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RFV discussion for the plural form flatūs[edit]

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English plural is given as either "flatuses" or "flatūs".

  1. The usage note claims that "flatūs" is a legitimate alternative English plural, going into a long discussion of Latin declensions. This is the English word, and, whatever the poster might contend, English does not inflect like Latin.
  2. In any case, (and I am not a medical doctor) but I would say this is probably uncountable, given that "wind" and "gas" both are, in this sense.

Therefore I suggest the plurals should be removed and replaced with "uncountable" using the {{en-noun|-}} template. — Paul G 16:34, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure that flatus is indeed a count noun, its non-count counterpart being flatulence, no? —RuakhTALK 17:01, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
The OED gives flatuses as the plural. SemperBlotto 17:03, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

The usage note I wrote was not intended to imply that flatūs is a “legitimate alternative English plural”. See my talk page for an explanation. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 17:33, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

I really doubt that flatūs is used in English, and it certainly isn't used in Latin, which means that it is of no use here... no one would have occasion to search for it in a dictionary... it doesn't meet our CFI... etc. Flatuses might meet the CFI. You could probably add a usage note, sometimes considered uncountable, if you wanted. — Beobach972 21:30, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

RFVfailed. I took the liberty of adding a macron to this section title — that is the word that this RFV was intended for, and this section’s title was identical with another hereinafter, thereby causing linking problems. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:25, 11 September 2007 (UTC)


Why does the supposedly uncountable first sense have a quotation using this term in the plural? Examples of flatus used as a mass noun wouldn’t hurt either. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 12:01, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Q1: I forgot it there
intestinal gas produced by bacterial action on waste matter in the intestines and composed primarily of hydrogen sulfide and varying amounts of methane.
Flatulence is the presence of a mixture of gases known as flatus in the digestive tract of mammals expelled from the rectum.
Compare the latter sentence with this: Atmosphere consists of a mixture of gases known as air. If not convinced, just make it countable. But I still think that gas and expulsion of gas are different senses. Hekaheka 13:01, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Possibly. But we need citations and references. I’ll take it to RFV. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:18, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

RfV Discussion of flatus.[edit]

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Let’s get some clarity in the way this word is used — someone please provide citations and references to back up the assertions of use and countability therein. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:20, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Since this rfv was provoked by my edit I have read more of flatus, farts and flatulence than I ever thought I would. As a result I can say that the usage is not very clear. A main line seems to be that flatus means intestinal gas as a substance. There are also two obsolete senses (OED): 1) a puff of wind, coming directly from Latin, compare Ut flatus venti sic transit gloria mundi (like a puff of wind disappears the earthly glory), and 2) morbid inflation or swelling, of which the quote from Swift copied in the article is an example. It also seems that in the intestinal gas sense the word might be understood as uncountable and countable in the two obsolete senses. Citations:
  • Encyclopedia Britannica in an article of flatulence: "Healthy individuals produce significant amounts of intestinal gas (flatus) daily.."
  • Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health by Saunders defines flatus as: 1. Gas or air in the gastrointestinal tract, 2. Gas or air expelled through the anus.
  • defines flatus as: intestinal gas produced by bacterial action on waste matter in the intestines and composed primarily of hydrogen sulfide and varying amounts of methane.
  • Wikipedia: Flatulence is the presence of a mixture of gases known as flatus in the digestive tract of mammals expelled from the rectum.
In two sources (WordNet by Princeton U. and Wordwebonline) flatus is defined as a reflex rather than gaseous substance: "Reflex that expels intestinal gas through the anus". I have no other citations on this. If this sense really exists, it's obviously countable. I leave the final judgment to native speakers.
According to OED flatus is also a condition: "Accumulation or development of wind in the stomach or bowels, wind."
The related term flatulence is mostly used to mean the condition of having excess gas in the GI tract but sometimes as a synonym to intestinal gas, i.e. flatus.
I did not encounter the earlier suggested plural form flatūs, which of course does not prove a thing. Hekaheka 22:09, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Excellent research, Hekaheka. There is also a fourth sense which I’ve added and cited (plural form of flatus). Care to add your references and citations? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 23:47, 2 October 2007 (UTC)