Wiktionary:Tea room

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Tea house party in Japan (not tea ceremony)-J. M. W. Silver.jpg

A place to ask for help on finding quotations, etymologies, or other information about particular words. The Tea room is named to accompany the Beer parlour.

For questions about the technical operation of Wiktionary use the Beer parlour. For questions about specific content, you're in the right place.

Tea room archives edit

Please do not edit section titles as this breaks links on talk pages and in other discussion fora.

Oldest tagged RFTs

May 2021

say a few words[edit]

Worthy of an entry ? Leasnam (talk) 08:31, 1 May 2021 (UTC)

  • I think a few words is the minimal unit here. e.g. "I would like to begin with a few words about Bob", or "We'll be back after a few words from our sponsor". Memorably lampshaded by Dumbledore in the first Harry Potter book: "I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" Colin M (talk) 13:44, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
Isn't "word" the minimal unit? You can ask for a quick word, or a "word or two", etc. (although have a word suggests private admonishment). Equinox 18:08, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
That's an interesting point. But there does seem to be something fixed about the phrase "a few words", in that the idiom falls apart if you try to substitute "a few" for a synonym like "several", or "a handful of" or similar. Colin M (talk) 18:45, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

Audio of German Fucking[edit]

@Jberkel, -sche, Mahagaja, Matthias Buchmeier, Florian Blaschke Is the audio file at Fucking intended for the lower-case expletive fucking instead? (There is no mention in the entry of the rename to Fugging either.) ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 09:44, 1 May 2021 (UTC)

Yeah, it's definitely the English word, not the Austrian placename. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:07, 1 May 2021 (UTC)
@Jeuwre The audio file should be renamed to De-fucking.ogg, otherwise it'll get re-added by the bot. – Jberkel 13:19, 1 May 2021 (UTC)
This reminds me ... we need to create (or do we have?) a blacklist which bots are required to check, kind of like the AWB approved-user list. We list all the bad audio recordings we find that Commons won't delete, and let bot owners know to not add files that are on the list. We could host it locally (easier to monitor) or over on Commons (more centralized, but then subject to the whims of Commons users who don't necessary edit here). - -sche (discuss) 03:04, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
@-sche: I've begun a whitelist for Derbeth at User:Metaknowledge/audiowhitelist. Because bad audio gets added all the time, a whitelist is much more workable than a blacklist. As for files Commons won't delete, the solution is to brigade them and make sure they do get deleted (or renamed in a way that bots won't import it). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:21, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge Could Vealhurl (WF) be added to the whitelist as well? He has contributed a great number of reliable audio files with that account. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 15:27, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
All recorded with a microphone from the pound shop, though. – Jberkel 16:38, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
Perhaps in fact bought with euros. But it is fitting that an audio lexicographer at the people's dictionary should use the tools of the people. ;) ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 19:15, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
I have a few audio files here too, which I recorded on my smartphone. —Mahāgaja · talk 20:13, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
Hm, I feel like we could still use a file blacklist even if we have a contributor whitelist, because one of the sources of audio files we've had to remove is that someone who usually uploads good audio uploads what they think is good audio for a word, but is actually bad, like with the audio file at enig that had a stray initial noise and breathing such that it was intelligible to native speakers whose brains already knew how to pronounce and thus recognized the word, but sounded like "penis" to anyone just learning the language / word. (In that case, someone years later overwrote the file with a better recording.) - -sche (discuss) 17:12, 7 May 2021 (UTC)

(a class of roles in Chinese theatre)[edit]

Please help me find the base text for the quotation by "徐謂" currently in the etymology section. BTW the author should've been 徐. The book was a lost work partially reconstructed from quotations and excerpts (with all of the textual complications). To "normalize" the quote I need the text at least in the reconstructed form (e.g. a scan of the page). Thanks! --Frigoris (talk) 19:58, 1 May 2021 (UTC)

aubade, 晨曲[edit]

I'm only passingly familiar with the sense of aubade in poetry. Could someone help me understand whether the Chinese word 晨曲 can be used as a translation of aubade in the context of both poetry and music. Also, any Chinese words more specific to the poetry context? Thank you!

Also, perhaps 晨曲 is worth an entry. --Frigoris (talk) 20:04, 1 May 2021 (UTC)


One sense is "a man who pays open addresses to a married woman; a married woman's lover". Another sense, which has been removed and re-added a few times, is "(historical, 18th-century Italy) a knightly servant of a high-born lady". Is this actually a distinct sense (why would a knight work as a servant?) or just a euphemism for the other (lover) sense? Equinox 12:08, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

@Equinox: The sense was removed; see User talk:Mnemosientje § cicisbeo. J3133 (talk) 12:23, 2 May 2021 (UTC)
I removed it. Yeah, I think it's just a sort of badly-worded euphemism of the other sense. In English at least, I only see one sense, and I've been reading about the context a lot recently. No other English dictionary I can see gives more than one sense here, either. The OED has "The name formerly given in Italy to the recognized gallant or cavalier servente of a married woman"; Collins has "the escort or lover of a married woman, esp in 18th-century Italy"; Webster has "LOVER, GALLANT", AHD has "The male lover or companion of a married woman, especially in 18th-century Europe", etc etc. Ƿidsiþ 10:33, 3 May 2021 (UTC)


I started a definition for headstroke, a feature in various Asian-language scripts, but felt out of my depth into the meaning of such a thing. OK, it's written above the letters, but what's the purpose? Yellow is the colour (talk) 10:43, 3 May 2021 (UTC)

  • PS I want to add the Urbandictionary meaning "when a girl is giving a guy head he "strokes" her head as a reward like he would a dog and a signal that he enjoys her work" for the lulz. Perhaps I will one day... Yellow is the colour (talk) 10:43, 3 May 2021 (UTC)


I wonder if the first sense could be improved. "Easily bothered or upset" could include non-squeamish traits like a hot temper. Equinox 10:56, 3 May 2021 (UTC)

“Easily shocked, sickened or frightened”?  --Lambiam 13:22, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I think that would be better. Equinox 17:57, 8 May 2021 (UTC)
Yes check.svg So changed. Do we still need the second formulation for sense 1 (“tending to be nauseated or nervous”), or is that subsumed by the newly reformulated first part?  --Lambiam 19:03, 8 May 2021 (UTC)

up: AAVE? "up in here"[edit]

Complaining to somebody about a tech protocol, I said: "We need some ISO standardisation up in here." I think I was mimicking some kind of AAVE style. Something "up in here", or "all up in your face". What does up mean in these utterances? The only possibly applicable sense seems to be "(intensifier) Used as an aspect marker to indicate a completed action or state; thoroughly, completely", but I'm not sure that it's actually intensifying. Equinox 13:17, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

Definitely something interesting going on there. I think it always combines with prepositions of location/movement, not limited to in. e.g. "get up out of my face", or "get up off me". Colin M (talk) 17:29, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

редкий - an utterly different meaning is missing[edit]

As you can read on the respective Russian page, the word редкий has a[n uncited] meaning of "outstanding, incredible, out of the ordinary (coupled with a value judgement)":
6. выдающийся, из ряда вон выходящий (в сочетании с оценочным эпитетом) ◆ Этот ваш Пётр — редкий плут.--Adûnâi (talk) 16:34, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

I think it is only a small step from rare to exceptional. When translating редкий дар (redkij dar), “rare talent” and “exceptional talent” appear synonymous to me. Would it work to simply add  “, exceptional, extraordinary”  to the definition of sense 1?  --Lambiam 13:15, 5 May 2021 (UTC)


We should probably have a meaning of ‘to bankrupt; to put at risk of bankruptcy or financial harm’ and ‘to annoy or inconvenience, especially by slacking or underperforming’. We could perhaps just create a separate entry for ‘you’re killing me’ instead of the second of these definitions though and perhaps include a second sense of ‘strike a hard bargain’. Any thoughts on that? Overlordnat1 (talk) 19:30, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

Is the second sense distinct from our existing sense "To cause great pain, discomfort or distress to" (as in "these tight shoes are killing me")? They at least seem closely related. Either way, I wouldn't put it under you're killing me, since you is open to substitution. e.g. "he's killing me", "the prof is killing me". By the way, here's a very lyrically relevant pop song by Robyn. Colin M (talk) 12:21, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

You’re probably right that it’s not that dissimilar and not always used with the pronoun ‘you’, apparently the phrase was popularised by the 1993 film The Sandlot using the phrase “You’re killing me, Smalls” according to the admittedly unreliable Urban Dictionary. I was watching the series ‘The Innocents’ on Netflix yesterday and in one scene, the buyer/seller, while haggling, says “You’re killing me!”, referring to the seller/buyer proposing too high/low a price for the bartered goods. We have ‘to bankrupt’ but maybe to put at risk of bankruptcy or financial distress is a distinct enough meaning to be included either separately or under one of the other senses? Great find on the song!Overlordnat1 (talk) 18:06, 5 May 2021 (UTC)


The page for scour has: “Hyphenation: sco‧ur”. Is that correct? If I encountered this in the wild, I'd assume it was hyp-henation software running amok.  --Lambiam 20:49, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

Definitely wrong. I've fixed it. —Mahāgaja · talk 22:15, 4 May 2021 (UTC)


I agree with the comments on the talk page that we should mention the Irish habit of putting ‘so’ at the end of their sentences, though a definition seems elusive if not impossible. Certain people have a habit of using certain words at the beginning or end of their sentences when they don’t have any real meaning or serve any function, like ‘right’ and ‘then’ and the Irish do this with ‘sure’ and ‘altogether’ too. I can well imagine one of them saying ‘Sure, we had a grand time, altogether!’. My theory is that ‘so’ in this context came about as a result of the stereotypically Irish phrase ‘so it is’ being shortened. Seems highly plausible to me Overlordnat1 (talk) 22:43, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

It is pronounced completely unemphatically and without preceding pause, which (IMO) makes so it is a less plausible origin. Compare or so, pronounced similarly unemphatically.  --Lambiam 12:43, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

alternate forms of Welsh deall[edit]

I made an account just to bring this up so my apologies if I'm doing something wrong, but in the entry for the Welsh word deall (understand) it says that the North Wales alternative is dyall and the South Wales alternative is dallt. Coming from North Wales myself I have never used anything other than dallt, as have most people I know. I've also looked it up and only found reference to dallt being a Northern word. Of course it could be used in the South as well, and I wouldn't know. But it certainly isn't exclusive to the South. Does anybody else have any comment on the alternative versions being this way round? Looking back through edits it seems as though at one point the forms were swapped. AmberHuws (talk) 07:22, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

@Llusiduonbach, you're the one who labeled those two forms as North Wales and South Wales; would you like to chime in here? —Mahāgaja · talk 10:43, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
@AmberHuws @Mahagaja Apologies - I mixed up my labels when editing. I've corrected the entry now. Diolch i chi! Llusiduonbach (talk) 11:40, 5 May 2021 (UTC)


Is there any evidence of an extended, more general sense derived from the well-known specific U.S. political sense?

Something like "to give a long, irrelevant speech in a deliberate attempt to delay proceedings"? Tharthan (talk) 15:14, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

Quite possibly there is. I’ve never heard it in relation to non-political proceedings but it is used outside of the U.S sometimes. The British MP Sir Christopher Chope is often described as ‘filibustering’ bills like the ones against upskirting and FGM. He’s probably the most odious MP of all but there’s an awful lot of close competition of courseOverlordnat1 (talk) 17:48, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

I’ve just added a U.K. example of filibustering to the articleOverlordnat1 (talk) 00:21, 12 May 2021 (UTC)


It seems the STEDT citing Mastinoff et al. uses the form *yam instead of *jam. Should we move? Source: https://stedt.berkeley.edu/~stedt-cgi/rootcanal.pl/etymon/132 --Frigoris (talk) 19:35, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

bij in Albanian[edit]

Do we have a source for bij meaning "to sprout, to grow out" in Albanian? I tried to source it online, but online dictionaries either redirect me to bijë, or tell me it's the plural of bir, or have nothing, and a Quoran told me bij = bie which means "to fall" and a couple other meanings, so… what is going on here? MGorrone (talk) 21:02, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

成語, proscribed by whom?[edit]

The entry reads:

(proscribed) any idiomatic expression or set phrase

Is this sense really "proscribed"? By whom/which community? There's ample usage in the literature.

For example, the two essays in Wang (1923), i.e. the 《觀堂集林》 by Wang Guowei titled 《與友人論詩書中成語書》 (Letter discussing idiomatic expressions in the Shi and Shu with a friend).

古人成語成語意義其中分別意義不同 [MSC, trad.]
古人成语成语意义其中分别意义不同 [MSC, simp.]
From: (Wang 1923)
Gǔrén pō yòng chéngyǔ, qí chéngyǔ zhī yìyì, yǔ qízhōng dānyǔ fēnbié zhī yìyì yòu bùtóng. [Pinyin]
The ancients were versed in idioms (or "set phrases") whose meaning are distinct from those of the individual components.

Examples given there include

  • 不淑, 不弔 (which can be traced to the same early orthography) - literally, "not good"; idiomatically, "unfortunate; calamity-striken"
  • 陟降 - literally, "to ascend and descend; to go up and down"; idiomatically, "to come and go > to go"; which gave rise to 陟恪, 登假 (dēnggé), 登遐 etc., "to pass away"
  • etc.

Obviously the usage of 成語 doesn't match the first sense ("chengyu") but matches the second (proscribed) one perfectly.

Other similar usages: from the book 《尚書覈詁》 by 楊筠如, gbhits: https://books.google.com/books?id=pRwoAQAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=%E6%88%90%E8%AA%9E

  • 荒寧,古成語
  • 庸釋,古成語,謂舍棄之意。
  • 會紹,當是成語。 (OCR scanno *繪紹 in the ghit)
  • 追孝,古成語

Cf. definition from the MoE Mandarin dictionary: https://www.moedict.tw/%E6%88%90%E8%AA%9E


The key in this definition is 簡短有力 (short and expressive), 固定詞組 (set phrase), and 而非單純使用字面上意思 (not used for the literal meaning). This looks like a dictionary definition of idiom.

Proposed solution: change the label "proscribed" to "uncommon"; unless we can find the actual proscription for this sense. --Frigoris (talk) 11:29, 7 May 2021 (UTC)

P.S. this is based on my personal lack of experience of being proscribed by anybody except Wiktionary about such usage. --Frigoris (talk) 11:43, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Thank you for picking up on this @Frigoris. I think I might have been the one who added that proscription note many years ago when I was less experienced as an editor. It is probably inaccurate, unless we can indeed find proscriptions in the literature. That being said, AFAIK 成語 does not denote an idiom as is understood in English — i.e. an idiomatic expression of any kind and any language. Rather, it is limited to chengyu originating in Classical Chinese. For example, a native Chinese speaker would not describe 喪文化 as a 成語, even though it can be described as one in English, as it means more than the sum of its parts. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:37, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
Most entries that say "proscribed" raise the question of who thinks those usages should be proscribed. The term is out of place in linguistics, as it comes from an outdated overly prescriptivist view of languages. However, the presumed meaning of the proscription is that chengyu usually refers to a certain type of four-character idiom that usually has a little story behind it (diangu). However, the phrase itself means "formed or set language", where cheng is interpreted to mean formed. 18:02, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

straight fiction, straight play[edit]

I've often seen the term straight fiction (or straight novel) used to refer to the complement of genre fiction (sci-fi, mystery, etc.). People also use the term straight play to denote a 'regular' play (as opposed to a musical). Are these idioms worthy of entries, or is there a common sense of straight at play here? We have a couple somewhat related senses at straight:

  • 7. Serious rather than comedic. (as in "he played both straight and comedic roles")
  • 13. Conventional, mainstream, socially acceptable. (as in "He always had a straight job")

I suppose we could add a sense like "Not belonging to any specialized genre". But I don't think that would be enough for a reader to deduce the meaning of straight play, since the term does not exclude comedic plays, or tragedies, or any other genre except the musical.

It seems like there's a macro-sense at play of unmarked or "normal", which in turn encompasses the other specialized meanings including "serious rather than comedic", "heterosexual", "not plus size", etc.

Anyways, I'm leaning toward creating standalone entries for straight fiction, straight novel, and straight play, since it seems like these are fixed phrases without close correlates. Colin M (talk) 16:31, 7 May 2021 (UTC)

Even if there is such a sense in the adjective, the compound would be idiomatic, innit, and corresponding terms are not decomposable alike so an entry is demanded by WT:THUB considerations, otherwise depicting foreign usage at the adjective would be complicated – it is better to translate the whole collocation. Fay Freak (talk) 18:03, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
Not really. Compounds can go forever: you could have a "straight mystery play" etc. An entry for every combination is suicide. Equinox 18:50, 8 May 2021 (UTC)


The category Category:en:Geological periods contains not only periods (which is an exact term in geology), but also eras, eons, epochs and ages. Russian Wiktionary has separat categories for three of these term (epochs, eras, periods). To avoid such confusion, Swedish Wiktionary instead called it category:Geochronology. --LA2 (talk) 07:00, 8 May 2021 (UTC)

@LA2: "Geochronology" is not a great term, as it refers to an actual field that is not particularly interested in these time bins. The Russian solution is intriguing, but of course there would be very few entries in the category for eons. I would suggest Category:Geologic time to be better than any of those alternatives. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:38, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
If you look at Wikipedia's categories, you will find that w:Category:Geochronology is the top category for this whole area of knowledge. The Swedish Wiktionary category is interwiki linked to that cluster of Wikipedia categories. Works fine. --LA2 (talk) 07:52, 10 May 2021 (UTC)


In the Etymology section for "dread", there is the following template: "reconstrued as a- +‎ dread" ... which is referring to the word "adread". That template belongs in the "adread" page, not the "dread" page, right? (Actually, that template is already in the "adread" page.)

I couldn't find an explicit rule, but much of Wiktionary seems to be built on the assumption that a template appearing in a page should refer to the title word for that page. For example, the presence of that template in the "dread" page means that "dread" appears in the category "English words prefixed with a-". Jonathanbratt (talk) 18:08, 8 May 2021 (UTC)

Fixed. When @Roger.M.Williams added the {{af}} and {{prefix}} templates, they should have added |nocat=1 to keep from them from categorizing the page as if it were the Old English ondrǣdan and English adread respectively. The etymology still has problems with muddling together Old English and West Germanic, but I'll let someone else deal with that. Chuck Entz (talk)
While that fixed the specific issue of "dread" appearing in the wrong category, I was also hoping to get clarification on the practice of putting etymological templates on pages that are not the word the template is directly referring to. This seems to be undesirable, and extremely rare in any case (this is the only example I know of). Wouldn't it be better to just remove the template from the "dread" page? Jonathanbratt (talk) 20:38, 8 May 2021 (UTC)

Menlo, Menlough[edit]

Menlo has Menlough as an "alternative form", but all five senses are place names. Places don't usually have two different spellings, do they? Are we saying that all five can be spelled both ways? If not, which? Equinox 22:21, 8 May 2021 (UTC)

Going by Wikipedia it seems that only the places in Ireland go by other spellings than ‘Menlo’, both of them in County Galway and apparently the Menlough near Athenry is always spelt ‘Menlough’ and the former village, now a suburb of the city of Galway, is always called ‘Menlo’ anyway, ‘Menlough’ being a historical spelling.Overlordnat1 (talk) 23:04, 11 May 2021 (UTC)


What policy actually governs words that are usually seen italicized in an English language text? According to this draft proposal: [1] "Some foreign words are partly or wholly naturalized in the English language. These should be considered simply as English terms, with their own English entries according to the criteria for inclusion, even though they may resemble or match a romanized version." I don't know if 'p'in-yin' counts as a foreign term (because it's italicized, hence it's merely code switching) or what you all would think about this new entry I've created. Thanks for any guidance. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 01:12, 9 May 2021 (UTC)

Puebloan mask[edit]

  1. (Puebloan, anthropology) A ceremonial object used in Puebloan kachina cults that resembles a Euro-American mask. (The term is objected to as an appropriate translation by Puebloan peoples as it emphasizes imitation but ignores power and representational intent.)

So ... it's a mask, or at least, the sort of thing that would be taken to be a mask by someone who didn't know who'd made it and could only examine the artifact itself, but the people themselves object to it being called a mask? OK, but ... I don't think we usually handle that by having a definition like this, do we? A quick google suggests that the Puebloan things in question are also called "face masks" (and "helmet masks", etc) and I don't think we should add this sense to face mask, too, should we? My inclination is to just remove the sense as redundant to the main sense, inasmuch as we seem to consider the masks various other ethnic groups make for ceremonial use (which have varying degrees of wearability or non-wearability) to be covered by the main sense. But this sense has been here for over a decade! Am I missing something? - -sche (discuss) 19:59, 9 May 2021 (UTC)

@-sche: I vote for removal. Honestly, I'm not even sure this merits a RFD. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:40, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
I suggest there are two issues here:
Does the usage easily pass CFI in terms of frequency of use (clearly it passes for timescale if the def has been there for 10 yrs!). If there are no more than (say) 10 independent uses clearly within that definition, then the lazy but adequate way forward may be drop the def.
Otherwise we must include it. We are a dictionary of usage, not a prescriptive dictionary. However, if a usage is offensive to some, then we should add a usage note to explain that, as in cunt, nigger, half-caste, anarchist, redneck etc. But when we do so, if we recognise it as offensive, we add a gloss and/or a usage note, as in the above examples.
So the question then is, what should we do when we don't realise a def is offensive, but people go to the bother of telling us they are offended. Anarchist is an example of one which was dealt with that way around 13 years ago IIRC, after someone had got themselves a Wiki username, and wrote in, to Tearoom IIRC, to ask for the def of anarchy to be corrected, because, as an anarchist, he was offended. (And, of course, the fact he dealt with it that way was a demonstration of why the common usage of anarchy was offensive to him -- "true" anarchists believe in making decisions by committee, rather than being "anarchic" as we normally use the phrase.) I felt that was a reasonable statement, so added a usage note to anarchy to say that. In fact, that was soon reverted, but someone else then added a similar note to anarchist which is still there now. (Clue: one of our most senior editors said to me once re reverted edits, "I just leave them for a month, then revert the reversions -- they never notice". Perhaps he added it! I had forgotten and moved on.)
My view (and I may be in a minority) is that, while some people will be offended by us merely adding a common use, it is important that we note any offensive usage. Just as we do for grammatically or semantically non-standard usage, we should gloss/note any causing offence. Most schools and parents/guardians let young children use Wikt, and find words which some would say they should not be exposed to. If we tag the words appropriately, then hopefully#Usage_notes most people will accept our argument that children will hear these words anyway, and it is good that we explain that it's unacceptable for them to use them themselves. It's also important for people learning English later in life. I knew a woman who was very politely spoken, except she kept saying "Bugger off". People had let her do so for years without her knowing it was offensive, until I politely told her!
So what is the level of offence we should accept before tagging? Personally, I would base it on comments by three unconnected people, but that doesn't necessarily mean three non-editors. If one person complains, we can ask the question here, since with our amazing breadth of experience, any significant offence is likely to be known by some of us, or indeed we can research online. Having made my general point, sorry, but I don't know the answer for this particular word in terms of offence.
However, I do think it worthy of a usage note in view of interesting usage -- it seems to be a case of cultural expropriation! The 1st world (presumably) has used the description of a 1st world item to apply to a superficially-similar 3rd (or at leat ancient) world artefact, possibly without knowing (and certainly without explaining) the deeper cultural meanings the artefact had. And this is doubly interesting since the "masks" we use for carnival, etc, are probably based on those unmentioned meanings. It could well be that the defs can be improved, as well as annotated, if we can find usage for this "missing link". --Enginear 00:24, 10 May 2021 (UTC)


This article [2] contains the phrase "in the middle of the hemicycle of the European parliament in Strasbourg" (my bolding). We do not currently have a definition which supports that usage. It appears to mean half-cycle, presumably relating to the "travelling circus" moving 12 times a year from Strasbourg to Brussels and back, similar to semester without implying the period of the cycle as semester does. The two halves are not by any means equal but, as someone had to point out to me on wikt a few years back, halves do not have to be equal either! Nonetheless, I don't feel competent to add that def based on a single use. Please would someone with a more extensive knowledge of that usage add it. Thanks --Enginear 22:25, 9 May 2021 (UTC)

No, we already have the appropriate definition; you just misinterpreted the article. The European parliament is in fact arranged in a partial circle (more than half of a circle, but that's another issue altogether). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:35, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
So he's speaking from the middle of a semi-circle (wherever that may be)? Why would that be worth a mention in The Guardian? Still, if no one else comes forward to say they've heard it, then if my guess was right, it may be a nonce usage anyway, and I haven't time to check for other uses right now, so I'll leave it be.
"More than half of a circle, but that's another issue" -- Nah, another editor convinced me a few years back that half is frequently used to refer to almost anything more than 0 but less than 1 (I exaggerate only slightly). For over 50 yrs, I'd been convinced that it was exactly 0.5, but I was completely wrong -- there are many examples, all of which now slip my mind...probably because I've never changed my idiolect to reflect my new knowledge. Of course, he didn't say anything about the usage of hemi! --Enginear 00:45, 10 May 2021 (UTC)
No, it's not a nonce usage. The parliament seating is a hemicycle, and he was speaking in the middle of it. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:48, 10 May 2021 (UTC)

penis puerilis[edit]

Is this a rare term? Its synonym membrum puerile is labelled as rare, somewhat euphemistic, and seeing that I thought this entry might need some label… Penis puerilis is almost exclusively attested in dictionaries, so could it be a scientific term? -- dictātor·mundī 19:51, 10 May 2021 (UTC)

These dictionary entries are definitions of terms from a variety of Indian languages, such as Hindi नूनी (nūnī) and फुन्नो (phunno), Bengali নুনু (nunu), and Telugu బెల్లము (bellamu). I do not know the background of this subcontinental fascination with puerile penes, but the use of Latin is surely due to lexicographers’ prudery syndrome, and not to a predilection for scientific terms.  --Lambiam 10:45, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
I wonder if those terms really denote specifically a child's penis, or if they're just childish words for "penis", like wiener. I definitely agree the use of Latin is due to lexicographical taboo avoidance; I've seen bilingual dictionaries gloss other languages' words for "fuck" as futuere, for example. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:04, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam: So should I label penis puerilis as lexicographical jargon?— because these are limited in usage to dictionaries. And regarding ‘subcontinental fascination with puerile penes’, I would say these are rather terms used by adults affectionately to refer to a penis puerilis. Worth noting are this and this (which are Oriya words) that also notably do not use the euphemistic terminology. -- dictātor·mundī 20:30, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
I don’t know what a good label is, but “jargon” is IMO not the right term, nor is this specific to lexicographers. The same use of Latin to avoid taboo words is seen in medical, anthropological and sexological publications.  --Lambiam 22:08, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam: rare ? -- dictātor·mundī 12:00, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
It may be so rare that it does not qualify for inclusion; the only legitimate use I spotted ("use" as opposed to "mention") was the statement by Raúl Escari that Raúl Damonte Taborda, author of the book Ayer fue San Perón qualified the General's allegedly nilly willy in the foreword as penis puerilis ([3], not visible in snippet view). I don't know whether the euphemism originated with Taborda and is merely echoed by Escari in indirect speech, or that the application of the euphemism is of Escari's doing.  --Lambiam 12:33, 17 May 2021 (UTC)


This is currently just an alt form of arak, but describes a different liquor from South Asia that's also spelled arak? It's confusing enough that I'm asking for help defining and separating these senses rather than copying from Wikipedia. Ultimateria (talk) 20:41, 10 May 2021 (UTC)

I think that the term arak is used in Southeast Asia to refer to any alcoholic liquor, and was borrowed used the English spelling arrack for such liquors as were imported from Southeast Asia, in a variety of styles. Which description where is different from which other description where?  --Lambiam 19:06, 11 May 2021 (UTC)


Upon looking at fr:desquamation it seems we might be missing a sense relating to bark of a tree...or at least that sense exists in French. Also the French term has a sense stating it's short for desquamation de gaine which fr.wikt translates to English as oxide spallation or oxide surface peeling. User: The Ice Mage talk to meh 21:22, 10 May 2021 (UTC)

Inasmuch as desquamation de gaine is not a dictionary-only term (allegedly related to nuclear-fission engineering, in which, I think, oxide spallation is not an issue, so this appears to be based on a misunderstanding; spallation in the sense of nuclear physics is also spallation in French), I think it is pure SOP. For any French compound X de Y, in a context in which the Y of which something is the X can be inferred, one can leave out the qualifier de Y. So a chef d’équipe (“foreman”, “team leader”) may be referred to as just “le chef ” (“the boss”). For the rest, it can basically be used in any context of an outer layer or crust peeling or flaking off, from moulting locusts to chipping varnish to the bark of a tree; I think it is all the same sense.  --Lambiam 17:24, 11 May 2021 (UTC)


In addition to sharing a sense with the English term it seems, according to fr.wikt, that in French this also means some kind of fishing lure or something of the like...@Mahagaja would you or someone you know know how to best define this? User: The Ice Mage talk to meh 16:55, 11 May 2021 (UTC)

A (leurre) devon has blades that make it turn when drawn through the water, or when used in a fast-moving stream. I think an English term for this device is “spinner (lure)”.  --Lambiam 18:46, 11 May 2021 (UTC)

French dey[edit]

Another little oddity I've discovered on the French page of WT:RE. Am I right in saying that the French is the same as the Etym. 2 sense of our English entry? Either way, if anyone has sufficient knowledge to add a French section I'd be grateful. User: The Ice Mage talk to meh 19:02, 11 May 2021 (UTC)

The French Wiktionary agrees with your supposition, also giving the dey of Algiers as an example. More importantly, the authoritative Académie française also agrees.[4] An appropriate entry is easily fashioned by applying obvious modifications to that of French bey.  --Lambiam 09:00, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

Looking at French Wiktionary I’ve noticed that the French WT has the Sranantongo form of ‘day’ spelt ‘dey’ and the English WT has the spelling dei. I’ve no idea which is right though, maybe both are?Overlordnat1 (talk) 06:55, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

Part of Speech of Khmer សេរី (seerəy)[edit]

I don't have a criterion that I am capable of applying for telling Khmer adjectives and verbs apart under any system, but @Aeusoes1 changed the third meaning of the lemma as an alleged adjective from "to do something without permission" to "done without permission", on the basis that the word was an adjective, not a verb. I have reverted that change on the bases that:

  • The word describes the doer rather than the action, and
  • the original wording suggests that the meaning can be punctual rather than stative.

If I am right on both counts, should the part of speech be changed for this meaning? --RichardW57 (talk) 19:14, 11 May 2021 (UTC)

I suspect that the word has been listed as an adjective because it derives from a Pali adjective and seems to retain the core meaning of "not acknowledging any constraint on behaviour". --RichardW57 (talk) 19:14, 11 May 2021 (UTC)

I, too, have no way to distinguish Khmer verbs from adjectives. I changed the way the definitions were phrased because the definitions were those of verbs and the word is being categorized as an adjective. If the meaning really is "to do something without permission" then it would be best to categorize the word in question as a verb in addition to or instead of an adjective. Aeusoes1 (talk) 02:51, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

kit (tub/pail)[edit]

The first two senses given for the noun kit are:

  1. A circular wooden vessel, made of hooped staves.
  2. A kind of basket made especially from straw of rushes, especially for holding fish; by extension, the contents of such a basket or similar container, used as a measure of weight.

A quotation following sense 2 shows that “especially from straw of rushes” is not that important, since it mentions “aluminium kits”. I have reason to think that these two senses are essentially the same sense for a type of object that could have various embodiments and purposes. See my contribution of 07:53, 11 May 2021 (UTC) in the thread Wikipedia:Reference desk/Miscellaneous#Translations to German, to be archived in a week or so at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2021 May 10#Translations to German. Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives this definition: “A kind of fish-tub, and a milk-pail.”[5]  --Lambiam 20:04, 11 May 2021 (UTC)

wear it on one's sleeve[edit]

@StuckInLagToad recently created wear it on one's sleeve with the definition “To openly present or convey one's beliefs or ideals”, and a usage note stating “"It" is commonly replaced with a belief, as that is what they are conveying.” I was wondering about the following:

The entry has been nominated for WOTD, though it won’t be featured anytime soon. — SGconlaw (talk) 04:26, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

Not just something, but more specifically one’s something. In to wear one’s X on one’s sleeve, popular substitutes for X are emotions and feelings (somewhat synonymous with heart), but also education, patriotism, and religion – the latter also formulated more explicitly: Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism. It can be an elaborate noun phrase: interest in the blues and the electric guitar, joy of being with people and his interest in them, ambivalence and lack of passion for financial services. But I think these are all snowcloned from wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve. Where it is substituted for X, its referent is something identified as being the wearer’s, as in Big Jim had a huge heart, and he wore it on his sleeve.  --Lambiam 08:49, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
Oh, I just deleted this, since it's redundant to wear something on one's sleeve. Wiktionary uses "one", "someone" and "something" as placeholders, not "it". Equinox 18:01, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
@Equinox: I just saw. I didn't know we had wear something on one's sleeve. Based on @Lambiam's comment, though, should that be moved to wear one's something on one's sleeve? (Not particularly elegant, though.) — SGconlaw (talk) 18:17, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw: I think we have to parse this rather carefully, and in a sort of Chomskyan manner. If we allow "wear X on one's sleeve", then "one's X" is a type of "X". Therefore "wear X" incorporates "wear one's X" inherently. I mean, let's not dig holes we don't need to fall into. Equinox 09:15, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
@Equinox: OK, makes sense. — SGconlaw (talk) 14:22, 30 May 2021 (UTC)

extreme prejudice[edit]

The current definition of extreme prejudice is:

  1. Seemingly senseless or irrational hostility.

I don’t think this is right. In the idiomatic sense, it is used for prejudicial killings that are unlawful but nevertheless completely rational from the point of view of a belligerent party focussed on eliminating hostile combatants. Can anyone suggest a better def, one that also makes sense when an operative is instructed to use extreme prejudice? Also, I have a strong suspicion that the idiomatic sense derives from the earlier use of terminate with extreme prejudice.  --Lambiam 07:32, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

I don't think it has an idiomatic meaning apart from in the term terminate with extreme prejudice. In other contexts, it's just extreme + prejudice. — SGconlaw (talk) 18:19, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
The entry extreme prejudice has a quotation using liquidate with extreme prejudice, which in the context does not mean that the liquidation order was issued with a directive to accompany the operation with intense preconceived feelings or opinions. Here, in the phrase use “Extreme Prejudice”, the term is explained as “a military term for ensuring that the person concerned is eliminated permanently”. While not explained, use extreme prejudice here, here and here also has the idiomatic meaning of killing.  --Lambiam 19:32, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam It seems like a better definition for extreme prejudice would be "lethal force". Nosferattus (talk) 06:54, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
Thanks, that is a very usable suggestion.  --Lambiam 09:21, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

French diamantaire[edit]

fr.wikt also has an adjective sense for this word. Would diamondlike be an appropriate definition, or is the meaning somewhat different? User: The Ice Mage talk to meh 10:08, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

We only list an apparently literal sense for diamondlike. I think the French term is mainly used in the figurative sense of brilliant, as in British English before just fucking everything became fucking brilliant: having an enviable brilliance, mostly not said of people but of what they produce, like someone’s style of writing (écriture diamantaire, or écriture d’une pureté diamantaire). The adjective also has a literal sense, "of, or related to, a diamond or diamonds”. Diamond clarity, such as VS2 or SI1, can be referred to as qualité diamantaire.  --Lambiam 11:33, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

French digitation[edit]

Looking for some help to define yet another term that we are missing a French section for. Am I right in saying sense 2 at fr:digitation is the same as sense 2 in our English entry? They seem to be a little different but they are both labelled with "zoology". User: The Ice Mage talk to meh 12:42, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

The sense given in the French Wiktionary (“mark or print in the shape of fingers”) does not sound like zoological terminology. A brief search shows uses in biological morphology, as in English, for an outgrowth of some structure that has a (vaguely) finger-like shape. There also appears to be a geomorphological use, something like “peak”.  --Lambiam 20:19, 12 May 2021 (UTC)


We are missing the sense "panacea", which is noted here, and often pops up by dint of the fact that "heal-all" is a very basic formation that anyone could independently form.

I believe that we ought to include it, though we ought to label it as uncommon. Tharthan (talk) 17:56, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Equinox 18:05, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

computer lab[edit]

Should we have an entry for this? A computer lab is not really a laboratory in the ordinary meaning. It is a space that provides access to computers. 15:32, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

Perhaps we need to add a generalized sense for lab/laboratory; compare also terms like fab lab, language lab and living lab, and names such as Google Labs, the Google X Lab, the MIT Media Lab, the Stanford AI Lab, the Stanford Learning Lab, the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and the Wikipedia:Graphics Lab, which in context can be referred to as “the lab”.  --Lambiam 11:20, 14 May 2021 (UTC)


Is this really a word? It is not in Merriam-Webster: [6]. Would be nice with a reference. --Ysangkok (talk) 01:25, 14 May 2021 (UTC)

[7], [8], [9].  --Lambiam 11:02, 14 May 2021 (UTC)

"ventresca" needs correction...[edit]

for ventresca, see: Tuna#Ventresca tuna and ventre (Italian). .... 0mtwb9gd5wx (talk) 22:26, 14 May 2021 (UTC)

Can you be more specific about which correction you think should be applied where?  --Lambiam 12:38, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

talks about talks[edit]

Worth an entry? PUC – 10:40, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

Some may consider it SOP but it may be worth an entry. That phrase immediately brings to mind ‘bag of bags’ which we don’t have an entry for eitherOverlordnat1 (talk) 08:50, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

Mars Rover or Mars rover?[edit]

The entry Mars Rover is capitalized as though it were a proper noun, but in real-world usage it appears to be treated as a compound of the proper noun Mars and ordinary noun rover. The Wikipedia page is titled Mars rover. As a generic term referring to any such vehicle, e.g. Perseverance or Zhurong, lower-case rover seems more appropriate. I propose creating Mars rover as the main entry and retaining Mars Rover as an alternative form. Although there may also be a case for moving Mars Rover to Mars rover. Thoughts gratefully received. Voltaigne (talk) 11:24, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

I agree this is a common noun. I imagine we may in the future also have Iapetus and Enceladus rovers (such missions have been proposed), and it seems this is just a sum of parts (rover, sense 4: “A vehicle for exploring extraterrestrial bodies.”). So there you have it: a case for deleting the entry altogether.  --Lambiam 12:32, 15 May 2021 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. Thanks for your input @Lambian. Voltaigne (talk) 13:17, 15 May 2021 (UTC)
Sent to RfD, as already more or less announced above.  --Lambiam 21:01, 26 May 2021 (UTC)


Is there a more common word for this? Allowing sound to pass through it. I was dismay'd to find unsoundproof didn't exist Indian subcontinent (talk) 15:21, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

Collins English Dictionary has hear-through, which describes headphones that allow ambient sound to pass through. This is a nice counterpart to see-through. I don't know whether there are attested examples of this adjective being applied to other solid bodies, such as walls. Voltaigne (talk) 16:51, 15 May 2021 (UTC)
I can find a few citations of that, going back several decades (Citations:hear-through), including one which describes a monitor(?), possibly using a different sense. - -sche (discuss) 18:23, 17 May 2021 (UTC)


Surely noun sense 4 for pigeon has the same derivation as noun sense 2 for pidgin so should have a separate etymology to the bird sense and should be labelled as archaic too (the only time I ever hear it is when I watch Brief Encounter, where Trevor Howard delivers the rather odd line “pneumoniosis is my pigeon/pidgin” (of course either spelling could be used here as it occurs in speech, not writing)Overlordnat1 (talk) 19:18, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

I’ve now amended itOverlordnat1 (talk) 01:00, 2 June 2021 (UTC)


Hard to see why a lot of the Internet symbol uses are given as English, while others (e.g. e-mail indentation and quoting) are Translingual. Don't these 4chan and forum users also write in non-English languages? Equinox 18:22, 16 May 2021 (UTC)

I seem to remember that long before 4chan hitting “reply” (or just “R”) in a newsgroup automatically included the text of the message replied to, literally, except that each original line was prefixed by “”. If you wanted to react to only specific parts of the message, you edited the rest out. This was very common, and not done “especially to emphasize what was said and make fun of the person”.  --Lambiam 12:44, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
I wonder if modern usage might be at least partly based on caricature of the old format, or at least deliberate use of an archaic style to evoke associations of "how those old folks used to say things". Chuck Entz (talk) 14:36, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
I think they still use the old e-mail/news quoting and indentation format with the symbol. The modern uses are simply an extension of quoting where the quoted text is mocked rather than merely replied to. Another common habit is quoting text and replying with the one word "this!" to indicate agreement. Equinox 14:40, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
The fact that quoted text can be being mocked or agreed with ("this!") or disagreed with or just discussed (if John uses a phrase and you quote just that phrase and say "let's unpack this..." and talk about the assumptions that went into his choice of phrase), makes me doubt that "quoting, but to mock" should be a separate sense from "quoting". I mean, the "ubuntu is better than debian" usex could be done with quotation marks instead, and it seems like we don't treat "quoting a phrase to mock it" as distinct from "quoting" at " " (though we do cover scare quotes). So I would drop/merge that sense. No? My suspicion is that Equinox is right that the other senses are Translingual, but I'm having a hard time finding examples, even when I try search engines like SymbolHound that allow searching for punctuation. - -sche (discuss) 18:15, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
The fact that the dogs > cats example is present in both sections is also redundant. - -sche (discuss) 17:15, 19 May 2021 (UTC)

"My Y"[edit]

What is meant by Y here:

2021 May 17, Jane E. Brody, “A Birthday Milestone: Turning 80!”, in The New York Times[10], ISSN 0362-4331:
When a 50ish woman at my Y learned that I was about to turn 80, she exclaimed, []

We have YMCA/YWCA but that's a youth organisation? – Jberkel 15:37, 18 May 2021 (UTC)

I think most YMCAs in America are open to people of all ages. Without further context, I would certainly understand Y in that sentence to refer to the YMCA where the speaker goes swimming or engages in other exercise. —Mahāgaja · talk 15:45, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
Thanks, perhaps the entry at Y needs an additional noun POS for "YMCA (branch)". It's given as proper noun (“the Y”). – Jberkel 16:43, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
I say a sense is also missing for YMCA, which can refer not only to a specific international youth organization or a local branch, but also to any location maintained by a branch of this organization, offering such facilities as a fitness room, a swimming pool, and sports courts. In the latter senses it is a count noun (“There are thousands of YMCAs in the US”). If we read about couples that met “at the Y(MCA)”,[11] their meeting will have taken place at one of these service locations.  --Lambiam 13:25, 19 May 2021 (UTC)
Y could also refer to those facilities maintained by YMHA/YWHA. I don't know whether there are (or were) other Young Men's/Women's [your religion here] Associations. DCDuring (talk) 04:10, 20 May 2021 (UTC)
There are Young Men's Buddhist Associations in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, but I don't know whether they have sports facilities that get referred to as "the Y". —Mahāgaja · talk 09:14, 20 May 2021 (UTC)


The two sections of the latin definition both point to the same root word ( defendo ) and should be merged, right? 2A01:C22:A470:800:D9B:F3DC:5C6E:8E40 13:27, 19 May 2021 (UTC)

No, because the first section is for dēfendēre with a long penultimate vowel and the second section is for dēfendere with a short penultimate vowel. But the entry didn't actually reflect that until I fixed it just now. —Mahāgaja · talk 13:36, 19 May 2021 (UTC)
Actually, the entry did reflect the difference until an anon broke it last week. At any rate, it's fixed now. —Mahāgaja · talk 13:39, 19 May 2021 (UTC)
Awesome. Thanks :) Good job I checked! 2A01:C22:A470:800:19D9:FA45:39C7:FFF0 16:03, 19 May 2021 (UTC)

Pronunciation of cèilidh[edit]

The entry gives /'kʰʲe:.li:/, yet Wikipedia would seem to indicate that è is /ɛ:/ and é is /e:/, so cèidligh would be /'kʰʲɛ:.li:/. Which is correct? I seem to remember reading somewhere that Scottish Gaelic orthography at some point completely replaced acute accents with grave accents, is there any truth to this? MGorrone (talk) 15:58, 19 May 2021 (UTC)

/ˈkʲʰeː.li/ is right. The word was formerly spelled céilidh, and yes, Gaelic no longer uses the acute accent, so ⟨è⟩ and ⟨ò⟩ are now ambiguous between /eː/ and /ɛː/ and between /oː/ and ~ /ɔː/ respectively. —Mahāgaja · talk 17:38, 19 May 2021 (UTC)
Perfect. I guess it's time for Wikipedia to revise that page :). MGorrone (talk) 19:44, 19 May 2021 (UTC)

steel oneself[edit]

Is this correct? Couldn't we define this at steel with a {{lb|reflexive}} label? Imetsia (talk) 17:43, 20 May 2021 (UTC)

Yes, it's just sense 2 of steel#Verb. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:44, 20 May 2021 (UTC)
It could be made a redirect to the specific sense. DCDuring (talk) 04:06, 21 May 2021 (UTC)

female hysteria[edit]

Is it typical that the page female hysteria fails to mention the uterine etymology unlike hysteria? Henstepl (talk) 01:44, 21 May 2021 (UTC)

@Henstepl: Yes. Since the head includes a link to the to female and hysteria it is expected that if readers are interested in the origin of hysteria that they will click on the link. When it is expected that a good number of readers will confused about why a word is part of a compound, as is the case for Dutch treat, a short description of the etymology is sometimes given. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 23:59, 25 May 2021 (UTC)
@The Editor's Apprentice: That's an excellent example and I'm glad you brought it up. But I feel there's a distinction here: "Dutch treat" leaves me wondering, why Dutch? But it's commonplace for people to even know "hysterectomy" without making a "hysteria" connection, and are just as likely to stop clicking further as if it were "female craziness". If they think they've reached an end point, they're going to miss out. Henstepl (talk) 01:42, 26 May 2021 (UTC)
Agreed. Since hysteria now has a common meaning divorced from the uterine sense, I think it's worth expanding on the etymology in the female hysteria entry. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:50, 26 May 2021 (UTC)


尼#Etymology_4; RFV for modern pronunciations:

Are the Mandarin/Cantonese pronunciations given there accurate? Since the reading doesn't seem productive any longer except in certain technical glossaries such as 阻尼 (zǔní, “damping, as in physics”), which seems to always follow the reading in Mandarin, which reading(s) should be used there in the Pronunciation section?

--Frigoris (talk) 11:24, 21 May 2021 (UTC)

Etymology of Italian afferrare[edit]

I believe that the etymology for Italian afferrare is not the Latin word ‘ferrum’, iron, as currently shown.

Rather, I think this word comes from the Latin word ‘adfero’/‘affero’. I think a few minutes of research might support this fairly well.

I am not, however, confident in the coding and not familiar with the etiquette, so I come here to say this.

Billwhite123 (talk) 20:31, 21 May 2021 (UTC)

I think that what the etymology section already reflects. It currently states that the word is inherited from Vulgar Latin "adferrāre," which is itself derived from the Latin word "ferrum." And this is also backed up by Italian dictionaries, who give (small variations on) the same etymology. Imetsia (talk) 20:38, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
Vulgar Latin *adferrō (“grasp”), spelled with ⟨rr⟩, is not related to Classical Latin afferō (“bring forth”), spelled with a single ⟨r⟩. According to Treccani, the adjective afferente is inherited from the present participle afferens of the latter Latin verb,[12] and the Italian verb afferire is a bureaucratic back-formation from the adjective.[13]
Treccani derives it from ferro, as meaning literally “to clasp an iron”, where the “iron” (ferro) is a sailor’s term for “anchor”.[14] BTW, we have a space set aside for cogitation on etymological aspects of the Wiktionary entries, the Etymology scriptorium.  --Lambiam 12:12, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Did somebody say *fą̄han?? ApisAzuli (talk) 04:11, 8 June 2021 (UTC)


My Greek book says that it is 3-termination, but Wiktionary says that it is a 2-termination Dngweh2s (talk) 23:58, 23 May 2021 (UTC)

{{R:LSJ}} says it's both. —Mahāgaja · talk 08:26, 24 May 2021 (UTC)

Swedish word båda[edit]

"Usage notes" says "The noun to which båda belongs will always be in definite form (plural): båda filmerna."

I'm still a learner but I think this is not true. You can say things like "båda sidor" or "båda mina föräldrar", right?

Can someone more versed confirm and make the appropriate modification?

--Betty (talk) 03:53, 24 May 2021 (UTC)

@Betty: You are quite right that the noun to which båda belongs will not always be in the definite form. The authoritative grammar is Svenska Akademiens Grammatik. It covers the word båda under section "Pronomen § 129" on Volume 2, page 377-8, which says:

§129. Attributiv funktion. I attributiv funktion står båda, bägge normalt i en definit nominalfras. I sin egentliga totalitetsbetydelse placeras pronomenet först i nominalfrasen, framför eventuellt definit attribut. Som totalitetspronomen är då båda, bägge betonade.

båda böckerna
båda de andra nya böckerna
båda de här böckerna
båda de två böckerna
båda min brors böcker

Båda, bägge kan också placeras efter possessivattribut med bibehållen betoning och totalitetsbetydelse (liksom fallet är vid andra totalitetspronomen)

min brors båda böcker
But note, however, that it is the possessive (min brors ...) that in this case causes it to be indefinite. Compare the following examples: de två böckerna ("the two books"), de här två böckerna ("these two books"), dessa två böcker ("these two books"), mina två böcker ("my two books"). The first two of these examples have the noun in the definite form, the last two in the indefinite. Gabbe (talk) 08:53, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
@Gabbe: Many thanks. Maybe you could edit the page of båda and make the wording more precise? (Because I don't think I'm qualified to edit.) Also, you can say "båda sidor" although there is no possessive here, right? Maybe it is an exception. --Betty (talk) 02:23, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
That particular example (båda sidor) is covered in a footnote on the page I cited above. It says

I vissa halvt lexikaliserade förbindelser av båda eller bägge + substantiv kan nominalfrasen ha indefinit form: {båda/bägge} sidor, {båda/bägge} håll m.fl. Med samma innebörd kan då alternativt ordet ömse användas vid en del substantiv.

In other words, there is an exception for that particular phrase (and a few others like it). A more grammatically stringent variant of the phrase på båda sidor would be på båda sidorna. In terms of altering the "usage notes" to be more in line with what I've said above, I think that would be too complicated. The "usage notes" section is meant for brief remarks, not a long and winding detour into the intricacies of grammar. So I'll just remove it outright instead. Gabbe (talk) 05:01, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

English demonstrably[edit]

An old issue this is, but I would like to know which definition looks better, this or the altered one? -- dictātor·mundī 23:46, 25 May 2021 (UTC)

The older one is demonstrably better in at least one respect: the altered one is ungrammatical. But neither one is convincing. “Hillary Clinton won the 2016 elections by a landslide” is demonstrably false. Is this claim false “in such a manner as to be capable of being proved”? No, it is false in such a manner as to be capable of being disproved. But the statement that the claim is false is demonstrable. So demonstrably is not an adverb of manner, but a modal adverb. I’d use an {{ngd}}: Used as a modal adverb to assert that that the indicated statement is demonstrable.  --Lambiam 12:02, 27 May 2021 (UTC)
I would suggest "In a demonstrable manner; obviously, undeniably." — SGconlaw (talk) 12:50, 27 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't think we have to resort to a non-gloss definition. Other dictionaries don't. Definitions exist that are substitutable. And there are synonyms. DCDuring (talk) 15:32, 30 May 2021 (UTC)

Words for curry (dish) in languages of India[edit]

I noticed we're missing most of these, even though the dish originates from the region. Is anyone knowledgeable? —Rua (mew) 19:03, 26 May 2021 (UTC)

Although we do not list the sense, there is evidence[15] that Hindi करी (karī) (Urdu کری‎) is also used with this sense.  --Lambiam 11:44, 27 May 2021 (UTC)
Apparently kadhi / कढ़ी (kaṛhī) is the same thing. We haven’t defined curry well, but according to Wikipedia “Kadhi is a popular gram flour curry” so at least it is a special case of curry, perhaps the original. Which may be all the reason why we have the Gujarati term for both. Fay Freak (talk) 18:34, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

entry for Russian word "применим" is incomplete[edit]

The Russian word применим is listed only in the sense of first-person plural future indicative perfective of {l|ru|примени́ть}. However, it can also be the short form of the adjective {l|ru|применимый}. I'm not sure how to make this change, given my imperfect knowledge of both Russian and Wiktionary. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by AlanUS (talkcontribs) at 18:05, 28 May 2021 (UTC).

By looking how it is done with other short forms, e.g. по́лон (pólon). Fay Freak (talk) 19:39, 28 May 2021 (UTC)

etc. symbol[edit]

Hi. I came across a symbol in an old book. Is it just a normal ampersand in a fancy font, or a whole other symbol? Upforhim (talk) 12:42, 29 May 2021 (UTC)

ampersand? --Akletos (talk) 12:59, 29 May 2021 (UTC)

anti-Semitism#Usage notes: "a Semitic race" — Race? What?[edit]

Discussion moved from Talk:anti-Semitism#Race? What?.

I mean Semite is a linguistic group, it doesn't rely on race. Who still refers to race? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Zoologists and mycologists still do, though the term is increasingly unfashionable, even when referring to, say, birds or mildews. DCDuring (talk) 22:43, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
I generally consider it ill-advised to use race without due qualification, but the relevant text is "apparently considering them to constitute a Semitic race" so that clearly describes some people's supposed beliefs without implying that these beliefs are true. To answer your question, millions of Americans still seem to believe that race is a biological reality and similar views are not unheard of among European speakers of English either. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 09:50, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

gum up the works[edit]

An IP created this, and defined it as a synonym of throw a spanner in the works. Is this right? 23:22, 29 May 2021 (UTC)

In my view there may be a distinction in that 'gum up the works' may be slightly more common in a literal-like sense of reference to an actual machine being subverted (not necessarily with gum) than 'throw a spanner/wrench in the works', which is seems on balance usually more metaphorical; this is seemingly illustrated by the examples provided here: [16] [17] --Geographyinitiative (talk) 23:30, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
Throwing a spanner is disrupting something, while "gumming" suggests halting progress. Equinox 23:49, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
@Equinox, I'd first learned the expression throw a wrench in the gears, and later learned that Am. E. wrench == UK E. spanner. My understanding of both throw a wrench in the gears and throw a spanner in the works is as a metaphor for causing a process to stop -- either a complete halt, or as a delay before resuming later. So as I learned the expressions, this seems to broadly align with the sense expressed by gum up the works. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:52, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

English equivalent of Japanese 伏線回収, related to foreshadowing:[edit]

"X is a foreshadow (伏線), which is later reintroduced into affairs, revealing Y (回収)". —Suzukaze-c (talk) 01:58, 30 May 2021 (UTC)

Arguably, the Japanese expression is two terms. Why not use two terms in English, then? Especially if a single one isn't available. How about just "foreshadowing and the reveal"? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:48, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
@Eirikr: "Reveal" doesn't feel satisfying or right. フラグ回収 is essentially similar, and "reveal" is even less satisfying (if フラグ is translated literally, at least: "flag and reveal?"). —Suzukaze-c (talk) 23:57, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
@Suzukaze-c: As I've understood the Japanese phrasing, 回収 (kaishū) is understandable literally as "recalling" or "recovering" the loose plot or character thread introduced by the earlier foreshadowing, but translating that directly into English produces nothing terribly meaningful. I'm accustomed to hearing the term "reveal" used as a noun in showbiz-y kinds of contexts, hence my word choice. Curious what other ideas there are for this.  :) ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 00:12, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

neder (Swedish)[edit]

Isn't the first vowel long in this word? Glades12 (talk) 19:16, 31 May 2021 (UTC)

Absolutely. It is a perfect rhyme with leder (as in, "Herren leder mig"). Mårtensås (talk) 20:12, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

June 2021


@Justinrleung, RcAlex36, Suzukaze-c Is C (in C位, C肽, etc.) pronounced /seɪ̯⁵⁵/, /ɕi⁵⁵/, or /si⁵⁵/ in Standard Chinese? -- 13:38, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

@沈澄心 Most people in Hong Kong do /si⁵⁵/, but that's Cantonese, not Standard Chinese. RcAlex36 (talk) 13:40, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
@沈澄心: I imagine all three are used, with sēi being more common in Mainland (especially northern China), and xī being more common in Taiwan. I think [si⁵⁵] is used throughout, especially by people who have more English education. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 15:54, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

Italian praticare = "to practice" in the sense of "to train"[edit]

(Notifying GianWiki, Metaknowledge, SemperBlotto, Ultimateria): Can praticare mean "to practice" in the sense "to practice the piano"? Someone added this fairly recently. I can't find this in dictionaries but it may well exist as a calque from English. Benwing2 (talk) 03:07, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

BTW who are the native speakers in Italian? Benwing2 (talk) 03:08, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the original question, but I would ask active natives GianWiki and @Imetsia. (Imetsia, you may want to add yourself to the new Italian workgroup here to be pinged when the language comes up.) Ultimateria (talk) 05:30, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
I remember learning esercitare. The linked "Accademia della Crusca" article doesn't talk about praticare, but a general trend of forming new '-are' verbs. – Jberkel 08:01, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
No, praticare does not mean "to practice" in a sentence like "to practice the piano." It's used when talking about a "constant" activity as in "praticare il diritto - to practice law," "praticare medicina - to practice medicine," "praticare uno sport - to practice/be engaged in a sport." You can be engaged in these activities while not necessarily "practicing" them at the moment the sentence is being spoken. Definitely "*practicare il pianoforte - to practice the piano" sounds wrong. Imetsia (talk) 16:27, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

@Imetsia Thanks, I'll remove that entry. Benwing2 (talk) 07:44, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

Turkish degrees of comparison[edit]

The Turkish comparative and superlative are always regular: “daha <positive>” and “en <positive>”. The template {{tr-adj}} does not even offer an opportunity to specify alternative forms. For French, in which the comparative and superlative are almost always regular (“plus <positive>” and “le plus <positive>”), we do not provide them, except for irregular bonmeilleurle meilleur. Also for Italian and Spanish, regular higher degree forms are not provided in the headword line. Is there a reason to keep them for Turkish? Any objection to their removal?  --Lambiam 09:21, 2 June 2021 (UTC)


What this 'thatin' mean? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by 240d:1a:bc:2700:3d09:32ec:b5a6:aa38 (talk).

Navajo tádiin; Burmese သတင်း; သီတင်း ? -- dictātor·mundī 16:44, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

Late Latin - was it Gaul or France?[edit]

This conversation has been moved to Talk:formaticus so it no longer hijacks this page.

သီလ (sīla) etc. 'precept'[edit]

Is this really a learned loan into mainland SE Asian languages? It seems a natural word to pick up from Buddhist rituals, especially with the 'five precepts' that Buddhist laymen ought to adhere to. Additionally, the display of parameter |lbor=1 to {{desc}} gives the impression that the borrowed word is learned, which does not seem right for Burmese သီလ (sila.) or Thai ศีล (śīla). With its anomalously short vowel, Lao ສິນ (sina) doesn't look particularly learned either. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by RichardW57 (talkcontribs) at 19:26, 2 June 2021 (UTC).

See my comment here. Also, owing to the inherent phonology of the language in question, the pronunciation of the word sometimes may be diverging. This is common in Bengali, for example. Compare Sanskrit योग्य (/ˈjoːɡjɐ/) vs. the learned loan Bengali যোগ্য (/ˈd͡ʒoɡːɔ̝/); Sanskrit श्मशान (/ɕmɐˈɕɑːn̪ɐ/) vs. the learned loan Bengali শ্মশান (/ˈʃɔʃɑn/); etc. etc (do mark that these Bengali words are not semi-learned loans; a semi-learned borrowing looks native-ish like an inherited word). So to conclude, neither the pronunciation, nor the state of currency of the word, has any bearing whatsoever on the etymology. Words of all Mainland Southeast Asian languages from Pali are by default learned borrowings. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 02:05, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
That comment is even wronger. Are you going to argument that the borrowings of buddha are all learned? One observation I have taken on board is that Indic (i.e. Pali/Sanskrit) loans in Thailand and similar countries are far commoner in ordinary speech than loans from Latin in English. So what would you accept as evidence that an Indic word loan was not a learned borrowing? You've already accepted that Thai โควิด-19 is not a learned loan, but I don't see how the case is different. What about Thai รถ (rót, wheeled vehicle)? It's the ordinary word for 'car'. --RichardW57m (talk) 13:08, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
We do need to add learned borrowing and semi-learned borrowing to the glossary; I was going to raise this at the Beer Parlour. clearly the Wiktionary definition of the latter is wrong. As you have pointed out, undergoing the borrower's sound changes does not prevent a word being learned. What tends to happen is that learned words tend to keep their spellings, resolving conflicts in favour of their spellings. In your Bengali examples, though, how was the Sanskrit actually pronounced at the times of the loans? The point about the Lao word is that although the rime /i:nA/ is still around in Lao (e.g. ຫີນ (hīna)), the vowel of the Lo word is now short in Lao. I suspect there may have been some interaction with a homophone (or near homophone) meaning 'money' - the overlapping sense might be 'obligation'. --RichardW57m (talk) 13:08, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
The case is not as simple as you are thinking. The short answer is that you have been confusing learned loans with learned words; a learned loan can come into common parlance very easily and it still remains a learned loan. For example, Bengali is full of Sanskritisms that are ordinary words; just listing here 15 such random words: কিন্তু (but), যদি (if), মেঘ (cloud), রক্ত (blood), স্বামী (husband), নষ্ট (destroyed), কষ্ট (sufferance), সাহায্য (help), সমস্ত (all), সমস্যা (problem), সময় (time), শীত (cold), বর্ষা (rain), শিশির (dew), বরং (instead). Therefor, when we say a word is a learned loan, nothing is being implied about how commonly or learnedly the word is used. Since Pali is the superstrate language for Mainland Southeast Asian languages, all words adopted from Pali are bound to be learned loans. As for Bengali, learned loans have been present through the New Indo-Aryan stage, so Old Bengali has learned borrowings from Sanskrit that are pronounced according to its phonology, Middle Bengali has learned borrowings that are pronounced according to its phonology, and New Bengali has learned borrowings that are pronounced according to its phonology: Sanskrit words always got reinforced at each stage of the language thanks to scholars who favoured them (the learned loans that are now ordinarily used were formerly learned words). At the same time there are also words that were learned loans in an earlier stage but were inherited by New Bengali: these are the semi-learned borrowings. (And Sanskrit words were/are pronounced per the phonology of the chronolect whose speakers utter(ed/s) Sanskrit.) ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 16:52, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

Physics sense of "bluff"[edit]

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Tea room#Physics sense of "bluff".

As part of some research, I think I've found a definition of bluff that is specific to physics and that we so far do not have recorded. I've found some sources which discuss the term, and have listed them at the end of this post, but, in part because of my lack of knowledge regarding aerodynamics, I've been unable to synthesize them into a cohesive definition. Of note, the antonym of bluff is streamlined, which is also missing a technical definition. Any in coming up with such a definition would be greatly appreciated. Take care.

  • "...in the case of dominant pressure drag, the body is called a blunt or bluff body." (w:Drag coefficient)
  • "A bluff body is an object that, due to its shape, causes separated flow over most of its surface." ([18])
  • "A bluff body is one in which the flow under normal circumstances separates from a large section of body surface thus creating a massive wake region downstream." ([19])
  • "Compared with conventional airfoils, bluff bodies exhibit considerably different aerodynamic performance, characterized by vortex shedding and significant profile drag due to separation. Generally, bluff body flows exhibit interaction of the separating boundary layer with the free shear layer and the wake (Williamson, 1996). The vortex-shedding process begins as the separated boundary layer supplies vorticity to the shear layer, which in turn rolls into a vortex." ([20]) —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 21:05, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
  • It's not just physics. We have the adjective definition "Having a broad, flattened front" already. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:00, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
    • I considered that definition, but I can't think of an easy pathway between that definition and the information discussed in the above quotations. In addition, some of the objects that I see described as bluff (or, equivalently, blunt) I would not describe as "having a broad, flattened front". The first is the sphere in this diagram, a second is the shuttle-like object featured on this NASA page. This second one I might describe as "broad", but I would not say its front is "flattened". —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 17:18, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

more dollars than sense[edit]

The definition given is "Situation of having enough money to not be worried about value." But I feel this is wrong, or at least another meaning. I have always heard it used as a derogatory term to describe someone being so rich that they make stupid purchases at exorbitant costs. Things like paying a million dollars for a bit of otherwise worthless art, or buying a mansion for a cat. I was tempted to put this through RFV but thought I'd get some feedback first. --Dmol (talk) 09:05, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

Both these definitions implying being able to squander with impunity. At least with 'more money than sense', the form I'm familiar with, it allows the possibility of squandering money being severely detrimental, more in the territory of a fool and his money are soon parted. --RichardW57m (talk) 13:19, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

We have a page called more money than brains which seems to be defined quite well, perhaps we should link to that? Google n-grams seems to have ‘more money than sense’ as the most widely used of the variations (the one I use) but despite the quote from the 17th century for ‘more money than brains’, I suspect ‘more money than wit’ is the oldest form, as it was the most used form in the early 1800s and seems to be modelled on ‘more hair than wit’ from Shakespeare’s ‘A comedy of errors’Overlordnat1 (talk) 17:45, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

I think all these mean the same. The definition at more money than brains has an issue: it is not the definition of a noun phrase but of an adjective. It would be an acceptable definition for having more money than brains, but that is not the term being defined. Also, IMO, not only should a person be loaded in order to be so characterized as well as not entirely sensible, but also be seen to actually spend their wealth unwisely.  --Lambiam 21:36, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

I broadly agree with that. I can see the phrase occasionally being used to describe people of modest means who are both extremely bad with money and stupid if it is part of a longer phrase like ‘he/she has more money than sense and (s)he doesn’t even have much money’ but, loaded or not, someone has to have displayed or be in the process of displaying a lack of financial wisdom through misspending to be accurately described using any of these equivalent phrases. I have no objection if you change the definition of any of these phrases to reflect that DmolOverlordnat1 (talk) 00:25, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this needs to be mentioned in the entry, but I've always understood the expression "more dollars than sense" to be making a deliberate pun on "sense" and "cents". —Mahāgaja · talk 09:05, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

in a hurry[edit]

Looking for a translation of French c'est pas demain la veille, I found "that's not going to happen in a hurry". I don't think our current gloss, "rushed, hurried; short of time", works quite well in the present case. Another example ("He won't be going back to work in a hurry") is found in this English dictionary, which glosses it as: "if you say something will not happen in a hurry you mean it will not happen for a long time".

Should we add that as a second sense? And it's a negative-polarity item, right? PUC – 18:06, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

The wording of the definition is fine for adjectival uses of the prepositional phrase, but your case is for an adverbial use. I don't think it is a negative polarity item in general. Consider the following, all adverbial, same semantics, no negative polarity conditions present: He had to get there in a hurry, Everything must be done in a hurry., He needed it in a hurry..
MWOnline's wording "without delay, as rapidly as possible" works for the adverbial, but not the adjectival usage.
Oxford includes both adjectival and adverbial definitions in the same definition line: "Rushed; in a rushed manner." AND they have two other definitions, one "informal usually with negative Easily; readily."
IOW, besides missing the negative polarity usage you have noted, our wording does not accommodate adverbial usage. Oxford Lexico's entry seems like a good model for our entry. DCDuring (talk) 21:54, 6 June 2021 (UTC)


[21] I believe Kent Dominic is not making any sense here, and "lack" works better than "absence". Others' opinions please. Equinox 03:43, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

I think that ‘lack’ works a little better as it suggests to me a partial rather than complete lack, whereas ‘absence’ suggests a complete rather than partial absence and the word ‘lack’ indicates necessity to a greater extent than ‘absence’ but both definitions seem to be broadly equivalent imhoOverlordnat1 (talk) 06:59, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

@Overlordnat1: Thanks for rightly addressing only the relevant sense (semantics: "A single conventional use of a word; one of the entries for a word in a dictionary") entailed in this discussion unlike Equinox, who interpolated the sense (i.e. "The meaning, reason, or value of something") of a fellow editor. Earlier, Equinox falsely asserted, "'lack and absence'" are synonyms." They share some collateral usage but they're hardly synonymous. From Wiktionary:
  • lack: "A deficiency or need (of something desirable or necessary); an absence, want.
  • absence: "Lack; deficiency; nonexistence."

Note: Wiktionary is not itself a reliable source for cites. I'm merely pointing out what's currently published here.

Versus this -
  • im-: "Expressing negation; not."
  • imprecise: "Not precise or exact; containing some error or uncertainty."
  • not: "Negates the meaning of the modified verb." (Note: This definition needs suppletion to account for the negation of an adjectival characteristic.)
  • negate: "To deny the existence, evidence, or truth of; to contradict"
So, if "imprecise" means not precise (i.e. having an absence of precision), then "imprecision" must accordingly mean an absence of precision. (Or else "imprecise" must be changed to "having a lack of precision.") A second sense of imprecision (i.e. "a lack of precision; poor accuracy") might account for the purported overlap between absence and lack. Indeed, rather than aggregating the meanings for "lack" as they are here, the two senses should be properly bifurcated, e.g.
lack (countable and uncountable, plural lacks)
1. (obsolete) A defect or failing; moral or spiritual degeneracy.
2. An absence or nonexistence of something. // President Thomas Jefferson never bemoaned his lack of a wife.
3. A deficiency or need (of something desirable or necessary); want. // There's a lack of ventilation in this room.
There you have it. --Kent Dominic (talk) 14:37, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
@Equinox: While you're at it, you might want to to have a look at these entries:
  • immaterial: "Having no matter or substance." (Compare: "Having a lack of matter or substance.")
  • impolite: "Not polite; not of polished manners; wanting in good manners." (Compare: "Having a lack of politeness; lacking of polished manners...")
  • imbalance: "The property of not being in balance. (Compare: "The property of lacking in balance.")
Etc. --Kent Dominic (talk) 06:17, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
lack is objectively better. Precision isn't something you have or don't have, but rather a spectrum. "not precise" does not mean "that does not have precision", it means "that does not have much precision". I've changed it back as there are three editors now against one. — surjection??⟩ 21:39, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

"fetiales": does it really exist as a plural form of the English noun "fetial"?[edit]

The entry fetial currently lists two possible plural forms for the English noun, "fetials" and "fetiales". But I'm inclined to say that the second is not actually a pluralization of fetial, but instead a direct borrowing of Latin fetiales (which is the plural of Latin fetialis, not of English fetial).

The two plural forms have the same meaning, but for comparison, consider "legions" and "legiones"; both are used as plural noun forms when writing about ancient Rome (e.g. see this entry in A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, etc), but that hasn't caused us to list "legiones" (the plural of Latin legio) as an alternative plural form of the English word legion.

Before I edited it today, the entry for fetial used to say the pronunciation of fetiales is "probably IPA(key): (RP) /ˈfiːʃəleɪs/, (GA) /ˈfiʃəˌleɪs/)". If this pronunciation is attestable, it would probably count as evidence that the word is thought of as a plural of fetial for some speakers. But searching Youtube, I couldn't find any examples of /ˈfiːʃəleɪs/ being used, and my intuition does not agree that this form would probably be pronounced with initial stress: I would read it aloud with penultimate stress, as in Latin. Checking our separate entry for fetiales, I see that we cite Merriam Webster, which lists "fetiales \ ˌfātēˈäˌlās \" as a plural form of fetial; this pronunciation (IPA: /ˌfeɪtiˈɑˌleɪs/) seems more plausible to me, but I remain skeptical that /ˈfiːʃəl/ and /ˌfeɪtiˈɑˌleɪs/ are best thought of as the singular and plural forms of the same noun in English.--Urszag (talk) 06:25, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

Why not just RfV fetiales? DCDuring (talk) 21:57, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure how the RfV process would help here? The issue is not whether "fetiales" is used; there's already a citation for it, and it is easy to find more examples of it being used in text. The issue is whether it is a plural form of "fetial". Anyway, based on my judgement, I'm just going to move the content about the form fetiales away from the page for fetial. if someone wants to add it back, they can do the work of showing that these function as inflected forms of the same word.--Urszag (talk) 01:36, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
Our RfV process attempts to obtain attestation of the meaning of a word, not merely of its existence. As you point out, the entry for fetiales cites as reference MWOnline's entry. That is more evidence than you have provided for deleting it as a plural in [[fetial]]. DCDuring (talk) 02:56, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
There is no issue with ascertaining either the meaning or existence of fetiales: it's clear that fetials and fetiales have no significant difference in meaning. The bare fact that Merriam-Webster lists three plural forms (fetials, fetiales, fecials) together under the single headword fetial is not a compelling argument for us to do the same: I think it's clear that despite how the Merriam-Webster entry is formatted, there is nobody who follows a consistent pattern of spelling the word with "ti" in the singular and "ci" in the plural, and we have correctly not followed their lead in regard to listing fecials as a plural form of fetial. I think the main problem with the Merriam-Webster entry is that it fails to mention the existence of the form fetialis; as this is attested in English, I've created an entry for it now on Wiktionary, which allows for a less jumbled presentation of the same information.--Urszag (talk) 04:42, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

Senses of 鼻緒 / はなお (hanao)[edit]

@Eiríkr Útlendi – Currently, はなお is defined solely as “the part of a geta or sandal that the toes grip”. If I understand the Japanese Wikipedia correctly, the term is also used in a broader sense. Can this be confirmed? See also the discussion at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language#Japanese sandal terms.  --Lambiam 08:57, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

@Lambiam: I've made a quick edit, I'll look at this more deeply in the next few days. (Things IRL have gotten busier. :) ) ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 00:43, 11 June 2021 (UTC)

Presumably мину́ть is without effect rather than without affect![edit]

The second definition of мину́ть (minútʹ) says “to go by, to go past (without any affect)”, but presumably “effect” is intended, and anyway looking at ru.wiktionary(with DeepL) I see no particular reason to specify the lack of effect (or affect). Perhaps someone with reliable knowledge of Russian could look into this? PJTraill (talk) 12:38, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

"this isn't free speech"[edit]

I've noticed that the term free speech is used, at least in some publications, to refer not to a right to make utterings, but to the utterings themselves. Specifically, it seems to be used to mean "utterings that should be allowed". For example, this article is titled "Al Jazeera: Free speech or a voice for extremists?", suggesting a dichotomy. Another example is this one; under our current definition, asking whether an uttering "is free speech" is meaningless. Also, the phrase "hate speech isn't free speech" seems to be something of a mantra, and isn't really compatible with our current definition.__Gamren (talk) 08:50, 9 June 2021 (UTC)

Perhaps we could formulate a second definition as something like “Speech in exercise of the above right”. PJTraill (talk) 11:05, 9 June 2021 (UTC)
Somewhat tangentially but relatedly, I see that right to keep and bear arms (as in See also) is defined as “The right of individuals to possess firearms and armor”, but “possess” seems to me too weak and “and armor” extraneous (the word occurs only peripherally in the Wikipedia article). PJTraill (talk) 11:23, 9 June 2021 (UTC)
I'd say "weapons" as the right presumably applies also to swords and to bows-and-arrows. —Mahāgaja · talk 14:53, 9 June 2021 (UTC)

What cleanup does this Sanskrit entry need?[edit]

Hello, What type of cleanup does this sanskrit entry need? I think this is correct. Lightbluerain (Talk | contribs) 05:47, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

father of the nation[edit]

Entry-worthy? PUC – 12:25, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

Not in my opinion. It is just use of a figurative sense of father. DCDuring (talk) 14:33, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

be my guest when addressing several people[edit]

Can this be used in the plural: be my guests? PUC – 13:08, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

That sounds wrong, but I can't recall a case where that came up so I can't say that someone might not use it that way. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:46, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
Using it in the plural substantially diminishes the likelihood it would be heard in the idiomatic sense, IMO. DCDuring (talk) 14:31, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
"Be our guests" may be likelier (of course it requires more than one host), e.g. 1963, Beth Jacobs, Look to the Mountains (page 177): “But if you're closing the station - could we spend the night under your overhang roof?” “Sure, sure, be our guests.” Equinox 18:13, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
“I write to invite you and your family ... to be my guests”[22] is perfectly fine.  --Lambiam 09:27, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
Presumably that's not the idiomatic sense of "help yourself, go ahead"! Equinox 14:52, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

upon us[edit]

Is the meaning of this phrase (in a sentence like "Christmas is upon us!") currently covered at upon? I've also only ever heard "upon us," but is it possible to use a different accusative pronoun? Imetsia (talk) 18:09, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

Other pronouns: yes. "Dark times had come upon them." Equinox 18:11, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
And also “the terrors of death are fallen upon me” (Psalm 55:4, KJV). Does it even have to be a pronoun? “As pen goes to paper, a new year and a new president is upon this great nation.”[23] This sense of “to be upon someone” appears to be “to have arrived at someone”. Compare also “the enemy is upon you”,[24] implying that there is no second to spare.  --Lambiam 09:56, 13 June 2021 (UTC)


Allegedly a Swahili word; presumably this is some sort of software error. It's either a duplicate of the Spanish, or was meant to be some other language among those which use madre and padre as standalone words. Note that the Swahili entry is actually the original, and we may have taken ma- for the Swahili plural classifier prefix. Soap 21:34, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

Actually I'd like help with this since there seems to be more to it .... I posted here instead of just deleting it outright because I wasnt quite sure what I was seeing. It seems upadre is in fact a loanword into Swahili, and mapadre may be as well, though u- and ma- don't form a singular/plural pair. I couldnt find any evidence of mapadre meaning parents in Spanish, but if it is it's a neologism, and may be difficult to find. Thanks, Soap 21:52, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

@Soap In Rechenbanch's 1967 dictionary (from the Catholic U of America), they have padre ~ padri ~ padiri, plural ma-, as a Portuguese loan for 'clergyman' (not nec. Catholic), = kasisi. Upadre is the priesthood. kwami (talk) 05:30, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Had anyone thought to look at the edit history, it would have been clear that I created the entry in its correct form, and it was later messed up by a Spanish editor who accidentally ruined the Swahili section in the process. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:03, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

Pali for Tennessee[edit]

The translation to Pali of Tennessee is given as ṭenisī. It would be good to have a quotation for a use of the word, even a fleetingly preserved quotation, so that we can see whether it is a feminine noun or the form is merely the nominative singular of *ṭenisin. Perhaps the author of the entry, @DPUH, would help. --RichardW57 (talk) 22:27, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

It was entered in the Devanagari script (टेनिसी), so possibly it was taken from pi:w:टेनिसी, which would be an invalid source. In that case, do we just summarily delete it? --RichardW57 (talk) 22:27, 10 June 2021 (UTC)

I'd take it to RFV on the off chance someone can find a citation in a durably archived source. Is there a Pali newspaper anywhere in the world? —Mahāgaja · talk 17:09, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
I'm unwilling to do that with a word that may very well be real but lack a durable archive. As it is, I also can't create a proper entry for it, because I don't know what its citation form is! The only place on-line I could find it was on the Pali Wikipedia. --RichardW57 (talk) 18:12, 11 June 2021 (UTC)


The word 'tap' has 3 related senses: 1. a standpipe/spout, 2. A valve for regulating the flow of water through a standpipe, 3. A visible section of piping, consisting of a standpipe and a valve or some valves considered collectively. 'spigot' and 'faucet' aren't part of my idiolect but I believe that they can also mean all 3 of these things and we should clearly delineate these 3 meanings in all 3 articles and link each meaning of each word to the others through lists of synonyms, IMO. I've made some minor improvements to some of our entries already but for now would anyone object if I changed the wording of the definition of the second noun sense of 'spigot' from 'plug' to 'valve'? (I don't think taps or faucets have 'plugs' personally Overlordnat1 (talk) 14:46, 11 June 2021 (UTC)

From what I understand, some dialects of Southern American English use spigot to simply refer to the common household fixture.
Yet, except for faucet, all of the words that you mentioned have general application of some sort even in dialects that do not use them as the general word for the common household fixture.
Case in point, in my neck of the woods (I speak a dialect of New England English), the normal word for the common building and household fixture is "faucet". However, water that comes out of a faucet is called "tap water". And phrasing like "water from the tap" is used and fully understood.
On the other hand, it is my understanding that a few dialects in the Northern Midwest or thereabouts use "tap" as the normal word for the fixture consistently. And some areas of the Southern U.S. use "spigot" as the general word for the fixture.
So the answer is that some of those words have more specified meanings/uses in certain dialects, but are broader in meaning/usage in others. Tharthan (talk) 20:38, 11 June 2021 (UTC)

You make some interesting and valid points but defining tap, faucet and spigot in terms of one another and not specifying which meaning is being referred to displays vague and circular reasoning. For ‘tap’ we only have sense 3 and arguably sense 1 (as ‘spout’ is listed as a synonym) in the definition; for ‘spigot’ we only really have sense 2 listed (as senses 2 and 3 of our entry for spigot are poorly defined); for faucet we have senses 2 and 3 and arguably sense 1 listed Overlordnat1 (talk) 01:38, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

Ah. What you wished to do was not entirely clear to me from your original comments. If your intent is to essentially disambiguate our tap, faucet, and spigot entries, then that is certainly quite sensible so long as any senses added can be proven to exist for all three words (if added to all three words). Tharthan (talk) 15:14, 12 June 2021 (UTC)


How is the second definition of this term different from the first one? First reads “law, as laid down by the legislature [scilicet for society]”, second “legislated rule of society”, which would also come from a legislature, but the definition imagines it “given the force of law by those it governs”. How can those that are governed give force of law? It can only be a tiny minority of lawmakers. If it is not blatant baloney I suspect that is the thing that is called in German Satzung in reference to Selbstverwaltungskörperschaften and perhaps private Körperschaften defined by OED, or rather exemplified and synonymized, as follows: “A rule or regulation made by a guild, corporation, university, or other organization, esp. concerning the conduct of its members. In early use also: a by-law of a borough; a provision in a municipal charter.” But this seems missing. The German translations given for both are both wrong; the first is Gesetz (scilicet: materielles Gesetz; also gesetztes Recht), the second could be Satzung for the sense I understand, while Statut is not used in the FRG; what our translators understood when adding e.g. the gloss to Finnish säädös cannot be imagined well. OED then follows with an alleged specific “a particular enactment or document of this type” which seems redundant.

An abstract sense seems more relevant: “scientific statutes”, “statutes” given by your imaginary friend or fate i.e. the law of causality. It seems not consistent though that the OED starts with an obsolete sense “decree or command made by a sovereign, ruler, or ruling body”. They lack our generally meant law sense, our first sense which I deem hitting it. Their “authoritative rule or direction” sense coming before their god sense is too abstract again, I don’t find it expressed what the word usually precisely means in English.

They have but one law sense, which we miss, for it is uncommon–the ECJ judges or translators don’t employ it but say applicable law—a sense I defined at the German and Russian parallel term, because there it is widely used in the field, as “the law applicable to a legal relationship in civil and commercial matters containing foreign elements, as determined by private international law”, for which the OED has seven quotes with a janky definition ( 3. Law.: “A (theoretical) type of statutory law specified [by whom?] as regulating a person or thing [I think laws don’t regulate things in the same sense as they do persons]; (also) the legal status [unbrilliant to define statute as status] of being subject to this [who had thought that a law that regulates makes man subject?].”

I warn that OED has some ellipses, comprising statute fair, statute staple and kinds of garment of measurements fixed by statutes. It also has an alternative form of statue of this form. It also has a verb called chiefly Scottish and appearing to correspond more or less to to institute and German (Recht) setzen, festlegen. Fay Freak (talk) 22:57, 11 June 2021 (UTC)

Declension template error[edit]

Hello, how to correct the declension template error here? The bottom right term should be "निर्धनों" not "निर्धनो". Lightbluerain (Talk | contribs) 07:00, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

Hellenistically: needs more Greek[edit]

My new quote at Hellenistically has some Greek in it. Can someone add it using this link? Indian subcontinent (talk) 10:54, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

It looks like ἀδικία (adikía), and the 'unjust' meaning fits. I added it, but I don't know if I should format it in some special way. Kritixilithos (talk) 11:22, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
looks good, thanks! There's another at perispomenon that needs more Greek too Indian subcontinent (talk) 14:20, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
Also done.  --Lambiam 09:20, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
As you're doing such a good job, I'll ask you for another one - epanastrophe (some notes are found at Talk:epanastrophe Indian subcontinent (talk) 12:45, 13 June 2021 (UTC)


Hi! The article for English word cusses is missing the meaning as plural of cuss. --Dipsacus fullonum (talk) 16:36, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Equinox 16:47, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

skew-whiff alternative forms[edit]

A load of these have been added with no glosses. It seems most would not meet CFI and are obsolete, Scottish, etc. They should not be given as though they are everyday modern standard spellings, and some should probably be deleted entirely. Equinox 16:46, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

Italian hiatus in falling diphthongs[edit]

(Notifying GianWiki, Metaknowledge, SemperBlotto, Ultimateria, Jberkel, Imetsia): Can native speakers speak to which of the following words have a hiatus before the i?

Thanks! Benwing2 (talk) 04:30, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

If I understand what a "hiatus" is correctly, all these words have one before the i. Imetsia (talk) 15:57, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
@Imetsia. Thanks. What I mean by "hiatus" is that the vowel before the i is pronounced as a separate syllable, instead of the vowel + i forming a diphthong that makes a single syllable. Benwing2 (talk) 20:41, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
@Benwing2: Ok, thanks for the clarification. Indeed then, every word you listed has a hiatus before the i. Imetsia (talk) 20:47, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

Term for opposite gender in grammar?[edit]

What is the specific term for denoting (Wiktionary:Semantic relations) words of opposite gender, especially in languages with gendered animate nouns? For "man vs woman" or "dude" vs "dudette". In Malayalam language, it is termed എതിർലിംഗം (etirliṅgaṃ) and is given its own identity and equal importance as antonyms, synonyms and homonyms. I have seen that often antonym is used for this purpose. But is there a specific word for this relation? Thanks in advance Vis M (talk) 13:14, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

I am not aware of any English word for this. Equinox 14:53, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
Ok, thanks. Vis M (talk) 15:29, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

worry oneself sick[edit]

Other verbs can replace "worry" (make, work, starve, and laugh are all attested according to Lexico: [25], [26]). At the same time, it doesn't quite feel like it's totally SOP. So is there a better way to treat this entry - or a better place to locate it? Imetsia (talk) 22:01, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

Francis Bacon quote for "question" (verb)[edit]

At the entry for question, the Francis Bacon quote "He that questioneth much shall learn much." is listed under the sense "(transitive) To ask questions of; to interrogate; to ask for information." Note that I recently modified this sense. The placement of the quote seems weird to me, especially in terms of transitivity. The sense that seems more relevant to me is "(intransitive, obsolete) To argue; to converse; to dispute." which was added at the same time. Does anyone have any advice or ideas?, particularly given that this has to do with Early Modern English. Thanks and take care. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 04:51, 14 June 2021 (UTC)

It seems more logical that Bacon meant ‘he that asketh/asks for information much, shall learn much’ rather than ‘he that argueth/argues much shall learn much’ as far as I can see Overlordnat1 (talk) 08:22, 14 June 2021 (UTC)

The 1911 Century Dictionary uses the selfsame Bacon quote for an intransitive sense we do not appear to list, in fact as the first sense of the verb: “To ask a question or questions ; inquire or seek to know ; examine.“  --Lambiam 12:11, 14 June 2021 (UTC)