Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I wonder if we should make an idiom entry for "in a long time"? It seems like one would have to stretch the existing senses of "in" pretty far before they logically realized the meaning which "in" realizes in "in a long time". As in: "I haven't seen you in a long time". (Signed Language Lover) —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Language Lover (talkcontribs) at 23:52, 7 March 2007 (UTC).

Of course we should. We need entries for all multiword terms, such as burn up, burn down, for a while, in a while, etc. —Stephen 17:15, 8 March 2007 (UTC)


In Arabic "in" is في, pronounced "fee". I don't know how to add this, though. Wrad 17:55, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

It is already there. —Stephen 21:51, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Really? I don't see it at all. Wait, now I do, sorry, I'm new here. Wrad 21:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


See Appendix:Collocations of in. It contains hundreds of collocations taken from COCA of "in" with following nouns:

  1. in + noun singular
  2. in + noun plural
  3. in + a + noun singular
  4. in + the + noun singular
  5. in + the + noun plural
The work on this appendix has just begun.
The plan includes:
  1. Basic formatting:
    1. headers
    2. lower case
    3. wikilinking
  2. Addition of other collocations that are in wiktionary but not in the lists.
  3. Excluding apparent cases of attributive use of noun.
  4. Checking the nouns to make sure that we have the appropriate senses thereof.
  5. Classifying the nouns along multiple dimensions relevant to "in".
  6. Comparing presentations of "in" in dictionaries and other linguistic resources.
  7. Matching senses of "in" against classes of nouns.
  8. Making a reasonable set of not-too-much-overlapping definitions of in.
  9. Proposing elimination of any non-idiomatic prepositional phrases that have no other merit.
  10. Adding entries for any missing idioms involving the collocations.

IOW, this is a way of making many types of improvements in wiktionary entries based on the use of the vast collocation databases available. Apart from the formatting I do not know how this could be automated, but would welcome any suggestions in that regard or in any other regard including the wisdom of the undertaking. DCDuring TALK 21:57, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Glosses of Preposition

1 Contained by.
2 Surrounded by.
3 Part of; a member of.
4 Pertaining to (that particular thing).
5 After a period of time.
6 By virtue of; by means of
7 Into.

For matching with collocation words to identify possible missing senses. DCDuring TALK 20:43, 26 June 2009 (UTC)


From RfC

A well-meaning, but misguided translator has destroyed this entry, splitting into separate senses things that aren't separate senses in English. --Connel MacKenzie 07:58, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Could you please be more specific? I don't see any problems. --EncycloPetey 15:18, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
The entry looks like it could use more separate senses for the preposition, not fewer. MW3 has 5 main senses (not all of them in our entry ("in" as in "in the key of" is missing) and 18 subsenses. I'm fairly sure that we don't have a lot of the more figurative sub-senses. DCDuring 01:58, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


should be here? e.g. 5in = 5 inch 15:23, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

[type of thing] in [specific example][edit]

The preposition "in" has another meaning in English that I can't seem to find listed here, indicating a logical/grammatical relationship between two nouns, specifically, that the latter is an example or instance of the former. I have two citations, and I came looking looking for more, but found none. Here are the two citations that I have:

  • You've Got a Friend in Me, the song from the movie Toy Story.
  • A news headline, Has Iron Man met his match in Ben Kingsley? (which talks about a studio having cast an actor to fill the previously-vacant role of villain in an upcoming movie).

—⁠This unsigned comment was added by Jonadab~enwiktionary (talkcontribs) at 17:54, 19 May 2012 (UTC).

I agree a sense is missing. I have added it, but it needs a definition line. Equinox 21:22, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Defintion Of "in pale"[edit]

What would the definition of "in" be when used in the vexology sense "in pale"?Curb Chain (talk) 05:15, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

English preposition missing[edit]

am I wrong or the preposition list of meanings lack the most important that is locative like f.e. "My relatives live IN New York" or "I live IN England". ? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 01:06, 13 October 2012 (UTC).

Preposition sense[edit]

Which of the given senses would be "in" in a phrase such as: a behaviour found in many children? You don't find the behaviour in them, right? It rather means something like "among" or "by". Is this sense already covered? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 05:02, 23 March 2014 (UTC).

You can find a behaviour in a single child, so "among" isn't right. I would say it's sense 3 (part of; a member of) and/or sense 15 (within). A behaviour is "in" a person in the same way that thoughts and dreams are. Equinox 05:08, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

"bash your brains in" (or similar)[edit]

I think I've come across a phrase "bash your brains in" (or "bash your head in", or maybe both). In what sense(s) is "in" used in such phrases? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 00:55, 25 September 2015 (UTC).

  • Adverb - moving to the interior. SemperBlotto (talk) 01:05, 25 September 2015 (UTC)


According to OED: i' weakened form of in prep. before a cons., as in i' faith: now dial. or arch. --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:57, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

RFV discussion: July–September 2020[edit]

Keep tidy.svg

The following information has failed Wiktionary's verification process (permalink).

Failure to be verified means that insufficient eligible citations of this usage have been found, and the entry therefore does not meet Wiktionary inclusion criteria at the present time. We have archived here the disputed information, the verification discussion, and any documentation gathered so far, pending further evidence.
Do not re-add this information to the article without also submitting proof that it meets Wiktionary's criteria for inclusion.

RFV sense:

(Britain) Abbreviation of in aid of.
What's that in?

Because this is so hard to search for (unless anyone can think of a clever way), I would be satisfied if someone merely said that they were familiar with it. I have never heard it myself, and wouldn't understand it, although I'm British, which doesn't prove anything, but it just seemed iffy to me. Mihia (talk) 17:21, 25 July 2020 (UTC)

It's not in Wright's English Dialect Dictionary AFAICT, but that could also be because because it's modern or it was considered too transparent an ellipsis. I didn't spot it in MacMillan's British dictionary, either, and as you say I don't know how to search for it. - -sche (discuss) 10:38, 26 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm sure it's far too modern for that (since it suggests a modern-style charity collection or whip-round)! Never heard of it either. The user in question, Top Cat 14, was (as far as I can tell) a schoolboy who added a lot of dubious school and bonfire-society slang that probably only existed in his own peer group. Equinox 22:31, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
Seems overwhelmingly iffy to me, and I certainly don't know it. Surely to meet CFI it needs to be supported by 3 cites, etc., etc. So, if it cannot be cited simply because there is no convenient or efficient way to search for uses given the resources we use, then it cannot be cited, and so should perhaps go to RFD. - Sonofcawdrey (talk) 12:45, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

RFV-failed Kiwima (talk) 05:22, 12 September 2020 (UTC)

RFD discussion: July 2020[edit]

TK archive icon.svg

The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for deletion (permalink).

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

RFD adverb sense:

  1. (sports) Still eligible to play, e.g. able to bat in cricket and baseball.
    He went for the wild toss but wasn't able to stay in.

Definition is that of an adjective not an adverb. Usex is also apparently of an adjective. Is there a true adverb here anywhere? There is already an appropriate adjective sense, "(cricket) Currently batting". By the way, should baseball be added to this? Mihia (talk) 17:53, 24 July 2020 (UTC)

  • Keep. It may need some work, but it is comparable to the adverbial sense at out. -Mike (talk) 07:57, 26 July 2020 (UTC)
In fact the corresponding sense at out is my doing from a while ago. Originally it read "Of a player, disqualified from playing further by some action of a member of the opposing team (such as being stumped in cricket)". I initially deleted this as it is the definition of an adjective not an adverb. Then I gave it the benefit of the doubt and "adverbified" the definition, and put in the example "Wilson was bowled out for five runs.". I remember being not entirely happy with this at the time, but I guess I never got back to it. The problem is, does "out" really describe the manner of bowling (adverbial), or does it describe the resulting state of the batsman (adjectival)? Most probably it is the latter, cf. something like "shoot dead". Anyway, entirely clear-cut adverbial examples of both "in" and "out" in this sense would be welcome. Mihia (talk) 09:58, 26 July 2020 (UTC)

RFV discussion: July–December 2020[edit]

TK archive icon.svg

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

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

in, out

Previously raised at Wiktionary:Requests_for_deletion/English#in.

RFV adverbial senses at in and out, respectively:

(sports) Still eligible to play, e.g. able to bat in cricket and baseball.
He went for the wild toss but wasn't able to stay in.
(cricket, baseball) Of a player, so as to be disqualified from playing further by some action of a member of the opposing team (such as being stumped in cricket).
Wilson was bowled out for five runs.

As will be apparent, the former is presently the definition of an adjective, not an adverb, but let's assume for these purposes that it is "adverbified", e.g. with the addition of "so as to be".

Seeking genuine adverbial examples. The present "stay in" and "bowled out" examples are very probably examples of adjectives not adverbs, i.e. they describe the resulting state of the batsman, not the manner of staying or bowling. There may be proper adverbial examples but somehow I can't come up with any. Mihia (talk) 10:20, 26 July 2020 (UTC)

I don't think it is fruitful to rely on semantics to determine word class. In cases where in or out follows a copulative verb (sensu lato) it can be readily viewed as an adjective. That might apply to stay/remain. But bowl doesn't seem to me to be copulative. DCDuring (talk) 02:59, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
What other method would you suggest, then, in cases such as this, to distinguish "verb + adjective" from "verb + adverb", other than checking whether the second word describes the manner in which the verb is done or the associated state of the subject or object? Mihia (talk) 10:15, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
Can we cut this knot by declaring bowl out to be a phrasal verb? Doesn't work if there are many verbs preceding out, but perhaps there are only a few. We have strike out. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 11:29, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
Well, I would say, if we think the second part of a phrasal verb must by definition be adverbial, that the question "Is 'out' adverbial?" would logically precede the question "Is 'bowl out' a phrasal verb?", not be a consequence of it. Mihia (talk) 13:54, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
Compare bowl over and kick out, which to me feel similar.  --Lambiam 14:13, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
Also compare "shoot dead" and "knock senseless". Mihia (talk) 14:18, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Interestingly, the OED (which revised out in 2004) considers all such uses to be adverbial (including, for example, such uses as "If he misses three times…he is out"). It is interpreting these uses adjectivally which appears to be the more recent development. Perhaps support for this view comes from the fact that they are only used attributively very late, and rarely. Ƿidsiþ 06:54, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
I noticed something similar too in some place I looked -- not necessarily for this sense of "out", but maybe for some other "small" adjectives that are (in my view, with all due respect to the OED) mistakenly classified as adverbs. Generally speaking I think it is illogical/impossible for an adverb to follow copular "be", though admittedly there are awkward cases such as "she is outside" or "the meeting is tomorrow" which I find hard to analyse. Mihia (talk) 21:08, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
I understand, but for the sake of this specific discussion, it seems enough to say that yes, we are justified in treating them as adjectives, but we are also justified in keeping these adverb sections too. Ƿidsiþ 05:52, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
English can use outside as an adjective. A company may have outside directors on its board. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 21:18, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
Indeed that's correct, but despite my general pro-adjective advocacy, I personally find it hard to see "outside" as truly an adjective in "she is outside" (meaning "not indoors"). I believe also, by way of making the contrast, that we cannot say "the directors are outside" in the sense of "outside directors". Mihia (talk) 21:46, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
I've lost track of indenting. When I said phrasal verb earlier I was using the loose definition, the second which allows non-adverbs. Vox Sciurorum (talk)
The non-adverbs that the second definition allows are prepositions. I cannot see how "out" in "bowled out" could be a preposition. "out" can scarcely be a preposition at all, outside of some dubious usages. Mihia (talk)

RFV-resolved. Out passes, in fails. Kiwima (talk) 01:05, 5 December 2020 (UTC)

RFC discussion: May 2014–November 2020[edit]

TK archive icon.svg

The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup (permalink).

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

There are many entries for short function words that have similar problems, but we've started an off-topic discussion of this one at Wiktionary:Requests for deletion#in cash, so we might as well begin with this one.

Copied from that topic:

[] The payment is done inside some sort of cash? --kc_kennylau (talk) 16:25, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
I've added a sense to in (though it, and many of the other senses, could use some tweaking) that covers this usage. When you're speaking of money, you can say "in" almost anything- cash, securities, tens and twenties, even Monopoly money. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:17, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
I have taken a run at a subsense structure for the definitions. I feel we are still missing some senses and have unnecessary specificity in some definitions (See the sub-subsenses.), though the usexes could stay. I find prepositions among the hardest PoS sections I have tackled, requiring a great deal of abstraction to deal with the senses that are not spatial or temporal. DCDuring TALK 20:25, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Much better, though getting it perfect might be a lifetime job. Sense 3-2 seems particularly off the mark: "he met his match in her" is just another way of saying "he met his match, and she was that match". All that stuff about "a place-like form of someone's (or something's) personality, as his, her or its psychic and physical characteristics" is just unnecessary verbiage. Consider, for instance: "In boxing, he found the perfect outlet for his anger and frustration". Chuck Entz (talk) 20:52, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. I just didn't have the courage to hack away at every piece. We are certainly missing subsenses and also some senses that are hard to fit under the senses now in the entry. Having access to the OED would help make sense of the groupings, though there might be too much information not strictly relevant to current senses. I should probably put some musings on Talk:in. DCDuring TALK 21:09, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) There's also the "dressed in, wearing" sense, as in the famous quote from w:Animal Crackers: "I once shot an elephant in my pajamas- how the elephant got in my pajamas, I'll never know", not to mention the "target of an action, within a greater whole", as in "shot in the heart", or as in "they attacked the fortification in its most vulnerable section", or as in "he was shot in the fracas, which, as we all know, can be quite painful". Chuck Entz (talk) 22:03, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

I had forgotten that five years ago I had created a page [[Appendix:Collocations of in]], intended to provide a factual basis for improving the entry. In principle, using that data, we could develop an approach that would apply to other prepositions, for the data is easily obtained. We need to look at other lexicographers' efforts, of course, because they will have captured some less common uses. We should make sure that any sense from a Wiktionary contributor is fully captured as our contributors may have noted a change of meaning that has eluded others. Talk:in has some useful material. DCDuring TALK 21:48, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Latin cases governed[edit]

The Latin section claimed that "in" can be used with the dative, as "within, while in (time)", but failed to give any example or reference.

I have consulted Gildersleeve's, Bennet's, Allen & Greenough's, and Panhuis's (section 119; still in copyright) Latin grammars. Gildersleeve and Allen & Greenough state that prepositions generally are used only with the ablative and accusative; Panhuis states further that no preposition governs the dative. All explicitly enumerate for "in" the accusative and ablative cases only, and Gildersleeve, Allen & Greenough, and Panhuis give examples of the temporal sense in the ablative case.

The claim was introduced in this edit, which changed both ablative senses to the dative (an understandable error for a self-identified la-1 contributor). The spatial sense was changed back to the ablative in this edit (whose summary cites Ørberg's Lingua Latina, a basic textbook, as a source; the subject is discussed in chapter 35, lines 200-206, and likewise no support for the dative is given), but the parallel error in the temporal sense was missed. A request-for-cleanup template was added in this edit, but I can find no corresponding discussion.

I have therefore restored the ablative. (I have also added the accusative temporal sense, to avoid misleading by omission.)