —CodeCat 23:42, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

dvandva ? --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 23:45, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
From what I can see, that term also has a semantic implication. It looks like a dvandva is something that uses two words to denote a semantic "boundary" where the combination includes everything in between. That wouldn't necessarily apply here, especially as this combination is an idiom with a totally different meaning. —CodeCat 23:51, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
The definition for dvandvas is how they behave syntactically, not what the resulting compound means. Idiomacity is just an additional semantic constraint that precludes exchangeability of the constituents. Wikipedia article is too biased in favor of grc/sa, a better overview can be found here. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 21:33, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Like fish and chips, clicks and mortar? We seem to class them as nouns, though "noun phrase" might be more accurate. Equinox 23:55, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
But in a language like Dutch, the gender is not clearly determined either, which makes it more difficult to call it a real noun. Unfortunately, gender inflection in Dutch adjectives is rather rudimentary, so it's not so easy to figure out what the gender of a combination like this is. I wonder how languages like Spanish handle it. —CodeCat 00:00, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I would leave them genderless. Spanish, French, etc. would use the gender of both nouns, mixed genders being masculine. In Russian, it would only matter if they are animate or inanimate. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:08, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
If it's genderless, then it can't be a noun. Which kind of makes sense, because it's two nouns. Also, if such a phrase is used as the subject, does the verb inflect as singular, plural or either in those languages? If it can be singular, what gender does an adjective have? For example, if you say "X and Y is/are (adjective)"? —CodeCat 00:11, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
In German, they would either be a noun phrase in the plural and thus without gender (Feuer und Wasser sind, never *Feuer und Wasser ist). Or they would be nouns of their own right with a gender, most often neuter (e.g. das Hab und Gut, das Fish & Chips).Kolmiel (talk) 16:40, 19 January 2015 (UTC) --- (Or at least I can't think of any that are singular and do not have a gender. Of course, gender might sometimes vary, but speakers would give it a gender.)Kolmiel (talk) 16:45, 19 January 2015 (UTC)


Is this word attestable in English too? ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:20, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Indeed it is. Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:31, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Many thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:59, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Singular 'they' for animals/objects

There is a discussion if singular they can be used to refer to animals or objects at Talk:they#Singular_senses. We are thinking of combining senses for unknown gender singular and known gender singular if there are citations for singular with an animal or object as its referent. Timeraner (talk) 16:58, 16 January 2015 (UTC)


Years ago as a kid, I used to read those Commando war comics. One word that often came up was "kato". It was used by Japanese characters as an insult for the allies, as in "Die, you kato dog". But I could not find any evidence of it now. Anyone remember it, or able to find it.--Dmol (talk) 20:10, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

This was on WT:REE for some years. I searched a few times, but found nothing, so eventually removed it. Equinox 00:56, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Japanese is such a bonkers language in terms of homophones, but one "kato" (actually "katō"), 下等, means something like "inferior" or "low-class". I wonder whether it could be that? 13:03, 17 January 2015 (UTC)


There is a sense missing. I mean the one that is often found in casual online forums or speech as in "someone farted "cough" brian". Can someone add that sense please? I would really appreciate that. Thank you. 00:55, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

I've taken a run at this, but the non-gloss definition could be improved (replaced?) and more usage examples added. DCDuring TALK 02:05, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
You don't think it would qualify as an interjection? DTLHS (talk) 02:57, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I think hardly anything qualifies as an interjection except for words that are: 1, not derived homonyms of words of other word classes, 2, are expressions of emotion (broadly defined), and, 3, occur in grammatical isolation from the sentence(s) surrounding them. Others here classify anything that is in grammatical isolation as an interjection, which would included absolute expressions and prosentences if they were consistent. I have not seen a definition offered here that would include all and only what we include as interjections. DCDuring TALK 03:09, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Letter "ⴻ" in Central Atlas Tamazight (and Tashelhit)

This letter, meaning the absence of vowal (and double following consonant), seems to be no more popular in modern Tifinagh writings. For example, my reference book (see here) do not use it, but notes the double consonant.

For example : ⴰⵎⴻⵍⴰⵍ => ⴰⵎⵍⵍⴰⵍ

Transliteration is the same (amellal). Pronounciation is /a.məl.'læl/

--Lucyin (talk) 17:57, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

I see both forms are in Wiktionary. So, it should be evidenced that it is the same word, with the same pronounciation, just differences in orthography conventions.

--Lucyin (talk) 18:01, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

I completed both articles with alternative forms and pronounciation. Is it right ?

--Lucyin (talk) 18:15, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

@Lucyin: Normally we would mark one as an alternative spelling of the other. See dramatize and dramatise for an example. It doesn't really matter which you pick to be the "main" form and which to be the alternative form. This, that and the other (talk) 08:40, 27 January 2015 (UTC)


Chuck Entz and I have a dispute on the wiktionary page for blasphemy. You can see my correction and his revert here. My attempt to resolve our disagreement can be read here.

A draft version, that I submit for comments to Tea room participants, can be seen here. Contrast it with the reverted version.

Reasons I favor the draft version:

  • While I am fine with including the definition of word as "insulting a deity", this is incomplete because these are not redundant. A God is a deity, but a deity is not necessarily a God. A deity can be demigod, non-god, natural object, etc.
  • Per WT:NPOV poilcy, wiktionary definition should express all significant meaning, viewpoint. The predominant use, most widespread meaning of blasphemy relates to "certain speech and action against God or a sacred entity". (See any major dictionary or encyclopedia; for exampe: Meriam Webster (2012), Blasphemy, Quote: "great disrespect shown to God or to something holy"; The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2013), Quote: "Contemptuous or profane speech or action concerning God or a sacred entity."). The older/reverted version did not mention "God" anywhere, not even once.
  • The older version alleged the word to mean "irreverence to deities". But "blasphemy against deities" fails attestation, clearly widespread use, per WT:CFI policy.

Which version of blasphemy definition is more consistent with WT:NPOV and WT:CFI, and why?

RLoutfy (talk) 21:49, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

If blasphemy can't apply to any deity, but only to a god, then "deity" should be replaced. Otherwise, it is fine as it is, "god" is redundant as "deity" already encompasses it (see the definitions at deity). NPOV means that we should describe all meanings, so limiting it to just "God" is showing a preference to the monotheistic view of religion, which of course is definitely not neutral. —CodeCat 21:56, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I think we should have both, monotheistic and polytheistic usage, to respect WT:NPOV. The current version is inadvertently pushing only the polytheistic angle, which is not the widespread sense of use of word blasphemy.
Can you attest, per WT:CFI guidelines, that the word blasphemy applies to "any deity" or "deities"? I find none for "deities", nor for "any deity" (universal sense). Yes, there is some historical usage for "deity" as well as "gods", but predominant usage is "God or sacred entity". RLoutfy (talk) 22:12, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
That's a slippery slope, though, because there are as many POVs as there are religions and gods. Are we to replace "deity" with "God, Jehovah, Allah, Brahma, Odin, Jupiter..."? We use the term "deity" because it encompasses all those things. That said, it's easy to find references of blaspheming against a variety of things. Just look for "blaspheme against (insert deity here)". —CodeCat 22:17, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
The context of any above is demi-god, natural objects, non-gods - all of which can be deities in various pagan traditions. My concern is that blasphemy doesn't apply to any deity, nor deities. Disrespect, criticism, cursing demigod deity, non-god deity, natural object deity was/is not blasphemy in some pagan traditions.
The word God, in English, includes the various contextual sense of words you list. On search you recommend, I have done that already (e.g. "blaspheme against deities") - a sense reflected on the current wiktionary page. I get two hits on google (one in a forum), none in any book, none in scholarly publications. The results for "blasphemy of deities" thus fail WT:CFI.
Why not include both poly- and mono- theistic versions of the definition? RLoutfy (talk) 22:40, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
It may not be blasphemy in some religions, but it is in others. For example, what an Ancient Greek might have considered blasphemy against Zeus is probably not considered blasphemy by modern-day Orthodox Christians. Recently, many people considered the publication of pictures of Mohammed blasphemy, but many others did not. This is the slippery slope. We can't possibly list every single sect's nuanced version of blasphemy. So the definition we have is general enough to include the overall aspects that these various definitions of each religion have in common.
And as for your search, have you tried searching for things like "blasphemy against Odin", "blasphemy against Artemis" or "blasphemy against Vishnu"? —CodeCat 22:57, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
"Blasphemy against Odin" etc are not mentioned on the wiktionary page. All it mentions is "deity" and "deities". That is what is relevant for WT:CFI.
Show me WT:CFI-compliant attested use of "blasphemy against deities", or "blasphemy against demi-god/nongod deity".
Once again, I am not saying "do not use deity" or "replace deity everywhere on the page with the term God" on blasphemy page. I am suggesting that include both "God" (widespread) and "deity" (fringe, historic) sense of meanings, for WT:NPOV. I am also suggesting that we remove "deities" per WT:CFI. RLoutfy (talk) 23:15, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Um... but you realise Odin is a deity, right? Therefore, the definition fits. That's what's relevant for CFI. Furthermore, people still use the word "blasphemy" to refer to an act against a polytheistic god or other kind of deity. So that's a modern sense, modern utterances are still created with that meaning. And "fringe" is completely irrelevant for a dictionary entry. —CodeCat 23:20, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes I know. And that would be covered by including the "blasphemy against deity" sense of meaning. The issue is that that is not the only, nor even widespread sense of the meaning. That creates WT:NPOV issue.

Your position ignores the fact that deity or deities do not mean God in Islam, for example. The Shahada (Arabic: الشهادة‎) of Islam states, "There is no god but God". Blasphemy in Islamic context isn't "Contemptuous or profane speech or action concerning deity or deities". Blasphemy in Islam, for example, is "Contemptuous or profane speech or action concerning God". For neutral point of view, the monotheistic version of the definition should be included. RLoutfy (talk) 23:29, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Then it's the entry deity you want changed. It currently defines it as "a divine being; a god or goddess". This definition includes the Islamic god. But I get the feeling you're just trying to push your POV while calling it neutral. I already said that we can't include every single religious group's particular definition of what blasphemy is. The current general definition already includes the Islamic definition. Any act that is blasphemy by Islam is also blasphemy by the current definition in the entry, if I'm not mistaken. For example, insulting the Islamic god does fit the description "act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for any religion's deity or deities". If you don't understand that then I don't know what else to tell you. —CodeCat 23:36, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Wow, did PaM hire a gang of Islam kooks to come and screw us up, after he got banned? Equinox 23:50, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Codecat - Not at all. I do not want "deity" page changed. It matches the widespread meaning of that word.
My focus is the blasphemy page. I am saying include both definitions, monotheistic and polytheistic senses of definition. I gave three reasons above (God is deity, but a deity is not necessarily God; etc). I have even added references to help you verify attested use. Monotheistic concept of God is different than monotheistic concept of deity (god) - I have given you proof above. You are alleging that polytheistic definition covers the monotheistic definition, which is neither true nor have you provided evidence/attested-use to prove so.
I am open to constructive collaboration with you to improve the blasphemy page. While you accuse me of POV, I refuse to accuse you of anything. Let us assume good faith. RLoutfy (talk) 00:05, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Would changing it to 'against a god' make you that much happier? In term of polytheismgoogle books:"blasphemy against Odin" google books:"blasphemy against Vishnu" both get a hit. You seem to be by your own admission, ardently arguing to replace one word with a synonym of that word. Renard Migrant (talk) 00:25, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I am not seeking replacement of "deity" to "god". I am seeking that we add, "4. Disrespect, contemptuous or profane speech or action concerning God" with capital G. That is the widespread use, and attested in every major dictionary and encyclopedia I have checked (see two examples above). RLoutfy (talk) 00:34, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
But as I said, that sense is redundant to the existing one, because a capital God is a deity. —CodeCat 00:38, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The "God" is "a god", which is a deity. And which God is the God depends entirely upon who you ask. You are seeking to make a distinction without a difference, to include a specific example of a general term purely so that monotheists can feel fuzzy and included because they can then continue to make believe that their God is not somehow "a god", and that they are uniquely special, and the definition is written specifically for their God, and not for any of those heathen imposters who call themselves "God".
You are pushing a point of view (that "God" is somehow not "a god") which is semantically nonsensical, and you are pushing it in a passive-aggressive "I'm being nice and reasonable so you aren't allowed to call what I'm saying bullshit", "I'm being NPOV if I say I am" way. And I'd have a bit more respect for your position if this argument were not literally the only thing you've done on Wiktionary under this name. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 00:44, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
CodeCat - Not so. See: google books:"God is not a deity" for attested counter-examples. RLoutfy (talk) 00:47, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Most of those examples are part of sentences which directly contradict you ("But the true God is not a Deity who can neither help nor injure men"... ie., God is a Deity), and even if not, the existence of a sentence does nothing to argue for the truth of that sentence. See: google books:"I am a teapot" for attested examples. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 00:55, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Attestation doesn't make truth, google books:"Elvis Presley is alive" and so on. RLoutfy has made his point, it's been rejected, and we should all move on. Good day everyone. Renard Migrant (talk) 01:20, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Catsidhe - See Pierson (ISBN 978-1490426334).

Quote - "The Pagan gods and goddesses of pre-Christian Europe like Odin, Thor, Mars, Aphrodite and Venus are deities. Deities are human like. God is not a deity."

If you want to go by "most of the examples", then most examples of attested use of "blasphemy" are with the word "God", not with the word "deity", never with the word "deities". The current blasphemy page never uses the word god or God even once. Once again, I am not asking to replace deity with god on that page. I am asking, why not include both polytheistic definition and monotheistic definition. I have already shown attested examples that it is not redundant - "God is not god" in some cases, "God is not deity" in some cases, and "deity is not God" in some cases. A WT:NPOV version would include all attested sense of meanings.

Folks - I am not going to edit the disputed page, if I fail to persuade you. I do appreciate your feedback here, and that I sense is the purpose of Tea House. I am going to sign off for now. I hope you will weigh the evidence on both sides, and revise if appropriate, or leave the page unchanged if appropriate. RLoutfy (talk) 01:27, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Pushing your own point of view against majority wishes while citing WT:NPOV. That'll make you popular. Renard Migrant (talk) 01:31, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Chiming in. My thoughts, after reading this through:

  • Checking this user's global contributions shows an odd focus on blasphemy.
  • The above arguments made by RLoutfy fail to follow logic, and fail to persuade. I can find no sense in the motion to change the blasphemy entry.

Keep unchanged. The context of this user's edits makes this whole thread seem like part of a broader obsession that I neither share nor understand. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 22:34, 18 January 2015 (UTC)


The entry says that "billiard" is an adjective but no examples are given. If it is referring to uses such as "billiard ball", I feel rather doubtful that it is a true adjective. 14:58, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Now moved under the noun section. Equinox 15:22, 18 January 2015 (UTC)


Is this standard usage or is it a misrepresentation of summons as a plural? — Ungoliant (falai) 16:55, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Not standard usage at all. As you know, the contributor who added that isn't a native speaker of English and tends to overlook a lot of details Chuck Entz (talk) 17:16, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps it can be formatted like kudo, with a second etymology section. — Ungoliant (falai) 17:24, 18 January 2015 (UTC)


I've greatly expanded our entry on that, and although the usage notes may need more work, I think the senses are now pretty complete — as complete as what Century had and what Merriam-Webster has. There's just one use of the word that I'm not sure how to cover:

Merriam-Webster has this as pronoun 2 sense 2b, "according to what : to the extent of what — used after a negative", but that definition makes it sound more like a conjunction than a pronoun. - -sche (discuss) 04:52, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

  • I don't see why MWO def for conjunction 1a(4): "used as a function word to introduce a subordinate clause modifying an adverb or adverbial expression <will go anywhere that he is invited>", isn't sufficient for the usage example. Also couldn't one say, in response to "Was Simpson there?", "Twice that I saw."? Ie, not with a negative. How is the negative supposed to change the grammar, so that switches word class from conjunction to pronoun? DCDuring TALK 19:16, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Good point re "twice that I saw". OK, I've added two usexes (one with a negative, one without) of this sort of usage to that sense. - -sche (discuss) 17:05, 22 January 2015 (UTC)


In the translations for the first sense: "Dutch: auto (nl) m, wagen (nl) m, automobiel (nl) m (deprecated)"

I had a bit of a chuckle at "deprecated" there. Seriously though, I think deprecated is an inappropriate word here. Is "automobiel" archaic? Obsolete? Just old-fashioned? This, that and the other (talk) 08:40, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Probably just dated. People wouldn't use it. —CodeCat 16:57, 19 January 2015 (UTC)


The current definition of "manslaugter" seems to be wrong because it explicitly defines it as "unwillful" killing. It seems that manslaughter can be both "willful" and "unwillful". Wikipedia's w:manslaughter distinguishes between "voluntary manslaughter" and "involuntary manslaughter". ---- This is particularly relevant because we translate "manslaughter" with German Totschlag and Dutch doodslag, both of which are explicitly restricted to "voluntary manslaughter", i.e. killing with a will to kill but without prearrangement or premeditiation. ---- An alternative definition could be something like: A criminal act of killing a human being considered less culpable than murder, with legal definitions varying by jurisdiction (unless there is someone who could provide a more detailed definition fitting the situation in the "Anglo-Saxon" laws). What do you think?Kolmiel (talk) 16:33, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

AHD has: "The killing of a person without malice aforethought but with either the intention to commit an unlawful act that leads to an unintended death, or with an otherwise murderous intent that is extenuated by some partial defense, such as acting under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance occasioned by a substantial provocation on the part of the victim."
Legal definitions are complicated and may differ by jurisdiction, eg, by country and, in the US, by state. In the absence of an ability to definitively analyze all laws for the jurisdictions, we either have to restrict our definition(s) to what we can cite or rely on authorities while avoiding copyright violations. DCDuring TALK 19:27, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
All right. Thanks. (And sorry for answering so late) ... Now what would you propose? At any rate the current definition is wrong, isn't it? We could probably use "malice aforethought". My English isn't good enough to give a perfect solution, just something along the lines of: "The crime of killing a person unlawfully, distinguished from murder by the lack of malice aforethought, and therefore considered less culpable. (Precise legal definitions vary by jurisdiction.)" Do you think you could make some edit of this kind? I mean what harm can it do if the current definition is explicitly wrong?Kolmiel (talk) 17:35, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
@Kolmiel: I have reworded using Webster 1913, which is copyright-free. I can't distinguish the substance from more modern definitions. DCDuring TALK 19:28, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Okay. Thank you! It's certainly better now. The translations might still be wrong or misleading in some cases. I don't know, but they should be checked. I've adapted the German translations, they should be fine.Kolmiel (talk) 21:58, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

additives to hashish

When I was young in the 70's I didn't know what my peers were getting me high on. So I wonder now if I'm being a drug in my adult life what was Hashish mixed with in the 70's? Was in heroin, was it opium, was it cocaine? To ask what it really was is the very ignorance of my youth and it greatly concerns me today. All my mental illness may stem off of the drug I was taking and if it wasn't pure hashish then I'm concerned about what I'm to do about it today. What the question I ask is what are the additives they mixed with hashish back in the 70's to know what I can do about it in my adult life? This opinion only stems off of what drug we are when it comes to that we need to take notice it is how our mind works today. I can understand when we where just teens they would give us an unpure derivative of hashish for a cheaper price. Maybe none of us knew what it would do until they decided to get me high on the drug. How dumb of me when I trusted anyone and everyone I was with. It is time to concern ourselves in 2015 what is legal in the six states that cannabis is legal when it amounts to a pure extraction of marijuana.

Sorry, but this is a dictionary staffed by volunteers, not the Source Of All Knowledge. Even if one of us knew about that stuff, it wouldn't be ethical to discuss it here. The closest thing we have is definitions for slang terms for drugs, but I wouldn't stake my life or well-being on their accuracy. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:17, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Soute (FR) - tasinko (FI)


I use Wiktionary too seldom to remember the knobs and buttons....

Could someone establish a link between "soulte" in French and "tasinko" in Finnish ? They are the same word in both languages It would be useful to create the English translation too (amount one has to pay to somebody in case of unequal shares in an inheritance)


--BeeJay (talk) 10:22, 21 January 2015 (UTC)


I just read this on the ManCity homepage: "Our live stream is available in all territories excluding those listed below, but you can watch the game courtesy of these alternative broadcasters."

However I don't quite understand the meaning of courtesy in that sentence, since English is not my native tongue. Could someone explain that to me? What is a game courtesy?-- 15:30, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

  • See the preposition courtesy of. (I've added your quote) SemperBlotto (talk) 15:38, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
  • (EC) In this case, it's part of the phrase "courtesy of", meaning "thanks to". Another way to write it would be "You can watch the game, thanks to these alternative broadcasters", or "These alternative broadcasters will let you watch the game". Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:40, 21 January 2015 (UTC)


"A feeble utterance or complaint. I don't want to hear a peep out of you!" That's not my understanding of the word. I think it means the smallest possible sound (along the lines of whit or jot for the smallest possible amount), so "not a peep" means not even the smallest sound — whereas our definition of "a feeble utterance or complaint" suggests something closer to "no dissent". Equinox 19:29, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

bicarbonate -- year coined

I just edited Wikipedia's article on "bicarbonate" to include the date (1814) on which the term was coined.

If you want to add that information to Wikitionary's article on "bicarbonate", here's the information:

The term "bicarbonate" was coined in 1814 by the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston.[1]

[1] William Hyde Wollaston (1814) "A synoptic scale of chemical equivalents," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 104 : 1-22. On page 11, Wollaston coins the term "bicarbonate": "The next question that occurs relates to the composition of this crystallized carbonate of potash, which I am induced to call bi-carbonate of potash, for the purpose of marking more decidedly the distinction between this salt and that which is commonly called a subcarbonate, and in order to refer at once to the double dose of carbonic acid contained in it."

VexorAbVikipædia (talk) 05:02, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

blackheart tree

Wirlu is a Martuthunira word that references gloss as "the blackheart tree". Related languages use wirlu to denote acacias, so the blackheart is probably an acacia. Can anyone figure out which one? The Lincoln Library of Essential Information (1962), page 1072, says "The Blackwood, or Blackheart, an Australian species (A. melanorylon), now grown in California", while Australian Dry-zone Acacias for Human Food (1992, ISBN 064310240X), page 62, lists it as a common name of Acacia coriacea. @DCDuring: since it's a taxonomic issue. - -sche (discuss) 19:35, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

  • I'm not finding blackheart as a vernacular for any species of Acacia. I searched for additional sources both at Google books, at the general taxonomy and plant taxonomy sites and some specialized Australian and acacia sites. No further joy for blackheart. A melanoxylon is usually called blackwood. It is native to the eastern parts of Australia from Tasmania to southern Queensland. There is also an Australian species called blackheart sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum), but it is only native to Tasmania and Victoria. But Martuthunira was spoken in Western Australia per WP. DCDuring TALK 23:38, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
    This search on a Western Australia database for acacia tree species native to the Pilbara found a long list that included A. coriacea. I'd go with that or get in touch with someone in language studies or botany at the University of Western Australia. HTH. DCDuring TALK 23:59, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
    That's a lot more information than I had been able to find! Thank you! - -sche (discuss) 03:00, 23 January 2015 (UTC)


The ety says "Used in English since the 14th century, and as a term of abuse since the 17th century." Yet we have no definition of "pork" as a term of abuse. Equinox 14:01, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

This looks like a job for the OED.
But, could it be that for "as a term of abuse" it should be "pejoratively" and refer to the sense we limit to US political slang? DCDuring TALK 16:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)


Discussion moved to Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2015/January#forecastle.

Kanji/Hanzi etymology sources

It seems the source for an etymology was removed some time ago, also possibly on pages of other charaters to which I added etymologies from that site: * http://www.kanjinetworks.com/eng/kanji-dictionary/online-kanji-etymology-dictionary.cfm Habemus (talk) 17:38, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

bekommen sense 3 transitivity

german bekommen in sense 3 is marked intransitive, but the example shows otherwise. I want to simply change it but perhaps the example is ungrammatical?

It's considered intransitive because the object is in the dative rather than the accusative: Das Essen bekommt ihm (not ihn) nicht.Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:14, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Do transitive verbs have to take an accusative object? —CodeCat 20:17, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:39, 26 January 2015 (UTC)


It's probably not used in Mandarin at all, "nou5gian2" is not valid POJ and, it may be lô͘ -kiáⁿ. @Wyang, WikiWinters:. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 22:00, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Understandable. Are we sure that it doesn't have any Teochew usage? WikiWinters (talk) 22:25, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
It was added a long time ago as the Teochew translation of "child". I don't know if "nou5gian2" is a valid transliteration for Teochew and we currently don't have methods for handling this dialect. Only Mandarin, Cantonese, Min Nan, Min Dong, Wu, Hakka + Middle Chinese and Old Chinese. In order to make an entry work for any dialect not covered, some work may need to be done. If there is no reliable data available, then maybe we should just skip it, since Mandarin "nújiǎn" and Min Nan "lô͘ -kiáⁿ" readings may be non-existent and Teochew can't be added with confidence. Removing Pinyin and POJ readings will result in no PoS categories. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:26, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Just to clarify. I'm not saying "nou5gian2" is wrong but it's not a valid Min Nan (Hokkien) transliteration. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:28, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Teochew added to Module:zh-pron. Wyang (talk) 01:35, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Striking. Thanks! @Wyang: Teochew probably needs categories? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:49, 27 January 2015 (UTC)


Is this a valid Asturian verb, or an invention of Wonderfool? See Special:WhatLinksHere/desendoldcar. - -sche (discuss) 02:38, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Probably a typo for desendolcar. Unless Asturian is very strange, that looks phonotactically rather unlikely. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:08, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
I have deleted that crap. — Ungoliant (falai) 03:22, 27 January 2015 (UTC)


seco has the perfect secuī, but this verb has circumsecāvī. Is this correct? —CodeCat 16:11, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Both Lewis & Short and the Oxford Latin Dictionary say circumseco has no perfect forms. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:25, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Spanish Phrases: Etymology of "hasta luego"

Could we take a look and see if there's any documented etymology for this phrase? The verb "hasta" seems to take on a different meaning, typical for expressions, but the lack of history leaves me thinking we could find it. What do you think? Secretkeeper12 (talk) 18:58, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

  • hasta is an adverb, not a verb. Sobreira (talk) 10:44, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
    • Actually it's a preposition. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:47, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

child abuse

Does "child abuser" and "child abuser" have hypens between them?
How do I figure this stuff out?
Why is there a page for "rapists" but no page for "child abuser"

Because "child abuser" is SOP. A child abuser is one who abuses a child, whether sexually, mentally, or emotionally. Similarly a "dog abuser" would be one who abuses a dog, whether sexually, mentally, or emotionally. Ad infinitum. SOP. Tharthan (talk) 23:52, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

A nice graphic on Indo-European languages

This article from the Washington Post has a nice graphic, though the resolution is not high. The article itself holds no surprises for the linguists among us. DCDuring TALK 03:41, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

You can get higher resolution by clicking on the image. The only thing I disagree with is its implication that the Indo-European languages are split into two major groups, Indo-Iranian and European. That's a convenient way of thinking about it, maybe, but it has no linguistic basis. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:58, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
The enlarged image is not very high resolution, as I found when I printed it. Some of the labels are not legible to normal folks who do not have an internalized lexicon of language names to draw on. I still am or can remember being normal in that way.
I'm sure the author of the image would be happy to make a higher-resolution on available on some basis, though probably not a WMF-acceptable public license. DCDuring TALK 13:05, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
There's a higher resolution at io9, and also at the artists original comic, although that version is partly fictionalised according to the setting of her story (post-apocalyptic Iceland and Scandinavia). Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:28, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. The author's version is quite legible, the other a little less so. DCDuring TALK 13:46, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Nice graphic indeed! - -sche (discuss) 18:29, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Wiktionary in the press

As Ulmanor pointed out, we were mentioned, briefly, by American public radio. - -sche (discuss) 18:29, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia corpus at BYU

Joining BNC, COCA, COHA, Time magazine, and GloWBE at the BYU motherlode of free corpora is a compilation of all terms used in Wikipedia.

From the e-mail announcment:

"We have just recently released the BYU Wikipedia Corpus, which is composed of 1.9 billion words in 4.4 million articles. With this new corpus, you can now search Wikipedia in the same way that you can search the other corpora​ from BYU — by word and phrase, part of speech, variable strings, synonyms, comparisons of words, collocates, and concordance lines.
"Most importantly, however, with this interface you can quickly and easily create and then search personalized "virtual corpora" from the 4,400,000 web pages. For example, in just a few seconds you could create a corpus with 500-1000 pages (perhaps 500,000-1,000,000 words of text) related to microbiology, economics, basketball, Buddhism, or thousands of other topics. You can then modify any of these corpora -- adding, deleting, or moving texts; grouping corpora into categories, etc.
"Once you’ve created a virtual corpus, you can limit your search to just that portion of Wikipedia — for example, to see collocates or concordance lines. You can also compare the frequency of words and phrases across these different virtual corpora, or find which of the 4.4 million pages use a given word or phrase the most (and then create a virtual corpus from those results).
"And perhaps best of all, you can quickly and easily create keyword lists for these virtual corpora, including multi-word expressions. So if you are researching, teaching, or studying finance, for example, you can quickly create a "finance” corpus. You can then find keywords (e.g. nouns, verbs, or adjectives) related to this topic, and see many examples of these words or phrases in context from that virtual corpus.
"Hopefully you can see how powerful of a tool this corpus is. Rather than having to scour the Web to create your own corpus for a particular topic, just find the relevant pages from Wikipedia. And then use the data from Wikipedia to focus in on the words and phrases of that topic.
"We hope that this new corpus is of use to you in your teaching and research."

You should register. If you can legitimately claim to be affiliated with an academic institution and be engaged in language research, you can probably get better access than I get (Level 1). But level 1 allows a useful searching. I have not run up against any limits. DCDuring TALK 18:44, 28 January 2015 (UTC)


An IP suggests (see the entry's recent history) that this term is more offensive than our entry currently suggests. - -sche (discuss) 07:48, 29 January 2015 (UTC)


BTW, displaying the language

Talk pages of individual entries are not usually monitored by editors, and messages posted there may not be noticed and responded to. You may want to post your message to the Tea Room or Information desk instead.

implies, in std English, that the talk page is there just bcz your geeks haven't found a way to suppress display of the talk pages. And means that accumulating insights about an entry over the years and decades won't happen without additional effort. (Or has the geek locked in your steamer trunk created a facility to let a chosen few know when article-talk pages are edited, and you prefer hoi polloi not knowing such a facility exists)?
--Cranky Wikipediant 07:52, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Wow you sound like a jerk. Anyway, see Talk:stealer for a response to your original query. Equinox 13:31, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

my word

Discussion moved to Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2015/January#my word.

I should have remembered, in Latin

Should the first-person singular pluperfect subjunctive indicative of meminī be meminīssem or meminissem? --kc_kennylau (talk) 12:10, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure the i is short; it should be meminissem. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:26, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
@Angr, JohnC5: There is one source that suggests otherwise. --kc_kennylau (talk) 13:33, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Which source is that? I checked three different books on my bookshelf and they all give the ending of the pluperfect subjunctive as -issem, -issēs, -isset, -issēmus, -issētis, -issent; and they all do mark vowels that are long by nature before double consonants (something not all sources do), so the lack of a macron over the i really does indicate a short vowel. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:38, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
@Angr: http://www.cultus.hk/latin_lessons/conjugation/defective/memini.html --kc_kennylau (talk) 13:51, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
I trust print sources, which are more likely to have been proofread, over online sources. That link omits the macron over the final e of the 2nd person singular, and the implication that the i was short in the 1st and 2nd plural, but long in all the other persons, strikes me as especially suspect. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:34, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
@Kc kennylau, Angr: Allen and Greenough provide meminissem explicitly. —JohnC5 (Talk | contribs) 19:39, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

The Latin epithets you'll most likely find on the page

I've made yet another ranking of Latin epithets. This time I've ranked them by how many books they actually appear in, so the ranking is now much more reflective of how likely someone is to come across an epithet (if they read random Google books). I've automatically grouped the conjugations now (though it's not always perfect). Each entry gets up to 5 example species for reference (which are ordered how much they helped push the entry to the top of the list). This is pretty much the sort of thing I always wanted to do with the list but never had time to.

Thanks to the work of Wiktionary's editors, the majority of the top epithets already have entries, but here's some select missing ones (and the scientific names they're most likely to be found in):

  1. arundinaceus, arundinacea, arundinaceum,
    e.g. Phalaris arundinacea, Festuca arundinacea, Maranta arundinacea, Bambusa arundinacea, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
  2. junceus, juncea, junceum
    e.g. Brassica juncea, Crotalaria juncea, Spartium junceum, Chondrilla juncea, Solidago juncea
  3. carpio
    e.g. Cyprinus carpio, Carpiodes carpio, Floridichthys carpio, Salmo carpio
  4. leucocephalus, leucocephala, leucocephalum; leucocephalos
    e.g. Leucaena leucocephala, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Oxyura leucocephala, Columba leucocephala, Amazona leucocephala
  5. dactylon; dactylus, dactyla, dactylum
    e.g. Cynodon dactylon, Panicum dactylon, Capriola dactylon; Grapholita dactyla, Lepanthes dactyla, Porroglossum dactylum
  6. papyrifer, papyrifera
    e.g. Betula papyrifera, Broussonetia papyrifera, Edgeworthia papyrifera, Boswellia papyrifera, Fatsia papyrifera
  7. cannabinus, cannabina, cannabinum
    e.g. Hibiscus cannabinus, Apocynum cannabinum, Eupatorium cannabinum, Carduelis cannabina, Sesbania cannabina
  8. leucopus
    e.g. Peromyscus leucopus, Saguinus leucopus, Lepilemur leucopus, Sminthopsis leucopus, Rattus leucopus

The full top 1250 is here. It's a long list. You can scan through for red-linked epithets. I'll try to make a condensed list just of the top missing ones another time (hopefully soon). Any feedback welcome. —Pengo (talk) 12:11, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

(the words next to the numbers were mostly redlinks when I posted this, in case anyone's wondering.) Nice work, DCDuring :) —21:22, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
It would be nice if we had automatic entry creation for the Latin inflected forms from the Latin inflection line templates. It would also be handy to wrap the epithets in {{l|la}} to make it more obvious which do not have Latin L2 sections.
I've been trying to make sure that we have the genus names, including obsolete ones, that are sometimes used as specific epithets, either in the nominative, eg, Bufo bufo or genitive Nonagria typhae (< Typha). DCDuring TALK 23:15, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Ok, I'm now listing any genera which sound similar to the epithets. Let me know if there's a general case where it's not grouping things together that it should. The stemmer which forms groups is based on some odd code that was originally designed only for Latin nouns, and it didn't seem to work that well even for that. I've tweaked it a bit to work more broadly. I'm not sure it handles all genitive forms, so let me know if you come across any common problem. I'm sure it's more broad than ideal, but I guess that's better than too narrow.
I've now included all species and synonyms from the Catalogue of Life, not just ones seen in books. Each species gets one free "point", as if it had been seen in a single book. This hopefully gives a more "complete" view.
I've made book/volume counts visible now so you can judge whether an epithet is something popular or anomalous so you can better judge how much time to spend on it and whether it warrants an entry or an inclusion as an alternative form or whatever. Making the numbers visible seemed necessary as adding all species adds a lot of noise to the data. The numbers also add a lot of visible clutter to the list, so let me know if they're useful or how to better format them. I was thinking of maybe hiding anything above a certain number, because it's probably more useful just to know which ones are rare. e.g. "cola (2)" generally means there are two species with the epithet "cola" and neither of them were seen in any book. "Cola (2270)" means that either that the genus Cola has a huge number of species, or Cola species are seen in a bunch of books. Most likely a combination of the two. But it's probably not that useful to know exactly how high the number is.
I've wrapped the epithets now in {{l|la}}. Does that do anything practical other than add #Latin to the links? I did {{l|mul}} for the genus links. Lemme know if you something else would be better. Sorry I've clobbered your edits, but hopefully the changes are worthwhile. Enjoy. Pengo (talk) 09:19, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
First of all, thanks. This makes it easier to work on.
Some of the generic names that serve as epithets are obsolete ones. I don't see a reasonable way of getting at them. Some are buried in Wikispecies synonyms, but getting them would probably be a long run for a short slide, as it would be a very incomplete list and many aren't ever used as epithets.
The practical value of enclosure in {{l|la}} is that it yields color-coding to differentiate links to Latin L2 sections from those to other L2s, which could be Translingual, English, Italian, or indeed almost any Roman-script language. I wouldn't have asked except I guessed it was relatively easy to execute. DCDuring TALK 10:33, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Ahhh.. I just discovered the "OrangeLinks" preference. Awesome :)
I've hidden numbers larger than 100 now because it was getting too messy. (see here for the version with too many numbers). Now, basically, you can take any number as a caution that the entry might not be particularly significant, and otherwise assume that it's common enough.
There are a lot of synonyms that can show up in the list now, but it looks like you've found others. If you find another good source, let me know. At some point I might try scraping Wikipedia or Wikispecies but probably not soon. Pengo (talk) 11:32, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I had forgotten about the substantial loading-performance penalty of so many instances of {{l}} (or any template). #Latin would be better for this purpose - or multiple subpages. DCDuring TALK 13:06, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Out of curiosity I made an obsolete genus list with the obsolete genera I found in the Catalogue of Life. There's 41,938. Don't know what specific use there might be for it (so I've made no attempt to format it). It's still from the same data source, so it's not going to contain anything new for the "epithets on the page" list. To be honest, I'm more interested in the obsolete genera that haven't made the list (e.g. Lamblia), as they're less well documented elsewhere. Pengo (talk) 20:18, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
@Pengo, Chuck Entz: There's a case to be made that obsolete taxa should be a class that has a higher priority than the class of taxa that are current but not often used and without any corresponding vernacular name. These names, when they do come up, are often hard to research. If we had external links to the bodies of old taxonomic literature that had them (like the Biodiversity Heritage Library), we would be providing a service. Better yet would be links to successor taxa if we could determine them. Those in Century 1911, Webster 1913, the old encyclopedias (Encyclopedia Britannica), or well-known natural histories of the 18th and 19th centuries would be a good set to start with. Within these taxa, genera and higher taxa are probably more valuable than species names (other than type species names). All that is conjectural. I am not all that familiar with the full range of relevant older taxonomic literature.
There must be some online sources that facilitate search for obsolete taxa, possibly specialized by groupings at the family level or higher (eg, The Plant List).
Of course. I continue to believe that those in current use or with a vernacular name in any language are the highest priority. DCDuring TALK 22:22, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Not sure what you're thinking of around facilitating search for obsolete taxa. I can think of a few ways to generate lists of candidate obsolete/un-databased taxa. When I went through Google Books' 2-grams I searched only for exact matches of CoL's species. I was thinking I could re-run the search and make it more fuzzy to include anything which looks a bit like a binomial name. (E.g. a Latinate-looking genus and a previously seen epithet), and then I could sort these by how much they look like a binomial (while excluding already known ones of course). Another possibility would be to search texts (like the ones you suggested, or perhaps pubmed) for telling phrases along the lines of "the species Capitalized-word lowercase-word (Family ...iae)". However, even if one of these methods (or a combination) produced mostly good results (i.e. forgotten/obsolete species, missing from other databases), there'd still be a huge manual task of searching for and sorting through evidence and documenting each species and genus. Will be something I keep in mind for a future project though. Pengo (talk) 23:49, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Can you think of a way to get the taxa entries from a late edition of Century c. 1911 or earlier? Those would include a good number of obsolete taxa, arguably some of the more important ones, and would have good out-of-copyright definitions to boot. DCDuring TALK 05:27, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
@DCDuring: How goes it? OK, so Ecphymotes, an obsolete lizard genus, is defined in Century, Volume 3 (1895) (the online search fails, so you'll likely have to download the PDF or another format and search that, or you can try any of the other scans of Volume 3 on archive.org and see if their search is broken too: 1897, 1897, 1904.) Other candidates in this volume are: Epenthesis, Eupagurus, and Exocephala. Century is pretty difficult to work with because no one's ever cleaned up the OCR (that I can find), so there's no way to even get a list of head words. See how you go with these. If you can make something from them, and you don't find it too tedious to work with, and you want to work on more of these, I'll have a go at making a larger list. Pengo (talk) 15:40, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
I got lucky with the first one I picked Ecphymotes and was able to make a substantive entry, relatively quickly (40 minutes). This is not low-hanging fruit. DCDuring TALK 20:00, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Ah well, it took quite a while to find just those examples. I thought the most useful part of the Century entry (or the quickest way to use it) would be to use the etymology and the definition, and mention it was obsolete. Though I just spent way too long trying to transcribe the Greek to add an etymology to Ecphymotes. To use the obvious cliché, it's Greek to me (and I have no idea which diacritics to use). ἑκφυμα or ὲκφυμα?, so I'm going to give up before I get to the further etymology which they have under "ecphyma". Pengo (talk) 05:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
The two sites I use that have the Century 1911 pages, but only the scans apparently, though they might have a list of headwords. One site is [global-language.com], the other is the one behind Ecphymotes in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911. DCDuring TALK 06:46, 21 February 2015 (UTC)


It is said that the English word egg was ultimately from Proto-Germanic ajją, but in the page for the Proto-Germanic word ajją, it says that in Old Saxon and Middle Low German, a form of the word "egg" is also spelled as "egg", does anyone have any evidence to prove that? was it actually a Norse or Old/Middle English borrowing? --Neptune Purple Heart 13:37, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

The native English word for egg was "ey", with the plural "eyren". However, that form died out AFAIK several hundred years ago, replaced by "egg", with the plural "eggs", from Old Norse. Nevertheless, both "egg" and "ey" are from the same Proto-Germanic root. Tharthan (talk) 14:22, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
That wasn't the question, though. The OP was asking about the Old Saxon and Middle Low German spelling egg. I don't know where that comes from, but if it's real, I suspect it's a borrowing from Old Norse, just like English egg is. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:37, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Reading through the question again, I realise that I misread it before. Whoops. Tharthan (talk)


[[2]The bodycon page] does not give a definition, it only cites an off hand definition in one source. That definition is "body conscious". "Body conforming" might be better as it describes what it is as opposed to its effect. You can certainly be conscious of your body (or someone else's) without wearing skin tight clothes.

P.S. The link insertion feature on this tea room page seems to have some problems. When I first gave it a link it told me "the page does not exist". By careful editing I was able to compensate for this.

  • You need stronger glasses. The definition given is:- "figure-hugging, skintight, form-fitting". SemperBlotto (talk) 16:56, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

dèan coimeas air (gd) listed as a verb

There is a page that confuses me: dèan coimeas air, which says this phrase is a verb. I believe, at best, it is a (...n idiomatic) verbal phrase.

  • dèan is a verb meaning "do", or "make".
  • I believe that in this case, coimeas ("comparison") is a verbal noun of coimeas ("compare").
  • air ("of"/"for") in this phrase, I believe, is a preposition.

How do these elements combine to form a single verb? If it is a verb, how is it conjugated? I assume by conjugating the verb:

  • dèan (past rinn, future nì, verbal noun dèanamh, past participle dèanta)

Granted, I am fairly new to Wiktionary, but this seems a case of trying to force a square peg in a round hole. Kibi78704 (talk) 03:42, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

We usually list idiomatic verb phrases as verbs here. See kick the bucket for an English example. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:14, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Etymology for Macbeth

On the Macbeth page there is no etymology. Does anyone know why shakespeare used this or is it unknown?

He took the name from a real Scottish king, Mac Bethad. bethad is equivalent to the modern Gaelic beatha, meaning "life". Macbeth (MacBheatha) means "son of life", which is a flattering way to refer to oneself. There's more information about the real Macbeth at the Wikipedia I linked. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:15, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Thank you!

There's actually a pattern in Old and Middle Irish of "Mac ..." names: Mac Laisre (Son of the Flame), Mac Coirbb, Mac Tire (son of the Land / Wolf), Mac Raith (Son of the Fortress), and so on. And we can tell that they were analysed in a unit as single names. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:02, 1 February 2015 (UTC)



For the English word "a" (indefinite article), it gives a stressed and an unstressed pronunciation. Could someone please make it clear that the unstressed version is the usual one? I don't know how to format entries myself and I don't want to mess it up. Thanks. --Money money tickle parsnip (talk) 21:43, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure how we would do this. I thought of changing "stressed" to "stressed for emphasis" (since you'd never pronounce a in a dog like the letter A, unless you were e.g. contrasting it with the dog), but then emphasis is the purpose of stress. I think it has to be taken as understood that function words are not generally stressed in English; a certainly isn't the only entry we'd have to change, otherwise. Equinox 22:41, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

February 2015

alpinus and a big list of just the missing epithets

User:Pengo/missing epithets:

  1. tuberculosis, tuberculosa, tuberculosus, tuberculosum (28) — Tuberculosa (4)
  2. pylori, pylorus (5), pylora (2)
  3. botulinumBotulina (1)
  4. typhi, typhae, typharum (14), typha (5), typhus (2), typhia (1) — Typha, Typhis (49)
  5. solani ( < Solanum), solana (55), solanus (7), solanum (3) ( < Solanum), solanii (1), solano (1), solanae (1) — Solanum
  6. lamblia ( < Lamblia)
  7. arundinacea, arundinaceus, arundinaceum, arundinaceae (2)
  8. tetani, tetanus (1) — Tetana (1)
  9. mulatta
  10. juncea, junceum, junceus, junceae (1), iunceus (1)
  11. pertussis
  12. stolonifera, stolonifer, stoloniferum, stoloniferus (16)
  13. stramonium, stramonii (1) — Stramonium (12)
  14. mariana, marianum, marianus, marianae (28), marianii (12), mariani (4), marianarum (3), marianiae (2), marjana (2), marianorum (1), marian (1) — Mariana (3)
  15. salar, salaris, salarius (8), salaria (4), salara (3), salarii (1) — Salaria (53), Salar (9), Salaris (2), Salarius (1)
  16. pennsylvanicus, pennsylvanica, pennsylvanicum
  17. papaya, papayae, papayas (1), papayum (1) — Papaya (88)
  18. helix, helixus (1) — Helix
  19. dactylon, dactyloni (4), dactylonii (1), dactylonis (1) — Dactylon (1)
  20. cereale, cerealis, cerealium, cerealia (3)
  21. alpina, alpinus, alpinum, alpiniae (22) ( <Alpinia), alpini (9) (mostly in two-part epithets such as polygoni-alpini)), alpinia (3) ( < Alpinia), alpinii (2), alpinae (1) ( < Alpina) — Alpinia, Alpina (16)
  22. more...

Here's just the epithets which are missing, from most common to least commonly found in books.

Only entries with either Latin or translingual sections are counted as "not missing". The list currently includes a lot of orange links (if you have them turned on in preferences), because there's a lot of them without Latin (or translingual) sections.

Items with numbers after them are less important but included for completeness (and someone might want to add them too all the same)

alpinus is in the list because it was moved to Alpinus at some point with just a redirect left behind. alpina and alpinum were not moved. Should probably be fixed up.

Might try to refresh this list semi-regularly if it gets used and if I can fix some speed/caching issues. The full list also includes the most common example species for each group of epithets. Pengo (talk) 04:22, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Alpinia is a ringer- according to w:Alpinia, it's named after an Italian by the name of w:Prospero Alpini Chuck Entz (talk) 10:29, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Alpina is a genus name in Geometridae (moths), not in Wikispecies, but in the Catalog of Life. It is possible that some instances of alpina and alpinae are of this genus, not of the Latin adjective. The only instances we are likely to detect are the genitives and those where alpina is used with a masculine or neuter genus name. DCDuring TALK 16:23, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I think my conclusion is that we need to focus on the low-hanging fruit: those of the 1st/2nd declension (-us, -a, -um}, those 3rd with two or three endings, (usually -is, -e). For obsolete genera, the names of subgenera, sections, and subsections (marked, subg, sect, and subsect in botany etc and capitalized between a genus name and a specific epithet in geology) would be a good start. Stems of the higher taxa from subtribe to magnorder that have regular rank-indicating endings would be a good list. We can usually infer a single candidate generic name or a short list of candidate generic names from those stems, especially if we know the class (eg, Aves, Insecta, Mammalia) or phylum (eg, Mollusca, Nematoda, Porifera) of the higher taxon that is the source of the stem. DCDuring TALK 04:08, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
@DCDuring: I made a list now of the "low hanging fruit", candidates for first/second declension. Hopefully will be useful. Pengo (talk) 22:45, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Ok. So although I've been putting together these lists, my understanding of Latin grammar is still pretty poor. I partially understand the alpinus/Alpinus explanation but I don't at all understand the steps that it takes to pick a declension and be confident about it. But I figure from my epithet lists now it should be relatively easy to pick out the 1st/2nd declension terms? Might be easier to create an example of how you imagine an entry to look than trying to describe it?
Would it do if I added other ranks to the epithet lists in much the same way Genus has been included? E.g. "bufo — Bufo — family:Bufonidae" (including Bufonidae because it shares a common stem, not because it's the family). Including phylum/class can be tricky, as none of the taxon bits listed are necessarily related. I know kingdoms have different naming rules, but can you clarify how you'd use this info? It would be easiest to add to the example species.
Subgenera and sections are tricky. I've just tried to extract them from CoL without success. Although the database is structured to allow for their inclusion, there are none in there at all. I'm probably not going to attempt to scrape other sources just yet. I'm only thinking about improving my current epithet lists, but I'm not sure if you're thinking of different kinds of queries?
So, the main things that should be relatively easy to do are (1) to add any other ranks which share the epithet's stem (ala the Bufonidae example above); (2) mark any obsolete taxon with a double dagger (‡) (epithet, species, genus, etc which only exists in synonyms); (3) list two-part epithets within the entries of their single-part counterparts. Pengo (talk) 11:09, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I appreciate the effort involved in finding the best way to do this. In part, I'm thinking simpler is better for rapid addition of new entries. A list of all the stems where the forms were all in lower case and ended in -us, -a, and -um, having at least one instance of each ending would be a very good way of adding a lot of epithets quickly. Ordering them from most to least frequent is further assurance that the most important are added first. Additional information is not very helpful and may be a distraction for the core task. Another useful list would be similar for epithets ending in -is and -e.
Once we have these regular, common epithets covered we can work on the harder cases with more complex listings such as those you have produced. The double-dagger enhancement is useful. Adding the use of the stem in other taxa is distracting. I thought it might be useful to find more obsolete genus names, but mining Wikispecies would be much better. A two-part epithet will be much less common. The genitive endings of a compound epithet usually indicate that the species "X y" is a host for the species "Z X-y" of a parasite or symbiont. It is more helpful to have them on a separate list from which we would add the species, which is probably important economically or in research.
The Wikispecies dump might be the best source for subgenera, sections, and subsections, as well as for higher taxa. They explicitly label each taxon used in an entry and have a hierarchy of hyponyms in every entry. DCDuring TALK 13:51, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
By definition, specific epithets can only be nominative singular/plural or genitive singular/plural nouns or adjectives. The adjectives agree in gender and number with the generic name, but I've never heard of a plural generic name, so the adjectives should be all singular. The first and second declensions are easy, but the third depends on the ending of the stem and how it interacts with the inflectional endings (of which there are variants)- not that easy to code for. I've never worked with the 4th and 5th declension, but there are very few of them, which you can ignore. See w:Latin declension. Chuck Entz (talk) 10:29, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I think you have the direction of the derivations wrong: higher-level taxa are usually named by taking the genitive of the type generic name and replacing the ending with the rank-specific ones. Thus the bird order Passeriformes is ultimately derived from Passer domesticus (genitive passeris), the English Sparrow, and the family Bufonidae gets its name from Bufo bufo ( genitive bufonis). For animal taxa in the "family group" and below, this is explicitly specified by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, but above that, it's only a matter of relatively recent custom. In the case of plants, there are a few family names such as Leguminosae and Umbelliferae that have been grandathered in and coexist with the standard Fabaceae (dating from when Vicia faba was classified in the genus Faba) and Apiaceae from Apium graveolens. Chuck Entz (talk) 10:29, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
We're not trying to derive genus names, we're trying to infer them from higher taxa. We are doing this to get at obsolete/archaic genus names. Once we have a list of candidates we can attempt to determine whether such candidate names actually ever existed. We would have the reasonable assurance that such names were at one time at least the names were important enough to be the source of higher taxon names. The point of looking at infrageneric names at the rank of subgenus, section, and subsection is similarly because they are also candidates to have been genus names.
If you know of some reliable source of obsolete/archaic generic names, I am all ears. DCDuring TALK 13:54, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Sadly, we're probably one of the leading sources, what with all of the Webster 1913 articles. I've been changing a lot of species names to use {{taxlink}} lately, and more often than not the links go to a page that says Wikispecies doesn't have a page for it. A good bit of that is due to Wikispecies only having a page for the genus, and often the specific epithet is obsolete- but there are a significant number where the generic name is out of date. Just comparing the contents of the {{taxlink}}-generated categories for genus and species with Wikispecies and Wikipedia would probably turn up more obsolete generic names than the above methods. For that matter, when I go looking for plant and animal names to categorize, I find lots of entries with taxonomic names either redlinked or hardcoded as italicized text. From that, I would infer that we haven't {{taxlink}}ed or created taxon pages to cover more than a fraction of the candidates. Do we have a list somewhere of entries with italicized binomials? Just checking for <space>''word<space>word''<space>, <space>''[[word]]<space>[[word]]''<space> and <space>''[[word<space>word]]''<space> would be extremely useful. As for converting old generic names to new ones: this is not a simple mechanical process. Yes, there are a good number of generic names that have been found to be invalid and replaced with new names, but species get moved around so much that a single old genus might easily have its former members in a dozen modern ones. Even extant ones get changed a lot. Think of all the common names based on generic names such as chrysanthemum, geranium and azalea. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:58, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: We have only 123 members in :Category:Taxonomic names (obsolete).
It might be possible to find some unlinked taxonomic names using the capabilities of Cirrus search, by searching non-Translingual entries for "species" or "genus" and an absence of the template {{taxlink}}. I fear that the list you propose would generate many false positives, but it's worth a shot.
The process of generating candidate generic names would be mechanical, but validating them would not be.
I certainly don't think that we can recreate the history of membership of species in a genus. I'd be happy if we could reference some contemporary taxon, preferably a genus. Type species would be nice. DCDuring TALK 16:11, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Century would be an even better source for obsolete/archaic taxa than Webster has been. DCDuring TALK 16:11, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
@DCDuring: @Chuck Entz: Thanks for the feedback and help. I've updated the common and missing lists to mark synonyms/obsolete taxa with a double dagger (which does seem quite helpful). I'm pretty happy with the lists now, although I haven't done a bunch of things on my to-do list (such as including other ranks; special treatment of two-part epithets; and highlighting possible 1st/2nd declensions). I'm going to leave obsolete taxa searching for another time too. I'm going to move on to other projects for a while, namely an audit of IUCN red list statuses (statī?) on Wikipedia, and some other personal projects. Hope the lists are useful for a while. Seems there's no shortage of things to do here regardless. Hopefully the alpinus/Alpinus thing can be sorted out soon too :) Pengo (talk) 10:21, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

ring road

If this is British English, what is it called outside Commonwealth countries (and China for that matter)? ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:12, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

In the US this corresponds to beltway. But beltways are limited-access roads. I don't think of ring roads (eg, Ringstrasse in Vienna) as being limited in access. circumferential highway is a (SoP?) hyponym that is more inclusive, but would still not include Ringstrasse, which is not a highway. See beltway at OneLook Dictionary Search and ring road at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring TALK 00:44, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I think German Ringstraße or Umgehungsstraße would still fit "beltway". Straße could also be various kinds of roads including "highway".--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:55, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I was specifically talking about the one in Vienna with does not fit in any definition of beltway that I can find.
The poor correspondence between the empirical membership in the categories corresponding to the terms ring road and beltway exemplifies the general problem of poor matches of words and concepts between cultures. It limits the utility of translations as we will never have both base English definitions that are useful to English speakers and definitions sufficiently atomic to allow all FL terms to correspond to a set of such definitions. DCDuring TALK 02:28, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Re: mismatches - It's nothing new. There may be no perfect match but a close match. If a translation is too loose, a qualifier or a descriptive SoP translation can be used, especially when a concept/term is missing in a given FL. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 02:32, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
As for Austrian "Ringstraße" (spelled "Ringstrasse" in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, not Germany or Austria), it's a "circular road/street" but "ring road" is one of its senses. The US "beltway" has a narrower sense.--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 02:37, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Atlanta has something called the Perimeter, which is basically a beltway. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:55, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
In the UK, I think we only have one road similar to a beltway - the M25. That is described as the "London Orbital" - definitely not a ring road. SemperBlotto (talk) 07:45, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
There's (for example) the Manchester Inner Ring Road (a mixture of American-style elevated motorway and standard A-roads) and the Manchester Outer Ring Road (fully separated motorway). This might be less an issue of language, and more of different approaches to road planning on different continents. There are quite a lot of American books that refer to "ring roads" in a US context, both to mean beltway and to refer to a non-freeway solution to circulatory roads (mostly in New England, it seems, where dense population and historical city centres make the beltway a poor solution). Notably, the city of Providence used to have a system that was officially referred to as a ring road. Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:05, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Melbourne, Australia, has the Western Ring Road (and that's its official name). Its definition here is a freeway or highway which runs around a city, instead of radially out from the center. Sydney has the Sydney Orbital Network (a system of ring roads), Perth has the ring road made up in part by the Roe Highway, and Brisbane is building one now. In all cases they are described as "ring roads". --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 11:28, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
It's a lot like terms for stages in schooling: in the US we have preschool, kindergarten, elementary/grade school, middle school/junior high, high school, with grades from 1 to 12 that overlap with some of those (and k-12 schools that have kindergarten, elementary and junior high in one school). They can be hard to convert to school systems in other countries, regardless of language. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:55, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Many thanks to everyone who replied. The entry looks great now. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:58, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Are you a noun if you feel like yourself?

Yourself has a noun section with the definition "Your usual, normal, or true self", with the usex "feel like yourself". Myself with the more opaque definition "that being which is oneself", with the same usex. None of the other pronouns have noun sections, although they can all be used in exactly the same way ("feel like himself/herself/ourselves/etc"). Are the noun sections unnecessary (do the plural sections cover "feel like _self"-type usage)? Or should noun sections be added to the other pronoun entries?
This is part of the more general issue that our pronoun entries are quite inconsistently formatted.
- -sche (discuss) 04:30, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

It's not only -self, since you could say "I feel like them" (i.e. like they do). Equinox 16:14, 2 February 2015 (UTC)


What does this mean? "(countable, in translation of Chinese) The sweet osmanthus (O. fragrans)"

Can it be said more clearly, so normal folks could understand? DCDuring TALK 16:53, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

My guess is that it means there is a Chinese word, which properly refers to the 'sweet osmanthus', which is commonly translated as 'cassia' instead of as 'sweet osmanthus', for reasons. Whether it is true that there is such a word, I don't know. (RFV?) - -sche (discuss) 02:23, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
As I understand it, both cassia (the type of cinnamon) and sweet osmanthus were originally referred to by the same single-character term, , with the compound terms 桂花 (桂 flower) and 肉桂 (meat 桂) emerging to remove the ambiguity. There's also 木樨 that refers to sweet osmanthus as well. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:00, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
If one knew that, then the label would make sense. But how does the label begin to convey that to someone who doesn't know the underlying situation. It would seem to be merely a canard to someone using the entry. DCDuring TALK 03:12, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I think it would be better to have a usage note saying that cassia and sweet osmanthus are often confused by translators of Chinese. For one thing, I would imagine it would be possible for references to cassia to be mistranslated as sweet osmanthus, too. Older translations of all sorts of works are rife with mistranslations. We do have similar senses for biblical mistranslations at cony and fitch, though. The entry at tare has a sense that also comes from a biblical mistranslation, but is deceptive because it doesn't mention the fact. It quotes the biblical passage that's the original mistranslation, but also quotes another that's obviously an indirect allusion to the biblical passage. Just off the top of my head, the word rose as used in Bible translations is definitely wrong, as are references to hyssop and most (maybe all) references to lilies. I know there are similar issues with many other works, but biblical translation is the area I've studied in greatest depth and therefore the easiest for me to come up with examples for without research. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:39, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

force of will

Would the term "force of will" pass CFI? It seems idiomatic. There are also some idiomatic translations, e.g. Chinese 精神力 (jīngshénlì), Japanese 精神力 (せいしんりょく, seishinryoku), Korean 정신력 (jeongsillyeok). . --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:48, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

force of will is the fourth most common term of the type force of [noun], after force of nature, force of gravity, force of arms and ahead of force of law and force of habit. We join other references (force of nature at OneLook Dictionary Search and force of habit at OneLook Dictionary Search) in what we include (and exclude). It is not a set phrase, as possessive and adjectival modifiers may be inserted. Both of the included force phrase have definitions and application that makes them idiomatic. Force of will does not. It's definition would be something like "power of one's one's own strongly felt intention and choice", which is pretty much "willpower" or "force of will". DCDuring TALK 02:11, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Since OneLook dictionary is often used for references, it could be a candidate for Lemming tests, no? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 02:32, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
There is no force of lemmings in Wiktionary policy, just as there is no force of will at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring TALK 03:27, 3 February 2015 (UTC)


Some etymological references mention this as a medieval Latin noun meaning "mesh"; for instance, it is the posited etymon of mascle. Is it attested? Homography with the adjective masculus/mascula makes it hard to search for. (Incidentally, I've just found one reference that derives mascula from macula; the other references I've seen derive it from Germanic and relate it to mesh.) - -sche (discuss) 02:32, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Pinging User:I'm so meta even this acronym and User:Metaknowledge, who are familiar with Latin. - -sche (discuss) 19:15, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
@-sche: It wouldn't be too surprising if mascula (mesh) occurred at some point as a variant spelling of macula (which exists in a “mesh” sense; see sense 2.2), but it isn't recorded by Niermeyer, and the Old High German māsca is also a plausible cognate, if not an etymon. Johann Jacob Hofmann has an entry for Mascula (a city of Numidia), but it reads merely "MASCULA, urbs Numidiæ, Antonin. & D. Auguſt.", which is of course irrelevant. That's as much as I know. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 21:09, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

capital works, capital construction

What does "capital" mean in capital works/capital construction? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:42, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

I don't know, but according to one .gov.uk website, "Capital works are works to the structure and exterior of your flat and building, and to any other premises that your lease grants you the right to use". According to the Australian Taxpayers' Guide 2013 (ISBN 0730307263), "The term 'capital works' includes buildings, structural improvements and environmental protection earthworks that are used for an income-producing purpose". And Tax For Australians For Dummies (ISBN 1118551206) says "Ordinarily, you can't claim a tax deduction in respect of the purchase of a building. This rule applies because the outlay is considered to be capital in nature and not tax deductible under the general deduction provisions [] However, you may be able to claim a tax deduction under the capital works provisions, which allow you to write off certain construction costs of a building over a period of time." The Dictionary of Property and Construction Law (ISBN 1135801177) defines "capital improvement" as "Capital works undertaken on an asset with a view to enhancing its value. It does not include repairs or maintenance." Is any of that helpful? - -sche (discuss) 03:24, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Maybe it's just sense 1 of capital, in that "capital works"/improvements/etc are improvements to "Already-produced durable goods ... such as ... structures"? - -sche (discuss) 03:26, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I can tell you not to bother with w:Capital (economics), a "vital" article, rated C- by their economics project. DCDuring TALK 03:46, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Talk:över-, Talk:huvud-

Someone questioned (ages ago) whether these were really Swedish prefixes. Discussion went nowhere. Are they prefixes or not? sv.Wikt has an entry for the first one but not the second one. - -sche (discuss) 07:55, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

I would say över- is prefix but huvud- is not. I don't know if there are any clear criteria but at least this would be analogous with our English entries: "over-" is considered a prefix but "head-" is not. Also, this line would be in agreement with sv-Wiktionary. However, sv-Wikipedia has a list of Swedish prefixes (förled in Swedish), but över- is not included. --Hekaheka (talk) 20:52, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
huvud- seems like a prefix to me, comparable to hoofd-, haupt-, pää-. —CodeCat 20:56, 14 February 2015 (UTC)



It is indeed a great pleasure for me to participate in the magnificent endeavor that is Wikipedia!

I am creating a new page, using Sandbox, since I am a new user - - - I do posses programming skills and have a diploma in computer science. ...also fluent in 6 languages; ...which means I intend to create these pages in other languages.

The pages are about one of Canada's best musicians, known world-wide; I have about many.. virtually thousands newspaper and magazine articles, media, etc. to choose from. So I will be working very hard to encapsulate this celebrated 45 year international career, in due encyclopedic form of course.

I tried creating in Draft mode, inadvertently broke some rules, and the page was deleted. So now I work in Sandbox and I copy my code every day, just in case.

So my questions are:

1) might my Sandbox page also be deleted. 2) I am wondering what to expect when I click "Submit your draft for Review"; I am hoping I will have a chance to correct whatever is required.

Many thanks, and of course I appreciate any feedback.

very best wishes, Michael —This unsigned comment was added by Mlaucke (talkcontribs) at 06:58, February 3, 2015‎.

That seems like a Wikipedia article, not a dictionary article. Wiktionary is a dictionary. DCDuring TALK 13:42, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

tomate de colgar

The original user (WF) translated this is "hanging tomato", although there doesn't seem to be much evidence of that name being used. Any ideas what was going through his head at the time of creating? --Type56op9 (talk) 14:37, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

A Google Image search for "tomate de colgar" turns up bunches of tomatoes hanging on vines like grapes. In some cases, they seem to have been strung onto artificial vines (for storage?). - -sche (discuss) 17:44, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
It is a tomato varietal grown around Alcalà de Xivert, Province of Valencia, Catalonia, and Majorca. In English, garland tomato. —Stephen (Talk) 07:21, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

depict pronunciation

currently the first vowel is given as [ɪ], based on my own pronunciation I believe it is more accurately [ɨ]. (in english linguistics this is used to represent a vowel in free variation between [ɪ] and [ə].) Can someone check a definitive dictionary about this?

It's your ass

I'm wondering about expressions like "If anyone finds out, it's your ass". I think they are idiomatic and reasonably common, and don't seem to be explained by ass. Should there be an entry for be someone's ass? Siuenti (talk) 21:44, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Never heard it. Is this an elliptical form of "it's your ass on the line", or "it's your ass that's going to get kicked", or some such? Equinox 21:45, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think so. I would have said it's the same as "be fucked", dictionary.com has a less vulgar definition under it's one's ass [3]. These quotes might help:
"Tell him to do what ever it takes to close that loan or it's his ass" [4]
"There is a lot of deterrents for a QB to override the last play of the super bowl, even if the called play is dumb. If things don't pan out, it's his ass." [5]
" He’s stuck on the shitty missions, in all of the danger, and if something happens, it’s his ass, because he’s not worth saving in their eyes" [6]
Siuenti (talk) 22:46, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I'd say it certainly came from something like "it's your ass on the line". Of course can be pluralized, used with many possessives, and with any tense of be, eg. "It would have been the whole team's asses had it failed". DCDuring TALK 00:02, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
We have a sense at ass for "one's self or person". That seems close to what this phrase is saying: i.e. it's you, it's your problem, or your responsibility, or your whatever. Equinox 00:05, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
I thinks it's a bit more specific than that. We should add a sense to ass#Etymology 2 like "responsibility; jeopardy".
If we were to add a phrasal idiom I conclude that it would be be one's ass with lots of redirects thereto. DCDuring TALK 00:13, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
In a related question, how should we categorize the similar phrase "to have someone's ass," as in "They'll have my ass if I don't get this report in on time"? Do we think that this form came from a transitivization of the phrase "It's my ass" or from a different usage? JohnC5 01:44, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Possibly a vulgar modification of "they'll have your head" (on a spear, on a platter, etc.). Sometimes people just change a word for a rude word, as in "can't be fucked" for "can't be bothered". Equinox 01:46, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
That makes a lot of sense. JohnC5 01:52, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

science questions

Q.1. what is fungi ?

Q.2. what is algae?

Q.4. why did potato regarding modified stem ?

Q.5. what is perculation ?Italic text--Anjalikumari090 (talk) 06:01, 4 February 2015 (UTC)anjali

fungi — any of a large group of eukaryotic, unicellular, multicellular, or syncytial spore-producing organisms that feed on organic matter, including molds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools.
algae — any of a large group of simple eukaryotic nonflowering plants that includes the seaweeds and many single celled forms. Algae contain chlorophyll but lack true stems, roots, leaves, and vascular tissue.
why did potato regarding modified stem (incomprehensible; it is not English)
percolation is the process of a liquid passing slowly through a filter. —Stephen (Talk) 06:58, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Talk:on the defensive

Linking to a question on Talk:on the defensive. Someone left a frustrated message on Wiktionary:Feedback#Talk:on_the_defensive --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:04, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

I have to admit, this message of yours amused me (though I’m still depressed). --Romanophile (talk) 06:26, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
@Romanophile: Why did it amuse you? Were you the one who left the message in Wiktionary:Feedback? I only copied the question to a better location, where it has a better chance to be answered. I have no opinion (or interest, sorry) on the substance of the question. It's up to you to follow it up or expand the topic. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:43, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
It's a prepositional phrase. Almost all of them can be used both adverbially or after some copulative verbs, almost always after forms of be. "Prepositional phrase" is a better L3 header. DCDuring TALK 23:59, 4 February 2015 (UTC)


The entry for "primally" lists it under the heading "Adjective" even though it is clearly an adverb. However, the hot links at the bottom of the entry include "English Adverbs" rather than "English Adjectives" -- the entire entry needs to be reconfigured somehow. Also, the entry for "primal" lacks a link to "primally."

Fixed. It was only the "Adjective" header that was wrong: the entry was created that way, apparently as an absent-minded error that no one else noticed. Thanks for letting us know. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:29, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

battle of the bulge

Should we include "battle of the bulge" under battle of the bulge or just at bulge? ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:09, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

Depends. Do we consider "battle" to be idiomatic? Purplebackpack89 04:37, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Wasn't it a WWII term? I think it is used now in cases where someone has too much around their middle, and would like to get rid of it. I could consider it to be an idiomatic term in today's usage. Donnanz (talk) 19:24, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I would consider it idiomatic. It is used to reference a back-and-forth effort at weight loss, but named for a World War II battle that is increasingly obsolete to modern youth. bd2412 T 19:52, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
It's a cliche already. It must be idiomatic. We should memorialize so someone unfamiliar with the allusion to Battle of the Bulge will understand it as dated or soon to become so. DCDuring TALK 20:02, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with its origin. Perhaps someone could help me create an entry for it? ---> Tooironic (talk) 21:48, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I've given it a go Purplebackpack89 22:35, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Well done, but it may need some fine tuning, especially the plural. Donnanz (talk) 22:39, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

shower tea

Neenish tart is said to have originated when someone was preparing for "an unexpected shower tea". What is a shower tea? All I can come up with is "a tea-time taken while in the shower", but that seems implausible both in context and, for that matter, out of context. - -sche (discuss) 09:01, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

Seems to be Australian term for what Americans would call a bridal shower. 1 2 3 Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:13, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Aha! Thank you both for the explanation. - -sche (discuss) 19:16, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

storm in a teacup

Why has it been redirected to storm in a tea-kettle? (a term I'm not familiar with). I think it may be a British term, and should be treated accordingly. Donnanz (talk) 18:24, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

Huh. I woulda thought it should be redirected to tempest in a teapot. Purplebackpack89 18:29, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Whoever did it was rather naughty to say the least. I think there should be a separate entry, saying it's a British term, THEN refer it to wherever. Too much of this goes on, it's upsetting the natives. Donnanz (talk) 18:40, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

Hmm, there's no entry for upset the natives either. Donnanz (talk) 18:54, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

In my experience, only variants of long idioms and verb-based idioms (couldn't punch one's way out of a paper bag) get hard-redirected; variants of short nounal idioms like this (and like e.g. give a rat's ass) get soft-redirected. So, yes, this shouldn't be a hard redirect. But sorting things out is made complicated by the fact that there are two entries to which various forms are redirecting; ugh. - -sche (discuss) 03:59, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
So how do you undo the dirty work? I think it's beyond my powers. Donnanz (talk) 09:45, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Maybe hard redirects should be banned / outlawed altogether, or is that a subject for the Beer Parlour? Donnanz (talk) 11:11, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
To "undo" a hard redirect, you just go to it (and get redirected to another page, but then click the small "redirected from" link at the top of the page to get back to the redirect...which admittedly seems to have become slightly more difficult after one of the recent software changes) and replace the "#REDIRECT" text with some other text. (Or you go to the redirect using this format: https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=forget,_when_up_to_one%27s_neck_in_alligators,_that_the_mission_is_to_drain_the_swamp&redirect=no)
Hard redirects are "mostly banned" already; the two circumstances where there seems to be agreement that they're good are, as I mentioned, long idioms (forget, when up to one's eyes in alligators, that the mission is to drain the swampforget, when up to one's neck in alligators, that the mission is to drain the swamp) and verbal idioms with pronoun and tense and object changes (burn his fingersburn one's fingers, ). In my experience most existing hard redirects date from 4+ years ago, like this one did. - -sche (discuss) 18:37, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
@-ische: I didn't realise that you'd already undone the hard redirect (while I was tucked up in my bed). Many thanks!! Donnanz (talk) 19:09, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Declension of ales in Romanian


I am not 100% sure, but I think I detected a mistake in the declension table of the word "ales" in Romanian. According to http://dexonline.ro/definitie/ales the feminine indefinite singular should be aleasă (not alesă). Now... I don't know how to change this on the wiktionary page, because it is not a table but a template.

Thank you.

number one

Is a sense missing here - e.g. as in "enemy number one"? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 22:43, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

Isn't that covered by def #2, the one who is at the top of a ranking? Purplebackpack89 23:02, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
No, I think it's not. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:06, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
It seems to be either noun def 2, or an adjective(?) version of noun def 2. (But perhaps the definition could be worded better.) It doesn't seem substantively different from "he's our number one suspect", "prior to 2011, bin Laden was fugitive number one", "X was our number one informant", "neenish tarts are Australia's number one export", etc. - -sche (discuss) 03:50, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, probably adjective section is needed. From Google: (adjective sense, here with a hyphen): most important or prevalent; foremost: "a number-one priority". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:58, 6 February 2015 (UTC)


Noyau is in Wiktionary but the entry carries only a definition that refers to a liqueur. Noyau is French for "core" and is a scientific term for "a social structure in which a male's territory overlaps the smaller territories of several females," according to http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/glossary#N.

Thanks! I've added that to the page. Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:49, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Definitions of redact are sorted oddly, new definition

I had thought that dictionary definitions are supposed to be sorted by popularity of use. The first six definitions of redact are all labeled as obsolete, the seventh is (I believe) bordering on obsolete, the eighth is labeled as rare, and the last two (#9 and #10) are the only forms of the word that are at all common.

Those are close to the definition I was trying to link; as a security professional, sometimes it is necessary for me to redact a malicious link. One common form of that would be e.g. hxxp://evil.example.com, which should not be interpreted as a link (thus you cannot accidentally click on it and get infected). This is a somewhat common practice; just search for "hxxp".

I am requesting a reordering of the definitions (something like 9,10,7,8,1,2,3,4,5,6) and the addition of the security usage. I'm not performing the edits myself because I'm not sure my understanding of ordering is correct, and I'm not decided on whether my new definition should be a part of #9 or #10 or whether all three should be merged since the principle is the same: content removed to protect some interest, such as censorship, privacy, legal protections, or security threats. (Another example that doesn't fit into the existing definitions: some Jews redact "God" as "G-d") Adam KatzΔ 19:35, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Most (although not all!) users here agree that it's not very user-friendly to put obsolete terms at the top. I've reordered the page, and made the definitions slightly more general so that they should cover the computer security and the religious case as well. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:00, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, that will do, even though it's still rather specific about the usage (which doesn't cover security threats). Adam KatzΔ 23:00, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

working committee

What does "working" mean in the term "working committee"? Seems we don't have this sense of working on Wiktionary. ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:40, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

A committee which is working on a particular matter? Governments seem to use them a lot. Donnanz (talk) 14:52, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
It could be in more than one ordinary sense of 'working'. Inn that it contrasts with standing committee which uses standing in the archaic sense of "permanent". DCDuring TALK 18:44, 7 February 2015 (UTC)


I would regard it as a suffix, rather than a postpositive adjective. Donnanz (talk) 14:47, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

That's probably a better characterization of what it has become. Formerly it was a preposition phrase, sometimes used as if a sentence adverb, as well as otherwise as if an adjective or adverb.
Incidentally it is productive, as evidenced by such terms as dog-in-law and others to be found here at OneLook, some only at Urban Dictionary. Apparently "Related by marriage" has now been generalized to mean "Associated indirectly by marriage, a sexual relationship, or otherwise." in some of these cases, while retaining its narrower, traditional meaning for most speakers. One can find similar generalizations such as granddog "dog belonging to one's child". DCDuring TALK 18:28, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps the most bizarre in that list is "urinal-in-law". Anyway, shall I change it? It occurred to me that a list of words suffixed with -in-law would also be useful, as I have done with sviger- in Norwegian. Donnanz (talk) 10:42, 8 February 2015 (UTC)


This entry was altered from Schwieger- last year by a Japanese user. I have read the reference left in the history, but this is only used with nouns, so was this a useful change or not? My Duden is no help. Donnanz (talk) 15:17, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Well, schwieger- is found on adjectives like schwiegermütterlich (mother-in-lawish) (even though it's pretty clearly Schwiegermutter + -lich, not schwieger- + mütterlich), so it can be lower-case. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:24, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Hmm, OK, that's not shown in Duden either. I only found schwieger- when adding to the translations for -in-law. I don't think it should have been altered without leaving a redirect; it wasn't very joined-up thinking. Donnanz (talk) 15:33, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Apparently Schwieger (feminine noun), which is shown in Duden Online, is an outdated term for Schwiegermütter. Donnanz (talk) 15:55, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
It should be lowercase, for reasons outlined on Talk:ur-. Namely, compounds like Schwiegermutter are not Schwieger- + mutter(!), they're schwieger- + Mutter + (rule that the first letter of a noun is capitalised, and not other letters). - -sche (discuss) 18:34, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
R-right, but bearing in mind case sensitivity versus user friendliness I feel a redirect from Schwieger- is also desirable. However not all German -in-law words use schwieger-, see Schwägerin for instance. Donnanz (talk) 10:56, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's necessary. Searching for Schwieger- will find schwieger-, and people are far more likely to search for the whole words than for the prefix anyway. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:00, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
OK, you're right. I had to alter the etymology for "sviger-" though. Donnanz (talk) 13:22, 8 February 2015 (UTC)


Is it just me, or do the first two senses have the same meaning? Also, if the second sense is countable, why is the example given ("experience has taught me...") uncountable? ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:36, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

It isn't just you, but MW Online has eight definitions to our four:
"1a : direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge
"1b : the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation
"2a : practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity
"2b : the length of such participation <has 10 years' experience in the job>
"3a : the conscious events that make up an individual life
"3b : the events that make up the conscious past of a community or nation or humankind generally
"4 : something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through
"5 : the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality"
4 is the only one that seems clearly countable to me, perhaps 5 as well.
I don't think that the edit adding the countable/uncountable labels and adding indefinite articles was good, not that I'm sure the entry before the edit was in good shape. There needed to be usage examples, if not actual citations, to illustrate each usage. And there probably weren't enough definitions. The entry needs revision. DCDuring TALK 11:20, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I was hoping you could help with this. After all, "experience" is one of the commonest words in the English language. We really should get this entry right. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:50, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
How, according to measurable evidence, is "experience" one of the commonest words in English? Equinox 23:52, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
  • We should get every entry right for all wordterms in all languages for all users in everybody's opinion now. 03:05, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Call me crazy, but I consider it a very common word. Surely you're not arguing it's rare or uncommon. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:17, 13 February 2015 (UTC)


Nothing about the Baltimore gender-neutral slang pronoun? A comment on this article makes an interesting observation about the Haitian Creole pronoun yo meaning "they". Makes you wonder if perhaps the similarity just might be more than an accident. See also Language Log. Has there been any follow-up research on it? Perhaps there are sentences where yo is truly ambiguous between interjection and pronoun, providing a possible pivot. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:59, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

It's right there, sense 2 under pronoun. I find the Haitian derivation a bit dubious - Baltimore doesn't seem to have a very large Haitian population, compared to other cities in the Northeast or Florida. It's not unheard of for pronouns to jump around in terms of case, person and number (e.g. the royal/editorial we, the Scouse us, the singular they), so it seems at least plausible that a pronoun might go from second person to third person (although not quite the same, the Irish your man is a similar sort of development). Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:04, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
It makes more sense to me as a derivative from the look-at-me attention-getting sense via look-at-that-one. But that's just an untested hypothesis. The borrowing of Haitian into AAVE seems implausible for social reasons even if there were a Haitian population in Baltimore. DCDuring TALK 11:26, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

spare wheel, spare tire, spare tyre

Spare tyre is an acknowledged misnomer for spare wheel, so should the translations be moved to spare wheel (a more neutral term anyway), just leaving the ones for extra fat behind? Donnanz (talk) 10:46, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

If spare tyre and spare tire were not misnomers for spare wheel, they would be SoP, as spare wheel is. DCDuring TALK 11:32, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
With all due respect, that doesn't answer the question. I don't think there is any doubt that all these terms should be kept. Are you trying to say "No, it's not feasible"? I am disinclined to enter translations for spare wheel under spare tyre. Donnanz (talk) 15:21, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I am saying that we shouldn't have spare wheel as it is absolutely transparent. It is also vastly less common than spare tire in US usage when referring to a wheel carried as a spare in a car (172:2 at COCA). At BNC spare tyre and spare wheel are roughly equal. What have your researches found? DCDuring TALK 15:38, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I must admit that the only research I have done is in Oxford (both Br. and Am. sides), and Cambridge; they both list spare tyre and spare tire but ignore spare wheel, which doesn't help my cause. I'm retired now, but spent many years in the motor trade (a British term?), and I think both terms are used interchangeably, but I personally prefer spare wheel. When a wheel is taken off a vehicle and replaced by the spare wheel, the removed wheel automatically becomes the spare wheel, even if it needs a new tyre. Because spare wheel isn't used much in Am. English, it isn't grounds for deletion, I think all three terms should be kept for the sake of completeness, regardless of soppiness. This policy regarding SoP terms can be Wiktionary's worst enemy if taken too far. And what about spare part? A spare part once it is fitted is no longer a spare part, unlike a spare wheel, which remains the same even if it's a different wheel than before (as long as there is a spare wheel, manufacturers are trying to do away with them). On a different subject, I entered trolley jack today after some deliberation, as it doesn't meet the normal concept of trolley, and is just one of the many meanings for jack. Donnanz (talk) 18:13, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
If, in someone's native language the word for what I would call a spare tire is a single word that is composed of morphemes for spare and wheel and they find "spare wheel" as the definition in Wiktionary, they may be surprised, even mystified, when they subsequently encounter spare tire or spare tyre.
Compare spare tire at OneLook Dictionary Search and spare tyre at OneLook Dictionary Search with spare wheel at OneLook Dictionary Search. Many dictionaries have a full entry for spare tire. Only Collins has a full entry for spare wheel. BTW, we are already doing the world a service by being explicit about spare tire/spare tyre normally including the wheel. Surprisingly few of the OneLook dictionaries make that clear. Also, given your years in the car/auto/automobile racket/game/business/industry you might want to make this industry glossary a favorite in your browser. (It's one of the OneLook references too.) It is one of the best industry-specific glossaries I've seen.
One good reason to keep spare wheel is its widespread use in UK usage where the US would have the misnomer (with few exceptions). If large groups of people allegedly speaking the same language are in the position of saying "They call it 'X', but we call it 'Y'.", there's a good case for including both 'X' and 'Y' in Wiktionary, even if one is SoP. DCDuring TALK 21:03, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

empirical evidence

Where is the entry for empirical evidence? There is a corresponding entry for anecdotal evidence. I came here from the wikipedia entry, but found only a special page. --Ancheta Wis (talk) 13:56, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

A dictionary is focused on words, not concepts that cannot be defined in one- or two-line definitions. Would it be handy for users such as you if a search for a term with multiple words did not yield an exact match generated something that provided links to the component terms, ie, to empirical and evidence. DCDuring TALK 14:11, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I have split the interwiki link at w:Empirical evidence to interwiki links to [[empirical]] and [[evidence]]. DCDuring TALK 14:14, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Sports definition of bib

Looking at the page here: bib

I see there is no definition for "bib" that includes the use of a "bib number" in sports. Where a contestant at an event is expected to wear a "bib number" or "bib" to identify them separately from the other contestants. 14:37, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

for the love of god

someone help me out with this guy [7] [8] Equinox 16:57, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

I've RFVed enough things lately, and enough things by this user, that I'd like to leave RFVing this to someone else, but...is this even attested? I'm not seeing any uses on Google Books or Groups or Issuu. (Btw, the only significant page on it I've found, this non-durable one, confirms it's an adjective.) - -sche (discuss) 19:26, 9 February 2015 (UTC)


Sense 1 bothers me:

  1. A person who carries the professional title of sniper.

It seems bad form to use a word to define itself. “Sniper means a person called a sniper.” The tautology is problematic. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 21:22, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Yes, It needs to be deleted - but you then have to figure out the translation sections. SemperBlotto (talk) 21:29, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I think it refers to people who are members of a team or squadron of snipers, but is not a sniper himself, such as a spotter. If kept, it definitely needs rewording and to be moved after the other senses. — Ungoliant (falai) 21:49, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
We can do for the entry what Writer's Cramp, for some reason, failed to do: RfV the questionable senses or build a full entry by looking at the full range of uses in some corpera. It is a topical word, worth some effort. DCDuring TALK 22:05, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I've deleted the recursive sense and sorted its translations into the appropriate tables. - -sche (discuss) 22:06, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think we would do justice to the term by having its sense evolution in English. I haven't yet attested all the senses, but candidates would be: "One who hunts snipes", "A marksman", "one who shoots at persons from a concealed position, especially one so trained in combat or in police service", "one who snipes ('criticizes')". DCDuring TALK 22:19, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
    Also, "an w:auction sniper" and/or "a w:bid sniper". DCDuring TALK 22:25, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
    sniper in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911 (Supplement) has a couple more. DCDuring TALK 22:31, 9 February 2015 (UTC)


The etymology of аскер (asker) is wrongly attributed to Latin Exercitus instead of Turkish (Asker) which is derived from Arabic (Askar) which is derived from Persian (Lashkar). See Ottoman Askar at @ عسكر (asker). -- —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 13:44, 2015 February 9‎.

You are right. I have updated the etymology with a reference. PS. In the future such comments belong in WT:ES. --Vahag (talk) 07:57, 10 February 2015 (UTC)


This descendant tree is suspect. Could someone look over that (and probably remove all the arrows as well)? ObsequiousNewt (ἔβαζα|ἐτλέλεσα) 17:18, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Why do you think it’s suspect? — Ungoliant (falai) 18:50, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, why do you? I have added references. --Vahag (talk) 19:28, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
The tree isn't "suspect" to me (although it is very interesting); the arrows are a bit suss though. What do they mean, I wonder? This, that and the other (talk) 10:38, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
Arrows mean "borrowed", as apposed to "inherited". This practice is unofficial. We can make it official or devise something better. --Vahag (talk) 11:06, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Monosyllabic meus, tuus, suus?

In some of the Romance languages, the accusative forms of these pronouns preserve the final -m: French mon, ton, son, Catalan mon, ton, son (alongside meu, teu, seu). The Strasbourg oaths attest the early form meon, which still preserves the diphthong. I would imagine that this is only possible if the words were monosyllabic originally, as in this case the -m was preserved as a normal consonant rather than becoming a nasal vowel. Compare for example rien < rem. So is there anything that is known about this? —CodeCat 18:11, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

pronunciation of ogin - the sea

My father was in submarines in royal navy and pronounced this like. log in. without the L

I dimly recall the three simple rules of sailing

1. keep the crew in 2. keep the ogin out 3. don't bump into anything

can't remember origin of rules

Thanks, I've added that pronunciation to ogin. Smurrayinchester (talk) 16:24, 11 February 2015 (UTC)


I am having trouble with this entry. As I see it the definitions are all worded as if the verb is intransitive. But by simply inserting parentheses around the word "something" in the definition the definitions could be read as being transitive. There are no usage labels, usage examples, or citations to help clarify. As best I can determine, the word is almost exclusively used in academic works, especially in philosophy and philosophical theology. It seems to only have to do with the content of conscious thought or of discussion.

Does anyone have some familiarity with the term who can clear this up? The problem I'm having with the entry doesn't fit what RfC is supposed to do. DCDuring TALK 18:12, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

I have taken a run at two new definitions, but I don't think I've capture the full range of use. DCDuring TALK 22:09, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

-@: the suffix

So, when I was creating the entries for Chicano studies and Chicana studies, I noticed that Chican@ studies is an alternative name for the discipline. So that got me thinking, "is -@ a gender-neutral suffix?" And in what language? English? Spanish? Inter? Purplebackpack89 17:28, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

It's not a suffix because you don't form Chican@ by adding @ to "Chican". It's a blend of a and o, supposed to highlight gender-neutrality. There's also Latin@ (again, Latina/Latino). Equinox 17:33, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
But, by that logic, -o and -a are also not suffixes... Purplebackpack89
You have to think about how the word is formed. A suffix is a morpheme added at the end of an existing word. @ isn't used that way for the reason I gave. The words Chicano, Latina, etc. were borrowed into English from Spanish, as entire existing words, so that suggests -a and -o are not suffixes in English (though they might be in Spanish; I don't speak it). Equinox 17:40, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Many morphologists distinguish between suffixes and endings; suffixes alter the meaning of the root, while endings don't (instead they mark grammatical functions like case, gender, number, person, etc.). By that definition, Spanish -a and -o are endings, not suffixes. However, we don't seem to make that distinction here, as we have a fair number of ===Suffix=== entries for endings in various languages, not to mention various categories "Fooish words suffixed with -blah" where -blah is an ending. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:20, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Part of that is due to all the affix templates: they make it too easy to make morphology-based etymologies without thinking about/understanding the nature of the morphemes. I work a lot with Special:WantedCategories, and I prefer to stay away from the "<Language> words <affix>ed with -foo" redlinks- more often than not they're bogus, but it's not always obvious how to fix them. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:00, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

advance person

How can this be considered a politically correct term? ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:15, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

Some people think that any use of person where one might use man is political correctness. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:39, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Would we feel better if we put this in a category called gender-neutral, linked to the current category? DCDuring TALK 13:24, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
This is certainly not "politically correct", and "politically correct" is itself a POV (pejorative) term, so I question if it's appropriate to have a "politically correct" category at all, particularly without references to support the claim that the terms in the category are "politically correct".
Putting this term in a category for gender-neutral terms would be preferable to leaving it where it is now, although simply removing the category might be the best option, and is what I've done. (I remember Equinox having to remove "grandparent" from the "PC terms" category!) A category for gender-neutral terms would be hard to name, define, and maintain in such a way that anons wouldn't add terms like doctor and armadillo and most other words for people and animals to it. - -sche (discuss) 18:43, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

white vinegar

Should we include this term on Wiktionary? It's arguably more than just vinegar that looks white/clear, right? ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:47, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

Yes, we should. White vinegar is not white, it’s clear, and it is a particular type of vinegar, with its own flavor and uses. —Stephen (Talk) 06:34, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Added a quick definition. Feel free to improve. SemperBlotto (talk) 07:06, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Many thanks! Still amazes me after so many years of hard work you still from time to time come across simple, every day words we haven't got entries for. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:47, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Actually, it's not so surprising: people tend to concentrate on the interesting terms, and don't bother with the plain old ordinary ones. There's also an element of what was referred to in the old quote: "We don’t know who it was discovered water, but we’re pretty sure it wasn’t a fish". Chuck Entz (talk) 03:18, 18 February 2015 (UTC)


Two separate etymologies, but several overlapping and duplicated meanings. Equinox 03:32, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

The first three sense of etymology 1 look like they should be merged into etymology 2, which lacks the box-for-tea sense that the Online Ety. Dict. says it should have. As no definition will actually be deleted, I don't think even those here who are legalistically inclined can validly object. DCDuring TALK 04:25, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

About parallelogramma

On the article about parallelogramma it says the plural is "parallelogramme". It also says the form "parallelogrammo" is a variant. Now, both Treccani and my Devoto-Oli vocabulary seem to think "parallelogramma" is the variant and "parallelogrammo" is more correct. This is consistent with the etymology: "parallelogrammum" gives "parallelogrammo", whereas "parallelogramma" must be a misuse of the plural form. I for one have been taught to say "parallelogrammo", not "parallelogramma". The etimo.it Etymological Dictionary doesn't even 'have' the form "parallelogramma", whereas it has "parallelogrammo". This seems to confirm the idea that the "-a" form should be marked as a variant of the "-o" form, not vice versa, as is now. Also, both me and my brother, who are mother-tongue in Italian, sort of started when we heard the form "parallelogramme" as the plural of "parallelogramma", since we never heard it once, and though we know of the variant in the singular, the plural never exhibited this variation as far as we heard. Neither Treccani nor the Devoto-Oli report this form. It is my impression that this for is either an invention of the Wiktionary, or an incredibly rare and non-standard form, perhaps even incorrect. I therefore ask if someone could verify how much of what I think is correct and edit the articles accordingly, replying here to notify me, in particular, about the plural form. MGorrone (talk) 09:45, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Parallelogrammo seems to be almost twice as common as parallelogramma, so I support making it the main entry. — Ungoliant (falai) 15:00, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Fixed. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:12, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

strap or loop for hanging a towel

How do you call in English the little strap or loop that is often sewn in the corner or edge of a towel for hanging it up on a peg? Is a similar loop in a jacket etc. called the same? --Hekaheka (talk) 11:12, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

It's just called a hanging loop. Same for a jacket. Equinox 14:54, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Our definition at hanging loop was overly specific. A pendant, a picture frame, a hammer can have one.
An appropriately generalized definition starts to look SoP, only justified by translations. Normal practice for determining the meaning of a noun phrase like this is to determine which of a limited set of relationships is possible between the components, ie, "a loop that hangs", "a loop for hanging (object under discussion)", "a loop for hanging (execution)", "a loop (circuit) inventing by Han-ging", "a loop has a process hung up (ie, infinite loop)", etc. What makes this definition special lexicographically? It's not in hanging loop at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring TALK 16:17, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Mm, the construction is similar to "walking shoes" or "cooking ingredients" (i.e. Y intending for Xing — not Y that Xes, as in "a walking man"). Equinox 21:52, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
At least this sort of entries will help the learners of English. This is an example of a simple everyday item, the name of which is self-evident for the native speakers and grammatically a SOP, yet very difficult for a non-native to deduce or guess. Another example of such term is spare wheel, which is being discussed a few lines up. If I had to guess, I would probably call it "reserve tire". When using it, I would probably be understood, but might collect a few questioning looks. --Hekaheka (talk) 21:59, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
For the record, I wasn't aware of the term "hanging loop" when I read your initial query, and had to use search engines to verify the term that people use for it! Equinox 22:02, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
I was unaware of any term for it, either. As for spare wheel: I've never heard one called that, though, strictly speaking, that's what they are. I've only heard them referred to as spare tires, and I doubt anyone outside of automotive professions would call them spare wheels. I think it's just one more example of technically-incorrect usage overwhelming attempts to "correct" it. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:36, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
I can only speak for US usage, though- elsewhere, it may be different. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:41, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for your kind comments. I'll use "hanging loop" as translation for raksi. --Hekaheka (talk) 05:39, 21 February 2015 (UTC)


A poem by Walt Whitman mentions "the red cedar festoon'd with tylandria". What is that? A Google search only seems to turn up Tylandria as an African-American female name. Equinox 06:03, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

spanish moss, according to this[9]Pengo (talk) 07:34, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
As to where the term came from, I can't find a trace of it in the usual botanical sources- or much of anywhere, really. The term does sound vaguely like the real taxonomic name (Tillandsia usneoides), so it's conceivable that w:Frederick Law Olmstead misremembered it, and Whitman used the name from the descriptions of southern scenery in Olmstead's newspaper dispatches- but that's just an unsupported hunch. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:38, 15 February 2015 (UTC)


What's the word for when the police scour an area looking for clues? Is there a noun for that? --Type56op9 (talk) 11:42, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

comb, search, examine minutely, go through with a fine-tooth comb. The noun could be search: following the search, the suspect was arrested. —Stephen (Talk) 12:06, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Are you thinking of a stakeout, maybe? Where they snoop and sleuth about for clues? Tharthan (talk) 15:38, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
In the UK, this is a fingertip search - American English doesn't appear to have an equivalent. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:42, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
It exists where I live, but it doesn't have any name as far as I am aware. Police investigators go in and scan the crime scene. Again, no name that I am aware of. Tharthan (talk) 01:28, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
American crime serials tend to use the word canvass as in "The police canvassed the neighborhood." JohnC5 01:39, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
That refers to interviewing people, not to searching. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:20, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Oh yeah, duh. JohnC5 02:28, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Serbian љ analogy to "ll" Spanish is not accurate

Hello, good day, I just wanted to ask for a review. The content is not true. I am a native Spanish speaker, I am living in Serbia and this is not the sound that we have in "ll". That sound does not exist in Spanish and the sound of "ll" in my language sounds more like Serbian "ђ" letter. 17:57, 15 February 2015 (UTC)Juan Carlos Martínez

It depends what dialect of Spanish you speak. There are certainly some Spanish speakers who pronounce words like llave with a sound very much like Serbian љ, although that pronunciation seems to be losing ground in both Spain and the Americas. We'd probably be better off comparing Serbian љ to Italian gl, since the sound is much more robust in Italian than it seems to be in Spanish. What page did you find the comparison to Spanish on? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:29, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
љ. — Ungoliant (falai) 19:53, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
The correct pronunciation of Spanish ll is only losing ground if one speaks a weak idiolect of Spanish. c and z being /θ/ and /ð/, as well as ll being /ʎ/ are still the right ways to pronounce those sounds (although Rioplantense isn't too bad either with certain sounds. I could go for that if necessary [not that I'm any linguistic authority or anything. This is just my personal opinion]). Tharthan (talk) 15:43, 19 February 2015 (UTC)


Can anyone work out the specific meaning(s) of this verb? See google books:"Jesused" and google books:"Jesusing" (there also seem to be quite a few derivations, like re-Jesus and un-Jesus).

  • I've heard it used in the context of sports, e.g. "they trailed by twenty points until the last two minutes, then Jesused (or Jesused out) a win", where it seems to mean something like "to accomplish (by) miracles in the manner of Jesus", but I'm not sure if that sense is attested (maybe on Usenet?).
  • "in class rooms across America each and every year ... there is always one child being Jesused" seems to mean "subjected to Jesus / Christian teachings" or (based on the following sentence) "made to suffer like Jesus".
  • "He didn't seem to be all Jesused out anymore — alcohol was once again his crutch of choice" maybe means "religiously Christian"?

- -sche (discuss) 18:37, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

I suspect that your third example is really Jesus out, and is probably somewhat parallel to phrases like max out. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:23, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

horseshoes and hand-grenades

I think there should be an entry to explain sayings along the lines of "close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades". Siuenti (talk) 23:18, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

We have close only counts in horseshoes. Purplebackpack89 04:45, 16 February 2015 (UTC)


The use of the word "wode" that is most familiar to me is as the name (one name, also "woad") of the blue dye with which British aborignes painted themselves when going to battle. But reference to that appears nowhere in the Wiktionary entry for "wode". Why? Andyvphil (talk) 19:09, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Because Wiktionary awaits contributions from folks like you. Yes check.svg Done DCDuring TALK 20:00, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

What is a "downward dog"? Do we care?

I was puzzled by the phrase used in this BBC News article 'Yoga pants': Are leggings and other tight trousers indecent?, in the context of leggings recalled by their manufacturer in 2013 "because wear over time led to sheerness (and subsequently awkward downward dogs)."

I don't remember ever hearing of "downward dogs", though I accept that I tend to glaze over when people start discussing fashion (or indeed yoga), and it doesn't seem to fit with any definitions we already have. I've thought of several possibilities:

  • It is a misprint -- but I can't think what it should have been.
  • It's a nonce abusage of the English language, which we can ignore, particularly as it's more opaque than the leggings.
  • The "sheerness", appearing at awkward times, was a similar shape to laddering of tights, and is being likened to frankfurters (or even wieners).
  • Dog means "penis" (or is that my imagination -- we don't include it yet) and men are (strangely) being turned off in the bedroom by patches of "sheerness"
  • Dog can now mean a furtive glance.
  • Downward can now be an adjective meaning "below the waist", complemented by dogs meaning "people unpleasant to look at", who are therefore embarrassed.
  • Or just possibly, downward dog is a phrase which has been used for years, with a meaning too NSoP for me to guess, and is therefore a phrase we should include.

Any ideas? --Enginear 01:16, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

  • It is the technical term for a yoga pose, being to place ones hands and feet on the ground, and make a Lamda shape with one's bottom in the air. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:24, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks -- I must have miss-keyed when searching for downward dog the first time. It seems to fall into my last category, and indeed we already have it -- and it falls into the category of yoga-speak which, when I know the context, causes me to "switch off". Oh well! --Enginear 01:29, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps you knew it better under its "English" synonym adho mukha shvanasana. Why would we call this English? I'm glad it's still a redlink. It's more grist for the Romanized Sanskrit mill. DCDuring TALK 01:57, 18 February 2015 (UTC)


The pronunciation given seems rather implausible: I'm finding it hard to imagine any speaker of contemporary English (even a conservative RP speaker) producing "/gju:/", and if they did, I doubt they'd follow it up with a short "/æ/". Is this a valid pronunciation anywhere? Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:13, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Looks like a simple, albeit strange, error for /ˈɡu.læɡ/ (maybe someone assumed all /Cu/s optionally have /j/?), which some dictionaries list as an alternative to /ˈɡu.lɑg/. - -sche (discuss) 16:00, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:57, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Emotionless/Neutral Face

What is another way of saying a "neutral" or "emotionless" face that doesn't sound cold (emotionless is a bit of a cold word)?

Expressionless, maybe? Tharthan (talk) 15:34, 19 February 2015 (UTC)


"A boy with qualities that are allegedly girl-like, especially squeamishness."
I get that people sometimes derogatorily call boys "girls", but I dispute that that's actually a separate sense — it seems to mean that the people are, well, calling the boys "girls" in that word's usual sense. Compare all the American movies that depict drill sergeants calling male recruits "ladies", "women", etc. Thoughts? - -sche (discuss) 23:34, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

I agree with you. It is not a separate sense. It is a usage point relating to the ordinary sense. 01:29, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I'd tend to agree - it's just sarcastic, like calling a stupid person Einstein or Sherlock. Doesn't literally mean that Einstein and Sherlock mean "stupid person". Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:17, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
    Me too. DCDuring TALK 04:56, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I've removed the sense in question. - -sche (discuss) 08:54, 21 February 2015 (UTC)


I imagine this entry was generated by an algorithm, this seems really silly though. Has anyone ever seen this word before? I suggest it be removed, it's really excessive. —This unsigned comment was added by Telmac (talkcontribs) at 16:39, 2015 February 19.


Its part of speech is given as "Numeral", so there is no link to millions, which is a "Noun". How to resolve? Equinox 00:53, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Good question. Maybe it needs to have both a noun section and a numeral section? Ten does, although not in the way I would expect — I would have expected a noun sense to cover uses like "tens of people attended the rally". Or perhaps the numeral template needs to allow a plural form to be set, to cover uses like the one in millions? google books:"threes of", google books:"sevens of" suggests that many numbers can be pluralized while still referring to a quantity. Small numbers can also be pluralized while referring to glyphs (e.g. "she drew her nines like gs"). - -sche (discuss) 05:41, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

Newspaper poster, headline poster or what?

Löpsedlar från 31 juli 2007 om Ingmar Bergmans död.

How do you call a poster that promotes a particular issue of a newspaper at newsstands (see pic)? Google searches for "newspaper poster" and "headline poster" produce right-looking hits, but they do not seem to be as directly to the point as Finnish lööppi, and the number of hits looks modest as well. --Hekaheka (talk) 05:35, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Maybe broadside. DCDuring TALK 07:17, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
 Newspaper posters on Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons: Newspaper posters DCDuring TALK 07:32, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Majority of the pictures here are not ads for individual issues of a newspaper but for the newspaper as a whole. --Hekaheka (talk) 05:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
"Headline poster" seems to be the dominant term. I'm now disappointed that we don't have a better word for it in English (and also that lööppi doesn't have an entry, so I can't look up its etymology). Pengo (talk) 04:47, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Lööppi is now added. According to the Swedish Wikipedia the UK term is "newspaper billboard poster", or "newspaper billboard", which gets support from the BBC [10]. Further, the Swedish Wikipedia states that this type of billboards are used only in a relatively small number of countries and in most countries the front page of the newspaper would double as an ad. --Hekaheka (talk) 16:18, 25 February 2015 (UTC)


aintno dim/plural! 06:46, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Why should there be? It's the name of a dialect. --Hekaheka (talk) 06:49, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

sur-pl.luk@theprompt[i/daENTRYimade[nitsmynativLANGUAG[dad=y.iteluppl2talk~LECTSsigh163.32.124.124 07:26, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Note that a native speaker of Dutch has tagged Brabans for speedy deletion as a misspelling of Brabants. I assume the question of whether or not it has a plural applies as much to the spelling Brabants as to Brabans. What does our other Dutch speaker, @CodeCat:, think? - -sche (discuss) 03:19, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I deleted it. It's a misspelling, at least for Dutch. It might be a Brabantian spelling, but we don't recognise that as a language, nor is there any standard or written tradition for it. —CodeCat 14:23, 22 February 2015 (UTC)


http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wijf#Dutch <usag-ex


IFso,thenpartofmyeditnedsundon+theusagnotmovdbelo http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Brabantian#English anothrpairofeyes'db.gud:) 07:51, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

k,ifelthishascontradictni/it n


Mike, United Nations

proper noun (plural proper nouns)

   A noun denoting a particular person, place, organization, ship, animal, event, or other individual entity.

Usage notes Main appendix: English proper nouns <MISPLACED??

In English, a proper noun normally is not preceded by an article or limiting modifier and is written with an initial capital letter. NOARTICL,THENaBrabantian=noproper1,buthenWICHPARTICULRPERSON[S[c.def=PROPERNOUNS??[ilukd@history+bergarden,thistopik[proprnoun]dunsemclear/diverginopinions..acivildiscusion+[re]solutn'db.nice[nimightlearnsth.myslfofkors:) 08:11, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

k,dad=mybestshot[c.history,othrppl.welkom! 08:27, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
WTF? SemperBlotto (talk) 16:25, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
I think the user is asking why the "person from Brabant" sense of "Brabantian" is not a proper noun? Or perhaps why the language sense is a proper noun? "Person from Brabant" is a common noun because it's clearly very countable; just ask the Brabantians (any two Brabantians, your nearest Brabantian, etc). The language, in turn, is labelled a proper noun because Wiktionary currently labels languages proper nouns, but see Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Languages_-_are_they_proper_nouns_or_not.3F for discussion of this. - -sche (discuss) 18:06, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

scatophagous vs coprophagous

It seems to me that these two words are functionally equivalent in technical usage certainly. I have checked and found that there never since the early 19th century has been a time when scatophag-- and its derivatives came anywhere close to the frequency of coprophag-- derived terms. In fact one really has to search for functional instances in most periods; in modern times a google search records it mainly in dictionaries and similar philological works! Henceforth I shall make a personal point of not using scato when copro is a reasonable alternative, but I see that the Wiktionary entry for scatophagous links to coprophagous without comment or further definition.

Now, that is not unreasonable and I have no intention of meddling, and I do not propose this in the spirit of imposing "correct" or "approved" usage, but it seems to me that it would be a service in such a case to include a remark to the effect that the usage is unusual and unhelpful in technical works at least.

Comments? Policies? Thanks if so. JonRichfield (talk) 16:22, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

There are no explicit policies that make a positive recommendation. I agree that in English there are many occasions where some synonyms become so uncommon in use that it seems a disservice to a user to not indicate that in our entry. I recently had occasion to change the use of subterraneous to subterranean in our definitions and to amend the entry for subterraneous to reflect its relatively uncommon use in current English. I doubt that anyone would object to your undertaking the same kind of thing with the words in question. One very useful tool to make sure that you have the facts is Google n-gram viewer. DCDuring TALK 17:01, 21 February 2015 (UTC)


Discussion moved from Chinese requested entries page:

I'm staying out of this one, but just for another opinion, here is a previous message from @Atitarev: "KTV request removed, pls don't restore. Citations are unnecessary, Chinese texts use a lot of English abbreviations in a Chinese texts. They don't need Chinese entries, if an English entry exists. See archived discussions. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:22, 19 February 2015 (UTC)" --WikiWinters (talk) 16:52, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
@Hippietrail: What are you trying to achieve by forcing the abbreviation "KTV" as a Chinese term? What sort of lexicographical research is required? In any case, it's a wrong place for such a discussion. We had an RFV, which resulted in an English entry. I think that's enough. You can restart an RFT, RFV or RFV discussion but I see no point, really. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 17:05, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
What are others trying to achieve by forcing out the term "KTV" as a Chinese term? The sort of lexicographical research required is the same as per any term. Investigating its origins and usage patterns. It's origin is Taiwan in the 1980s, it's mainly used in China, it's barely known to English speakers since it's recently introduced from Chinese culture. All of the quotations in the English entry clearly indicate the references to Chinese culture. There is so far zero evidence to support the theory that "karaoke television" began in English, got shortened to "KTV" in English, and has since been used in Chinese without even being borrowed. All I can tell is that some people don't like foreign words or script being used in Chinese and have prescriptivist objections.
What's more disturbing is the summary dismissals on strawman arguments such as citations not being necessary to decide such things! Such as use a lot of English abbreviations in a Chinese texts means all uses remain Chinese. Despite OK having a Chinese entry here. Despite KTV originating in Taiwan.
When did checking the citations become unnecessary in lexicography? When did finding citations from earlier in history become unnecessary in lexicography?
I'll try to figure out the current official way to restart the RFT/RFV to move this discussion there. In the meantime please do not delete lexicographical evidence without investigating. — hippietrail (talk) 00:37, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
@WikiWinters: Yet you deleted the lexicographical evidence without checking and in direct opposition to your statement "I'm staying out of this one". Bad form. Unprofessional. Dishonest. )-: — hippietrail (talk) 14:03, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
The Chinese term: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8D%A1%E6%8B%89OK 22:29, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
@ The English term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/karaoke - are you trying to make a point that Chinese doesn't have synonyms? That would be incorrect.
What are you talking about? I never removed any evidence. Unless, of course, you're referring to my removing the entire discussion itself, as, at that time, it had already been moved to the Tea room. If there was lexicographical evidence contained in the text that I removed that hadn't also been moved to the Tea room, then I apologize. I assumed the evidence was moved with it. You added a Tea room direct template that messed up the page, as that template is for specific entries' pages, and so that, along with the fact that it had already be presumably moved in its entirety to the Tea room, or at least should have been, was the reason for which I removed the text. If you're not talking about that, then I don't know what. --WikiWinters (talk) 20:15, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
I moved the entire discussion. I left the request since it is a genuine request. I left a link to the Tea Room because that's what it looked like I was advised to do. I find all these Wiktionary protocols very murky so I read the docs I can find and do as best I can. I imagine it's very difficult for most people. It's always best when deleting any information to check your assumptions before acting hastily. I can accept your apology but a better way is to help people with the tricky protocols when you understand them better. Maybe this is an opportunity to clarify this "template is for specific entries' pages" part of the documentation. — hippietrail (talk) 06:58, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

And Here are the attestations of early use in Chinese context which was just summarily deleted from the requests page without consideration and without being moved here, by a member of the Wiktionary Chinese clique who claimed to be "staying out of this one"! — hippietrail (talk) 01:31, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

  • 大衆傳播與資訊..由於開放報禁,報紙出版之家數增加,而張數也大幅增加,各類型理財與休閒雜誌也大量出現。此外 MTV 、 KTV 與衛星直播電視的興起,使得資訊不易再被壟斷與歪曲。 6 .生活素質..由於國民所得增加,民間消費型態,行與育樂全部消費額的 - 國立台灣師範大學敎育心理學系., 1987
  • ... 例如: PUB 〔註二〕、 KTV 〔註三〕、 MTV 〔註四〕、卡拉 OK 、 GO 〔註五〕 康 V.S. 康寧祥〔註八〕。( 2 22 3 )你時作天有去台南嗎? - 世界華文敎育協進會, 1989
  • 註一、載:在台北一般人稱「我載你去火車站」之用法,正式國語應說成「我途你去火車站。」註二、 PUB 酒廊註三、 KTV 卡拉 OK 配合電視情景與歌詞字幕註四、 MTV 音樂電視註五、 GO 地中海俱樂部團隊領隊註六、 DIY (Doityourself)註七、 PV 人工跑道 - 世界華文敎育協進會, 1989
  • ... 許多人都喜歡下班後喝杯雞尾酒,綺子解工作 娛樂場所除了 MTV ,進展至 KTV 、 DTV 71 「上班族」、「火車族」(指常坐火車的人)、「香腸族」、「火腿族」(指夜間使用. - 世界華文敎育協進會, 1989
  • 曾從事「宗教活助」舌計 7 祁萬人或 53 . 16 % .即半故以上之國人具有宗教信仰.常利用休閒時間從事信仰性之活功.致其排名位居第八。反視最近流行之熱門休閒活劫- . KTV 、 MTV 與卡拉 OK 等,制位有 459 萬 7 千人或 32 . 37 %國人曾從事過該項活劫, ... - Xing zheng yuan zhu ji chu, 1990
It is not my responsibility to make sure that your evidence remains intact. I removed the entire discussion because you added a Tea room template, which wasn't even meant to be placed on such a page, saying that the discussion had been moved. The assumption is that the entire discussion is moved. If I am in the wrong in this case, then I apologize, but I'm not so sure about that. Also, you can always just go to the revision history and pull out your evidence. I didn't "destroy" it or anything of the like, so please do not be hostile. I am neutral in this issue and continue to be. --WikiWinters (talk) 20:15, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
I removed the entire discussion. I left the request and the link. You removed the request and the link. I welcome your neutrality and accept your apology. I interpreted hostility and replied defensively because I have several times found my contributions on Chinese summarily reverted though never before by you I believe. At this point I have no idea whether it's OK to reinstate the request or if that too will be interpreted as a hostile act! — hippietrail (talk) 06:58, 25 February 2015 (UTC)


The sense "One who performs menial or tedious work; a drudge." seems like it would be a better fit to the bee etymology, but I can see how the second etymology might work (the drone on a bagpipe just plays the same note constantly without rhythm or melody, and a drone worker just does the same work constantly without variation). Does anyone know which of the two roots this sense evolved from? Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:42, 22 February 2015 (UTC)


Should it be "posttraumatic stress disorder" or "post-traumatic stress disorder?" See Wikipedia:Posttraumatic stress disorder#Terminology. --WikiWinters (talk) 13:22, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

gratulieren: is intransitive, not transitive, right?

German wiktionary points out gratulieren is intransitive. English one claims it is transitive, and I guess needs to be fixed. (I haven't seen an example of transitive usage, but I also haven't researched as well as I could have. In the future I'll research more thoroughly and be bold in making corrections myself, are there people that would notice and correct me if I make mistakes? :) --Hugovdm (talk) 21:07, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Out of curiosity, I had a look at google:"ich gratuliere dich" vs. google:"ich gratuliere dir". A number of the top hits are pages that discuss (in German) which form is correct, suggesting that there is some question about this even in the German-speaking community. Granted, that discussion might be along the lines of "only non-native speakers get confused by this", but it's still a topic of some conversation. google books:"ich gratuliere dich" generates sufficient hits for citation purposes to show transitive use. That said, given the greater preponderance of hits at google books:"ich gratuliere dir" (38.8K vs. only 44 for the transitive), and the discussions online, it probably makes sense to add a {{context|rare}} or even {{context|proscribed}} notice to the transitive sense. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 23:28, 22 February 2015
Looking at the discussions. I've only found two of them. One is some person who said they were discussing it with someone (for whatever reason, probably hypercorrection), but they state that they themself had never heard "gratuliere dich". The other one specifically says that it is the son (who may be rather young) who said "dich" was correct (and the mother probably just opened the discussion to quiet the son)... And the hits from google books! Please look at them a bit: They are all, without exception, either deliberate non-standard usage, or texts written by non-native speakers, and/or very old. Many are even in books called "Common mistakes by Russian learners of German", "The influence of English on Nataler German", and so on.
Long story short: I'm a native speaker of German who is always interested in non-standard usage and indeed fond of it, but gratulieren + accusative is just not common in native German speech, I assure you. There are regions (today the Ruhrgebiet in particular, but at least historically the whole of northern Germany, and remember that many of those areas also had strong Slavic populations) where dative/accusative distinction has always been a problem, and you will get non-standard usage for just any verb. "Gratulieren" is by no means particularly likely to arouse such "mistakes" (if we want to call it that). — Therefore: let's make it an intransitive verb and everything is fine.Kolmiel (talk) 01:47, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Kolmiel, we aim to describe how terms are used, not prescribe how terms should be used. If transitive use of gratulieren can be shown in a way to meet our criteria for inclusion, then we have grounds for creating such an entry. If such use is rare, we mark it as {{context|rare}}. If such use is broadly regarded as incorrect, we mark it as {{context|nonstandard}} or even {{context|proscribed}} (and ideally add a usage note with more explanation). We definitely do not remove entries on the grounds that a term is regarded as “wrong”. By way of example, have a look at the English terms brung (for brought), or thunk (for thought), or taked (for taken). ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 02:01, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Please look at my talk page where I say that I am "fighting" against prescriptivism. Don't lecture me about that, please. --- I think a non-standard usage in this dictionary should be common. And if I have a text written in the 18th century by someone who obviously not a native speaker of German, then I don't regard that as a valid usage. But please go ahead. But then add each and every verb with a dative construction to that list.Kolmiel (talk) 02:08, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
By the way, maybe it is possible to find some citations from the 18th/19th century that are from native speakers. There are one or two between your citations on google books. In that case we could tag it "obsolete". See, I'm not against "proscribed" because it is nonstandard. (Again, the contrary is true. I spend much of my time here adding nonstandard usages.) I'm against it because no-one proscribes it because no-one uses it. It just doesn't exist. (Except in speakers who, because of their dialect background, do not distinguished dative and accusative at all. And as I said, you can't include these unless you want to add the same note to each and every dative verb.)Kolmiel (talk) 02:20, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
  • It was late last night. I think I may not have made my point clear enough. Let’s go step by step.
(1.) Of course you are able to give a limited number of citations for gratulieren + accusative. You will able to do that for any verb that usually takes dative (cf. ich helfe dich, ich folge dich, ich vertraue dich, etc. etc.). The reason for this is (a.) that non-native speakers find this distinction particularly difficult; and (b.) that there are many traditional dialects (including a majority of Low German and a minority of High German) in which dative/accusative distinction does not exist at all.
(2.) Given 1, what would justify making a special note in the lemma gratulieren would be that there might be a special tendency to use accusative among those users of German who, in general, correctly distinguish the two cases (as there is indeed with e.g. the verb kündigen). I’ve tried to show you that such a tendency doesn’t exist: (a.) from my position as a native-speaker, who – given their extensive work on nonstandard German on wiktionary – is, I think, beyond the suspicion of holding back nonstandard usages for ideological reasons; (b.) by stressing the fact that in the two (quite relevant) internet discussions you found the persons who ask have both never heard the accusative use, that is, they are not in doubt themselves, they are just fighting a claim someone seems to have made (who in one case is likely a child); (c.) by showing that there are no contemporary printed sources using the accusative case and that even the old ones are mostly written by non-native speakers.
(3.) It is possible that the verb was (to a limited degree) used with accusative case by users of standard German in the 18th/19th century. We could – although I’m not necessarily in favour of it – add this usage as “obsolete”. It is, again, not part of contemporary standard German in any form.
(4.) If you want to add a special note about the fact that some users of German may construe gratulieren with accusative, you will consistently have to do the same thing with literally every verb that takes a traditional dative. I don’t think you want to go there. At any rate it would be against wiktionary’s normal policy: You don’t have a note in every single English verb that speakers from northern England and Scotland may use the s-form for the 3rd person plural. You don’t have a note in every single English verb that speakers from the southern U.S. may use the endingless form for the 3rd person singular. These are general grammatical features of these dialects, and not particular to any one verb.Kolmiel (talk) 10:31, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree with what Kolmiel has said. Use of the accusative is a fairly general phenomenon, not specific to this verb. - -sche (discuss) 23:09, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

socio-economy, social economy

Do these words exist in English? I'm just checking to see if they are Chinglish, or just very academic English. ---> Tooironic (talk) 22:56, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Social Economy is an entire field of study. Socio-economy also has more than a few attestations. Yes, they both exist, and not just as Chinglish. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 23:01, 23 February 2015 (UTC)


Would "cringeworthy" count as a slang definition? (痛い子, 痛車(?) etc) —umbreon126 02:39, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

I would like to add a noun, Akpagher. It is a village in Benue State of Nigeria


I notice that the word swatch: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/swatch Does not include the definition that refers to a patch work of sewn together swatches or a collection of swatches bound together with, say, a ring. Despite being made of many swatches I believe it is still acceptable to refer to it as simply "a swatch". 17:55, 24 February 2015 (UTC)


The entry for entfernen has this, to me, poor translation:

   Der Flug MH-370 entfernte sich auf mysteriöse Weise vom Weg.
   Flight MH-370 went off the way mysteriously.

Leaving aside whether it's necessary to mention an actual flight that has disappeared, would someone with better German agree that something involving "departed from its route" would be better? So should sense 2 have "to depart" added?

First: I also think that no actual flights should be named. Second: While the English translation seems to be poor, the original is also poor German to me: a) "auf mysteriöse Weise" sounds like the style of a high school kid (or possibly that of a tabloid journalist, which may be the same); b) an airplane doesn't usually have a Weg, it has a Route or a Kurs; c) it is idiomatic to say vom Kurs abweichen, not sich vom Kurs entfernen. We could make it into: Das Flugzeug entfernte sich auf unerklärliche Weise von seinem Kurs. But I would prefer to make a different phrase altogether.
Then I don't know if it was you also who proposed to delete senses 3 and 4. I agree to delete sense 4, which is the same as 2 (just with a person as subject and with a different preposition, but the preposition is dependent on what follows it, not the verb). I wouldn't delete sense 3 because sich von der Truppe entfernen and similar constructions are idiomatic; they mean to desert, to leave without permission. Kolmiel (talk) 02:38, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, and we must add a sense, the literal one actually. I don't know a proper English word, but "to (gradually) become further away from something". For example: Der Planet entfernt sich von der Sonne. (“The planet [gradually] becomes further away from the sun.”) Die beiden Sprachen haben sich immer weiter voneinander entfernt. (“The two languages have become further and further away from each other [linguistically speaking].” And so on. Maybe you could help with a translation :-) Kolmiel (talk) 02:52, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm the original asker; I didn't suggest the deletions of senses 3 and 4. But if you don't like 2 and think 4 is the same sense, why not just get rid of 2? 22:24, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
My attempts at translations of your new phrases: “The planet (gradually) retreats from the sun (Sun?).” and “The two languages have increasingly diverged from one another.” 22:39, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

有る page claims there is information on ある page which doesn't seem to appear

On the 有る page, it says "有る is usually written in hiragana. Please see the article for ある for more information."

I can't seem to find any information about ある being written as hiragana on the ある page.


Our definition says:

  1. Made or prepared in advance of need.

I find this confusing. If I prepare a dinner or whatever directly from raw materials for immediate consumption, it is not ready-made. But if I put the same dinner into fridge to wait for tomorrow, it's clearly made or prepared in advance of need. Does it thus become ready-made or is there another condition required for "ready-madeness"? --Hekaheka (talk) 05:42, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

I like to think of "ready-made" as a shortening of "already made". The meaning and usage is quite similar. So on the day I make the dinner, I wouldn't call it "ready-made". I might say I'm making this dinner to have tomorrow, but not *I'm making a ready-made dinner for tomorrow. Then, the day after, I could say This is a ready-made meal I prepared yesterday. (I should note that for me, ready-made meal gives the impression of a commercially-available "freezer meal" that you just need to put in the microwave or oven for a little while, then serve up.)
It also appears we are missing a sense: one along the lines of "a product, item, etc. that is mass-produced, instead of being made to order". For example, ready-made clothing and ready-made curtains. This, that and the other (talk) 09:01, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

志气: loop of redirections

IMHO one should ALWAYS make two pages for the traditional and simplified form of a word instead of redirecting from one to the other. When however the redirections make an infinite loop, someone really should do something about it. This is the case with 志气: both the simplified form and the traditional form have no definition but only a redirection to the other form. Now I am not good enough with Chinese to go straightening this evident error by myself, so I ask you other editors to fix this. As soon as possible. Also, I strongly suggest you add the link to the Chinese article in the simplified form. The traditional form has no corresponding Chinese article. MGorrone (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. In this case, someone had mistakenly marked a traditional form as simplified. Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Only we use "Chinese", not "Mandarin" L2 header now, which allows housing readings for various Chinese lects. Fixed 志氣. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 19:25, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

March 2015

whole shebang

How is sense 2 used? Is it distinct from sense 1? - -sche (discuss) 03:32, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

Please do not edit section titles as this breaks links on talk pages and in other discussion fora.

Translations of the week
1 home
2 king
3 knot

Collaboration of the week
1 public
2 size
3 trust

quote unquote
real McCoy
aggravated assault
score a brace
open sunshine
on one's tod
put one's trousers on one leg at a time
show a clean pair of heels
include me out
see mui
li hing mui
stand pat
sit on the fence
it's all Greek to me
vive la différence
make love, not war
toss around
of all
take the game to
look who's talking
naked as the day one was born
of a
serve someone right
western world
me, myself and I
in bed
bad girl
bad boy
spoken for
a lot
last night
seeing is believing
at a stand
Bos grunniens grunniens
Ahle Hadith
waltz Matilda
rotary dial
four foot
better place
give over
snow leopard
far point
молодым везде у нас дорога, старикам везде у нас почёт
petitio principii
as good as
tomayto, tomahto
contrary to
how's that for
pecker mill
a rolling stone gathers no moss
with a vengeance
same old same old
sumti tcita

olla podrida


November 2007

biphasic note

I extracted this from biphasic. Is it music or acoustics or ?. DCDuring 19:55, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

--I think biphasic always can't be treated as music.It can be taken as acoustics. This approach is also supported by physics. --Etymologist 14:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)


Just searching for the heck of it, it looks like mooses was at one time used as plural of moose. [11] the 4th entry down shows usage in John/Abigail Adams' letter(s). Should this be listed as rare, dated, archaic? I am unsure. sewnmouthsecret 21:17, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

What language are you referring to?—msh210 21:37, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
English, apparently; see <http://books.google.com/books?id=wkgMY68hQ2oC&pg=PA272&dq=mooses>. —RuakhTALK 21:55, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I thought John Adams would have given it away. :) Anyway, English. sewnmouthsecret 23:44, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


The question I have here is what labels should be applied to the figurative definitions of the word "impact". Currently the noun is labelled "colloquial" and the verb "nonstandard"; in my opinion neither term is accurate. At best the usage should be described as "disputed".

I guess part of the problem is that I'm not sure what these terms mean other than that they're intended to be negative. According to the Merriam Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage (p 406), the figurative verb usgae first appeared in literary contexts such as Christopher Morley and the Times Literary Supplement. Although it later became associated with politics, the usage is very widespread. Google News returns 200,000+ hits for the term, and the majority of them are the figurative use. The label "colloquial" thus seems wrong to me, and I don't see how something that is used that widely in the copy-edited prose of newspapers can be considered "nonstandard". No print dictionary I looked at gave any special label to the figurative senses, although they attached usage notes discussing the controversy.

The usage notes are generally in favor of the usage; the Random House says "Although recent, the new uses are entirely standard and most likely to occur in formal speech and writing."

—This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 23:46, 1 November 2007 (UTC).

Agreed. —RuakhTALK 23:59, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I couldn't quite follow this. What has been proposed? What has been agreed?
  • Is the noun sense "A significant or strong influence. An effect. (Disputed)" to remain "Disputed" or to be considered standard?
  • Is the verb sense "(nonstandard) To influence; to affect; to have an impact on" to remain "nonstandard" or become "Disputed"?
  • What is the appropriate placement and capitalization for these indicators?
I interpret "nonstandard" to be more strongly negative about a usage, suggested some kind of consensus among relevant experts and "disputed" as meaning lack of such consensus. I had the general impression that the figurative usage of the verb "impact" was more negatively viewed than the figurative noun usage. Is that impression correct? If it is, I would have thought that the noun sense has become standard, but could be considered "disputed", but that the verb sense might remain in "dispute", but can no longer be viewed as nonstandard. DCDuring 01:35, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm agreeing that this word is neither colloquial nor nonstandard. (Some contributors — none of our regulars, I don't think, but mostly anons who drop in once and make a few tweaks — appear to think that "colloquial" means "this is technically wrong, but it's so common that I guess it's O.K. in colloquial speech". They are mistaken. Also, some contributors appear to think that "nonstandard" means "I don't like this usage" or perhaps "widely used and widely reviled"; this is an iffier point, but I'd say that they're mistaken as well.) {{proscribed}} might be O.K., though. —RuakhTALK 16:15, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I have inserted "proscribed" for the verb use of "impact" and removed "colloquial" from the "effect" sense of the noun, based on the above. DCDuring 18:37, 2 November 2007 (UTC)


Another hot button topic, but the labels and usage note on the "irregardless" page seem out of sync with the quotations. There are five quotations given, spanning 130 years. Three are academic publications from university presses, and one was written by a judge in a court opinion. Given those citations, labels like "nonstandard", "illiteracy", "usually inappropriate in formal contexts" and "jocular" seem odd. I think what probably needs to be done is to expand the quotations list to show more informal uses of the term, and perhaps expand the usage note as well, but I'm not completely sure how this should be done. —This comment was unsigned.

That's because the labels and usage note were written by "anti" editors, and the quotations were added by "pro" editors. Personally, I think the usage note is actually quite fine; it looks like an accurate description of the word's status. The labels should probably be replaced with {{proscribed}}, which is our catch-all "this exists, but not everyone's happy about it" label (c/o Rodasmith). —RuakhTALK 16:09, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Inserted proscribed, left in mainly US and jocular. DCDuring 18:54, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I think we've dealt with this one pretty well, on balance. Widsith 11:56, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

due course

I am not sure that due course is or was an idiom. It might have just been SoP until the last two or three centuries. "In due course" would seem to be an idiom, especially if "due course" alone is not. I have 4 usage examples, but am not happy with my third attempt to define it. DCDuring 23:27, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I would put the entry as in due course with label Category:English prepositional phrases Algrif 14:00, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

loyal to a fault

what does it mean?
loyal to a fault
—This comment was unsigned.

It means “so loyal that it could be considered a fault”; perhaps the person being described is loyal even when the object of his loyalty is shown not to deserve it. —RuakhTALK 22:06, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Clinton uses the word "speeded"

Clinton used the word "speeded" when talking about how the campaign "will be" in the next couple of months. Isn't "speeded" a pst tense form of the word "speed?" —This comment was unsigned.

Yes, past tense and past participle. American adults only use it for speed's transitive sense ("We speeded it up", "It was speeded up"), and even then it's only questionably standard; our entry suggests that the British might use it more freely. —RuakhTALK 21:56, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Definitely not in my experience. It’s sped that’s used in all cases (bar by the ridiculed ineducated).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:14, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, come to think of it, “he was speeded to his destination” is standard…  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:16, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm.... Seems that sped is used when the subject is acting intransitively ("The car sped up", "He sped home"), but that speeded is often used when the subject is acting transitively on another object ("We speeded up the process"), and regularly used when the subject is passive ("He was speeded to his destination"). Not, of course, that use is universally divided for transitive/intransitive (as Dorem. points out). --EncycloPetey 14:15, 4 November 2007 (UTC)


60+ cites of "Halachas" as plural on b.g.c. Don't know how to do transliteration to compare the transliterated Hebrew plural, DCDuring 01:52, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I don’t know what you mean when you talk of transliteration. Note these other statistics:
  1. 654 Google Book Search hits for halachot;
  2. 642 GBS hits for halachoth; and,
  3. 407 GBS hits for halachos.
The plural forms already given are far more common than halachas.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 23:14, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Good guess!!! That's what I wanted to know. DCDuring 23:17, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Ruakh would be the one to ask really, but I’ve noticed that this class of Hebrew words have singular forms ending in -a and/or -ah and plural forms ending in -ot and/or -oth — whence your -os -terminal form came is unknown to me. BTW, are you sure that the ‘+s’ plural can be considered standard?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 02:25, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I'd say that -oth, -ot, -os, and -s are all acceptable. (-os reflects the Ashkenazim's traditional pronunciation, something like /ɔs/ or /əs/, which many still use, and which is also — no coincidence — the Yiddish pronunciation. Indeed, this word — like many en:Hebrew derivations — can equally be considered an en:Yiddish derivation.) —RuakhTALK 03:02, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Caps?—msh210 21:04, 6 November 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't the entry be capitalized as Cheerios? That is how it seems to appear in the hundreds of fiction b.g.c. hits. DCDuring 21:23, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I moved it. A bot had moved it in 2005, presumably without checking usage frequency. Can it be protected from bot capitalization changes, if the capitalization is agreed as appropriate ? DCDuring 18:05, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. And, not to worry: that was a single-run bot. (Previously Wiktionary was like Wikipedia, in that article titles automatically started with capital letters. When this was changed to allow lowercase entry titles, that bot moved all existing entries to their lowercase forms.) —RuakhTALK 18:51, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Since it was all visible, I didn't think I'd attract too much hostility. Visible one-entry boldness shouldn't be bad for Wiktionary. DCDuring 20:51, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

I've added the New Zealand definition (a cocktail sausage), with a reference. Just to confuse New Zealanders, the cereal was introduced there in 2006 03:26, 5 February 2008 (UTC)


1st sense is the town (proper noun); 2nd sense is the wine variety, now shown as a noun and uses "en-noun" The only visible difference in the entry is the display of the (red) plural. Of course, the putatively unique town called "Bardolino" might turn out not to be unique or a philosopher wishing to use Bardolino to illustrate the problems of the concept of uniqueness might wonder how to make its plural. But seriously, folks, isn't Bardolino in the wine sense a proper noun? Many proper names have plural forms. (Is that "Clancys" or "Clancies"?) Why mess up PoS to show plurals? DCDuring 23:12, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

The names of wines are a parennial problem. SemperBlotto could tell tyou about his many researches, and others here have done investigating as well. They do not function as proper nouns, so you can say "I tasted three different Chardonnays.". Oddly some wine names are occasionally capitalized, but this does not seem to be consistent. So, I would say the wine name is not a proper noun and a plural is possible.
As for the town name, it is a proper noun. Yes, it's true that many English proper nouns can be used in a plural form in unusual circumstances, those are usually statements where the referent is not to a specific entity, so it isn't really being used as a proper noun. If you talk about "All the Parises of the world." then you are not referring to a specific location, so you are not using Paris as a proper noun. This is possible for most proper nouns in English, but is a highly unusual construction, and not a normal part of the grammar of proper nouns as proper nouns. --EncycloPetey 00:12, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
When I taught, I needed to keep track of how many Johns and Sergeis I had in the class to make sure that I didn't call on one for something and get an answer from the other. In Wikipedia, DAB pages are often about multiple instances of things with the same proper names. It doesn't seem all that exceptional to me. It is an old exercise in US geography to name all the states that have Springfields. When doing Wiktionary work, I have to check both my Websters (Merriam-Websters (Collegiate and 3rd unabridged)) and both of my Fowlers. And let's not get started on my library, e.g., with a couple of Principles of Psychologys and Getting Things Dones. DCDuring 00:54, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Can I rely on Wiktionary's definition of "proper noun"? "The name of a particular person, place, organization or other individual entity; it is normally written with an initial capital letter". If so, the entry for "Smith" is wrong because it says "Smith" is a proper noun, but refers to not to a specific Smith, but to all members the class of all persons with the name Smith. In any event, "Smith" case has parallels to the case situation of "Bardolino", the wine. It doesn't seem like there is a clear bright line between a proper noun, defined as (possibly non-unique) identifiers of unique individuals, and "capitalized-nouns-which-are-not-proper-nouns". DCDuring 01:13, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Please wait for me to finish the Appendix on English Proper nouns. You can see the very crude draft here, but it needs lots of work before it's complete. I may work on it over Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday. I don't want to have to rewrite all of this each time the question arises, which it has been doing with some regularity of late.
Smith is a proper noun because it usually is used in a way that refers to a particular person named "Smith". When someone says "Have you seen Smith?" they are not referring to all members of the class of persons with the name Smith. The part of speech is dependent on usage, not on abstractions. Yes, the line between common and proper noun is fuzzy as times. Suffice it to say the best discussions of what makes a noun "proper" are by Locke and John Stuart Mill, and they were more concerned with the underlying concept the specifics and practicalities. --EncycloPetey 02:33, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I will certainly wait for you with bated breath, but unfortunately I'm like a dog with a bone with a subject like this.
It seems as if you are saying that the words we lable in Wiktionary as "proper nouns" are not, in fact, in and of themselves "proper nouns". E.g., "Milton" does not uniquely identify any unique person, but is used principally to identify persons, whom we specifically treat as unique. By this emerging definition of proper noun, the Properness of a noun is ultimately connected to instances of use. Is "Wiktionary properness" ("WikP") something with quantitative empirical criteria? Probably not. It is more likely that we will be identifying and formalizing the social conventions that say that require that every Tom, Dick and Harry, pets, human assemblages, and places of human importance be granted eligibility for proper nouns, whereas IP addresses; street addresses; non-pet animals, trees, and rocks (except very big ones) are not. Planets, stars, comets, galaxies yes? Certain periods of time. Trademarks. There would seem to be at least two kinds of proper names in Wiktionary:
  • Type 1: names that, practically speaking, uniquely identify in the speech of some group of humans unique objects deemed worthy of having a proper name: the "Foreign Minister", "Jimbo Wales", the Pentagon, Sol, Sadie Hawkins' Day, "Spot", Halley's Comet.
  • Type 2: words nearly exclusively used to constitute names of the first type. Sadie, Jimbo, Hawkins, Wales; but not day, spot, comet, pentagon, foreign, minister. This would boil down to given names and surnames (and corresponding entities in other naming systems).
Type 1 might not warrant including plurals. But Type 2 would. That they are used in multiple instances to make up names would certainly require the ability to make plural forms of "Henry", "Clancy", "Jimbo", "Hawkins". DCDuring 03:53, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language makes a big to do about this distinction, in a way that most sane people never bother with and which we don't worry about here on Wiktionary. They call individual proper elements "proper nouns" and the labels (either of one word or more) that name a specific item "proper names". But we don't make that distinction here. --EncycloPetey 05:44, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I have put up another version of the page that treats "Bardolino" as if it were a proper name like a trademark, many of which have plurals. This requires using "en-noun" under the "Proper noun" heading, manually inserting the "English proper nouns" category, and labelling the senses as countable and countable, as appropriate. It seems barbaric in appearance and likely to complicate bot design and operations. Another approach would have two "Proper noun" headers, one with "en-noun", the other with "en-proper". Also, we could deem all trademarks and trademark-like names to be nouns, not proper nouns. Or we could allow the proper name template to have plurals, defaulting to non-plural, of course, and not displaying "uncountable". DCDuring 04:16, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Actually, {{en-proper noun}} will work for that as well; it accepts plural and uncountable markers. However, did you notice that the page we're discussing is marked Italian? It should have an Italian inflectional template, category, and should follow Italian plural forms. --EncycloPetey 05:41, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. I hadn't noticed, probably because it didn't have all the usual accoutrements of a non-English entry. And thank you for the info on the options of the proper noun template. DCDuring 15:40, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I have split this into English and Italian sections - the Italian plural is shown in the De Mauro dictionary. I am concerned that it uses lowercase though (may just be their typographical convention). I take the English plural to mean either different versions of the wine, or more than one glass of it. SemperBlotto 08:28, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I have read a little and realize more about the issues having to do with proper nouns. I would hazard a guess that many would-be contributors to Wiktionary are as uninformed as I was about the true def. of proper noun and with the same misplaced confidence in their ignorance. There are many Beer Parlor issues in this. DCDuring 15:52, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. The various proper noun discussions we had last summer were the impetus behind my researching and drafting the (forthcoming) Appendix on English proper nouns. --EncycloPetey 03:36, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

hoi palloi

Is this an alternative spelling of the far more common hoi polloi (GBS: hoi polloi–hoi palloi = 835:11), or is it just a fairly uncommon (but just about verifiable) misspelling? As what (if anything) is it listed in other dictionaries?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:18, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

As far as I know, this is primarily a typo/misspelling and not a valid spelling. It certainly doesn't make sense as a transliteration from Greek. I've not seen it listed in any other dictionary. --EncycloPetey 03:33, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
OK. Shall we list it as a {{rare}} {{misspelling of|hoi polloi}} or just delete it?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 03:37, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
(If we do the former, we’ll have to do something clever with the template to omit the “common” part of it.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 03:39, 7 November 2007 (UTC))


Here's a neat word I recently ran into. countercounterpoint. It has three hits at bgc, all from the same document it looks like. And 22 hits at usenet. So it could scrape past requirements for inclusion. I dunno though, I don't think it's very common in practice. Who here has heard/used this interesting word in their everyday lives? It's a cool word and whether or not we include it today, I'll definitely keep an eye on it since it could be useful. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Language Lover (talkcontribs) 22:41, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

I would try "counter-counterpoint". There are a few Google Books hits. DCDuring 00:33, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

If you don’t think it’ll satisfy the CFI, you can add all the citations you can find to Citations:countercounterpoint; if more are found in future, an entry with a definition can then be created.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:08, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
BTW, wiktionary has "counter-" (with the hyphen, as prefix) and "counterpoint". DCDuring 17:07, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

"Rebrebate" is it a word an if so, what does it mean?

"reprebate" is a word that i've heard a few times used to describe someones character. Was wondering what the true meaning of it is. Or is it just a slang word? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 23:35, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

rebrobate or reprobate ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs) 23:43, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

--The actual word used much for describing character is reprobate not reprebate. Usually people use this word for the person who is of no worth,generally.--Etymologist 13:52, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Rebrobate is another old term, used in Christian religious contexts, apparently with about the same meaning as reprobate, appeared in print while reprobate was also in use. "Rebrebate" could easily have been a scanno for rebrobate. DCDuring 15:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

cinematography question

What do you call the mark placed on a film near the end of a reel that flashes on the screen to tell the projectionist to switch reels? In Italian it is segnalatore di passaggio. SemperBlotto 14:31, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

A cue mark. —RuakhTALK 20:21, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. SemperBlotto 22:32, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
According to the movie "Fight Club it is know in the film industry as a "cigarette burn", which may have some currency if you wanted to look into it. - TheDaveRoss 22:02, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
And according to en:wp's article on cue marks, the term "cigarette burn" was invented for said movie. \Mike 22:32, 14 November 2007 (UTC)


It looks like a bit of bot gone astray on a template. I tried to fix it but was unsuccessful. Makearney 22:12, 7 November 2007 (UTC)


Would dinna be classed as Scots or English? --Keene 01:15, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

It's marked as "Geordie", which is regarded as a dialect of English. However, it might also exist in Scots. --EncycloPetey 03:30, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Sadly for lexicographers, the dialect boundary does not equate to the border between England and Scotland. Many (most?) Scots words are also found in Northern English dialects, especially Geordie which has held on to a lot of unqiue bits of vocab etc. Widsith 07:53, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


There are other past and past participles of "climb" in dialectical use, but it's hard to know which ones should be included and with what comments. A google search brings up hits for clim, clom, clum, clombed, clumbed, clambed, clomb, clumb, clamb, and climb. I don't know which of these are misspellings, or get enough hits to count as "real" uses. Any comments?

I don't know about the others, but I understand that the ordinary past tense used to be clomb. RSvK 14:16, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Are they all from modern w:English? Post c. 1500, I think. Middle English is also fine, but sep L2 header. I think that they all could be in Usage notes for "climb" until the research is done. The search engine would find them at least once they were indexed. Normal CFI applies, but the "well-known work" rule might help speed things up. DCDuring TALK 17:34, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


what does "boiloff" mean? (in "liquid oxygen" article)

quote from "liquid oxygen" article:

"LOX was also used in some early ICBMs, although more modern ICBMs do not use LOX because its cryogenic properties and need for regular replenishment to replace BOILOFF make it harder to maintain and launch quickly."

boiloff = boil off = evaporation DCDuring 10:10, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

found it it's in "vacuum flask" article quote:

"the leakage of heat into the extremely cold interior of the bottle results in a slow "boiling-off" of the liquid"

Thanks for asking. Missing word. DCDuring 10:18, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


"You-know-who" has singular the same as plural. The entry gives two senses, one for the singular, one for the plural, that formerly were almost exactly parallel and are now exactly parallel, with pari passu adjustments for number. I found that I felt compelled to read both carefully to understand why two senses were being given. Is it really necessary to have two senses, either to:

  • draw the reader's attention to the identical spelling of singular and plural or
  • simplify the wording of the definition? DCDuring 15:48, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
No. Widsith 15:49, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Shouldn't it be "You-know-whom"? Alan162 19:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
We're not prescriptive. I'm sure you could find grammarians who could make an argument for the appropriateness of this form. It is used in all kinds of writings (except perhaps the most formal ones). A search of Google books shows it is a common usage, much more than "you-know-whom".
If we were talking about the collocated words "you know who" and "you know whom", it would depend on how they were being used in a sentence. The "who"/"whom" might be taking its case from its role in a following clause.
  • "Do you know who that was?"
  • "Do you know whom you were talking to?"
Because English speakers have so little need for case distinctions, the "you-know-who" phrase seems to have simply taken the most common form and used the whole as a noun that has no case ending. DCDuring TALK 21:09, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


The two senses seem identical to me, and I was going to merge them but they appear to have different translations in Kurdish. Am I missing something? Widsith 09:31, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

No idea about Kurdish, but there are two definitions that need to be entered more clearly. 1) unbendable applied to a thing 2) inflexible applied to a person. Translators will just have to sort it out later. Algrif 13:36, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I took a stab at 3 senses for the adjective. I also noted that there are RfVs for two verb senses, which I began to verify, but noted no discussion heading. I'm not sure that all three senses don't come down to "cheated of money". There may also missing senses: one relating to "breaking an appointment or similar social obligation" and another like "stonewall", but of broader application than just with respect to answering a question. Another possible sense is something like punch or, more specificly, cold cock. DCDuring 15:28, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Nice. I added another adj sense. There is also "stiff drink" which seems to be an idiomatic collocation of its own. Widsith 15:31, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Doh! Forgot that sense. Not much of a drinker, myself. DCDuring 17:03, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
And I've added "stiff muscles". - Algrif 16:36, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

les dim up

French speakers! Came across this one in a book recently . . . was completely new to me. I think I worked out the meaning OK.. But is there any other word for these, or would you just use this proprietary name, which is what it seems to be? Widsith 19:17, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm not a "French speaker" any more than you are — and I'm not even good with the English terms for such things — but searching Google for explicit explanations of what they are (trying things like "dim up ce" and so on), it seems that there's no other general name for these; rather, people use "les dim up" as a generic name, and when pressed to explain it use full sentences. Personally, I think autocollant (sticker) would have been cleverer (collant being “tights”), but what can you do? :-P   Incidentally, it might be worth linking to w:fr:Dim (lingerie), which is a fr.wiki article on the company that introduced them. —RuakhTALK 21:40, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
OK, well I'm still pleased - I always wondered how to say this in French. Not that I get the chance very often, but it's nice to think one'll be prepared. Widsith 21:43, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

let freedom ring

As what PoS should a phrase like this be presented. It IS a phrase, but it is a verbal phrase, following the inflection of let. "Freedom" is not inflected. What is the role of the Phrasebook in this? My own preference would be to present it as a Verb, use the idiom template, categorize it as a verb, but NOT have all of the inflections appear. That means NOT using the en-verb template. I can't find a policy on this. Has it been discussed? DCDuring 23:31, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Personally, I think {{en-verb}} should have a nolinks=1 parameter or something; the inflections would then still appear, but they wouldn't be links. We can use it for idioms like this, where links wouldn't be helpful because the linked pages should just be redirects to the main entry. —RuakhTALK 00:28, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
You're saying they should appear without the inflected forms having links, but presumable with "inf=let freedom ring". Why couldn't those links be automatic? DCDuring 01:40, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't understand your question. :-/ —RuakhTALK 01:53, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't know that inflected forms of this have any currency, though. Isn't this more of a fixed, set-phrase? --Connel MacKenzie 01:12, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
This phrase may become passe, apearing only in historical works by conservative writers harkening back to the old days when Reagan "let freedom ring" (past), if they can't talk about how some future Repubican president is "letting freedom ring" can (present participle). Whether it is worth displaying them is a separate question, but they can be readily exemplified and perhaps verified (at least if you don't make me find three for each form). DCDuring 01:40, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, good point … properly speaking, I guess it's actually a full clause, in the imperative mood but not intended as a true imperative; it has the same structure as "let's talk" or "let me ask around", where you're not really instructing the listener to "let" something. (I think this sort of meaning is properly called "jussive" or something like that, though I've also heard it described as a "third-person imperative".) I don't know what part of speech that would be under our system; an idiom or interjection, I guess. That said, google books:"(lets OR letting) freedom ring" gets 21 hits, and google books:"(have OR having) let freedom ring" gets seven, so the entry might warrant a genuine verb sense that formed by extension. Regardless, my suggestion about {{en-verb}} was not intended just for this entry, but for many other such. I mean, does "given up" really need its own entry just because we have give up? —RuakhTALK 01:53, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I would fully support that intiative. As you know, I add a lot of phrasal verbs and idiomatic verbal phrases. At the moment I am obliged to put the individual words in brackets and add category:English verbs at the end. Not very satisfactory. nolinks=1 would be a great solution. As for the original question; I would opt for Phrase: let freedom ring. Any future searcher checking for letting freedom ring would, as a normal course, search the infinitive phrase anyway. Algrif 14:16, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
The recommendation to make the PoS = "Phrase" leaves the user to wonder whether the phrase is inflected as well as how. I've changed my mind about NOT having the inflections appear. I still don't like all the red links and having to type all of the inflected forms in. DCDuring 19:25, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
Besides having all those (long) red-links, there is another problem with that technique: you might end up inventing unused variations. --Connel MacKenzie 20:04, 13 November 2007 (UTC) you also would be giving undue weight to some very rare forms. --Connel MacKenzie 20:06, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Not at all. If each separate word is bracketted, it links directly to the base page showing all the inflections. A long phrase or idiom or proverb (whatever you prefer) would only bracket the important words. That's what I was taught when I started working here, anyway. And it still makes good sense to me IMHO ;-) Algrif 12:28, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you got that impression - that is the Wikipedia convention (AFAIK,) but on Wiktionary, all the component words are supposed to be wikified. --Connel MacKenzie 20:03, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
No prob. I just checked damned if you do and damned if you don't and see that all the words are wikified even though repeated. I understood that words like conjunctions and prepositions didn't need to be wikified in long phrases. There are many entries that do not follow this convention. I'll change them whenever I see them. Algrif 13:53, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
There is a problem with highlighting each component and expecting the phrasal inflection to be inferrable from that. To wit, only one word in a phrase like "let freedom ring" can be inflected while retaining the meaning given. "Freedom" can't be plural and "ring" isn't inflected either (although for a more grammatical reason). I think we are trying to get more out of the wikilinks than they can unambiguously communicate. DCDuring 15:15, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
letting freedoms ring gets 8 google hits... all to the same source. But it can be found with both let and freedom inflected.
Connel's points above are over-riding "all those (long) red-links" and "inventing unused variations." It is why I asked for guidance on this when I started. Firstly, someone looking the phrase up might well need to know what a component word means. Secondly, they might need to know how to inflect it, even if it is only to "inventing unused variation" for creative purposes. Algrif 15:45, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I got 2 blog hits for "let freedoms ring", too. We will always have creative extension of the language, but a dictionary is not primarily a guide for poets and bloggers trying to attract hits. WT documents the standard language; they play around with it. What I would think we would want is to point users to the main inflection explcitly and allow the wikilinks to be a kind of first-cut etymology and analysis tool, which supports creative writing and other uses. DCDuring 16:05, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Right - the convention on en.wikt is to send people to the component word pages for inflections. That practice doesn't jive well with other conventions that advocate duplication. It also is not followed (probably 20% of the time - presumably with good reason, for individual exceptions) all of the time. While I agree it is better to not list out inflections of set-phrases, some idioms might require proper inflection. I think that was the original question about this term - which I still do not know how to answer. Comparative web-hits show the standard form to have an overwhelming lead - perhaps it should just be left alone? --Connel MacKenzie 07:24, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I knew I had it somewhere. From your good self on my talk page, I quote: Please don't use full inflection for verb phrases. For all multi-word entries, the component terms only are supposed to have inflection. Please take a look at how I split jack it in from jack in. Thanks for your neat contributions! --Connel MacKenzie 17:35, 17 July 2007 (UTC) -- ;-) -- Algrif 15:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
So, not too bad to keep specific inflection for this one because "freedom" is rarely inflected. If it were never inflected, it might be a more clear-cut case.
To summarize the more general case, to avoid unrewarding proliferation of phrasal entries, the idea would be to refer the user to the component words for inflection, by making sure that we were using the "inf=", "pos=", and "sg=" template options. Exceptions would be allowed where there was a good reason, such as not all possible inflections being legitimate (or to allow a link to a particularly common participle form ?). This is not a policy or a guideline, but might eventually become one. Is that a good summary? DCDuring 16:27, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


Hi. I joined Wiktionary about a month back with the intention of beefing up the Malay vocabulary here. At the time, colour was one of the Translations of the Week, so I thought that I would start there. I have finally managed to put together an article for User:Nestum82/warna at my User Page, and I was wondering if I could get some feedback before appending it to warna. Nestum82 10:21, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Looks great! One minor thing, the English word varna is not a cognate - it hasn't descended from Sanskrit in the same way but was borrowed wholesale into the language. You need to say something like compare English varna. Widsith 10:38, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the warning! Gawd. I was under the impression that any two words with a common ancestor could be considered cognates. D'oh! Am I right in assuming that the compare English varna goes under the Etymology header?
Another thing that I should probably draw attention to is the Pronounciations. AFAIK, the major dictionaries do not give IPA pronounciations. Kamus Dewan only goes as far as using an é to differentiate Lua error in Module:IPA/templates at line 8: Language code has not been specified. Please pass the parameter "lang" to the template. from Lua error in Module:IPA/templates at line 8: Language code has not been specified. Please pass the parameter "lang" to the template.. So the pronounciations that I have given are both based on what comes out of my own mouth. Does this fall under original research? (Actually, I should put this question in the Talk Page. I've already got one lengthy postscript in there.) Nestum82 19:19, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Please, feel free to give your own pronunciations. Heck, we have a guideline or policy page somewhere that tells people they can write things like "KON-takt" if they don't know any formal transcription system. So, home-rolled IPA is really A-OK. :-) —RuakhTALK 22:44, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for all the pointers. I've finally gotten round to tacking the entry on to warna.
Ruakh: Now that you mention it, it does say that more or less in the ELE. Can't believe I forgot about that. Nestum82 17:37, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

the hungarian christian name : Ibolya

I think this means Violet in english. Would anybody be able to confirm that ? thanks


Well yes and no. There is a Hungarian word ibolya that does mean violet (both the flower and the color), and there is a Hungarian masculine feminine name Ibolya that apparently derives from the name of the flower. However, it would be misleading to say that the feminine name means "violet", just as it would be misleading to say that the English girl's name Heather means "a low growing plant in the Ericaceae". They both share a spelling and an etymological origin, but not a current meaning. --EncycloPetey 04:00, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
Ibolya is definitely a feminine given name. But Viola and Violetta are also Hungarian names, so you cannot talk about translations, rather about variants of a theme.--Makaokalani 11:01, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I have rechecked my book on Hungarian names; thanks for the correction. --EncycloPetey 17:14, 13 November 2007 (UTC)


I have a feeling the current definitions don’t accurately cover the usage found in this hilarious comic: http://xkcd.com/341/. Could a native speaker add a definition, and maybe the quote? H. (talk) 16:00, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that it is a usage of the "defeat" sense, "You just got defeated pretty thoroughly, maybe you should sit down" might be a rephrasing. - TheDaveRoss 21:44, 14 November 2007 (UTC)


Looking in Template:fr-conj-er, I've noticed the "surcomposed past" been put in. Do other publications call it the surcomposed past? In French it's known as the passé fr:surcomposé, and is rarely used. As a holder of a degree in French, I've been made aware of it, but the teachers generally told me never to use it, as it's a kind of dialectic thing. Is it worth it being included in Template:fr-conj-er? Or is it too obscure? I suppose there's no harm in having it. Still, an entry for surcomposed could be needed. --Haunted wigwam 12:33, 13 November 2007 (UTC) (Yes, is blatantly Wonderfool, am leaving this account after this comment)

(1) I don't think there is a standard English name for it; Google Books suggests that most English texts just stick to the French name, but I don't think we can consider surcomposé to be a real loanword into English. (2) I don't think the surcomposé is a "dialectic" thing; my impression is that it's just an odd blend of literary French (where a distinction is drawn between the passé antérieur and the plus-que-parfait) and non-literary French (where the passé simple is systematically replaced with the passé composé). In true literary French you'd say « dès qu'il eut fait […] », and in normal French you'd say « dès qu'il avait fait […] », but in surcomposé-accepting French you'd say « dès qu'il a eu fait […] » (all meaning "once he'd done […]"). —RuakhTALK 17:56, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
My Collins-Robert French Dictionary translates surcomposé as "double-compound", though I don't know whether anyone uses that in grammatical contexts. --EncycloPetey 18:42, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I hadn't heard that before, but searching b.g.c., it looks like that is indeed the most popular name (at least of those I knew to look for). —RuakhTALK 19:44, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I have to say, I've lived in France and in Morocco, and I don't think I've ever seen the surcomposé used in real life! Widsith 09:19, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Responsible to or responsible for?

I run into what I believe to be the misuse of the word responsible fairly frequently when reviewing Standard Operating Procedures. Each SOP has a section that specifies who is accountable for performing the procedure. I frequently see something like "The Manager of Customer Service is responsible to initiate customer complaint..." and it doesn't seem right. Is this correct? Should this not be "... is responsible for initiating customer..."? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MTLer (talkcontribs) 15:04, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

You are correct. One is responsible for carrying out a duty. I often hear responsible to used in the same sense as accountable to and answerable to.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:13, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
While "is responsible to initiate" is stilted, I'd not say it's wrong. Parse it as "is responsible" + "to initiate" (not as ... + "responsible to" + ...), and it has in the end the same meaning as "is responsible for initiating". As I say, though, it is stilted.—msh210 15:38, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
As usual, there is no Academy of English. But normal usage is: Responsible for a duty / department / etc.; and responsible to the head of dept. or similar person or dept above you (although you can be responsible to your clients, etc, also). Algrif 15:44, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
If we talk about the standard English ,then "responsible for" is the correct use,if we look for the preposition usage.In various countries where English is taught as subject, usage of responsible with 'to' is usually considered as common error or gramatically wrong.However, I think this flexibility to use 'responsible to' instead of 'responsibility for' is making its place in nowadays English speakers.--Etymologist 17:45, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
'responsible to + gerund' seems to find frequent use in non-American newspapers, judging from Google News. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 00:23, 14 November 2007 (UTC).

comparative of polite

Is the comparative of polite politer or more polite, (or both)? RJFJR 21:27, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Google Books supports both, with some preference for the latter. I, however, am less tolerant: "politer" sounds incredibly wrong to me. :-P   —RuakhTALK 22:08, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Sums up my opinion rather well. Currently polite lists 'more polite' but I find politer in my paper dictionary. I'm going to change it, but it sounds like it needs a usage note on how it sounds wrong to some people. Any suggestions on wording? RJFJR 02:47, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
What my experience tells as i have gone through many English writings ,both forms are supported.In daily use i've seen people talking as ,"She should say this in politer way."So i think you need not to change it.Rather politer and superlative degree being politest sounds better than 'more polite' and 'most polite'.But what standard English suggests ,i am bit doubtful about it ,not really ,but to some extent.--Etymologist 13:08, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Politer and politest both both [sic] sound and look wrong to me (the comparative form more so than the superlative form); however, since they both exist, they ought to be listed, with a usage note added to the entry fo polite and links pointing thither added to the entries for politer and politest.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:26, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
As a native speaker of American English (midwest), I see nothing wrong with politer or politest; I use both myself. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 23:45, 14 November 2007 (UTC).
RJFJR, FYI: the {en-adj} template handles this case, see entry. I concur in thinking "more polite" and "most polite" look and sound much more familiar than "politer" and "politest", which both look odd ;-) Robert Ullmann 14:44, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanx. I've also updated bitter - Algrif 13:50, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

I read in grammars for foreign students of English that the use of -er in comparative adjectives is only valid in monosyllabic words, with the exception of those ending in -y, which form with -ier.

You won't go wrong the positive part of the rule. You can always make a good comparative with a polysyllabic adjective with "more". The prohibititive part of the recommendation would keep you from saying "yellower", for example. DCDuring TALK 23:56, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

How much is it

I was thinking this should be moved to how much is it, due to caps. If anyone disagrees, please let me know; if I don't hear otherwise I will go ahead and move it. sewnmouthsecret 21:54, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

set versus put

Possibly stupid question (I blame my non-nativity), but: when you place something somewhere, is there any difference between "setting" it there, and "putting" it there? \Mike 11:02, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

None whatsoever. You can put, put it down, place, set, set it down, there. As you wish. Algrif 13:43, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Although. To my ear set seems of a slightly more formal register. There is also often a connotation of placing something more deliberately in a specific place, which is more obvious in phrases like "the diamond was set in precious stones" or something like that. I think put is slightly more neutral, slightly more casual. Widsith 13:51, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, i strongly agree with 'widsith' explanation.To put,just mean to just put something orderly or un-arranged but when we talk about ,'setting it',this reflects a sense of arrangement or order.And secondly,not think your questions stupid,just ask and remove your ambiguity related to any word.--Etymologist 14:48, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Definitely not stupid. Answering these questions forces native speakers to be explicit about rules they may well have no conscious awareness of. Sometimes when we try to state the rules that we actually follow flawlessly, we make mistakes in trying to articulate them. I certainly use "set" only in contexts where the "putting" is supposed to be more careful in relationship to other objects. In more abstract applications, compare "putting that behind you" to "setting that aside for the moment". Perhaps the second is more specific, setting something aside for use in a short time, rather than forgetting it entirely. DCDuring 15:31, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the help - most dictionaries I've seen (English that is) simply explain "set" (in this sense) with "put" (more or less) and vice versa. And then I compare to Swedish which uses three different verbs for that notion, and they are only rarely interchangeable... :P (Yes, I had hoped there were some minor difference I could benefit from when trying to define the words lägga, sätta and ställa, respectively, a bit more clearly - in how they differ). \Mike 19:51, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • The word "lay" physically means placing or setting a longish object on a flat surface or in a containing space. Is that like lägga?
  • To "stand" something physically means to place or set an object in an upright or erect position. Is that like ställa?
Sometimes the physical meanings provide a good place to start. I don't know that I've gotten the English exactly right, but you can check me. DCDuring 20:26, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the physical orientation constitutes a very good first approximation :) But then there is sätta (literally, to put in a sitting position) which confuses things, sometimes synonymous with "lägga", sometimes with "ställa" and sometimes the only option. Hmm...., I think I was too concentrated on which nouns to use with which verb, there... I think it should be possible to get something decent out of it (at least I think I've managed to include most variations of lägga by now). But thanks for your help! :) \Mike 21:04, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, no, it is never(?) quite synonymous with lägga, at least.... just need to make a fine cut to separate them ;) \M

help yourself

Should this be listed under help#Verb, meaning 1? It seems to me to be slightly different- but I can't pinpoint why. Conrad.Irwin 22:12, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I also find that reflexives(?) like this give me pause, even though the definitions do seem to include them. It's even worse that it is easy to focus on the imperative form. Unfortunately the WT solution would probably be "help oneself", which would not be likely to be found by an ordinary user groping for help. DCDuring 22:26, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I think help oneself would be a correct entry. But also help yourself as a phrase book entry. Algrif 11:37, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

What I meant to ask was, is this a correct usage of the first meaning of help - or is it completely different? Conrad.Irwin 16:52, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

The first entry is really in the sense God helps those who help themselves. I think help yourself to some food is not the sense nº1. IMHO. Algrif 20:25, 16 November 2007 (UTC)


"Incomparable" is shown in our entry as having no comparative form.

  • Oscar Wilde, Collected Works of Oscar Wilde (1997), page 1096
    I know of nothing in all drama more incomparable from the point of view of art, nothing more suggestive in its subtlety of observation, than Shakespeare's […].

Was Oscar Wilde jesting or are we wrong? DCDuring 23:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

On the face of it I see no reason why there can't be gradations of comparability... Widsith 09:31, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Our editors seem to suffer from lapses of imagination with respect to countability for nouns and comparability for adjectives and adverbs. I understand how easy it is to succumb to it, but it leaves a lot of cleanup. DCDuring 10:13, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
The editors do not suffer from lapses of imagination; we are describing the norm in the inflection lines rather than the exceptions (which are many in English). Please apologize for this personal attack. --EncycloPetey 04:02, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
It is perhaps not so much lack of imagination, but a long-cherished superstition within prescriptive grammar of the "absolute adjectives" that cannot be compared. It is a long-settled issue in linguistics that a form like "more incomparable" means "being closer to incomparable" or "having more of the quality of incomparable", but the prescriptionists continue to claim this is somehow imprecise, unclear, or illiterate. —This comment was unsigned.
Not simply superstition, but an understanding of what the words mean. The word incomparable means "not comparable"; it can't be compared. The word not is a binary operator. It isn't logically feasible to say that something is "more not comparable" or "most not comparable", just as it isn't logically feasible to say that something is "more dead", "more frozen", or "more omnipotent". Each of the base terms is binary, without gradations. That doesn't mean that such forms aren't used by people, just that they do not make logical sense. --EncycloPetey 03:58, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
One could argue that that's a superstitious application of logical formalisms to an informal and illogical language. Two things can be roughly comparable — apples and oranges, say — or fairly incomparable — oranges and toothbrushes, say. But oranges and love are even more incomparable than these, because you can't even apply market prices to compare them. Technically, any two things can be compared, and when we say "incomparable", we do not in fact mean that comparison is simply impossible. Likewise, "more omnipotent" can be meaningful in discussing solutions to the Omnipotence paradox. That said, I agree with you that it's not a big deal to label an adjective absolute if its comparative and superlative forms are rare and nonce-y. —RuakhTALK 04:32, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I have taken to checking for the actual occurences of instances of use of comparable forms before changing indications of non-comparability. That's what lead me to the Oscar Wilde quote above. Given his notorious wit, I wanted to check whether I had not gotten a joke he was playing on his readers. I doubt if anyone will use a comparable form of something when it doesn't make sense because we say that an adjective is comparable in one of its senses. The trouble with the incomparability marker is that it applies to all senses (including those added after the non-comparability marker is added) and all contexts. It also seems much more proscriptive than Wiktionary philosophically seems to be. DCDuring 23:50, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Listing an exotic example is one thing, intentionally misleading readers is quite another. Anyhow, for the sense you added, how could something in a literal sense be "more not comparable" anyway? I've been bold, as this was apparently lost in the shuffle. The discussion edits had left it in a terrible state. --Connel MacKenzie 08:22, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

It is clear that Wilde's usage, as well as other instances of "more incomparable" and "most incomparable" are using the word simply in a sense of "great to an extent of having no equal". It is a word that grew beyond its roots, and in this sense is no longer a meaningful prefix+root word combination. Discussions of actual "comparisons" (oranges and toothbrushes) is quite erroneous to this sense. It's an adjective borne out of the notion of being matchless, peerless, unrivaled — but is an independent, self-sustaining description, like "magnificent". It connotates comparison, but does not refer directly to it. Casting off any active (verb) sense of comparison, the new, independent, etymologically created word is pronounced in-COMP-arable. For the senses you've been discussing, the better term is "not comparable".
That said, I think listing the comparative and superlative at incomparable is excessive. The truth is that the word lacks a comparative form, thus the necessary use of the word more. Listing such is wholly unnecessary and cluttered. -- Thisis0 21:57, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Would that not apply to all adjectives which form their comparatives with "more"? -- Visviva 12:17, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Not to those for which the "more, most" comparative is common. That bears mention. But to those where the potential comparative is rare, awkward, nonce-y, controversial, and confusing -- it should be left out of the headword space, at least. -- Thisis0 16:58, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Some quick-and-dirty comparisons on b.g.c. suggest that "incomparable" (238.3) is a great deal less comparable than ordinary adjectives like "outstanding" (75.0), but more comparable than really incomparable adjectives like "impossible" (326.76). The numbers are the number of hits for the headword per hit for "more headword than." Not sure where we intend to draw the line here, and of course we all know that Google's hit counts are fiendishly unreliable, so further research is needed. It would be interesting to learn if any real corpus linguists have developed a workable algorithm to evaluate comparability. (probably not... it doesn't strike me as the sort of question a real corpus linguist would be interested in, unfortunately.) -- Visviva 12:17, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

With the heat of the words exchanged and the lack of non-literary uses shown, it would seem "more incomparable" is somewhat of a nonce term that nonetheless is readily interpreted as "less comparable". "coldness" is not a strictly physical quantity like "heat", yet we find it just as tangible. I think most people would feel the Pyramids of Giza are "more priceless" than an early Picasso sketch and that cycling instructions for fish are more worthless than an 8-track casette player. In mathematics, even infinities/infinitesimals come in different degrees. "-less" is normally such a binary form, but "more priceless" is readily interpreted as "more valuable (worth more)" and "more worthless" is readily interpreted as "less valuable (worth less)". Technically, such terms aren't very logical but they still carry information with intrinsic value. I see no reason, however to list any of these terms , including "more incredible" (which we do have) in definitions because they have much more capacity to confuse than to help. Comparative and superlative forms are usually just there to guide users if or how "-er" & "-est" should be applied in normal use. That's a big reason why we don't include "believabler" or "incredibler".

BTW, if you cross the right pond/continent, I'm sure you'll find different pronunciations for "incomparable" and we should reflect that. --Thecurran 07:25, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

"What a bitter sweet irony of it"

What does it really mean?How many meanings it carries,both in negative and positive sense?Anyone??--Etymologist 18:00, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

comparative of negative terms

When forming the comparative of a negative term (a word formed from a prefix such as un- in- a- etc) it seems to me that while I could put more before the negative I'm more likely to put less before the positive form. e.g. for inappropriate it sounds better to use less appropriate than more inappropriate. Does this seem like a general rule? Should anything be noted in the entry for negative terms? RJFJR 02:44, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Seems to me to be a good example of a Usage notes entry. - Algrif 11:33, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
But less appropriate doesn't mean the same thing as more inappropriate. At a black-tie event, a shirt with button cuffs is less appropriate than cufflinks, but still appropriate, not inappropriate. Jeans would be more inappropriate than a business suit, both are inappropriate. Robert Ullmann 11:43, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Very good point, and good examples. Hmmmm... - Algrif 20:17, 16 November 2007 (UTC)


We have an entry for the trademark Fathometer and not for fathometer. I haven't counted, but there seem to be more uses of the uncapitalized generic form. How should this be presented? I would argue for both entries cross-referenced, but a redirect from one to the other with both trademark and generic uses could work. If the latter which one is the redirect? DCDuring 15:49, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

We do not use redirects. Use two entries, like Apple. DAVilla 06:41, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I propose that at Fathometer the gloss only reads "A trade mark". We do not know what else Fathometer produces or especially what it will produce, therefore it is not necessary to say anything about what is possibly being produced under the brand. A separate entry fathometer then explains what the gadget is about. I do not know whether fathometers are called fathometers because of Fathometer or vice versa. Without further research I would not write anything about the relationship in the etymology -section. In fact, I did these changes already. Hekaheka 21:12, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually we should just delete the trade mark just as at least for the time being is the solution with Bobcat, which is being discussed somewhat further below. Hekaheka 21:18, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


The adverb was listed as not having a comparative form. I found two quotes that seem to illustrate otherwise, but are otherwise interpretable. Any thoughts. DCDuring 19:26, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Try searching using further and furthest atop. You'll find stacks of quotes. Algrif 20:15, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Does "further" count as making a "real" comparative form. In my mind, only "more" could make a comparative. Are there other such words that make "real" comparatives. DCDuring 21:40, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
And younger is then not a "real" comparative? Better? \Mike 21:47, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I meant that I thought that "more" was the only full word that could make a comparative.
I was interested in whether there was a comparative form (and a superlative one as well) for the adverb "atop". I found two quotes for "more atop". The suggestion of "further atop" raised the question in my mind as to what the meaning of "comparative" form really was. Is "more" the only adverb that makes a "real" comparative form for those adjectives and adverbs that don't form the comparative "morphologically", like by adding "-er", as "young" does? "Further atop" (surprisingly, no real hits for "farther atop") and "more atop" seem to mean about the same thing.
"Farther" and "further" seem to work like "more" for many adverbs that have to do with spatial relationships, possibly figurative ones. "Farther" "up/down"; "in/out"; "over/under"; "ahead/behind"; "on", "across", "back", "east", etc.; "left/right"; "forward/backward"; "away/anear"; "above/below"; "overhead", "beneath", "alee", "abaft", "afore". DCDuring 22:26, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Further' does seem to be preferred to farther for comparative forms. No idea why, tho. A tangential aside... I've often thought it might be good to appendix all adj / adv that can take further as comparative. You missed a few. upstairs, downstairs, uphill, downhill, ahead, around, round, and I'm certain there are more. Algrif 16:19, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

There are other words besides more than can be used to form the comparative, especially less. Comparatives can either increase or decrease the relative degree in the comparison. However, I'm not convinced that further atop is an extension of the pattern. This looks to me like a case of the adverb further modifying the adverb atop, just as you could say further in, further on, or further out. I can't find this addressed in the books I have on English grammar. --EncycloPetey 03:49, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I remain very uncertain about this: "She rested more atop him."

"More" would seem to be modifying the prepositional phrase "atop him". Therefore "atop" is, in fact, not comparable. This leaves me needing some kind of good usage example or quote for the adverbial usage of "atop", which is actually what got me started on all this. DCDuring 04:06, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

In that example atop is a preposition, not an adverb. The adverb more is modifying the adverbial phrase atop him. The original question applies to adverbial situations like "Clicking on this option will place the window further atop." I can't imagine "more atop" being used this way. --EncycloPetey 04:38, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I think I see the error of my ways about the comparative form of the adverb. My question now is for a good example of the adverbial use.
  • "He placed it atop." doesn't seem right, except in very unusual circumstances. Perhaps: "She placed hers next to the pillow; he placed his atop {hers or the pillow]." DCDuring 16:36, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
No, I would call that a preposition still, with an understood implied object because of the parallelism. A better example might be "The scout went atop to look along the cliffs." The adverbial use will sound strange because it's not common in modern English. --EncycloPetey 18:46, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Adverbially it's almost archaic now. In older books, you will regularly see sentences along the lines of, "The castle was black and forbidding, with a tattered flag flying atop." It used to be written as two words which is making it hard for me to find good results on b.google. Widsith 13:33, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Does it merit an indicator of its not-current usage? What is the canonical format for such an indicator? "dated"? "archaic"? "obsolete"? DCDuring 14:41, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Maybe (literary or archaic)...? Widsith 16:10, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I've added a couple of cites and the context tags. Widsith 17:29, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I feel much better now. -- And the entry is vastly better. DCDuring 17:56, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

word of faith

The phrase "word of faith" is fairly common in Christian writings and is apparently SoP, non-idiomatic. There is a "Word of Faith" movement, not an organization, for which the phrase has a particular meaning, which most users of the phrase "word of faith" may not be aware of, would not accept, and might strongly disagree with. The entry, though uncapitalized, is about "Word of Faith" as a belief, presumably of those in the "Word of Faith" movement.

  • Should the entry be capitalized?
  • How should the meanings separate from those of the movement be handled?
  • Should the context be "religion" or "Word of Faith"?
  • Does it belong in Wiktionary?
Although there might well be a BP discussion in this, the concrete case might provide a more focussed discussion, if anyone is interested. DCDuring 00:04, 17 November 2007 (UTC)


does anybody know the correct spelling of a soup called(pilmanie) and its possible origin? 15:21 17 November 2007 (UTC)

  • This morning I walked down the street to see what I could see, and happened upon an Uzbekistani restaurant, where I had breakfast.
Couldn't read a single thing on the menu, because it was written in Russian. So I just told the guy to bring me something he thought I'd like.
It was terrific. Something called Pelmani, which included beef dumpling soup, some sort of egg and ham salad, plus bread and yogurt with an interesting tang. An excellent choice next time you stay at the Diplomat Hotel in Dubai.[12] DCDuring 22:33, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Best spelling for finding more would probably be pelmeni. DCDuring 22:46, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

What is a beehive fireplace?

What is a beehive fireplace?

See picture here.
A traditional beehive is kind of dome shaped (as in beehive hairdo, etc). A beehive fireplace is a masonry or stone dome enclosure over the fire forming a sort of oven. RJFJR 04:29, 18 November 2007 (UTC)


The entry claims to have a citation supporting "more unmade" as the comparative, but I think this is parsed incorrectly. I believe the quote is not "(more unmade) and remade" but rather "more (unmade and remade)". That is, I think more is being used in its adverbial sense to modify an adjective phrase rather than in its analytical sense to form the comparative. --EncycloPetey 04:08, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

By George, I think you're right. I added a couple of other quotes that seem to support the comparative/superlatives, but I may have misread them too. Please take a look. DCDuring 13:22, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
All but the 1984 quote, which is comparing aunmade versus made, and not forming a comparative of unmade. I'd argue that the original quote from the page and the 1984 one should be removed. --EncycloPetey 15:39, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I've implemented your suggestions. Formation of plurals and comparatives is way more complicated than I had realized. -- And I still have trouble slowing down enough to parse things correctly. DCDuring 16:20, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

New word or another language

I'm really struggling to find any meaning for the word "Absolom". Is this a new word created by the masters of Hollywood or A word in another minor language they've found and used. —This unsigned comment was added by Pagey (talkcontribs).

See Wikipedia: w:Absalom. Mike Dillon 03:40, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Random addendum: Robertson Davies used to use his own coinage absalonism to describe habitual rebellion against one's father. Widsith 12:10, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

get down with the kids

Should this instead be at get down with or possibly even get down?—msh210 21:49, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

"get down" doesn't cover it. There's another idiom (AAVE?) down with, I think, too, possibly related. DCDuring 22:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
We may need additional sense(s) of down to provide the building block(s) for these phrases. DCDuring 22:59, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Plenty of examples of get down with + other noun groups being used as a phrasal verb in Google and bgc. This seems to be quite new, as it is not a dictionary entry that I can find (yet), but there appears to be durability. So I vote for get down with as the entry. Algrif 12:57, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
If you want an entry for it, I'm down with it. DCDuring 12:45, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
If you're happy with my entry at get down with, which seems to have at least two citeable meanings, then that makes get down with the kids SoP. - Algrif 12:55, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm down[=OK] with the entry, but I wish I could think of a good search to capture some quotes using "get down" not in the senses given there, but more like the sense in get down with. Can it be used with any other prepositions? My homeys don't talk like that and the people who do wouldn't talk that way in front of me. DCDuring 14:57, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your Q, but perhaps you want get down among ? - Algrif 16:22, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
What I'm trying to say is that I'm not happy that the two senses in "get down" really capture one or more ways the phrase is used. To get it right I would need to look at a few examples. I can't think how to do a good search that doesn't yield thousands of hits I don't want. If "with" is not the only additional preposition the phrase is used with, then there is a good case for adding an additional sense to "get down". But "get down" without another preposition also may have another sense, for which the one-preposition-at-a-time strategy that you imply would be ineffective. DCDuring 16:44, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Ah! I thought so. I misunderstood your Q.
I don't do anything sophisticated. Just search and wade through the results. I often find that newspaper searches help to support and clarify gbc searches. Using this method, I came out with the 2 definitions given. There might be more, but I haven't come across any yet.
The definitions at get down with do not coincide with any definition of get down nor get down + with. So I believe get down with is a clear phrasal verb with clear definitions. If you find any more, please feel free to add (It's Wiki policy, after all ;-)) - Algrif 17:35, 24 November 2007 (UTC)


I was just wondering how best to enter Spanish suffix -illo -illa meaning little. As in mercado - mercadillo, mentira - mentirilla, etc. Is there a specific format for this? Algrif 15:57, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

You could use -ito as an example. It looks pretty solid. Mike Dillon 16:03, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm onto it now. Algrif 16:06, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

template:irregular plural of

Template:irregular plural of is a "form-of" template that puts "Irregular plural form of [foo]" on the definition line and adds the page to Category:English irregular plurals. While I think that the category is great, I think the definition line should just say "Plural form of", for the following reason. Someone who doesn't know what "irregular plural" means might well think that "Irregular plural form of" means "Uncommon plural form of" (i.e., that there is another, more common, plural). What think you all?—msh210 19:29, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Another option is to have "irregular" link to Appendix:Glossary, where it can be explained in detail. If that's not enough, maybe a tooltip could offer a brief explanation. Rod (A. Smith) 19:59, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Ideally, we'd have an Appendix:English nouns with a section on regular and irregular plurals, and the template would like to that. --EncycloPetey 20:34, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I like any presentation that is kind to an ordinary user, while remaining accurate. The word "irregular" at the beginning of a definition line has the potential to confuse (especially native speakers). If it would be valuable for some users to know that a given plural is irregular without having to look at the categories, perhaps the definition line could read "plural form (irr.) of". To prevent the ordinary user from wasting too much time "irr." could be wiki-linked to a helpful section of a page that explained what "irregular" meant in this context. Putting a wiki-linked "irregular" at the beginning of the line may lead to many users hitting a link that won't tell them anything they want to know. DCDuring 20:51, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
That sounds good.—msh210 17:41, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with msh210; that message just seems pointless. Anyone who knows English will know, given a plural noun and its corresponding lemma, whether they'd consider it irregular; I don't see the benefit in imposing our definition of "irregular" into our definitions of all irregular plurals. (Obviously we need our own definition of "irregular" for the sake of categorization, but I don't see that it's useful for much more than that.) —RuakhTALK 01:11, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I admit that the current entry for women seems unenlightening for readers who don't already know the plural of woman. Of course, this ties into the lack of consensus we have regarding whether to show such inflection details in the headword/inflection line or in definition lines. In any event, this conversation probably belongs at WT:BP, right? Rod (A. Smith) 01:36, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with both Msh210 and Ruakh: The category is useful, the preset definition is unhelpfully misleading.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 02:38, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I also agree. When you see women defined as "irregular plural of woman", the immediate reaction is to think "So what the hell is the regular plural?" Widsith 12:06, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Shall we change the definition to be identical with the one provided {{plural of}}, but retaining the auto-catting?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 12:32, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I see a few problems:
    1. Most dictionaries don't include entries for regular "form of"s but do for irregulars. So while they typically don't use the word "irregular" in their definitions they make these terms stand out by their mere inclusion. Wiktionary now has no way to make these stand out yet they are very much more important than regular "form of" entries.
    2. Categories are useful but they apply to an entire page and thus do not stand out on a page such as men which has nine entries and sixteen categories.
    3. The argument about confusing words in definitions is a bit of a red herring considering we have more confusing words such as infinitive, tense, participle, and uncountable in very many "form of" definitions.
  • Why not treat irregularity in a consistent manner as with other "attributes" of words such as countability, transitivity, archaic, obsolete, pejorative, etc:
    1. (irregular) Plural of man.

Hippietrail 00:58, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

That still (to me at least) implies that there exists a valid regular version. Widsith 14:38, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Me, too.—msh210 20:35, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
And what about when dictionaries list regular plural forms? –The COED, if my memory serves me correctly, explicitly lists prospectuses as the plural form of prospectus.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:21, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

To enfishen?

Do we have a word in English for the French empoissonner, meaning to populate or stock with fish? enfish, fishify, enfishen, or just "add fish to"? There should be a word for it, like when fisherman overfish and there's not much fish left in the sea so they need to wait a while until the sea become more enfished? --Rural Legend 14:22, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't think there's a word for it, or if there is most people ignore it in favour of saying "replenish fish stocks" or something. You could always coin an English word empoisson or impescate... Widsith 14:32, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, the next time I write a novel I shall talk about how fisherman need to reimpescate the oceans after the depescation. Hell, I'll name character after you too. --Rural Legend 15:10, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Great, I'll keep an eye out for The Sockpuppet Years. Widsith 15:14, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
No precise word, but restock is the word typically used and the context usually makes a modifier unnecessary. DCDuring 15:16, 21 November 2007 (UTC)


cup's English etymology section says it comes from Old English, earlier from Latin, earlier from Hebrew, earlier from PIE. Since when does Hebrew derive from PIE, or Latin from Hebrew (unless, for the latter, it's a loan, in which case it should say so)?—msh210 20:45, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I've commented out that bit for now. It appears to be random weirdness. Widsith 10:14, 22 November 2007 (UTC)


Meaning 3 appears to me to be a specific instance of meaning 2. Can I just delete meaning 3? What's the protocol? - dougher 23:20, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

To be cautious: insert rfd-sense template (which I just did). But that sense def. is so bad that probably no-one would have minded it you would have deleted it. DCDuring 00:16, 22 November 2007 (UTC)


Can someone add a correct {{en-verb}} inflection for zinc#Verb, it seems that it has a couple of possible inflections - zinckig/zincing/zincked/zinced...I'd coin a new past tenses for zinc at zanc and zunc if I could. --Rural Legend 11:05, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I thought the verb was galvanize - Algrif 17:12, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Less-used synonym. DCDuring 17:25, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Which is less used? The word we know how to inflect correctly: to galvanize, or the word which does not seem to have any clear inflection: to zinc (??) BTW, I do not have zinc as a verb in any of my dictionaries, but then I don't have that many, I'm afraid. - Algrif 17:43, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
My MW3 gives the "ck" inflections (not zanc amd zunc) as well as the "c" ones. I have never seen of read "zinc" as a verb, though I don't doubt that it is in usage. I don't like the look of the "ck" spellings, but they do avoid the pronunciation confusion of the "c" versions. Let me look up the en-verb template to see how to do it. DCDuring 18:50, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Thinking about how we treat this problem with other metals.. The most common procedure is to add -plate to the metal noun. Some few metals have special verbs, such as zinc - galvanise, and gold - guild. Some make verbs directly, such as to lead, and to tin. Silver and chrome seem to be used as verbs at times also, but -plate is preferred. I think it will be difficult (but not impossible tho) to find anything verifyable for zinc as a verb. Zinc-plate and galvanise are by far and away the most obvious solutions. Good luck in finding verificatons for the inflections. - Algrif 13:02, 23 November 2007 (UTC) I just noticed. That should read gild! .. Doh.. Algrif 17:15, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
The only one I wasn't able to find on Google Books was zincs. --Ptcamn 19:31, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Which makes me wonder whether the -ed forms are simply adjectival, and the -ing forms nouns or adjectives, in the examples you have found. Handle with care !! - Algrif 17:23, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

street market

I am considering adding this item, but is it a SoP? Reasons in favour of the entry would include the fact that souq, mercadillo, and mercatino all mean street market. Opinions? - Algrif 17:24, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't we want to make this a matter of policy? If it works under existing policy, then it's in. If it doesn't, then it might be an opportunity to review the policy for the newbies like me. I remember that in a recent discussion the translation-from-a-single-word rationale was said not to be policy.
This looks SoP and is not in MW3. But maybe there is more to it. Does a street market necessarily involve closing a street to some classes of traffic, for example? In NY area, we have "farmers' markets" (fresh produce and other food products, not necessarily farmers, sometimes held in parking areas or other public spaces), "street fairs" (more than a market, closes the street), "sidewalk sales" (store-owners allowed to partially obstruct the sidewalk in front of their store), "street vendors", (licensed or unlicensed merchant without premises, selling from sidewalk). We have a few special-purpose buildings for "markets", both wholesale, retail, and mixed, as well as arcades; in these, the mechants can have stores or stalls. We also have "flea markets", typically weekend-only markets for all sorts of goods. Not too many folks from here would think of the phrase "steet market" when looking for meaning. DCDuring 17:52, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

To me it's a set phrase. I totally think it deserves an entry. Widsith 07:58, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

It does seem to be more of a UK thing than US, judging from DCDuring's comment. But I'm leaning more towards a real entry, because both the above comments made me realise that in UK a street market can be found in a car park or other non-street location. The meaning is a temporary market not located in a fixed market building. (More or less!). If I can justify this meaning with cites, then I will enter it. Any help in finding quotes would be appreciated. - Algrif 12:51, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
If someone here said "street market" we would have some expectations about what it was, but I would argue that here it is fundamentally SoP.
There are abundant quotations in travel, geography, history, and sociology. I'm not sure how to find the ones that illustrate the 'setness' of the phrase. Here's an interesting cite from a history book:
  • 1956-2000, H. P. R. Finberg, Joan Thirsk, Edith H. Whetham, Stuart Piggott, H. E. Hallam, Edward Miller, G. E. Mingay, E. J. T. Collins, The agrarian history of England and Wales, page 992
    It was not the custom of London consumers to walk any distance for their food, or any other goods. As a result of this and the inability of the London County Council to establish a single authority to regulate existng markets and establish properly regulated new ones when the need arose, the irregular street market set up in densely populated districts was a feature of the capital. In 1891 there were 112, all unauthorised, and containing 5,292 stalls, of which 65 percent were set aside for the sale of perishable commodities.
There's lots more in this mammoth multi-volume source about markets elsewhere in England and Wales. DCDuring 14:25, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
OK Great. Thanks. I've put another couple of good quotes and entered it with a 'pedia link. - Algrif 16:49, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

how do i create my avatar?

Tea room i am at a loss i can't seem to do anything,how can i start to have fun, i need to make a avatar to chat

eye dialect

This definition bothers me a bit because of the put-down of the speakers of the dialects transliterated this way. I am not saying that the definition is not often accurate. I am saying that not all transliterations of dialect are done to mock the speaker. AAVE is arguably a species of eye dialect that has some effective PR agents and lobbyists. I had wanted to add entries for some New York area eye-dialect (dey, dem, dose, dese, dat for starters, but all of Damon Runyon and Finley Peter Dunne [and others] awaits) and was bothered by the implication of the definition that such entries were not appropriate. Are they? Is it only the usual CFI standards that apply? DCDuring 12:33, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the definition rewrite. I would guess that Wiktionary would want to have as many eye-dialect entries as possible, especially cited. It is a kind of documentation of popular English that is not readily available by other means and fits with the need of users reading dialog in dialect. DCDuring 00:37, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Whoever is rewriting this, you may wish also to rewrite Category:Eye dialect and Appendix:Glossary#E.—msh210 17:14, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


Can anyone tell me the meaning of this name. The tribe that it can from was around Preg Oklahoma. I was named after a girl that went to school there.

Thank you


in one's stockinged feet is listed as an adverb; I was hoping to place stockingfeet as a term of its own, but am unsure what part of speech it would be or how best to define it. It appears in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, among many other books at b.g.c. Any ideas? sewnmouthsecret 15:48, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, it's a noun. Though I usually see it as two words, or hyphenated. Widsith 15:52, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking it was a noun, but in trying to define it, I keep thinking stockinged feet, which is an adjective. b.g.c. has many print cites with it as one word. sewnmouthsecret 16:08, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
No, "stockinged feet" is a compound noun too – a noun phrase if you like, but no one likes that term here. And the singular stocking-foot seems to exist also, by the way. Widsith 16:53, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
We do have stockinged, the past participle of the verb "stocking", which is used as an adjective in both phrases: "in one's stockinged feet" and "stockinged feet". The entire first phrase is adverbial. Both "one's stockinged feet" and "stockinged feet" are noun phrases. At least, I think that's all correct. DCDuring 17:01, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
"Stocking-foot" doesn't seem to usually refer to a foot with a stocking in it. A "stocking-foot wader" is a wader that has a stocking-like foot, which is worn inside socks (for abrasion protection) and an oversized shoe. It contrasts with a "boot-foot wader" which makes direct contact with the rocks and grit of a stream. A "stocking-foot" also seems to refer to the foot part of a stocking. It makes me think that one reason that the somewhat awkward "stockinged feet" has survived is to differentiate "stocking-feet" from "stockinged feet". We could try to preserve the distinction by marking stockingfeet in the sense of "stockinged feet" in some way as a common misspelling (or something) or just note distinct senses. DCDuring 17:17, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I think it's the other way round. stocking-foot is the part of a stocking that goes round the foot, ie the bottom bit. "In your stocking-feet" was just a way of saying that you had no shoes on over them (first attested 1802), but as the term got less common, people started hearing it as "stockinged feet" (first attested 1862). Widsith 16:38, 24 November 2007 (UTC)


I was wanting to add the well known quote from A Christmas Carol from Wikiquotes [13] to the Interjection. But I'm not sure how to do it. - Algrif 12:05, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

What I mean is, is there a special template or approved format to link to wikiquotes? - Algrif 16:19, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
What I need to know is nothing difficult. w: takes a link to wikipedia. s: takes a link to wikisource. What is the way to link to wikiquotes, please? Thanks. - Algrif 12:59, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Ah, gotcha. q:Charles_Dickens#A_Christmas_Carol. Widsith 13:49, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Many thanx. My fault for not being clear in the first place! ;-) - Algrif 17:19, 29 November 2007 (UTC)


I've been trying to find the meaning of Bobcat that i found in a leadership book, but it seems like it's nowhere to find. The book speaks about a landscaping company and how they run their business. As I quote here, it says, "Their equipment - including trucks, trailers, and 'Bobcat'". Can someone help me here, please? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Seems like they're a digging-machinery company. See w:Bobcat Company. Widsith 12:13, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
It's a good example of the trademaker's craft. Common word, play on bob- as in "bobbed" and "Cat", short for "Caterpillar", now being defended against genericization of the term bobcat, sense 2. DCDuring 14:32, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yea. They make small-scale earth-moving equipment, often used by contractors who need to work in small spaces around existing structures. DCDuring 15:29, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I added cat as the commonly used abbreviation or both Bobcat and Caterpillar tractors. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 21:35, 3 February 2008 (UTC).

help me ...

There's this sentence that says: "The new President imposed much-needed organization and order on the fledgling company." Can somebody help me to re-phrase it, please?

Pice, is it a coin or a currency?

I notice the word pice has a definition of "A small copper coin of the East Indies, worth less than a cent". But is this correct, as I thought pice or more correctly paisa is a currency rather than an actual coin. Obviously it can be both like cent, but I'm also sure that pice is plural, which makes it unlikely that it means a particular coin. Help appreciated.--Dmol 23:09, 24 November 2007 (UTC)


How should the slang/dialect/illiterate(?) inflection of the verb "know" and the results of the inflection be presented? It certainly seems like a complete separate inflection of the same infinitive lemma: I/you/he/we/they knows, knowing (knowin'???), knowed, knowed. This kind of thing must have been discussed before. DCDuring 15:25, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Knowed seems to handled adequately. I willhave done something similar for knows. How is it to be handled on the page for know? DCDuring 15:34, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I did something ,if fine,it's good,otherwise it will be removed.--Etymologist 18:08, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

against time

Is this an idiom? It can be used adjectivally and adverbially. It is part of set phrases like a "race against time". DCDuring 16:57, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

It is a prepositional phrase. It just needs to have Category:English prepositional phrases added. - Algrif 17:47, 25 November 2007 (UTC) p.s. Not sure about it being an adjective though?? Algrif 17:49, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
It is used with nouns describing actions, usually vigorous actions. I often find the semantics renders the grammatical structure invisible to me. Somehow against didn't look like a preposition for a while. DCDuring 18:01, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

the world is your oyster

This doesn't conform with our other entry names. Standard would be world be one's oyster or the world be one's oyster, but those are terrible. Not sure what to do about this. Maybe just leave it where it is. In any event, there should be redirects from the world is his oyster, world is my oyster, the world was her oyster, etc., I suppose.—msh210 17:21, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Sadly enough, world be one's oyster is correct. DAVilla 08:20, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Fortunately we can salt the entry with examples that have all the most common phrases in actual use so that the search button will find it for the user. DCDuring 23:13, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

you hear it. you thuoght it, you have done it / see

does this make you reconize the simplcity of actions


If it was up to me, I would move this to Category:cinematography and update all the entries to use a proper context tag. Does anyone agree or disagree? SemperBlotto 10:07, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes. I agree. Widsith 10:22, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Capitalized.—msh210 23:22, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
No. SemperBlotto 10:57, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Aren't all the topic categories' names capitalized? (I'm referring to the first letter only, of course.)—msh210 05:38, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Disagree Yes, all categories on Wiktionary have their first letter capitalized, though I'm unsure whether the software requires it and some templates we use require this. However, "cinematography" is too narrow a term to cover the category. Filmology exists as a word because cinematography refers to the art of making motion pictures, specifically to aspects of lighting and camera choices. It does not cover other aspects of filmmaking. If another name must be used, I would choose Category:Filmmaking. --EncycloPetey 01:51, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


I think we're missing a sense:

    • 1981, P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, revised edition, chapter 10,
      Jane and Michael watched the dance, the Hamarynd secret and still between them.

I'm not sure what secret means here. (Note that the Hamarynd was not hiding or, as far as I can tell, obscured from sight.)—msh210 21:43, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

What's a Hamarynd? Is it physical? MW3 has some 9 adj. senses for secret, all them involving hiding, stealth, mystery in one way or another. DCDuring 22:54, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
In the book the Hamarynd seemed to be some kind of snake-god. Physical, yes: having the form of a snake.—msh210 23:21, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
So, a smart snake, then. There's a sense of secret: secretive. By being/holding itself still, the snake seems to be playing an active role. A divine or magical snake may not be all that physical. I doubt if we can do much better than guess at a more precise meaning other than the emotional content of something esoteric and powerful shared by Jane and Michael. DCDuring 00:12, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Hm, okay. Thanks.—msh210 05:39, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

power processor

I want to ask what is the difference between power processors and micro processors.

One possibility is that "power processor" refers to w:IBM POWER, a particular architecture of microprocessors developed by IBM. Another possibility is that is slang of jargon for a microprocessor that is considered particularly powerful (as opposed to a small and simple processor that is intended more to be cheap than powerful). Can you put the question in conhtext? RJFJR 14:24, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

just as well

I'm struggling to make a good entry for this phrase. I think just as well or perhaps be just as well, as in It's just as well you came when you did! and similar expressions. In Spanish it would translate as menos mal (if that helps at all). But how to define it well? Any input, ideas, etc would be most appreciated. - Algrif 13:20, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

I think I would drop the "be" because the SoP adverbial phrase "just as well" ("He did it just as well as she did.") serves as the virtual etymology of the more idiomatic-seeming other ways of using the phrase. "Just as well" can be used as an expression of agreement. "They took her driver's license away." "Just as well." for: "Just as well they did." for: "It is just as well that they did." DCDuring 15:28, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
The second sense in the entry for as well nearly captures the meaning for the "as well" part, I think. "might as well", "may as well" are other collocations that come to mind. We should consider adding a sense to "as well" in the course of the "just as well" effort. DCDuring 15:44, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
There are a number of nuances which I find hard to define and categorise in all these phrases. I agree that they probably should be melded in some way to avoid having a whole heap of minor entries which are hard to find. As usual, I tend to put myself in the position of a hypothetical English L2 speaker trying to understand a paragraph which includes one of the above phrases. How would he find it? What should be in the entry so that he can understand it. I'm finding this phrase surprisingly difficult to pin down. Sense 2 in as well is just about OK for the phrase might as well, but gets nowhere near the positive/negative idea of fortunate + or else contained in the exchange I did my homework - It's just as well! or I have a spanner in the car. - It's just as well! and so on. - Algrif 12:45, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Acca Dacca

Can anyone help verify and date this nickname? I can only find one example in Google Books, but there's a number of news hits, all of which are from the 21st century. Would anyone be able to find some attestations from the 70s or 80s? --Ptcamn 22:46, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

It just looks like the name of an Australian-based AC/DC tribute band, as you must have suspected. DCDuring 23:09, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
So does this rock band deserve a dictionary entry? --EncycloPetey 01:46, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
We don't have the band sense for AC/DC. Until we do, I can't see the point of having an entry for a mere w:tribute band. Nor would I care if w:AC/DC never made Wiktionary. I am aware of them, but not really familiar with them or their work. There are other proper name efforts I would much rather engage in. Sorry I couldn't be more help. DCDuring 02:02, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
RfD'd. bd2412 T 02:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
It was (and is) a nickname for the original band before the tribute band took it as its name. --Ptcamn 16:26, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Even so, not dictionary material. bd2412 T 16:50, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Why not? --Ptcamn 22:04, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
It could be if it is used to describe AC/DC electrical devices. I'd be surprised if it weren't in at least limited actual usage in Oz, though I couldn't find any cites. DCDuring 17:49, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Mobile Directory Number

What is it?

Contraction 'ns

Can anyone tell me what the contraction 'ns means (or could mean) in Southern American English? I came across this in utterance "That'ns cut!" but for the love of God I cannot figure out what it could mean, exactly. -- 14:10, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Being from London I'm just guessing, but I would interpret it as "that one is cut", whatever that may mean. Widsith 14:14, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Sounds right to me. I would have expected it to be written "that un's cut" with un's being a slurred pronounciation of one's, the contraction for one is. RJFJR 14:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
You'ns got that right or 'most right. I wonder how to write double contractions: "that'n's"? Or is that spelling the possessive singular? Wiktionary ought to have uns and either 'ns or -'ns or something to capture this. What should it be? DCDuring 16:10, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

epilogue 3rd sense

The current third sense of epilogue is 3 A brief oration or script at the end of a literary piece; an afterword. Is oration the correct term to describe something in a literary piece? I think of oration as something spoken while a piece of literature as soemthing read. RJFJR 14:27, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

It looks to me as if all the senses given in epilogue were intended to include both orally delivered pieces and those in writing. Maybe the phrase "literary piece" should be replaced with "oral or written work" or "work". "Literary" seems to exclude oral performances, even of written works. In any event, it can mislead people as it does in the def. under discussion, I think. DCDuring 16:24, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

December 2007

Double contractions

Just to keep this separate from that'un's above, although closely related.
It seems to be unconfirmed policy, or something like that, to avoid double contractions. I wonder if this can be clarified? What exactly is wrong with can't've, that'll've, and other doubles that an Eng L2 might come across in a text? - Algrif 10:40, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

If in print, I don't see any problem with double contractions. See 'tisn't, 'twasn't, 'tweren't, I'd've, it'sn't, shouldn't've, and wouldn't've. Why would they be avoided if in use, no matter how much people may dislike them? I'm sure there are many more. sewnmouthsecret 04:53, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Are there any more of these that could be added to Category:English double contractions?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:19, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Of course there are. You don't even have fo'c'sle yet! Robert Ullmann 14:33, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Now added. Feel free to add any others you can think of to the category.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:05, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
'Tisn't hard to find them. Make a game of it. The young'uns'll find plenty that we old'uns've already forgotten. The real question is whether they deserve the be entered here if they are eye-dialect. You for'em or 'gin'em? Gotta go now. Be back in an hour if my car'll get me there'n'back. If mine won't, maybe my neighbor's'll do the trick. DCDuring 17:13, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
If they’re attested, they should be listed. BTW, most of the examples you gave are not double contractions, being instead for ‛em (minus the space), ‛gin ‛em (ditto), there ‛n’ back (same again), and neighbo(u)r’s’ll (where the ’s is not a contraction, but rather the English possessive enclitic).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:05, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm just an impatient amateur. Thanks for the feedback. DCDuring 18:40, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm... why are you using the opening quotation mark instead of an apostrophe? DAVilla 11:38, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I’m not — «  » is the leading apostrophe, whereas «  » is the opening quotation mark — both are distinct from «  », the apostrophe-cum-closing quotation mark.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:00, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
What about triple contractions? fo'c's'le Cynewulf 00:56, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmm… Thinking about it, I’m not sure that fo’c’sle and fo’c’s’le count as double contractions, being as they’re both single words, simply split in two/three places. All the others listed in Category:English double contractions contain contractions of two words as clitics (it‛t; notn’t; would or should’d; have’ve; is’s; and, will or shall’ll).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:16, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Depends how you define "contraction". If "contraction" means that the "'" indicates missing letter(s), then fo’c’sle is a double contraction of forecastle. Algrif 11:50, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I defined a double contraction in Category:English double contractions; whereatop is written “Double contractions are those words which contain two contractional clitics, such as n’t and ’ve. Both contractions are marked with apostrophes.” — under that definition, fo’c’sle is a contraction, but not a double contraction.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:52, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Where d'you get that definition from? fo'c'sle is contracted twice - it's a double contraction. The OED defines the relevant sense of contraction as shortening "by omitting or combining some elements". fo'c'le is shortened in this way twice. The amount of actual words involved is not relevant (or how do you view o'clock which cuts an entire word out of "of the clock"?). PS, I'm pretty sure whereatop isn't a word, but if it is I suspect you're the first person in 200 years to try and get away with it! Widsith 14:25, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I did some checking: both hereatop and whereatop are vanishingly rare (though I did find one person who’s used whereatop — not two centuries ago, but only last year), whereas, bizarrely enough, thereatop is rather common (in patents no less). BTW, I should be genuinely interested to hear on what grounds you state whether something is or is not a word…  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 22:32, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that if fo'c'sle is neither a single nor a double contraction, then what is it? A multiple contraction? But that would be pointless hair-splitting IMHO. I've put bo's'n in catagory double contraction, and I think fo'c'sle and fo'c's'le should be there also. - Algrif 10:32, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
The OED’s pertinent definition of contraction doesn’t actually conflict with the one I gave — it says nowhere that the “omitt[ed] or combin[ed] … elements” must be adjacent. However, perhaps that really would be hair-splitting. I’m unsure what to call o’clock — perhaps it is indeed a double contraction. To twist the “rules” a bit — bo’s’n could be viewed as “boatbo’* ” + “swains’n* ”, whilst fo’c’sle and fo’c’s’le could be viewed as “forefo’* ” + “castlec’sle* or c’s’le* ”. Otherwise, we’d need Category:English triple contractions just for fo’c’s’le (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 22:58, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm trying to think of any more examples of o' = of the apart from o'clock and jack o'lantern. Also, are there any other examples where the apostrophe indicates the loss of an entire word? - Algrif 12:41, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


I am looking for information on the word tohubohu. I was told that it means chaos. If there is any info out there in the great wide web, please send it out. tohubohu sounds like something sad or crying;I know that it is more than what it sounds like, I find myself thinking about what it could mean.

boohoo sounds more like some one is crying or sad... and thus one is easily mislead into thinking that tohubohu could mean that aswell... but it is not, it comes from Hebrew tohu wa-bhohu, from tohu (formlessness) and bhohu (emptiness), so a formless emptiness. Reference: New York Times Letter to the Editor March 26, 1995 --BigBadBen 21:17, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the Hebrew is תהו ובהו (tohu vavohu), from the second verse in Genesis. It means "תהו (tohu) and בהו (bohu)", but what those are beats me. If I recall correctly, major classical Bible commentators differ about them.—msh210 20:22, 6 December 2007 (UTC)


I have often wondered about how one should pronounce the word "Shinola", which was as though carved in stone when the famous slang/colloquial phrase appeared and spread.))) Not for use in my speech, personally, but just for knowing, because eventually I have to read it aloud from books. Is the shoe-polish named [ʃɪ`nəʊlə]? [`ʃɪnələ]? [ʃaɪ`nəʊlə]? Eate 15:16, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't know the notation, but first syllable rhymes with "shine", accent is on second syllable, as I've heard it. The commercial logic of the rhyme with "shine" would make me willing to bet a lot of money at long odds that that part of the pronunciation was encouraged by the manufacturer as well. I'm not as sure about the accent. DCDuring 15:24, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Aha...So it is probably "Shy-NO-la". The analogy with the slang word "payola", which I know to bear stress on the second syllable, encourages me to think that the stress falls indeed on the second one. The slang suffix "-ola" is generally stressed in words that include it. Thanks. Eate 16:20, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

яблочко от яблоньки недалеко падает

Is currently categorised as English idioms and English proverbs. Can s/o who knows change to the correct cats, please? - Algrif 16:16, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

It's now in Category:Russian idioms and Category:Russian proverbs. To change the {{idiom}} template, you had to add |lang=ru : {{idiom|lang=ru}}. — Beobach972 00:09, 1 December 2007 (UTC)


Anyone know where the conversation for this went? This should be listed as an alternative spelling, not a misspelling, right? --Connel MacKenzie 00:30, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

I think of it as a Freudian misspelling. It reflects the deep-seated hostility of many of those forced to encumber themselves with such "monkey suits". MW3 doesn't include this spelling. DCDuring 00:54, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, I do recall it being discussed previously, but I can't seem to find which spelling variant it was WT:TR listed under. --Connel MacKenzie 06:00, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Tea room/Archive 2006#cumberbund Robert Ullmann 07:37, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. Rats. I didn't realize that conversation died out before it began. (I wasn't asking what the OED says...I was asking for confirmation of the American pronunciation that I've always used. Do other Americans share that experience, or have I simply mispronounced (and misheard it) all my life?) --Connel MacKenzie 15:59, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Totally common mispronunciation and misspelling. I just answered someone last month in "real life" who was wondering which was which. But indeed, completely an outright mispronunciation and misspelling. An older actual spelling variant in use was kummerbund. The commonness of cumberbund, i believe, is influenced phonetically by Cumberland and cumbersome (by phonetics, not Freudian hostility, DC) :) -- Thisis0 19:23, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Not having seen the word in writing often (ever?), I didn't have strong expectatons about its spelling. "Cumberbund" didn't strike me as obviously wrong when I saw it. Because (1) I associate formal dress with England, (2) the English have the habit of not pronouncing certain consonants and syllables, and (3) I was not aware of the Asian etymology, I might have writen "cumberbund" if asked. DCDuring 20:04, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Serbian translation change

An anon recently changed the Serbian translation of thither from Lua error in Module:links/templates at line 52: The language code "sr" is not valid. to Lua error in Module:links/templates at line 52: The language code "sr" is not valid.. Though Serbian can be written in both the Cyrillic script and the Latin script, these two translations are not transliterations of each other. Is this correction, vandalism, POV-pushing, or what?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:33, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

The same user has made many similar edits to other pages, including blanking some pages. Ivan and Dijan ought to have a look at the contributions form this user. --EncycloPetey 01:43, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Basic word list ALMOST done

The basic word list of 18,000 words is all but done. There are less than 100 words left, all beginning with 'N' (in fact, they all begin 'non'.) If we all grab a couple of words we can have this DONE. The remaining few words are at Wiktionary:Requested_articles:English/DictList/N. RJFJR 02:25, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Precisely sixty-five remain.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:22, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
They have all now been added. The last word on the list to be added was nonstriking.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:31, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Done. I probably missed the point of nonredeemable and some other law-related words, and there's an atomic physics sense of nonsecular I can't figure out (which may just belong on secular), so I'd appreciate additional viewpoints here. Cynewulf 17:31, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Well done everyone. As for nonsecular, it seems to be used as non-secular more often, and I can't get a handle on the mathematical meaning (nothing in Mathworld). SemperBlotto 17:52, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Secular in econometrics always refers to longer-term, usually non-cyclical phenomena, contrary to the RfVd sense of secular as meaning short-term. I'd be amazed if any of the sciences used the word too differently, although what constitutes longer term is always relative to the context, which, in physics, could be femtoseconds. DCDuring 18:05, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
The OED has (in a long entry) the following - 7. In scientific use, of processes of change: Having a period of enormous length; continuing through long ages. a. Astr. Chiefly of changes in the orbits or the periods of revolution of the planets, as in secular acceleration, equation, inequality, variation. The terms secular acceleration, secular variation were formerly also used (with reference to the sense ‘century’ of L. sæculum) for the amount of change per 100 years; similarly secular precession (see quot. 1812). secular equation is also used more widely to designate any equation of the form |aij-bij| = 0 (i,j = 1,2, . . ., n), in which the left-hand side is a determinant and which arises in quantum mechanics. SemperBlotto 18:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Now that the basic list is complete - maybe it would be a good idea to rebuild Index:English. Kipmaster automated this well over a year ago, but is too busy in the real world to repeat the process. SemperBlotto 18:15, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, he resurfaced on IRC this week... --Connel MacKenzie 15:56, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

X of Xes

What's the proper place, if any, to note this pattern in English? as in "Lord of lords", "code of codes", "lie of lies", etc. DAVilla 11:28, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't know - but there is a similar (just as troublesome) pattern - as in "cricketer's cricketer", "editor's editor", "pianist's pianist" - i.e. a professional admired by his peers. SemperBlotto 11:31, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Are these a form of reduplication? (And should we have entries for food food, car car, and house house?) DAVilla 11:49, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Which of those have sufficient use (e.g. b.g.c.) to merit entries? --Connel MacKenzie 16:03, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Also man's man, and gentleman's gentleman, which don't quite fit that pattern. (of professional admired by peers) Robert Ullmann 12:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
What about reduplication across part of speech? I think of the forms "X y an X" or "X y no Xes". "[F]ind me a find, catch me a catch" from Fiddler on the Roof. "Joke us no jokes". "Riddle me a riddle, riddler." It doesn't seem to work at the WT entry level. WP? DCDuring 16:41, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I made a theme entry on this at Wikiquote:X me no X's quite a while ago. If a list of quotes containing such themes can be generated with proper citation, it can go there. Cheers! bd2412 T 16:58, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Cool. Well, name me a name. Construct me a construct. Are there names for these constructions? The "X me no Xes" construction is referred to in Pinker (2007), The Stuff of Thought. DCDuring 17:48, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
The word you are looking for is snowclone. bd2412 T 16:40, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I think having pattern entries is unwarranted. If you are trying to describe reduplication then link reduplication. If you'd like to make an entry for Lord of Lords then make that entry - the list is not infinite. --Connel MacKenzie 16:02, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
There could be a nice appendix, though. Perhaps only if there were good specific terms (Sorry, BD, not snowclone) for the constructs so that someone might actually find them. Maybe it is more for Wikipedia? DCDuring 19:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Not forgetting tautological phrases such as folks are folks, life is life, sure as eggs is eggs, and any other that might warrant an entry. - Algrif 10:38, 8 December 2007 (UTC)


S.v. working, adjective, we have the following definitions, inter alia:

  1. That suffices but requires additional work.
    a working copy of the script
  2. Enough to allow one to use something.
    a working knowledge of computers

The first of these is not how I understand the phrase "working copy of the script" (or "working script"). I have always understood that phrase to mean "a copy of the script that we will accept for the sake of [something: [[for the sake of argument|argument], peacemaking, whatever] (even though it's not ideal)". That is, the stress on "requires additional work", which seems to relate this definition to the headword, seems misplaced: working means, the way I understand it, "that works (suffices) well enough to be used". (Whether I'm right or the current entry is, the same sense of working is found in "working hypothesis" and "working definition".) What think you all?—msh210 17:22, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Also, if I'm right, then is the second sense I quoted to be merged with the first? They both seem to mean "sufficient to be used".—msh210 17:22, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't combine senses.
  • One sense (2) seems to mean that further efforts are not required, that the knowledge or the voting margin is enough for practical purposes, for some other project, or perhaps that the means are sufficient to accomplish ends.
  • The other sense (1) seems to suggest that the prototype or draft is sufficient in some aspect(s) to allow further work on other aspect(s) of the same project.
This vocabulary of work has never struck me as having been very well done in dictionaries. So I'm not so sure that you will find very precise help from other dictionaries. I looked at MW3. They have 2 senses.
  • Is there a third sense, that just means functional, or is that the same as sense 1 or is that the present participle of the verb (which needs no definition)? DCDuring 19:53, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
That (your reason not to combine) seems eminently reasonable to me. Since you asked, there are other senses, yes, including the one you mention; I didn't quote them all. My main question, incidentally, which you did not really address, was whether the first sense I quoted needs rewriting, though.—msh210 20:14, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it does. I think it refers to a thing which maintains its identity but itself needs successive and/or parallel work. The thing being worked in is an "end". That does not come across. The other sense implies that the thing does not itself need work, it functions well enough to be used as a tool, a "means". DCDuring 20:43, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Neither do I see any definition like working temperature, working speed etc. - Algrif 10:44, 8 December 2007 (UTC)


I was researcing a requested new entry "ablings" and came upon the following:

The New English - Page 15 by T[homas] L[aurence] Kington Oliphant - English language - 1886 There is the curious Scotch adverb ablings, aiblins (fortasse) ; compounded of able to be, and the adverbial ending ling.

I do not know my way around these parts and would offer this for others to complete. DCDuring 20:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I know that as a Scot - Google finds "aiblins" in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.-- 12:59, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

man up

Can you guys help me comprehend all the senses of man up. It has a verb sense, as in... "A lot of people are expecting me to provide for them, I'd better man up". And I have a vague notion it has an interjection sense in sports ("Man up!") or something. Looking at b.g.c. it's difficult to research. A little easier to research "manning up" but that confuses me more because it seems to have LOTS of distinct unrelated meanings. Language Lover 09:05, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Sounds more like an oblique figurative use, not a set phrase, to me. --Connel MacKenzie 19:13, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

It is a set phrase, attributive verb use of the word "man", as in "doing the things a good man is traditionally expected to do". In use since at least the 50's, often in military circles. Search BGC "have to man up" for some examples. Used with influence from "own up" and "buck up" (for the want of a stronger emphatic) in situations such as this: one who impregnates a girl out of wedlock will be told to "man up" and marry the girl or otherwise provide for her; one can "man up" and finally confront his abusive coach or employer; one can "man up" and quit crying about a particular tragedy. To "be a man about it". I'll try to find some good cites for the entry. -- Thisis0 00:38, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Also I should note the team-sports, macro-economics/staffing, and procedural-military uses:
    (Am. football, basketball, etc.; rare) Man up! -- "Get on your man!" (Each of you, guard the opponent to whom you were assigned and stay on him vigorously.)
    (of personnel - industrial, etc.) to man up -- to staff adequately; to staff up; to successfully fill all needed labor positions.
    -...it will become even more difficult to man up industrial occupations to which outmoded conceptions of status...[14]
    -To man up the last batch of capital goods produced, entrepreneurs are scraping up the remnants of the reserve of unemployed labour...[15]
    -...it will be impossible to find the labour to man up all the available capital equipment for productive use. [16]
    (of military personnel in a unit) to man up -- to assemble, each person manning (attending to) his station, prepared for departure of an aircraft, ship, etc. [17] [18]
  • It is now my opinion that other uses arose from the military-assembling use. The sports use is rare, and most players would more readily recognize "Get on your man!". If a player is told to Man up! on the field, in context it may be, for example, a hunched-over out-of-breath player being told to "buck up", "stay in the game", "be a man" -- precisely the first sense we discussed. Further, the staffing use has become outdated, while politically correct society no longer favors referring to "manpower", "manning" a position, etc. -- Thisis0 18:34, 8 December 2007 (UTC)


“A big row or argument.” –That is how I interpreted this word when it was used in the episode of Heroes I recently watched. I’m unfamiliar with this term, so I’d like some confirmation or correction. The quotation can be read in the entry, and the original programme can be watched here.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:09, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

While we’re discussing this, the verb throw down could also use a little attention. The definition seems incompatible with the use in the phrase throw down the gauntlet (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:13, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Does the verb throw down look a bit better now? - Algrif 17:48, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I've only said it/heard it as an invitation/threat to fight, e.g. "Yo, I'll throw down, right now!" but I assume that form is not hyphenated. The literal definition really doesn't help much. The idiomatic sense is of dropping whatever you are doing/holding, to engage violently (no holds barred.) I've never heard it said so mildly/sweetly, as in that TV show. So anyhow, yes, I can confirm that I've heard/used that meaning, but don't have any idea what other confirmation you're looking for. --Connel MacKenzie 19:08, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Defining it as "A big row or argument" has certain problems. First, Americans don't usually say "row", plus that's a awfully nice sideline commentary for what a "throw-down", "throw down", or "throwdown" implies. I believe the modern term did evolve from the idiom throw down the gauntlet, and implies that an unrestricted violent clash is possible, with one's honor at stake. Because of the fear in such a "you don't know how far I'm willing to take this" animalistic clash, the usage of the term doesn't always necessarily result in such actual violence, but is often an effective form of puffing the mane or fanning the tail feathers. The Heroes use was in hyperbole to this violent possibility -- not saying "Well, we'll discuss this when I get back," but rather, "Even though I'm forced to leave right now, when I can address this, you should know I view your transgression with ultimate seriousness, and you should sit here and be anxious for my return when I will visit my wrath upon you." -- Thisis0 20:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Can anyone identify this word?

The word is in some song lyrics which go like this: "Hold up, hold up, check my linguistics, let me break it down to you ______________" It sounds like "abalistic" but that doesn't seem to be a word.

You can hear the lyrics in question starting at 0:48 at this video: [19] Language Lover 02:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

I would have guessed cannabalistic or catabolistic, but lyrics.com says it's "Afrolistic". [tumbleweed moment] --EncycloPetey 02:55, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

From the artist's own lyric page, it's "afrolistic". (You might have to click on "Give Me All Your Love"; their HTML is buggy). There is at least one other rap artist who goes by "Afrolistic", and Run-D.M.C. once used the word in their 1990 song Party Time. The Run-D.M.C. sense (adjective) seems to be something like "psychedelically funky and hip-hop infused", but the unrelated Afrolistic Barber Shop may be combining "Afro" with "holistic" -- (only a guess). I can't really get A.K.-S.W.I.F.T.'s adverb use (Let me break it down to you afrolistically?), though lyrics.com seems to think it's more of an interjection. If I were forced to analyze, I would say the most encompassing definition would be "in a black way" or "reflecting the self-celebrated aspects of black art, worldview, and lifestyle". -- Thisis0 21:01, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

That makes sense, it's an interesting word and I appreciate your analysis. I've found that some rappers are incredibly brilliant linguists, their command of practical English is sublime. Language Lover 21:47, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

it's on the tip of my toungue

what's the word for a period of time where you work. I really need to know. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 22:37, 7 December 2007.

In some types of occupations, shift (or the dialectical variant trick, as in I'm tired lately because I'm working third trick.) describes the period of time when someone works in a particular position. Is that the word you seek? Rod (A. Smith) 22:52, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Possibly tenure?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 23:47, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

catachresis + -phobia = ?

I need a word meaning “fear of the misuse of words”; I assume that the word and suffix linked in the title would do the trick. If so, how would they combine? The COED states that the adjectival form is catachrestic, and that the noun derives from Latin, from (Ancient?) Greek katakhrēsis, from katakhrēsthai — if any of that helps. I can’t figure it out — maybe catachresophobia, or catachrestophobia, or catachretophobia perhaps?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:16, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

further as comparative

Following from part of the discussion above in atop: the question was never resolved of whether further and furthest can be classified equally as more / most and less / least to form comparative and superlatives of certain adjectives and adverbs with a particularly spacial frame of reference. For instance there is quite a long list in the section above at atop.
My personal point of view is that an adverb such as upstairs is a better entry stating a comparative form as further upstairs than stating (not comparable), particularly as this is plainly not true. Comments invited. - Algrif 16:32, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

U-usage notes. Def'nally u-u-usage notes. -- Thisis0 17:22, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Can the en-adv template be forced to display "See Usage notes." without messing up anything else? DCDuring 18:00, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
If this is needed in only a scant few (read: one) entries, why mess with templates? Just write it in. -- Thisis0 19:40, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
One reason would be in order to allow it to show up inside the parentheses that are generated by the template. Mike Dillon 20:22, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
It's not just a single entry. This applies to dozens of adverbs derived from (or related to) prepositions of place, incuding afield, along, apart, away, down, in, left, out, right, up... So it would be very useful to be able to set the template to show further/furthest instead of more/most. --EncycloPetey 21:47, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I'm sold. I get it now. How do we do it? -- Thisis0 21:55, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I've modified the template entry at upstairs. If everyone agrees, perhaps we could draw up a list and I'll go through them modifying them as appropriate similarly. - Algrif 13:26, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it would be nice to have a parameter option akin to the "|er" that would do this. Is that an easy adjustment to the template, or a difficult adjustment to the template? In any case, that format doesn't match the norm, which would put further and furthest in bold as part of the form. --EncycloPetey 15:00, 12 December 2007 (UTC)


Please see Citations:katus. Anyone know what this word means? Or are the quotations simply of someone’s name and a scanno, respectively?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:43, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about the second, but the first appears to be a surname, since the same source has: "Mr. Katus was duly qualified, and entered on the discharge of his duties as a judge or inspector of election, and continued so to act until the poll closed." --EncycloPetey 21:52, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Noun or adjective

I stumbled upon a Wikipedia category, the name of which doesn't sound quite right in my ears. Category:Municipal owned companies of Norway. Shouldn't it be municipality here? __meco 21:53, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Either that, "municipal-owned", or municipally. --EncycloPetey 22:23, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

plural proper nouns

Names can be pluralised, right? It is clear they can because saying "there are three Davids in my class, two Samanthas, a couple of Simpsons and five Joneses." If that's the case all entries in Category:Given names should take the template {{en-proper noun|s|-}} or {{en-proper noun|s|-}}. Firstly; this is grammatically correct, right? Secondly; could a bot, like our Cheatbot, be adapted to auto-add entries such as {{plural of|Simpson}}, {{plural of|David}}? I'm beginning to appreciate 'bot work a lot more. --Keene 16:20, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

No, proper nouns cannot be made plural. A proper noun in its "plural" form is no longer a proper noun (in most cases, that is; Alps is an exception). So, a proper noun changes its part of speech to a common noun when it's pluralized. We're not at all equipped to handle or explain this phenomenon on Wiktionary, and we certainly should not go around adding plural forms to all the proper nouns. Please wait for me to finish Appendix:English proper nouns so that I don't have to give all this explanation over and over. (This is, I think, the fifth or sixth time this issue has come up this year.) I would rather we simply link all English proper nouns to the Appendix when it's completed. --EncycloPetey 16:43, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I was unaware of previous discussions on this subject. Could you point them out? As for plurals, I'm aware they become common nouns in the pluralised form, but it would make sense to link e.g. Simpsons from Simpson. As for this proper nouns appendix, what do you have in mind for it. Maybe I'll help out with the appendix. --Keene 16:56, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Having a proper noun linked to a common noun, and vice versa doesn't make sense in the usual ways that we handle it. Every user will think it's a mistake and try to "fix" it unless we come up with an alternative way to handle it. I'd point you to the discussions, but they've occurred over several months under several names in multiple locations. I haven't tried to keep track of all of them, though I do know that one concerned the word multiverse, so you might follow the "what links here" to find a very metaphysical (and lengthy) conversation on what constitutes a proper noun. As I say, I don't recall where the others are located. They involved the days of the week, names of games, wines, awards, and I forget what else.
While I would like help with the Appendix, it's not feasible yet to coordinate that. I have several pages of notes in tiny cramped handwriting which have not yet been entered. What I do have typed is in an incomplete draft of just the introductory material, not the evidence and patern description. My aim is to make a go at finishing the first draft over my Christmas holiday, so if you check back around the end of December, I might be ready to have the second mind and pair of eyes help with the missing information and necessary polishing. --EncycloPetey 17:12, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Just so you know; I've added Potteries as another real plural proper noun. - Algrif 14:23, 10 December 2007 (UTC)


I have entered hmph as an interjection, which seems OK. G.b.c. has revealed usage of "hmphs" as noun and as verb. I would expect "hmphing" and "hmphed". "ah" and "ahem", as well as other onomatopoietic [sp?] entries would have the same usage. Should these be accepted as entries if attestable? If these are all accepted, what should be done with variants with repetitions of the constituent letters: "hmmph", "aaaahhhh", etc. Keep the basic ones and put everything else in usage notes for the related entry? DCDuring 16:37, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

See ah and aah, which actually aren't synonymous. --EncycloPetey 17:12, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Guilty as charged

can anyone help me with the meaning of "Guilty as charged", please? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 02:48, 12 December 2007 (UTC).

See guilty and charge verb sense 3 (To formally accuse of a crime.) . as often means exactly equal. So the whole phrase means guilty of the exact crime one was accused of. Ciao - Algrif 13:13, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

דבר / לדבר / מדבר

At first glace דבר means "thing", לדבר means "to speak", and מדבר means "desert".

At a closer look מדבר can also be the masculine singular present of "to speak".

How about מדבר as "of/from the thing" and לדבר as "to/for the thing"? — Hippietrail 03:29, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

דבר is davar, "thing", and is one way of spelling diber, "he spoke", the third-person, masc., sing., past tense of "speak", which Ruakh will tell you is the lemma form.
לדבר is l'daber, "to speak", infinitive form of that same verb. Yes, it's also ladavar, "to the thing", which is davar plus prefixes. I suppose it can also be l'davar, "to a thing", again davar plus a prefix.
מדבר is m'daber, "he speaks/is speaking", the masc., sing., present tense of that same verb again. It's also (seemingly unrelatedly) midbar, "desert", noun, barren area. And I suppose it can also be midavar, "from a thing", again davar plus a prefix.
But "from the thing" would have to be mehadavar, מהדבר.
There's an old paal-construction verb davar, "speak", too, though, which would open uo possibilities for other meanings of all three words.
And in Talmudic Aramaic, at least, דבר is a way of writing di bar, "who/that the son of" (as in John, di bar William ihu,, "John, who is the son of William,"), or "that the son of" (as in kevan di bar William ihu, "because he is the son of William"). (The Hebrew counterpart incidentally is sheben, שבן.) But Aramaic, of course, is a whole other story.
I hope that this helps.—msh210 05:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I might just add that it's not at all unusual (though I have no stats) to find homographs in Hebrew when one ignores vowels.—msh210 06:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I think you're splitting hairs about מהדבר (meihaddavar, from the thing), since מדבר (middavár, from (a) thing) and מדבר (midd'vár, from (a/the) thing of) both exist. —RuakhTALK 05:36, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean. All I said was that מהדבר was a word, and that it's the way to say "from the thing".—msh210 03:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
He was making a point about identically spelled words/phrases; you're right that he slightly mistranslated one of said phrases, but that didn't really diminish his point at all. —RuakhTALK 06:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I might also add some forms I left out. Ruakh mentioned d'var, "thing of", which is also spelled דבר, but with yet different vowelization; it, too can take the prefixes that make it לדבר or מדבר. And in Aramaic, the same word di bar can also mean "that outside" or "that besides"; the Hebrew counterpart is שחוץ.msh210 03:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and another: dever, "plague" and "plague of", each of which also can become לדבר or מדבר.—msh210 19:57, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
This is a thorny issue. From a syntactic standpoint, לדבר (laddavár, to the thing) is really two words in traditional Hebrew, and perhaps two-and-a-half in ordinary modern Hebrew. The French Wiktionary does attempt to include such compounds (and does a bad job of it, but don't tell it I said so), but I don't know if we should. One of the most annoying things about looking up Hebrew words in a paper dictionary is trying to figure out what letter the lemma starts with; we aim to avoid this issue by including pages for non-lemmata (and as y'all know by now, I advocate having non-lemma pages link to lemmata so that our readers can actually learn something instead of being completely dependent on the crumbs we give them), but if we don't include these clitic compounds, we haven't completely solved the problem (though granted, it's a lot easier for a Wiktionary reader to try both the with- and without-clitic versions to see which is right than it would be for a paper-dictionary reader). On the other hand, are we really going to include a separate entry for each series of words where all but the last is a one-letter word? Would the phrase ושמהפה (v'shemmeihappéh, and that from the mouth) get an entry? I think that for now we should bar such entries (except in the case of idioms and fixed expressions, obviously, just as we'd do if the phrases were written with spaces as in English), but perhaps we should revisit this question once we have decent coverage of actual words. (That said, things like הפה (happéh, the mouth) are probably worth allowing even now, since while in one sense they're sum-of-parts, in another sense they're words in their own right, at least in traditional Hebrew.) —RuakhTALK 05:36, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
What do you mean by being two (or 2.5) words syntactically?—msh210 03:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I mean just that: syntactically, it's the preposition ל- (l'-, to, for) plus the nominal הדבר (haddavár, the thing). (The .5 thing is because it's kind of debatable whether ה- (ha-, the) is syntactically a word or an affix in Modern Hebrew. In colloquial Hebrew it's very word-y, e.g. in always going at the beginning of the noun phrase or adjective phrase it's attached to, but formal Hebrew still obeys the traditional rule that mandates e.g. בית הספר (beit hasséfer, the school), so it seems to be a bit blurry, depending on register and whatnot.) —RuakhTALK 06:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I must disagree with barring entries such as ושמהפה for now. (As most people can't read that, let me explain that it consists of the two-letter word meaning mouth, preceded by four one-letter prefixes.) I think such entries, while clearly far from being a priority, are words, and, as we seek to include all words in all languages, should be included if someone has the (admittedly odd) urge to add them. Certainly we should not delete them. (But I know I differ with Ruakh on this. He, for example, has taken Tbot-created Hebrew infinitive verb entries, moved them to the lemma form, rewritten them, and deleted the redirect. I would never do that. I might or might not add the lemma form, but would not delete the infinitive. It is a word, after all.) What do you all think?—msh210 19:55, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
I disagree with your explanation: in Modern Hebrew it's a two-letter word "mouth", preceded by four clitics — one-letter words, really — two conjunctions, a preposition, and the definite article. (In older forms of Hebrew, I guess it's a three-letter word "the mouth" and three clitics.) Hence, until we expand our mandate to "all strings of characters in all languages", I don't think it warrants inclusion. ;-)   (To see that it's not a word, consider Template:Hebr "and that out from his mouth came a lie", which is Template:Hebr): the five words, though written together without spaces, don't even form a constituent in the larger structure of the sentence.) I certainly agree with you that to-infinitives should have some sort of entry, but the redirects are bad, because they're essentially redlinks, but aren't instantly recognizable as such. —RuakhTALK 20:27, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Maybe a linguist would consider each of those one-letter prefixes "words", but your typical person looking up a Hebrew word in the English Wiktionary will consider a word to end with whitespace. (Or a hyphen, perhaps, but whatever.) That's why we need these entries. Here's an experiment you can try at home: open a fairly simple Hebrew book (say, a book for little kids), and ask your favorite seven-year-old who can read Hebrew — or, for that matter, your favorite thirty-year-old who can read Hebrew and has never read any linguistics — to count the number of words on a given page.—msh210 06:02, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Subjunctive after estimate (verb)?

Does estimate take a subjunctive in the subordinate clause? Would it be "I estimate that the target arrive ..." or "I estimate that the target arrives ..."? I know that the latter is allowed since subjunctives are optional in English, but would the former be valid usage? --MathiasRav 17:50, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Opinion verbs, such as think, reckon, guess, suppose, etc, including estimate, normally take a modal such as will, might, could, etc. No hard and fast rules (as usual in English) but the suggested subjunctive form above sounds odd to me. I don't remember using it or seeing it. (Which doesn't mean it can't be found, of course.) - Algrif 18:56, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Stroke count for


Reference page: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%BE%A1

By my understanding, the stroke count for this word (at least in Japanese) is 12, not 11 as listed on Wiktionary.

Does anyone else agree?

Character: 御

Kind regards, Kevin —This unsigned comment was added by Kevinarpe (talkcontribs).

Indeed, fixed. The different stroke count was not in the Unihan database 4 years ago, and still is not! Robert Ullmann 03:40, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

that is to say

I was about to add this phrase, but I'm not sure of the POS. Is it an adverb? - Algrif 15:19, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

By analogy: "namely" is deemed an adverb. The phrase functions almost identically, like for example, that is, to wit. We're better off to have it entered and get it corrected. Isn't this adverb month? DCDuring 16:18, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. That was my reasoning exactly for asking if adverb was a correct assessment. Perhaps you might be able to improve the basic entry I've made. - Algrif 17:05, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Looks good. A usage example is always nice, even when it seems trivial. Maybe I'll put in a basic usage note. DCDuring 18:04, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

A name used to sign documents?

What is the word to describe the special name that certain dignitaries use to sign documents instead of their actual name? e.g. The Bishop of Durham signs as Dunelm (or Dunelmensis). nom de plume or pen name don't seem right. SemperBlotto 23:13, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

"Latin signature" would seem to do fine, that's what these usually are. Robert Ullmann 10:43, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

phonoaudiologist or phonotherapist

As a matter of fact, I just want to know whether people have seen or heard one of the above written words or, if not, they have the proper word to define the matter.

Perhaps "speech language pathologist" is what you are looking for?

Similes and idioms

Could similes be categorised as idioms? I've just made the category Category:Similes and wondered if it should be asubcategory of Category:Idioms. I assume so, because e.g. blind as a bat doesn't mean blind as a bat. Also, lpease take a look at Template:simile, which should probably be tweaked. --Keene 13:56, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

I've often thought about adding this cat. My personal thought is that it should be a sub of Category:Idioms. I'm all for using this database in as many constructive ways as possible. I think this is a useful addition. - Algrif 11:26, 27 December 2007 (UTC)


I would like to see how you spell erica in Greek

Έρικα —SaltmarshTalk 09:59, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Indonesian translations of hair

I was doing the Translations of the Week when I noticed that the Indonesian translations for hair looked a bit off. In Malay, rambut refers to hair from the human head; whereas bulu is from anywhere else on the human body, as well as animals, plants and anything else. The Indonesian translations seem to be in reverse.

I've learnt from experience that I'm not qualified to meddle in Indonesian affairs, so could somebody take a look at this? Nestum82 18:50, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

[20] & [21] say bulu = feather. [22] says rambut = hair (head/facial/body). Here are some others thrown in for good measure. [23] & [24] say botak = bald. [25] says tanduk = horn. [26] & [27] say kuku = claw (nail). [28] & [29] say kulit = hide (skin, leather). [30] says gigi = tooth. A Rambutan is a "hairy" fruit. I can't find my Indo dictionary & I'm not a native speaker so I can't explain why it's different from Malaysian. --Thecurran 06:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Security Clearance

The initials SAR stand for what in reference to a secret security clearance?

Special Access Required; e.g. the information is compartmented, and only available if someone is "read into" a SAP (Special Access Program), it is more specific than levels 5-6-7 etc. (this is all in reference to the U.S. DoD). Robert Ullmann 10:12, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


I defined it as "The reflexive pronoun for God." but this could be tweaked. Any suggestions? --Keene 10:49, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

just in case

See talk:just in case. --Connel MacKenzie 20:11, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Comments posted. --EncycloPetey 01:56, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

what is a free verse

help what is a free verse!?

See free verse and w:Free verse. --EncycloPetey 01:48, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


How is this a plural (plus Oaxacan says that it is not countable...)? Nadando 02:31, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

My template-substitution emulator had a bug. I've added code to skip {{en-adj|-}} (which replaced {{en-adj|-|-}} some time ago.) --Connel MacKenzie 04:01, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Note that the heading ===Noun===, (not the result of the template substitution,) seems to have caused the bot confusion. --Connel MacKenzie 04:06, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


I'd never heard of this, and would have put it down to slang or ignorance if I'd seen it somewhere. But there are plenty of reputable-looking b.google hits, so is this acceptable in the States or should we mark it as {{slang}} or what? It's not in any of my dictionaries either... Widsith 18:39, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Judging by the nature of the g.b.c. hits it can't be slang. It has too wide a range of usage to be jargon. It's not informal, looking at the kind of hits. I don't think it's very common in spoken English in the US. It's also not in MW3, a good source for US usage. If it means someting different from equate (and it might), it might just be a not-too-common word with increasing usage. Equate may imply a more exact correspondence of multiple attributes, where equivalate implies some kind of single all-encompassing dimension of value on which things are equal despite lack of equality on various attributes. Are there other single words that have this meaning. The first cite I found was art historian/critic Bernard Berenson in 1954, but I wasn't looking that hard. DCDuring 15:32, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
It's in MW Online. We might want to think through the five senses we have and see whether they all would pass RfV. DCDuring 15:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


Kurundu is a sinhalese ( main language of the sri lankans)term for cinnamon

Synonym for bathroom attendant?

The guys who hang out in the restrooms at fancy restaurants and country clubs with hand towels and the like, is there another word or name for that profession? Even tho we don't yet have an entry for it, Wikipedia has it .- TheDaveRoss 00:04, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Standard name in the US is restroom attendant. "bathroom" (usually) isn't standard, unless it is an athletics club. Is amusing to watch tourists from the US ask in a restaurant "where is the bathroom"? (you want to take a bath?) They are afraid apparently of the word "toilet". (and "napkin" is even funnier! You want WHAT?!) Oh, and I really like "bog troll". Robert Ullmann 14:16, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you saying that "bathroom" isn't standard in the US? That's news to me. In my experience, the room is called a "bathroom" (and "restroom" is slightly more polite). The "toilet" is the thing you do your business on; I've never heard an American call the room a "toilet", unless it's a portable toilet (more commonly called a portapotty). Mike Dillon 21:16, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
From England: standard term would be cloakroom attendant, both bathroom~ and restroom~ would be rarities here. —SaltmarshTalk 10:05, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Not "loo lurker"? Pity! LeadSongDog 23:41, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


I would like to merge the two definitions. Although Collins (2005) seeks to differentiate quay as parallel to water's edge (cf pier), others (SOED, Webster, Chambers) do not. —SaltmarshTalk 10:10, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Go ahead, this is (yet another) case of user CORNELIUSSEON adding in a definition from a US military text, entirely ignoring the fact that the definition is already there. Look at the last version < CORNELIUSSEON's edits. Robert Ullmann 10:16, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
done —SaltmarshTalk 11:45, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


This entry seems to need at the very least a sense that does not require intent on an entity's part. As it is, it is guilty of POV: animism. The application of the a word derived from the idea of intent to futurity is possibly an indication of our animist past. In any event, I couldn't find simple futurity without actor and intent. Perhaps I'm missing something. The entry looks like it could stand a look in general. It is too basic a word for me to trust myself to do it properly. DCDuring 12:30, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

It's on my "to do" list. The modal verb form is in fact much more complex than the entry currently given. Also I'm dubious about the willing entry nº2. Is that really from the verb root? We are lacking such items as "moment of decision", "promise", "future event that is beyond one's control", and much more besides. I'll (promise) get a round tuit soon. - Algrif 21:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

posh git

I read the term Posh Git in a book. What does it mean? —This comment was unsigned.

Did you consider looking at the definitions for posh and git? SemperBlotto 15:05, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Tibeaten word

Dzogchen should be added.

meaning: the natural great perfection

Entitled. Most dictionaries, including this one, define "entitled" as the past tense of "entitle," which means "to own, demand or receive something," or, alternatively, "to give a title to."

Titled is defined as the past tense of the word "title," which has a definition of "the name of a book, movie, etc."

I do not think the word "entitled" is synonymous with the word "titled." Yet most speakers and writers seem to use them as if they are synonymous.

For example, I think the sentence, "Mark Twain is the author of a book entitled 'Tom Sawyer,'" is more correctly, "Mark Twain is the author of a book titled 'Tom Sawyer.'"

Which is correct?

entitle also means to give a title to a book, film, play, etc.. I shall add that definition now. Thanks for pointing out the omission. - Algrif 11:13, 27 December 2007 (UTC)


Marked {{US|UK}}. Is that correct? Not elsewhere?—msh210 22:50, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

  • I have never even heard it in the UK - bullshit (or just bull) is quite common. SemperBlotto 23:01, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I've heard it in the UK, but mainly from Americans. Maybe change to {{mostly|US}} --Keene 19:52, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

common misuse of the word "at"

Can someone describe the technical reason why use of the preposition at is incorrect and redundant in a sentence such as "where is he at?" I find that more and more Americans are using this syntax, which sounds so very wrong. Thank you. Diane

I thought that using a preposition at the end of a sentence was incorrect, but when I tried to find that rule in a book on English grammar, I just couldn't. My English teacher, however, did say that it's incorrect to say "Where is he at", but I don't remember if she gave the reason. — [ ric ] opiaterein — 16:39, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
There are no technical reasons why any particular usage is "wrong". Language is continually evolving and any syntactical structure is valid if it communicates what the user means to say. Specifically, Wiktionary is supposed to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, so this may not be the place to ask. SemperBlotto 16:44, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
This is the kind of error up with which I will not put. - To quote Churchill. There is no rule as such. In fact nearly all preposition containing quetions in English place the preposition at the end. E.g. Where are you going to? rather than To where are you going? The Churchill quote was really about breaking up phrasal verbs incorrectly. Personally, I see no problem at all with "where is he at?" - Algrif 16:49, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
IMHO, it depends on whom you are talking with or writing for. "Where is he at?" is not a part of high-class, "educated" English. It would often be disadvantageous to say in class at school, in many job interviews, in court, and in writing. One very useful thing to learn is how to communicate in the way appropriate to the situation you are in. Because there are many habitual elements of speech, it can be risky to establish a habit of using "Where is he at?" if you hope to operate in the world where people look down on such a trun of phrase. Some people are very good at switching in and out of such different styles of speech. DCDuring 17:09, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Diane's point is not that the preposition is stranded, but that it's redundant. Since He is where? is more proper than *He is at where?, the preposition in *Where is he at? is unnecessary, leaving Where is he? as the proper form of the question. We should probably add a usage note to at or where to explain that the commonly used collocation *where ... at is inappropriate in contexts requiring proper English. Rod (A. Smith) 18:04, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. I assumed this was a standard US usage. In UK it would be an informal question, not about physical position, rather something like What is he thinking about?. As DCDuring points out, certainly not to be used in a formal situation. - Algrif 18:21, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Interesting. The "what are you thinking" sense was common in the 60s and 70s in the US, has certianly declined, and may be "dated" here now. Knowing that makes me feel old: that's where I'm at. DCDuring 22:23, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
In the U.S. also, "where is he at?" can be metaphorical, like in "where is he at in the process?" or "where is he at in the book?". The "what is he thinking about?" sense is news to me, but I'm only 23, so given DCDuring's comment, I guess it just predates me. :-) —RuakhTALK 00:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's redundant, per se, since "where" doesn't always imply "at". In modern-day English, "where" can mean "[at] where" ("where is he?"), "[to] where" ("where is he going?"), or neither ("where is he from?"), and for speakers without the "where … at" and "where … to" constructions, it's entirely up to context to distinguish. I'll grant that context is usually sufficient, but there are plenty of constructions where it's so-called "proper English" that objects to context-based determination (e.g. mandating "Are you new here?" instead of "You new here?"); we can hardly pretend that the rules of "proper English" are determined by logic. I do think we should have a usage note, but I think it should be more neutral than what you describe, essentially saying that many speakers have one or both of these constructions, but that many others find them objectionable, considering the prepositions redundant or unnecessary. —RuakhTALK 00:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
In slang, "Where's he?" allows for a vague answer: "He gone.". "Where he at?" is more insistent on a specific location. DCDuring 01:19, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
In traditional Newfoundland English usage we find the delightful phrase "Stay where yer to, I'll where yer at" LeadSongDog 23:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


  1. Are the two senses really different?
  2. The last example contains "they" not "them". Does this example belong here?

Panda10 21:42, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

I would say (1) yes (2) no. --EncycloPetey 23:52, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


Do we prefer Galápagos or Galapagos? Wikipedia likes Galápagos, others dicitonaire prefer the latter to the former.

I would prefer the accent for Spanish, but without for English. Wikipedia tends to preserve original language spelling of proper nouns, whenever possible. --EncycloPetey 20:23, 29 December 2007 (UTC)


Can anyone add any history of the word mought. A past tense of may perhaps, or just archaic might? --Keene 02:10, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

It seems to be an archaic or dialectical form of might:
  • 1883 - Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, part I chapter 1
    What you mought call me? You mought call me captain. Oh, I see what you're at--there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold.
  • 1917 - Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Oakdale Affair, chapter VI
    Then he scratched his head and looked admiringly at the youth. "What mought yer name be?" he asked.
--EncycloPetey 02:57, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I suspect this is eye-dialect rather than archaic. Then again, it could be both. You can still hear this in the north-west UK. - Algrif 13:47, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

It's a past-tense of may (which also makes it a form of might). Interestingly the OED tags it as "now only US dialect". Widsith 19:36, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

manoeuvre and maneuver

There is an instruction in manoeuvre that if you edit this page, add the same modifications to maneuver to keep the two in sync. Can we just point one to the other without duplicating the work? Panda10 03:08, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Not really, no. There is an ongoing debate about how best to handle this, but must editors here agree that we can't simply redirect one to the other, and there are many reasons for this, including the fact that usage of one spelling may be regional, the quotes will be different, etc. --EncycloPetey 03:32, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


Citations in this entry point to a different page. Is this a current standard? Panda10 13:59, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

It is, as I understand it, a possible placement of citations. It seems to be almost essential in some of the really long pages where citing multiple senses could really make the page hard to use. I suppose that in some cases the only available citations for RfV don't provide very good usage examples, too. In this particular case, I would argue for bringing the citations back to the main page because the above considerations don't apply. DCDuring 14:24, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
To add to what DCDuring has said: see Wiktionary:Quotations#Subpages. —RuakhTALK 15:45, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
We have recently voted for a new namespace Citations:, and the plan is to shift to a new system of citations placement. This changeover has stalled, but the general idea is that all citations should appear on the related citations subpage, with selected examples remaining on the main entry. However, there should always be a Quotations section header on the main entry, and not just a link as on the brusque page. See parrot for an example that is well-formatted under the old way of doing things. The only change that will need to happen is shifting the Citations page into the new namespace (which needs to happen to all such pages). --EncycloPetey 16:28, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I noticed you added the Quotations section. Another thing: it seems that the brusque/Citations page cannot be edited. If I compare it to parrot/Citations, there should be another edit button for the subsection. Panda10 17:00, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't have that problem. Could it be something in your preferences, or caching? DCDuring 17:43, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Not sure. I have not really changed the default preferences. When I click the edit link that is on the same level as the head word "Citations of brusque", I get this: "No such section. You tried to edit a section that doesn't exist. Since there is no section 1, there's no place to save your edit. Return to Template:Citation". Panda10 17:53, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, we need to fix that. (It's a consequence of putting the header in a template: the edit-link tries to edit the template, and finds the template doesn't actually have sections.) —RuakhTALK 17:59, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


I don't really see a difference between the first two senses at apparent; at least, I can't imagine a use of apparent in the first sense that's not also in the second sense.

Also, I just added a usage note; input/corrections/tweaks/whatnot would be nice, if anyone has any. :-)

RuakhTALK 17:57, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

The first sense is "physically or tangibly visible", the second sense is "figuratively apparent, perceivable by the mind". A motive can be "apparent" in the second sense without being physically seen by the eye. --EncycloPetey 19:18, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
O.K., I think I see what you're saying, thanks. But then, the Milton quote seems to be mis-sorted, as it's the mind that perceives the moon to be queen. (I don't think Milton is trying to say, "Oh yeah, and the moon? A queen. And not invisible. Imagine that!") I'm not sure it's actually worth separating the two senses. —RuakhTALK 19:41, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
The Milton quote is iffy. He could mean that the moon is currently visible (sense 1) or is obvious ruler (sense 2). It's always worthwhile to sort a literal sense from a figurative one, sense those will often have different synonyms or translations, and will mean different things to English learners. --EncycloPetey 19:47, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps I should RFV sense 1? If we can find any quotes that clearly belong to sense 1 and not sense 2, perhaps those quotes will make the situation more clear. —RuakhTALK 20:37, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I've added a quote from the Encyclopaedia Brittanica for sense 1. - Algrif 13:40, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but that's actually a cite for sense 3. :-/ —RuakhTALK 14:54, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
How about something like It became more apparent to everyone that he was crying. ? - Algrif 12:46, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Reading Roman numerals

How does one read Roman numerals? As for example Henry VIII - is he Henry the Eighth or Henry Eight? Is the rule always the same or does it depend? It would be nice, if someone found the time to write a usage note about this e.g. in the article Roman numeral. Hekaheka 21:44, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

No, there isn't a standard way to read them, because sometimes they stand for a cardinal number like 2007 (A.D. MMVII) or 17 (page xvii), and other times they represent an ordinal number like eighth (Henry VIII) or second (John Paul II). --EncycloPetey 21:58, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Compare primus versus unum. LeadSongDog 23:48, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Lombard rate

There are 165 g.b.c. hits for Lombard rates in the plural. I have been instructed that this is a proper noun and that there are no plurals. How should I interpret that mass of evidence? "The Lombard rate" is the single rate that is quoted at any one point in time, but authors compare them. DCDuring 23:02, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Can you give examples of its use in the plural? The definition will need to be changed if this is not a proper noun, because the current definition is suitable only for a proper noun. --EncycloPetey 23:05, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I have changed the def. to reflect its being a generic term for the rate charged on loans to banks backed by approved collateral. The German rate might deserve special mention because of its influence. I find it hard to swallow that any such rates deserve to be deemed proper nouns. They may be capitalized by convention, but they are discussed in the plural regularly, esp. by economists and financial writers. The capital L in Lombard is only attributable to the historical importance of an Italian banking family in the Renaissance, just as the capital F in Fed funds rate is atributable the US Federal Reserve Bank. One thing I thought I had learned here is the weak connection between something being capitalized and being used as a proper noun. I will pursue what other references say about the term in current financial practice. DCDuring 23:39, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Did some research and edited the article accordingly adding specific reference to Bundesbank and noting that the rate has been discontinued after introduction of euro and Bundesbank becoming a branch of the European Central Bank. I did not (at least yet) have the energy to find out the names of corresponding central bank rates in UK and US. The existence of plural seems evident to me. Other languages do not capitalize Lombard as it seems to be derived from the Italian province of Lombardia and not from a single banking family. Hekaheka 06:15, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I haven't checked, but surely one can compare the Lombard rates between different months or years, etc. - Algrif 14:07, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah, but there you're comparing temporally, and all bets are off that a plural implies anything. You can talk about all the Vaticans through the ages, but that doesn't mean Vatican isn't a proper noun. The existence of a possible plural form doesn't tell you whether or not a noun is proper; though the lack or rarity can be a tantalizing hint. --EncycloPetey 17:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, of course. "Lombard rates" yields almost 4000 Google hits, relevant-looking stuff. Hekaheka 14:37, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
That's what some of the books on g.b.c. do. They also mention broad trends that involved multiple central banks all raising their Lombard rates. To me it seems obvious that such a thing would be countable, even if there were only one rate at a particular point in time.
I'm also not sure that the singular Bundesbank Lombard rate ever could have been characterized as a proper noun, even if it might have been entirely capitalized in a Bundesbank press release. But the question of plurals of proper names is only a matter of degree. I also think it would be useful if Wiktionary could inform people how to pluralize names {Cathys or Cathies?, Marys or Maries?). As with ordinary noun plurals, it is really only important where the plural can be irregular. DCDuring 14:51, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that is best handled through an Appendix (already in progress), since the "plural" of a proper noun (1) is relatively rare, and (2) isn't itself a proper noun. --EncycloPetey 17:05, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm stil not too clear about these assertions. If I make a Google map search for London, USA I get 9 Londons. Should this read "9 londons" then? - Algrif 14:10, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your question, but you could say that "I searched on Google and found nine Londons." This does not mean that "Londons" should be given as the "plural" on the London entry. Especially since London is a proper noun, but in the sentence above "Londons" is a plural common noun. Proper nouns typically do not have plurals that are proper nouns, and the plural form is typically rare as well. The reason for suggestion an Appendix, then, is to avoid having this kind of confusion on every single entry page for a proper noun, with constant questions from people who've found a "plural" proper noun and can't quite figure it out. Making proper nouns "plural" is a general phenomenon in English, but a relatively rare and grammatically odd phenomenon. --EncycloPetey 16:11, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, EP. You understood me correctly. OK, so this is a grammatical nomenclature problem. In that case, I'm all for the appendix if it will help to avoid confusion on main entry pages. - Algrif 13:26, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

FYI: Lombard rate is just another name for a "short-term lending rate applied by a central bank to other financial institutions". Some central banks have used it, and the best known of them was the Bundesbank. Other central banks have chosen to use other names. Currently at least the Swiss and Czech still use the term Lombard rate. IMHO, in this context Lombard is like "French" in "French kiss". French kiss is not a proper noun and there are French kisses, aren't there? Hekaheka 17:02, 9 January 2008 (UTC) PS. I just noticed that french kiss is not capitalized in Wiktionary although in many other dictionaries it is. Maybe we should decapitalize lombard? Hekaheka 17:07, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Etymology 2 reads: "Intentionally incorrect". I was not aware of intention being part of etymology. Beneath are:

  1. Noun: "fault", as in "sorry, my bad." This seems to me to be a simple use of an adj as a noun within the same general sense as the basic adjective "bad".
  2. Adj: "slang; fantastic", i.e., very good. The conversion of the meaning of a word to its opposite in slang isn't all that unusual, is it? Is there a name for this phenomenon?

The noun seems to belong in Etymology 1. I would have thought that the slang adj does too. Is there anything marker used for that kind of reversal of sense? DCDuring 12:19, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

It's fun when you see an etymology and instantly know which editor wrote it. :-)   I think "Intentionally incorrect" could be part of an etymology — e.g. at O.K. — but I don't know if it applies here. (The editor did not supply any evidence or references for his claim.) Even if these are in fact "[originally] intentionally incorrect" usages, though, I think they warrant separate etymology sections, as they're clearly separate incorrections. —RuakhTALK 16:35, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Because our format for "Etymology 2" (and 3...) puts potentially common senses so far down the page, I wish we would avoid separating them unless absolutely necessary. These senses could clearly be worked in under the first Etymology, and if needed, an extra couple words added to accomodate any new information. Similar reconstituting needs to happen at cracker and font (etym. 3), among others. -- Thisis0 14:34, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
So the idea would be reflect the "branching" from the original ety of "bad" as a separate ety, presumably referring to the original unknown ety of "bad". Is there a name for the reversal of meaning from "bad" (std., bad) to "bad" (slang, very good)? It certainly isn't irony. It seems to reflect a deliberate attempt to create a way of communicating that doesn't allow members of the white and/or adult culture to understand. This can't be the only instance of it. Is there a name for the use of an adjective as a noun? That would seem also seem a fairly likely occurence. DCDuring 17:49, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


This entry contains a Hungarian section which is not correct. The word is written with small case in Hungarian (arab). I would like to start a new entry for that. I discovered this when I tried to add the new hu-adj and hu-noun templates to Arab, but that immediately displayed the words with a capital. --Panda10 16:42, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Try it again under arab (was an old redirect). SemperBlotto 16:45, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I have just created arab for the Hungarian entry. It did not exist before even after your change. How can I delete the Hungarian section from Arab? Also, maybe a redirect should be added to arab pointing to Arab. I've seen that in other entries. I don't think I can add redirects. --Panda10 16:54, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
We just add the {{see}} template to the top of the page, and list it in the translations. The Hungarian section of Arab should simply de deleted with an edit summary of "content moved to arab". --EncycloPetey 16:59, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Done it already. SemperBlotto 17:08, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


Are these two senses really distinct?

  1. Having the power of seeing or understanding clearly; quick-sighted; sharp-sighted.
  2. (figuratively) Of acute discernment; keen; mentally perceptive.

I can't perceive any real difference betwen them. --EncycloPetey 21:12, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps "or understanding" was a late addition to the 1st sense. If so, it might have once been sense 1 relating to vision, sense to relating to figurative vision or understanding. That would be a nice way of expressing a possible drift in meaning from literal to figurative meaning, though that might have already happened in Old French or in Latin. DCDuring 22:38, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Yup, 2.3 years old edit made just that change. I will correct it. DCDuring 23:36, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. --EncycloPetey 17:02, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

January 2008

how do u use the word naive in a sentence?

do any of ya'll noe how to use the word naive in a sentence? -- unsigned

Here's where a combination of Google and Wikisource can help out. Click on this link for lots of non-copyrighted example sentences. -- A-cai 10:23, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

right as rain

This phrase functions as an adjective and an adverb. It did not show any comparative or superlative. The phrase "righter than rain" would appear to be functionally equivalent to the missing comparative and has 19 raw g.b.c. hits. Should it be presented as such in the inflection line? I do not think that there is a superlative. This phenomenon would, I think, characterize almost all adjectival phrases that are similes. A scan of the cat list for similes and quick g.b.c. check suggests that such forms occur in the wild. DCDuring 16:46, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

No superlative that I can find, and the comparative is so utterly rare, it might be better to refer it to a Usage notes section. Certainly a comment about the rarity of the comparative is worthwhile, at a minimum. I'd be curious to see this used as an adverb, since I can't think of an example sentence. Do you have a quotation? --EncycloPetey 17:02, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Off the top of my head, I remember something like: "Next morning, he came right as rain."
I have found that many comparatives and superlatives and plurals are not common, but attestable. 19 g.b.c hits is a lot more than many of our entries get. If rarity were a criterion, then we should alter the en-adj template to facilitate the suppression of superlatives, which seem to be quite rate for many adjectives.
User:Keene suggested presentation under "Related terms" on the grounds that it is not a true comparative form. The rule for transforming the phrase into the phrase that functions as comparative is certainly more elaborate than adding merely -er or more, but broadly applicable. What makes a functional comparative form a "true" comparative form? DCDuring 17:35, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
I hear it in things like:
You've been under the weather lately, but now you look right as rain.
I'm righter than rain! I just won the contest! I'm rich!
Or somesuch... Regards, —Celestianpower háblame 17:43, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think "righter than rain" is a comparative of "right as rain", since *"John and Mary were both right as rain, but John was righter than rain than Mary" does not strike me as even remotely plausible. And google:"righter than rain than" seems to agree with me. —RuakhTALK 00:42, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, if you put it that way, sure. I don't even need Google to see the error of my ways. I neglected the fairly obvious need to compare to something to have a valid comparative. I often get confused with phrases. Which is an instance of why the Phrase header is best replaced with something that clarifies! Thanks for the tea. DCDuring 00:52, 3 January 2008 (UTC)


What does the word pickle mean?

Did you look at the page for pickle? --EncycloPetey 20:09, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Relationship of Declunus/declunus to Delancey/DeLancey/Delancy/DeLancy

I in wonder and ofcourse some research of this topic words and or names are Declunus a God and a Goddess Decluna my wonder is the Language of it ,could it be in relation to DeLancey, as sometimes letters are silent in such would be perhaps the c in declunus in variant portions of time and literature and when as far back as the period of the fourth king or rular of roman peoples this is in the time of the 3rd or fourth hundred B.C. the sound of the u is manufactured as is today though sounding differently as the first u perhaps is different from the second u, i shall continue at another time Thank You,2:44 p.m. David George DeLancey 2:37 P.M. E.S.T. 1-2-2008 Happy New Year.

I don't think we have entries for the proper names or Celtic deities, though we probably should. Perhaps we have something at Declan. DCDuring 20:24, 2 January 2008 (UTC)


Several nonce words formed by analogy with trilogy have their own entries at Wiktionary (like duology and tetralogy). The problem with nonology is that an incorrect number-suffix has been used. Unlike these other entries, this suffix has a Latin rather than a Greek origin. If the word with the form and meaning desired by the author existed, it would be something like ennealogy. As far as I can tell "nonology" is a figment of someone's imagination - certainly I can find no precedent from Google or Google Books - but I'm not really sure what happens in such situations. -- 21:03, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Usually the procedure is to bring up at WT:RFV for discussion any entry you think has none of what you call precedent.—msh210 23:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Assembly language

Should this be moved to Assembly Language?—msh210 23:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

I think it is assembly language except when it refers to the assembly language of a specific processor in which case it might be (e.g.) 8086 Assembly Language (however, since assembly langauges are NOT unique to each processor but rather to each assembler it might not even be capitalized in that case). RJFJR 13:40, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


Macbeth Act II, Scene I

Now o'er the one half-world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd Murther, Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost.

Is that a use of alarum as a verb? RJFJR 01:09, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah. Alarum is just an old spelling of alarm (as a noun or a verb), which has stayed around for some reason as a deliberate archaism. Widsith 22:46, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it certainly is. Robert Ullmann 22:50, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Should the noun be marked archaic or something and the verb added with templates for archaic and maybe also rare? RJFJR 19:08, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

That sounds perfectly reasonable. --Thecurran 02:00, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Tour de force

It is strange and interesting how foreign expressions may have different meanings in different languages by which they have been adopted. "Tour de force" is a French expression meaning "feat of strength", and in English it means more or less the same as in French. It is a positive connotation of something if it is a tour de force (it manifests strength, brilliancy etc.). However in Italian "tour de force" means something very different: a tour de force is an endeavour (a job, a travel, a visit, a walk for Christmas' shopping...) which proves or is expected to prove particularly stressful, because it involves doing many things or one difficult thing in a short amount of time. Something of the French meaning is preserved: it takes strength to accomplish such a thing. But the implication is that, were it possible, a tour de force is something to be avoided. Nor is there anything necessarily admirable in a tour de force, as when (e.g.) a tour de force is made necessary by our failure to schedule appropriately. Nor, again, is a tour de force necessarily coronated by success. It is to be wondered about how the Italian meaning came to be what it is. I also wonder whether my understanding is only partial, and other Italians actually give the expression a meaning similar to the French or the English one.


I ran across this word, I think it some type of disease because the references I found included disease vectors from Golden Hamsters (1986) and a news article about a 2 year old boy being treated for "jungle borne leishminiasis."

Thanks! —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

You probably mean leishmaniasis. Widsith 22:39, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


Is this the same as a kill file? Or is it a verb? SemperBlotto 22:54, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems to be a noun, and yes, it seems to be the same as a kill file. —RuakhTALK 03:48, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Our definition for kill file reads "A file in which individual users of newsgroups can ignore postings by certain other users, or that match certain criteria". Huh? I can ignore postings in a file? So this obviously needs a touch-up. But I'm not sure what to change it to. I would have changed it to something like "A file containing data about e-mail senders and/or Usenet posters, used with a filtering program to prevent a user from seeing those senders' and posters' messages". But now I'm not sure, since you say it's the same as killfilter, which I would have guessed (not familiar with it) means "A filtering program used in conjunction with a kill file to prevent a user from seeing certain senders' e-mail messages and/or Usenet posts". But you say that the two nouns mean the same thing: which meaning do they have, then?—msh210 17:31, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


The first definition at convention is

  1. The gerund (verbal noun) of to convene; a meeting or a gathering.

Should this be split into two senses or otherwise clarified? RJFJR 14:54, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes. That first portion should be placed in the etymology, the definition could certainly be written more clearly. --EncycloPetey 15:51, 5 January 2008 (UTC)


The second sense of the Adjective section contains this example: “Tater” is short for “potato”. Is "short" in this sentence really an adjective? --Panda10 12:54, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

If you take the position of looking at the individual words as separate, then yes. The word short would be a predicable adjective (one that occurs in the predicate, after the verb, but modifies the subject). On the other hand, you could argue that be short for is a compound verb. --EncycloPetey 15:23, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


I am thinking of adding military police, mounted police, and riot police. Question is... would they be considered to be SoP's? I would be interested to hear opinions before adding them. - Algrif 15:03, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Mounted police is certainly O.K. I'd also say military police is probably O.K., since if you didn't know what it meant you might assume it referred to a group that doubled as both military and police in some respect (e.g., soldiers acting as peace-keepers or something). I'm really not sure about riot police; to me it seems quite straightforward, but perhaps not? —RuakhTALK 15:18, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
They seem idiomatic to me, both on simple introspection and because they are more than SoP, describing certain dedicated kinds of officers rather than attributes of a police officer at a particular moment.
  • Military police are not just police who happen to be in the military; the conscripts who handle traffic and crowd control in Korea, for instance, are definitely not military police.
  • If a riot breaks out unexpectedly, the police on the scene will not become riot police; instead they will probably call in the riot police.
  • A police officer who commandeers a horse in order to catch a criminal does not become a member of the mounted police by so doing, although he will soon wish that he had been trained as one.
Anyway that's how I see it... but I could also see each of these leading to yet another pitched battle on RfD. I'm afraid we haven't found the magic pill for that yet. -- Visviva 15:22, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Sound reasoning. Unlike traffic police, who would be just any old policeman assigned to traffic duty. I think I'll add them and put your comments into the talk pages. Thanks - Algrif 16:17, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
They would certainly belong. We already have Water Police and I'm sure there are others.--Dmol 16:35, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and shore patrol which is clearly not SoP. Robert Ullmann 17:11, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Should these be capitalised, as Water Police is. I had listed it as a proper noun, being the name of that department, but others seem to be in lower case. --Dmol 18:57, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
No. Lower case. I've moved the capped page to water police. - Algrif 19:02, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


Is the Dutch pronunciation correct? IPA is given as /xyn/ --Keene 18:29, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

It's close, and possible correct. Dutch g is a guttural gargling sound. Dutch has gone through several spelling reforms designed to restructure spelling to match pronunciation, so each letter (or letter cluster) usually represents a particular sound. If the Dutch phonology page on Wikipedia is accurate, then the Dutch word gun should be pronounced Lua error in Module:IPA/templates at line 8: Language code has not been specified. Please pass the parameter "lang" to the template., which isn't far off what appears in the page now. The notes in the 'pedia article suggest that Lua error in Module:IPA/templates at line 8: Language code has not been specified. Please pass the parameter "lang" to the template. would be correct for the dialect of Amsterdam, which is ever closer. --EncycloPetey 03:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Gerard recorded his pronunciation and uploaded it to commons:, (now linked) if that helps. --Connel MacKenzie 18:20, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it does. I've adjusted the page to Lua error in Module:IPA/templates at line 8: Language code has not been specified. Please pass the parameter "lang" to the template. accordingly. --EncycloPetey 02:58, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


To beat a dead horse...

This form is pretty universally proscribed in deference to dissociate, right? But it clearly meets our CFI. What's the best way (in the current atmosphere) of indicating this?

--Connel MacKenzie 17:17, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

If this is used for all senses of dissociate, and proscribed for all of them, then I'd say to use # {{proscribed}} {{form of|Form|dissociate}} or # {{misspelling of|dissociate}}.—msh210 17:53, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not proscribed at all, just less common. Widsith 09:54, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The OED has disassociate as a synonym of dissociate, without even a frown! dbfirs 00:42, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
MW3 has a weak implied negative take on disassociate. At "disassociate" they offer "dissociate" as a synonym, but don't have the much longer entry for "dissociate" return the favor. They also offer fewer relatives for "disassociate" than for "dissociate". All this without any explicit proscription. DCDuring 01:12, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

You could have knocked me down with a feather

Yes. Another one of those entries. What is the general opinion:-

  1. Interjection, with the sentence as written?
  2. Phrase, with the sentence as written?
  3. Verb, with knock one down with a feather? (Yuk!!) - Algrif 12:25, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Sum of parts meaning exactly what it says (using exaggeration, of course, but so what?). Don't create. That said, if it is to be created, then: It can't be under knock one down with a feather, as only common use (that I know of) concerns the ability to knock, the act of knocking. Yet be able to knock someone down with a feather also seems (very) wrong. (I hate to criticize suggestions without offering one, but I haven't got one, assuming this deserves some entry.)—msh210 21:05, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
"... assuming this deserves some entry" - I know what you mean, however the problem is that you only find it as an idiomatic way of saying, I was overwhelmingly surprised. If someone who does not know that comes across it, it would be difficult to guess from the parts. Context might not always be very helpful. What happens in most examples is that it appears as a kind of interjection. So when he told me he was getting married, well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. - Algrif 13:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Very well.—msh210 17:09, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


From User talk:SemperBlotto:

You wrote: to bake eggs in their shells. Are you sure? A quick web search seems to disagree (although Web pages disagree with one another also). Perhaps there's more than one definition?—msh210 17:56, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Ah - The American Heritage Dictionary says "To cook (unshelled eggs) by baking until set.". Perhaps we disagree on what unshelled means: I take it to mean "not shelled", but perhaps they mean "with the shells removed"! The OED says "To poach (eggs) in cream instead of water". Feel free to modify/correct as you see fit (especially if you are American). SemperBlotto 18:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I am American but have never seen shirred eggs, nor heard the word. I only know it from books and and from Googling it in connection with the instant discussion. Any objection if I copy-paste this discussion to the TR?—msh210 18:12, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

End of quotation from User talk:SemperBlotto.

        • By "unshelled eggs", the AHD means eggs removed from the shells. Synonyms include baked eggs and eggs en cocotte. They are similar to poached eggs. You pour the eggs into ramekins and bake at about 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes. —Stephen 00:15, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
          But you forget, then you put them on spinach, and cover with Mornay sauce. (The very first serious dish I was taught to cook. ;-) Can sometimes mean poached. Robert Ullmann 12:51, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Just an aside: the OED gives both of these meanings of "unshelled" (as the past tense and past participle of the verb "to unshell", meaning "to remove the shell(s) from", and as an adjective meaning "not shelled"). Such words are called "auto-antonyms" (or "Janus words", or "contronyms", among other names) and Wikipedia has an article on them and a list of such words. — Paul G 21:16, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

I've added "unshelled" to Wikipedia's list. — Paul G 21:26, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

German prost, Swedish prosit

The etymologies in both articles are worded in a say that makes it look like two Latin words were borrowed individually into each language where a new word was then created. It seems much more likely that there was already a Latin phrase which was borrowed as a unit. — Hippietrail 02:14, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Just about the only Latin I know is through reading etymologies in dictionaries, so I'm not up on when the various cases need to be used. I know that the nominative is used for the subject and the accusative for the object, but does this apply when the verb is "to be"? In Modern Greek it is not — the subject and object are both in the nominative when the verb is "to be", so I am wondering whether the same is true of Latin.

Specifically, I want to know how to translate the phrase "God is good" into Latin for a project I'm working on — is it "Deus est bonum" or "Deus est bonus"? Further, I believe that word order is not important in Latin because subject and object can be deduced from their declensions, but if the cases are the same, how can this be done, and does this mean that the word order must be restricted to subject, verb, object when the verb is "to be"? I ask because I would really like to be able to put "est" at the end of the sentence.

Incidentally, all of these phrases appear on the web, with "Deus est bonum" getting the most Google hits, so I would imagine that "Deus bonum est" is OK.

Thanks for any help. — Paul G 20:51, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

The sentence is grammatically correct for Latin, as you have guessed. The issue here is not whether you should use the nominative or accusative (nominative is correct), but whether you are using deus as a masculine or neuter noun. The sentence Deus bonum est. is using a neuter subject. If you are referring to the Christian deity, you want Deus bonus est. to have a masculine subject. --EncycloPetey 02:12, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that, EncycloPetey. I am referring to the Christian deity ("God") rather than any old deity ("god"), so masculine it is. — 18:15, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


As what PoS is "worth" being used in an expression like "more worth having"? DCDuring 01:31, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Probably adjective, but Ican't be certain from the incomplete example you've given. --EncycloPetey 02:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm guessing he means something like "Friendshipi is more worth having ___i than money [is]", i.e. roughly "If forced to choose, I'd rather have friendship than money." I agree that it's an adjective, but it's an interesting one in that it takes a directly construed nominal as an obligatory complement (as in "worth + nominal"); I can't think of any other English adjectives that do that. —RuakhTALK 02:58, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Didn't mean to be so ter. yes to above. Maybe I can think of another similar word. I was interested to correctly putting in PoS for its comparability. 15-20% of adjs. deemed comparable have proven not to be. end of. DCDuring 03:15, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
According to dictionary.com, it is a preposition, "having" being a verbal noun (or gerund, if you prefer). "Worth" is not comparable; that is, you can't put "more" in front of it, so "Friendship is more worth having than money" is not grammatically correct. You need to rephrase your sentence as either "Having friendship is worth more than having money" or "It is worth more to have friendship than to have money." — Paul G 18:30, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Hm, I hadn't read the usage notes at worth. If it is an adjective, then it should be comparable as described, but this gives the difficulties Ruakh has identified. Should we be saying it as a preposition after all? — Paul G 18:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I am aware that the bard is no authority on grammar, but:
  • The Winter's Tale, Page 157, 1887 ed.
    Fore your Queen died, she was more worth such gazes / Than what you look on now.
Other authors using the construction include Lord Chesterfield, Fielding, Walpole, Browning, Chesterton, Barrie, Emerson, Pound, Sherwood Anderson. I think we need to find the grammar that justifies this widespread use in many well-known works.
Fowler spends 2.5 columns on this, mostly on the need for exactly one "object", including: "The important fact is that the adjective worth requires what is most easily described as an object." He explicit mentions the non-incorrectness of using the construction with a gerund, but prefers the infinitive. DCDuring 19:11, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I can't see any reason to believe it is functioning as a preposition in any of the examples above, in part because there is no other preposition that I can find to replace it yet retain a grammatical sentence. My Webster's says that worth is a noun, adjective, and auxiliary verb. I'm not sure, but this could be an auxiliary verb usage (which actually has a separate etymology for the noun/adjective). --EncycloPetey 01:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Here is something old interesting in support of the notion of worth as a preposition. Also MW3 calls it a preposition and labels both of worth's adjectival senses as archaic. The Internet Grammar includes "worth" in its class of "marginal prepositions" with "minus", "granted", and a few other words derived from verbs. I have not net found any authority that deals with the awkward fact of fairly common usage of the comparative "more worth [present participle] than ....".
Judging from all this, I can see that I am unlikely to come up with any other word that is quite like "worth".
EP: I see what you mean about the auxilary verb, but it doesn't seem to have the "value" meaning and still doesn't explain the comparative. "More" doesn't seem to modify the participle, it seems to modify "worth". "worth [present participle]" seems to form an adjective without obvious restrictions on the nature of the participle. Any verb that reflects anything that consumes time or resources can be more or less "worthy". DCDuring 04:46, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
The OED is unequivocal: as well as being a noun and a verb, "worth" is an adjective, not a preposition. The OED's lexicographers know their stuff, so I think we are safe to go with their view. — Paul G 09:56, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I finally found the CGEL coverage of this issue. It's in a footnote on page 1407. Apparently, they too find no other words that function as worth does in this capacity. This is in the section on extraposition, and has the examples:
  • In discussing the future it is also worth considering the impact on Antarctica...
  • It was stupid telling my parents.
  • It was stupid to tell my parents.
The point they make is that worth is the only word in English that requires use of the gerund/participial in this construction, while other words may take an infinitive instead. The portion following worth (or stupid in the example above) is a clause/phrase functioning as the subject of the sentence. Extraposition places the subject in a somewhat unusual location, but it is still the subject of the sentence. --EncycloPetey 17:30, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
This unique construction is worth analysing without including complications like the use of "it", as in the cases CGEL provides. In the immediately preceding sentence, for example, the participle does not seem to be the subject. I'd love to find a comment on the comparative uses, too! I think someone has written an article about characterizing worthy as a preposition, but I couldn't suss out their conclusion from reading the one teaser page I had access to. DCDuring 18:16, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Not the subject? Depends on how you read it. In the sentence: "This unique construction is worth analysing", I see analysing as the subject participle, with an object of "this unique contruction", then a predicate linking verb and adjective. Extraposition puts the elements in a non-standard order. That's not the only way this could be interpreted (as you have noted another way yourself), but that's the way I would personally interpret the grammar. In any case, "worth" is uniquely weird. --EncycloPetey 02:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
How do you finish the analysis, then? "Analysing this unique construction is worth[X]" "Worth" still wants something. Possibilities include: "-y", "-while", " the effort", " the time", etc.. From the discussions here, I am under the impression that the old grammarian's ploy of saying that there is something "understood", but omitted, is no longer considered to be playing fair or modern or post-modern or .... Conceptually or metaphorically, the idea of worth implies a kind of balancing of labor and/or time against the value gained by the costly activity reflected in the verb. But the grammar shouldn't be so dependent on the semantic content, should it? DCDuring 02:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)


This can have casted as a past. I figure that some meanings use cast as past, others use casted and I assume others can use either as past. How best to show this? --Keene 12:14, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I would tend to favor usage notes, although marking individual definitions is also an option. From a cursory look at b.g.c., disregarding a handful of transparent errors, casted seems to be used only where a physical cast is involved -- i.e. in medicine, metallurgy, and construction. These seem like they ought to be etymologically separate from the "throw" meanings, in which case there would be no problem, but apparently that is not the case.
BTW, note that casted is also an adjective from caste. -- Visviva 14:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I think you need:
  1. an indication on each sense line that can use the "casted" form for the past and past participle
  2. the variants in the inflection line and
  3. an explanation of anything else in the usage note.
I don't know that I have ever seen a really attractive example of how to do this and can't even remember any particular example of anything similar being done other than pluralization, which doesn't usually need (or, rather, get) the usage note. It would be a little easier if we had groupings and hierarchies of senses. DCDuring 15:25, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


Noun. "The fallen". There are two senses that I am not familiar with, but don't seem too much of a stretch semantically, but do grammatically:

  1. "the Devil". I could successfully imagine "the fallen one", but not "the fallen" for this.
  2. "an evil spirit". I can imagine this as referring to all of the evil spirits who have fallen, but not one at a time.
I think that the fallen is really "plurale tantum", but these senses have stopped me. I have added two senses for casualties, which might be combinable. DCDuring 21:01, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


I extended this a bit, but I am unsure of my wording, please someone have a look at it. H. (talk) 17:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Not bad, IMHO. I'm less happy with the pre-existing college athlete sense, because it happens in professional sports too and may generalize to settings beyond sports and entertainment. Using Google Books to find the range of uses can be fun. DCDuring 17:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Walk-on has an adjective sense too - he had a walk-on part in the movie.. --Keene 14:29, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
This reminds me of a recent part-of-speech discussion where editors were trying to determine whether these "borrowed" and "attributive use" words really became the part of speech they appeared to function as. "A walk-on part" may seem adjectival, but it really just creates a noun phrase. Try adding another adjective and you'll see what I mean. "A memorable walk-on part." You can't say "A walk-on memorable part," nor can you say "His part was both memorable and walk-on." This word is linked inseperably as part of a noun phrase. Take a lesson from German language. They would make one word out of it: "Hiz memorabl valkonpart." Final thought - my trusty old encyclopedia dictionary defines walk-on n. A performer having a very small part; also, the part. -- It seems they understand this is somehow a noun sense. (side note: See how "encyclopedia" in "trusty old encyclopedia dictionary" seems like an adjective? In this similar case, it may be easier to see how it is indeed not an adjective.) However, determining how to properly label this common type of language effectively is surely one of our current wikt-enigmas. -- Thisis0 19:05, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I think I agree with you. I am loath to create an adj PoS just to cover noun-as-adjective usage. My personal rule has been to enter the Adjective PoS if the adjectival use can be made comparative.
It doesn't have to be able to be made comparative - we have loads of uncomparable adjectives. Here walk-on behaves just like dairy. There are noun and adjectival meanings. --Keene 19:30, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, just like dairy. The phrases "dairy plant", "dairy products", and "dairy cow" have no real adjectives. "Large dairy plant", "tainted dairy products", and "black-and-white dairy cow", however, do. Just try flipping any of those words; they do not function the same. Dairy, like so many others, is listed here with adjective (and sometimes adverb) senses because that's currently the best way to make sense out of this usage. A better way is what is up for debate. -- Thisis0 20:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I just find that adjectival meanings for entries that also have related noun PoS very often seem to me to be derived from the noun senses. I can slice noun senses very finely, but have trouble seeing adjective senses DCDuring 19:55, 15 January 2008 (UTC).
As to the word-sequence argument, however, I am not sure that I would agree with you. We can say "pretty, red rose" much more easily than "red, pretty rose". [OK, you might say, red could be a noun.] We can say "tall, leafless tree" more easily than "leafless, tall tree" or "interesting, technical book" more easily than "technical, interesting book". That doesn't make "leafless" or "technical" nouns. DCDuring 19:23, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
You have to slow down a bit. You are arguing a preference for word order, while I am giving examples of words that seem to function as adjectives, but are not. Though a writer may have a clear preference, there is no impossibility with "leafless, tall tree" or "red, pretty rose". Red does not become part of a noun phrase in "pretty, red rose" like it does in "delicious red wine", "loud red alert", "tasty red beans and rice", and "several red blood cells". Those are examples where 'red' joins the noun phrase and is inseperably linked. Try flipping any of those; you'll see. As far as "technical", it could be either depending on context. Remains adjective: "It's an interesting, technical book." further example, adjective Becomes part of noun phrase: "That was the most interesting technical book I've ever read." further example, noun phrase -- Thisis0 20:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I was only addressing one clause in one sentence: your argument from word order about "memorable walk-on part" being preferred to "walk-on memorable part". You provided only two tests for the characterization of a noun-noun collocation as making a unit noun phrase. I don't buy this first as conclusive. As to the second, I have heard it used either humorously to good effect or clumsily to bad. Accordingly, the second would be the test I would run on my "ear". My analytical skills in this area aren't very good, so my "ear", research, and reference are what I need to rely on. It seems to me that you are also relying on a further analysis that seems to depend a great deal on the possible semantics of a subset of the meanings of walk-on. I am more interested in whether there are simple, reliable, arguement-stopping tests that do not depend as much on the semantics. If not, then we will have to have more tea-room discussions about specific words. DCDuring 22:40, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I understand your desire for a proper "test" or definition. When I demonstrated an inseparable word order, it wasn't meant as an "ear test" -- judging by it "sounding right" -- but rather, it's a simple demonstration of how these particular words cannot be separated from the noun like adjectives. What they truly are, instead of adjectives, are noun adjuncts, forming part of a compound noun. From Wikipedia: "While the notion of compound has been very important, clear definitions that work even within one language (much less across languages) have not been articulated. The study of compounds in English, for example, often includes expressions that are written as two words. This lack of precision and agreement has hampered the cross-linguistic study of compounds and even a good study within English." As you see, the issue needs some exposure, which I hoped to garner here by addressing it when it came up. Since it's obviously a confusing issue even for linguists, don't be frustrated as you try and grasp the subtleties.
What's funny is that walk-on is already attributive use of a verb to form a noun. And then, that precarious noun is being used as a noun adjunct in phrases like "walk-on part" or "walk-on role", dipping into what seems like adjective territory. Oh, English! All I wish to demonstrate right now is that in a case like "walk-on part", "dairy cow", "car park", or "chicken soup" these are noun adjuncts and don't work like other adjectives you could apply. -- Thisis0 23:33, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
At a practical level concerning WT entries, anything that could be done to reduce the number of pointless adjective PoS sections for nouns would be nice. Some kind of simple notation that simply mentioned that a noun could be and was used as an adjective and allowed a location for corresponding usage examples would be nice. For me the adj inflection line is warranted only if the comparative is possible. A separate adj. PoS section is certainly warranted if there is any new meaning for the adj. not present in the noun. OTOH, I have also noted that sometimes it is hard to quickly and clearly derive an adjectival sense corresponding to a noun sense. Anyway, thanks for the education. DCDuring 00:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


I am confused by this word. What PoS is it in all its various uses? I have entered it as an adverb. It apparently does not appear in many dictionaries despite its fairly frequent use (much in bodice-rippers, potboilers, and ripping yarns). It is very often used in questions where "Why ever" could be substituted. DCDuring 19:47, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, it's an adverb. I had always thought it should be two words; it's in the OED though, with the earliest quote being from 1891. Widsith 09:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. OED support always makes me feel more comfortable. Someone online had said they didn't have it. End of. DCDuring 12:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

hot wind



There's more that could be added to this entry - "Simple past of can" is the only definition we have - there are nuances of politeness here (i.e. "could you help me out" v. "can you help me out"), and there's no mention of its purpose as an auxiliary verb. An etymology too, maybe. s--Keene 14:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Moving to Talk:could. --Keene 14:33, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
(Note to self---must et my finger out and finish that appendix modal verbs that you started some while back.) OK I'll (will=promise) see what I can do in the short term. Yes. All the need to be pulled together into one big, but succinct usage appendix. My backburner project. -- Algrif 13:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

word usage

The butterflies loiter around the flower. Is loiter the right word? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Not wrong, but a bit peculiar. Loiter implies wasting time, being lazy....and because of the legal phrase loiter with intent, it has slightly antisocial overtones. Widsith 10:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
There is also the term "loiter time" used by the military, meaning the time that an aircraft can remain close to a ground target but allowing fuel for the return trip. This is closer to the quote above.--Dmol 17:11, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure it isn't the first sense that is meant in the quote. Unlike a bee that would be interpreted as busy (making honey, etc), people perceive butterflies as just lazing about. RJFJR 17:17, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

mixed countable/uncountable

Sense 2 of tolerance is countable (e.g. "tolerances stack"). How do we format this? RJFJR 16:43, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

  • See latest version - feel free to correct any other senses that are countable. SemperBlotto 16:52, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. I'll use that format when it comes up in the future now that I've seen it. RJFJR 17:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


craftsman is defined as "a male craftsperson". While that may be a modern use I believe that historically it could be used non-genderly (what ever the term is for applying to either gender). Even if craftsperson is now preferred by the politically correct, shouldn't we include a note that historically it could be used as a synonym for craftsperson? RJFJR 17:14, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

It certainly needs some kind of note. But can we make the note substantive? I wonder how long the use of the term craftsman to cover all practicioners of a craft was operative. Was that just a brief transition as women left the home and entered some of the crafts, but before they exercised their influence to change some language use? With the amount of attention devoted to women's studies these days, there ought to be some relevant reearch. DCDuring 18:02, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I just defined a toymaker as a "craftsman who makes toys". (Note term craftsmanship, meaning quality, is still used). I'm not sure where to get the information on historical trends. RJFJR 19:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
b.g.c. searches for "woman craftsman", "she was a craftsman", and so on, all pull up relevant hits, over quite a wide date range; so, I think our current definition is simply wrong. Further, "craftsman" gets many more hits than "craftsperson", so I think we should define the latter in terms of the former, not the other way 'round. —RuakhTALK 00:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
How have similar words borne out on WT:BP? My mum was among the first female professional firefighters in the US and there the word, "firefighter", came into common acceptance quite quickly & I saw it in children's books in the 80's. The same kind of books from the UK still showed fireman, postman, & policeman this century though. I don't think I've even heard policeman or fireman from an Australian. I'm not gonna harp on about how much PC is too much or too little but for words that are undergoing transition like Secretaries' Day -> Administrative Professionals' Day or Nigra -> Negro -> Colored -> Black -> African-American, there must be some way to show that both are accepted but one is more/less common and one is on the ascent/descent, right? B} --Thecurran 01:20, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Hi, I would appreciate some serious wordsmiths taking a look at the entry screwed. Quite some time ago, I added a quotation that shows 1641 usage of the word by an English merchant, using the word in its sense of "in a lot of trouble" or "beset with unfortunate circumstances that seem difficult or impossible to overcome; in imminent danger." I'm not much of a wordsmith myself so I don't believe I added anything to the definitions, just the example of usage.

This sense has recently been labeled "vulgar/slang" and I am not sure that is correct. Clearly their is a common usage today that is vulgar, and I don't know if slang is also true but maybe so; not for me to say. But I don't really think that the use of the term in the 1641 quotation was either.

So my question is: is this sense of the word labelled properly? Should another sense (or two) be added? Thanks. N2e 04:05, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Is the quote still on the page? Which one is it? Can you direct me to a copy so we could get more context? DCDuring 04:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Assuming it was the uncited quote, I tried Google books to search for it and failed to find it. DCDuring 04:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for taking a look DCDuring. Yes, the quote is still on the screwed page, and it is most definitely fully cited on that page. Here it is, repeated, for your reference: "merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement." Richard Chambers (merchant), 1641. (Taylor, Hannis, The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, part II, Houghton Mifflin:Boston, 1898, quoted in
1997, Ekelund, Robert B., Jr. and Hébert, Robert F., A history of economic theory and method, page 58:
I have the Ekelund and Hébert book on my bookshelf for work I do in Economic History. A somewhat longer quotation, for context, would be: "The episode in question involves Charles I and his battle with Parliament over customs duties. King Charles claimed an "ancient right" to customs, but Parliament ultimately seized the exclusive power to set these duties in 1641. While Parliamenet was dissolved, the King reasserted his claim of absolute authority to levy taxes. However, merchant importers refused, in their own interests, to pay customs to the king, obeying instead Parliament's decree to refuse to pay any dutires not authorized by itself. The King retaliated by seizing the merchants' goods, whereupon several of them resisted and were brought befroe the Privy Council. Merchant Richard Chambers brazenly declared that 'merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement' (Taylor, Hannis, Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, p. 274)." (In other words, the Ekelund and Hébert book (1997) quotes secondary material from Taylor (1898) which quotes the record of the merchant Chambers' speech before the Privy Council (1641).
I do not know if I have correctly referenced all of this in the Wiktionary entry according to the proper Wiktionary style. I do believe that the 1641 very early usage of this word is, in fact, quite useful to Wiktionary entry, which is why I took the time to add it in two years ago. Cheers, N2e 17:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's not woory about the details of format too much. Your citation is a good one. It seems to reflect the sense of "putting pressure on somoeone", {"putting the (thumb-)screws to or on someone"), in this case with the Crown (screwer) doing the screwing of the merchants (screwees). I'll bet that the expression is put in the passive without the screwer being named because to accuse the Crown directly would have been an "impoliteness" that risked the further wrath of the King and his Privy Council. As a result we have an expression that reads just like our use of "screwed" as an adjective, which use requires no particular "screwer" be identified. I like the quote because it illustrates the transition of past participle and passive forms of verbs to adjectives, a fairly frequent occurence, it seems. I am a rank amateur at this, but perhaps one of the true mavens will take a look also.
I don't know when screw got the meaning of copulation. But I don't think it is derived metaphorically from this sense of screw. In any event screwed now carries the sense of "fucked", which makes it hard to use in formal settings and usually gets titters in an undergraduate class.
I'll have to see whether the Privy Council proceedings are now available on-line for the direct quote. If not yours will be fine. Wikitionarians like the sources available on-line because they can readily get more context and can verify. Thanks. DCDuring 18:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't know when "screw" came to mean "copulate", but I'm pretty sure swive (related to "swivel") had a copulation sense a long time ago. We currently only have that sense, but I think the original meaning was something like "turn" or "rotate", similar to "screw". Mike Dillon 03:17, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Screw=copulate goes back to at least the 18th century where it appears in some early slang dictionaries. swive has always meant copulate in Middle and modern English, though the OE source swīfan only seems to have meant "move quickly, progress". Widsith 17:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
As for the vulgarity - I personally would just tag this slang. It's not quite vulgar by my standards. --Keene 17:35, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the opinion on the 'vulgar' tag, Keene. That was my original question. It appears that several folks have edited the article now, and someone has removed the 'vulgar' tag from this one particular sense of the word. Furthermore, since several wordsmiths have looked it over, I will assume the 1641 quotation is now in appropriately handled as far as placemet, format, heading title, etc. N2e 19:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe that the quote supports the particular use of screwed in the modern sense, even though it reads as if it did. I would defer to the judgment of those with who have more familiarity with Early Modern English than I. DCDuring 19:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
On Australian public television in 2006/07, an ad not limited to late night asked if you were being screwed by your mortgage/real estate agent and was accompanied by an image of a screwdriver in action, with a human body replacing the screw. That kind of mainstream usage that I've also heard from politicians makes me believe that it is not universally vulgar. :) --Thecurran 01:04, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is there a word (which I'm possibly misspelling) exemplative, an adjective meaning that it makes a good example? RJFJR 21:09, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

600+ raw g.b.c. hits, but not in MW3. It looks like it means what you say. Seems often used in ref. to moral examples. DCDuring 22:37, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Try, "exemplary". It's definitely a word and it has the right connotation. :) --Thecurran 00:54, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Need help with Cherokee translation

Need some help we have a black stallion that we want to name black warrior in Cherokee hope you can help wado tee tee —This unsigned comment was added by Hawkstt (talkcontribs) at 23:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC).

gv-na-ge-i a-ya-wis-gi (the "v" is a vowel that is pronounced "uh", as in "but"). —Stephen 00:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Broken Skin

What is this a euphemism for; open wounds, healing wounds, freshly healed wounds, scratches, abrasions, grazes, rashes, hives, itches, eczema, bedsores, heat rashes, hives, inflamed skin, scar tissue, acne, pock marks, keloid scarring, swollen skin, puffy skin, boils, corns, warts, cold sore, leprosied skin, herpetic skin, splinters, or something else? I usually see it on bathroom products in the phrase, "Do not apply to broken skin." and I find it too ambiguous. :) --Thecurran 00:51, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I'll bet it applies to most of the things you say, but a dictionary is not a substitute for medical advice from a professional. A break in the protective membrane seems to be what they are referring to, which would exclude inflammed skin, scar tissue, swellings, rashes. But many conditions could lead to dry skin and cracking which might lead to a break in the skin or a crevice in which, say, an acidic compound could do damage, given enough time. DCDuring 01:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Can somone, pls, put this in WT:GL#S or SoP? You guys aren't using the one I know and use in Australia, "Standard of Practice". I'm sure I'm not the only one confused here. I'm glad that, "PoS", made it on to PoS, because the Aussie, "POS", means, "point of sale", as in ePos like so many "e-"s or EFTPOS, which means, "electronic funds tranfer [at] POS", and is spoken in every store with any card payment facilities and even most that don't ("Sorry, no EftPOS/EFTPOS"). --Thecurran 01:45, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Sum of Parts - comes up in discussions of idiomaticity of phrases. DCDuring 02:06, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. --Thecurran 07:27, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is this a typo of b.g.c or a new term for WT:GL? --Thecurran 01:54, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I think I did it. It was supposed to be for Google books. mea culpa. my bad. DCDuring 02:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it's a blend of "GBS" ("Google Book Search") and "b.g.c" ("books dot google dot com"). —RuakhTALK 02:09, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is sense 2 really translingual? If so, is there a decent way to indicate that it's informal in English, but not necessarily in other languages? Also, is there a decent way to include English-specific derived terms (such as +ve)? —RuakhTALK 02:03, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


I am curious as to how to use word "hostage", only in singular or in plural too in such prases as "to hold smb (as a)hostage, to take smb hostage? in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary there are given examples: "Three children were taken hostage during the bank robbery"; "He was held hostage for almost a year". According to these examples, should i conclude that "hostage" can be used only in singular in this (I suppose, fixed expressions)? what does it depend on? Thank you.

I could say: "I took the hostages hostage". It is as if I were saying "I took the hostages into the state of being hostage." or "I took the hostages as hostage." The noun hostage is being used in two senses, one referring to the individual hostages, which can have a plural, another referring to the state of "hostage", which would very rarely be plural (only in some kind of rarified discussion of distinct types of being a hostage}. DCDuring 02:12, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with DCDuring, except that I think it's actually an adjective in those examples. (Compare Template:bgc, Template:bgc, etc.) I don't know why we don't list an adjective sense in our entry. —RuakhTALK 02:16, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
MW3 says that the "state of a person given or kept as pledge against performance of an agreement, demand or treaty" sense is "obsolete". But the obsolete sense is pretty close the word's meaning in the "keep/give/hold/take hostage" constructions. DCDuring 02:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I would interpret it as a compound verb take hostage, as separate from the noun hostage which is wholly countable. I don't recognise it as an adjective at all, in any of Ruakh's examples - though "hostage children" is attributive. Widsith 18:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I think take hostage merits an entry. It is a nice way to interpret it current usage, whereever it came from. DCDuring TALK 14:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

social work

can someone explain the difference between direct vs indirect social work prcatices ?

to me a direct approach means that you are physically managing a situation. The indirect approach, requires a more administrative or clerical effort. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).


could someone help find the meaning/translation of the word pantavila/pantavilo: a russian woman calls me this whenever we have friction in our relationship; and, she refuses to give me the real meaning/translation, instead, she tells me to look it up!



  • And it's not old English. It was written only a few decades ago.--Dmol 17:47, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Thank you soo much and please excuse the all caps. Yes it is , desiderata , and it was a gift that my father had given to my mother and she gave to me, many years ago. I never knew where it came from as far as the author, but the message is very profound. Thank you!!!


I've added Webster 1913's definition, but there seems to be another: Some academic journals' papers have the word "Oblatum" on them (in the headmatter), followed by a date. (Here's an example, but it's some 800 KB. The word appears just above the abstract on the first page.) Any idea what this is?—msh210 19:05, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Could it mean "submitted"? The publication date could be well after the date an article was completed. The springerlink protects the text of the article you suggested as an example so I can't tell whether my notion is consistent with the facts of even that article. I would expect that the date after "oblatum" would always be prior to the publication date, but rarely by more than two years, probably varying by discipline. DCDuring TALK 22:43, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I didn't realize it wasn't accessible. The article reads:
Oblatum 20-III-2002 & 30-IX-2002
Published online: 18 December 2002
So you may well be right about its being "submitted", but I really don't know. I suspected it might mean "received", which is not the same thing. (Note that math articles, at least — though I suspect the same is true in other disciplines — get resubmitted after the referee's recommendations are taken care of. (The paper linked to above is a math paper.))—msh210 23:01, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I should have mentioned that oblatum is past participle of Latin offrere (to offer). An oblate is someone who has offered/dedicated their life to God. The only real possibilities for a publication were "dedicated" or "submitted". DCDuring TALK 23:42, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, well, then, you (or someone else who knows enough Latin) can add that L2 section, and we have a winner for the other English sense, I think. Thanks.—msh210 05:57, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
The etymologies for oblate and oblatum, referring to a flattened sphere can't be the same as for the sense having to do with offering, submission. Could they come from ob "in front" and the root verb ferro meaning carry in the sense of "pregnant"? DCDuring TALK 12:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I think there is some confusion here. Classical Latin oblatus is a form of the verb offero (offer) and is the source of the English oblation. But English oblate (in the sense of a flattened sphere) doesn't seem to come from this word. The OED gives it as a medieval or modern Latin coinage from ob- + lātus (broad, wide), an hence "spread(ing) out, widening out", which makes much more sense anyway. I see that this has already been corrected in the entry. --EncycloPetey 00:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


lap#Etymology_3: to slurp up (a liquid) as a dog. And slurp is defined as: to eat/drink (something) noisily. Is this what lap means? I thought it meant to lick something (and hence, usually, eat it). Consider

    • 2000, Robert B. Parker, Hugger Mugger, chapter 1,
      "I was at Claiborne Farms once and actually met Secretariat," I said. "He gave me a large lap."
      He smiled a painted smile. Horse people, I have noticed, are not inclined to think of horses in terms of how, or even if, they kiss.

msh210 22:15, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I would have defined it the way the entry reads, pretty much. Connected to liquids, ice cream, and, perhaps, pate and kibble. I wouldn't have gone for "lick" as a sense, although the meaning of contact from the animal's tongue in the quote is consistent with my understanding of the word. But, then, I have a dog. DCDuring TALK 22:31, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
My understanding agrees with the entry. I remember a Bible stories book I had as a kid describing a battle before which, among other things, H' instructed the men to drink water from a river, and only a small portion of the men did so by lapping up water like dogs instead of by cupping their hands and bringing water to their mouths. It definitely used the word lap. —RuakhTALK 02:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
But that can mean lick, no?—msh210 17:20, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I think maybe the reason it seems confusing is because it's always used with up, which could make you think that in itself it just means "lick" - because you could equally say "lick up water" or whatever. But the primary sense of lap, with or without "up", always had the sense of getting liquid into your mouth by use of your tongue. Widsith 09:50, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


I'm a little surprised that this one hasn't seen more controversy; perhaps the alternate pronunciation is regional?

I've never heard this pronounced the way the audio file currently on it, sounds. For some reason, when I saw this as a Word-of-the-day, I was shocked that we could have such a grotesque misspelling of laxsidaysical on our main page. (Then I looked it up. Ouch.) While lacksidaisical gets enough b.g.c. hits to probably merit an entry, that particular pronunciation-spelling lacks the lax prefix that I was convinced was etymologically related, somehow.

Anyone able to identify what regions the "lac" + sibilant + "idaisical" pronunciation is specific to? Furthermore, do we want the alternate spelling entered as an entry? If so, how should it be listed/described? Is the connotation with lax completely ephemeral, or is there a reference about it that I didn't find? Thanks in advance,

--Connel MacKenzie 06:03, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

It's just a mistake – a common one – based on assimilation with lax, and is not limited to any one region. This is what we call an eggcorn. Perhaps laxadaisical warrants a {{misspelling of}} entry, it's certainly common enough. Widsith 09:14, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, I did see "Common Errors in English Usage" come up on one of my searches. What I'm talking about here seems to be original research, so I hesitate to add anything about it to actual entries. Sorry if it seems like I'm suggesting new entries: I'm really not, I'd just like to satisfy my curiosity. My earlier point, is that that particular assimilation with lax has forced the proscribed pronunciation to be primary in some regions (at least where I grew up.) So my questions grow now: why is the variation proscribed? The assimilation itself is reasonable. Being descriptive do we assert only the prescribed variant, or should there be mention of the proscribed pronunciation (and if so, what description fits?) Also, is it only assimilation with lax, as I thought at first, or borne from the natural elision of the full-stopping "K-uh" transformed into a "zih" sound? About the eggcorn assertion: are you saying the "lacsidasical" pronunciation is common in the UK too? The more I look at the variants that are out there, the more my curiosity about this grows. --Connel MacKenzie 17:32, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
It's proscribed just because in prescriptive terms it's simply "wrong" and is not a real word found in any printed dictionaries. As a descriptive site though we should definitely have it - yes it's common in the UK as well. But I think a "common misspelling" entry is more appropriate than a "alternative spelling" only because if you use this in an essay or job application you wouldn't last long! Widsith 09:48, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I must admit I had never heard it any other way than "laxidaisical." It wasn't until Connel put it in the Tea Room that I noticed there was no x or ks, etc. How odd. Seems to me that it might be worthwhile to provide an alternative pronunciation within the current spelling. Atelaes 09:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I've always heard [ks] said but seen <ck> written. However, Template:bgc does get a number of uses on b.g.c., as do various other spellings that attempt to reflect the [ks]. —RuakhTALK 13:20, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I've heard both, but more often /k/ alone, which is what I say, too. I've only ever (as far as I recall) seen <ck>.—msh210 17:18, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


The state or quality of being being? What's that meant to mean?--Keene 15:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

As opposed for example to the state or quality of being doing, or doingness; also the state or quality of being nothing, or nothingness. Did this word exist in English before the first translations interpretations of Hegel, I wonder. -- Visviva 15:44, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
By all appearances, it did not. [31] It would seem that we have Stirling's Secret of Hegel to thank for this. (although it might have cropped up independently in translations of Rosmini's work.) This is basically a translation of Seiendheit, I believe (not to be confused with Seiendsein, or "being-a-being"). In the Hegelian system this has a particular significance related to the emergence of being-there from the interaction of being and not-being; not sure how best to express that in a definition though. -- Visviva 15:54, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


wingspan is listed as uncountable. Is it sometimes countable as wingspans? RJFJR 17:00, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd think so, e.g. "I was comparing the wingspans of the two planes" sounds right to me --Keene 17:02, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Adding {{context|usually in singular}} seems reasonable. --Connel MacKenzie 17:35, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Any Surfers out there who know surf jargon?

{{}}Hello I wish to add a word to the wiktionary: bitchen. It is a surf term meaning really neat, groovey, outtasite etc. It is the ultimate in desireable............

I think it's spelled bitchin', which we should have, agreed. We do have bitching, note.—msh210 21:06, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
We have a few surfing terms and wouldn't mind a few more. Put in any suggestions here (for now) and in Requested entries. DCDuring TALK 21:17, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Even better, put what you know into Appendix:Glossary_of_surfing_terms. There are some 200-300 terms in there. Most of them are already in the main dictionary and most (not all) of what we have is in there. Bitchin/bitchen/bitchin's/bitching isn't in there because it is not, strictly speaking, about surfing and is used by a larger subculture. DCDuring TALK 15:28, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


See the talk page.—msh210 21:21, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Now fixed.—msh210 17:23, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

In contrast to / By contrast

Can someone explain the difference in usage between 'by contrast' and 'in contrast'. In past I have used 'In contrast, we assumed ... ' or 'In contrast to our assumption...' (not necessarily to mean the same thing). A search of Wiktionary past archives only turns up the expression 'by contrast' once.

What is heat resistance certificate of copper busbar ?

what is heat resistance certificate of copper busbar ? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

You'd probably have better luck at Wikipedia with such a question, for example here. This is a dictionary. Atelaes 08:34, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


Is it possible to create an entry at "Ka" (without using the <sub>a</sub> formatting, that is)? This is a scientific symbol used to denote an acid dissociation constant, and should have an entry if that is technically possible. Cheers! bd2412 T 08:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

You could use the Unicode character for subscript-a, viz. . (does that display correctly in your browser? mine neither.) But an entry at Ka with an appropriate note might be more suitable (and searchable). -- Visviva 10:32, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. Searchability is a good point. I'll do that. bd2412 T 10:34, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
We do have the entry Ka with that sense. It is typeable, searchable and simple;.however, it might deserve a usage note about often being Ka. RJFJR 14:55, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I just checked and it's at Ka but the headword beneath the part of speech is written as Ka. Might still warrant a note saying this since it can be overlooked (I did). RJFJR 14:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
That's because bd2412 just created it. :-)   I've now added the usage note. —RuakhTALK 16:48, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Of interest may be T2.—msh210 17:11, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, but I'm not a Schwarzenegger fan. DAVilla 01:22, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


I would very much like to discuss this word. On the page, I have written the various forms which have come up as translations in dictionaries on GoogleBooks. But they are still translations to be checked - I don't know if this word has died in any of those languages. To what extent is this exactly the same as block and tackle? I'm also confused because interwikis on wikipedia take you to all sorts of different pages, obviously a lot of languages express this machine in different ways. If anybody has any information or can check the translations, that would be appreciated. Harris Morgan 00:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC).


Todays' word is skedaddle. I didn't knot that one. However, I think I have heard an American-English word, or interjection rather, which has a similar sound. I tried to google skiddlydoo but got just a handful of hits. Google suggested I try skullydoo instead. Are there any Americans who can tell me what my word is? __meco 10:26, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Possibly w:23 skidoo? -- Visviva 14:26, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Or w:skidamarink?—msh210 17:09, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I think we are in the general ballpark, but I hope we can get a bit closer still. __meco 19:29, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


The only definition given (English noun) is: "A belief in the importance of the power of the state over an individual, used to describe more extreme views." I'm okay with the first part of the definition, but am unsure about the correctness of the last part. As I see the word used in the social science literature (principally economics and sociology), I don't find it implying extreme views. In other words, I think it definitely has a use in vernacular English today of implying only "A belief in the importance of the power of the state over an individual." -- with no sense of the extreme-ness of the view. N2e 19:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe put the "extreme views" bit under "Usage notes" with "sometimes used to ..." I would have trouble proving such usage, but I've heard it. Putting an "-ism" on something is a little like putting "scare quotes" around it. DCDuring TALK 19:40, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
On a side note, shouldn't Category:English nouns ending in -ism be at Category:English nouns ending in "-ism" for the sake of consistency? bd2412 T 19:49, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, I have always called this étatisme. Widsith 15:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I edited the page along the lines of the discussion above, and added a comment to the talk page. Feel free to look it over, modify, and/or remove the rft if appropriate. I don't know what the culture is for leaving the rft on a word for a certain amount of time, or not. N2e 14:39, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

information search

Looking for information and location of BUSCHOLT GERMANY

Try an atlas or maps website. Maybe a Gazetteer. You are currently on a dictionary website, which is not a good place to look for this information. --EncycloPetey 02:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

E. & O. E

E. & O. E? I'm looking for the terminology "E. & O. E." mention in International Commercial Invoices. I tried looking for it but could not find anything helpful. Can anyone help me get to the right source of information. —This unsigned comment was added by Shootingstar77 (talkcontribs).

If you could add a bit of context, it may help. Atelaes 05:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  • It means "exceptions (or errors) and omissions excluded (or excepted)" and is normally written E&OE. SemperBlotto 12:03, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

be successful

I'm hesitating about making this entry. Reasons for: translation is difficult. In Spanish it would be a verb form tener exito or dar resultado. Other languages the same? OTOH it would be just SoP in English, wouldn't it? Comments please. -- Algrif 11:50, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Isn't "to be successful" just the same as "to succeed"? I would translate the Italian riuscire as either just as well. SemperBlotto 12:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Doesn't "be successful" refer more to a durable state than succeed does? It does seem very SoP to me in English, but many distinctions elude me. What are you trying to capture by entering it? DCDuring TALK 12:18, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
It's possibly more than SoP because by default it means more than having success in a particular area, it means having success in life. But then, succeed can mean that too, so I'm not really supporting its creation.
Looking at translations isn't going to tell you whether an expression is idiomatic though. Tener exito is also SoP, just like tener calor, which failed an RFD. There's the same problem with tener hambre = be hungry. Could this be handled with usage notes on both the English and the Spanish side? DAVilla 00:58, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
That's why I brought it here first. OK I think usage notes is probably the best way to go with this one. Thanks. -- Algrif 12:34, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Proper nouns following articles

Is there a word that describes proper nouns that follow articles, e.g. the United Kingdom (I live in the United Kingdom v. I live in United Kingdom); United Arab Emirates; Golden Gate Bridge; Soviet Union; White House. Forgive me if this discussion's arisen before. --Keene 17:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

United Kingdon and United Arab Emirates and Soviet Union take the because they are plural or collective. Every proper noun that's plural or collective does so; another is Netherlands. Certain other proper nouns do, too, such as Ukraine (dated), Congo (dated), Sudan (dated), all oceans, and many (all?) rivers. This topic comes up periodically on the Usenet newsgroup alt.usage.english, which you can search at Google Groups; here's one sample thread on this topic and here's another post (whose thread you might also wish to check out).—msh210 18:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I should note that as a general rule, AUE is a good resource for questions on English usage. It's populated by users of English, not (for the most part) linguists, though some have some training. Google Groups makes its archives accessible.—msh210 18:30, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Don't most nouns require an article? I play "a" cello or "the" cello, not so much "I play cello". I mean, you can say it, but it's less literate. bd2412 T 21:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Sure, but that's not true for proper nouns. While on my boat, Secretariat, on Lake Superior, I spoke to John about going to New York to see Gracie Mansion.msh210 22:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls these “weak” proper nouns (as opposed to “strong” proper nouns, which can stand alone), but I don't know if that's widespread usage. If you want to be fancy, I suppose you could describe them as “arthrous”. :-) —RuakhTALK 00:31, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

walk into

I'm a teacher of English (but not native speaker) and I can't solve this question: Two people collide in the street and we say: "Tom walked into that teenager". Or we could say "That teenager walked into Tom", but is it possible for both to walk into one another? What verb should we use instead? : Bumped into? Ran into? Thanks —This comment was unsigned.

I would say "Tom and the teenager bumped into each other." However, this could mean "met" rather than "collided". SemperBlotto 22:50, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
"Walk into" = collide; "bumped into" and "ran into" imply accidental meeting. Ignore the impossible geometry. We could actually say "Jack and Jill walked into each other", implying that the collision was not Jack's fault more than Jill's. DCDuring TALK 22:56, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Is this a phrasal verb? DAVilla 00:47, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is. Added. -- Algrif 12:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Dutch courage pejorative

Following the comment at Talk:Dutch courage, can this be pejorative - I had always assumed not, but then again there are those who can find anything derogatory. Conrad.Irwin 00:45, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Almost any of the ethnic/racial/religious/gender/sex-pref/hair-color/nationalisty/disability-based labels of supposed behavior or attibutes could be viewed as insulting and are sometimes intended that way. Maybe we need boilerplate language for Usage notes that could be modified to suit individual entries. I think the term "pejorative" means that the sense labelled is insulting to the person addressed or described. If so, that tag doesn't do the job. DCDuring TALK 03:04, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Created {{offensive to}} and took it for a test drive in Dutch courage#Usage notes. Improvements welcome. -- Visviva 07:24, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
It's a good idea, but I wonder what proportion of "offensive-to" terms fall into the "may be considered" category instead of the "is sometimes considered" or "is often considered" or "is usually considered" or "used to be considered" categories? "May be considered" is probably a good default, but maybe it would be nice to support other values? —RuakhTALK 13:07, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
You're saying add another parameter that takes value of (-,sometimes (default), often, usually, formerly) and generates a smooth sentence. DCDuring TALK 14:56, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I had more elaborate thoughts in mind, but what you've done is better for entries. Perhaps it would be nice if we had a link to some WP article or WT entry or appendix on the subject of offensive language, that helps folks intellectualize the perceived insult, understand WT's descriptiveness, see that it might be jocularly intended, etc. Actually, I doubt that an ordinary WT entry is good enough. I think it needs a paragraph (or more). I'll search later. Does anyone know of such material? DCDuring TALK 13:18, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
If this is even necessary, which I'm hesitant to agree with, might I suggest a simpler form than the present? Anything more than the following could be written out afterwards:
{{offensive to}} {{offensive to|}} {{offensive to|-}}
This term may be considered offensive.
{{offensive to|...}}
This term is considered offensive to ....
An additional option of offendee= is not a parameter that would see use elsewhere, so is somewhat superfluous. DAVilla 16:08, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, the "offendee" parameter can certainly be dropped (I can't think of any reason this would need to take advantage of MediaWiki's differences in handling numbered vs. named params, I've just gotten in the habit of allowing for both). But I think the primary application of this is to words which may specifically be considered offensive to someone other than the person actually described or addressed; more ordinary cases are already handled by {{pejorative}}, {{vulgar}}, et al. Because of this I don't see much use for a version which does not specify the offendee in some way. -- Visviva 17:09, 31 January 2008 (UTC)



What is the possessive form of "Mother-in-Law?"

Is it "Mother's-in-Law" or "Mother-in-Law's?" —This unsigned comment was added by FolkExplorer (talkcontribs) at 19:42, 29 January 2008.

The latter: mother-in-law's. Atelaes 01:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
English nouns don't really have possessive forms; instead, we just tack -'s onto the end of the phrases they head. —RuakhTALK 01:55, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


On this page: http://linguistlist.org/issues/18/18-3770.html, the word ‘resolve’ is used as a noun. Could someone please add the noun sense, with the appropriate quote? H. (talk) 10:52, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Good catch. I added "# Determination, will power." RJFJR 12:06, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

February 2008

Roman a clef

How is this phrase pronounced? It appears to be a style employed by Hugo, among others. Are there well known examples of this style in English writings? —This unsigned comment was added by Kare (talkcontribs) at 03:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC).

In French, it's spelled roman à clef and pronounced /rɔmɑ̃ a kle/ (that's an IPA representation of the pronunciation); I've never heard it in English, but I'd assume it's pronounced roughly "roe-MAHN ah CLAY". As for your second question, you've come to the wrong place: this is a dictionary. You might fare better at our sister project Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. —RuakhTALK 11:55, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

right of way

Template:bgc disagrees with our current definition for sense #1, but I don't know quite how to phrase it properly. —RuakhTALK 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

It should say something like "the right of one user of a road, path etc. to temporarily halt the passage of another during his own use of it". (It's used on golf courses as well as the public highway) SemperBlotto 12:39, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Do the air and marine worlds use this term this way also? Does the word "priority" help? DCDuring TALK 14:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
They do; I added an illustrative cite for this. Think the definition is a bit clearer now, but still not quite ideal. -- Visviva 16:02, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
If perhaps not ideal, certainly excellent. DCDuring TALK 16:21, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Since we're having tea here anyway, does anyone have thoughts on whether the sense "land on which a right of way exists" is meaningfully distinct from the sense "area cleared and modified for passage, such as for a railway or canal"? For example, when we read that two people "crept along the subway right-of-way with their weapons drawn," ([32], self-published but never mind that) does this really mean that they crept "along the area on which a subway right of way had been designated"? Or is the roadway/railway/canalway sense distinct? I keep disagreeing with myself on this one, need an outside opinion. :-) -- Visviva 17:05, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Your case involves action in the world outside conference rooms and courtrooms, which warrants a sense. The physical and legal senses overlap, but are distinct, even in the properties referred to. From my knowledge of railroad history, there are numerous cases of "rights-of-way" being obtained (legal sense) (including by outright purchase, option, easement, and all the other means of devise that lawyers have devised) without there being any physical modification or use of it for an actual railroad. In any event there is a transition period and the courts sometimes don't care about the physical modification bit. I wonder whether the two legal senses should be combined into one that includes implicitly all possible means of acquiring sufficient rights. Finally, "The [old] right of way was completely overgrown before the County built the bikepath." illustrates that there may be no remaining "clearance", no remaining legal right of way and still the word could be used, though I wouldn't think we need a sense for that. DCDuring TALK 17:36, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


What are these things called in English? Referrring to the strips of material hanging by the window. shutters?--Keene 13:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

In the U.S., blinds or window blinds, or more specifically, vertical blinds or track blinds. Dunno about usage elsewhere. —RuakhTALK 13:47, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


apheticism - what does it mean? I first ran across it in the article for twit: 'Originally twite, an apheticism of atwite.' When I googled it, there were a few other Wiki pages where it had been used, but I can't find a definition anywhere. I also tried my Oxford Dictionary, but no luck. I would guess it means something like 'a gradual corruption of a word', but does anyone know more? Thanks. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 13:51, 1 February 2008 (UTC).

Presumably it's an erroneous or rare variant of aphesis. —RuakhTALK 14:26, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


ecdysiast (today's WOTD) is currently defined as "An erotic dancer who removes their clothes as a form of entertainment; a stripper. " The problem is that "An...who" is singular but "their" is plural. Should "their" be changed to "his or her" (or is there a better way of recasting this sentence?) RJFJR 13:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

See their (pronoun, sense 2). Is used in singular for a person of unknown gender. Yes it sounds a bit odd, but is standard usage. Robert Ullmann 14:35, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. It's certainly acceptable at many levels of discourse to the extent of barely being noticed. WT's own English seems to me to migrate toward a style that is sometimes almost formal, sometimes academic, or more often comparable to the "better" newspapers and the newsweeklies like Time. What would they do? (hard to research on Google, though) The desire to be brief and avoid diverting people's attention from what they are looking for would argue (weakly) against "his or her". Perhaps we can think of an alternative working in our copious free time. DCDuring TALK 14:56, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
I didn't really like "his or her" but felt we should aspire to ecellence in grammar as well as vocabulary. How about "An erotic dancer who undresses as a form of entertainment; a stripper." That avoids the whole problem (but undresses may introduce slight differences of meaning). RJFJR 17:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Agree that "their" is awful and should be shot on sight; not all usages that merit inclusion are suitable to be followed. I also agree that "his or her" is not ideal, but don't see any alternative... "undresses" by itself leaves the reader in doubt as to who is being undressed. -- Visviva 15:10, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps surpisingly, The Chicago Manual of Style appears to be silent on this issue. --EncycloPetey 05:23, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps we could put the definition under ecdysiasts and make ecdysiast "singular form of ecdysiasts". &;)) DCDuring TALK 16:52, 2 February 2008 (UTC)


Do we have a word for "to remove pips from a fruit"? depip/unpip maybe? --Keene 14:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

For a stone fruit: pit (verb). For others: seed (verb) remove seeds from; a sense we don't have but should. Robert Ullmann 14:29, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The second sense is deseed according to the OED. SemperBlotto 17:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

go, get or come out of tune

Hello, I am a french contributor to the french Wiktionary. I rod in your page out of tune : the violin go out of tune .... I know one can say also to get ... or to come and I would like to know if there is a best practice. A first check on internet did not really help me making up my mind. Could anybody tell me if one form is better than the other ? Thanks in advance, Eric Rogliano

I would always say "it goes out of tune" - Though, possibly things can also "become out of tune". Hope that helps Conrad.Irwin 19:25, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The actual quote he was citing was "Violins go out of tune" (They go out of tune). RJFJR 20:59, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

"The violin is getting/going out of tune" seem OK. "The violin is out of tune". "The violin is coming out of tune" doesn't sound right at all. "The violin is becoming out of tune" also seems OK, but somehow doesn't seem as good, though I can't say why. DCDuring TALK 04:49, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Nonstandard "i"?

Can anyone post a nonstandard "i"? See User Talk:Language Lover/nonstandard digits to see what I mean. Language Lover 04:31, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

There are some nonstandard "i" characters in the math-related Unicode blocks, but they all have very specific font-requirements and they're in the extended Unicode range (SMP) and have very limited font support. This search finds a lot of them, mostly in the "Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols" block. Mike Dillon 03:37, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Here's another search for the same.msh210 17:45, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


Does the word aphetize exist, at the level necessary for Wiktionary inclusion? I came to the annoying conclusion that it does not, based on b.g.c. hits; however, aphetized certainly does. It appears that it may have an OED entry, however. What would be the optimal way for us to cover this sort of lexicographical singularity? Or are the necessary citations lurking out there somewhere? -- Visviva 08:05, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

No help yet with the cites, but MW3 also has an entry for "aphetize". DCDuring TALK 12:22, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
One cite is available on b.g.c. for "aphetise". DCDuring TALK 12:30, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
All I can see is a dictionary of anagrams and something in German. -- Visviva 01:28, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, thought I saw something more menaingful. My mind must have played a trick on me. wishful thinking DCDuring TALK 01:46, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
The OED does have an entry for aphetize, but its quotations both use the -ed form (one in an ordinary eventive passive construction, and one as a modifier for a following noun, either as a reduced resultative passive, or as a participial adjective). —RuakhTALK 00:26, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmm... well, this is annoying. I mean, this isn't a defective verb in the usual sense; someone could come along and use "aphetizing" in a sentence tomorrow and no one would think twice about it. But because it is so infrequently used, only one form is actually attested. On top of this, it seems that story of this term's entry into the OED might be interesting fodder for a "Dictionary notes" section. So are we better off compromising our principles by having an entry at aphetize (and aphetise), or compromising our comprehensiveness by having none? It's a pity Goedel wasn't a lexicographer... -- Visviva 14:50, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I had a related experience with spectacled. The problem also seems to come up more in the heavily inflected historical languages where there are plenty of unattested forms including the ones usually considered the lemma forms. To a lesser extent the problem even comes up in English for rare plurals, rare comparatives, and, especially, rare superlatives. I would argue for formalizing weaker attestation for inflected forms. Unattested lemma forms are a little tougher, but if past and present participles are attested in English, you would think that should make it much easier to buy off on the infinitive and 3rd p sing. Also, you would think that alternative spellings (UK and US; hyphenated, spaced, and unspaced; u.c. and l.c.) would provide evidence about inflected forms. Unfortunately, none of the generalized rule easings I have in mind would help "aphetize/ise" because there seems to be no use of the infinitive or 3rd p singular or present participle in the convenient media accepted for attestation. That makes it seem more like "spectacled". DCDuring TALK 15:23, 5 February 2008 (UTC)


give me a word which means a person is interested in a particular field —This unsigned comment was added by Sahaana (talkcontribs).

    • example: "He’s a history buff." (note, I'd take it to imply an ameteur in the field of interest) RJFJR 16:41, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

past of belay

Is the past of belay belaid or belayed? RJFJR 04:30, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

"belayed" "rope" gets 10 times the hits of "belaid" "rope" on b.g.c. DCDuring TALK 11:22, 5 February 2008 (UTC)