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What is the etymology of wicked, as in wicked cool? I heard it first while visitng London in 1989. Since, then it I've heard numerous times throughout the USA.

I know that in Britain, "wickedly" is sometimes shortened to "wicked," for instance, "it's raining wicked hard." From there, I suppose it began to be used in positive contexts, especially after the literal use began to be archaic. (I think in Britain, it's considered an Americanism, actually - I can't find it in the OED.) 19:27, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Deletion discussion[edit]

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The following information passed a request for deletion.

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.


Noun sense: "people who are wicked". Almost any English adjective can be used in this way: the unknown, the blind, the dead, the French, the sarcasm-impaired. We usually disregard attributive use of nouns as establishing a separate part of speech, so why this? Keφr 12:31, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree, delete. But see Talk:Irish#RFD. — Ungoliant (falai) 12:47, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
I am very sympathetic to the idea of getting rid of PoS sections for PoS conversions that occur universally or nearly so. But I am not sure that all adjectives can be converted to nouns in this way, except in cases where there is an anaphoric reference. So one can use any adjective in a clause of the form "the [adjective] (one/ones}", with the "one/ones" omitted in much speech, if there is a clear referent for the "one/ones". If one said "the fruity" without an immediate referent, it is not likely that someone would understand any specific meaning.
But some de-adjectival nominals, including this one, do not seem to require any previously mentioned referent. Keep. DCDuring TALK 13:51, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
The fact that not all adjectives can be used this way does not mean that we have to include noun sections for the ones that can be. --WikiTiki89 16:17, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
You can, in fact, substitute "the fruity" for "the wicked" in any sentence: it may not make sense, but it works grammatically. In truth, it's the context that's excluding many adjectives, not any lexical characteristic. If I say "there's no rest for the fruity", the definite article implies that I'm talking about something as a class, the word choice implies a biblical or moralistic register, and "rest" implies that I'm talking about something animate, since we don't associate that word with inanimate objects or with abstractions. Everything points to the implication that I really meant "there's no rest for those who are fruity." You may think that "fruity" is an odd adjective to apply to people or other animate entities, but that's strictly a matter of our not thinking of people as fruity (childish homophobic slurs aside), not of any lexical characteristic of the adjective. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:06, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
I would prefer to delete this kind of thing for the reasons given. "poor" is another. Equinox 18:08, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
Deleting the Noun PoS section is deleting lexical information. We have included so many PoS sections for all kinds of terms (eg, English -ing-forms as nouns) and for non-idiomatic MWEs that excluding the noun PoS for this class of adjectives seems at best arbitrary.
It could be argued that without a systematic effort to add noun section to all the appropriate adjective entry pages and delete the sections where inappropriate we are not accurately conveying the lexical information. I believe that we can credibly have this by starting with a list of those adjectives whose ability to function as nouns in non-anaphoric usage is documented in references such as CGEL, add others by analogy, verifying dubious cases, until we find the limits of the class of adjectives that actually behave as nouns in a non-anaphoric way. DCDuring TALK 19:42, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
Lexical information, by definition (I think), is information that speakers can't derive intuitively through some productive process, but have to memorise. Essentially that's not so different from what we use in WT:CFI to decide what to keep and what to delete (the idiomaticity requirement). "wicked", as a noun, has meaning, yes. But its meaning can be completely transparently derived from the adjective. Not only that, but it's assumed that every adjective can form a collective noun in such a way, albeit that not all such formations will necessarily be useful to a speaker. So the existence of "wicked" as a noun is not indicated by lexicon (which is what we as a dictionary are primarily concerned about) but by grammar. That said, of course Wiktionary doesn't include only lexically-significant forms; for grammar we have form-of definitions. I see "wicked" the same way; it's a grammatically predictable form of the adjective. —CodeCat 19:51, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
If WT:CFI is supposed to only serve to help speakers decode, we have a great number of entries to delete, for many entries have as justification only that they are the customary way among many possible ways of conveying a meaning in English.
The lexical information here is that the word CAN be used correctly without an explicit referent preceding it. This would probably not be expected by a non-native speaker learning English. Such a learner might even have some trouble decoding had s/he first learned that adjectives without explicit nouns that they modify have a preceding referent. Contrary to what was said above this is not at all typical for English adjectives. The arguments made so far would exclude dead#Noun, for which MWOnline, for example, has three definitions.
Though no one has made arguments requiring this concession, I would concede that it may be that the lexical information about the noun-like behavior of wicked, but not most other adjectives, belongs under the adjective wicked's PoS, at least as several usage examples. DCDuring TALK 23:39, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep per WT:CFI, since this is attested as a noun. If this should be deleted, we need to find precedent RFDs, at least, and ideally decide about this whole class of uses of adjectives as nouns. There being a regularity that enables the readers to derive the information cannot suffice for removing the information, or else we would be deleting -ness forms, for instance. --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:48, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep, per the two above, and because the nominator is inaccurate about almost any adjective being able to be used that way in common parlance Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 00:34, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
Following precedent (see Ungoliant's link to Talk:Irish; also see Talk:deaf) would lead us to keep this, but I'm not sure that's the right course of action, so ... abstain. - -sche (discuss) 01:59, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Kept, no consensus to delete. bd2412 T 19:13, 12 June 2014 (UTC)