Wiktionary:Requested articles:English/Inverse Requests/Answers

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This page is being phased out. Please post all new requests and answers to the Wiktionary:Tea Room.

Below are words which people have posted in response to Wiktionary:Requested_articles:English/Inverse_Requests. If you would like to request a word, please add it there, not here.

Inverse Dictionary Request Responses[edit]

Lyn Cala, accomplished contemporary musician, songwriter, pianist, vocalist from upstate New York.

January, 2007[edit]

  1. The little arms on a pair of eyeglasses, which one puts behind one's ears
    Each is called a temple.
  2. (Adjective describing a language) Permits pronoun omission, like Spanish and Japanese
    It depends on exactly what you mean. There's a null subject language which allows missing subjects (English allows this in some cases). A pro-drop language is a language which allows the dropping of nouns where they can be "pragmatically inferred". The linguistic term for the practice of noun (including pronoun) dropping in general is null anaphora. In linguistics an anaphora is an expression which refers to another.
    Would an imperative sentence, like "Shut the door, please," where "you" is the omitted pronoun, be an example? Joe Webster 08:36, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, this is an example of a null subject. Speed8ump from 19:58, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
  3. The little plastic things on many eyeglasses which rest on the wearer's nose
    They are nose pads - this is also the word for the small leathery part of a cat's nose.
  4. (adjective) unnecessarily dramatic, for example if a movie plays epic awe-inspiring music while showing a mundane scene.
    histrionic or melodramatic
    Anticlimactic? Joe Webster 08:29, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
    anticlimactic is said of an ending. The original request seems to be after a description of one (or many) intermediate sections. Speed8ump from 19:58, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
    I'm pretty sure anticlimactic can apply to the end of a scene, as well, before it transitions to the next one. This is frequently seen in thrillers when there is a false scare like a bird that darts away after the playing of foreboding music. Joe Webster 22:48, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, but would you classify that as unnecessarilly dramatic? It's setting up a mood. Plus, I don't think I call that anticlimactic...it isn't "disappointing or ironically insignificant", but maybe that's just me.
  5. The hard wax or waxlike substance which covers certain types of cheese.
  6. The pretty patterns one sees when one looks at a chain link fence with another chain link fence some distance behind it

February, 2007[edit]

  1. A verb to describe the action of a bunch of people arranging their bodies so as to form a message or picture or some kind of image to those observing from above.
    Choreograph? If you want a more specific protologism, demotaxy. Joe Webster 08:19, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
  2. The sound, much like a "d" sound, which U.S. English speakers pronounce for the "t" in "water"
    According to Wikipedia, that is an alveolar tap or flap. Joe Webster 08:58, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
  3. A syndrome/condition/disease(?) which causes people to become faint if they suffer a wound bigger than most everyday wounds but still not so big that faintness would be normal; such people often also become faint upon giving blood, having their eyes dilated, etc.
    Hemophobia? Joe Webster 09:14, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
    I don't think there is an exact word here, unless it is a medical phrase. The original request isn't just for an aversion to blood, but seems to be more general...an (unusually pronounced) aversion to pain maybe? Speed8ump from 19:58, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
    A hemophilic.
  4. The crust which forms in the eyes during sleep.
    See here. The most accepted noun is sleep (bonus: its already in the wiktionary), but my favorite is "Muco-purulent mattering in the punctum."
    Another name for this is gum. — Paul G 16:38, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
    The watery discharge called rheum dries to form sleep.
  5. a door which detects when someone is opening it, at which point it automatically starts opening itself, and then holds itself open for a short while before automatically closing itself
    automatic door
    Hmmm, I was hoping for a way to distinguish between the automatic sliding doors, common at grocery stores, vs. the automatic conventional doors, which are fairly new and have been popping up around college campuses. The latter are common as the doors to bathrooms. They LOOK just like normal doors, but when you start to push one open, it detects this and starts opening itself...
    A power-assist door? Joe Webster 21:05, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
    A motion-sensing door.
  6. a toilet or urinal which uses a laser to (sometimes) automatically flush itself
    automatic toilet
  7. the handle used to flush a toilet or urinal
    toilet handle
  8. the verb to describe people spelling out letters with their bodies, for example, when cheerleaders do this
    spell out
    gesticulate? That isn't specifically to spell out, but it is expressing meaning through body posture...
  9. a device found in office environments, it has two metal "jaws" which are held open by a spring and which the user can forcefully shut. Each jaw has two "teeth", so if one uses it to "bite" a piece of paper (like one uses a stapler), it will puncture two holes, but they will be messy ragged holes, so that's probably not its intended use. It might be used to remove staples, but that's just a wild guess. Each jaw is somewhere between one and one-and-a-half inches
    staple remover
  10. a word which is not a borrow word in a given language, but which is nevertheless known to most speakers of that language. Examples in English include "amigo", "sayonara", "hola", "adios", etc.
    borrowed and as yet unattested as such
    If it has the same meaning, the same spelling (phonetic is sufficient) and originated from a foreign language it is borrowed. It doesn't matter if most people don't know it is borrowed, or from where.
  11. a querty keyboard whose keys are partitioned into three disparate blocks, with different slants, supposedly to make it easier on the hands
    ergonomic keyboard
  12. The distortion which afflicts sounds when heard underwater or through any other fluid
    I believe that would be [sound] dampening, no pun intended. Joe Webster 01:53, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
  13. The practice, employed in the service industry, of secretly offering unadvertised deals which are a better value, so as to appeal to a more miserly demographic without simultaneously becoming less appealing to the public at large
    Niche marketing. Joe Webster 02:04, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
    A gray market.
  14. The practice of manufacturing an item, then purposefully crippling it and selling it at less than the uncrippled version, so as to reach a more miserly demographic without inadvertantly becoming one's own competition
    Also niche marketing. Joe Webster 02:04, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
  15. A scientist who takes bribes to publish misleading info
    A spin doctor, no pun intended. Joe Webster 02:15, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
  16. An extra sheet of glass or plastic which some people place over their computer monitors in hopes of making the monitors less harmful to their eyes (mostly no longer used, was mostly used in the days of bulkier, more primitive monitors)
    A glare filter. Joe Webster 02:55, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
  17. Verbs which have almost the same meaning when used by a subject on an object, as when used by the object intransitively: eg. "he broke the window" --> "the window broke", "they healed the patient" --> "the patient healed"
    Ergative verbs. —RuakhTALK 22:14, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  18. a platform positioned at the side of a (usually short) flight of stairs, which can be activated, at which point it will ascend/descend the stairs. Used to allow handicapped people to pass the otherwise impassable stairs.
    Stairlift. —RuakhTALK 22:14, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  19. The part of the face between the upper lip and the nose; where one grows a moustache, but I want a word which works even for people who don't have a moustache.
    I believe it is called the maxillary apron. Joe Webster 22:11, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
    google:"maxillary apron" gets 1 hit; ditto for Google Scholar (where it's from the same source). No hits on Google Books. —RuakhTALK 22:16, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
    Various sources' definitions of philtrum suggest that that entire space is the upper lip (American Heritage, Merriam-Webster) or surface of the upper lip (Random House), with what you normally think of as the upper lip being called the border of the upper lip (Oxford English). w:Lip suggests ergotron, but this gets almost no hits on Google and does not seem to appear in any dictionary. —RuakhTALK 22:26, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  20. The little lens-within-a-lens which characterizes: bifocals
    Segment; see w:Bifocals. —RuakhTALK 22:14, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
    Hmm. That sense isn't in the segment entry, nor do I see it in my other dictionaries. Looking at the history of w:Bifocals I don't think I trust the person who added that definition into the article (see here), so I changed it. Speed8ump from 23:23, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
  21. spaghetti with unusually thick noodles (as opposed to unusually thin noodles which is angel hair)
    bigoli or linguine - see Appendix:Menus/Italian SemperBlotto 17:28, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
  22. A thin wheel on a computer mouse, between the buttons, which one can use to scroll things.
    A mouse wheel or scroll wheel. --Joe Webster 04:11, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
  23. music which inspires hope/joy; usually has a somewhat ethereal quality and a somewhat epic scale; often used in movies when the tide is starting to turn in the good guys' favor after seeming hopelessness
    Crescendo? Joe Webster 00:26, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
    A crescendo is a rise in volume, or the instruction to musicians to increase volume. — Paul G 16:38, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
  24. A song or music piece which is immediately catchy upon first listen, but which gets old relatively fast.
    A jingle. These properties are more seen at the American Heritage entry. --Joe Webster 09:11, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
  25. To vandalize a church
    desecrate is probably what you want.
  26. A vast collection of all human knowdledge.
    An encyclopedia. --Joe Webster 05:30, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  27. Lines which indicate something is moving quickly, in a cartoon or picture.
    Those would be speed lines. --Joe Webster 06:32, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  28. Being a word smith.
    A neologist --Joe Webster 23:08, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

March, 2007[edit]

  1. A single verb equivalent to "to do exercises" (textbook exercises, not physical ones). A friend asked about this because there is such a verb in Spanish but we can't think of one in English.
    To drill, study? --Joe Webster 04:56, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  2. A vast collection of all human knowledge
    Wikipedia ;) - actually, in the w:Wikipedia article there is some discussion of the concept which may include the word you seek.
    Another related term, which isn't quite exactly what is asked for but might help, is hivemind. (Signed, Language Lover)
  3. the lines or wrinkles which temporarily appear beside a person's eyes when (s)he smiles widely or laughs
    crinkles, I think, or crow's feet
    "Crow's feet" has negative connotations; there is also the euphemistic laughter lines. — Paul G 16:41, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
    Everything I have found about laugh[ter] lines places them in the vicinity of the mouth. --Joe Webster 08:51, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
  4. A minor set back
    A hiccup. --Joe Webster 03:38, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
    Also hitch and snag. — Paul G 16:41, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
  5. A miniature pencil, usually about 2 inches long, commonly found in public libraries
    I've heard of them being referred to as a stub. --Joe Webster 03:42, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
    Whoah, thanks.. thanks!! I looked up "pencil stub" on books.google.com and images.google.com and it looks like you SLAMMED the nail right on the head :-) Thanks a ton! I have created the new entry, pencil stub, I hope everyone enjoys it! :-D (Signed Language Lover)
    Also try golf pencil, named after the same pencils being used to keep score in (miniature) golf games. Scott Ritchie 20:56, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
  6. In a story, a character who is a self-proclaimed rival of the protagonist, but only as comic relief, not as a serious antagonist. often such a "rival" ends up inadvertently helping the protagonist, even when trying to do the opposite. another common theme is that the protagonist forgives the "rival" every time and constantly tries to befriend them, futilely.
    A foil4 comes to mind. --Joe Webster 08:47, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
  7. A male midwife
    I've seen man-midwife, the genderless birth attendant and the punchline delivery boy. --Joe Webster 21:09, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
  8. a person who cuts themselves and often says "no one understands me!"
    that would be cutter (sense 8)
    also a self harmer, or possibly an Emo (colloquial)
  9. A tool used to scrape ice off a car's windows/windshield. It has a handle and a broad thin blade...
    Try ice scraper. --Joe Webster 01:42, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
  10. the crud which accumulates in the space under the keys of a keyboard
    keyboard plaque, however this usage is uncommon to my knowledge, but google searches do turn up a few results Scott Ritchie 20:54, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

April, 2007[edit]

  1. a work of art that is original but imitates to a large degree the style of other famous works of art
    [Artist's name]-esque or [art movement4]-esque. --Joe Webster 04:17, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
  2. the phenomenon when wind blows through grass and the sun is shining on it at the right angle, making it look like ripples of light are flowing through the grass
    That sounds like a shimmer to me. --Joe Webster 17:28, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    To wintle.
  3. what can we call the change of seasons?
    They are equinoxes and solstices. --Joe Webster 02:43, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
    Equinoxes and solstices are the times when the seasons (where there are seasons) change, rather than the changes themselves.
  4. A circular stool with wheels on it, sometimes found in libraries to help kids reach things that are placed too high.
    A kickstool.
  5. is there a word describing time and space together?
    There is spacetime, but be warned that it might make you sound like a physicist. But if you're careful, you could get away with it without sounding like a physicist. Language Lover 00:07, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
    If you are looking for an adjective to describe space and time taken together, then this is spatiotemporal (or spatio-temporal). — Paul G 16:07, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
  6. what is the difference between cross cultural, and bicultural?
    I think if something is cross cultural, that means it arises in many cultures, or possibly even ALL cultures (for example, love is cross cultural). Bicultural specifically means it arises in two cultures. Language Lover 00:07, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
  7. what can we call it when we see the thing happen infront of our eyes but we can do nothing?
    that's kind of a hard one. if you can't do anything because of terror, you might use the idiom, scared stiff. similarly there is like a deer in the headlights, but this usually implies the thing is something "coming at you" (you watch like a deer in the headlights as your boss approaches to fire you from your job, for example). there are also plenty of things you can say which are combinations of multiwords, like "helpless to prevent it from happening", "paralyzed and unable to help", and so on. I wonder if there is a single word for this?? :) Language Lover 00:12, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
    Other phrases are "like a rabbit caught in headlights" and "paralysed by fear". If you mean "we see something happen we can do nothing about it", then that could simply be "unable to help" or "helpless". — Paul G 16:07, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
    A quandary or dilemma.
  8. As seen thru a shadowy screen or scrim.
    Gauzy, perhaps, or hazy. If you mean the stripy effect that you see when two pieces of loosely woven fabric are moved over one another, this is called a moiré pattern. — Paul G 16:07, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
  9. the grime/dirt which tends to accumulate under fingernails through the course of working
    Well there really isn't a word that describes that specifically but the name for the skin under the fingernail is "quick". So maybe you could make up your own word! Perhaps quick scum!

May, 2007[edit]

  1. The phenomenon which causes very thin black lines to seem green or some other color due to the physical limits of a computer monitor
    Possibly moiré, though it describes the effect rather than the cause and might not be precisely what you mean. 18:49, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

This page is being phased out. Please post all new requests and answers to the Wiktionary:Tea Room.