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.

October 2015

Copying/creating templates[edit]

Template:!! here appears to be the same as v:Template:!!, w:Template:!!, and commons:Template:!!. With respect to creating templates here, if I copy a template from say Wikipedia and bring it here for use. Do I need to cite where I copied it from? Or, is there a general okay to copy templates and if necessary modify here for use? --Marshallsumter (talk) 18:28, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

When you copy a template from Wikipedia (or Wikisource, Wikibooks, etc.), please at least link the original template in the edit summary. If nothing else, if anything goes wrong with the template, we'll use that information when discussing whether the template could be fixed or deleted.
Also, Special:Import is supposed to import pages with the full history for crediting purposes, but it seemed to be broken last time I checked. I don't know if it's working now, maybe someone else does. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 18:41, 1 October 2015 (UTC)


Is it usually taught in schools that man can refer to a human being of either sex? --Romanophile (contributions) 05:05, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Don't know. But we go on actual usage, not what is taught. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:44, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    • I think throughout my schooling my teachers may have mentioned a few times that "man" can refer to humans in general. I was certainly never taught that "man" must refer to a male. --WikiTiki89 19:42, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Newer books don't seem to do that; it leaps out at me as quite dated when I see it. Schools here would probably avoid it like the plague now. Equinox 01:53, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
A man can only imagine the hissyfit progressives would throw if a school dared to tell their students that it can. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:01, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
In my experience "man" being used to refer to humans in general, like "mankind" in place of "humankind", are past English usage and no longer current usage, just as we no longer describe an exclamation as an "ejaculation" in current usage even though that was once common. When I was in school in the late 70s and early 80s, I sometimes encountered books from earlier decades (or centuries) which used "man" and "mankind" in the manner formerly common, but I was not taught that was acceptable usage for my own writing. More accurate language seems like the better choice to me, so I'm in favor of the current usage of "people" or "humans", and "humankind" or "humanity". —GrammarFascist (talk) 16:19, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
Are you serious ?? Or are you just wishfully dreaming ? Of course mankind is still current--it may not seem as overly hyper-sensitive as "humankind" among a few fringe groups, but is still the general term. Talk about being too cutting edge. Ow. It amazes me the things I read here sometimes... :) Leasnam (talk) 22:18, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Don't lose faith in mankind just because of one Grammar Fascist. --WikiTiki89 03:30, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Unless I'm badly misreading it, the question was about what is taught in schools, not what should be taught in schools. —GrammarFascist (talk) 17:08, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
But your answer didn't mention schools. --WikiTiki89 18:19, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
In what way does the sentence beginning "When I was in school in the late 70s and early 80s..." not count as mentioning schools? —GrammarFascist (talk) 07:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

two questions[edit]

In English we use the term "X education" to describe some key types of teaching, e.g. early childhood education. What do we call these two types of teaching: 1) The teaching of morals and ethics in the classroom. 2) Teaching of children by their parents in the home about what is considered appropriate behaviour, ways of thinking, etc. Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:24, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

For #1, if you mean what I think you mean, then for me (UK, 1990s) it was PSE (personal social education). Singapore has CCE (character and citizenship education). Some countries just call it citizenship. Equinox 02:30, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
If what you say is true, we are missing a sense at citizenship. I can't think of what the Australian equivalent might be, if there is one. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:40, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
Ooh, I just found w:character education, this looks very close. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:41, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
Also civics. Equinox 02:50, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

Download as PDF[edit]

"Download as PDF" does not include translations. Shouldn't this be changed? --Spiros71 (talk) 08:39, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Definitely, but I have no idea who to report it to. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:23, 14 October 2015 (UTC)


Hi, I'm trying to fulfil some of the Welsh translation requests (using the assisted 'add translation' box - as you can probably tell, I know precious little about correctly formatting things manually). I'd like to add a translation for 'lung' (noun, a biological organ that extracts oxygen from the air). In Welsh, the normal form of this is 'ysgyfaint', which is plural, denoting the lungs as a pair. In both of the dictionaries I've checked (Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru and Geiriadur yr Academi), 'ysgyfaint' is given as the lemma. The singular 'ysgyfant' is only noted as 'occ.' (Geiriadur yr Academi) and 'diw.' (recent/modern, GPC). When I'm adding the translation of 'lung', therefore, should I be adding the singular 'ysgyfant' or the more widely used plural, and lemma, 'ysgyfaint'? I'm afraid I don't how to add a UTC timestamp to this message. Glassapple (talk) 14:33, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

I'd use ysgyfaint as the lemma form; the GPC entry makes it pretty clear that ysgyfant is a back-formation, and not even a particularly common one. In fact ysgyfaint even has a plural of its own, ysgyfeiniau/ysgyfeinau, which presumably means "pairs of lungs", suggesting that before the back-formation was created, ysgyfaint wasn't even felt as a plural. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:27, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. Glassapple (talk) 16:52, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Android app for .ogg files?[edit]

Is there any app I can download for my Android cell phone to create .ogg audio files that could be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons for Portuguese pronunciations? (I don't have a microphone for my PC, I could borrow one easily but that'd not be my first option)

The apps I have on my cell phone create mp3 files, so alternatively, a software for my PC that can convert mp3->ogg easily in a bulk would be acceptable too.

I checked this page but it didn't seem helpful for Android apps:

--Daniel Carrero (talk) 11:54, 18 October 2015 (UTC)

Edit request for Module:languages/datax[edit]

I'd like to request the following to be added to Module:languages/datax:

m["art-ldp"] = {
        canonicalName = "Lidepla",
        otherNames = "Lingwa de Planeta",
        type = "appendix-constructed",
        scripts = {"Latn"},
        family = "art",

It is for the conlang w:Lingwa de planeta, better known as Lidepla.

Aryamanarora (talk) 00:18, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
To judge from the discussion at Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2015/October#Lingwa de Planeta, this suggestion appears have no consensus. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:29, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

Entry for "that guy"[edit]

I created "that guy" yesterday. It was only my second new entry here, and I suspect I've done at least something wrong in formatting and/or filling it in. I would appreciate it if a more experienced Wiktionarian (is that the term?) would look at it and give me some feedback and/or make corrections. Thanks in advance, GrammarFascist (talk) 16:11, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

I think you've done a great job ! I made one addition though, I added the plural form Leasnam (talk) 22:13, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement, Leasnam, and for your edit. (I had actually put the plural in originally, but DixtosaBOT removed it.) Thanks also to Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV, Dixtosa, Wikitiki89, Ēloquiō, and Sonofcawdrey for their edits to the entry. Apologies if the notifications annoyed any of you; I'm used to social norms at English Wikipedia and still learning my way here. —GrammarFascist (talk) 17:26, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

November 2015

Are there non-yearly holidays?[edit]

Not a linguistic question as such, but it is about categorising terms. Do all holidays or other observances, in all languages, occur once every year, or are there also ones that occur with a different frequency? —CodeCat 01:34, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Well, Leap Year Day is the first thing that comes to mind. I would think there would also be irregular observances based on astronomical events in some cultures that pay attention to such things (would you count a blue moon, for instance?). Then there are various one-time observations for such things as significant occurrences in the life of a monarch, significant anniversaries or events such as deaths, achievements, or honors. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:29, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
unbirthday ? SemperBlotto (talk) 09:04, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
Since the lunar calendar is 11 days shorter than the solar calendar, it's possible for a holiday that occurs annually in the lunar calendar to occur twice in the same Gregorian year. But that's probably not what you meant. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:47, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
No, that's still more or less yearly. —CodeCat 20:12, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
Some Jewish holidays that are not yearly: Shabbat (weekly), Rosh Chodesh (monthly), Hakhel (every seven years). --WikiTiki89 15:36, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
And as for Birkat Hachama ... never mind. (;-)
To some extent, it actually is a linguistic question. I've had people come to me and seriously posit that Shabbat can't be a "holiday", because it comes every week. But I think there are really plenty of counterexamples here already. StevenJ81 (talk) 21:54, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
There are festivals in Ancient Rome (Ăgōnālĭa, for instance) and in India (Navratri) celebrated more than once a year, though one could interpret them as groups made up of individual once-a-year festivals.The same goes for the two Eids in Islam. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:28, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

How to add alternate meaning and respective alternate etymology to word "argh"[edit]

I would like to edit the entry for "argh" to also show the middle English sense of "cowardly, lazy, slow, wretched"[1], but I am not sure what the best practice implementation is. What is the correct way to add both an alternate etymology and a corresponding alternate meaning? Thanks! --Mavaddat (talk) 07:16, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Argh / Definition of argh by Merriam-Webster", Merriam-Webster. URL accessed on 2015-11-10.
First of all, we treat Middle English as a separate language, with the language code "enm", so you would add a completely separate language section, not just a separate etymology. As for best practice: see WT:EL for our entry layout standards. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:38, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Chuck Entz! I was perhaps not clear in referring to the middle English. I meant that the sense has carried over from middle English. --Mavaddat (talk) 10:46, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
You would need to change Etymology to 'Etymology 1', and increase Level of each current subheader; then add a second L3 header for 'Etymology 2', and repeat. Leasnam (talk) 19:11, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
I went ahead and did it, so that you can see how it's done for next time :) Leasnam (talk) 19:21, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Argh!! So cool. Thank you Leasnam! ☺

"interpretating" vs "interpreting"[edit]

The article "The Kochen-Specker Theorem" of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has as its second sentence (my emphasis):

The theorem demonstrates the impossibility of a certain type of interpretation of QM in terms of hidden variables (HV) that naturally suggests itself when one begins to consider the project of interpretating QM.

Now my question is, is the word interpretating an error for interpreting, or is it some kind of neologism with a distinct but related meaning? e.g. maybe "interpretating" means "to construct philosophical interpretations of a theory", which is a much more specific meaning than just "interpreting". Any thoughts? SJK (talk) 10:18, 12 November 2015 (UTC)


The entry needs to be improved, see Wiktionary:Grease_pit/2015/October#Neger. -Rdm571 (talk) 18:04, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

impersonal subject 'It'[edit]

Hi, I'm Isabelle from South Korea, teaching English. I need some help. Look at the passage following, and think about 'it'.

Thanks to the cold weather, the Eleven Cities Tour took place on January 4. It was the first time in 11 years, since 1986.

My question is ------ about 'It'. Is It impersonal subject referring 'time'? My grammar book says it is. But in my point of view, it refers the Eleven Cities Tour. I'm confused a lot. Please give me some tips. —This unsigned comment was added by Isabelle730428 (talkcontribs).

  • This use of it is our first definition:- "The third-person singular personal pronoun used to refer to an inanimate object, to an inanimate thing with no or unknown sex or gender.". I shall add a note (or usage example) to show the word being used to refer to a previously used term. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:07, 14 November 2015 (UTC)


There was a demand for the suffix counterpart for Special:PrefixIndex. So I created it. example.

Ask and thou shalt receive. It is slow so use it wisely, though.--Dixtosa (talk) 16:56, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Not quite an exact counterpart, since you must provide a category. If it is not too much to ask, could you add the option to leave the category blank? --WikiTiki89 17:09, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
Done. --Dixtosa (talk) 17:22, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! --WikiTiki89 01:59, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Potestatemology - The study of power[edit]

I would like to suggest that a word be added to Wiktionary.

That word is "Potestatemology" which is the study of power.

It is comprised of the Latin root for 'power', which is "potestatem" and the suffix for study of "ology."

An example of usage would be:

Policy makers must study all the categories of Potestatemology when formulating strategies that deal with the motivations of terrorists; not just ideology and politics.

Potestatemology would include political science, ideology and the psychology of power (to name a few). —This unsigned comment was added by Echo1111 (talkcontribs).

  • We are not interested in invented words. Feel free to use the word yourself. If it catches on and other people find it useful then it will get into print (or even into blogs) - then, and only then, will we include it. SemperBlotto (talk) 08:36, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Replacing a conjugation table and associated links[edit]

Hello, everyone!

I noticed that the conjugation table for the verb entreter in Portuguese is wrong (since it's not a regular verb, but an irregular verb conjugated like ter) and I'd like to change it. If I do just that, will the links that were previously created for the non-existent verb forms disappear from Wiktionary too (for example, "entreto", which should be "entretenho")? Is there any way to undo this issue or to delete those pages later? Thank you in advance. Luisftd (talk) 21:34, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

I’ve amended the entry and tagged the nonstandard forms as such (they do exist). — Ungoliant (falai) 21:54, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Need help figuring out what replaced Template:Obsolete for obsolete words[edit]

I searched Beer parlour and gather that it used to exist. What replaced it? Thanks. Quercus solaris (talk) 23:22, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

It was replaced by a generic template for all context labels: {{label}} (or {{lb}} for short). Used like this: {{lb|en|obsolete}}. Also, keep in mind that on Wiktionary, template names are case-sensitive even on the first character. --WikiTiki89 02:13, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Adding lots of Nyunga words[edit]

Hi all,

I'm a bit new around here. I spend most of my time on Wikisource, only coming over to Wiktionary to add words or citations that garner my notice in some way. But now I have fallen in with a new crowd: a group of academics, Wikimedians, and others who are working to add material to Wikimedia projects relating to Noongar culture and language. The first idea was to work towards creating a Wikipedia in Nyunga language (oh, um, yes: there are various spellings for this), but then the first part of that comes to be figuring out a dictionary of the language. Thus, hullo to Wiktionary! :-)

Basically, there are a bunch of wordlists available, that have been recorded over the last 180 years or so, and we're adding those that we can to Wikisource. There are also a bunch that are more modern, which can serve as source material but of course cannot be made available verbatim online. I've got a bunch of questions about using oral histories as sources... :-) Anyway, I've taken some of these sources and tried to produce Wiktionary entries from them.

The results, and various other notes, are at User:Samwilson/Noongarpedia. I'd love anyone's feedback there.

Thanks! :-) — Sam Wilson ( TalkContribs ) … 10:54, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

Hi Sam! I recommend that you take a look at our WT:Criteria for inclusion, especially the section WT:CFI#Number of citations. Note that Noongar will certainly not be considered a "language well documented on the Internet", and thus will not be subject to our stricter requirements for such languages. --WikiTiki89 19:07, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, certainly not a well-documented language, and it's hard to find actual citations (i.e. that aren't just part of word lists; although some of them give short usage examples). I wasn't quite sure if the {{LDL}} template should be added to every Nyunga entry; should it? There's also going to be a fair bit of cleaning up of these entry templates I've made, especially with regard to alternate spellings. Thanks for your help! — Sam Wilson ( TalkContribs ) … 23:43, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it should. You may find that entries that should have {{LDL}} actually don't have it, but they all should have it. --WikiTiki89 15:37, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
Ah cool, thanks. I'll update all existing ones with {{LDL|nys}}, and add it to the text of the new entries. — Sam Wilson ( TalkContribs ) … 23:44, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

I and J in German fraktur[edit]

In some German frakturs I and J have the same shape. In many cases, especially in case of German words, it's clear what's the correct letter. But what's with e.g. Iambos/Jambos (alternative form of Jambus, meaning iambus, iamb)? In some older or newer books maybe antiqua is used for that, so it's clear which form they use, but it could be that it was earlier Jambos (-os is a common Latin ending) and nowadays Iambos (making it more Greekish - such forms are usually less common). So, are such sources which use one character for I and J ignored as it's not clear whether it's I or J? Or is it ℑ𝔞𝔪𝔟𝔬𝔰 (well, there's 𝔍 too...)? - 12:55, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

If no clues exist to suggest whether a letter is I or J, I would interpret it as whichever of the two German uses now. In this case, in addition to the fact that the word is now spelled with J, we have one strong and one weaker clue that the ambiguous glyph is J. The weaker clue is that several books which otherwise use Fraktur set some or all instances of the word in Antiqua, and use J:
  • 1642, Johann Peter Titz, Zwey Bücher von der Kunst hochdeutsche Verse und Lieder zu machen, chapter 10:
    ... das erſte Glied des Verſes vor dem Abſchritt einerley / und das ander nach dem Abſchritt auch einerley Pedes begreiffet. So helt infolgenden das erſte theil[sic] drey Jambos, das ander ſo viel Trochæos.
  • 1827, Gesammelte Werke der Brüder Christian und Friedrich Leopold Grafen zu Stolberg, volume 17, part 1:
    [uses the same character for ?ambos, ?iamben, Insel, and Jahr, but then it has in Antiqua Archilochum proprio rabies armavit Jambo]
The strong clue is that numerous Fraktur books which use ?ambos also use jambisch(e) and none use iambisch(e). In contrast, all but one of the handful of books which google books:"Iambos" "iambisch|iambische" turns up are Antiqua. Many books use ?ambos in contexts that suggest J is meant, and only one uses it in a context that suggests I is meant. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that ?ambos is Jambos.
If the only attestations of a word provide no clues as to whether I or J is meant (the word died out without ever being spelled in Antiqua), it may be appropriate to have two entries (one a hard or soft redirect to the other), as is done for ח𐰂𐰵𐰆𐰺𐰇𐰢/𐰸𐰵𐰆𐰺𐰇𐰢 and ᚅᚓᚆᚆᚈᚑᚅᚅ/ᚅᚓᚆᚆᚈᚑᚅᚄ.
- -sche (discuss) 03:40, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, -sche. (BTW: Fraktur "Jambos" and "iambisch" can be found too, as in books.google.de/books?id=zGeTciCzC6IC&pg=PA290 , so one could assume that it is "Iambos" there.) - 18:19, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Simply adding a reference to the use of a word.[edit]

Reading an old book I have found a word I did not know the meaning of. Wiktionary has the word with no description but one reference to its use. I have found a use of it from 1582. Without spending hours learning all about Wiktionary, how do I simply post a reference to the source I have come across? I don't want a lesson, just the simple steps. I am not in possession of the standard of English required to be an enthusiastic contributor.Hawley1560 (talk)

Your English sounds like that of a native, so I wouldn't be worried about being unable to be a good contributor if I were you. If this book has an example of the word being used, you can can add it as a quotation (our guidelines on that are at WT:Quotations, and if those seem too confusing, you can type it up here and I'll show you how to format it on the actual entry. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:22, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for that. The word was 'lurden' and I have now posted the citation.Hawley1560 (talk)

Bear, Endure, Suffer[edit]

I could be quite wrong, but, shouldn't "bear" have the synonym "endure", as in "I cannot bear (endure)this pain"? Thank you. John Smith

I think this is covered by sense 6 of bear. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:54, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

"Peace" in various dialects of Arabic[edit]

How do you write "peace" in the below dialects of Arabic?

Levantine Mesopotamian Kurmanji Armenian Syrian Turkmen (Azeri) Modern Standard Arabic

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Half of those aren't dialects of Arabic: Kurmanji is an Indo-European language distantly related to Persian, Armenian is its own branch of the Indo-European languages, Turkmen and Azeri are separate Turkic languages. Armenian, especially, has very little in common with Arabic: the Armenians are Christian, and have a history going back thousands of years. It's been strongly influenced by Persian languages and Turkish, but most of its contact with Arabic has been second-hand through other non-Arabic languages such as the above. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:32, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

Entries in En that exist as En entries, though the term is Non-En only, for the glyphs from which the term is spellt are non-Latin Alphabetic.[edit]

My SELF that was difficult to express acumenical of English grammar.

I hapt upon this entry:


And as I am not from here, and current kings English not a fortes of mine ist, wouldst thee, and so after your kind, exeth (plain as possible shall be allowed to depossit plaineity) plaineity to me you what, is act ive if not for Shakespeare's notæ (shuns). Shun ye not?

сущий is correctly labeled as Russian. We have entries for terms in many languages, not just English, defined and described in English for English speakers. There are Wiktionaries in many other languages. Each one defines and describes terms of many languages in its own language. If there's a Wiktionary in your own language, you might want to participate there. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:18, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

December 2015

Why did writers use conjunctions after semicola?[edit]

I thought that you weren’t supposed to use a conjunction after a semicolon. Here’re some examples: [1] --Romanophile (contributions) 19:40, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Punctuation is a visualization of the flow of a sentence, not part of the sentence itself. What you should be asking is why they put a semicolon when there is already a conjunction. And to answer that, you would have yourself what you would have put in its place and why. --WikiTiki89 20:00, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't know the rules for Spanish, but for English the rule is that a semicolon is not only a weaker period/full stop (in that it separates two independent clauses with no conjunction between them), it's also a stronger comma. In the latter role it can be used where a comma would be used if the elements to be separated by a comma already include a comma themselves, e.g.:
The teacher divided the 12 students into three groups of four: James, Patricia, Gregory, and Robin; Karen, Quincy, Henrietta, and Stephen; and Ignacio, Olivia, Frederick, and Marianne.
Do you want to go to the zoo tomorrow, provided it doesn't rain, and provided my sister will lend me her car; or should we instead go the train station, buy tickets to San Francisco, and eat dinner at Fisherman's Wharf?
Also, at least in English, 19th-century writers used commas and semicolons much more loosely than they do today. Maybe that's true of Spanish as well. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:24, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
A weaker period is only one use of the semicolon in English. You can also use it as a stronger comma, especially in the case of a lists of phrases that already contain commas. For example: “There was an apple, which was red; a pear, which was green; and a banana, which was yellow.” --WikiTiki89 21:27, 1 December 2015 (UTC)