Wiktionary:Information desk

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

Wiktionary > Discussion rooms > Information desk

You can search in the archives of Information desk:

Welcome to the Information desk of Wiktionary, a place where newcomers can ask questions about words and about Wiktionary, ask for help, or post miscellaneous ideas that don’t fit in any of the other rooms.

To start a new topic, clicking on the “+” tab, or click here: Start a new topic.

Sign your comments with four tildes (~~~~), code which produces your signature, followed by a UTC timestamp.

For past questions, see /Archives.

June 2016

Proto-Kartvelian nouns[edit]

Are these actually nouns or roots? Bonus question: if a reconstructed archetype has a hyphen in the end, does it automatically mean it's a root? btw, in case you've just thought "wow this guy is dumb", I'll have you know that it took me exactly a year to notice this potential error. --Simboyd (talk) 15:59, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

Having worked a little with polysynthetic/agglutinative languages, I would never question the intelligence of anyone who has trouble understanding one of them. For those of us here who don't speak such languages, very basic features of them can be mind-meltingly strange. Not knowing the specifics, I would point out that being a root and being a noun aren't necessarily mutually exclusive- it depends on the language. For instance, in Sanskrit the noun lemma forms at Wiktionary don't include the inflectional endings, because the forms of the endings vary substantially according to what word follows, and because all the major dictionaries don't include them either. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:45, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Don't worry, I was being sarcastic. I've made my peace with the fact that I'm a bit slow. Anyway, none of the dictionaries of Proto-Kartvelian mention whether the reconstructions are to be classified under roots or nouns, but somehow common sense tells me they are roots. For example, *baba is most definitely a fully respectable noun while *mam- is probably just a root whence Kartvelian words for "father" are derived. It's the same in PIE entries too — the ones that end in hyphens are roots and the ones without are fully reconstructed words. I think I'll just convert all of the Kartvelian nouns/verbs to roots, after all, I'm the one who fucked them up. --Simboyd (talk) 21:54, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Proto-Kartvelian isn't Proto-Indo-European. For one thing, PIE roots (at least as I understand it) don't really have a part of speech, since they can be made into either verbs or nouns. The answer to your question depends on the analysis of those who work with Proto-Kartvelian, which I know nothing about. Perhaps @Dixtosa or @Vahagn Petrosyan might have some insights. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:27, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
A reconstruction or word with a hyphen can have a part of speech. I don't know much about Proto-Kartvelian either, but it looks like that unlike Proto-Indo-European Proto-Kartvelian roots do have part of speech. For example, the meaning and the descendants of *ɣwino- are all nominal. --Vahag (talk) 07:18, 6 June 2016 (UTC)


We don’t have a label for this dialect. I would add it myself if I knew where it’s supposed to go. --Romanophile (contributions) 15:36, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

What's it a dialect of? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:26, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Ladino, according to w:Haketia. - -sche (discuss) 20:12, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Do we want to treat it as a dialect of Ladino or as a separate language? If we want to treat it as a dialect, do we want the category to be called "Category:Haketia" or "Category:Haketia Ladino"? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:20, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
This is a tricky question. I would go with making it a dialect just for convenience, even if it's not the ideologically correct thing to do. The category should be Category:Haketia. --WikiTiki89 14:29, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done here. The labels {{lb|lad|Haketia}}, {{lb|lad|Hakitia}}, and {{lb|lad|Haquitía}} should now all categorize into Category:Haketia, unless I did something wrong. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:46, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
The correct category is Haketia Ladino. I am changing the module to this. DTLHS (talk) 19:27, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Why is that "correct"? "Haketia" is the name of the dialect, most other dialects don't actually have names and so are called "[place] [language]", but that's not necessary here, and frankly is not very grammatical. And please let the discussion play out before making changes. --WikiTiki89 19:30, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Show me any other dialect category that leaves out the language name. DTLHS (talk) 19:32, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
That's not an argument. But there is Category:Helsinki slang. --WikiTiki89 19:52, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

Python script?[edit]

I think I've seen two references to python within the last month. Is/was Python somehow supported by this site?~If so, in what area? Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 15:06, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

It was probably in reference to bots. Python has some pretty good libraries supporting the MediaWiki API and even some that do wikitext parsing and more, and so most bots are written in Python. --WikiTiki89 15:13, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

context labels: derogatory vs pejorative vs offensive[edit]

When to use which?--Giorgi Eufshi (talk) 06:37, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Updating Appendix:Glossary with the subtleties explained would be best. --Giorgi Eufshi (talk) 06:45, 10 June 2016 (UTC)
I've been trying to go by the definitions found on the [[Category:English terms by usage]] page which may be of some help to you, but especially derogatory and pejorative seem to me to be used as synonyms a lot of the time. Would also like some clarification on this. — Kleio (t · c) 18:35, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Is there a way to know when a word is added to a category?[edit]

Turns out putting it on watchlist only informs you about source code changes. But I'd like to know about new entries being created for a language/category. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 11:32, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

When you watch a category, you can uncheck the box that says page categorization on your watchlist page (under watchlist options just above the list of changes) and it will show new additions to that category. — Kleio (t · c) 14:25, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
So you uncheck the box to view page categorization? Isn't this backwards? DTLHS (talk) 00:41, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
No as long as the list of checkboxes is preceded by "hide", and they are. Dixtosa (talk) 05:13, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Though whether it should be checked by default is debatable. — Kleio (t · c) 23:24, 19 June 2016 (UTC)


Cōnsors can sometimes appear in the ablative as cōnsorte, although here it is only declined in the ablative as cōnsortī. There is an example of this use in Ovid's Metamorphoses book 1 line 319 "cum consorte tori parva rate vectus adhaesit,"

I have no idea where to suggest this fix nor how to do it myself. 00:05, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Template to request checking of a definition?[edit]

We have {{gloss-stub}}, but that's for unclear or imprecise definitions, while {{rfv-sense}} is for when the definition is disputed. Is there a mechanism to ask for other users to check if a given sense is accurate, and amend it if necessary? —CodeCat 20:35, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

I've seen {{rfdef}} used for this (i.e. with a definition already given). --WikiTiki89 20:43, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Japanese loan words[edit]

Random question for those Japanese speakers out there: if a Japanese term that derives from Chinese already exists, when is that term preferred over its equivalent transliterated from a Western language? E.g. there are two words for "music" in Japanese - 音楽 and ミュージック. When is the former preferred over the latter? Or are they interchangeable? ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:37, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

I can tell you that, generally speaking, words written in kanji have a formal, cold, technical feel, while the same word written is hiragana is softened, warm, and made comfortable. Then borrowings from Chinese are more technical and formal (equivalent to English using Latin and Greek borrowings), while borrowings from English are popular, stylish, and fun (equivalent to English using Norse and Anglo-Saxon forms). The native Japanese equivalents are often considered old-fashioned, lower-class. The native Japanese words usually have a broader meaning than the loanwords: English inn, Japanese 宿屋 (yadoya), Sino-Japanese 旅館 (ryokan), English ホテル (hoteru). The Sino-Japanese words are likely to be found in contracts and other formal transactions. The English loans would be preferred, for example, in less formal transactions such as cancellation of appointments, ticket reservations, etc.
When choosing between on'yomi (Chinese loans) and kun'yomi (native Japanese), the on'yomi are used in compounds, and the kun'yomi are used in isolation. —Stephen (Talk) 14:44, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Very helpful, thanks! ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:56, 26 June 2016 (UTC)


A decadent randomness; not always about alcohol, maybe flippant and haphazard, bored and unconcerned, but with an element of supremacy


What is called in Hebrew? --Romanophile (contributions) 18:55, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

It seems and + are both called סִימָן הַפְּלוּס ‎(simán hap'lús, literally plus sign). --WikiTiki89 19:17, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Sourcing and corrections[edit]

I know the concepts of original research and reliable sourcing are handled differently here on Wiktionary than it is on Wikipedia, but what does one do with entries that make dubious claims about the term in question and might in fact be wrong about what it means? How do you confirm that it's not just the poster's opinion? What's the proper way to make corrections? Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:35, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Allowing original research doesn't mean allowing unsupported opinions. Definitions need to be confirmed by direct quotations of the word used with that definition. --WikiTiki89 20:40, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay, so let's say this term has some quotations, but most of them are from things like blogs and message boards. Does that matter or are they considered RS for Wiktionary's purposes? This particular term, I've noticed, has an RS/non-RS split, where the RS say it means one thing and the blogs etc. say it means something else. Or would both meanings be listed?
What about independent value judgments, like "this term is clearer than that one"? Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:47, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Citations need to meet WT:CFI, so Internet message boards don't count. Independent judgements are also avoided as being prescriptive rather than descriptive, though sometimes you can e.g. use a "proscribed" gloss (meaning that a form is widely considered wrong) or put something in a Usage notes section, preferably backed up by authorities. Equinox 11:50, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

July 2016

Offline mobile Wiktionary client[edit]

WiktionaryMobile seems dead as a doornail. Not sure that it ever supported offline access anyway. I'm starting a React Native project. If anyone knows of an existing project of this sort, lemme know so I can stop trying to write it.

This app is really good but only supports several languages. --Dixtosa (talk) 11:40, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Why is pronunciation of "discharge" hidden?[edit]

Why is the pronunciation in the discharge entry hidden? Is this normal? --Greek Fellows (talk) 13:45, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

No, it is not usual. DCDuring did that back in 2008, thus. I don’t know why he did it. I don’t see a reason for it. —Stephen (Talk) 14:18, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Probably because there are a lot of lines so it takes a while to read down to the definition, which is the most useful part. Equinox 14:31, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
As there was an audio file present, which suits most normal users, I demoted the 6 line IPA, useless for normal users. I think that registered users can set such a thing to be open by default in CSS or JS, though I am not the one to do it. DCDuring TALK 15:06, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Except that the audio file is valid only for the noun, not the verb. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:40, 3 July 2016 (UTC)


Hey. It'd be cool to know the symbols of this logo. Could someone make a list of them here, or perhaps put them in a better place? --Turnedlessef (talk) 22:05, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

They are: , , , λ, W, ش, Ж, , ש. Wyang (talk) 22:15, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I wonder why there are so many /ʃ/-like sounds in this set. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:26, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
The Semitic ones, at least, are related. —CodeCat 22:26, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I know; but in addition to the Arabic and Hebrew, the katakana represents /ʃi/, the Devanagari represents /ɕ/, and the Cyrillic represents /ʒ/ (or /ʃ/ word-finally). I feel like this can't be a coincidence. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:31, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
The Cyrillic letter for /ʃ/ is actually related to the Semitic ones, so it's strange that they didn't pick it instead. —CodeCat 22:32, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
The letters are from the "tiles" logo that User:Smurrayinchester designed. Maybe they remember why they chose them. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:25, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
It was a long time ago (and in all honesty I've come to hate that logo. I was horribly naïve when I designed it - I was for instance blissfully unaware that shi is considered unlucky in Japanese). By and large I selected letters from translations of Wiktionary - original plan was to just take the first letter for Wiktionary in each alphabet, but in both Cyrillic and Greek that was В/Β which is aesthetically unpleasing. So we have lambda from λεξικό (side note - I really should have used capital Λ), श from शब्दकोश. I probably picked because that's a character from 위키낱말사전 and it means word. The is a nice one - first character in 维基词典, has a /w/ sound, and it also means "net" or "connect". I haven't a clue where Ж, ش or ש came from. I might have taken them from transliterations of "Wiktionary" (I think the list I was working from was a mess, and mixed transliterations and translations together) - I took the first letter that followed the "Wiki" part, mistakenly believing that meant "dictionary". Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:30, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm guessing Ж, ش and ש were chosen for their visual similarity to W. --WikiTiki89 15:01, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

disambiguating a translation gloss[edit]

In checking out my guess about the meaning and ancestry of Spanish ahumar, I saw that the English gloss for the reconstructed Vulgar Latin etymon, affumo, was very misleading:

*affūmō ‎(present infinitive *affūmāre); first conjugation
  1. (Vulgar Latin) I smoke.

Of course, in English by far the commonest meaning of to smoke refers to tobacco or other burning material:

  1. (transitive) To inhale and exhale the smoke from a burning cigarette, cigar, pipe, etc.
  2. (intransitive) To inhale and exhale tobacco smoke.

and I smoke is normally meant and understood as meaning "I habitually inhale and exhale tobacco smoke" (or, these days, the vapor of e-cigs, which are now being mentioned on NO SMOKING signs).

I don't edit Wiktionary much, and I didn't know how to fix this problem, and a search for things like "ambiguous definition" didn't pan out. Fortunately, I found a model in ahumar. Would someone more experienced than I please check Reconstruction:Latin/affumo to make sure I've done it properly? Thank you.

To discuss... mmm, is there an interwiki version of Wiktionary {{ping}} or Wikipedia Template:ping? I log in to WP every day and see any notifications to wikipedia:User:thnidu, but I don't know how to forward such from Wikt to WP. --Thnidu (talk) 04:31, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Remove the spine of[edit]

Came up while proof reading something. I feel like there ought to be an English word for this, but I can't find one. Expinate/exspinate, despine and unspine all looks plausible but come up as red links. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:27, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

"exspinate" and "unspine" aren't attestable, "despine" exists but is used to refer to removing the spines of plants. spinalize means to surgically separate the spine from the brain. DTLHS (talk) 22:44, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
And of course there's debone but that's not specific to the spine. DTLHS (talk) 22:47, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
And vertebrectomy for removal of a single vertebra. DTLHS (talk) 22:56, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
"spinectomy" gets a few hits. DTLHS (talk) 23:02, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Removing the spine of a book is (more or less) unbinding, since it's what holds the pages together... Equinox 23:35, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
The closest I can come up with is pith. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:24, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Colons in Wikipaedia Double Bracket Link Syntax[edit]

What is the difference between [[w:XYZ]] and [[:w:XYZ]]? I am finding the latter in about 3% of the cases where I would expect the former (37 times in Ancient Greek), and while it seems to have the same effect, I am unsure that it doesn't have a different intent. An example of the latter is: [[:w:Bauer lexicon|Bauer lexicon]] in Αἴγυπτος; normally one sees: [[w:Bauer lexicon|Bauer lexicon]] , as in μάγος. My understanding, from Help:Interwiki_linking, is that this syntax is used for inter-Wiktionary links; I cannot find an explanation of a use for Wikipaedia links. Thanks, Isomorphyc (talk) 15:26, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

In the case of Wikipedia links, I don’t think it makes any difference. In some other cases, such as Category:Spanish language, and es:solo, the initial colon forces the link to appear inline (in the text), rather than in the left margin (link to wiktionaries in other languages) or at the foot of the page (normal place for categories). —Stephen (Talk) 10:58, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

How many exact entries?[edit]

This has probably been asked before, but I can't find the question in the FAQ. I know that the main page says the amount of actual pages, but is there a way to see how many entries there are (as in, total amount of L2s)? Philmonte101 (talk) 08:42, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

WT:STATSΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:43, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

Special link syntax[edit]

Not exactly new but I've always wondered about this. Is there a concise list of all the special link syntax Wiktionary has? There seems to be a lot of magic syntax like {{l|en|calumny}} (calumny) that Wikipedia doesn't have. I'm not looking for a tutorial, just an overview/appendix if one exists. Thanks! Wing gundam (talk) 17:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

It's basically just {{m|en|calumny}} and {{l|en|calumny}}. The former is used in running text, the latter in lists. You can look at the documentation of these templates for details about all the features they support. --WikiTiki89 17:38, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Also {{t|xx|foobar}} for translation tables. Many other templates build upon the basic linking capabilities of {{l}} and {{m}}, such as {{cog}} and {{der}}. —CodeCat 17:59, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Using the most common definitions first[edit]

Recenty while perusing the page for STD, I found a lesser-used meaning of the word being put in as definition 1. Why don't we sort word definitions by common usage not history of use? Also, why are there usage parentheses used beside the term even tho its main definition is the same in both the serious field of pathology and common speaking? —This unsigned comment was added by Zontas (talkcontribs) at 19:04, 18 July 2016.

There is an unsolved argument here on Wiktionary on whether we should order definitions chronologically or by frequency. Since there is no consensus, it's up to the editors. However, that also means that you can't go around enforcing your own point of view on existing entries. --WikiTiki89 19:11, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
I would be in favor of ordering by frequency except that it's essentially impossible to quantify objectively. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:22, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Better way to research philology/history?[edit]

Apologies that this isn't relating to the Wiktionary website at all. But I'm particularly interested, but not exactly knowledgable in, philology. There are several things I'm interested in seeing; I want to one day find some rare documentation somewhere online of examples of colloquial conversations and slang usage in the English language (particularly in the Colonies/United States) from the 16-1700s. I am assuming that, based on all the historical information I've learned from school and Wikipedia research and such, that the 16 and 1700s and before that was almost like a completely different universe (speaking metaphorically) than it is now. They didn't have things like electronics, video games, computers, TV, or anything of the sort. And that "universe" is something I'd really like to learn, as in, learning how people lived their everyday lives and try to relate/compare it to our time period. An example of a specific thing I'd like to find out is if alcoholism or drug abuse was more of a problem in the Colonies/newly founded US than it is now, since it honestly does not seem like there was much people could do for fun, especially in some areas, back then. I mean books and newspapers for them (at least the literate ones) were like TV for us now. Or I'd also like to know more about their religious values, and how atheists/agnostics were viewed back then by regular people, and what some of these atheists were like back then and how secret they were about their views. These are all things I wonder, but don't think finding documentation that helps me understand these things to a large extent is easy; it may even be impossible, but I'll never know until I try.

Are there any good and active history-centered or philology-centered internet communities (besides Wikipedia) out there that would be of a large help to this kind of thing that anyone knows of?

Or, if you don't know any communities in specific, do you know a good way I can research these things, such as a really good archiving site? I have found many archived things, such as http://webstersdictionary1828.com/ (though the word thee had no entry while you did, so it must have already been dated by then), although many of my searches for archived and free things (such as old newspapers from the time, etc.) remain unsuccessful.

Thanks. Philmonte101 (talk) 10:50, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

How to handle terms derived from non-lemma forms?[edit]

Occasionally you come across terms derived from a non-lemma form, often a participle. How should such cases be handled? Should we list such derivations at the lemma entry or at the non-lemma that the term actually derived from? What should the etymology of the derived term say? For example, waterafstotend is derived from afstotend, which is the present participle of afstoten. —CodeCat 00:01, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

I think the etymology should definitely list the form the word is actually derived from. Whether it should also list the lemma is open to debate, but I think that's the best solution as well. What I've done before as well is written something like "from such-and-such, a whatever-form of such-and-such a lemma, [which is] from...." I think that is ideal, except when the lemma has a separate etymology from the form in question. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:05, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
And where should it be listed as a derived term, on afstotend or afstoten? —CodeCat 01:11, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
off-topic: there's a module error in afstoten - -sche (discuss) 03:38, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
I would think derived terms could just go at the lemma, unless they have different etymologies. I wouldn't protest against doing it the other way, however. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 05:36, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
Participles behave like lemmas in a lot of ways, including being fully inflectable in a lot of languages. I wouldn't object to afstotend having a ====Derived terms==== section simply because it's a participle. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:15, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
I usually list it in both places (lemma and non-lemma) under derived terms. --Panda10 (talk) 13:14, 27 July 2016 (UTC)