User talk:DCDuring: difference between revisions

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(French etymologies)
(compound terms: new section)
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:::Thanks. I've just spot-checked a few entries that have the Webster 1913 warning. That may be the source of much of the problem. They don't break French into the three stages + Anglo-Norman that ISO 639 supports. So, all I have to do is get some corroboration and I can update those fairly easily. I will check the sources you suggest. Thanks/
:::Thanks. I've just spot-checked a few entries that have the Webster 1913 warning. That may be the source of much of the problem. They don't break French into the three stages + Anglo-Norman that ISO 639 supports. So, all I have to do is get some corroboration and I can update those fairly easily. I will check the sources you suggest. Thanks/
:::I generally agree with your assessment. It mostly comes down to me being more worried with actually adding fresh content than worrying about small details in etymology (it is I am afraid a mix of "whatever strikes my fancy ADHD-like" and "strike for the low-hanging fruits". Generally I do not have access to elaborate source from French etymology, which curtails it further: few works go farther than Latin and Greek, which I've found supremely irritating). I threw in the cognate at {{term|jay}} simply to have the modern evolution of the cited O.F., but I do agree a case like [[lie]] is exaggerated. Normally what we'd want is for such a list to move to the appropriate appendix. ([[:Category:Proto-Indo-European roots]]). [[User:Circeus|Circeus]] 03:37, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
:::I generally agree with your assessment. It mostly comes down to me being more worried with actually adding fresh content than worrying about small details in etymology (it is I am afraid a mix of "whatever strikes my fancy ADHD-like" and "strike for the low-hanging fruits". Generally I do not have access to elaborate source from French etymology, which curtails it further: few works go farther than Latin and Greek, which I've found supremely irritating). I threw in the cognate at {{term|jay}} simply to have the modern evolution of the cited O.F., but I do agree a case like [[lie]] is exaggerated. Normally what we'd want is for such a list to move to the appropriate appendix. ([[:Category:Proto-Indo-European roots]]). [[User:Circeus|Circeus]] 03:37, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
== compound terms ==
On "range estimation"'s RfD discussion, you wrote:
"Would it be easier if we simply strongly discouraged any multi-word terms, directing contibutors to Wiktionary:Requested entries or an improved or specialized version of it?"
Yes, that would be easier, IMHO. But not better for the future of Wiktionary.
As you can see from my final entry, which was written over the last hour while you posted yours, leaving me in the position of unknowingly surrendering the battle while you were still fighting it: I'm shell-shocked from that debate. Not due to the style or emotion; those were exemplary. Rather, due to its departure from stated policy.
The home page says you want a dictionary people want to use and contribute to and improve. However, others obviously want - and are building - a pedant's playpen. Petey's mention of "Jewish vs. Christian" was quite revealing. Some people need to be sent a "The perfect is the enemy of the good" poster.
Thanks for your help.

Revision as of 21:06, 16 June 2009

Comments welcome. DCDuring 17:44, 30 August 2007 (UTC)



Taxonomic entries


Problems with plurals

Hi. I only recently became aware that there was a problem. My first thought was to dig into Category:Uncountable to see just what sort of problems might be present. That was when I realised that we have a grave problem, given that we cannot really keep track of anything if the templates are not working. I think EP is right.

  1. Step 1 is to rename the category.
  2. Step 2.IMHO is to modify the {{uncountable}}, {{pluralonly}}, {{singularonly}}, templates so that only the senses are marked as uncountable, plurale t, and singulare t respectively, and the {{en-noun|-}} template option to simply not put plural forms only. That is, disable its automatic "uncountable" label and categorisation.
  3. Step 3. I hadn't thought about "pair of" Perhaps a new template and category?
  4. Step 4. A bot to find and list entries that need to be checked out. (Might turn out to be a huge list :-/)
  • We could then encourage the correct use of the templates. In any case, I see this as an urgent "to do" before it gets completely out of hand. I wish I knew how big a problem it really is! - Algrif 11:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Your plan looks pretty good to me. The wording of the display for "plurale tantum" and "singulare tantum" and of the WT entries for those phrases needs work. It needs to be more accessible to ordinary users and not just technically correct.
I am appalled at the number of entries that have no templates and no categories. I spend time looking at frequency lists and filling in missing inflected forms. Probably half of the associated lemma entries are missing or significantly defective - and I don't mean missing senses, I mean missing PoSs, missing templates, obsolete headers, erroneous statements of comparability or countability, and structure problems. One hardly knows where to begin.
Are there good tools for counting entries with various characteristics and, especially, combinations of characteristics? I often wish that I could just do queries (not necessarily real-time) on the WT entries to get info on combinations of headers and templates (and parameters of templates). I guess bots marking or listing entries is as good as it gets. I am in need of getting up to speed on the capabilities of templates, bots, etc. What is a good place to start learning? My computer skills are not very up to date, but I am still capable of learning and willing to do so. DCDuring 15:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I need to think more carefully on your program. Whatever we do should be linguistically correct, consistent with good wiki-tech-practice, and sufficiently user-friendly as to help WT benefit from and handle any extra users we get from improving WT visiblity on Google. DCDuring 15:20, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm quite good at suggesting, but not very good at doing. I wish I knew how to write bots, but my (modern day) programming skills are limited. I would need someone to write, or help to write, said bot. I don't even know what could be possible, although I expect it wouldn't be too hard to seek and list all entries with certain tags and bracketed words (uncountable). As for going through any generated list; like all the other listed tasks on Wikt, it could never be a one-man job, although I would see myself being heavily involved. Can we put together a brief proposal about all this for GP consideration? - Algrif 10:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


Is this word ever used to refer to more than one golf course? One can find usage of both "The links is ...." and "The links are ...." but every case I've looked at seems to refer to a single course. Also, an etymology is that it is a shortening of "linksland". DCDuring TALK 03:31, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Found usage: "links" (with either is or are) can refer to a single golf course. "Links are" can also refer to multiple courses. What is that called? DCDuring TALK 04:16, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what name this phenomenon goes by, but it's the same as deer, where the singular and plural forms are identical. --EncycloPetey 04:23, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Based on our Category:English invariant nouns, they are "invariant nouns". Thryduulf 18:17, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, yes. I've been to that page. Could someone clarify it? I'm having trouble understanding the distinction made there between invariant nouns and invariant use of non-invariant nouns. There is certainly too much "ink" spent on the second case without making it clear exactly what the difference is. I'm too simple-minded to take on that challenge myself. I also don't understand the relationship of that to plurale tantum. I'm beginning to suspect that it would be useful to have an article somewhere (Wiktionary Appendix or WP?) explaining the various non-standard plural phenomena: invariant nouns, plurale tantum, singulare tantum, uncountability, semantic singularity, invariant use of non-invariant nouns, pair-of nouns, and collective nouns with special focus on the simple usage questions of greatest potential interest to our anon and even not-so-anon users:
  1. How does a speaker/writer use each type of noun with respect to a single referent ? and
  2. Does it (always, sometimes, never) take a plural verb when referring to a single referent?
Consistent nomenclature and corresponding categories for the technically adept wouldn't hurt either to assist the flow of wisdom from adepts to contributors to lowest common denominator. There seem to be some bottlenecks in the flow. DCDuring TALK 19:43, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Regular, non-invariant nouns can be either singular or plural with different forms, e.g. "one ship", "two ships"
  • Invariant nouns can be either singular or plural, but have the same form for both, e.g. "one sheep", "two sheep"
  • Invariant use of non invariant nouns is using one form, usually the singular form, of a noun that has different forms for singular and plural as both singular and plural. e.g. elephant is a non-invariant noun ("one elephant", "two elephants"), but the singular form can be used for the plural (i.e. invariantly), e.g. "I shot three elephant today"
  • Pluarlia tantum can only be plural, e.g. tongs - you can say "pass me the tongs please" but not *"pass me the tong please".
  • Singularia tantum can only be singular, e.g. crack of dawn.
Does this help? Thryduulf 21:17, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
It helps because it gives real cases. I seem to try to avoid using many of these expressions as do many of the folks I listen to, so my ear doesn't seem to have been getting much practice.
OK: "One sheep is"; "Two sheep are"
Help me here: "Three elephant are approaching" ?; "Three elephants are approaching". I'm not sure this comes up much in US. You must have more elephant in the UK.
OK: "Three cannon are firing", "Three cannons are firing", "The cannon are firing".
Help me here: "The cannon is firing" How many cannons may be involved? Only one?
If only one cannon can be involved, why would we bother calling this "invariant" rather than a noun with two plural forms?
OK for pairs-of words: "These tongs have rusted" (whether referring to one pair or more than one pair).
How does this work for p.t. nouns that are not pairs-of?
Help me here: Is it simply wrong to say "The experience of cracks of dawn differs by latitude and season"?
Confirm: "The fleet is passing through the channel". (US) "The fleet are passing through the channel". (UK)

DCDuring TALK 01:45, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

So links (golf sense) is an invariant noun, plural in form (by coincidence only), with the added quirk of being optionally used as a plural to refer to what is normally considered a single place (a golf course). Oof. Do any other words behave this way? -- Visviva 23:39, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Come to think of it, I guess all pair-of words behave this way; glasses, scissors, jeans, etc. -- Visviva 11:04, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I started an entry for linksland, but was struck that this term is used only in golf-related literature. On the other hand links/lynkis is a valid Scots word for rough open ground, so linksland seems like a pleonasm, perhaps invented after "links" had begun to refer to golf courses themselves. [1] -- Visviva 23:39, 22 April 2008 (UTC)


Please be careful here. For example all the hits for "more nitrogenized" seem to have "more" modifying the noun rather than the adjective.[2] This is also borne out by the 0 hits for "more nitrogenized than." In general "more X than" is a better search, but still may result in false positives. -- Visviva 04:41, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. For nitrogenized, I also looked at the superlative and found nine in gbc. I reasoned that if a sup does exist, there is no reason for a comp not to exist. Is that too racy?
I am using "more-X-than" as my search term and reading until I find real comparables (not more modifying the same noun that the X modifies, first books, then scholar, sometimes then news, rarely groups. I look for 3. I'm trying to do it right so that I can meet challenges.
Many of the other adjs are logically capable of forming comparatives, but the number of uses is too low (0-2). I think editors are fooled by their own absolutist definitions. Someone defined worldwide as meaning applicable "everywhere". Clearly not how the word is actually used. DCDuring 04:53, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You're certainly right that people tend to go overboard with prescriptive definitions. However, for cases like this, IMO very close attention to use is needed. Eight of the nine hits for "most nitrogenized"[3] seem to be modifying the noun rather than the adjective, as in "most nitrogenized compounds are..." The only exception is the 1881 use, and frankly I can't make head or tails of that one. -- Visviva 12:23, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
If your google yields the searches in the same order as mine 1 and 4 are the right cites. This is most marginal of all the cases. Frankly I am skeptical about many engineering-process words being non-comparable even without the cites. If you would like to challenge it, I will see if I can use print sources to located some additional cites beyond the two clear ones for the superlative. I must say that I thought that the situation would be even worse than it has turned out to be. I thought it would be as bad as with uncountability, but it isn't. The a-/an-, in-, non-, and un- adjectives are rarely comparable in practice. I had estimated 15-20% non-comparability, but find that the negative prefix adjectives reduce the ratio to closer to 10% opposable claims. If it weren't for the proscriptiveness of the "not comparable", I wouldn't care as much. Do our editors find that, given a permissive environment, free of received rules, they must use the freedom to create new rules and restrictions?
That is indeed a common reaction, though mercifully much more muted here than on the pedia. No worries, anyway; looks like you've got a notion for what you're doing. I just happened to notice the activity on RC and think "hm, that seems odd," so I went in for a closer look. It does seem odd that the only two uses of "nitrogenized" in a comparable way on b.g.c. date from the 19th century; but perhaps that's just a fluke. Happy editing! -- Visviva 15:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I have noted the wantonness of Victorian word invention (crash of rhinoceroses) and morphology (-ical when -ic would do). I have tried editing some of the 1913 dictionary entries and 1911 Encyclopedia entries. They were developing a more Germanic language for a while. Perhaps the comparatives were part of the same syndrome. When I engage in chains of similar edits, there is a risk that I will go over the top. I think nitrogenized was the edit with the least support, though I have faith that more could be found. I have often been chastened by confronting the goggle evidence that my a priori assumptions are often wrong. I just wish that some folks would test their assumptions more often. Thanks for the chat. DCDuring 16:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Countable and comparable

Hello there, I noticed that you have amended the inflection lines of many nouns so that they are countable e.g. adipic acid - in this instance the the chemical itself is not countable but only if there is more than one type of adipic acid e.g. isomers - if that is the case then the definition may need revision to make that clear.

I'm also curious as to what g.b.c. is? - Do you mean Google - in which case many of the changes might then reflect incorrect or at least dubious usages and should not be included in Wiktionary unless they are noted as such.--Williamsayers79

Thanks for following up. I was aware that those changes were incomplete. Since the entry remains on my watchlist, I was hoping someone would come along, make the appropriate changes, and thereby provide a good model for other entries. Yes, I have altered them based on the (which ought to be abbreviated b.g.c. not g.b.c. (my mistake)). I certainly wouldn't rely on google web search results given the need to sift through even the supposedly edited works on b.g.c. (let alone the older scanned material). I try to look through the first few pages of a b.g.c. search to make sure that not everything is spurious. I have noticed that folks are inclined to claim that something is uncountable when it is not (not just in chemistry). It wouldn't be so bad if uncountability were marked only at the sense line. I am generally aware that structural differences are abundant in complex molecules, that atoms have isotopes, that there are many Marxisms. However, my chemistry is not so good that I trust myself to add the appropriate senses. If you would point me to a good example of an entry for a chemical with both countable and uncountable senses and let me know the approximate limits of applicability of that model, I would henceforth apply only that model in my effots and would hope to be able to call upon you for cases beyond the scope of the model. DCDuring TALK 19:25, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I would say that methane is a good example where the chemical itself (CH4) is uncountable as it has only one form, and where the word is also used to refer to other chemicals based on that compound therefore haveing a countable sense to.--Williamsayers79 13:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Comparablility has similar issues. I am somewhat numerate so I am sensitive to the fact that most natural phenomena are matters of degree. Folks who engage in selling, making, or studying things usually are making comparisions of types, grades, and lots in terms of various attributes which are sometimes popularly deemed incomparable. Maybe I have been wrong about believing that we should reflect the practice of "experts" in comparing and pluralizing what the laity do not, but the opposite presumption does not seem to have been based on much more than whim or limited experience in most cases, certainly not consultation with references or b.g.c. I am open to (and enjoy) argument on this as with most Wiktionary matters. DCDuring TALK 19:37, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad you are open for discussion in this area. We often have a bun-fight here over such things when all that is needed is good discussion and clear explanations (use of Usage notes are definitely welcomed from my view point). Regards --Williamsayers79 13:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
From context I assumed that bunfight meant dust-up, but the sense entered and defended by SB is different. Did you mean something like tempest in a teapot? I think the heat generated has to do with the missing side-channels of communication (facial expression, posture, gesture, tone of voice, clothing, tics}} - not that folks don't get into pissing matches in the real world. Internet communication is good for paranoid reactions. I've noted it in my own reactions from time to time. I'm wondering how to defuse some of the negative interactions between important contributors. Humor is a little risky without the side channels. DCDuring TALK 15:08, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
If you're addressing the idea of what is countable (a slippery concept to be sure) Arnold Zwicky does a good job of laying out the issues here. You might also check out Reid's 1991 book Verb and Noun number in English.--BrettR 13:36, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the references. DCDuring TALK 14:15, 2 April 2008 (UTC)



Following is a initial dump of "issues". Perhaps it could become the start of a guideline for handling the occasional abbreviations that are not well handled by the default features of the existing system:


Apparently c. is considered to be the cutting edge of forward thinking about abbreviations. I has PoS info optionally at the sense line. Perhaps that is all that is required, given that probably 99% of abbreviations are of proper nouns or nouns. Also an abbreviation that gets used as a verb is often not considered an abbreviation ("RVing" is not "recreational vehicling"). The PoS info is a gloss that may eliminate the need to click through to the entry underlying the abbreviaton, if there is an underlying entry.

No underlying WT entry

Some abbreviations have no underlying entry (it would not meet CFI). For such entries there is more need for PoS info, WP links.


There would be some value in including the plural form of an abbreviation to that a user who typed in a plural for "apts." or "apts" was directed to "apt." or "apt."

Period/no period

Periodless abbreviations are acceptable, following European convention. It would be handy it the search engine given eihter "apt" or "apt." would yield both "apt." and "apt".


Now folded into characterization as "initialism" or "acronym". As Agvulpine pointed out, some are pronounced both ways and some are pronounced in a combination. Some are rarely spoken. Some seem unpronounceable. Some fraction of Abbreviations are not well served. DCDuring TALK 19:07, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Alternative spellings

Thanks for actually addressing the original question. Interesting that there was so much pent-up energy about the overall interface. Until there is some more radical advance on the user-interface front, we just have to do the best we can. I don't like to make unilateral changes, especially in something like first-screen appearance, especially if there is a more general issue involved. Are there other instances like OK that you know of? DCDuring TALK 11:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I also noted that the heading in "OK" is "Alternative forms". There are certainly other instances, arguable even rock and roll, where the content under the header is not "spellings" {u.c./l.c., hyphens, -or/-our, -ise/-ize, and/'n') but other closely related variants. Those variants don't always have a good home on the page. Do you think that we should make that the universal header in that position or an allowed alternative, either documented or undocumented? DCDuring TALK 11:32, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I think in all cases in all entries, we should work to present entries that give the clearest information about a word in the format that is most effective and appropriate to the specifics of that entry, while obviously being subject to the limitations of the Mediawiki code and remaining loyal to our strict formatting precedents, but not obsessively so. The entries should cater first to the reality of that particular word, and second to some overly rigid arbitrary format. For example, if rock-and-roll and OK really don't have "alternate spellings", but more appropriately "alternate forms", well we should be able to make that minor distinction without much fuss. If the list of four or five alt. forms takes up too much vertical space, well then, golly gee, just put 'em side by side. Not too difficult. The formatting conventions are arbitrary, and many believe something is emphatically a necessary formatting convention when it's just some pedant with Asperger's whose brain fights for routine rather than effectiveness.

It's clear some formatting is important to the future of the project, to some preference skins and analysis tools, and to Wiktionary's ability to be understood by potential third party software. However, if a change is necessary, it should be simply made rather than fought. If "alternate forms" (or another useful heading) is currently not a valid heading in some skins, it should simply be made valid. If our software can't properly report to third parties a list of alt forms if they are horizontal with commas, well we should fix that. It's really people's personalities, not actual limitations that sometimes prevent success. -- Thisis0 21:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

This place seems to have more justification for format rigidity than WP. I've been cautious because I'm new and because folks can be touchy about things I don't expect them to be touchy about. The alt spellings format "issue" connected with the homophones discussion a bit and with the general problem of the low useful-info content of the first screen users see for many entries. I also am disappointed by the lack of knowledge about design-relevant user behavior characteristics. We do this for love, but I personally would love to have happy end users. I am optimistic that perhaps we can allow customization of the user interface so that editors and members of the language community can have useful interfaces without jeopardizing the experience of our presumed client base. I would be willing to submit to format rigidity if it sped up the achievement of user-interface customization. DCDuring TALK 21:37, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Again, simple solutions. Extra trivia like Homophones (and Anagrams, for f's sake) really just need to go after the definitions (like near Synonyms and See also). I'm assuming the Anagram/Homophone junkies fought so hard to be included, the momentum of their cause overshot itself and pushed right up to a prime real estate location, when they really belong down among the trivias and see-also's, if at all. -- Thisis0 22:05, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Hompohones at least might be justified on the grounds of helping someone to pronounce something or at least to stop looking for non-existent/minimal pronunciation differences. My fear is that the phonetic alphabetic knowledge (or working software for the audio) required to benefit from most of the Pronunciation section isn't there among most (many) of our end users. Simple solutions are all that we are likely to achieve. Because WMF doesn't have vast technical resources, technical solutions at all but the most basic level will be few and far between. I hope that it isn't all duct tape at the server farm. DCDuring TALK 23:01, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Having IPA here to encourage learning something new is cool, however, I wish we employed classic dictionary pronunciation, or better yet, simple pronunciation (pro-nunn'-see-ay'-shun). Wouldn't that be useful? I also wish we had a better way of showing syllabic hyphenation. As an arranger/editor of sheet music, that is my frequent utility of a dictionary, and sadly, Wiktionary is no help in that regard. I currently hafta take my business elsewhere. It would be a huge change, but I think it would be appropriate where the entry name repeats in bold just under the PoS headers. You know, where the en-noun templates and such are used. That's just a repeat of the entry name, why not make it use·ful? -- Thisis0 23:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Anything that increases the density of useful info on the first screen without setting back a user's ability to find things on other screens is good. In particular, both of your ideas seem good.
  1. Hyphenation at the inflection line would either give more info than is now in the entry or save a line in the pronunciation block for those entries that have it. Hyphenation skill is becoming less broadly useful as word-processing software absorbs that function so there may not be much energy for implementing it.
  2. A pronunciation scheme that an amateur could use without a reference would be good, even if it was not as useful for linguists and not as correct. Horizontalizing it seems like a good idea, but I don't know whether it interferes with someone's grand scheme for the section.
Today someone was removing the Shorthand section (well formatted and apparently correct) of some entries and could not understand what use that could be. That seems like another skill (like Morse code) that will soon disappear. DCDuring TALK 23:39, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
What entries? I'd like to see (shorthand sections). Regarding horizontal pronunciations, apparently it's already being done fairly effectively (and simply -- the key to greatness!). Look at attribute. I'd just like to add simple pronunciation to the beginning of those lists. Wouldn't that be a neat way to promote learning IPA anyway, to see the equivalents side by side? -- Thisis0 23:48, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
There are perhaps 40 entries with the Shorthand heading, appearing at the bottom of the page. They mostly begin "ab". abash should be one. I assume that the person entering them ran out of gas. You can search for "shorthand" and find them by the bottom of page 3 of the search results. There might be more to found by serching the same way for "Gregg" or even "Pitman". If you want to test on a user who knows no IPA, I'm your test subject for alpha testing. DCDuring TALK 00:06, 31 January 2008 (UTC)


We can't be the only people wondering about this - perhaps we ought to set-up a project page somewhere on WT and let the Wikispecies people know about it? Maybe there will be some people on Meta interested in cross-project stuff? Thryduulf 23:29, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

It could be, but I'm interested in the specific way that we could get some content and get some impossible stuff off our plate. I think everything really constructive tends to be bottom-up rather than top-down in Wikiworld. We can offer WSP traffic and etymology on taxonomic words. We can get a little traffic and perhaps a lot of words (many thousands?), mostly Translinguals and Latins. We'd probably get some (hundreds, thousands?) additional vernacular names. We might be able to get many entries we don't have, blue some links and not embarass ourselves with amateur handling of taxonomy. IF you can find somebody at Meta for support that would be great too. I'm thinking about working on our classicists. EPetey, and Ataeles, HarrisMorgan because the offer of ety help (if WSp even cares) would depend a bit on them. DCDuring TALK 00:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)


If you found cites you feel distinguish sense 1 from the two removed ones, by all means restore. I looked around a bit and thought about it a bit and then cheated and looked at a few other dictionaries, the consensus is that there is no distinct sense for the two which I removed. There are tons of missing senses still, but they will come with time. I personally think the two removed senses are sub-senses of the first sense, but I don't own that particular page, so you can do as you like ;) - [The]DaveRoss 00:31, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Taxonomy levels

| Phylum phylum || Phyla |- | Classis classis Classes |- | Ordo ordo Ordines]] |- | Familia familia Familiae |- | Divisio divisio Divisiones |- | Cohors cohors Cohortes |- | Sectio sectio Sectiones |- | Tribus tribus Tribus |- | Genus genus Genera |- | Species species |- | Forma forma Formae


Can you please have a look at Talk:dignity#RFV? --Dan Polansky 11:04, 6 January 2009 (UTC)


If you look at our definition of rebutter, then the new definition of surrebutter makes no sense. A rebutter is a person according to our definition. --EncycloPetey 20:45, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Our definition of rebutter would seem to be missing a sense. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 20:52, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


All ten (or fourteen) original volumes, as published 1888-1928, have been scanned and posted on It takes a bit of poking around to find them all. I downloaded the full set to my hard drive a while back -- if you or anyone else is interested, I'd be happy to save you that hassle by sending all ~5 gigs through a file-sending service. Unfortunately, because these were scanned by a (heroic!) individual, there are some substantial gaps -- some volumes are missing hundreds of pages -- and other strange glitches. Why no one at Hathi or Google Books has thought it worthwhile to have the OED digitized professionally is beyond me...

The barriers to import, as I see them, are three:

  1. OCR: This is the big one. Most of the scanned files are PDFs containing OCR'd text, but the quality of this text is so poor as to be incomprehensible. I have been able to get somewhat better results running ABBYY over the page images, but a great deal of proofreading is still required. Unfortunately the various performance-boosting tricks that OCR programs like ABBYY use tend to backfire when working with an idiosyncratic text like the OED. ... Neither Gutenberg, Wikisource, nor any other distributed-proofreading enterprise seems to have this on their radar... Since we don't have tens of thousands of man-hours to spare, we would probably need to target specific entries (most logically, those that we don't yet have entries for).
  2. Format: Converting OED format to Wiktionary format is seriously non-trivial, though in theory it could be automated. Then there is the matter of style.
  3. Inclusion: The OED contains a lot of words that don't meet CFI -- they have only one or two citations, or would be considered Middle English, or have only mentions rather than uses, etc.

In view of these issues -- particularly #3 -- I'd been toying with the idea of importing selected OED1 entries to Citations: rather than directly to mainspace, using some kind of standard wrapper template and formatting (trying to match the original as closely as feasible). The original OED entries -- many of which are truly works of art -- could then remain unmolested, and any eligible content could be adapted at leisure into the actual entry, if any. I think this would be reasonably within the mandate of Citations-space, though I'm not sure there wouldn't be objections.

Anyway, that's as far as I'd gotten in thinking about this; just thought I'd share.  :-) I am unlikely to actually spearhead any project of this nature in the near future, but if anyone were to take the initiative, I would definitely chip in as much as able. Cheers, -- Visviva 15:43, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm glad and not surprised that you have given the matter some thought. I agree with your thoughts certainly in general and in particular where I have myself thought about it at all. Perhaps I can make inquiries and exhortations at Gutenberg for proofreading.
I wonder whether OED/OUP has in some subtle (or not) way leaned on Google and Gutenberg to nudge this off the list of high-priority projects.
I wonder, too, whether we shouldn't have a separate namespace for Oxford 1919 entries in a format suitable for raw imports from OED1 rather than overburden citationspace. It would not be in enwikt interests to have this outside of enwikt, so it might be possible to convince those who need convincing to go along with the technical steps necessary. I further wonder if this would be a project that could win funding support (as untimely as such a hope might seem). DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 16:12, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Y'know, a WPA for proofreaders seems like just the thing when we have millions of white-collar workers on the street. It may be an idea whose time has come. I would have no idea how to go about making such a proposal, though...
For raw imports, I think Appendix-space would do just fine (we have the Webster's pages in there somewhere already). On the other hand, any serious large-scale proofreading project would really belong on Wikisource rather than here; they have structures in place for that kind of work, which we don't and probably never will. In an ideal world, IMO, the bulk text would be maintained at Wikisource or Gutenberg and individual entries would be imported here as appropriate.
Part of my reason for thinking of Citations-space is that the OED is so much more citations-driven than any other dictionary, and the citations themselves are a large part of what we would hope to extract. It's not something I would normally consider doing with entries from Webster's or Century. In addition, the entries often contain scholarly notes which may be worthy of citation in their own right. See e.g. User:Visviva/suantly.
NB: I realize now that the final volumes of the OED (specifically, parts 1 and 2 of volume 10, letters T-Z) may well not be public domain; they were published after the 1923 cutoff. Then again, given that Oxford's lawyers haven't sent a takedown notice to the Internet Archive, there may be more to the story. -- Visviva 17:32, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
It is just 75 years, right? By the time we'd be done through "S", copyright would very likely have expired on more volumes.
I haven't worked with Wikisource. Is there anyone in particular who would be good to consult on this? My concern about not using citationspace is principally with making sure that we don't suffer unnecessary delay because of opposition. I think having alternatives for how to do it (and being open to additional suggestions) would mean less question about whether to do it. :::The next step would seem to be to run it up the flagpole at Wikisource and Project Gutenberg. Gutenberg seems the most plausible place for any grant-funding possibilities, but WMF might be amenable. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 17:46, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Asperger syndrome‎

I'm inclined to think that all English names of diseases are proper nouns, since their grammar is much more like that of proper nouns. They can't take descriptive adjectives; they generally don't take determiners (except for the in the way some proper nouns do), can't be counted, etc. --EncycloPetey 21:20, 10 January 2009 (UTC)


Hi DCDuring,

Quite a while ago, you mentioned wanting a kind of to-do list that you could use for cleanup categories — there'd be entries in those categories that you couldn't fix, and you wanted to ignore those entries.

Earlier today, I started something along those lines. I'm not sure how useful it is yet — it's very limited so far, though I have a lot of plans for its future — but if you'd like to give it a try, add this:


to User:DCDuring/monobook.js. (You'll have to hard-refresh afterward.) It adds links to the "toolbox" at left, and a "my taskbag" link to the very top of the page, between "my preferences" and "my watchlist". It's very ugly, but I think you'll find it mostly self-explanatory, assuming it works for you — I only tested with Firefox 3 and IE 7 — if it doesn't work for you, then I imagine you'll find it very confusing. :-P

RuakhTALK 05:49, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, I'll take a look. DCDuring TALK 13:04, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

newbies on wictionary

dear DCDuring,

a Newcomer myself, I had a look at your user page, and noticed your list of priorities; given that, would you mind having a look at the quite lengthy post which among other things addresses how newcomers seem to get treated in general when first contributing to wictionary, that I put on Encyclopetey's user page yesterday?

Furthermore, many of my concerns hav to do with the accessibility of wictionary, like indeed having the most useful information for most users at the initial page that displays during a search, like pronunciation and definitions.

I thank you in advance for your efforts, as well as for the fact that I learned from your user page that I'm a fallibilist myself [cannot get my speech recognition to learn that word; spelling idiosyncrasies in the above are also blamed on the software. LOL]!!史凡 02:53, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Some sort of quality process for important words


I agree with you that we need to focus more effectively on core-entry quality. I'd been thinking of some sort of process that would focus on bringing entries for core vocabulary words (and particularly the senses and examples) up to the best achievable level. It would have to be sort of the opposite of our existing "Requests" processes, which do a reasonable job of enforcing compliance with minimum standards but aren't really equipped to go beyond that.

Specifically, I was thinking of something

  • slow (maybe a 30-90 day timeframe?),
  • fairly structured and deliberative (with a durable subpage structure, maybe including something like Appendix:Dictionary notes),
  • focused sharply on key words (maybe the Academic Word List and/or GSL), and with
  • restricted throughput (perhaps 10 words per month to start?).

Ideally, upon completing the process, entries would be raised to a high enough standard that they could be used as models of excellence. Truly model entries are something we currently lack, a fact which in turn discourages any serious work on quality, leaving us in the viciously circular place where we find ourselves.

Anyway, I was wondering if you've had any thoughts along these lines. This is another one of those things that I've been meaning to put together a more serious proposal for, but I keep distracting myself with various other shiny objects.  :-) -- Visviva 07:34, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Let me start by rambling.
I certainly think that we have numerous articles that have quality issues. Some of the issues are:
  1. insufficient modernisation of Websters 1913 imports.
  2. missing senses
  3. poor grouping of senses in entries with numerous senses
  4. redundancy of senses due to hyperspecific senses, especially in fields such as sports, computing, equestrianism, perhaps some scientific fields (eg, mycology).
All of these are fixable within our existing rules. Fixing them would seem to not fit well with our wikiness in that they require the intense efforts of a very few dedicated, experienced users and benefit hardly at all from the active participation of newbies, at least given current modes of participation.
I've been reading some older (1968) essays by Sir Randolph Quirk (Longmans Grammar). He cited Murray talking about the need for his contributors to go back over many entries (closed categories like prepositions especially) and make slips out for the usages that they did not find extraordinary. Quirk believes that non-literary-corpus-based analysis, barely feasible at the time of his essays, was the answer to the underlying problem. That would suggest that we need to have more recourse to the on-line corpera to improve those "core" entries.
To some extent our wikiness seems to give us disproportionate interest in "hard words" or "interesting" words. Though I should know better, I fritter away time on words like griffonage, which happened to be on the "uncategorised pages" list, instead of words like by, bill, defy, or set, just to mention words that have some degree of problem like missing definitions.
I know that lists are motivating. I don't think that the "collaboration of the week" idea worked. WotD creates some motivational pressure due to deadlines, but directs it at "interesting words" (=shiny things). Perhaps we need to have a sequence of lists aimed at intersections of maintenance categories, what-links-here, and other categories. An example might be English prepositions with Webster 1913 templates or used in 5 prepositional phrase entries. Perhaps we could have a page of lists of such lists.
And ultimately we could have featured entries and quality ratings as WP has.
I just don't know what is both motivating and truly useful. I continue to be desirous of ways of addressing the "needs" or "wants" of users, which may themselves be for "shiny objects". DCDuring TALK 11:29, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, there's no denying the motivational power of shiny objects. :-) On the other hand, there are a lot of structural needs that IMO are best addressed by focusing on a fairly limited set of "boring" core and near-core words. The need that's been most painfully apparent to me lately is to avoid "lost work" on translation sections -- there are far too many cases where a sloppy original entry has attracted lots of good translations, which have then all been dumped into TTBC when the entry was cleaned up (and if the cleanup itself was flawed, this process may repeat itself several times over). But that's not all; there's also the need to inform compositionality debates -- I think my most common rejoinder on RFD has been "if this is sum of parts, we're missing a sense at [X]" --; the need to support comprehensive treatment of 'nyms and 'terms; the need to delve into those issues of sense-grouping and -splitting that we keep touching on but never really hashing out; and so forth. Poorly-constructed definition sets have all sorts of undesirable side effects.
More cleanup lists would be an excellent thing, as would some kind of central, annotated list of lists (at least, I don't think there is any such list currently maintained). I think we often underestimate the amount of potential newbie and non-newbie energy that goes unchanneled. But still, cleanup lists focus more on the floor (minimum quality) than the ceiling; that is, while reducing the number of "bad" entries is a worthy goal in itself, it won't necessarily lead to more "good" entries. This is particularly the case for the lexical core, where the difference between "adequate" and "good" is particularly noticeable. To really do justice to a GSL word like by or one, or even an AWL word like analyze, requires a major collective investment of thought and effort. That's why I don't think we can do much more for these entries than we are doing now, without some genuinely new process -- perhaps something like a blend of Wikipedia's FA and Peer Review systems with their Core Topics collaboration. Maybe this process could harness the motivational power of to-do lists as well -- for example, the initial phase of review for an entry could involve outlining a list of individual, bite-sized tasks that need to be dealt with.
I think the biggest problem with the CotW approach has been that a week is too short a time to really gather even one person's energies to confront one of these words. I can say from personal experience that, when faced with an entry like do, 40 hours is barely enough time to lay the groundwork for an approach -- and I dare say few of us ever actually have 40 hours to spare in a single week. That's what tends to make these entries so discouraging to work on, and it's why I was thinking of a longer, flexible timeframe. Perhaps the process should be throttled with this in mind -- not 10 entries per month, as I initially suggested, but a maximum of 10 (or X) entries under consideration at one time. When consensus has been reached that the senses for a word are optimal, it could then be removed from the queue and a new word added. -- Visviva 12:29, 1 February 2009 (UTC) I'm having a hard time keeping my thoughts to less than 3 paragraphs lately, sorry. :-)
I guess I am of the opinion (and temperament) that wiktionary needs to be more checklist-oriented than WP. WP articles seem to attract fans, fanatics, learn-by-teaching types, and professionals with teaching inclinations, with narrow subject interests (though sometimes just eclectic). Wiktionary seems to attract serious effort mostly from language fans. Many of us seem to like short-attention-span work, for which checklists are very good.
The longer entries are overwheming. Perhaps the process would be to go through some high-likely-problem-ratio lists and
  1. leave a bunch of tags (including new ones) OR
  2. leave a tag on the talk page and an entry-specific checklist.
Perhaps the tags or checklists could be harvested for bot or template ideas that would make the process work faster. (I do not yet have a good feel for what can be done by bots or even templates, though a talk-page-checklist template that provided a formatted improvement checklist and entry-improvement log and some invisible maintenance-category membership does seem feasible though ambitious).
Maybe we need some simple focus-generating lists like "Preposition of the Month", "Determiner of the Month", "Pronoun of the Month", "Letter of the Month", "Symbol of the Month". (By the time we progress through each of these we could just start over, because there will be new issues.)
Maybe we need to mark senses that are in the opinion of some ready for translation. (Perhaps we could delete trans tables for those not ready and insert them for those that are.)
Senior contributor tasks:
  1. Sequence X-of-the-Month lists (easy ones, test ones, important ones, bad ones)
  2. Review entry for tasks to be done
  3. Review senses for translations
  4. Create short help pages for structured chunks of work
  5. Identify exemplars for each L3 and L4 Heading
Meta-tasks include some consensus- and enthusiasm-building.
Shiny objects might be a talk-page maintenance-task template, a page about determining the adequacy of a sense, a help page about how to write some class of definitions, and a proposed list of exemplars.
I'm almost getting enthusiastic myself. DCDuring TALK 14:26, 1 February 2009 (UTC)


Did you mean to change the Finnish?—msh210 19:37, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

No! Now returned to previous. Probably a touch-pad mistake. How did you ever notice that? DCDuring TALK 21:21, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

No worries

Hi there. I fixed your mistake on treading water. Cheers, Razorflame 16:56, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. Ridiculously complicated, but "tread" and "tread water" seem to have different frequencies of the inflected forms. DCDuring TALK 17:00, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

"Clocked out"

Hello. Could you explain the ramifications of an RFD/RFV being "clocked out"? Does that mean that no consensus was reached within some time period, and that RFD/RFV is now unavailable? I was looking at sugartime and finding it slightly annoying that this obvious protologism was apparently allowed to pass because almost nobody bothered commenting. Equinox 23:01, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I know you asked DCDuring, but I figure you probably welcome multiple points of view, Equinox. Here's what I do: If an RFV lasts thirty days with insufficient citations, I fail it (mark the RFV page's section as failed and strike its header, and remove the offending senses or delete the entry). If an RFD lasts thirty days with no consensus, I keep it (mark the RFD page's section as passed and strike the header, and remove the rfd tag). (I think that the former is standard operating procedure (policy?) and the latter is my own rule.) I make exceptions when the RFV is of a foreign word, when the RFD discussion is really unresolved (I may use {{look}}), and when the RFV is of a word that I think likely has citations (but that no one has bothered citing).—msh210 23:14, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I always hope that the process will work more or less as MSH describes it. The RfV process seems to be better defined. Accordingly, I find that if an entry seems wrong, it is often better to put it in RfV. The outcomes seem to be:
  1. It gets cited as defined,
  2. It gets cited but has to be redefined,
  3. It doesn't get cited.
It is difficult to see any problem with the first two outcomes. The third outcome could lead to deletion by neglect, but rarely does a potentially citable word not get cited. When one does, it means that the folks who do most of the attestation work didn't think it was worth it, possibly because it is not to our taste, but more likely because we don't trust ourselves to do it justice (sometimes because it is hard to sift out usages from our usual sources). When someone takes charge of the RfV process, they can choose to let something stay longer (as Msh says above), sometimes very long. As a result deletion of worthwhile entries is not too likely.
I put in clocked out as a way of drawing attention to the entry, especially if it is one that I had tagged. I don't like to be both tagging entries and removing them: I feel at least two heads should be involved.
I am inclusionist (on words, anyway, less so on badly worded and narrowly defined senses and on phrases that don't seem clearly idiomatic), so I don't like to delete things that might be real. I am inclined to RfV entries that SB speedily deletes. Most of the time he is right; once in a while I find I can cite something he has deleted. I suspect the number of valuable entries that get speedy deleted is tiny.
As to sugartime, I would have thought that it would have been deleted if not cited. DCDuring TALK 00:28, 12 February 2009 (UTC)


Thank you for your message and your confidence. Unfortunately I'm not a native speaker and contribute to English entries rather occasionally. I added some words to the first definition, which I borrowed from the definition of prune, because the initial phrase looked unsatisfying to me. Now, could we say "The removal of excess material from a tree or shrub" ? --flyax 17:50, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

I usually prefer "a removal", when possible, because it helps people recognise the possibility of a plural. I guess I'll just have to get my emotions under control. DCDuring TALK 18:16, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

RVF tags on Russian city names

Hello, please explain the meaning of the RVF tags you placed. The city names you tagged can be found in the Wikipedia. Please give an example of what you mean and why the entries need to be tagged. Please reply in "Requests for verification".Anatoli 04:46, 16 February 2009 (UTC)


Hi there. I understand that you are an administrator here. Could you please look over agardite to make sure that I did everyting correctly? Thanks, Razorflame 17:28, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Rackets et al

Sorry, thought I was following process...from what I could find...Thanks for the pointers. BTW, what do you think of consolidating them?? -- Mjquin id 19:59, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Sorry about your partially wasted effort. By my taste/interpretation, both tennis racket and tennis racquet do not fit our rules for inclusion (WT:CFI#Idioms. But take a look at fried egg and hippie movement. Then follow the link to the RfV discussion of hippie movement. DCDuring TALK 20:25, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Multi-word entries

Unfortunately, I can't see any way to draw this line beyond "use your common sense!", and (without throwing out the old saw about common sense not being common) that's clearly no grounds for making rules, because it can't be objectively measured. I can't think of any definite rules that would catch the worthwhile and ditch the dross, which is a pity, because I think we are going to end up with a zillion pathetic entries like tinned fruit salad and Japanese immigrant purely because they occur in many Web pages. Are we trying to define words or sentences? Gawsh. Equinox 22:54, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Relatively little harm comes from having too many entries. One good thing about low-quality multi-words is that they can cause us to check the senses shown in the component words for completeness and correctness. I have broken my sword on some of these and now wonder what I was hoping to achieve. A simple-to-administer system for automatically including some terms and automatically excluding others, leaving fewer to the more labor-intensive and contentious RfD process might be good. For example, any term in one of the major dictionaries (the mainstream OneLook dictionaries+OED-Wikt-WP-WordNet, for starters) and three citations for each sense would be a keeper. Perhaps anything with no dictionary support, no citations, no image, no translations, and no links after one/two/three years might be a presumed delete.
I recommend that you send any entry the could go to either RfD or RfV to RfV. Some entries will not get cited and will thereby be deleted in due course. This won't work for easy-to-cite common collocations, but it will work against entries that have no support from those who are willing to do citation work (me, Visviva, Ruakh, and not as many others as we'd like). Attestation can be fun. The facts discovered can even change one's mind about the legitimacy of entries. Using Google books and news searches and BNC and COCA via and the quote-books and quote-news templates is not so bad. DCDuring TALK 00:30, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps. But I would say the reasons things fail RfV are not related to being "things that shouldn't be in the dictionary", and I would feel bad about getting something deleted purely because nobody could be bothered to defend it and not because there was any "anti-consensus". To reiterate my example from above, tinned fruit salad has about 200 matches in Google Books, but that doesn't legitimise it in any way; and then he has far more, but I doubt even Stephen would add that one. Tush. Well, I take your (implied) point that adding material is more important than deleting it; I suppose I just secretly hope for a sea change where all of these (IMO!) obvious compounds will be either pragmatically zapped or (using some excellent future technology) redirected to their separate components. Equinox 01:02, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Most of the multi-word entries that have defenders are not like "tinned fruit salad" (although it would be fun to see who would defend it). They are more nearly legitimate ones like "rate of climb", "fried egg", "sunny side up", "over easy" - and Eiffel Tower, not so much Great Pyramid at Giza.
Getting citations entered is more valuable than keeping some marginal entry. There'll be someone else to add it in a year or two or three if it's of any potential value at all. Items stay on RfV for no less than a month. The folks who handle the resolution or RfV items use their discretion to avoid deleting entries that might deserve to live. I'm fairly aggressive about citing English entries that seem to be under attack for reasons other than not meeting our criteria (such as bias against: US, commercial products, vulgarisms, teen-talk, US dialect, business, religion, etc). There are defenders for many other specific types of terms, too.
A fairly simple "future technology" would be a "no text found" page that provided links to each of the words used in the search for multiword searches for those that have entries and search boxes and buttons for such words without entries. DCDuring TALK 01:27, 23 February 2009 (UTC)


See User:Visviva/Guardian_20090223 for an example of adjective use. SemperBlotto 19:51, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the quote. My brain isn't too sharp today. I don't remember exactly what criteria we use to determine whether adjectival use of a present participle warrants a separate Adjective PoS. As I understand it, the leading criteria are:
  1. Attestable attributive use
  2. Comparative and/or superlative form exists.
  3. Gradability
  4. Attestable predicative use
  1. No question.
  2. I looked for "more" and didn't find it in Books.
  3. It doesn't seem gradable ("too", "very").
  4. I'm not sure about predicative use. "The market is/was plummeting." seems like present/past progressive of the verb.
I didn't think 1 alone was enough, just as with attributive use of the noun. If others have concluded otherwise, I'd like to understand the thinking. I could do more usage research about comparability and gradability. Is this worth TR or BP? DCDuring TALK 20:34, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
To me, it just seems obvious that it is an adjective. Here are a few random pieces from Google book search - How To Survive In A Plummeting Elevator‎ - Economists don't know how to measure the productivity of industries with plummeting prices. - this benign neglect for the krone's plummeting exchange rate was extremely shortsighted. - If you spread mulch too early, plants won't fully harden off and go dormant, making them vulnerable to plummeting temperatures. - Donors' concerns about Kenya's plummeting economy deepened. - With the present plummeting demand market for office buildings - and so on. SemperBlotto 22:23, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Funny, those examples all sound like verbs to me. Not to say it's not an adjective, but at least I don't see it from those examples.—msh210 22:27, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I had never disputed that participles are used attributively as adjectives (1. above). The three open questions are:
  1. Is attributive usage without any other adjectival characteristics enough to warrant a participle being shown as an adjective also? ((It isn't for nouns.)
  2. Does research on usage of plummeting/plummetting show that it to be gradable or comparable?
  3. Does my interpretation of "Prices were plummetting" as present progressive rather than predicative use of "plummetting" make that "test" ineffective? (I think it does.)
The examples do not show gradability or comparability: "The market was so plummetting it made my head spin."??? "The temperatures were more plummetting yesterday than today."??? Neither construction seems like real usage to me. Of course, usage facts could prove my "ear" to not accurately reflect usage outside the communities where I have learned my English. DCDuring TALK 00:08, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, I agree that this doesn't seem like an adjective; it's not gradable and can't felicitously be used with modifiers like "very" or verbs like "become". On the other hand there is something very adjectival-feeling in the phrase "plummeting share prices"... And there is this: [4] ... but it's the only one I could find. -- Visviva 01:43, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. This is why, at the very least, we need to have some content (usage examples, citations) at some inflected forms, I think. Also, attributive use usage examples for nouns. I don't think that we do any service to users not showing an adjective and noun PoSes in attributive use of nouns and noun and adjective use of participles. DCDuring TALK 01:59, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree. BTW, even if we accept "plummeting" as an adjective, the sentence in that cite doesn't mean what its speaker meant for it to mean. Taken literally, it indicates a positive and high-magnitude second derivative of Party membership with respect to time (albeit presumably not so high in magnitude as to bring the first derivative above zero); but the speaker clearly meant for it to indicate a negative and high-magnitude first derivative. That suggests to me that the speaker was mixing together a few different versions of what he wanted to say, and got a bad result; which makes it hard to tell whether "very, very plummeting" is something he would ordinarily say, or if it was just a part of the larger mix-up. —RuakhTALK 14:44, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah, so are you saying that, just as "a green elevator" is functionally equivalent to "an elevator that is green", then "a plummeting elevator" must be functionally equivalent to "an elevator that is plummeting". OK, I'll accept that - sorry to have been a pain. SemperBlotto 15:08, 24 February 2009 (UTC)


Why do you require verification of the sense? There is certainly enough citations and an entry in Wikipedia, what more to you need? You don't seem to require verification of the sense for scacchic and it's definition is quite meaningless! WritersCramp 12:27, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

scacchic was in RfD. RfD is different process than RfV. There was no valid reason under WT:CFI provided for the RfD. Should "scacchi" be challenged, I am confident, having examined the potential for citing scacchic, that one could find more than 3 citations in qualifying sources. I found citations for surrogatum principle. I did not find 3 additional citations for surrogatum alone (as a noun) or surrogatum modifying other nouns (in attributive use). If there were actual citations in the entry from the kinds of sources we accept for attestation, instead of links, it would be possible to have a discussion. DCDuring TALK 15:18, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

it is what it is

Hello DC -- Re this edit, it is interesting indeed to see Locke using this exact turn of phrase, but I'm 99.99% sure his usage is not idiomatic in the contemporary sense. He is speaking quite literally as a philosopher, making a straight-up SOP ontological statement -- Every real existent is what it is by virtue of its constitution. Perhaps a literal sense should be added, and this nice quotation should go with that sense. -- WikiPedant 21:37, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Do with it what you will. There is a transwiki page that has some other material, eg, a Safire article, and a somewhat different take. DCDuring TALK 22:59, 1 March 2009 (UTC)


Was this edit intentional?

Of course not. Sorry. I have trouble with undesired deletions due to my touchpad. I thought I was only inconveniencing myself. DCDuring TALK 15:32, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Please Help with Obnosis Scientology Edit war


Please go through the history on the page to see that:

1) lisakachold is adding cites and entries that conform to wiktionary standards. 2) lisakachold is removing cites that do not conform or are redundant and commenting on the discussion page related to and before edits. 3) others are removing or immediately reverting those edits even if they conform [added senses and durable sources for all] [rfv sense tags removed even when obnosis is on that page]. 4) others are chastising lisakachold for editing her own edits and threatening that this is wrong. There is no proof of the version and the change, in a nutshell attributing lisakachold own edits to others and saying her cleanup of a talk/discussion page is bannable behavior.

Please diligently and carefully look at the history, like the administrators have been called to do. The page will be nominated for deletion since a scientology agenda exists to remove all but scientology references, which is not supported by the musical entries, gaming entries, literature entries as common use which the "users" continue to whittle away at in repeated edit wars.

They have removed the etylogy that includes "disease" repeatedly that was accepted by you and other editors at rfv in October.

Repeatedly they edit the page back to Scientology only sense, removing durable sources for well documented senses from two or more users at once, then lock the page supposedly for an "edit war".

New Administrators are not even clearly and completely stating on the Discussion page why their edits are done; history is vague as to why the changes are made, and don't completely conform to the whole slicing up of the page content that essentially restores it to Scientology even adding extensive vague and obtuse cites.

PLEASE ADVISE on what to do with this situation? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 12:06, 2 March 2009.

Colossus of Rhodes

Hi. I see you've tagged this RFV. But I don't see any entry in RFV. However, what I wanted to suggest is that "like a Colossus of Rhodes" gets a good number of Google hits, many of which I would consider to be attributive. "Hanna rose like a Colossus of Rhodes" or "Like a Colossus of Rhodes minus the body, this foot was a mysterious monstrosity". What's your opinion on this? -- ALGRIF talk 15:37, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

I'll probably pick another of them with less likelihood of being successfully cited. If someone wants this kind of entry in, then cfi should be changed. I don't care whether we change cfi, though I would like to understand the user-based rationale for including terms that are well covered in WP. Figuring out how to direct effort to entry quality improvement seems more important than abridging WP entries. DCDuring TALK 16:03, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree entirely. I sometimes find myself thinking, that with the limited amount of time available, why waste so much of it arguing about whether a fairly pointless / or clearly necessary/ entry should or should not be included, when there is so much useful work to be done. Which reminds me... back to phrasal verbs. Still 2,000 or more missing. -- ALGRIF talk 16:42, 9 March 2009 (UTC)


Hi there. Did you mean to put in the Verb PoS in this word? Thanks, Razorflame 18:00, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes. See roup#Etymology 1. DCDuring TALK 18:07, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

WT:BP#Move Category:US to Category:United States English

Have I addressed your concerns adequately about renaming the category, or are you still thinking about it? Disagree completely? Because this is a very populous and high-level category, I don't want to proceed unless everyone is satisfied.

In my view, it is just the name that is changing, to support the established purpose of the category, and to match virtually every other category in the branch (excepting category:UK, which is on my short list). The renaming doesn't really interact with what may already be miscategorized (although the more explicit name may help prevent further miscategorization).

I'm not changing any templates at this time, either. I do plan to make a proposal to handle terms for geographically restricted subjects, as opposed to terms from regional dialects. Cheers. Michael Z. 2009-03-18 22:23 z

Thanks for asking. I will think on it. I would like to enable the appropriate changes in support of geographic context at the same time. I think that the templates need to be changed as part of the whole set of changes. DCDuring TALK 22:42, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Why tie the name change to another issue which is likely to be a huge can of worms? The name change is simply standardizing one anomalous category name, without changing the function of anything. Geographic context is a whole new framework for us, and many editors are barely introduced to the concept. Regardless of what's decided about that one, the category is clearly named incorrectly. Michael Z. 2009-03-19 03:13 z
A simple review of some of the 3200 entries in the category will show that many entries already have a US tag because the referent is in the US. I believe that users are likely to continue to use the US tag in this way, especially if the displayed label does not change. DCDuring TALK 10:28, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Then propose a change in the label. But please don't stall the fixing of a misnamed category based on that. Michael Z. 2009-03-19 14:13 z
I have proposed a change to templates and context display. A well thought-out proposal needs to address the ancillary issues, especially those that will affect user (passive and contributor) behavior. DCDuring TALK 14:28, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

WT:BP#Move Category:US to Category:American English

Hi. Carolina Wren's question has prompted me to rethink the proposal, and I've restarted it under a new heading. Please leave a note there. Thanks. Michael Z. 2009-03-19 16:01 z

Hi. The proposal to rename has been on the table for a week. The category's purpose is clear from its description and the fact that Category:United States of America also exists, and plainly it is incorrectly named when compared to the rest of Category:Regional English.
Tying several independent issues to this move is pointless. I wouldn't be wise to launch a single proposal that complex and with so many possible points of failure, just to rename this category. Renaming the template may or may not be helpful, but your suggestion clashes with the rest of Category:Regional context labels, so that expands the scope further. Proposing a framework for regional context categories and templates is huge, and could be resolved three or four very different ways. None of these things change the fact that the name Category:US fails badly, and Category:American English is the best name. Moving it improves the dictionary without harming anything.
So please rethink your position. Leave a note at the BP and let us know that you'll support the move. Thanks. Michael Z. 2009-03-23 16:17 z


Shown as Translingual noun. Shouldn't we treat it as a Latin adjective? Would it be a form of the New Latin coinage aconitus (adjective), derived from classical Latin aconitum (monk's hood)? DCDuring TALK 19:21, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

That's the way I normally treat these. They're not Translingual unless they're used as words in multiple languages. This is only used as part of a word internationally, and so I would treat it as strictly Latin (and as an adjective form). See more of my thoughts at WT:BP#Species names. --EncycloPetey 02:16, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

systematic risk

Better definition for it please, a correct one. Steel Blade 01:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, DCDuring. I was mentioning about systematic risk, but thank you though. Steel Blade 02:12, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Is this confusing? Steel Blade 10:39, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Votes/2009-03/Transwikis from other Wiktionaries

Hi DCDuring,

Since you commented at Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Transwikis from other Wiktionaries., I wanted to make sure you were aware of the resultant vote, Wiktionary:Votes/2009-03/Transwikis from other Wiktionaries.

RuakhTALK 13:40, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

The rfv you added in Sept/08 to the interjection senses of dude

Hello DC -- I just came across your old rfv for the preposterous plethora of senses under the interjection POS of "dude". I think you are quite right -- there is one sense here, at the most. In fact, I think the whole "interjection" section of this entry could just be bulldozed. This is the kind of content that fouls wiktionary's reputation. Unfortunately your rfv did not generate much discussion and no action resulted. Maybe you should consider relaunching this as an rfd for all of these senses. This mess cries out for housecleaning. -- WikiPedant 04:45, 8 April 2009 (UTC)


Why did you erase doabler? Confer Citations:doable, where its use is evident. I took it from there. If you wish, I shall dig up two more citations for doable from Carlyle, so that no doubt be cast. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 16:40, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I did not delete the entry. I merely removed doabler from the inflection line at "doable". I did so because it was used only by Carlyle and in discussion of his works, AFAICT. If someone needs to look it up they will find it. If someone is trying to determine what the comparative of doable is, they will not be misled by Carlyle's idiosyncratic usage. I'm not at all sure that "doabler" is attestable. Do you think it needs more citations? DCDuring TALK 17:50, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I shall look for other quotations for doabler and when they become three, I shall create Citations:doabler and the respective article. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:09, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Cruciate ligament

"Usually uncountable"

Gasp! I didn't know you could do that, even though I have cursorily read the en-noun help page. I shall try to bear it in mind. Equinox 23:42, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks to MSH. BTW, please cast your eyes on an uncountable sense of house I've added and taken to tea. DCDuring TALK 23:48, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
That is interesting. My gut feeling is that this can be done with practically any noun, though; cf. 1954 "more truck for your money", 1964 "you too can get more bookmobile for your money", 1976 "By getting more vacation for your money". Equinox 23:53, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

HO scale

How is this translingual? Foreign-language Wikipedias all give this a different name. --Jackofclubs 17:48, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Used in Japan per WP. I'll bet on non-English use in Western hemisphere (Spanish, Quebecoise, Hawaiian, etc.), possibly also Korea, Philippines. See discussion of AAA batteries. DCDuring TALK 18:03, 11 May 2009 (UTC)


Re pavee being derogatory, I've changed it to a usage note, as it really depends on who is saying it.--Dmol 01:16, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

"nigger" is like that, but it was not derived from a language spoken by blacks, ancestrally. DCDuring TALK 01:35, 13 May 2009 (UTC)


Concerning mater, and festus if applicable, I wasn't aware that descendants should be listed on parent entries as well as the relevant direct etymological origin; it would help if this was cleared up, as there are other entries that would need editing if it was standard to list the descendants on all words that go back. Caladon 18:23, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

WT:ELE#Descendants is the most definitive statement on the subject, but is only one line long. The idea is to be able to have wikilinks from the etymons in other languages to the descendants as well as from the descendants to the etymons. Good judgment would suggest that we not have all the English-language entries that were in any way descended from "mater" rather than representatives of the major lines of descent (ie, "matrimony" perhaps, but not "matrimonial"), but good judgment does not always prevail.

I find the etymologies themselves to be a higher priority. There are so many missing ones. If we had etymologies of some kind for all words, then contributors could use "what links here" to make complete or good selected lists of descendants. It might be possible to automate the process. DCDuring TALK 18:53, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

On WT:ALA#Descendants it does state it should be listed only on the 'direct etymological progentior'. The problem I can see is if compounds of Latin verbs have descendants in English, and there are often quite a few compounds to every verb, that there will be a lengthy list on the parent entry of the compound, but then again if one did have good judgment they would know not to have such excessive lists; and I have seen other editors remove descendants from verb compounds from the compound's etymon. Caladon 12:56, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Let's parse the word "direct" in WT:ALA. Does it mean that if a Latin word had a descendant that was Middle English, Old English, or Old French from which the modern English word derived, the English is therefore not a descendant. Because almost all modern French words with Latin ancestry progressed through Middle and Old French, few French word would be descendants of Latin. I am reasonably sure this is not what is intended, though a case could be made for such a policy. In any event, in a certain sense, the Latin policy is subordinate to Wiki-wide policy, terse as it is. The plain meaning of descendant would argue against including uncles, aunts, and cousins (cognates) but for children at all removes. DCDuring TALK 16:22, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
What "wiki-wide policy"? Do you mean the "terse" statement on WT:ELE? If so, then please note that at the top of the ELE, a header explicitly lists language-specific policies, including WT:ALA. The ELE acknowledges ALA explicitly.
Listed Descendants of Latin words should include only non-Latin words whose immediate Latin precursor gave rise to the word. The word matrimony would thus NOT be listed at mater, becuase there is another Latin word matrimonium that is a more immediate Latin precursor. In choosing descnedants, the key consideration is the point at which the "new" language received the word. We are more flexible with English, in that many Latin words entered via French, but only to the point of the most immediate Latin precursor. We do not list all related English terms at the Latin root; that is what the Related terms section is used for, and there is no need to duplicate that function on the Latin entry since it is a matter of English relationships and not Latin. -EncycloPetey 14:01, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Lord willing and the creek don't rise

I posted a comment on the origin of this phrase on Talk:Lord willing and the creek don't rise. Regards, Ecphora 01:42, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

I've added some more early uses of the phrase. Ecphora 23:03, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


This isn't Translingual in the sense we normally use that term. The Polish name and abbreviation are different, e.g., as is the French. --EncycloPetey 00:56, 24 May 2009 (UTC

But Jamaican Creole..... Are you sure that we can't find three languages that wouldn't translate it into words with this acronym? I'm just trying to avoid Anglophonic chauvinism. I've wondered about the meaning of Translingual in this context. DCDuring TALK 01:02, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
True, we've never explicitly defined what we mean by "Translingual, but I don't think a criterion of three languages would be what we mean, or words that are the same in Italian, Spanish, and Galician would become "translingual". For ICBN, there is no harm in multiple language listings, but I'd want to see really widespread use for a "Translingual" entry, such as for most major European languages and a few major Asian ones. --EncycloPetey 01:05, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

"there" as a noun in "from there"

Hi DCDuring,

I'm not sure that "there" is a noun in "from there"; "from" is pretty flexible in what sort of complements it takes, and in particular, seems quite comfortable taking any sort of prepositional phrase (including some that we call adverbs):

You all look like ants from up here!
On coming out from inside the dark theater, we had to cover our eyes.
He called over from across the street where he was staying.

(This is leaving aside the near-total free-for-all in phrases of the form "from ___ to ___":

Things went from bad to worse.
We tried everything we could think of, from ask the maid to check for a key under the mat, but we couldn't find a way in.

which I think is a slightly different sort of thing.)

RuakhTALK 18:02, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps the examples are too limiting. Unless you would question any of the prepositions that can position themselves before "there". Should we call it a pronoun? The plurals are certainly uncommon. It doesn't play well with adjectives, articles, quantifiers, or determiners.
BTW, I was surprised at how uncommon "there's" is relative to "theres" in COCA (even excluding all spoken material). DCDuring TALK 18:25, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Right, I'm not questioning that it's a noun sometimes — a word this common is probably attested in every part of speech ("'No, there, there, park over there!', he said. 'Quit thereing me! I'll park where I wanna park!'"). It's interesting; I haven't checked corpora for this, but to me it seems like "at there" and "to there" are unidiomatic, while most of the more meaningful prepositions are O.K. ("from there", "in there", "on there", "out of there", "off (of) there", "near there", etc.). I'm not sure where exactly it crosses the line from "adverb" (or technically "intransitive preposition") to "noun" (or perhaps "pronoun", as you suggest — I have no idea), I'm just pretty confident that "from there" itself works just fine with "there" as an "adverb". —RuakhTALK 18:39, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
It may be restricted with some prepositions, but "It stretched from here to there."
For common words like this, I am strongly influenced by the lexicographic choices of Longmans' (Quirk's!!!) DCE. The copula-subject sense that we have been showing as an adverb they show as a pronoun. In the article on "there" they have a usage examples "over there" and "out there". They do not have a noun sense, but MWOnline does. But that's neither here nor there. I've not yet looked at other OneLook dictionaries, but OED, Quirk, and CGEL would be better than any of them, I think. DCDuring TALK 19:03, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
CGEL calls it a "preposed locative" in this construction, without commenting on the part of speech. It does indicate that it is not the subject of the sentence. The implication is that it's an adverb in constructions like "There is/are...", but I could not find an explicit statement in CGEL on the POS. I may do some more thorough looking later. --EncycloPetey 19:11, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

weak cardinality

I actually intended it to be failed, I just neglected to delete it. Usually on entries like that where there are multiple points of view expressed in the discussion I try to do some very quick and dirty research to see what it looks like to me, and I couldn't readily find anything that looked even close to verifiable cites, so I went with the "no-cites-no-pass" verdict. I just forgot to delete it, I blame the hour ;). I am going to follow through with failing it and deleting it, but I have no problem with people restoring "clocked-out" entries as they see fit as long as some form of reasonable justification is used. - [The]DaveRoss 14:01, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

over the top

I've moved the second "adverb" sense to the adjective, because it looks to me like a copula use of go. However, I'd like a second opinion. If you agree, then we'll assume that's right. If you disagree, than I ought to start a discussion in the Tea Room. --EncycloPetey 03:24, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes. I see what you mean. I have no references that help me on this, but I took a look in the BNC at the verbs that precede "over the top" within 4 words. So far I have found that the usages that have that meaning are exclusively verbs that have senses that many consider copulas (be, go, regard, seem, appear, sound). I think that "go" is a little confusing because in our minds it is associated with the adverbial motion usage with "go". By way of confirmation, in COCA some of the UK sense is evident, but the adverbial is relatively more common, including with some of the same words (be, go, appear) that are more often used copulatively with the adjective meaning.
In short, I agree with you. DCDuring TALK 04:03, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into this. --EncycloPetey 04:07, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Hello DC and Petey -- I originally added this sense. The OED sees it as an adverb, but these multi-word idiomatic modifiers sometimes seem to be toss-ups. I can live with calling it an adjective. -- WikiPedant 04:12, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
I've gone to like BNC and COCA for this kind of thing. DCDuring TALK 04:33, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

chopped meat 'nyms

An alternative way of dealing with these terms is to define chopped with a new sense: ground in a grinder. That might actually be the way to go, since Google Web estimates (as a first-page estimate) 103,000 hits for "chopped meat" and 206,000 for "chopped turkey|beef|lamb|mutton|venison|pork|chicken". Also, 3450 for "chopped meat" grinder to 2720 for "chopped turkey|beef|lamb|mutton|venison|pork|chicken" grinder. The number suggest, though not certainly, that — although perhaps no one phrase is used much — chopped is used to mean ground when meat of any kind is under discussion. So perhaps, as I say, a new sense is needed s.v. [[chopped]], with [[chopped meat]] and [[ground beef]] — the only bluelinks, I think — to be deleted as SoP. What think you?—msh210 18:51, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

I honestly don't know. In the long run we may have all of these close-to-SoP entries, but for now I like the idea of using their attempted entry as a way of making sure that we have all the valid nuances of the component words. The nyms seem frivolous to me at this stage of wikt's evolution. My thinking is mostly to get folks to pay more attention to improving the core entries and less to low-value compounds (true idioms and items in other important dictionaries excepted). Of course, whether any given entry is actually low value is not so easy to see. It is easy to miss some of the more subtle ways something can be an idiom. I still don't feel I get the various possibilities.
As to this entry, the loose(?) sense of "chopped" as "ground" is interesting. It would be particularly compelling if there were some uses in this sense applied to something other than meat. I've really been enjoying the use of BYU's COCA and BNC for examining collocations.
The coal mine discussion at RfD is an example of the benefits of challenging compounds. It raised questions to me about the adequacy of "mine", for which I entered some "especially" language relating to underground mines, which much usage, especially from more than 50 years ago, usually assumed. Even now, the archetypal mine is not a strip mine, I don't think. DCDuring TALK 19:21, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Someone — you? — keeps quoting stats from BYU's corpora, but I've never gotten the interface there to work for me. Maybe it's just a matter of reading the fine manual. In any event: What else is often ground but meat (in a general sense of "meat")? Well, google books:"eat ground" subject:fiction yields glass (!) as a favorite, and various nuts and grains besides. So trying google:"chopped nuts|pecans|walnuts|almonds|hazelnuts|filberts" "don't want" OR "if you" (with the last phrases thrown in to try to ensure I get hits from pages written by people not companies), it seems as though people use chopped when referring to chopping with a knife or processing a bit in a food processor, but not grinding in a hand grinder: for that they use ground. I'm not so sure about grains, though.—msh210 19:48, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
That's pretty much what I found. Mostly chopped vegetables, plenty of chopped meat, and some chopped nuts. What I saw were almost entirely recipes. Well, the "grind" sense should probably be at chop anyway, but sadly with the kind of context I've never liked: "of meat". We could allow for the possibility of other things with "especially of meat". I think home meat-grinding offends people these days. I wouldn't object to any decision you make about the nyms. They served their purpose by forcing us to think this through, not that there might not be more to say about it. The hyponyms seem most suspect. I'm not sure that inviting folks to add all the kinds of meat that can be chopped or ground is very productive. DCDuring TALK 20:55, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, with the addition of a sense to [[chopped]], the entry [[chopped meat]] can be deleted, in which case there is no decision to be made regarding chopped meat's 'nyms. (Or did I misunderstand you?)—msh210 20:59, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
I was waffling. That seems fine to me. DCDuring TALK 21:22, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Fine, I've been bold and deleted chopped meat. I've also RFDed ground beef as SoP. Thanks so much.—msh210 21:44, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

The word utmostly

I think it's been many days and months, so I think the RFV should be resolved right now. Thank you. Steel Blade 15:46, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, DCDuring.

Based on the current evidence, the originally challenged adjective sense would fail, with the sole citation being moved to the citations page to give any effort to fully attest the adjective a place to start. I have converted the RfV to RfV-sense since the entry would not be deleted only the unattested material. DCDuring TALK 15:59, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Mills Mess

I agree with you, and yet Mills Mess doesn't (see the talk page for the relevant discussion). Mglovesfun 21:21, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

I looked at usage. "Mills Mess" it is, with "Mills' Mess" second and "Mills' mess" perhaps third. Not worth multiple entries that don't aid search. I made it a proper noun. Revert if you don't think it is. I posted at the Pump on Commons about user-initiated animations, which would be better than ever-running ones. Ideal would be some initial motion to attract user attention (Not necessarily a full cycle!!!) followed by it being stationary until perhaps a mouseover. DCDuring TALK 22:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)


Thank you for your comments and guidance. Please take a look to see if it's OK. Never done a dictionary entry before. Thanks!--Cgnk 20:48, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
We need titles. The sources should be from durably archived sources, which means not from ordinary websites. My cite on that page was not a good model, because evidently I failed to save the latest version of my quote and the other two quotes that I had added for the adjective. Thanks for the effort. DCDuring TALK 21:42, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Hi DCDuring! You've been doing a great work to bring quality into this entry. I'm not sure how to approach the verification of nonkilling as a doctrine (or maybe a better term would be principle or philosophy). Could you provide some ideas? Also, what can be done with the translations? I'm not sure about the gender of some of them, but I could find out (what other information would be needed?). Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you once again! --Cgnk 17:51, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
The entry has become surprisingly complicated. You should understand that, under our rules, the entry has a minimum of 30 days to get cited after challenge. Usually, it has longer, especially in a case where there is partial citation. I don't like the citations very much because they aren't clear and informative, but they may well be adequate. I reversed the tag removal because we usually leave the process of closing out a challenge to someone not much involved in the challenge, on either side, to increase objectivity. When the spirit moves me, I will try to find quotes that are a bit more illuminating.
The translations need to be split into the various senses. In order not to waste too much translation effort, we should get the definition wording right first. We then use templates to create a structure for the translations that people offer. Which senses do you think are worded well enough? The adjective? I'm not at all sure about the countable noun.
All in all, this is an interesting entry, all the more valuable because other dictionaries don't have it - yet. Other dictionaries often copy us. Even MW online might pick up something we do. DCDuring TALK 18:24, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Dear DCDuring. I must admit my knowledge of English grammar is very little, as I'm a Portuguese speaker. As I see it, nonkilling could possible qualify as a true adjective, as predicative and comparable uses seem to make sense (even though it's probably not a good example, a poetry book has been launched this month where "the challenge of being nonkilling" is used). But I'll leave it up to you. I'm not completely happy with the "world view" citations either. I though I would find more appropriate ones in "Nonkilling Global Political Science" [5] but they are usually presented as adjectives. I've asked George Simson, professor emeritus of English at the University of Hawaii to help me out, as he's familiar with nonkilling and its literature. He also suggested some time ago the need to bring nonkilling into English language dictionaries, so he's partially responsible for our debate! I completely agree with the removal policy; my apologies. In relation to translations, I've gathered most of them from the translations of "Nonkilling Global Political Science" (there was a Forum back in 2007 where all the translators met and discussed the problem of translating this idea) and some new Wikipedia entries (I think it is a noun in almost all of the cases). I see three uses that have a wide use: the legal term nonkilling (which will probably have different forms in other legal traditions); nonkilling as the first precept of Buddhist ethics (I've seen uses of this in French as non-meurtre); and nonkilling as a world view that, probably coming from the previous, has been increasingly incorporated to the academic world since the 80s (we should also quote Marvin Harris' work "Our Values", 1990). Of course that doesn't mean that our definitions are worded well enough. Thank you in any case case for you great help!--Cgnk 15:01, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
You've done a good job, particularly for a non-native speaker. I'll see what I can do about the wording and better quotations in the next few days. The RfV tag and discussion might bring someone else to help, BTW. You can tell your prof that I thank the two of you for bringing the word to our attention. Many words prefixed by "non-", "in-", "un-" are not linguistically very interesting. This one is better than most and also provides a model for some of the potential complexity of their usage beside its value in its own right. Check in again in a few days. DCDuring TALK 15:17, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your kind comments! Please accept this Nonkilling Barnstar. --Cgnk 17:24, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Canis pugnax or Canis pugnaces or Canes or Canes pugnaces

Hi, when you say the citations are not of the head word, would you please explain that to me. Thank you. WritersCramp 16:52, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Each citation for each entry title ( = headword) should be for exactly the entry title, including capitalization and hyphens. Even more importantly, the component words must not be separated by other words or punctuation. In the case of the quotations buried in the references that you provided, two or three were for "canes, pugnaces". Unless we can find an earlier version that did not have the comma, there is no chance that the citation would be accepted. In addition, the comma probably reflects the view of an editor that the words ought to be treated as if they were separated by a comma, that is, separately. As a result, even finding a version of the same text that didn't have the comma would probably not be good enough. You might ask EP about this.
You should appreciate that EP is a major contributor to Wiktionary, the major contributor for Latin. Not only does he do classical Latin, but also later versions, including the "New Latin" which is the source for taxonomic names. Taxonomic names are a mess because there are so many obsolete ones (rendered so by subsequent discoveries) and low-quality ones (coined or used only by amateurs, especially in 19th century England, never gaining scientific acceptance). The spelling "Canis pugnax" is suggestive of trying to make a species out of a dog breed. That is the kind of thing that dog fanciers and breeders do to promote their favorites. As you probably know, all dogs can interbreed and therefore meet one of the main requirements for being a single species.
Quotations that are not fully visible and, to a lesser extent, those not formatted are not looked at favorably because they force many others to spend more time in order to read the actual quotes. Or they force someone else to do work of low interest. The quotation formats are well worth learning. I've recently been working on nonkilling, which uses templates. clampdown takes a non-template approach, but omits things like page numbers. Many folks really prefer that I add urls to google version of the whole page for even more context.
There is definitely something of interest in what you have found. The quotes provide interesting illustrations of the use of some specific Latin words (treated as Latin because italicized) in English texts. Some of the Latin words for classes of dogs might belong in a Latin translation of the corresponding English word for the class of dogs (eg, canis pugnax for mastiff). I'm not so sure about it for English bulldog, but you could try. The wikipedia articles for some of the dog breeds or breed groups might be good homes for the material, especially as it is referenced. I will revisit the references you provided in a few days. They are still there, but "commented out" and not visible. You might want to copy them from the entry to save your work in convenient form before it gets deleted. I will probably do the same. DCDuring TALK 18:33, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

French etymologies

The etymology that bothered was that at eco- not ecology. While there is an indirect filiation to the Greek prefix, I HIGHLY doubt it is an accurate to make: people were thinking specifically of the suffix in "ecology" (after all, the same suffix is in economics!), so I'd stop there, and note the connection to Greek, but not trace directly to a Greek etymology (compare narco- as in narcotrafficant and narcoterrorism, clearly not the same derivation as the one in narcolepsy or narcoanalysis). Honestly, I'm not clear about your worry. Yes the derivation could be clearer, but IMO that's more about refining the given etymology than straight up "correcting" it. Circeus 23:23, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Etymologies always have to be done one at a time. I was just trying to get another opinion as to the breadth of the problem. I seem to find roughly one a week (it could be even fewer) without looking. Today the word was jay. It made me wonder whether someone had simply been assuming that any French cognate must be an etymon of a similar English word. In that case the problem etymology was mostly inherited from Websters 1913. The only questions are whether to start hunting for such things systematically and when to start the hunt.
I also have the impression that etymologies are not very well covered at fr.wikt so that I am often disappointed when I go there to find Middle and Old French etymons. I've just about stopped looking. DCDuring TALK 23:57, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
fr: is 90% an old dump of the Académie dictionary, which has no etymology material, hence your observation. The only widely used modern paper dictionary that has etymology material is Robert, but Trésor usually has excellent discussion of the history of terms.
Thanks. I've just spot-checked a few entries that have the Webster 1913 warning. That may be the source of much of the problem. They don't break French into the three stages + Anglo-Norman that ISO 639 supports. So, all I have to do is get some corroboration and I can update those fairly easily. I will check the sources you suggest. Thanks/
I generally agree with your assessment. It mostly comes down to me being more worried with actually adding fresh content than worrying about small details in etymology (it is I am afraid a mix of "whatever strikes my fancy ADHD-like" and "strike for the low-hanging fruits". Generally I do not have access to elaborate source from French etymology, which curtails it further: few works go farther than Latin and Greek, which I've found supremely irritating). I threw in the cognate at jay simply to have the modern evolution of the cited O.F., but I do agree a case like lie is exaggerated. Normally what we'd want is for such a list to move to the appropriate appendix. (Category:Proto-Indo-European roots). Circeus 03:37, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

compound terms

On "range estimation"'s RfD discussion, you wrote: "Would it be easier if we simply strongly discouraged any multi-word terms, directing contibutors to Wiktionary:Requested entries or an improved or specialized version of it?"

Yes, that would be easier, IMHO. But not better for the future of Wiktionary.

As you can see from my final entry, which was written over the last hour while you posted yours, leaving me in the position of unknowingly surrendering the battle while you were still fighting it: I'm shell-shocked from that debate. Not due to the style or emotion; those were exemplary. Rather, due to its departure from stated policy.

The home page says you want a dictionary people want to use and contribute to and improve. However, others obviously want - and are building - a pedant's playpen. Petey's mention of "Jewish vs. Christian" was quite revealing. Some people need to be sent a "The perfect is the enemy of the good" poster.

Thanks for your help.