User talk:Spinningspark

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Arabic and Hebrew[edit]

Arabic and Hebrew do not use the Latin script. This is no more acceptable than writing Englsh words in Cyrillic, Kanji, Greek, etc. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:06, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

maw worms[edit]

Hi. Why did you say that maw worms was plural only when you also give maw worm? —Internoob (DiscCont) 05:01, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

That is a mistake, I was only trying to stop the automatic generation of the plural redlink. Sorry, I am still finding my way around Wiktionary. Can you fix it for me? Thanks. SpinningSpark 11:06, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Sure thing. Whenever you don't know which template to use, you can check other pages for what they use. I still have to do that sometimes, and I'm an admin. :) —Internoob (DiscCont) 18:37, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that a template for both "alt spelling" and "plural case" was needed at the same time and I couldn't find an example to hand. SpinningSpark 23:23, 6 February 2011 (UTC)


I can't find the English citation you refer to in the Etymology for pronic. I did find pronicus used in Euler, but in Latin. The citation should be found or the etymology changed. DCDuring TALK 14:22, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I was just going by what the source (Darling) said. Thinking about it, it is quite unlikely that Euler would be writing in English. Very possibly Darling does not have an English source and the reference to Euler should be deleted. SpinningSpark 11:21, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
The misspelling may have derived from Euler. Better English mathematicians would have read (and written in) Latin. Was Euler even the first mathematician to refer to pronic numbers? His sole use is from a paper written in 1765 (See c. page 51 for date). Basic search in Google books shows a number of hits in Latin and German and appearance in a lexicon of mathematical terms by w:Christian Wolff (philosopher) in 1716. I didn't do any more research. I would bet on German pronick or (Medieval?, New?) Latin pronicus as the direct source of the term, but exclude Euler. Any etymology would probably merit a {{etystub}}. DCDuring TALK 14:59, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Pronic may be an error, but it is unlikely that Euler is the source of the error. This book cites Italian sources from 1478 and 1494, and, assuming an accurate translation, they are using pronic. I cannot find an accessible online source for the 1478 work, but it is Muscarello's Algorismus. SpinningSpark 17:00, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Online lookup sites[edit]

I noticed your chagrin about your RfV at purple. I don't know whether you have access to the OED online, but OneLook (See purple at OneLook Dictionary Search) and the Century Dictionary (Try Java.) are great resources. Century and Webster 1913 (via OneLook or direct from Univ of Chicago) are both from around 1913 and quite comprehensive though the definitions are dated. OneLook gives access to AHD, RHU, MWOnline (best of the lot), WNW among relatively complete US dictionaries. UK representatives are less comprehensive dictionaries from Macmillan, Collins, Cambridge, and Oxford. Also there are some specialized glossaries, idioms dictionaries, and a Thesaurus. DCDuring TALK 11:57, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the links, but I do have easy access to OED online through my library membership which makes it all the sadder that I didn't look first. SpinningSpark 16:07, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

WebCite discussion[edit]

I've added many citations for relatively obscure words from blogs, small websites etc. over the years, some of which are now getting 404-ed so I'd be most interested if the WebCite matter would be fully pursued and eventually materialized with a vote sanctioning such entries. Yes the current "durably archived" policy is nonsense - why exactly we give preference (and an explicit mention) to a corporation making money from ads on Usenet posts instead of a non-profit organization like the Internet Archive is beyond me. I haven't heard of WebCite before but I like the idea very much, and would love to start migrating the citation URLs there, and writing a bot to do so in an automated fashion. Please start a vote proposal. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 15:53, 1 July 2012 (UTC)


I didn't understand the point of your edit summary. Did I close it out prematurely? It's archived on the talk page. If someone wants to format the cites and put them in the entry they can do so. DCDuring TALK 17:07, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

There is no problem, it was just that you had not closed the strike tags correctly and the following paragraph (by me as it happened) accidently appeared to be struck as well. SpinningSpark 17:41, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
It didn't look that way to me and from the diff, so I was confused. I like to know what kinds of mistakes I make. Thanks. DCDuring TALK 17:53, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Non-matching tags likely render differently in different browsers. SpinningSpark 19:31, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Bummer. DCDuring TALK 21:24, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Organic radicals[edit]

Hi there. Your changes to these make it look as if they carry a negative charge (with a "hyphen" as a superscript). Us organic chemists normally write them with a "hyphen" at about mid height, or else with a dot in the same place. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:50, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

If the radical is described as a loss of a "proton" (as the articles originally said, ie a nucleus) then they will indeed carry a charge. Perhaps I was right the first time and we should say "hydrogen atom". By the way, I was using the html "minus" sign, not a hyphen. SpinningSpark 09:55, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
"hydrogen atom" is definitely more correct - though organic chemists tend to use "proton" rather informally to mean the uncharged entity. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:58, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I'll change them. I'll leave out the dash (none of them originally had it except for methyl) as I'm pretty sure that will not be understood by most general readers. SpinningSpark 10:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


But isn't the cathode where the electrons leave the circuit of the CRT, and so the def is consistent with (1)? Yes, you could look at it from the gas's perspective, in which case the electrons would be coming in, hence sense (1) would predict it to be an anode - but isn't that a really nonstandard way of looking at it? I mean, in electrochemistry you don't talk about the 'cathode' of the solution - it's the cathode of the circuit that matters. Isn't that the same here; the ciruit-based definition is standard? Hyarmendacil (talk) 00:03, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

I think you are making the error of not considering that conventionally the direction of current flow is taken as the opposite direction to electron flow. This is the convention being used by def#1, current flowing in to the cathode from the external circuit means that electrons are leaving it. Using the same convention in def#3, current is flowing out of the cathode to the external circuit (because electrons are flowing in). It is, in fact, only equivalent to def#1 from the point of view of the gas. If def#1 is going to give the definition in terms of current flow into the device, then any device that has the opposite current flow does not meet def#1 and has to be a different definition.
This labelling of anode and cathode of vacuum tubes came about through naming them from the anode and cathode of the source of electricity (ie the generator). Think Frankenstein's lab with fat sparks betweeen two electrodes in air. It was discovered very early on that the cathode was capable of discharging positively charged objects held close to it, but there was no equivalent effect at the anode. It was as if some kind of invisible ray was emanating from the cathode. Much later (19th century) researchers found that much better results could be obtained by enclosing the two electrodes in a vacuum. They started making experiments with electrodes mounted in glass tubes. This was the beginnings of the cathode-ray tube. Thus the electrodes which has originally been a part of one device (the generator) now became a device in its own right. Current flowing out of an electrode of the old device became current flowing into the new device. SpinningSpark 09:21, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
No, I do understand conventional current; that is why I am talking about it solely in terms on electron flow to avoid confusion. I think our fundamental point of difference is your assertion that electrons are flowing in at the cathode. Surely they are not? Looking at it from the circuit's perspective, the cathode is the place at which the thermionic/whatever emission takes place; where the electrons leave the circuit and are emitted outwards in a beam. The cathode is the point where electrons leave the circuit and enter the gas. I'm happy to accept correction if this is wrong, but this is the way I've always understood it - though I'm not an electrical engineer. Hyarmendacil (talk)
<butting in>No. Electrons do not leave the circuit. The gas is the internal part of the circuit, just like an electrolyte is the internal part of a circuit through an electrolytic cell. </butting in> SemperBlotto (talk) 10:22, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Electrons are certainly leaving the cathode but, as SemperBlotto says, they are flowing into the gas (or more usually vacuum) that fills the inside of the glass body of the device. The external circuit has to supply electrons to replensih those lost by the cathode to the internal beam. SpinningSpark 10:55, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

It is only dictionary writers and scholars who understand what the Greek terms actually mean who get confused over this issue. For average Joe technician whose only Greek knowledge is pi and omega the practical usage of these words is anode = positive and cathode = negative. Simple. But since writing that as a definition will cause a major scholarly shitstorm I decline to add it. SpinningSpark 11:05, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

@ Semper. Yes, obviously the system is closed globally, but 'circuit' is the word that first came to my mind. If you want to define the 'cathode' of (say) a CRT then you have to define it in terms of some open subsystem. A cathode is defined in terms of electron flow over a system boundary, and there is no flow over the boundaries of a closed system (sorry for all the thermodynamics metaphors). What I meant by 'circuit' is the circuitry; the part of the circuit in which the electrons are travelling through solid conductors, as opposed to the part in which they travel through 'free' space. This solid circuitry has a cathode and an anode; the anode is the fluorescent screen, and the cathode is where the electrons are emitted in the beam. Hence we say that this is the cathode of the CRT. Yes, technically the CRT has no cathode or anode but because nobody is really is interested in what the gas/vacuum is doing it's considered from the perspective of the circuitry.
@ SpinningSpark. No, nobody is confused about what part of the thermionic valve is the cathode - that is all the technician Joe needs to know, as you say. The point is that we are a dictionary, and we are trying to form as general a definition of 'cathode' as is possible while retaining all meaning. And the cathode isn't always negative in the general case and so that's why we need the non-simple definitions.
Anyway, I won't argue further; the point I'm just trying to make is that, for all I can see, definition (1) covers (3) sufficiently (if you take circuitry as the reference system, which seems very obvious to me - why would anyone take the vacuum/gas as a reference?), and there is no point in us making the definition into a list of the cathodes of specific devices, if they can reasonably be deduced from the general definition. Which I think that (3) can. By all means we can put example of specific cathodes in real devices in, say, the example sentences - e.g. like the different I.G. law forms in ideal gas law Which is a bit of a conflict of interest because I added that example. But you understand what I mean.. Cheers for the interesting discussion though. Hyarmendacil (talk) 05:05, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Def#1 does not cover def#3. It is true that current will be entering the cathode of the source that is supplying the device but that is not the cathode of the device under consideration. Anode and cathode are never defined in terms of complete circuits. We talk about the electrodes of devices. Indeed, a current carrying conductor that forms part of a circuit cannot be an electrode by the definition of electrode. Def#1 is certainly in terms of devices. In a thermionic device (of which a CRT is a particularly complex example) current leaves the cathode of the device into the external circuit. In an electrochemical cell current enters the cathode of the device from the external circuit. How can those possibly be the same definition? They are only the same if one considers from the point of view of the vacuum inside the device, the very thing you say (and I agree) is the wrong thing to do. I only gave a consideration from this perspective above to explain how historically the definitions came to diverge.
By the way, the screen of a CRT is not the anode of the device. It would simplify the discussion to talk about the simplest thermionic devices such as the diode valve or the triode.
The point of my comments about average Joe was a point of usage. The cathode is only positive in situations such as a rechargeable battery cell on recharge. During recharge the current flow is reversed. According to our def#1 the designations of anode and cathode should also be reversed as a consequence. I maintain that nobody ever does that in practice. If they are calling the terminals x-odes at all they will continue to call them by their previous designations. I challenge you to find a cite where such a reversal is actually used in English. That is, other than a scholarly definition trying to explain why cathode = negative is wrong. Of course, if we were to adopt such a definition it would give you what you want of one definition fits all. SpinningSpark 08:22, 21 August 2013 (UTC)


Could you add {{Babel}} to your use page? I'd appreciate it. --Dan Polansky (talk) 06:06, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

What for? I don't really have any language skills that I'd care to advertise. SpinningSpark 06:59, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
That's sort of the point; adding words is languages you don't speak is a very risky proposition and we need to be able to check if people are doing it or not. It's not totally impossible, you could translate an entry from another Wiktionary and it be correct, but it is high-risk. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:02, 25 December 2013 (UTC)


Hindi and Yiddish do not use the Latin script. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:00, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Oh, ok, I don't know about Yiddish, I just came across that in OED as I was trying to find out what the Indian meaning was (OED didn't help with that). So I guess it has to be listed as English. SpinningSpark 14:22, 25 December 2013 (UTC)


You shouldn't create entries in Greek if you can't even read the script. Your entry was just plain wrong. --Fsojic (talk) 02:49, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes (I added it in the entry. Now I'm not sure which should be the lemma), but you have to write the breathing and the accent. --Fsojic (talk) 02:56, 18 February 2014 (UTC)


This is an inflected form of abgerieben, the past participle of abreiben. —CodeCat 17:41, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Wrong German entry[edit]

It is Zitronenschale, not Zitronschale that you have created. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:42, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Is Zitronschale a misspelling? it does occur [1]. I got it from a recipe. SpinningSpark 20:02, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Zitronenschale,Zitronschale at Google Ngram Viewer does not find "Zitronschale" at all. I admit that the form is attested, but it is either a misspelling, an obsolete spelling or a very rare alternative form, judging from google books:"Zitronschale". --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:45, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I'll label it as dated, is that satisfactory? SpinningSpark 21:06, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
It is not dated, since there is not a single attestation from 20th century, from what I can see in google books:"Zitronschale". It is obsolete at best, not worth an entry at worst. See also WT:Glossary for "dated" and "obsolete". --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:48, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
I won't argue with you if you want to mark it obsolete, or even if you want to delete it as a spelling error. I don't know any better. All I can say is that I got it from a contemporary recipe and there seem to be numerous examples out there on the internet, eg [2], but admittedly, far fewer than Zitronenschalte. SpinningSpark 19:47, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
The frequencies in the world wild web are unequivocal: google:Zitronschale: 712 hits or 91 hits if you click to the right several times; google:Zitronenschale: 1,640,000 hits. This screams misspelling if anything ever had. --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:27, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

CHERT Etymology[edit]

Having sent public thanks for removing my edit, that I normally do, if there is any evidence of site improvement; it did so here because your statement was completely logical. However, "Etymology unknown" applies at the time of editing; but you might have nine etymologists who agree with that statement and another who finds a reliable root for it. In this case the evidence is weighted towards chert having been borrowed from Irish ceart during latter Anglo-Saxon times, but this is more conjecture than attestable; therefore I leave its etymology on its Discussion page. Trust this is explanatory. Andrew H. Gray 10:09, 13 April 2016 (UTC)Andrew