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Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

Are all these noun senses really distinct? Thryduulf 11:32, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, the nautical sense and the working-group sense are definitely distinct IMO. The theatrical sense doesn't have much support in the other dictionaries I looked at (RHU, MQ, WN), but it seems as distinct in its own right as the nautical sense. In both theater and sailing, "the crew" is *the* crew, a specific entity not requiring further definition, whereas in more general use it is simply *a* crew -- the B&G crew, the repair crew, my crew -- one of many possible groupings of people. -- Visviva 12:20, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
I added the sense of loose social grouping. Such groups can be capable of working on a common task (getting into a fight, raising money for a good cause), but don't usually. I don't see the theatrical sense as really distinct from, say, a logging sense, both of which seem to fall under sense 2. To me there is some kind of shared purpose, but somewhat distinguishable kinds: shared tangible piece of equipment, shared task or project, shared potential to act as a unit. I can't think of words that would allow fewer senses. DCDuring TALK 12:53, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
I've started Appendix:Dictionary notes/crew for our entertainment and edification... Only the OED has anything resembling the theatrical sense. And yet, I can't help but think that "crew" (="not cast") is at least as important a distinction as "crew" (="not officers"), which gets a separate sense in 3 of the 9 dictionaries I surveyed. -- Visviva 15:30, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for very interesting and well-presented e&e. An excluding-leadership sense seems important. The idea that there can be multiple sections of the total complement operating a piece of equipment (eg, flight crew, cabin crew) is also worth capturing for completeness. I am disappointed in myself for having forgotten the hip-hop sense (roughly synonymous with "posse"), despite living in the self-proclaimed hip-hop capital of the world, though it is not really distinct from the older sense. I also think that that older social-group sense is often pejorative as a few of the dictionaries indicate or perhaps jocular. I have never liked definitions with narrow contexts that differed little in substance from definitions in other contexts, but the cost in loss of concreteness and vigor in the wording of a general, multi-context definition can be high. DCDuring TALK 16:21, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I've done a bit of work on this now, though I'm not sure it is really in any better shape than when I started. I found on close inspection that both the theatrical and quasi-nautical senses can refer either to a certain type of group (plural "crews") or to a member or members of the group (plural, and rare singular, "crew"). It seemed like this was too much information to pack into a single sense line, so I have split both of these senses for now (having first attempted to unsplit the quasi-nautical sense before realizing what a mess that would create). If anyone has a better idea, please jump in. Thankfully this does not seem to apply to any of the other senses.-- Visviva 15:12, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
    These could be merged by adding “or a member of such a crew,” but then it may not be explicit how the respective plurals are formed. Michael Z. 2008-10-30 15:31 z
    A usage note regarding the plurals would probably be a good idea in that situation. Thryduulf 17:45, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
    Well, in addition to the plurals, these two senses (or aspects of a sense?) have will have different synonyms (sailor, hand, crewer vs. ship's company, staff) and frequently different translations... I expect that would apply to the dramatic sense(s) as well, though I'm less familiar with that case. -- Visviva 02:59, 31 October 2008 (UTC)