Talk:minacious

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Rfv-sense: "Something which has a threatening or menacing character." Really? Since it's listed as uncountable, I tried searching for "some minacious" and found nothing. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:19, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

  • The OED does say ‘also as a noun’, but none of their citations actually back it up (unless you count ‘a touch of the minacious’). Ƿidsiþ 17:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Are we perhaps talking about a misspelling of menacious, which has lots of mentions/cites? I cannot determine if any of them are durable.--Jacecar (talk) 01:14, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
RFV-failed. - -sche (discuss) 04:11, 14 October 2012 (UTC)


Here are the OED quotes, which both look to be nouns to me:

That which is threatening or menacing; threatening people regarded collectively. rare.
1824 Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. 16 68 You have often a touch of the minaceous or so about you.
1972 Mil. Law Rev. 55 (U.S. Dept. of Army) 148 Several cases have indicated a willingness to characterize the unruly and disrespectful with the minacious.

Also, not sure if this is a noun or not (William Oxberry - 1821):

It is said that his nurse, observing the priest very earnest and 'minaceous with him in his last moments, begged him not to be so harsh with her poor master, " who was more fool than knave ;" adding, " that God would not have the heart to damn ...

WilliamKF (talk) 16:56, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

I would say the Oxberry citation is an adjective; it's contrasted with "earnest", which is another adjective. The first two citations are a bit harder; it becomes a question of whether "the (adjective)" makes a noun. In some cases, we have noun entries for such constructions ([[poor]], [[Irish]]), in other cases, we don't. I'm not sure if there's consistency :/. - -sche (discuss) 21:36, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
The kind of use of an adjective as a nominal is what some modern grammarians, eg CGEL pp. 410-22, would call a "fused-head" construction. Many adjectives can be used in that way. Sometimes the adjective is fused with a specific elided noun known from context. At other times the omission is of something less specific like ones, things, or people.
One really can't determine 'part of speech' or 'word class' from a small number of uses in English. Many English words in a given word class can be used as if they were members of a completely different one under some circumstances. Those adjectives that have truly become nouns can be modified by determiners, like many (for countable ones) or much (for uncountable ones), when being used without a directly associated noun. These can distinguish cases like many Irish are unhappy with austerity and the many poor have no choice..
Minaceous would not meet such a test AFAICT. I am open to other arguments and proposed tests. DCDuring TALK 22:54, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying that! I'm glad to know there's a logic behind our having noun entries for [[poor]] and [[Irish]] and not some other terms, like this one. - -sche (discuss) 01:55, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Here are some more from Google books that might be noun usages:

... extenuate (to make light), facundity (readiness of speech), gangrenous (likely to grow sore), herborize (to search for plants), indemnification (making up for a loss), lugubriousness (sadness), minaceous (using threats), obstruct (blocking up), ... [1]
... of which is almost as much in a state of nature called the more perfect plants, as trees, stirubs, gra- as any pait of England. It is in such situations, where minaceous and other herbs ; and not quite one him- the pruning and cultivating hand of ... [2]

WilliamKF (talk) 15:20, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

Why do you think these are noun uses? The first uses an adjective-like gloss to define. The second looks like bad scanning ("stirubs" for 'shrubs') and line breaks ("gra- as any pair", and "one him- the pruning").
Why not try the tests I suggested or check the various dictionaries at minacious at OneLook Dictionary Search or the OED? DCDuring TALK 17:50, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
The OED does list it as a noun form (the two quotes is gives are above), hence my concern that we get this right, as we are basically saying the OED is incorrect here, not something to be done lightly. WilliamKF (talk) 19:18, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
That's a good concern to have, but I do think they're in error here. As discussed in the archived RFV discussion, none of the OED's own citations use the word as a noun, so they're already making that mistake whether they are nounal uses to be found elsewhere or not... and it does seem there aren't. (The OED also includes words like Talk:wapacut and WT:RFV#fremish that aren't attested outside of other dictionaries, so this wouldn't be the first mistake they'd made.) - -sche (discuss) 19:42, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm comfortable with this particular divergence between OED's presentation and ours. I like to try to understand the PoV behind other dictionaries's choices of how to present things. In this case, I think they have gone too far, interpreting nominal use of an adjective as evidence that the word is a noun. I think they do this particular kind of thing often, as if they had to be utterly exhaustive in documenting instances of what others would say happens by rule.
We need to have better presentation of the grammatical "rules" that we claim allow us to say that a given term from one word that behaves in some small way like a member of another word class does not need to be put in that word class as well. Word-class labels really don't cause much change in user behavior, especially if there are usage examples. DCDuring TALK 22:33, 26 October 2012 (UTC)