Talk:alabaster

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The noun form is fine.

But the adj form I'm having problems with.

The first sense of "made from alabaster".

The second sense of "white, pale, ghostly" is problematic for me--especially the addition of ghostly.

74.129.2.63 22:35, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I updated the definition. I believe that alabasterness isn't ghostliness, although it may contribute to that quality. Michael Z. 2009-06-05 01:44 z
How do we know that the word doesn't mean "ghostly"? If we change the definition how do we know what is being challenged by the RfV?
The originally challenged senses should remain until this has had its 30 days. Any proposed new sense could be inserted, the RfV tag replaced with RfV-sense tags at the challenged senses.
Also, the citations now shown do not provide evidence that the term can be a "true" adjective. We would need cites of gradable or comparative use (which are available). The attestation of the adjectivity is not necessary for this RfV, is it? DCDuring TALK 15:44, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm unsure what constitutes a "true" adjective. I'll admit that I'm not a professional grammarian, author, or wordsmith. But I was paying attention in third grade English and back then we were taught an adjective is any word that modifies a noun. Now I'll admit that really noun can be an adjective, and it makes little sense to add an adjective section to every noun stating that the word also means "of or relating to" the noun. Igloo in the phrase an igloo salesman can only be an adjective (I wouldn't however say it is an "untrue" adjective. The adjective form isn't needed because it is a economic way to say a salesman of igloos.


When it comes to alabaster meaning "made from alabaster" I suppose that "alabaster box" it is evident that the box is made out of alabaster. In this sense it interchangeable with alabasterine. (Is that a "true adjective." But the tendency in English is to drop inflection. It has happened to alabaster/alabasterine -- a word I've only encountered in MW definition under alabaster listed as an acceptable alternative to the adjective alabaster. It is happening to leaden, so much that my educated guess is that leaden is used primarily to suggest lead (especially something that is weighty) such as a leaden foot. Something made of lead usually drops the inflection. (A Google search of lead bullets in quotation marks yields 88,000+ hits; while a similar search of leaden bullets yields less than 17,000).
It is also in the beginning stages with the word wooden. Wooden staircase yields 3 times the hits as wood staircases. In 150 years, it might be reversed. In 300 years, it might be that people will profess only seeing wooden as an acceptable but archaic alternative to the adjective form of the noun wood in dictionaries.


I added more quotations to the adjective form of alabaster. When I know the difference between "true" and "untrue" adjectives then I'll be able to intelligently address your concerns and might even be able to drum up some citations showing a "true adjective" form of the noun.


Forgive this long and rambling post. But I wanted to fully explain my POV on the subject. SonPraises 23:27, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
In "igloo salesman", "igloo" isn't an adjective, period, "untrue" or otherwise: it's a noun used attributively. If a man sometimes sells igloos, but usually other things, you can't call him an *"occasionally igloo salesman". If he's tall and sells igloos, you can't call him an *"igloo tall salesman". If he currently sells other things, but will start selling igloos next week, you can't say he'll *"become igloo soon". (None of these tests is perfect — not all adjectives pass all of them — but if a word doesn't pass any of them, then it's apparently not an adjective.) —RuakhTALK 02:47, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay, then. I split this definition, since it was two things (but now the intended sense of ghostly is less clear). Michael Z. 2009-06-06 14:40 z
I'll readily admit my inclusion of "ghostly" as a defining sense along with "white and pale" may have been overreaching. It very well could be that it is more of a connotation rather than a denotation. I added the adjective form when all of the literary examples proved to be adjectives--alabaster boxes, alabaster chambers, alabaster cities. Reading several uses of alabaster, it seemed to be used within phantasmic contexts such this century-old New York Times headline: "Ghostly Hands Seen After Writers Left: One Looking Like Alabaster Moved Objects" SonPraises 23:39, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

RFV failed "ghostly", removed; other senses kept with a smattering of cites. (Anyone wishing to re-RFV them, feel free.) —RuakhTALK 12:12, 24 November 2009 (UTC)