Talk:furniture

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RFV[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

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Rfv-sense: An item, or, used collectively, items, usually in a room, which enhance the room's characteristics, functionally and/or decoratively.

Is this correct? I have learned that furniture is a collective noun and thus one could not call an individual item of furniture as "a furniture". For instance, the sentence "Table is a furniture" would be wrong. Have I been mislead all my life? --Hekaheka (talk) 04:54, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Although I agree with you completely, if you look at Google Books, you will see many hits for "the furnitures." --BB12 (talk) 06:10, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, I point out that "furniture" can be "an item" even if *"a furniture" does not exist: "a chair is furniture", that is, "a chair is an item..." (not "a chair is items..."), even when discussing a room which contains nothing besides one chair. To stress that *"a furniture" is not a standard English thing to say, we could add {{uncountable}} (or per BB's Google Books search, perhaps {{usually|uncountable}}) to the definition, but I think the definition itself is correct as it is. - -sche (discuss) 06:34, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
If something is uncountable, it should be defined with an uncountable for ease of understanding. My mind is drawing a blank right now, but is there a way to rewrite that so the definition is uncountable? I like the idea of adding the "usually uncountable" to the beginning, too! --BB12 (talk) 06:47, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

I'll try a solution:

  1. (uncountable) Items, usually in a room, which enhance the room's characteristics, functionally and/or decoratively.
  2. (countable, nonstandard) A piece of furniture.

--Hekaheka (talk) 07:25, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Sounds good, as long as we're einverstanden that "a chair is furniture" is a usex of the first (not the second) sense. - -sche (discuss) 08:36, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
@BB: I think that it would be desirable to define each uncountable term with an uncountable term. But often there is not a common one available. That forces us to use a plural. Sometimes the problem is worse. See white trash and associated discussion at WT:RFC#white trash. DCDuring TALK 13:31, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Should the definition include "Items, often wooden...". The usex given (...stick of furniture...) has an implied assumption that furniture is made of wood. SpinningSpark 09:44, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I don't think so. Traditionally furniture was usually wooden in countries where wood was in abundant supply, but the chair I'm sitting on at the moment has no wood in it, and I suppose in countries like Iceland where there are no trees, they had to make furniture out of other things. I think that's really encyclopedic information that isn't part of the dictionary definition of furniture. —Angr 09:59, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Maybe stick of furniture should have an entry then. It's not the encyclopaedic history of furniture that is vexing me here, rather the idiomatic use of stick. SpinningSpark 11:03, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Have you seen definition 7 of [[stick]]? —Angr 12:10, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I have, but I still think that phrase is idiomatic. One cannot say "a stick of wardrobe" for intance. SpinningSpark 12:39, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
I am OK with removing that sense from [[stick]] to its own entry ([[stick of furniture]]). - -sche (discuss) 16:03, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
One could say a "stick of wood". But this use sense of stick is (almost?) always in the negative: "We didn't have (even) a stick of wood/furniture/firewood/fuel/lumber/timber/spruce/etc". The essence of the matter is not that it is an item. A synonym might be "the smallest bit". Consider, too: "He owned not a stick of his cabin." DCDuring TALK 19:04, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
I think "wardrobe" isn't a good test- you can't say "a piece of wardrobe", either. Furniture is a mass/uncountable noun, which is the only reason you can say "of furniture" at all. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:31, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why one can't say a piece of wardrobe. Well alright, that one returns mostly fashion meaning, but piece of chair returns a lot of hits that really do mean a piece of a chair. SpinningSpark 01:08, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Struck. Further refinement of the definition would seem to be an RFC / Tea Room matter, not an RFV one. - -sche (discuss) 17:53, 25 November 2012 (UTC)