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Page Protection/Locking[edit]

I have just protected this page until a consensus has been reached on what it should say. Constantly reverting back and forth accomplishes nothing, so let's finish discussing this here and on WT:RFV and then we can work out the page to reflect that consensus. Thank you. - TheDaveRoss 19:03, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

If this is a "dismissive epithet used by French-speaking colonials in Africa", should there not be a French entry for this term? bd2412 T 04:03, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

I think you can copy/paste the English to the French if you like. The English is taken from the French.--Halliburton Shill 02:56, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
The point being there is no French term 'macaca'. Are you suggesting that BD2412 create one by "you can copy/paste the English to the French if you like" ? 03:53, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

In the absence of authoritative references, the definition will have to be based on usages. The first (ever?) use of 'macaca' by Senator Allen should be linked; the -spam- link I had doesn't work anymore. But that is a legitimate reference if someone can find it, and so is Jim Webb's use of 'macaca'. Every other usage I've found is in terms of discussing the word. Speculating other meanings is best left to the readers. 13:35, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Hypothetical Embarrassment Sense[edit]

Using this as the source (which I left in as a usage reference):

"Well I guess this is my macaca payback." —James H. Webb

Some unregistered user is attempting to claim that justifies its use as a term to mean embarrassment. The problem is, even assuming that interpretation of the person's statement is correct, no secondary source verifies that usage. It seems to me that Webb was using macaca as a metaphor instead, which better explains the use of "payback".--Halliburton Shill 02:56, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

No primary or secondary source verifies any of the other definitions. There is no record —primary or secondary— of the term except two recent political incidents. Salon Magazine fails the NPOV (neutral point of view) requirement of a citation, and is unavailable to non-subscribers. The statement "macaca payback" was in made in the presence of professional writers and word-smiths; none took exception. But note that the definition embarassment fits both Allen's and Webb's uses of the word. The other definitions, totally unsupported by references, are gibberish in those contexts. If someone wants to edit the definition so that the usage is a metaphor, please add the "made up out of thin air" tag. 03:53, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
There is no "NPOV" requirement for citations, you can get citations from the label of a KKK hood or the communist manifesto (translated probably), it doesn't matter. I did some research, and this usage is definately sketchy, a lot of the "usage" seems to be in relation to Sen. Allen's usage (in an oral address, where it is definately hard to cite, and who claimed not even to know what it meant, AND who used it in such a way that no meaning could be taken) I think this one needs to be RFVed, and researched a little more. wikipedia has an entry (also sketchy), and there are definately some other spellings which should be reseached some. - TheDaveRoss 03:58, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
There are clearly minimum standards for Wiktionary citations. Under "see Wikipedia's help pages for more detailed wiki editing help" which then specifies some basic tenets. One is them, Neutral Point of View (NPOV) is a fundamental Wikipedia principle which states that all articles must be written from a neutral point of view". According to the guide, this is "absolute and non-negotiable". This policy works in conjunction with (required) verifiability, so that any reader is able to check that material has already been published by a reliable source.
It's true that any source can be cited (KKK hood/communist manifesto') as examples of usage, but they fail the minimum criteria for NPOV, verifiability, etc.
It's apparent the usage definitions are very sketchy. I have (to date) provided the only primary source; an unbiased, verifiable, in context, observation of the word's usage. It's frustrating to have good, true NPOV citations getting bumped by what someone's bias wants the definition to be. 12:18, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
2 secondary observations of Webb's statement. Webb, BTW, even if NPOV applied the same way here, is a political candidate in competition with Allen - the candidate who, in the first place, referred to an "American-born U.S. citizen of Indian heritage as a “macaca,”".
So, are you saying Allen referred to him as an embarrassment? Neither article suggests such a usage.--Halliburton Shill 19:06, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Several speculative definitions don't make sense in terms of actual usage. Webb's usage was clearly about his discomforture; his chagrin or embarrassment at previous derogatory and insulting statements he had made about women.

The definition has to apply in all usages. Let's give a welcome to a dark-skinned person who appear to be of Middle-Eastern descent here. (Allen) may not be gibberish, but Well I guess this is my dark-skinned people who appear to be of Middle-Eastern descent payback. (Webb) is nonsensical. Unless an archaic or similar tag is used, the definition must be congruent.

[Using the racial slur definitions, a case could be made Webb was slurring the questioner, Peggy Fox, or all women in the military, the question's subject. From my perspective, it didn't appear to be that meaning, but other viewers of the source video may interpret it differently] 14:22, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

You have certainly heard racial slurs being used as adjectives and adverbs before, have you not? Regadless of that, you need to be aware of two things, first, if you have a problem with a defintion, removing it is not the proper course of action. Nominate the definition or term on WT:RFV. Constantly reverting is going to get you blocked and the article protected. Secondly, this is NOT wikipedia, and NPOV doesn't apply to citations. Any running text example of usage that is durably archived and indicative of use is ok, don't try and use wikipedia policy to justify yourself here, we don't follow it. Please read WT:CFI to better understand wiktionary policy. - TheDaveRoss 16:40, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
TheDaveRoss, if you're going to lock it, at least put the least verified sense (embarrassment) at the bottom and put an RFV on it. It has no verification outside of the original research provided by the unregistered user.--Halliburton Shill 19:10, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
I listed the entire page on RFV, I am leaving it as is for the time being. Please list all citations on macaca/Citations - TheDaveRoss 19:13, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Neologistic use[edit]

I found the following text in a Reuters article:

Internet experts call the trend of sending around unscripted video clips a "macaca" and predict new media such as -spam- will have a great impact on campaigns.

  • Charles, Deborah (15 October 2006), “U.S. politicians caught on Internet candid cameras”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[2], Reuters, retrieved 2006-10-16

It's obviously too soon to add this as a neologistic use for this term, but I wanted to list it here in case it sticks, as an early citation/explanation of its use.

Person of Middle Eastern descent?[edit]

According to NBC, the object of Sen. Allen's remarks was an Indian. I think the first def should be changed to "racial slur". in general, and not to Arabs in particular. It appears that Sen. Allen has developed political amnesia. If he doesn’t know how he used the word, how are we supposed to? Andrew massyn 18:08, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

  • "So let's give a welcome to macaca here," Allen said, pointing a finger. "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." Allen later said he didn't know what the word meant and apologized to the Webb volunteer, S.R. Sidarth. - 25 Oct 2006

Talk from RFV[edit]

This whole term needs some research, there is presently an edit war going on there and I haven't been able to make heads or tails of it, so perhaps some community research will set it straight. - TheDaveRoss 16:44, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Why did you remove my source? It was the only secondary source?
You now have 2 primary sources supporting the least verified sense. And to repeat my references on the talk page:
Until this is adequately resolved, the least verified sense should be the last sense. None of the secondary sources use embarrassment as a possible definition. On top of that, you're suggesting that Allen said "Let's give a welcome to [embarrassment], here."--Halliburton Shill 19:24, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
It seems equally likely that Webb used the phrase "macaca payback" in a directly referential sense, i.e. 'this is the payback I am getting for the macaca controversy raised against my opponent'. Maybe someone can ask him? ;) Seriously, though, is there any real controversy that 'macaca' is phonetically a fair equivalent to a word that means 'monkey' in a number of languages? If I were dining at a restaurant and were to turn to a waiter with whom I did not have any kind of relationship, and I were to say, "hey, monkey, could you bring me another glass of water?" I think it would reasonably be read as an insult from the context. bd2412 T 19:36, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
On the phontetics, yes its been used this way on TV and you can find the video of Allen using it. You can also see it in comics. Here's an example from Slowpoke - winner of three Association of Alternative Newsweeklies awards, including First Place in 2005.--Halliburton Shill 19:48, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Look, here's how we do this. Find book citations, like these:
France Winddance Twine, Racism in a Racial Democracy: The Maintenance of White Supremacy in Brazil (1997) p. 70
  • While Miguel reported that in the past he had been called derogatory names such as macaca (monkey), he continued to frame his failure to win public office exclusively in terms of his socioeconomic status.
Michael Hanchard, Racial Politics in Contemporary Brazil (1999) p. 211.
  • ...rounding apartments said “Macaca”; they insulted Benedita. We did not win anything with this gesture.
So we have two references, both from Brazil, showing "macaca" used as an epithet. Note that most Google Book refs are to scientific texts referring to actual monkeys. bd2412 T 20:19, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. The OED as referenced by the Salon article had no suggestion of it ever being used to mean embarrassment. Same goes for onelook[3]. The references are either scientific in reference to a type of animal or as an ethnic insult.--Halliburton Shill 23:26, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
I doubt that macaca means "embarrassing moment"...that’s probably a confusion with macock-up. Also I doubt that it necessarily implies dark skin or African or Middle-Eastern features. I’ve heard Laotians refer to Anglos as monkeys. Originally it was French colonians insulting their African neighbors, but now I’d say it’s a general term of abuse that anybody can use against anybody. —Stephen 01:11, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
It might also be worth mentioning that we should check sources for the term in other languages. The obvious place to start for Spanish is the Real Academia Española: macaco, macaca. This defines both as either:
  1. macaque
  2. (Cuba) ugly, deformed person
  3. (Uruguay) someone that is difficult to please, especially said of picky eaters
So there are a few other senses Wiktionary defines that RAE doesn't list. Of course that's not to say they aren't used that way... Maybe it would be nice to have sources for them? –Andyluciano 06:03, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

I have reworeded sense 1, to mean a general racial slur and removed sense 3. Andrew massyn 18:37, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Current Usage References[edit]

The moved from talk section above has plenty, but this is so we can more easily focus on current references. Here's a more recent once from Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year issue:

<ref>[,9171,1570839,00.html], MACACA n. A racial slur? A kind of monkey? Virginia Senator George Allen, who used it at a campaign rally when he spotted an Indian-American volunteer from his opponent's camp, might define it as "the end of my re-election campaign." ''TIME'' Sunday, December 17, [[2006]]</ref>

The page is presently blocked, so I can't add it. I don't have a problem with it staying locked, but since the 2006 elections are over, it may be safe now. I'd like to suggest this in place of the present, mushed together definition:

(racial slur) A derogatory epithet or general slur.--Halliburton Shill 18:37, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I am moving these two from the example lines, since neither is an actual example of usage. The second is certainly 'mention', and the first doesn't give meaning.
  1. "Let's give a welcome to macaca, here."—George Allen [1]
    MACACA n. A racial slur? A kind of monkey? Virginia Senator George Allen, who used it at a campaign rally when he spotted an Indian-American volunteer from:: his opponent's camp.... [2]
I still have yet to see any actual usage which gives any sort of meaning to this term, including the 'cites' on the citations page. Is this really a word? - [The]DaveRoss 22:51, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
It's obviously a word, as it has been used as such in at least two English-language books (quoting Brazilians) in the sense that upset and angered so many when George Allen said it. The real question is, is it a word in common use (in any sense) by English speakers, and if so, what does it mean in that language? Like everyone else, I'm having a hard time finding any published use prior to Allen's faux pas other than scientific or geographic. I haven't read any of the post-debacle press recently to see if they provide any evidence of how he meant it or where he got it from. (I'm no fan of Allen, but I find it hard to believe he thought he was using a derogatory term at the time. He must have thought it meant something less incendiary, which begs the question of where he picked it up.) One might hope that we could find some earlier works of English-language fiction that might include such a disreputable term (non-fiction might find it too uncomfortable, even to define or quote), but no luck so far. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 05:49, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
  1. ^ [1], Senator George Allen; referring to an opposition candidate's supporter of Indian descent who followed Allen everywhere. Washington Post Tuesday, August 15, 2006
  2. ^ The Year in Buzzwords 2006, TIME, Sunday, December 17, 2006

RFV 2[edit]

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

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.


RuakhTALK 12:41, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

The two citations in the Portuguese sections were written in English, so I moved them up. Etymology also seems wrong, I doubt this is via French macaque, surely it's just from Portuguese macaca and not from macaco as our entry says. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:55, 27 August 2011 (UTC)


Barely passes, IMO, with the two citations in the entry and the one (by Allen) on the citations page. - -sche (discuss) 03:07, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

On second thought, RFV-failed, because all but one of the citations are mentions, not uses. To my surprise, I couldn't even find uses on Usenet: I didn't look very hard, but I only saw mentions. - -sche (discuss) 04:46, 14 March 2012 (UTC)