Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
en This user is a native speaker of English.
fr-1 Cet utilisateur peut contribuer avec un niveau élémentaire de français.
This user has a basic understanding of the Arabic abjad.
This user has an intermediate understanding of the International Phonetic Alphabet.
JS-2 This user has a fair command of JavaScript, and can understand some scripts written by others.
Search user languages or scripts

Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards.
— Galileo Galilei

Notwithstanding their influence, we apprehend, however, that dictionary-makers are on the whole an oppressed race, doomed to more than their due share of obscure drudgery. [] They may have had their romance at home — may have been crossed in love, and thence driven to dictionarying; may have been involved in domestic tragedies — who can say?
1864, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (volume 96), uncredited author

[T]he maximum number of revisions an author made is 237,600 for the English Wiktionary (user "Equinox") [] As an anonymous reviewer points out, this "sounds as[sic] an incredibly high number of revisions for one single user".
2016, Wolfer & Müller-Spitzer, How Many People Constitute a Crowd and What Do They Do?

Words, words, words, words! You may as well listen to the birds.
2000, Coil

About me

Hi. I've been on Wiktionary since mid-2008. I was born in 1980, live in England, and work in software development. I have an HND in Applied Computing and a BA in English Language.

My main interest is adding missing English words. I seem to have done rather a lot of this.[1] In particular, I have added the missing material from Webster's 1913 dictionary (which has about 80,000 entries) and Chambers 1908; created thousands of entries from lists of scientific terms, such as minerals, soil types, organic compounds, and pharmaceutical drugs; originated Appendix:Unicode (I fear I have birthed a terrible emoji monster); and added various words that I encounter in books, newspapers, and everyday life.

I like super-specialised senses of otherwise ordinary words (tick, policeman), proper tagging (this means "don't add rare slang like it's normal stuff your grandmother says"), and words beginning with x. I don't like blind prescriptivism, made-up phobias, folk etymologies, or "the agenda". (Are you thinking "this word needs to be defined", or "this viewpoint [Anglo-Saxonism, 'pure' Latin, identity politics...] needs to be propagated"?)

I am volatile and sometimes start fights on here, but honestly I'm more short-tempered than actually malicious.

I'm on Wikipedia too, where I mostly make a fuck of a fuss about commas.


Individual words to consider


Possible problem entries

Other places to get words

Features I would like to have

  • Some kind of high-level platform-agnostic API that exposes the dictionary as objects (if only a collection of subheadings), not raw text.
  • Standardisation of how templates work. Also, general accountability for templates, including pre-rollout consultation, testing, and backward-compatibility.
  • Fix the dumb issue where various plug-ins load sequentially and stuff keeps jumping around so you can't click it.

Unpopular opinions

  • I am starting to think that the main editor problem we have is a lack of context, or myopia: people have very narrow interests (like they only know and care about Pokémon, or Middle English) and are unable to situate their interest in the wider world. This is why the glosses like rare, slang, obsolete sometimes go neglected. The best solution is to read as much as you can from all possible eras.
  • I disagree with listing comparative/superlatives that consist of "more" and "most". Virtually any adjective can take these if the author wishes it, and it encourages editors to find weird fringe examples to substantiate their existence.
  • We should get rid of (or drastically cut down) the misspelling entries. They are way out of control.
  • Having separate alt-form pages for variants that differ only by case (Bloggs' disease, Bloggs' Disease) is somehow aesthetically displeasing. Furthermore, we should not have separate pages for titles like Admiral and Dame; just explain the usage at the normal form. You can see why the capped forms are stupid entries because people are hesitant about whether there is a plural. See also Talk:New: it isn't a separate word just because of New York.
  • We shouldn't have entries for X noun meaning "something X made", like Van Gogh or Picasso, nor proper nouns for famous people with a surname, like Dickens defined as "Charles Dickens, author" (that's for Wikipedia).
  • I sometimes think that every word in a definition should be a link. Perhaps it could be done in a subtler way, like allowing right-click and "look up this word" anywhere. Sneaky bonus: editors don't have to bother deciding where and how to insert square brackets.
  • An inherent problem with wikis is that work can be removed wrongly and forgotten about. We do have a very good history system but it only takes one mis-patrolled naive edit to turn a good entry to a shit one that might last for decades.
  • Inclusivity initiatives can be damaging. We don't want to bite newbies but it is also harmful, and wastes volunteer time, if we have to babysit editors who just aren't any good at the work.

Wiktionarians I have met