User:Dmh/talk archives

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Nice, that (FWIW he means wasteland -dmh). In the old sense of that word. "Remaining" was particularly well chosen.

Hi Dmh. Please could I ask you not to create pages such as "fat (n.)". There is already a page for "fat" and pages for specific parts of speech lead to repetition and inconsistency. Could you move anything that is in your page but not in "fat" to the "fat" page?

  • See talk:fat (n.). Those responsible have been sacked :->. I also fixed the link that led me astray (and a similar one). The template seems OK.

That said, I don't want to discourage you from contributing. Keep up the good work! -- Paul G 09:55, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

  • Thanks!

Hi Dmh, thanks for taking my comments on board and promptly.

  • Check the timestamps. I caught it (entirely by accident) before I saw your message.

Another couple of requests from me, for consistency's sake:

Although Wikipedia has no official standard for layout, could you please use the following conventions if possible:

  • Capitalisation of the first word of headings ("Noun", "Proper noun", etc)
    • This is what comes of just jumping in. I'll switch to the capitalised style. Also
      • I've been capitalising the first words of definitions
      • I've generally left off trailing periods
  • Italics inside brackets rather than outside (eg, <wiki>(law)</wiki> rather than <wiki>(law)</wiki>)
    • (It's fairly hard to see the difference until you look at the source :-). In any case, will do.
      • Oops, that didn't come out the way I expected. Don't put the "<wiki>s" in - they are supposed to be "nowiki"s, which suppress Wiki's formatting symbols, like this (see source): (''law'') and ''(law)'' -- Paul G 15:56, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)
      • You'll get the idea about style from looking at some of the more developed articles. Anyhow, concentrate on contributing and you'll get the hang of it as you go along. -- Paul G 15:56, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I'm pleased to see you're contributing lots of new entries coming in. We like that :)

Thanks -- Paul G 15:38, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hi Dmh,

Do you want us to keep the entry for develope? Otherwise I'll take it out.Polyglot 09:44, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I do. I'll put the reasons in the talk page

Hi dmh, I left a reply on my talk page. Ortonmc 18:51, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

"Vocabulary Project" notice:

A notice concerning someone's vocabulary program was posted to this page and several other talk pages. I neither endorse nor disparage it. I've removed the notice because, while polite, it was an unsolicited advertisement, or spam in other words. If you want to see it, I believe other people still have it on their talk pages. -dmh 15:25, 14 May 2004 (UTC)

When everyone misuses a word the same way, it's not misuse. Usage changes. We may as well say that scale is being misused in this entry to refer to size and not to a ladder. I have my own pet peeves -- I prefer to say in a moment when many would say momentarily, but the new usage appears to be gaining ground steadily. -dmh 03:57, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

On the face of it a fair point, but who are "everyone"? I assume you mean a large number of people, or even perhaps you assume the majority. I too have noticed that many people use the phrase "to be pacific" when they mean "to be specific" but this lazy use of language has not yet made it a new alternative meaning for pacific. Perhaps the reason is that, unlike decimate it has not made it to print. Yet should we be so ignorant to believe that if it is printed is carriies more weight? Your example of in a moment is acceptable as it is an idiom rather than a total perversion of meaining. I can at least vouch for many well read people who wince at the use of decimate incorrectly and being a pedantic old fart I agree with them. However, what really irritates me is the use of "haitch" for the letter aitch. One strange argument I met was that it should start with the same sound as the letter, well I suppose that means "wubble-ewe" comes after V? :) Dainamo 22:35, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC) (to reply go to wikipedia user page)
There are several points here, and I'll try to reply to each:
  • Who are "everyone"? This is a good question. The answer is necessarily subjective, but in the case of "decimate," print dictionaries list the newer definition and it's no trouble to find usages in print meaning "destroy a large part of." In fact, it's hard to find usages outside Roman historical accounts meaning "destroy the tenth part of." It's long past time to throw in the towel on this one. If we insist on using words only in their etymologically correct senses, we'll end up speaking a strange amalgam of Anglo-Saxon, French, Latin and . . . wait a minute! French is nothing more than corrputed Latin, ne c'est pas?
  • The shift in the meaning of "decimate" is not hard to understand: there are very few situations where one would want to say "destroy the tenth part of," but plenty where one would want to say "destroy a large part of." Given that decimation was a dramatic and violent event that involved destroying some part of a group, it's very likely that the word would end up being applied as it is. Like it or not, this sort of shift in meaning is a part of real language usage. We can put it down to laziness, but this won't keep it from happening, nor make it any less useful.

I agree there are not many situations in which decimate , in the sense of its true meaning would be used, and I would personally use it only in the historical context. It is true that dictionaries do show the alternative meaning now, and I think that, given that any living language evolves, the points you have made are true and I will have to throw the towel in on this!

Personally, I dislike seeing "it's" for possessive, and "'s" for a plural, but I expect both to be accepted usage within a few decades. Similarly, "they" is well on its way to becoming both singular and plural, much as "you" has taken over the singular.

I dislike it too, but I can almost forgive the possessive as it follows the same rule as when using a person's name such as "Bob's" meaning belonging to Bob. I cringe at the plural though and would aways chastise the users!

  • As to "to be pacific," I definitely wouldn't add "specific" as a definition of "pacific". It would be interesting to run a few experiments to figure out what people think they're saying, whether "specific," "pacific" or "pecific" (pronounced like "pacific", but a perceived separate word with a separate meaning). My guess would be the third -- no one thinks that "pacific" means "specific", but it's easy to mispronounce one word to sound like another. I wouldn't expect the usage to become widespread, but this sort of thing does happen. "Orange" is a classic case (and "Nancy" in the other direction).

Good observations, but can you explain what the stuation with Nancy and Orange? Nancy is a variant of Anna. The usual explanation is that mine Ann was at some point re-analyzed as my Nan. Orange was borrowed from Arabic, something like naranj, but became arancio in Old Italian (actually arancio denoted the tree, melarancio the fruit), possibly from un narancio being re-analyzed as un arancio. There may also be some influence from the place name Orange (I've been to Orange, France. Somewhere I may still have a picture of the sign at the train station -- it's white on blue). Interestingly, Spanish for orange is naranja, closer to the Arabic.

  • As to "haitch," I'm really not bothered either way. Some English dialects pronounce it "aitch," some pronounce it "haitch" -- it's something of a shibboleth in Ireland and Australia/New Zealand. Etymologically it has to be "haitch." For whatever reason, American English pronounces "haitch" as "aitch" and "zed" as "zee," history to the contrary. Given that we actually pronounce "h," it would make more sense to say and spell "haitch." But given that we (in the US at least) say "aitch" it makes sense to spell it "aitch." Other languages are similarly confused. French and Spanish both keep the "h" in the spelling (hache and hacha) while not pronouncing it, and Italian drops the "h" to match pronunciaistion (acca). Even in languages with official academies and periodic reforms of spelling and grammar, inconsistency comes with the territory.

Fair points made Dainamo 12:03, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I think the larger point here is that history and correct usage are two separate but related issues. Obviously we can't all just make up new meanings for words. The whole point of languages and their conventions of usage is that by following the conventions we make ourselves understood. If ones readers and listeners are going to think "destory most of" when they hear "decimate," then this usage is correct even if half of them are going to cringe. -dmh 14:36, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)


I don't think I've ever knowingly watched an episode of The Soprnos. I am in no position to verify that they used it. A key factor with words such as this is to have a verifiable usage for the word. The words cromulent and embiggen were questioned, but they could be referenced to a specific episode of The Simpsons. That made them acceptable. Eclecticology 04:55, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Dmh, Thanks! I'm curious, your statement, "I might live to regret defending "The Bjorn" refers to which Bjorn? - Kurt

Hello dmh, I'm not sure of the protocol (or even how the technology works), so I though I'd mention here that I responded to your comments on my talk page. This way you'll get the new message message right? --CoryCohen 20:08, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Perhaps we do misunderstand each other on this. Maybe my opinion is jaded by people who put too much reliance on that resource. I agree that it should be a gateway to other sources. It is important to trace where the usage comes from. The Starfrosch article kept leading back to the same active promotion of the term.

I had never heard of monkeys humping a football before it appeared in Wiktionary. The immediate image in my mind was of this bunch of brutes in a huddle all trying to have improper relations with that woman, the football. Where does the idea of running around aimlessly come from? Who first used the expression? Tracking this sort of thing down is not at all easy.

I think that when Google gives positive support it is best used transparently, and the key sites of utilization should be mentioned to allow someone else to better take the matter further. The absence of Google results speaks for itself; if anything, it should put the burden of documentation on the contributor. If my comments about Google seem a little harsh no personal criticism is intended; it is easy to see from the edit record when someone is contributing constructively. Eclecticology 08:55, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the response. I probably overreacted a bit. There was also some confusion because I inadvertently put in monkeys anonymously, and deliberately put edited Islamonazism anonymously in an obviously vain attempt to avoid association with the term. Also, while I was initially irked at having to do further research on these terms, both definitions benefitted.
I think the main point of the rest of the discussion was that, while books and periodicals from major publishers are great, Google hits alone can be sufficient, if
  • They show a pattern of multiple independent uses, and/or appearances in established on-line publications.
  • The term in question is new, restricted to a small subculture, or otherwise unlikely to turn up in more traditional searches.
One more (final??) comment on those monkeys. The difference between your quite reasonable mental image and actual usage of the term is good justification for a dictionary entry. -dmh 16:00, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Evidently it's OK for one monkey to hump a football in Wiktionary, but more than one is right out -- even though the usage note in monkey humping a football points out that the plural form behaves differently. I wonder just how it differs? Sure would be nice if there was something other than a red link there ... --dmh 06:35, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia-style disambiguation[edit]

Dmh, who told you to make all these changes such as:

You don't just start making sweeping changes on a large group project like this! This is not the way to go! The group must decide such major shifts in page-naming and ambiguity-handling policy! — Hippietrail 04:06, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I didn't. There has been some discussion. I first floated the idea quite a while ago, when I put up user:dmh/color and related pages. I mentioned this in either the beer parlour or on one of color/colour and got no response. I believe I also mentioned the idea one other time in a different context, again with no response. In the last couple of days there has been another flurry of discussion on color/colour. User:Eean seconded it. User:PaulG agreed, but preferred names of the form "A, B" over "A B" as "A B" might be considered a phrase. I believe you were logged on a couple of times while this was taking place. At this point I assumed that, particularly with the earlier lack of response, two positive responses and the precedent of Wikipedia, and having tried the idea on a smaller scale with womaniser, womanizer, there was no harm in having a go.

At this point, I will leave gray, grey in a consistent state and stop the experiment until we can discuss it further. -dmh 04:17, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thank-you for stopping. I think the lack of response is more likely to be interpretable as a vote for the status quo rather than as a go-ahead. We've probably all thought about such things at one time or another. I know I have. But for me at least, I've decided it's good for Wikipedia but not good for Wiktionary. I know it has been discussed before but it's probably buried in the Beer Parlour archives. I wouldn't take two votes as a majority. Paul G's vote would count but not Eean's as I've never heard of that user before.
Sometimes when I'm logged on I'm only interested in doing quick edits, I'm often using stolen seconds at work or am up too late in the wee-small hours to participate in thoughtful discussion. Even now I've been inside too long and want to enjoy the beautiful day rather than hang around here right now.
At least you've got our attention now! I'll keep an eye on the proceedings when I get back from the outside world (-: — Hippietrail 04:26, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Whoa, I think I'm being slightly misrepresented here. My original vote was for "what the **** is going on? Stop it this instant!"; after some discussion with Eean, I changed my view to "if this is the way we are going to do this, then let's make call the pages 'X, X*' or 'X/X*' rather than 'X X*'." I'm still not that keen on this way of going about things. I agree that "something must be done" but feel this is not quite the right way of doing it.
Here's a suggestion: merge the content of "color" and "colour" into a single page, called "color, colour", or whatever we agree, and then change both "color" and "colour" to redirect pages to the new page. This has the significant advantage of not requiring any links to be updated (as both "color" and "colour" will redirect automatically to the new page).
As for homographs with only one spelling (such as the SI use of "gray"), these could remain on the "gray, grey" page as they are specifically shown to be spelled only one way.
Paul G 10:17, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Holy Communion[edit]

Holy Communion is more related to passover then Shabbat because the first holy communion (and the last supper, go figure) was a celebration of passover. However I wouldn't say it is rooted in either. You could agrue that Jesus was inspired by such Jewish traditions, but such arguments aren't for a dictionary. And regardless you can't get less kosher then a ritual in which you metaphorically consume human flesh and blood, outside I guess of a ceremony in which it isn't metaphorical :) --Eean 04:26, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Oops. It's right there in Matthew 10:
[17] Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
[18] And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
[19] And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
[20] Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
[21] And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Nonetheless, the ritual of Communion bears a striking resemblance to the traditional Shabbat meal and precious little resemblance to the Passover Seder. -dmh 14:51, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

needs cleanup?[edit]

How is "British Territory" something in need of cleanup? Its hardly an idiom or part of a phrase book. Incorrect capitalization. Its an adjective+noun. --Eean 01:34, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It's not formatted, it doesn't give context — I don't think the term is current now, I would be surprised if there weren't other definitions. If you mean why did I say cleanup instead of RFD, it seems like it is a legitimate term. If you're reading a historical account from (I'm going to guess) the late 18th century or early 19th, you might well run across it and wonder what it meant. Dated terms are fair game, as are dated definitions, as long as they're marked as such. -dmh 05:44, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Moved your Beer Parlour entry about Protologisms[edit]

The discussions about Protologisms has been moved out of the main Beer Parlour and is now to be found on Wiktionary:Beer parlour/Protologisms--Richardb 11:25, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Idea for a project to get basic words defined.[edit]

Idea for a project to get basic words defined. Check my idea page. User:Richardb/Project - Basic English Word Cleanup. See what you think. I've not publicised this in the Beer Parlour because I don't want just anyone to test out the idea, only the currently active players--Richardb 11:37, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)


G'day Dmh - great work researching the ebb and flow in the meaning of "tide"!

I don't really buy the "shipping times" reasoning, I'd guess "tide" predates shipping but I'm probably wrong since we used to say "ebb and flow" only.

What I have found over at w:Tide is this little tidbit:

The first mathematical explanation of tidal forces was given in 1687 by Isaac Newton in the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

So how does 1687 fit in with things? Granted, gravitational effects of sun and moon could have been well known before that just with the mathematical bits not worked out. Then again we were prosecuting people for suggesting the world was round or orbited around the sun too, so I'd have to find out when these beliefs were put aside making it legal to think about tides in the way we do now.

Hope this helps. — Hippietrail 08:46, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the datum :-)! I was kind of falling asleep as I wrote User:Dmh/Tides, and I'd like to polish and expand it a bit, but it seems very clear to me now that the gravitational sense is the latecomer. I would like to put together a timeline of these various senses. I'd be particularly interested in the shift in tide from time to sea level, as this appears to be quite old. As I said, the shipping explanation is a guess (it also occurs to me that "it's high time for ..." might be related).
I'm quite sure that the notion that the tides are influenced by the moon predates Newton. Note that a spring tide has nothing to do with the season, per se, except that they both derive from the sense of spring as "jump". A spring tide is just a tide that springs up unusually high. Hmm . . . what do we have under spring at the moment?
The senses I'd be interested in getting firmer dates on would be:
  • tide: Time (just enough to confirm that it predates the sea level sense)
  • tide: ebb and flow of sea level
  • tide: solar/lunar tides
  • tidal: in any sense
  • tidal: having to do with ebb and flow
  • tidal: having to do with gravitational gradients
  • tidal wave: normal ebb and flow of the tides, as seen from shore
  • tidal wave: macroscopic crest in ocean level (the "correct" definition)
  • tidal wave: large, sudden ebb and flow
  • tidal wave: natural disaster
  • tsunami: large destructive surge
  • tsunami: limited specifically to seismic origins
  • tsunami: natural disaster
Hold the presses: Here's the American Meteorlogical Society talking about "atmospheric tides" which may be caused by gravity (these are called gravitational tides) but may also be caused by heating and cooling of the atmosphere (thermal tides). They also define "tide-producing forces" as the usual gravitational effets. Their actual definition of atmospheric tide is:
atmospheric tide—(Also called atmospheric oscillation.) Defined in analogy to the oceanic tide as an atmospheric motion of the scale of the earth, in which vertical accelerations are neglected (but compressibility is taken into account).
In any case, the notion that "It can't be tidal if it's not caused by gravity." seems pretty well dead. -dmh 15:51, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Tide waiter[edit]

Hello there!

I have taken the liberty of adding tide waiter as I thought that you might not have heard of it. (One of my ancestors was one in Whitby).

Cheers. SemperBlotto 16:09, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Oh, no, you're picking on wikification now? I've been doing a lot more of it lately.  :-) (Note that smiley is not wikified.) --Connel MacKenzie 06:04, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think there was a discussion a while ago to the effect that too much wikification hurts performance, and we can use all the performance help we can get (though matters seem to have improved lately). My personal beef with it is more that when everything is emphasized, nothing is emphpasized. Wikifying a term in a definition calls special attention to its relevance or anticipates that the term is obscure enough that many readers will want to look it up.
There is a lot of room for interpretation in what could be wikified, all the way from nothing to every word. I try to be conservative in my own use, but I'll generally dewikify if it looks really gratiutous (as the entry for blow football did — now there's an interesting dialectal difference: In the US, that's an imperative sentence, not a noun phrase :-)
It would be cool if the ability to drill down on any term were handled automatically (perhaps in the browser, but handling multi-word terms could be tricky). As it is, you can always cut and paste into the search box. -dmh 06:29, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

US States[edit]


At 17:12pm (I think that's MST) user posted an entry for Alaska, with a troll comment asking for a list of US States. I scratched my head looking around and realized they were correct; there was no list to be found here, so I started blitzing the abbreviations (which were all present, except for Military PO in territories) with the category under politics: State. It was rather clever of me, that yes, States (US) also can be considered relevant to the State (Country/Government) category. Anyway, I took the troll's bait...

Had I paused for half a second, I would have realized that I was making it more painful than needed. And now, there are slightly over a hundred entries that need to be "better" categorized. {Sigh}. Almost worth a bot. At least, as you pointed out, they are all tagged now.

I think US States would be an appropriate Sub-category of State. I would've named the template USState not USstate, or more likely usas (USA States.) Template:cattag2, right?

I'm not sure if cattag2 applies, but it's easy to define one template as an alias for another. Just define Template:usas as {{USstate}} (and likewise for Template:USState, if you like). Similarly, it's no problem to make Category:US_States a subcategory of Category:State. Just add the link. However, I still think Category:States (plural) would be more consistent. -dmh 15:06, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You said: Hadn't seen you in a while. Perhaps you hide logged in users' changes? Maybe I should log out more often. Maybe I should log out more than once a week. I need to work out a way to wiki less. This is powerfully addictive stuff here. (Compared to cigarrettes, or other addictive substances, that is.) --Connel MacKenzie 06:51, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think I had you confused with someone else. Apologies -dmh 15:06, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Hello dmh, (is it Dmh or dmh?)

I took the liberty of enhancing the USstate template so I can use it with KY and Kentucky. I took the liberty of enhancing the templates abbreviation, acronym and initialism to test the subcategory breakdown. I was worried that there would be duplicate entires, but no! The three sub-categories appear at the top of the main category page, with all the items sorted correctly below. Whew. For those interested in differentiating between abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms, backronyms, (and who knows what else) the subcategory view lists only those.

Before I went nuts on all 50 states and all 50 abbreviations, I figured I better take a breather and hope for timely feedback on my barrage of changes. I ended up modifying the examples in the category headings, expanding the category descriptions, and even have the old manual list cross-referenced. Hope you like what you see.

I decided against having a second level template for the sub-categories. The template magic concept works well enough at one layer of templates, no?

Lastly, I'm concerned about two of the three subcategory names: Initialism and Abbreviation. Shouldn't those be plural? Or should Acronyms be singular? --Connel MacKenzie 08:16, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)