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Illustrated at /Example.


While the information below represent the standard form, it is not a set of rigid rules. You may experiment with deviations, but other editors may find those deviations unacceptable, and revert those changes. They have just as much right to do that as you have to make them. Be ready to discuss those changes. If you want your way accepted, you have to make the case for that. Unless there is a good reason for deviating, the standard is presumed to be correct. Refusing to discuss, or engaging in edit wars may also affect your credibility in other, unrelated areas.

Some languages do have characteristics that require variation from the standard format. For links to these variations see "Wiktionary:Language considerations".


Entry name[edit]

The name of the entry is that of the word or phrase that you are defining. For languages with two cases of script, the entry name will usually begin with a lowercase letter. Exceptions include proper nouns, German nouns, and many abbreviations.

The essential sections[edit]

  1. The language header lets you know the language of the word in question. It is a level-two header (i.e., surrounded in the wiki code by two equal signs before and two following). In most cases the language header contains the English name of a language (in the meaning of language): the only exception is "Translingual", which is the first section on the page where it exists. English comes next because this is the English Wiktionary. After that come the other languages in alphabetical order by name.
  2. The definitions header appears once beneath each language header, surrounded by three equal signs on each side (i.e., a level-3 header).
  3. The so-called part-of-speech ("POS") header is the next-level header, and is a level-four header. It is the key descriptor for the lexical function of the term in question (such as noun, verb, etc.). In addition to the traditional parts of speech, it has come to include things such as "Suffix" and "Proverb". Directly beneath it is the inflection line (described below). Beneath that are the definitions (if the word is English) or translations (if the word is non-English and can be translated into English), always in English, as described below.

More information on these headers and the sections they head is below in this page.

A very simple example[edit]

This is a simple entry for the word bed, and shows the most fundamental elements of an entry:

  1. language header (level-2);
  2. definitions header (level-3);
  3. POS header (level-4);
  4. the word itself (using the correct part-of-speech template or the word in bold letters) and basic inflection;
  5. a definition (preceded by "#", which causes automatic numbering)

This example can be copied and used to start an entry or section of an entry.



# A piece of [[furniture]] to [[sleep]] on.

More elaborate entries[edit]

There is more content which you should include if possible, though not every entry will have all of it.

A key principle in ordering the headers and indentation levels is nesting. A header placed at one level includes everything that follows until an equivalent level is encountered.

The top of the page[edit]

Some information that is independent of linguistic issues (specifically, that does not belong in any language's section because it is independent of language) is included in the header area above the first language section. This includes {{also}}/{{xsee}}, {{selfref}}, and the {{character info}} family.

The part-of-speech header[edit]

The POS header is a level-4 header. This header most often shows the part of speech, but is not restricted to "parts of speech" in the traditional sense. Many other descriptors are in use, such as "Proper noun", "Abbreviation", "Symbol", and "Prefix". See "Wiktionary:Entry layout explained/POS headers" for a list. The header should have its first letter, only, capitalized, and be in English.


We give a word's basic inflections without indentation in the line below the "Part of speech" header. There is no separate header for this. For uninflected words it is enough to repeat the entry word in boldface. Further forms can be given in parentheses.

For an English noun this will generally be one of...
word (plural words)
word (uncountable)
word (plurale tantum)
...depending whether the noun has a plural, is uncountable, or is itself a plural with no singular form, respectively. For an English adjective this will appear as one of...
hard (comparative harder, superlative hardest)
growling (not comparable)
...depending whether the adjective is comparable or not, respectively. For an English verb you may use
to end (third-person singular simple present ends, present participle ending, simple past ended, past participle ended)

However, that's the displayed text. Templates are available at "Wiktionary:Inflection templates" which generate this text, and should be used.

Occasionally, completely different inflection lines are needed for words with the same POS header, such as for English lie or Hebrew ישב. In such cases, multiple (e.g.) "Verb" sections can exist beneath the same language header. All POS headers of the same tyep (all verbs, for example) should be together, not separated by another POS header.


Definitions are simply added in one big block, line after line, each beginning with a number sign (#), directly beneath the inflection line.

For English terms, these should usually be full definitions, each beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full stop. The key terms of a definition should be wikified (made a link). An exception is where a word is a form of another word, such as a plural of a noun, a diminutive of a given name, or an eye-dialect representation of a word. In this case, the definition line should describe the word as a form of another word (using {[temp|form of}} or one of the specialized form-of templates), identifying which sense of the latter using {{gloss}} if necessary.

For foreign terms, these should, where possible, be wikified translations into English with {{gloss}} used to identify the correct sense of the English word. For example, under regina (an Italian word):

# [[queen]] {{gloss|monarch}}
# queen {{gloss|male homosexual}}

...referring to the "An effeminate male homosexual" definition of queen.Again, form-of entries should be treated differently, as for English entries. For regine:

# {{plural of|regina|lang=it}}
Context labels[edit]

A context label identifies a definition which only applies in a restricted context. Such labels indicate, for example, that the following definition occurs in a limited geographic region or temporal period, or is used only by specialists in a particular field and not by the general population. Many context label templates also place an entry into a relevant category, but they must not be used merely for categorization (see category links, below).

One or more labels may be placed before the definition:

wikitext result

# {{informal}} An [[informant]] or [[snitch]].

  1. (informal) An informant or snitch.

This applies to both English and other words.

Details in Wiktionary:Context labels.

Example sentences[edit]

Generally, every definition (including translation-style "definitions" of foreign words) should be accompanied by a quotation that illustrates the definition well. If no suitable quotation can be found, it is strongly encouraged to create an example sentence. (Sometimes an example sentence is used along with a quotation, if the former has some desired property and a quotation with that property cannot be found.) Example sentences should:

  • be grammatically complete sentences, beginning with a capital letter and ending with a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
  • be placed immediately after the applicable numbered definition, and before any quotations associated with that specific definition.
  • be italicized (if in Latin and certain other scripts), with the defined term boldfaced.
  • be as brief as possible while still clarifying the sense of the term. (In rare cases, examples consisting of two brief sentences may work best.)
  • be indented using the "#:" command placed at the start of the line.
  • for languages in non-Latin scripts, a transcription is to be given in the line below, italicized, with an additional level of indentation: "#::".
  • for languages other than English, a translation is to be given in the line below (i.e. below the sentence or below the transcription), with an additional level of indentation: "#::".
  • not contain wikilinks.
  • ideally comprise words easy enough to understand without additional lookup.

The goal of the example sentences is the following, which is to be kept in mind when making one up:

  1. To place the term in a context in which it is likely to appear, addressing level of formality, dialect, etc.
  2. To provide notable collocations.
  3. To select scenarios in which the meaning of the example itself is clear.
  4. To illustrate the meaning of the term to the extent that a definition is obtuse.
  5. To exemplify varying grammatical frames that are well understood, especially those that may not be obvious, for instance relying on collocation with a preposition.

Below the definitions, quotations, and example sentences, {{seeMoreCites}} should be added if additional quotations are on the citations page, or {{seeCites}} if quotations are only on the citations page.

Other level-three headers[edit]

These headers are nested subordinate to the language header, after the "Definitions" section.

They are, in order:

  • "Usage notes"
  • "Pronunciation"
  • "Inflection": only in non-English entries
  • "Semantic relations"
  • "Translations"
  • "Etymology"
  • "See also"
  • "Anagrams"
  • other headers (see below)
  • "References"
  • "External links"

Details follow:

"Usage notes"[edit]

Curb the tendency to be long winded in this section; brief explicit notes tend to be more effective. These notes should not take the place of context labels when those are adequate for the job. Be prepared to document these notes with references. (See more on references below.) Remember to describe how a term is used, rather than try to dictate how it should be used from your point of view.

If a note applies to only one part of speech or only one definition, then that part of speech or definition should be noted at the start of the note using {{sense}}.


Main article: Wiktionary:Pronunciation

A typical pronunciation section may look like the following example based on the word portmanteau:

* {{sense|verb}} {{a|UK}} {{IPA|/pɔːtˈmantəʊ/}}, {{SAMPA|/pO:t"m{nt@U/}}
* {{a|US}} {{SAMPA|/pOrt"m{ntoU/}}
* {{audio|en-us-portmanteau.ogg|Audio (US)}}

An identification of the sense for which the pronunciation is used is first, using {{sense}}, if there is variation in pronunciation among the senses. This is followed by the region or accent (e.g., {{a|UK}} or {{a|US|Australia}}) if there is regional variation, followed by the IPA, SAMPA, or, for English only, enPR template. (See "Wiktionary:English pronunciation key" for an outline of these systems.) The phonetic transcriptions are normally placed between diagonal strokes.

It is not wrong to use an arbitrary representation if that’s all you know and there is an important point to be made. For the word reject, one could have /RE-ject/ and /re-JECT/ to make the important distinction between the pronunciations of the the noun and verb forms. It may not be standard, but neither is it wrong. Whenever possible, however, such ad hoc pronunciations should be replaced with one in an unambiguous system, such as IPA.

Ideally, every entry should have a pronunciation section and a sound sample to accompany it. However, pronunciations vary widely between dialects, and non-linguists often have trouble writing down pronunciations properly.

For audio pronunciations, upload the Ogg file to Commons and link here using Template:audio.

Also listed in the level-3 "Pronunciation" section are homophones and rhymes:


List any homophones of the word (in the same language) in alphabetical order, wikifying each one. For example, the Pronunciation section of the English word right contains the line

* Homophones: [[rite]], [[wright]], [[write]]

which results in

which are the English words that sound identical to right.

If a word is a homophone in a particular dialect of English, it may be added provided the dialect is referred to (for example, ride is a homophone of right in accents with flapping, and beater is a homophone of beta in non-rhotic accents). Examples (for beater and right, respectively):

The following must not be added to the homophones section:

  • Words that are "nearly" homophones or rhymes (for example, for right, the words white or light);
  • Words that are homophones if they are mispronounced in some way (eg, for miss, the word myth when pronounced with a lisp);
  • Words in other languages.

(Note that the term used here is homophone; the term homonym used by some is ambiguous as it can mean either "homophone" or "homograph".)


Add a link to the page in the "Rhymes" namespace that lists the rhymes for the word. So, for example, on the entry for hat, add the line

* {{rhymes|æt|lang=en}}

to the code. This displays as

See {{rhymes}} for usage instructions.

Do not list the rhymes themselves on the page you are editing.


This contains an inflection table. What forms are included in the table depends on the word and the language. It may contain more than one table, for different parts of speech or the like. The table should indicate what part of speech it applies to.

"Semantic relations"[edit]

The level-three header can have any or all of the following level-four sections: "Synonyms", "Antonyms", "Hypernyms", "Hyponyms", "Meronyms", "Holonyms", "Troponyms", and "Coordinate terms".


This is a list of words that have similar meanings as the word being defined. They are often very inexact.

Where several definitions of the English word exist, synonyms should be given in a separate list for each meaning.

  1. Summarize the part of speech and/or definition for which synonyms are being given, using {{sense}}.
  2. List the synonyms for this definition, in alphabetical order and separated by commas, wikifying each synonym.
  3. Use one line for each definition, beginning each line with a bullet.

The synonyms section for “hrunk” might look like this (the synonyms are also made up):

An alternative to identical lengthy lists of synonyms in many entries is offered by Wikisaurus entries. Instead of listing many synonyms in each of several synonymous entries, a single reference can be made in each to a common Wikisaurus page. See corpse, body, Wikisaurus:corpse, Wikisaurus:body for examples.

"Antonyms", et al.[edit]

Each of these sections is formatted exactly like the "Synonyms" section (see above). More detailed information can be found at "Wiktionary:Semantic relations".


See Wiktionary:Translations for more.

Translations are to be given for English words only. (Any translation between two foreign languages is best handled on the Wiktionaries in those languages.)

The translation section is separated into a number of divisions that are keyed to the various meanings of the English word. Each division is separated into a distinct collapsible navigation box by use of the translation section templates (see below for example.) The boxes are each headed by a summary of the translated meaning.

Within each box, the languages for which translations exist are listed in two columns in alphabetical order by their English names. The language name is preceded by a bullet (generated by *) followed by a colon and the translations into that language. Certain language names are to be wikified: details and a list of affected languages are listed at "Wiktionary:Translations/Wikification". The two columns within the collapsible navigation box are obtained by adding the {{trans-top}} template just before the first language, {{trans-mid}} halfway down, and {{trans-bottom}} at the line after the last translation.

Translation dos and don'ts[edit]
  • Do use the {{t}} template for each translation. This will create a link to that word in this Wiktionary and a small link to the Wiktionary for that language. References for the translation should be on that other page rather than in the translation list. If you find {{t}} too complex, simply enclose the translation in square brackets.
  • Do add a transliteration or romanization of a translation into a language that does not use the Roman alphabet. See {{t}} and Wiktionary:Transliteration.
  • Do provide the grammatical gender of the translations of nouns, if appropriate, giving the parameters m, f, n and c for "masculine", "feminine", "neuter" and "common" respectively to {{t}}.
  • Do not add the pronunciation of the translation or detailed grammatical information: such information should be provided on the page for the translation itself.
  • Do ensure that multiple translations are given in full. For example, for the German for "ankle", which is Knöchel or Fußknöchel, write: *German: {{t|de|Knöchel|m}}, {{t|de|Fußknöchel|m}} rather than just combining the two as "(Fuß-) Knöchel" or similar, which is liable to be misunderstood.
  • Do not give literal (word-for-word) translations of idioms, unless the literal translation is what is actually used in the target language. Most idioms do not translate word for word. For example, the idiom "none of your beeswax" cannot be translated into German literally as "nicht dein Bienenwachs", as this does not have the same meaning in German; an idiomatic translation is "nicht dein Bier" (which means, literally, “not your beer” in English).
  • Do not give translations back into English of idiomatic translations. For example, when translating "bell bottoms" into French as “pattes d’éléphant”, do not follow this with the literal translation back into English of "elephant’s feet". While this sort of information is undoubtedly interesting, it belongs in the entry for the translation itself.

Here is an example (a shortened version of the entry for orange) illustrating some of the conventions:


# The [[fruit]] of the [[orange tree]].
# The [[reddish]]-[[yellow]] [[colour]] of an orange.

{{trans-top|noun: fruit of the orange tree}}
* French: {{t|fr|orange|f}}
* German: {{t|de|Orange|f}}
* Japanese: {{t|ja|オレンジ|tr=orenji}}
* Russian: {{t|ru|апельсин|m|tr=apelsin}}
* Serbian
*: Cyrillic: {{t|sr|наранџа|f}}, {{t|sr|поморанџа|f}}
*: Roman: {{t|sr|narandža|f}}, {{t|sr|pomorandža|f}}

{{trans-top|noun: colour of an orange}}
* German: {{t|de|Orange|n}}
* Hebrew: {{t|he|כתום|tr=katom}}
* Latvian: {{t|lt|oranžs}}


Main article: Wiktionary:Etymology

The etymology is given right below the "Etymology" header without indentation. Etymology essentially shows where the word comes from. This may show the forms in other languages that underlie the word. For many modern words it may show who coined the word. If a word was derived from another word for which etymology is listed, it is not necessary to repeat the etymon's own etymology on the word's page.

Sometimes two senses with the same spelling have different etymologies. In such a case, have separate paragraphs in the "Etymology" section, clearly marking which paragraph applies to which senses using {{sense}}.

Subsections of "Etymology"[edit]

Level-four subsections of the level-3 "Etymology" section are (in order):

  • "Related terms", where terms etymologically related to the entry's word, and in the same language, are listed; {{rel-top}} may be used.
    For example, datum should point to data in this section rather than in "Derived terms" since the latter is the plural of the former, and the plural form was obtained not by morphological derivation but directly from Latin, where it is a morphological derivation.
  • "Derived terms", where terms derived from the entry's word, and in the same language, are listed; {{der-top}} may be used.
  • "Cognates", where terms etymologically cognate to the entry's word, and in other languages, are listed separated by commas, each language on a separate line with the language name listed first and followed by a colon.
  • "Descendants", where terms descendant from the entry's word, and in other languages, are listed separated by commas, each language on a separate line with the language name listed first and followed by a colon.

"See also"[edit]

This is used when it is useful to link to another entry, but such a link belongs neither in any of the other sections nor at the top of the page in {{also}}, or one is unsure which section it belongs in. It can also link to a relevant Wiktionary appendix.


Main article: Wiktionary:Anagrams

Anagrams may be entered in alphabetical order under a level-3 header ===Anagrams===. Only list anagrams that are words in the same language. You may include the alphagram, which is not wikified unless it is itself a word. For post, the anagrams section would look like this:

* {{alphagram|opst}}: [[opts]], [[pots]], [[spot]], [[stop]], [[tops]]

Other sections with other trivia and observations may be added, either under the header "Trivia" or some other suitably explanatory header. Because of the unlimited range of possibilities, no formatting details can be provided.


The validity of the dictionary has a profound effect on its usefulness. There is a need to balance respect for copyrights with definitions so inventive as to be inaccurate. References to dubious claims, such as the etymology of windhover, are also important to the credibility of Wiktionary. In due course, every entry should have one or more references which can be used to verify the content.

References here may be given in a normal bibliographic format showing author, title, place of publication, publisher and year of publication. Reference templates (beginning with “R:”) are used for some of the most common sources. Thus, for the 1913 Webster, we have {{R:Webster 1913}}, which gives:

Msh210/ELE in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913

"External links"[edit]

This is for links to external sites, such as Wikipedia, that have more information about a word or its referent. These should be added sparingly. Usually if a link to a Wikipedia article (or disambiguation page) is present, no other link to information on a word's referent need be present (though links to information about the word itself may be).

Other content[edit]

Category links[edit]

A Wiktionary category is a group of related entries which are listed on a category page. To include an entry in a category, simply add a category tag to the entry thus:

[[Category:Category name]]

The link will appear at the bottom of the page in some skins and at the top in others, regardless of where it is placed in the edit box. A category link is placed at an appropriate location in an entry, such as on a definition line if it applies to a specific sense. Where a category applies to an entire POS or language, the link should be placed at the bottom of the section, one per line.

The list of entries on a category page will be alphabetized in the strict Unicode order of the titles unless you dictate otherwise. You can change how an item is sorted with a piped link; whether and when this should be done is language-specific.

Interwiki links[edit]

An interwiki link is a link to an entry of the same spelling in another Wiktionary. The links start with the (usually two-letter) language code. The syntax is:


The result will be that the entry "friend" can link to the French Wiktionnaire’s entry "friend" using [[fr:friend]]. And our entry "ami" can link to the French Wiktionnaire’s entry "ami" using [[fr:ami]].

These are added at the very bottom of a page, one per line, in alphabetical order.

These need not be added by hand, as there is a bot, Interwicket that does it.