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

April 2020

Old Dutch masc n-stem declension[edit]

The declensions of Old Dutch leido and namo do not agree. Leido forms are generated by the template; namo's are hardcoded. Which is correct ? Leasnam (talk) 00:46, 1 April 2020 (UTC)

The Oudnederlands Woordenboek gives the accusative singular of namo as “namen (2), námen (1), namen (1), namo (l. namon, Q) (3)”. I do not know what the abbreviations stand for.  --Lambiam 11:07, 1 April 2020 (UTC)

александровский: Is a sense missing?[edit]

I see at александровский#Russian that there is a {{rfdef}} without a comment after two definitions. Is there a sense missing, or did someone forget to remove the template? The history shows it was there from the start. Ru:Wiktionary only seems to give one sense. PJTraill (talk) 12:55, 1 April 2020 (UTC)

индиго: missing sense concerning highly developed children?[edit]

ru:индиго gives a third sense: вымышленное свойство высокоразвитых детей; дети с таким свойством. DeepL says this means: Fictional property of highly developed children; children with such property. I have added an {{rfdef}} for this, but it sounds a bit weird; could this be spam, or is the translation misleading? PJTraill (talk) 13:44, 1 April 2020 (UTC)

See Indigo child, although I don't know about the status of that idea in Russian. DTLHS (talk) 17:03, 1 April 2020 (UTC)
There is a substantial number of books with дети индиго in the title, so apparently also this facet of New-Ageyness has not passed over the Russian doors. I think though the lemma should be the combination дитя индиго (ditja indigo).  --Lambiam 16:13, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
Then that lemma should presumably be flagged ru:Pseudoscience and given as a derived term at индиго. PJTraill (talk) 19:37, 2 April 2020 (UTC) (sadder (in the modern sense) and wiser for that having learnt this)
As no-one has reacted further, I have made those two edits; I hope the results are satisfactory. PJTraill (talk) 21:40, 3 April 2020 (UTC)


Verb senses:

  1. (transitive) To help forward; to assist.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 558:
      Upon this he brought me a cotton bag and giving it to me, said, "Take this bag and fill it with pebbles from the beach and go forth with a company of the townsfolk to whom I will give a charge respecting thee. Do as they do and belike thou shalt gain what may further thy return voyage to thy native land."
  2. (transitive) To encourage growth; to support progress or growth of something; to promote.
    Further the economy.
    to further the peace process

Does anyone see two clearly differentiated senses here? Mihia (talk) 17:01, 1 April 2020 (UTC)

Yes. There is obvious overlap, but IMO you could not substitute the second definition into the first citation, nor could one substitute "assist" into the usage examples for the second definition. DCDuring (talk) 13:35, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps it is just that the examples are not optimally chosen then. For example, to me, the sense of the "further thy return voyage" example seems identical to that of the "further the peace process" example, and both "further the economy" and "further the peace process" could, as far as I can see, be examples of the "help forward" sense. I'll leave it as is for now, but if you have a clear handle on the difference, and you feel inclined to come up with some more clearly differentiated examples, then that would be helpful, I think. Mihia (talk)
I think the original literal meaning is “to move forward”, which is also the literal meaning of Latin promovere, whence the verb promote. I think both listed senses have this meaning in a figurative sense, in which “forward” is along some desirable path.  --Lambiam 15:47, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
When I saw the date of the Burton quote I had my doubts about it, which I see are backed up by the Wikipedia article; if we are going to use such texts, perhaps it would well to flag them as wilfully archaic and to supplement them with more authentic texts. But then I gather that Spenser was also intentionally archaic, and there is presumably a whole spectrum running through cases like Tolkien. PJTraill (talk) 19:46, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
Right. We can do literary analysis of single quotes, but that is not lexicography. It is more in the tradition of lexicography to paraphrase definitions from other dictionaries. Ideally we would look at a sample of usage of each word from a corpus, divide the usage examples up into candidate attestation for definitions and write our definition. In this case we have one archaic literary work and two possibly made-up examples. Not much to go on.
At the very least take a look at further at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 23:11, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
I looked at the first half dozen OneLook links before I posted this thread, but I could not find any dictionaries that gave two separate definitions like ours. On the subject of the quotation, it seems to me that the archaic language is something of a red herring with respect to the specific question here, since the use of "further" is not itself archaic. Mihia (talk) 09:57, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

further (2)[edit]

Adverb senses:

4. (in the phrase 'further to') Following on (from).
Further to our recent telephone call, I am writing to clarify certain points raised.
This example is further to the one on page 17.
5. (conjunctive, formal) In continuation of what has already been enacted.
2006 February 14, European Court of Human Rights, Turek v. Slovakia[1], number 57986/00, marginal 110:
The Court notes that the applicant’s registration by the StB as their “agent” lies at the heart of the application. Although the Court has no jurisdiction ratione temporis to examine the registration as such, it observes that, further to his registration, the applicant was issued with a negative security clearance and his name and reputation were called into question.
Synonym: in furtherance

Does anyone understand sense #5 as distinct from sense #4 (or at all)? The word "enacted" puzzles me. Is this some kind of special legal meaning? Or is the citation just an example of the normal phrase "further to", as it seems to me it may be? Also, is "in furtherance" really a synonym? I thought "in furtherance" meant "so as to advance or move forward something". Mihia (talk) 20:59, 1 April 2020 (UTC)

I see the phrase as meaning “in addition to” (something preceding in time), ”in continuation of”. The nature of what is being added to or continued is different in senses 4 and 5, but that does not make the meaning of the phrase per se different. Here, what is being added to or continued are “endeavours and activities”; neither of the current definitions fits well.  --Lambiam 15:58, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
I don't see how it means "in addition to" or "in continuation of". The text seems to me to mean that he was registered as an agent, and, following on from or ensuing from this registration, the other things mentioned happened, i.e. just the usual meaning of "further to". Well, since I still can't see this as anything other than the usual meaning defined in a confusing way, I'm going to merge them. Mihia (talk) 20:05, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

Spanish influenza[edit]

Hello all. Recently there was an attempt to move the Spanish influenza page on English Wikipedia to "1918 influenza" or something similar. Is 1918 influenza etc a legitimate English language term? What are its origins? Who used/uses it? I would like to see Wiktionary's coverage of this term (if it is a term unto itself and not a SOP) be built up at some point in the future. I made a request here:[2]. Today I added a new quote including the name "Spanish Influenza" from a 1920 book. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 08:22, 2 April 2020 (UTC)

Are you asking whether we should include it? Does its use include the outbreak of Spanish flu that occurred in 1919 or any other year?
I seems legitimate. Its origins could be in Wikipedia talk pages in 2020. You could determine whether it has been used by exercising your skills on Google Books and News. DCDuring (talk) 13:44, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
A legitimate (and easily verified) name is the “influenza pandemic of 1918”, which can be shortened to “1918 influenza pandemic”. The bracketing is “(influenza pandemic) of 1918” → “1918 (influenza pandemic)”. By careless rebracketing this can be re-interpreted as “(1918 influenza) pandemic”, which appears to mean, the “pandemic caused by (1918 influenza)”. Et voilà, we have a new name for the disease. Whether this can be attested in durably archived sources is a separate matter, but for an encyclopedia one should hope that entry names are not based on mistakes, unless the mistaken name has become the commonly used name.  --Lambiam 14:35, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
"1918 influenza" can be used to refer to the virus itself. This is not a synonym of H1N1 because flu viruses evolve rapidly, so currently-circulating H1N1 is not the same as the 1918 virus. -- 20:02, 5 April 2020 (UTC)


Adjective sense "Long" presently is tagged "Can we add an example". On investigation I find that people use phrases such as "a far run", "a far hike", and so on. https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=far also has the definition "Extensive or lengthy", giving the example "a far trek". However, I don't know why, but somehow I have no familiarity with this usage. To me, e.g. "It's a far hike to the road" looks like a mistake for "fair hike". Before I add such an example, can someone confirm that this actually is correct English. See also Wiktionary:Requests_for_verification/English#far. Mihia (talk) 11:04, 2 April 2020 (UTC)

Here we can read (1838) that something is a “far stretch”. While figurative, the basis of the metaphor is spatial distance, so the usage is not new. Also in the time-honoured expression far cry, the origin is that of a cry heard over a long distance.  --Lambiam 12:03, 2 April 2020 (UTC)

assist (archaic)[edit]

Sense 4 of the verb assist is presented as: (archaic) To stand (at a place) or to (an opinion). I don’t get what it means that someone “stands to an opinion”. The usage example does not help to decipher this.  --Lambiam 11:51, 2 April 2020 (UTC)

Lambiam, you should check out section I(1) under “assist” in the Oxford English Dictionary: “figurative to stand to, abide by (an opinion).”

will of iron / iron will[edit]

Worth entries? PUC – 18:21, 2 April 2020 (UTC)

Personally I wouldn't say so. It is adj. sense #2 at iron: "(figuratively) Strong (as of will), inflexible." (whether it is a true adjective is another question). You can also have e.g. "iron resolve", "iron determination" etc. Mihia (talk) 18:47, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
"Will of iron" must be a noun "iron". We do have a sense "great strength or power" (I'm not quite sure what that is getting at); I believe I've seen some dictionaries with definitions along the lines of "something proverbially tough and durable". Equinox 19:03, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes you are right of course. My comment is applicable to the "iron will" version only (though to me the other one seems SoP too). Mihia (talk) 19:27, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
It is not clear how to handle figurative epithets of the type of (material) lexicographically, Another example is of steel. We define a figurative sense for steel as “Extreme hardness or resilience”, but you can’t replace “a grip of steel” by “a grip of resilience”, and while “a grip of extreme hardness” sounds OK, this has a different sense of of (the current sense 10.2 instead of 5.2), so this should not count as a proper substitution.  --Lambiam 09:55, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
Right, in "will of iron", "iron" is (IMO) a (figurative) substance, from which something is (figuratively) made, not a property such as "hardness" or "resilience". Mihia (talk) 10:02, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
Anyway I have added the "figurative material" sense at iron that seemed to be lacking. Mihia (talk) 18:05, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
@Mihia: A question regarding this sense you've added: could mettle be considered its hypernym?
And is it not actually missing a sense? There's the positive aspect of it ("good temperament"), but also the neutral one ("temperament" alone). In "you are gentlemen of brave mettle" or "someone's true mettle", you could replace "mettle" with "temperament", but not with "good temperament".
A bit like width or strength, which indicate both measurements and qualities. PUC – 15:31, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
I do not personally feel enthusiastic about listing "mettle" as a hypernym at "iron". On the point about the missing sense, I'm not sure. I'm not sure how far lack of literal substitutability is conclusive. "true mettle" normally has positive connotation (or expectation). It is possible to qualify the word negatively, e.g. "feeble mettle", but still "mettle" seems to me to have underlying positive/desirable connotations, and a negative qualification is just describing that the desired qualities do not exist, or not in sufficient amount. Mihia (talk) 16:53, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
Personally, I've been creating French entries for prepositional phrases such as d'acier, de fer, en or, en béton, which behave syntactically like adjectives, and are much easier to define than the noun you'd extract from them. I'm not sure this is the best approach, nor whether it would be applicable to English; thoughts? See also English d'or and its talkpage. PUC – 10:10, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
I don't know how others feel, but I'm not personally keen on creating a bunch of entries like of iron, of steel, of gold etc. I would prefer to see significant figurative senses treated under the nouns, as these senses are not dependent on or restricted to the "of ~" phrasing. Mihia (talk) 14:01, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
It might make more sense with French grammatical structure, but in English we have attributive constructions such "iron will" that this strategy can't handle. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:49, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

canard etymology[edit]

We have a very long etymology describing a purported joke that may or may not have existed. How sound is this etymology? Equinox 21:31, 2 April 2020 (UTC)

Online Etymology Dictionary has something similar:
canard (n.)
"absurd or fabricated story intended as an imposition," 1851, perhaps 1843, from French canard "a hoax," literally "a duck" (from Old French quanart, probably echoic of a duck's quack); said by Littré to be from the phrase vendre un canard à moitié "to half-sell a duck," thus, perhaps from some long-forgotten joke, "to cheat." But also compare quack (n.1).
I note that we do not have "hoax" as a definition of canard#French. DCDuring (talk) 22:56, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
I further note that the authoritative French dictionary referenced in the entry does seem to have a definition close to hoax, though my French is not good enough to be sure of that. DCDuring (talk) 23:02, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
The definition can be translated as “Fake news, often invented from wholecloth and inflated to melodrama in second-rate newspapers”. A second definition is the kind of newspaper that publishes such stories; we might say tabloid. The definition “newspaper” is too general.  --Lambiam 09:18, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
So Online Etymology Dictionary is wrong. I'll ask them about it. DCDuring (talk) 19:56, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
The meanings of hoax and fake news overlap, though, but the latter does generally not have a sense of “Ha! Fooled ya, didn’t I?”.  --Lambiam 20:23, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
The English word hoax does not have any necessary association with a newspaper of any kind or indeed with any medium. DCDuring (talk) 20:30, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
In the French definition the association with a newspaper is qualified with “often”, which means it is not a necessary one. Here, in the Bulletin of the French Parlance Society of Canada, the etymology is given in more detail (from “selling someone a half duck [for a whole]” to "selling a duck” to just ”a duck”), while the meaning is given as “a hoax, a lie, false news, news intended to entrap people”, with a reference, I assume by way of attribution, to the 19th-century Dictionnaire général de la langue française of Hatzfeld and Darmesteter, with which I am not familiar.  --Lambiam 22:20, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
MWOnline has a second definition of canard I am not familiar with: "a groundless rumor or belief", which has even more distance from any particular medium and removes malicious intent. Is anyone familiar with this? DCDuring (talk) 20:35, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
Here Trump’s insistence he won the 2016 elections by a landslide is called a canard. Here, Trump’s accusation of Jews of beding disloyal is called “an age-old anti-Semitic canard” dating back to well before the advent of newspapers. And here the claim that Medicare-for-all means lots of people losing their insurance is called a canard, not in any specific way tied to media.  --Lambiam 22:43, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
The word hoax appears twice in the entry:
  1. In the etymology, where it is offered as a definition of canard#French.
  2. as a synonym.
As to the etymology, it does not appear that hoax is a valid definition of the French term. It doesn't seem the best of synonyms, but doesn't seem wrong. I usually think of a hoax as a large-scale prank.
Canard in English has no necessary connection with any particular medium. It seems to be mostly about well-publicized falsehoods. I don't hear it much in connection with private matters, though I suppose it could, in organizations, in legal proceedings, etc.
I also associate it with red herring, though that may be my mistake. DCDuring (talk) 01:56, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

hold to ransom[edit]

In "hold someone to ransom", is "ransom" a noun or a verb? PUC – 10:43, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

Noun, I think... I'd never even considered that it might be a verb! Equinox 12:05, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes, surely must be a noun. Mihia (talk) 14:22, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
I agree, especially in light of the alternative forms hold for ransom and hold ransom, where it cannot be a verb. PUC – 14:27, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
And “held to a ransom of several thousand ducats”.  --Lambiam 20:12, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

cost leader / cost leadership[edit]

Worth entries?

PUC – 14:20, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

I don't think leader has a definition that quite fits, though it would be the same as for price leader. DCDuring (talk) 20:18, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

as I live and breathe[edit]

This was changed from Adverb to PP. I think this may be wrong; the "as" in this phrase is a conjunction, not a preposition, isn't it? Equinox 15:12, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

It's an interjection. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:44, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
That is, the whole phrase. The word as is a conjunction.  --Lambiam 20:08, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
Not really seeing how it’s an adverb; I think either “interjection” or “phrase” works. Also, I’m wondering if there’s much point in adding sense 3. Is it likely that the phrase will be used literally? (Pinging @DCDuring who added it.) — SGconlaw (talk) 16:48, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
I treated the ping as an RfV. Cited IMHO. DCDuring (talk) 22:57, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. — SGconlaw (talk) 10:40, 7 April 2020 (UTC)

more than ever[edit]

Worth an entry? PUC – 16:33, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

Yes. --Gorgehater (talk) 18:12, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
No. See ever def 2: "at any time". DCDuring (talk) 19:58, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
But surely “more than ever” really means (or suggests) “more than at any previous time” or “… time so far”. PJTraill (talk) 22:23, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
There are phrases such as "like never before" and "than ever before" that suggest this isn't a set phrase. Not only that, but you can have almost any comparative with "than ever", as well as "same as ever". Chuck Entz (talk) 22:40, 3 April 2020 (UTC)
There are semantic constraints on which definition of ever is appropriate in this collocation, but that it hardly limited to this term. Eg, in "limited to this term" context eliminates term (of office) as a possibility. The only thing that differentiates more than ever from limited to this term is the fact that all the component terms are old terms that have more grammatical than semantic content, which make SoPitude harder to see. I don't think it's worth it to try to include all of these as entries, though it may be worth the effort to incorporate such a common collocation in the entry for ever. DCDuring (talk) 20:07, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
I looked at never for comparison, which means “at no future time” in the idiomatic phrase “it’s now or never”. Next to the definition “at no time” there is only the time-related defs “not at any other time” and “not previously” – where the examples for the latter are in sentences in the past tense, so it would appear that in these examples the negated previousness derives more from the verb tense than from an asymmetric meaning of never. Basically, never can mean “not ever” for every meaning of ever, which apparently, depending on how it is used, sometimes refers only to the time ahead (“at any time in the future“), as in the question “Can I ever be loved?”. As to the original question, you can also say “happier than ever”, “better than ever“, ..., so specifically “more than ever” does not by itself deserve an entry, but is seems worth recording that ever can also mean “at any time in the past“.  --Lambiam 21:52, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
If anyone here creates a "more than ever" page, please send me an alert. Depending on what emerges on that page I might weigh in from my own copyrighted (but yet-unpublished) definition. --Kent Dominic (talk) 10:13, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
You copyright your own definitions? Not really in the spirit of a wiki, if you ask me --Vitoscots (talk) 23:53, 17 April 2020 (UTC)

rummy as a heteronym[edit]

rummy is classified as a heteronym, but I reckon all senses are pronounced the same. What do you guys say? --Gorgehater (talk) 18:12, 3 April 2020 (UTC)


Anyone able to help with the definition? @BD2412 (since the word seems to be used in law), are you or your law dictionaries familiar with this word? - -sche (discuss) 22:56, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

yellow fever[edit]

The second sense is labelled "vulgar", "derogatory" and "offensive". That seems very strong, I don't see anything particularly vulgar about it. PUC – 12:10, 4 April 2020 (UTC)

Not vulgar; that should be removed. Equinox 17:51, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
The term itself is not vulgar, but people who use it in this sense are.  --Lambiam 21:27, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
Might "vulgarian" be a better label in this case, then? Tharthan (talk) 21:31, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
No, no label is needed. The word is not vulgar; what the people are like is outside a dicdef. Equinox 00:31, 5 April 2020 (UTC)
Some people think that any non-clinical term that touches on sexuality is ipso facto vulgar, which is probably why the tag was added. (I am fine with the removal of it.) I suppose the term is indeed non-clinical, i.e. "informal", though I further suppose that's probably covered by "derogatory" well enough to not need a separate label...? - -sche (discuss) 04:12, 5 April 2020 (UTC)


Moved to Wiktionary:Requests_for_verification/English#iron. Mihia (talk) 14:37, 4 April 2020 (UTC)

name to conjure with, word to conjure with, idea to conjure with, thought to conjure with[edit]

Wouldn't it be better to have a single entry for to conjure with? PUC – 15:50, 4 April 2020 (UTC)

far (2)[edit]

What part of speech is the word "far" in "We are far from home"? Mihia (talk) 17:52, 4 April 2020 (UTC)

I think it is an adjective. You can substitute the comparative and superlative: “Now we are even farther from home”; “This is the farthest from home we’ve ever been”.  --Lambiam 21:20, 4 April 2020 (UTC)
Right, though the adverb also has a comparative and superlative, and in "We are a long way from home", it seems to me that "a long way" is adverbial. Mihia (talk) 21:45, 4 April 2020 (UTC)


Other dictionaries classify "near" in phrases such as "draw near", "get near" and "come near" as an adverb. What is your view? Is it an adverb or an adjectival complement? Mihia (talk) 21:03, 4 April 2020 (UTC)

near (2)[edit]

Adverb sense:

Having a small intervening distance with regard to something.

The definition does not seem to successfully capture the meaning in the (sole) usage example, and in fact does not seem to be the definition of an adverb at all. In order to get a better grasp of what the definition should be, I have been trying to come up with other examples where "near" has the same meaning as it does in "near-sighted", but I haven't found any so far. Perhaps someone else can think of one. Or is "near-sighted" a one-off phrase? Mihia (talk) 21:55, 4 April 2020 (UTC)

near field? near death? Either those count as adverbial, not withstanding that nouns are modified. Or near-sighted can be deemed an adjective from near-sight. I am not nearly sighted, but my sight is limited to things that are near. red is not an adverb in red-colored nor colored red, likewise, is it? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 2020 April 8 14:30‎.
I see "near-sighted" as probably meaning, literally, "sighted in a 'near' way" (though this is not a natural way to put it). "near death" does not mean "death in a 'near' way", and I don't see "near field" as meaning "field in a 'near' way" either. Presently we classify "near" in cases such as "near death" as a preposition, though this is a disputed point. However, if it is not a preposition then presumably it is an adjective, not an adverb. Mihia (talk) 21:46, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

sodiroanus, sodiroana, sodiroi[edit]

It says these are "used in taxonomic names for organisms that often have English names of the form Sodiro's ...". I have not been able to find any organism with such a name in English. Which exist? Equinox 00:31, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

Maybe none, and instead it could be: "that often could have English names of the form Sodiro's ...". Compare Darwin's finch and Category:English taxonomic eponyms. --Bakunla (talk) 17:35, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
We could simply reword the definition to "Used to form taxonomic names meaning (or corresponding to) Sodiro's ...". Some such wording could replace the wording in many such eponymic taxonomic epithet entries. DCDuring (talk) 20:58, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

rfdate - in "Proceedings" - why?[edit]

So as I was meandering around I saw this "Can we date this quote" at https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/proceedings. Which seems self explanatory except that it is next to a definition, not a quote? There seems to a name? "Blackstone" tagged on the end. Was a quote used as a definition? Or something else? Curious. Be willing to fix, if I had a clue. --Owl wow (talk) 02:59, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

Weird placement. I've just removed it — not like it's hard to find quotes for that sense anyway. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:06, 5 April 2020 (UTC)
It had been there for 11 1/2 years! DCDuring (talk) 03:27, 5 April 2020 (UTC)
“Blackstone” probably refers to William Blackstone. I suppose the editor was hoping that someone else would look up one of his works (probably his Commentaries on the Laws of England). See {{RQ:Blackstone Commentaries}}. — SGconlaw (talk) 16:55, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
This was probably just a reference to a definition (ie, mention) in Blackstone, not necessarily a use. DCDuring (talk) 21:01, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

glaucometer, gleucometer[edit]

The former was defined as an alt form of the latter but this seems wrong (I replaced it with rfdef). Gleucometer indeed seems to only be used in reference to must-testing and never e.g. blood-sugar, whereas glaucometer never seems to be used in reference to must-testing but only used next to words like glaucoma and blood sugar, but I'm not sure if it has two senses (e.g. for testing glaucoma vs for testing blood sugar) or what. - -sche (discuss) 04:58, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

If used in connection to measuring the level of blood sugar, glaucometer is a misspelling of glucometer.  --Lambiam 14:09, 5 April 2020 (UTC) It seems to be a fairly common misspelling, but a patient’s glucose level, from Ancient Greek γλυκύς (glukús, sweet), has nothing to do with Ancient Greek γλαυκός (glaukós, light blue, grey). The term has been used for an instrument to trace the shape of a glaucoma patient’s retina, but this appears to be a nonce term for a one-of-a-kind device developed by Stanford Research Institute in the early seventies.  --Lambiam 14:36, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

𒈣 probably needs revision.[edit]

It either means "fig tree" (not "boat") or the reference link is wrong. Also, it cannot be an adjective or, at least, it should be stated somewhere that it is attributively used. Reason also stated on Talk:𒈣. Regards. -- 14:46, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

wifelet sense 3: long-term girlfriend, mistress[edit]

...has four citations, but all of them refer to the eccentric 7th Marquess of Bath, who used the word this way. So: has it been used without reference to him specifically? And, if not, should we even keep it? Equinox 19:50, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

Just want to point out that OED has this sense and sources it to the 7th Marquess of Bath as well. — SGconlaw (talk) 16:58, 6 April 2020 (UTC)


In Australia, stress for this word is often placed on the last syllable ("em-ploy-ER"). Is that a feature in BrE and AmE too? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:40, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

I've never heard that in American English. DTLHS (talk) 02:43, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
Me neither. I have heard both stress on the second and stress on the last syllable of "employee", so I wonder if stress on the final syllable of "employer" originated by analogy with that. I can imagine a speaker of my dialect using such a stress pattern for contrastive purposes, even though it is not one of the lexicalized stress patterns for employer.--Urszag (talk) 05:23, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
I have never heard that in any variety of English (but have never been down under). Is the middle vowel then still pronounced as the diphthong /ɔɪ/ like in boy?  --Lambiam 09:52, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes. I have updated the page entry. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:48, 8 April 2020 (UTC)

duly noted[edit]

Worth an entry? PUC – 12:56, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

One of several elliptic phrases heard in courtrooms, others being so noted and exception noted. It means “your remarks/the testimony/... are/is duly noted”. In full this is a SOP. Does ellipsis make it idiomatic? I should think not.  --Lambiam 22:11, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
It also has some ironic usage outside law as a way to tell someone off. I'll see if I can dig up some quotes. -- 02:44, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
I think it’s not worth an entry, as it’s just duly + noted. Also, I recall that sarcastic usage alone is not enough to justify an entry. See “Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion#Sarcastic usage”. — SGconlaw (talk) 04:20, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
Hmm, I think this might be a borderline case. Outside of formal contexts, it's "seldom or never used literally". -- 19:23, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
Either I've missed the sarcasm in online communication, but I'd say that's not true. Anyhow, being derived from a legal idiom means it's not transparent. It's easily understood, of course, but everything that could have an etymology could have an entry. This doesn't mean that it should of course.
I mean, it is not sarcastic in the sense of dark humor. It's (figurative)


Does anyone know the exact definition the word 'polygot'?

Perhaps a misspelling of polyglot?  --Lambiam 21:49, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

no matter what[edit]

Are the recent edits by Kent Dominic (talkcontribs) an improvement? PUC – 14:15, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

It is a mixed bunch. The change to the POS is very wrong. The change to the first (originally the only) definition is IMO not an improvement, but using a gloss-style parenthesis is. The second, newly added sense, looks fine to me, but seems to be an adverbial.  --Lambiam 21:47, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
The rationale for my parsing of "no matter what" is that:
  • "what" is a pronoun that concludes the phrase, "no matter" (and "no matter" is an abbreviation of "it doesn't matter")
  • "no matter" is a prepositive adpositional phrase that is antecedent to "what"
  • because "no matter" is not a verb despite its etymology, by definition it defaults to its POS as a preposition
I 100% agree that "no matter what" an adverbial prepositional phrase, but it's a prepositional phrase nonetheless, IMHO. I didn't think it was necessary to specify its adverbial nature in my edit, but doing so might have helped. --Kent Dominic (talk) 10:00, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
And the first definition IMO is of a subordinating conjunction. It also does not necessarily relate to a "speaker's ambivalence", eg, "No matter what cupboard you looked in, there were black beans and rice." DCDuring (talk) 22:14, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
If you look again perhaps you'll agree that "No matter what they might do" is a subordinating conjunction. Nevertheless, we're left to identify the specific POS relating to "no matter what." The ultimate meaning is the same as "regardless of," but the structure differs. You make a good point about ambivalence having no denotative relevance. I'm going to edit that part accordingly. Check it again five minutes from now. --Kent Dominic (talk) 10:00, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
For clarity, my approval of using a parenthesis concerned only the style, not its content.  --Lambiam 10:52, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
And I'd be willing to forget about adding a conjunction PoS, despite it being possible to argue that the term seems to arguably function as a subordinating conjunction. It can also be viewed as a pronoun while filling its conjunctive function. DCDuring (talk) 18:01, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
No matter what seems to be synonymous with whatever and share the same PoSes, except for the "interjection" use of whatever. If so, it might be simpler to have one {{synonym of}} definition for no matter what for each PoS whatever and no matter what share membership in. DCDuring (talk) 18:07, 7 April 2020 (UTC)

big enough and ugly enough, big and ugly enough[edit]

Worth an entry? Meaning "mature", "old enough to take care of / look after oneself and make one's own decisions". PUC – 20:38, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

If there were there cites that unambiguously support and non-SoP definition, it would be. DCDuring (talk) 22:20, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
It is easily attested in this sense. I even found an 18th-century cite (although with tmesis) that indicates (“as the saying is”) that the saying was already common then. The first, longer version is far more common, so I’d make that the main entry and define the other as being {{short for|...}}  --Lambiam 15:47, 8 April 2020 (UTC)

some little matter and related[edit]

Is there actually something idiomatic here? Citations showing adverbial use would be helpful. DTLHS (talk) 02:21, 7 April 2020 (UTC)

Is Ziehen a derivation or an inflected form?[edit]

In this wiki, Ziehen is marked as "gerund of ziehen". In the Finnish Wiktionary, someone nominated the page for deletion saying that "it's not an inflected form but a derivation", and also "in no way idiomatic": https://fi.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wikisanakirja:Poistettavat_sivut/Ziehen. When I voted for "keep" and argued that it's a gerund (and thus an inflected form and thus worth keeping) according to this English Wiktionary, the person answered and gave these links: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerundium#Germanische_Sprachen and https://deutschegrammatik20.de/deutsche-grammatik-inhaltsverzeichnis/glossar-grammatik/glossar-g/grammatikglossar-gerundium/ in support of their view that my argument that it's an inflected form is wrong. Who's correct, is Ziehen a derivation or an inflected form? Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 09:01, 7 April 2020 (UTC)

It is a matter of which definition you prefer, which is ultimately a matter of taste. By definition, a gerund is a nonfinite verb form that functions as a noun. But not all linguists call all verb forms that fit this description a “gerund” (German Gerundium – see the Usage notes there). If you restrict the definition by requiring a gerund to be an inflected verb form, then the German infinitive used as a noun is not a gerund... unless you see the lemma form – unusually but quite reasonably – as an inflected form, etymologically the neuter accusative singular of a verbal noun obtained by adding the suffix -en. German linguists tend to avoid the term for the use of the German infinitive as a noun, but some linguists see no problem in doing so (e.g. here, here and here).  --Lambiam 10:36, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
It's a derivation (a substantivisation), and more important: it's a word and it's attestable (e.g. google books: "das Ziehen"). As for the Finnish WT: Who knows what they have comparable to WT:CFI? --Bakunla (talk) 10:53, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
Finnish Wiktionary's criteria for inclusion (in Finnish, of course): [3]. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 15:50, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
We already had such discussions and I pointed out that there is no clean line between derivation and inflection. In any case the uncertainty is no reason for deletion. It exists, the page describes it as far as needed, so tamam. Fay Freak (talk) 18:16, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
We had these discussions on the English Wiktionary. They have little bearing on the Finnish Wiktionary. Also, if the dispute is whether some form is a gerund, then some of the discussants may not accept the applicability of guidelines on how to deal with gerunds.  --Lambiam 22:51, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply anything like that. I decided to link the Finnish CFI more like as "for your information" as Bakunla's comment looked like asking for one. I may have misunderstood something of course. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 08:58, 8 April 2020 (UTC)
The entry has not been proposed for deletion here but only on the Finnish Wiktionary (Wikisanakirja:Poistettavat sivut#Ziehen). User FF’s statement to which I reacted, namely that “the uncertainty is no reason for deletion”, is therefore only relevant to the discussion over there – but with regard to that discussion there is no point in arguing for preservation based on earlier discussions here. My reaction has not directly anything to do with something you (M-M) said.  --Lambiam 15:12, 8 April 2020 (UTC)
Lambiam, Mölli-Möllerö: thank you! This question has bugged me for such a long time. For those three authors categorizing -en forms as gerunds, Carl Einstein was not a linguist (as far as what I've read on Wikipedia), so I wouldn't regard his opinions on this subject as authoritative. The other two sources seem more authoritative. -- Puisque (talk) 13:17, 8 April 2020 (UTC)
Basicly, Ziehen und Zerren are just the infinitives, but with capitalisation. The fact that syntax seems to require it to be a noun phrase barely matters, only if marked with an article. For example, das Rennen "the race" is always a propper noun, and therefore the nominalization Rennen very restricted. Consider e.g. das Rennen auf den Fluren "running in the hallways" vs "to run in the hallways". It's not the verb that's nominalized, but the verbal phrase, and das is understood as a specifier (substitute dieses "this"), illogical if indefinte (rather "Rennen auf ...", regularly without indefinite determiner), though frequent. The article is not repeated in the nominalized phrase, showing that it is not the verb itself that is a the noun. I do obviously not know the difference between determiner and specifier, at any rate. 18:10, 8 April 2020 (UTC)


I don't see any current meaning of ever that accounts for its meaning in words like whoever, whatever, however, wherever, whenever, and some similar words. I also have not yet found any reference that has an entry for -ever. Are we missing something at [[ever]] or do we need [[-ever]]? DCDuring (talk) 17:57, 7 April 2020 (UTC)

The Online Etymology Dictionary offers an exposition of the sense development of ever to -ever.  --Lambiam 23:04, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
But did the free-standing term at any time have the meaning reflected in these words? It didn't seem so to me, judging from Online Etymology Dictionary's version, which undoubtedly reflects OED. DCDuring (talk) 00:13, 8 April 2020 (UTC)
No, but I can imagine a shift in meaning from “Who ever would have thought this possible?” (still meaning “at any time”, compare “Never in my lifetime would I have thought this possible!”) to today’s “Whoever would have thought this possible?” (“not me”).  --Lambiam 15:23, 8 April 2020 (UTC)
I've found the etymology of ever likewise insufficient to explain however and the lot, and am thus not convinced that an explanation has to be sought in the modern meaning. The exposition in Harper's could not go far enough to discount that. Native speaker intition is appreciable, but it is just intuition. That said, I only want to remark that I found two possibly unetymological comparisons in German: 1. German überall "everywhere" (as if over + all), in questions wo überall; 2. wie aber auch immer "be that as it may", which is appealing at first sight, because it correlates with certain uses of "however" that are however evidenced rather late in English, nevermind that aber "but" (Low German aver) and immer "ever, always" may give two leads to follow up on, too many in fact.
The deciding evidence would be in OE ae, that can be seen mentioned here and there without concrete details, as if it was illusive. Ger. jedoch "although" gives further parallels with regards to je "ever", jeder "every", jetzt "now", perhaps ach iwo (dismissive idiom), further irgend- "any". je ~ ja with its various uses in discourse is difficult to etymologize and sometimes conflated with ja "yes" (says Grimm in DWB).
Starting from native speaker instinct that is the result of the potential answer to this question would be throwing out the baby with the bath water, if ever should be understood in diachrony first, whether the implied reading had been possible at all. 17:27, 8 April 2020 (UTC)
Well, you can even split some of those words today. "Who would ever have believed..." "Where could you ever hope to hide from them?" Equinox 17:30, 8 April 2020 (UTC)
But the meaning is different. In the split example, the ever has a meaning limited to time. In the wh-ever words -ever has to do with some kind of open choice. Whichever means "no matter which"; whoever "no matter who"; etc. The point is that such meaning is not to be found in uses of standalone ever, at least none I am familiar with or can find in a dictionary. DCDuring (talk) 04:34, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
It would be interesting to know whether whenever, which does have temporal meaning ("no matter when"), predated the other wh-ever words. It might then be possible to argue that the "no matter" meanings of those other words are due to abstraction away from "any time" to some more general "any" meaning. DCDuring (talk) 04:45, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

dormir etymology[edit]

Several (though not all) of the "etymology" sections in dormir go beyond Latin dormio and cite PIE *drem- (“run, sleep”). However, that entry does not mention "sleep", and all the derivatives it does mention relate to "run".

I haven't a copy of Pokorny to hand: is this simply a mistake? Perhaps two distinct PIE roots conflated? Or is there evidence that the PIE root did have this surprising range of meanings? --ColinFine (talk) 19:50, 7 April 2020 (UTC)

(I should credit that this question was actually raised on Linguistics Stack Exchange by Ergative Man.) --ColinFine (talk) 20:00, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
I've just realised that I should have raised this at WT:ES. What's the etiquette? Should I just move the question there? --ColinFine (talk) 14:05, 8 April 2020 (UTC)
I guess that is better. Perhaps some of our finest etymologists drink only coffee.  --Lambiam 15:26, 8 April 2020 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Moved to WT:ES --ColinFine (talk) 20:21, 8 April 2020 (UTC)

change tact[edit]

Potentially apt to describe as an eggcorn as well? 04:21, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

I think so. DCDuring (talk) 04:46, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
@DCDuring: If that is the case, how would one make both the misspelling template and the eggcorn template work in this circumstance?
# {{misspelling of|en|change tack}} works.
# {{eggcorn of|en|change tack}} works.
But I'm not sure how one would have it say "eggcorn or misspelling of", without simply not using templates. Tharthan (talk) 19:27, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
"Eggcorn" is more obscure to normal folks than "misspelling". "Misconstruction" is a more generic term that has the advantage over "eggcorn" of being derived by normal morphology. DCDuring (talk) 19:47, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
And is it fundamentally a misspelling? DCDuring (talk) 23:26, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
Altered to # {{misconstruction of|en|change tack}}. Tharthan (talk) 02:23, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
I would not call it a misspelling. The real difference between tack and tact relates to pronunciation, and even the "misspeller" knows this. Equinox 17:34, 11 April 2020 (UTC)

Stillsons entry[edit]

Invented by Stillson, the wrench is called either a Stillson or a Stillson's (patent wrench). The quasi-plural form is not legitimate and should be deleted or moved to "Stillson's" and/or listed as a variant in Stillson. Bjenks (talk) 09:34, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

It is a legitimate plural, though, of Stillson, which – next to being a surname – can be short for “Stillson wrench”, as seen in “Give a Stillson the same care you would a monkey wrench”,[4] and in the plural in “I've used Stillsons to work on locomotives.”[5]; paywall :(  --Lambiam 17:14, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes, of course. But the 'quasi-plural' singular to which I referred is found in this entry and is surely not legitimate. Bjenks (talk) 14:34, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

Inflection of Old English wesend/ƿesend[edit]

(Notifying Benwing2, Leasnam, Lambiam, Hundwine, Mnemosientje): Currently, the declension table for ƿesend says it inflects as a strong nd-stem (with genitive plural ƿesendra and nominative/accusative plural variants ƿesende and ƿesendas) while the declension table for wesend seems to be manually entered, with the genitive plural form wesenda, and with wesend given as the only option for the nominative/accusative plural. The difference in inflection doesn't make sense, since these are not different words or even different phonological forms, just different ways of writing the same word. Does anyone know which inflection table is correct?--Urszag (talk) 00:45, 10 April 2020 (UTC)


In my experience, the unhyphenated form (subsystem) is a lot more common, and Ngram Viewer seems to agree. I'd move it, but it was moved to the hyphenated form before. — surjection??〉 21:06, 10 April 2020 (UTC)


The category "English words suffixed with -ative" does not include the rather common -ative words: affirmative, negative, palliative, initiative, and native. I suspect this omission might not be a mistake; are those five words considered -ative suffix words, or something else? The entry for -ative doesn't explain much. -- 21:27, 10 April 2020 (UTC)

Rather than being formed in English by suffixation, these words were inherited from Middle English or borrowed from French or Middle French.  --Lambiam 06:34, 11 April 2020 (UTC)
I understand now, thank you. -- 13:58, 11 April 2020 (UTC)
Also, to be suffixed, there has to be something that the suffix was added to: native may end in "ative", but it's certainly not n + -ative. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:01, 11 April 2020 (UTC)

outskirt and outskirts[edit]

  • Is it reasonable to split outskirts into two etymology sections, as we have done? The meaning is, as far as I can tell, identical.
  • The usage note says "In attributive use, the singular form is more common". What sort of attributive usage would this be? "An outskirt supermarket"? It doesn't sound right to me.

Equinox 17:33, 11 April 2020 (UTC)

  • 2010, J. L. Bourne, Beyond Exile: Day by Day Armageddon, page 37:
    I told her of my plan to take John into an urban outskirt area for the purpose of retrieving some vital technical manuals.
  • 1983, Our Barrios: Past, Present, and Future, page 20:
    The outskirt communities were originally established as labor camps for railroad workers, farm and ranch hands.
  • 1917, Michigan Film Review, page 347:
    Hal Smith, manager of the Ferry Field theatre, Detroit, one of the largest and prettiest outskirt houses in town, played Metro's "Revelation" for three days last week
It seems more prevalent in English-speaking places other than North America and UK. DCDuring (talk) 18:14, 11 April 2020 (UTC)

straight As is a noun, straight A is an adjective[edit]

Is that right? Can you get a single "straight A", i.e. one that is unqualified, not an A-minus etc.? Equinox 18:46, 11 April 2020 (UTC)

In the example given at straight A, "Should I try to be a straight A student?", it seems to me that "straight A" is not a true adjective but is an attributive noun phrase that has been made singular because of a general reluctance in English to use plural attributive nouns. I also think it should properly be hyphenated: "straight-A student". Mihia (talk) 19:13, 11 April 2020 (UTC)


Nowhere can I find the meaning of the river-name Ems, anciently Amisia. My best guess is that it derives from the same root as German Amme, thus meaning "provident or nourishing river". Does anyone have any better ideas?

I’d be more inclined to seek a connection with Proto-West Germanic *ahu (river) compounded with some suffix. The Ems article on Wikipedia states: “Etymology  tamesis, indo-european [sic] for dark, as in dark river”. That would be most curious. The same etymon as for the Thames? What happened to the /t/? Perhaps this originated from a misreading “ Ems. Tameſis” for the entry “ TEms. Tameſis” in an early 18-th century Latin–German & German–Latin dictionary.[6] The claim is found in a Dutch book, where Tamesis is called “Indo-Germanic”. The book is from 2016, predating the addition of the etymology to the Wikipedia article.
    In another 18th-century book entitled The Origin of Language and Nations, the claim is made that the etymon of Ems/Amisia is am-is(a).[7] The author appears to have assumed that all words harken back to a Proto-Celtic language whose lexicon consists of compounds of mostly monosyllabic meaning-bearing morphemes. I mention this mainly for its curiosity value.  --Lambiam 17:24, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
I just read an article[8] that argues that “the names of most larger European rivers are too old to be of Indo-European origin” and therefore “are likely to derive from Pre-Indo-European languages”.  --Lambiam 18:30, 12 April 2020 (UTC)


Adverb sense:

In the manner or role (specified).
The kidnappers released him as agreed.
The parties were seen as agreeing on a range of issues.
He was never seen as the boss, but rather as a friend.

Is "as" really an adverb in these examples? Mihia (talk) 11:06, 12 April 2020 (UTC)

There is considerable disagreement in treatment between the usual lemmings. Nothing fits really well, but for the first usex I’d go with another “if all else fails option”, conjunction, like the PoS assignment for although. Note that – excluding Yoda-speak – this is the only one of the three in which the dependent clause can be moved to the front: “As agreed, the kidnappers released him.” Compare the sentence “The kidnappers did not release him, although agreed“, in which the clause can also be fronted. I think preposition is a better fit for the last two, with the whole prepositional clause being adverbial, very similar if not the same as sense 2 of prepositional as. (Preposition does not fit usex 1, because you can replace the past participle “agreed” by a finite, third-person (passive) past tense or perfect tense: “as was agreed” / “as has been agreed”.)  --Lambiam 19:03, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
The third usex certainly would seem to fit with as#Preposition ("in the role of"). I'm not so sure about usex 2. DCDuring (talk) 01:30, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
  • Thanks, yes, #3 seems identical to the existing preposition sense. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that #1 is a conjunction and #2 also a preposition. #1 could be seen as a shortening of "... as it was / had been agreed". Mihia (talk) 17:10, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

See also Wiktionary:Requests_for_verification/English#as. Mihia (talk) 17:45, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

Where would a usage like "They were seen as in agreement" fit? It doesn't seem to be obviously a preposition, but it has semantics close to example 2. I'm not comfortable with usage example 2 as being of a preposition because I am having trouble coming up with examples that use anything other than a gerund-participle as complement. DCDuring (talk) 18:53, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
Well, noun examples work, e.g. "They were seen as friends". On the "in agreement" example, could we say that "They were seen as in agreement" is short for "They were seen as being in agreement"? Mihia (talk) 19:46, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
In the second usage example, agreeing seems to me to be participial (adjective), not gerundive (noun). Alternative examples with the same meaning would have as followed by in agreement (a prep. phrase). It can also be followed by past participles. The same meaning of as would seem to apply to uses in which it is followed by typical adjectives: "He saw the performance as creative but amateurish.". I'm too tired now to go through CGEL for some clarity on what word class it falls into in this usage. DCDuring (talk) 03:37, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Where the second usage example is concerned, another approach may be to look at parallels such as:
The parties were seen as agreeing on a range of issues.
The parties made an attempt at agreeing on a range of issues.
The parties were commended for agreeing on a range of issues.
If "at" and "for" are prepositions, then can "as" be one too? Mihia (talk) 16:26, 14 April 2020 (UTC)


An Estonian Wiktionary administrator says that the Estonian word eelmäng has at least three meanings (https://et.wiktionary.org/wiki/Arutelu:esileikki) but only one is listed here. Maybe someone can add the rest of them here as well? Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 13:26, 12 April 2020 (UTC)

One cannot help but wonder why this administrator does not channel their knowledge into the creation of et:eelmäng.  --Lambiam 19:15, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
Though it might come as a surprise, things are pretty slow on Estonian Wiktionary. It takes ten years to get a reply, apparently. --Vitoscots (talk) 19:32, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
I feel famous now, I've been trolled by WF. Anyway, as he rightly pointed out I'm no Estonian expert, though I picked up a few bits during a month spent there last year and there's plenty of online dictionaries. The EKSS does indeed give three senses [9]: the first is a prelude to a musical piece (synonym prelüüd); the second is given as an event preceding another, so a forerunner or harbinger; and the third is the sexual sense we already have. BigDom 20:21, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
As if by magic, someone has now created et:eelmäng. They've given four senses, but the first two seem almost the same to me (both the musical sense). BigDom 20:57, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
The Estonian Wiktionary is in fact alive and well. The creation of "eelmäng" was not magic, it was most obviously influenced by my message at the discussion of "esileikki". Sometimes a message in a discussion forum might just go unnoticed. As soon as I stumbled accross on that almost 10 year old Wiktionary page of et:esileikki and saw a request of a clarification ("which meaning of eelmäng is this trying to refer to"), I gave a clarification in the discussion page as I knew what esileikki means in Finnish. My Estonian just wasn't good enough to edit the page itself, so I answered in the discussion section, also linking to eelmäng on this wiki. Since this wiki, contrary to what the discussion page of the et-wikt's "esileikki" said, only knew one meaning for eelmäng, I thought it would be good to notify about that here too so someone could add the other meanings here as well. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 07:21, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
Of course it wasn't magic, it's just a phrase :) You did the right thing and now both Wiktionaries have better entries, seems like a success all round. BigDom 10:26, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
German Vorspiel has the same range of senses. Of course, English prelude comes via French from Latin praeludium, while fore-play is probably, like Vor-spiel, a calque of prae-ludium – or else the English is, like the Estonian, a calque of the German word.  --Lambiam 12:57, 13 April 2020 (UTC)


I added a sense for the noun I hear cooks using, saying food has "a nice chew", "is a tough chew", etc. But the definition probably needs improving, or even (possibly) merging into sense 1. - -sche (discuss) 20:04, 12 April 2020 (UTC)

or not[edit]

Is the Singapore English question tag or not (also spelled ornot, anot), supplying the function of Chinese question particles, SOP? Anot lists a Singlish sense but seems to take "or not" itself as SOP since it's just given as a contraction. I'm inclined to say that or not should be created since it doesn't form a question by itself in other English dialects—i.e., you would have to say "Did he do it or not?" and not "*He did it or not?" Nizolan (talk) 20:17, 12 April 2020 (UTC)

And the expression whether or not is always a difficult one for L2 learners to get to grips with. Surprised we don't have it --Vitoscots (talk) 20:47, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
I'm going to go ahead and create "or not" but I tend to agree about "whether or not", I'm not sure it's easily decomposable. I came across it earlier as the English gloss at 是不是 and it struck me as potentially confusing. Would be curious what others think. Nizolan (talk) 13:45, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
It also occurs to me actually that the usual English use of "or not", i.e. the distinction between "Did he go?" and "Did he go or not?", might not necessarily be clear from decomposition either. It seems to have an emphatic function. Nizolan (talk) 14:05, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

FWIW, Cambridge has a entry for whether or not:

PUC – 11:58, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

Etymology of the Armenian word 'շուշտ' [shusht] - doubtful[edit]

Moved to Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2020/April § Etymology of the Armenian word 'շուշտ' [shusht] - doubtful


Are senses 4 and 5 of English constitution really dated? None of the published dictionaries at Onelook mark them as such and I recall encountering them in not particularly old video games — sense 4 seems especially common as a stat in RPGs. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:13, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

No way is sense 5, "A person's physique or temperament", dated, at least not in BrE -- not that I would say that this is the greatest ever definition of this meaning. I don't really understand 4, "The general health of a person", at least not as distinct from 5. If you're familiar with it, could you supply a usage example that would illustrate this? Mihia (talk) 20:15, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
I would say basically the same thing as Mihia: I'm not sure how distinct the two senses are, but they're not dated. It may have become more difficult to use them due to people being liable to think you mean the other senses (especially in derived terms: saying someone is "constitutionally unable" to do something, for example), but they're still found (including in video games, as LBD says). - -sche (discuss) 20:56, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

See also Wiktionary:Requests_for_verification/English#constitution. Mihia (talk) 21:33, 25 April 2020 (UTC)


I don't think this is an improvement. Thoughts? PUC – 12:19, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

In my opinion: 1. Old "let the speaker know" is better than "tell the speaker something" because the second one is too broad. Tell the speaker what? My mother's name?
2. Old "whether...can see her" seems rather redundant since it's reiterating the sentence next to it. But the replacement doesn't even make sense and at best is ludicrously wordy. Equinox 17:38, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
I agree. Anyway, it seems to have been reverted now. Mihia (talk) 18:00, 13 April 2020 (UTC)


Neither the new definition by the IP ("Of fingernails, having been bitten down to the quick") nor the old one ("Having bitten off one's entire fingernail") seems right. PUC – 13:48, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

  • I think we should Delete this as a hyphenated attributive form that essentially means nothing more than the unhyphenated phrase. We may as well have entries for "gnawed-to-the-bone" or "scuffed-at-the-knee" or a milllion™ others. Mihia (talk) 17:42, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
    I've RfDed it: WT:Requests_for_deletion/English#bitten-to-the-quick. DCDuring (talk) 18:24, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

as (2)[edit]

Presently, the second "as" in the "so/as ~ as noun" pattern is given both as a conjunction (example She's as sharp as a tack) and as a preposition (example You are not as tall as me). Any views on which it is? Mihia (talk) 17:35, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

MW Online calls the first as an adverb and the second a conjunction. I'd rather go with CGEL which, if I read it correctly, has the second as being a preposition. DCDuring (talk) 19:16, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
What's your view on "You're not as tall as I am"? Mihia (talk) 19:32, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

a lick[edit]

We have an expression in English: to be/not be worth a lick, as in "He ain't worth a lick". This noun sense of lick carries the meaning of "try/chance" and implies that someone not worth a lick is "worthless". I imagine this sense of lick originates from actually licking something (e.g. an ice-cream or lollipop) as in: I wanna try that new flavour ice-cream. Oh, don't bother, it isn't worth a lick = "it isn't worth tasting/it isn't good". At lick we have sense 8 which comes closest to this use, but could this rather have evolved so far from its original meaning as to warrant a separate entry at be worth a lick ? Leasnam (talk) 18:05, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

Sense 7 seems the exact sense: "a small amount, a whit". DARE has 7-8 definitions, some of which we lack, but most of which are metaphorical extension of the literal lick, small amounts of work, liquor, food.
There are a few common collocations that use lick in a related sense: "(not) a lick of sense", "a lick and a promise"(?)
Taste, sniff, snort, touch, whiff have similar meanings. DCDuring (talk) 18:46, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
Ah I see. I wonder if that sense also comes from the notion of a "small taste", a "lick" Leasnam (talk) 19:38, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
I think all the senses, except the "speed" and "watercourse" ones , derive closely from the notion of a lick of the tongue: the motion, the amount gained, etc. The two exceptions seem quite remote to me. DCDuring (talk) 20:05, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

mix business with pleasure[edit]

Worth an entry? Merriam-Webster and Macmillan have an entry for it, but it sounds rather SOP.

PUC – 19:37, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

  • Go for it. SemperBlotto (talk) 19:47, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
    We follow the "lemming" heuristic. If one of the "unabridged" dictionaries has the term, we almost always include it as best we can. I follow MWOnline, which seems to agree with my sense of what is NISoP, but am not so confident about following, say, Collins in this regard. DCDuring (talk) 19:53, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
We have business before pleasure. Equinox 10:49, 14 April 2020 (UTC)

as (3)[edit]

Adverb sense:

Considered to be, in relation to something else; in the relation (specified).
1865, The Act of Suicide as Distinct from the Crime of Self-Murder: A Sermon
1937, Tobias Matthay, On Colouring as Distinct from Tone-inflection: A Lecture (London: Oxford University Press)

Is "as" really an adverb in these examples? Mihia (talk) 16:35, 14 April 2020 (UTC)

Don't fight it. Most dictionaries put as, so defined, in the class "adverb", which has long been a residual ("junk") category, excepting certain open subsets, such as manner adverbs. Word class membership can be somewhat artificial for words that serve a grammatical function. DCDuring (talk) 23:57, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
Could you provide example(s) of a dictionary that classifies it so? I'm aware of the traditional use of "adverb" for words that don't seem to fit elsewhere, but I'm finding this one hard to see. While "as" is known to be an especially difficult word to pigeonhole, I think we should try to get its classification as right as we can. Mihia (talk) 17:39, 15 April 2020 (UTC)


Can this also mean commander or general in English? ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:16, 15 April 2020 (UTC)

Not according to any of the OneLook lemmings.  --Lambiam 13:22, 15 April 2020 (UTC)
I am confused, because the OED reads: "commander (a title conferred under the Republic on a victorious general and under the Empire on the emperor)“. Thus, its meaning seems more complex than just "emperor". ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:29, 17 April 2020 (UTC)
The term imperator is not used in English in the sense of “commander”. It is (or rather was) used in Latin, originally in the sense of “general” and later more generally “commander”, before it acquired the specific sense of “emperor”. If it appears in the original sense in an English text, this is probably an instance of code-switching.  --Lambiam 09:33, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
There is an extensive overview of the sense development – in spite of the title also in the times of the Republic – in the excellent doctoral dissertation The History of the Title Imperator under the Roman Empire.  --Lambiam 09:47, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your detailed response. ---> Tooironic (talk) 21:19, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

red in the face[edit]

"A reference to one's face flushing as being embarrassed". Does this sentence parse? PUC – 14:05, 15 April 2020 (UTC)

Not really. I changed it to "from embarrassment". Ultimateria (talk) 21:00, 15 April 2020 (UTC)
It did not parse mustard.  --Lambiam 08:29, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
Are you "red in the face" if you just feel embarrassed, without the actual facial redness? (Also, the phrase is equally used for other rednesses of face, e.g. from physical exertion.) Equinox 21:40, 21 April 2020 (UTC)
I have heard the phrase "Is my face red!" as a way of expressing embarrassment, either real or feigned. DCDuring (talk) 23:43, 21 April 2020 (UTC)
The faces of people with dark skin do not visibly become red when they blush (the rush of blood to the face still happens, but the color of the face hardly changes at all), but I think they can still be said to be "red in the face" when they're embarrassed. —Mahāgaja · talk 04:17, 22 April 2020 (UTC)

English post (internet meaning)[edit]

The meaning of the verb in internet-related contexts is listed twice, under two different etymology sections. That's obviously a mistake, but which one should be kept? —Rua (mew) 17:02, 15 April 2020 (UTC)

@Rua: The first. A century ago a core means of communication with an indefinite circle of people was to pin something unto a board or post; so important that it was a severely punished offence to remove a government’s proclamation on such a place, particulary during the wars. Just note the transferral of the terminology in bulletin board. Fay Freak (talk) 19:48, 15 April 2020 (UTC)

musical terms: 追っかけ and 合いの手[edit]

I’m translating an article on modern music in Japanese to English, which is difficult because of different terminologies in the two languages. What do you call a song structure where a lead singer sings a phrase and then a back singer sings the same phrase? It’s musically similar to call and response in that one sings and then the other sings at different timings, but different in that the two sing the same lyrics. It’s called ()っかけ (okkake) in Japanese (not the “groupie” sense).

Also, what do you call hey or yeah or come on inserted in a song, usually sung by a back singer? Do you call them interjections? I’m not talking about the lexical category of interjections but about a song structure. It’s called ()いの() (ainote) in Japanese. An online dictionary gives interjected chant as an English translation but I doubt it. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 11:36, 16 April 2020 (UTC)

As to your first question, the term echo song is used. I do not know how general this is. In most uses I saw, the lines are repeated by a chorus, or by a sing-along audience. The term can also be used for a song in which only the last few syllables of each line are repeated, usually each time with a different meaning in the echo than in their first occurrence.  --Lambiam 19:08, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
Wow, thank you! And we haven’t had an entry yet. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:57, 17 April 2020 (UTC)
As to the second question, I have a feeling there isn’t a specific term for those individual sounds, but they could collectively called backup vocals (see “w:Backup vocalist”). I also thought of scat singing but that is slightly different as it is often the singing of the main melody using meaningless syllables. — SGconlaw (talk) 04:21, 17 April 2020 (UTC)

head back[edit]

Hello, in this webpage, I read head back. Is it more than the sum of parts in your opinion? If so, could someone create this entry? Thanks. Pamputt (talk) 12:23, 16 April 2020 (UTC)

You can {head|go} {up to your room|down the stairs|back to home|off to work (heigh-ho)}, so this appears to be a sum-of-parts.  --Lambiam 18:56, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
None of the better lemmings have it, per head back at OneLook Dictionary Search. Also: head out, head in, head over. DCDuring (talk) 19:42, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
Don't create. One can head anywhere (head north, head home, head to bed, etc.). Equinox 19:56, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
And head to toe.  --Lambiam 10:40, 17 April 2020 (UTC)
Ok. Thank you very much for your explanations. Pamputt (talk) 21:28, 19 April 2020 (UTC)


Does a noun sense of the Czech term smeť "sweepings" exist, as in Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/sъmetь? I couldn't find it and I can't open the reference. I found smetí n in this Czech-German dictionary, translated to German as Müll (garbage)

@Dan Polansky, please respond, if you can. Not sure if we currently have other active Czech editors. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:45, 17 April 2020 (UTC)

The existence of the Slovak smeť needs also be checked as well. It's mentioned as a cognate in some places, for example at сме́цце (smjéccje). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:49, 17 April 2020 (UTC)
I do not use and have not heard Czech noun smeť, but it is in the dictionaries as a synonym of smetí: smeť in Příruční slovník jazyka českého, 1935–1957, smeť in Slovník spisovného jazyka českého, 1960–1971, 1989. Czech. Czech smetí would be approximately translated as trash or rubbish, but I am not sure of full equivalence. The form is indeed also Slovak, as per smeť in Slovak dictionaries at korpus.sk. --Dan Polansky (talk) 07:05, 17 April 2020 (UTC)
@Dan Polansky: Thank you very much! --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:14, 17 April 2020 (UTC)


Having six separate senses seems really excessive. Equinox 13:38, 17 April 2020 (UTC)

Why not just RfV the completely uncited four? Century 1911 had two or three definitions (two of them appearing under the same def. number). It's possible that the meaning has evolved in such a way that we would need multiple definitions to capture. DCDuring (talk) 21:07, 17 April 2020 (UTC)
Raising this kind of thing at Tea Room sometimes gets it sorted without the need for RFV process. (I'm a little hesitant to use RFC/cleanup when it would involve the actual deletion of senses.) Equinox 21:45, 17 April 2020 (UTC)
It is hard to see how they differ. What is the difference between “one skilled in the construction of machines” (covered by sense 1), “one skilled in building machines” (covered by sense 2), again “one skilled in the construction of machines” (covered by sense 3, using sense 2 of mechanics), and “someone who builds machinery” (covered by sense 6, using sense 2 of mechanic)? Under such circumstances, RfV will prove unhelpful.  --Lambiam 09:10, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Usually I'd have thought that a search for quotations would help to show if there are indeed those shades of meaning. But I agree that here the definitions you highlighted are just different ways of saying the same thing. — SGconlaw (talk) 09:17, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
A virtue of RfV is that it leads to a resolution without too much controversy. If no one is willing to invest the effort in citation, then the definitions can be deleted in 30 days. If someone is willing we may discover meanings possibly differing from those challenged. Jawing rarely leads to discovering meanings. DCDuring (talk) 19:46, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
What if each single citation verifies all senses?  --Lambiam 07:15, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
It could be that the citations suggest that there is often no distinction made. In this case, mechanician seems sometimes to be used as an occupation, sometimes as a formal job title, sometimes to refer to someone with broad mechanical engineering skills, sometimes to a workman skilled in operating, maintaining or repairing certain machinery. AFAICT, it is at least sometimes distinct from machinist ("machine operator"). The expression certainly seems dated, from the 19th century through the early decades of the 20th. At least one translator of Bishop Berkeley's De Motu referred to Newton as a mechanician. Also, see w:Mechanician. DCDuring (talk) 16:11, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

Deleted apparently spurious ogg file[edit]

I have deleted File:en-us-turgid-2.ogg from turgid. As I wrote in the edit comment,

Removed 2nd sound file. It uses pronunciation /ˈtɝgɪd/, with a hard "g" as in "goat". The American Heritage, Merriam-Webster, and Collins dictionaries all have only the pronunciation /ˈtɝdʒɪd/, with soft "g" as in "general".

After my deletion on en:wikt, the file page here shows it as being used in 2 other wikis, Japanese and Kurdish, both of which also have the /ˈtɝdʒɪd/ pronunciation as in File:en-us-turgid.ogg. I know neither of those languages, but I wonder at that. Maybe the word is a legitimate loan from English on both of those, with both pronunciations. Maybe. --Thnidu (talk) 22:01, 17 April 2020 (UTC)

In both cases these are included under (the equivalent of) the L2 “English”, not as loan words.  --Lambiam 08:55, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Please nominate the audio file for deletion after removing all uses of it. — SGconlaw (talk) 09:20, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
It's hard to get bad audio files deleted, but since @EncycloPetey recorded it, maybe he can request its deletion, or even better, replace it with him saying the word correctly. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:52, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
In the past, Commons has always declined such requests for deletion of pronunciation files, or even the renaming such audio files for clarity of origin. The pronunciation I recorded is pronounced as I learned it from botanists at Duke University who taught it to me. The pronunciation is in use, even if it has not yet been documented as such by a major dictionary. It might be deemed the pronunciation equivalent of jargon.
@Metaknowledge This discussion is about the second ogg file. There is a first one which I recorded with the soft g. Are you suggesting that the second ogg file be made identical to the first? What would be the point of having two identical files? --EncycloPetey (talk) 02:30, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
Ah, okay. I can't find any evidence for this, but I don't really interact with botanists much (not that I remember them using this pronunciation back when I did take courses taught by botanists). We don't really have policy for pronunciations, but if we include this in the entry based on your word alone, it certainly needs some qualification explaining that only botanists use it. (By the way, Commons would definitely rename it — although I'm not sure that would be as useful in this case as just editing the description at Commons.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:24, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
Even that kind of labelling has been challenged at Commons in the past. I had a protracted discussion about an audio file for the phrase "Christmas tree" pronounced in English but by an Italian national for whom English was a second language. The best is simply to make a decision here whether or not to use the file, and leave it at that. --EncycloPetey (talk) 16:20, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
I doubt that this is a common pronunciation among biologists in general. Maybe it is confined to Duke University’s Department of Biology.  --Lambiam 11:36, 20 April 2020 (UTC)


The audio says Classical but it is actually phonemic classical or Ecclesiastical. 03:59, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

Intralingual derivations[edit]

We have template {{derived}} for the etymology of terms in one language derived from another language. What about derivations from a term in the same language? Is there a preferred way of indicating these?  --Lambiam 09:17, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

Well, we have a whole bunch of Category:Morphology templates. Do you have something specific in mind? PUC – 09:19, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
An example is the noun wing and prayer, derived non-morphologically from the prepositional phrase on a wing and a prayer. I think there are many analogical cases, even though I don't immediately find other entries, for example pants-down as in “in a pants-down moment, the Energy Department delivered a release replete with editing strikeovers”, from the phrase caught with one’s pants down.  --Lambiam 16:30, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
I've seen these handled with simple links, like "from the expression on a wing and a prayer". If there's no specific derivational process at work like compounding, I don't suppose there'd be any more specific template. (Compare duck test.) I guess we could create a category and template for "English terms derived from idioms" or something... meh... (check for support for such a thing first...) - -sche (discuss) 21:34, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. I don't see much use for a specific template or a specific category. I've encountered similar cases in French before (though I don't have anything that springs to mind right now), and a simple "From the expression XX" seemed good enough. PUC – 17:24, 22 April 2020 (UTC)

so there's that[edit]

Worth an entry? PUC – 17:47, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

I don't see why. I'd interpret it as "so" + "there's that": it has to follow on from some previous discussion, therefore so has its normal meaning. "There's that" could also be "there is that". We have an entry for there is (interestingly!): there is X means X exists. Again we have the usual meaning of that, i.e. something previously referred to (you can't use this phrase on its own, out of the blue). Equinox 18:48, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
I think it usually means: “it [whatever was mentioned] exists, and it mitigates the issue at hand”. IMO the implied underlined part is not easily inferred from the literal meaning and indeed makes the phrase idiomatic.  --Lambiam 07:11, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
In GBooks I can see "well, there's that, but..." Equinox 13:34, 20 April 2020 (UTC)


Lexico (by Oxford) has an entry for this, and the definition makes it seem essentially synonymous with "frenemy" *cringes*. Does this word mean the same thing, and (if so) ought we to have an entry for it? Tharthan (talk) 22:10, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

I tracked down Lexico's vague Warner citation: "So Henrie, Duke of Buckingham, third Richards friend-foe speade" (Albions England, 1597 printing, page 215, found by the view entire text option here). Given the context and the fact that I can't find any other instances of "friend-foe" used as a single term via a Google Books before 1950 search, I suspect it's just a poetic idiosyncrasy by Warner. Past the 1940s or so it comes into use to refer to Carl Schmitt's friend–enemy distinction, but I think that's SOP. Nizolan (talk) 20:36, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
Good to know. Thanks for looking into it. Tharthan (talk) 03:06, 27 April 2020 (UTC)


Is there a special reason why audeō is said to have no imperative? Horace uses the singular imperative audē in the famous phrase sapere audē and, in Cicero's Prō Cluentiō 65, we have audēte negāre to attest the plural imperative. --Thrasymedes (talk) 08:39, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

User:Benwing2 is the one who first added a template including the string "noimp" (the exact template and parameters have changed since then). Benwing, are you OK with changing |2.opt-semi-depon.noimp to |2.opt-semi-depon? —Mahāgaja · talk 09:11, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
@Mahagaja Fine with me. Benwing2 (talk) 09:26, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes check.svg DoneMahāgaja · talk 10:20, 19 April 2020 (UTC)


This is cited to Milton as "endazzled eyes". I've found a number of quote-collections which say endazzled, for example:

methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her endazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam;

This is from Areopagitica (here), but it looks like it was originally the word undazzled, and everyone quoting it spelled it wrong.

Methinks I ſee her as an Eagle muing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazl'd eyes at the full midday beam;

Does this become a word if it appears in reprint after reprint, even if it wasn't in the original? What's the right course of action here? I tend to think we should move this to "endazzled" as an alternate form of "undazzled", and put the Milton quote in the latter, but I'm not dead-set on anything. grendel|khan 16:34, 20 April 2020 (UTC)

I think the real test is whether endazzled has been used in works other than by Milton. — SGconlaw (talk) 18:31, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
The fact that Webster's defined it as "to dazzle" would suggest that people weren't reading this error as an alternate form of "undazzled" at any rate, and I can find non-Milton instances (e.g., or this one from 1996 which might suggest "archaic" is better than "obsolete"). It might make more sense to remove the Milton and use less ambiguous quotations. It also occurs in the 1933 Wallace Stevens poem "A Fading of the Sun", but the meaning is not obvious: "Who can think of the sun costuming clouds / When all people are shaken / Or of night endazzled, proud, / When people awaken / And cry and cry for help?" Nizolan (talk) 18:45, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
I can’t imagine anyone reading endazzled as undazzled, just like no one would read enforced as unforced, enlightened as unlightened, enlisted as unlisted, or entangled as untangled. There are also uses of the forms endazzles,[10][11][12] endazzling,[13][14][15] and even endazzlement.[16][17][18]  --Lambiam 11:38, 21 April 2020 (UTC)
However, for some reason, the OED (unupdated version) also interprets the Milton quotation as endazzled even though it is spelled undazzled in the given quotation. It appears the editor thinks Milton must have intended the word endazzled. — SGconlaw (talk) 12:12, 21 April 2020 (UTC)
I went ahead and replaced Milton with three quotations from a range of other sources, and changed the "obsolete" label to "archaic". The question about whether Milton wanted "endazzled" or "undazzled" can probably be left to literary historians, though it might be useful to source the earliest unambiguous usage. —Nizolan (talk) 18:25, 21 April 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I've also created endazzlement based on the citations you dug up. In this case, as far as I can tell, it looks like there's no obvious variability in its usage over time and it can be independently formed from en+dazzlement without reference to endazzle, so I've just tagged it as rare rather than dated or archaic. —Nizolan (talk) 21:18, 21 April 2020 (UTC)
@Nizolan, Lambiam, Sgconlaw: Thank you to everyone here for getting to the bottom of this--this is exactly why I meticulously dig up original sources, because sometimes it leads to surprising bits, and wonderful improvements. grendel|khan 06:45, 22 April 2020 (UTC)
@Grendelkhan: indeed! — SGconlaw (talk) 08:14, 22 April 2020 (UTC)


The Japanese readings contains several forms not attested in my usual sources. Looking at the page history, a large number of questionable readings were added by a user on Feb 1, 2011. In the intervening years, a little more than half were subsequently removed, but the rest still remain. Can we verify the following readings?

On-yomi: けい (kei)

Kun-yomi: ゆ-わう (yu.wau), いわ-える (iwa.eru), いわ-く (iwa.ku), かた-なす (kata.nasu), かた-ぬ (kata.nu), かた-める (kata.meru) 04:57, 21 April 2020 (UTC)

@Eirikr [19]Suzukaze-c 03:10, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

Latin -ī- → Greek -ει- in names of Antichrist[edit]

Two of the earliest-proposed names of Antichrist are Λατεινος and Τειταν, which apparently are alternate spellings of Λατῖνος and Τιτάν respectively. The spellings of Λατεινος and Τειταν were chosen because they both sum to 666 (using Greek gematria), whereas Λατῖνος and Τιτάν do not.

What I'm wondering is, where did these alternate spellings come from?

An initial thought might be that the extra letters were conveniently added, such as to get the sum to come out to 666.

But could there be more to it than that? At least one commentator has pointed out that the Latin long i, when transcribed into Greek, sometimes becomes ει--such as in the Latin name Papīrius, in Greek spelled Παπείριος. (This would make sense for "Latinus", which was loaned into Greek from the Latin... but it would make less sense with "Titan", which was loaned into Latin from Greek.)

Or could this have something to do with vowel shifts and/or non-standard spellings in late antiquity?

One last thing - Does anyone think that Λατεινος and Τειταν should be added to the Λατῖνος and Τιτάν pages as alternate spellings? (Even if those spellings are limited to Antichrist, they do seem to come up a lot in that context.) 12:20, 22 April 2020 (UTC)

Since ⟨ει⟩ and ⟨ι⟩ were pronounced the same already by the first century, it's hardly surprising that spellings get confused, even when people aren't deliberately trying to get the letters to add up to 666, so it's even less surprising when they are trying to do so. And yes, I'd say Λατεῖνος (Lateînos) and Τειτάν (Teitán) should be added as alternative spellings if they're attested. —Mahāgaja · talk 12:46, 22 April 2020 (UTC)

Origin of the tone markers "X" and "H" in Baxter's transcription of Middle Chinese[edit]

Regarding transcriptions of Middle Chinese, I believe it is William H. Baxter that established the use of Roman letters X and H as markers for the traditional (shǎng) and () tones respectively. These symbols are also used in the MC tables displayed by the zh-pron template on Wiktionary (as superscripts affixed to phonetic symbols). But I wonder why those particular letters were chosen.

Were they chosen because it's difficult to mistake them for anything else? Or were they abbreviated from actual words?

All I can find in Baxter's A Handbook of Old Chinese Phonology is that he basically just chose them without giving much explanation. (§2.1, p. 31) --Frigoris (talk) 14:14, 22 April 2020 (UTC)

@Frigoris: It was apparently Li Fang-kuei who came up with -h and -x for these, the -h probably referring to the analogous hypothesised development in Vietnamese -s > -h > falling tone ([20], [21], [22]). Not sure about -x but I suppose it's a convenient letter for the proposed -ʔ the tone would have developed out of. —Nizolan (talk) 22:55, 22 April 2020 (UTC)
@Nizolan: Thanks, that's indeed very interesting! I never knew that. Frigoris (talk) 07:36, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

the proof is in the eating[edit]

This gets a few hits. Are there enough of them to create it as an alternative-form entry of the proof of the pudding is in the eating / the proof is in the pudding? PUC – 22:52, 22 April 2020 (UTC)


I edited the second sense of -sphere from "layer of the Earth" to "layer or region of the Earth", thinking of terms like Anglosphere and Sinosphere following the ongoing RfV of Slavosphere, but this still seems unsatisfactory to me.

I think there are probably at least two distinct senses here: (1) a global (chiefly?) natural system like the hydrosphere or the cryosphere, where "sphere" literally means the sphere of the Earth (or sometimes another planet), and (2) a figurative usage involving a totality of related things, like the Twittersphere. The "cultural sphere" usage as in Anglosphere and Sinosphere would then be a specific case of the latter, but since it's productive it might merit its own sense (3?). Beyond these there's also (4) a more general literal meaning, e.g. chromosphere. But I don't know if I'm missing anything. —Nizolan (talk) 16:58, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

I have added a third sense. Equinox 18:50, 23 April 2020 (UTC)
Could the second sense (Anglosphere, Sinosphere, etc.) perhaps be a shortening from sphere of influence? Just speculating... 19:01, 23 April 2020 (UTC)
It has a really convoluted history from what I can tell. Victor Mair discusses some of it in this post. The earliest instances of this usage are "Sinosphere" and "Indosphere", apparently coined by James Matisoff in this 1990 article. "Anglosphere" came along later thanks to Neal Stephenson in 1995.
The Mair post spends some time distinguishing it from the 漢字文化圈 ("Chinese Character Cultural Sphere"), but the underlying influence appears in any case to be Japanese/Sinitic: as he says, it was the Japanese historian Nishijima Sadao who popularised the expression 中華文化圏 ("Chinese Cultural Sphere") earlier in the 20th century to refer to the East Asian cultural zone—the here is the same sphere as in Co-Prosperity Sphere. This in turn was apparently influenced by a Chinese calque of an earlier German term, Kulturkreis, literally "cultural circle" (see Kreis). So a circle became a sphere in the transition to East Asia.
The term "sphere of influence" has been knocking around English since at least the 19th century, e.g. "let us imagine two atoms ... and a third floating within the sphere of influence of the two united atoms" (1838), "the sphere of influence assigned to [the deities]" (1838). But as far as I can see, the usage of "sphere of influence" to specifically refer to a country's sphere, or "sphere" to refer to a cultural space more broadly, only takes off with World War II, presumably under the sway of the Japanese usage. So one way or the other, terms like "Sinosphere" seem to be recalling a specific East Asian usage, itself taken from the German for "circle", and have followed their own slightly tortuous etymological route. —Nizolan (talk) 20:11, 23 April 2020 (UTC)
@Equinox: I made a stab at expanding the definition in your sense a bit and split the "global system" and "physical sphere" usages. —Nizolan (talk) 21:48, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

kith and kine (instead of kin)[edit]

I think this is just an error, and I see a similar point has been raised on the talk page before: Talk:kith and kine. Thoughts? Should we merge the two etymologies and senses? Equinox 19:45, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

Do you mean, present two theories under one heading? Otherwise I don’t see how one can merge the etymologies “cattle” and “misspelling”.  --Lambiam 20:07, 23 April 2020 (UTC)
I mean just put it as a misspelling or "eggcorn" or whatever we'd call it, not as a serious-sounding ME derivation. Equinox 20:11, 23 April 2020 (UTC)
Are both in use? Have both been in use since ME? What is the meaning of kynne in the Gower citation? DCDuring (talk) 05:01, 24 April 2020 (UTC)
The Middle English Dictionary renders the Gower quote as "Fro kiththe and kinne With gret tresor with him sche stal." and uses the quote in support of the following definition: "(a) A kinsman, a relative; coll. kinsfolk, kindred, relatives; also, a spiritual relative; neigh ~, a close relative, near kinsman; fremed and ~, strangers and kinsmen; frend (frendes, kith) and ~; nouther ~ no kith (nor win), neither friend nor kin, nobody; (b) kinship, blood-relationship; (c) parents; ?also, ancestors; (d) descendants, progeny; ?heirs." I don't see cattle or property mentioned.
This raises some questions in my mind about the meaning of kith and kine. Could it be best viewed as a misspelling of kith and kin in current usage and an alternative spelling historically? We would need citations of both to try to sort this out. I'd bet on the kith and kine meaning and "cattle" etymology being an invention of someone of antiquarian disposition. DCDuring (talk) 05:36, 24 April 2020 (UTC)

demonstrative adjective[edit]

The page demonstrative adjective lists examples of English demonstrative adjectives: this, that, these and those. Aren't those rather demonstrative pronouns and not adjectives? I'm not sure if English even has demonstrative adjectives; the word such is the closest to what I'd call a "demonstrative adjective" in the English language that comes to my mind. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 20:32, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

@Mölli-Möllerö: When they govern a noun (e.g. this man, that woman, these cats, those dogs), they aren't pronouns either but determiners. However, some grammar books, especially older ones, do call such things "adjectives" even though modern-day linguists would say they aren't. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:11, 25 April 2020 (UTC)

from wall to wall[edit]

This is given as a translation of French de fond en comble (thoroughly, completely, from top to bottom). Is it a thing? Does it deserve an entry? PUC – 10:12, 25 April 2020 (UTC)

We have the adjective wall-to-wall, which can also be used as an adverb, possibly in unhyphenated form ([23],[24],[25]). I think from wall to wall used figuratively is a variant, but I have no idea if it is sufficiently common to deserve an entry. I’m fairly sure the original figurative use derives specifically from wall-to-wall carpeting.  --Lambiam 12:46, 25 April 2020 (UTC)

deepest dye, of deepest dye, of the deepest dye[edit]

Is one of these worth an entry? Among lemmings, only Collins has it.

PUC – 10:19, 25 April 2020 (UTC)

It is a variation on deep-dyed. But is it common enough? One lemon doth not a lemonade make.  --Lambiam 12:51, 25 April 2020 (UTC)


An anon removed the Psittacidae portion of the first definition (which change I reverted):

"A kind of bird, many species of which are colourful and able to mimic human speech, of the order Psittaciformes or (narrowly) of the family Psittacidae."
I bring the matter here because the anon's reaction is a criticism of the definition which, IMO, we should take seriously. In addition, it illustrates the generic problem of the scope of definition of popular words for things that parallel technical names.
The sole citation in our, from Dickens, illustrates little about any aspect of the definition given. The entry has a picture of a fairly typical parrot, which suffices for many users. WP refers to the superfamily Psittacoidea as the "true parrots". Other superfamilies include cockatoos and New Zealand parrots, which seem parrot-like to me, but not quite "typical". The anon is certainly on to something in wondering why Psittaculidae and Psittrichasiidae are not included in parrots. All the species in Psittrichasiidae have vernacular names that include the word parrot. The species in Psittaculidae have vernacular names like budgie or two-part names including terms like lorikeet, lory, parakeet, rosella, bluebonnet, racket-tail, and others, as well as parrot. The order Psittaciformes has species with names including cockatoo, macaw, conure, and kakapo. Finding citations that show the some would call each of these a type of parrot or merely like a parrot seems like the gold standard, but very time-consuming.
Other dictionaries have definitions quite like our definition, the older ones sometimes emphasizing the family Psittacidae, the newer ones the order.
We have the advantage of having educated many of our repeat users to look under Hyponyms headers, so we do not have to include everything in the definition.
A proposed definition, probably too long:
"Any of many species of bird, often colourful and able to mimic human speech, with a distinctive hooked bill and zygodactyl feet, in order Psittaciformes, the most typical of which are in superfamily Psittacoidea."
Thoughts? DCDuring (talk) 18:02, 25 April 2020 (UTC)


The two quotations under the second Scots sense look like English (or, in the case of Joyce, like "English"). So is this an English sense...? - -sche (discuss) 19:24, 25 April 2020 (UTC)

cottonwood hibiscus[edit]

@DCDuring, Chuck Entz, I’ve been looking from the Portuguese name of Hibiscus tiliaceus/Talipariti tiliaceum and was surprised to find that most uses of describe a tree that grows abundantly in the mangroves of South America, which seems to contradict our definition and the Wikipedia page. I suspect our definition and the WP article cover only Hibiscus tiliaceus var. tiliaceus and not Hibiscus tiliaceus var. pernambucense (which some works treat as a different species). — Ungoliant (falai) 19:30, 25 April 2020 (UTC)

That's no doubt true, however... Linnaeus published Hibiscus tiliaceus in the 1753 edition of Species Plantarum, while Arruda published Hibiscus pernambucense in 1810. It looks like the first time that pernambucensis was published as part of the same species was Hibiscus tiliaceus var. pernambucensis in 1949, so any reference to Hibiscus tiliaceus or any of its synonyms before 1949 would be Hibiscus tiliaceus var. tiliaceus or a synonym. After that, it would be a matter of whether the reference used treated the two as the same species or not. If not, Hibiscus tiliaceus would be Hibiscus tiliaceus var. tiliaceus or a synonym. In fact, w:Hibiscus has a redlink for w:Hibiscus pernambucensis, so Wikipedia is at least consistent in not treating pernambucensis in the tileaceus article.
Even when they were considered the same species, most works would only care about the infraspecific taxa found in areas they were familiar with. The only taxon found in most of the Portuguese-speaking regions is H. t. pernambucensis or synonym. As I'm sure you're aware, non-Portuguese/non-Spanish authors are blissfully unaware of most things endemic to Portuguese-speaking areas of South America. It's also true that H. t. t. has a more interesting story: it's native to coastal areas in a wide swath of South Asia and the South Pacific. Polynesian travelers brought the name, lore and possibly the plants themselves with them over vast areas of the open ocean at least a thousand years ago. I'm sure Portuguese works discussing South Asia, Australia and the Pacific islands refer to H.t.t. instead of H.t.p. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:07, 25 April 2020 (UTC)
This turned out to be quite a bit more complex than I expected. I mainly need help with the wording of the definition. I intend to define any name that is attested only in reference to a Brazilian plant as refering only to the pernambucense/pernambucensis variety/species rather than the whole species; my questions are:
  • What taxonomic name I should use in the definition?
  • Is cottonwood hibiscus an acceptable English translation? If indeed the English name refers to both varieties, then it is valid (though I’d word it as “a variety of the cottonwood hibiscus” or similar if the Portuguese name is not found to also refer to H. t. t.).
I have gathered a list of around 100 names (!) that I will need to check for attestation. A couple of hits described an invasive plant of Mozambique, and one described a tree used to make fibre in East Timor; these were the only cases that clearly refered to H. t. t.. — Ungoliant (falai) 23:50, 25 April 2020 (UTC)
This reference may give you a better idea of common names. The name I'm finding the most for the plant in English so far is seaside mahoe, though it's been used for other species. As for Portuguese, w:pt:Algodoeiro-da-praia suggests the name hibisco-do-mangue, which is mentioned here. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:58, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

coronavirus specificity[edit]

The OED's entry highlights the genus Coronavirus first, as opposed to our entry which has the family. There are other genera- is a torovirus a coronavirus? DTLHS (talk) 04:01, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia, the actual genus of SARS-COV-2 is w:Betacoronavirus, not Coronavirus. Apparently there is no currently recognized genus called "Coronavirus". Chuck Entz (talk) 04:59, 26 April 2020 (UTC)
There also is no species accepted by ICTV that corresponds to SARS-CoV-2. They have a species called Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV), but that is for the first SARS. Other sources say that SARS-CoV-2 is not a descendant of SARS-CoV, having recently (late 2019) crossed over from a bat coronavirus, but others call it a strain of SARS-CoV. I am unsure how much virus descent patterns are like those of cellular organisms.
ICTV has created a new phylogeny that places almost all viruses in a phylogeny of realms, kingdoms, phyla, subphyla, classes, orders, suborders, families, genera, and subgenera. We have much revision to do in our Virus entries. DCDuring (talk) 20:25, 26 April 2020 (UTC)
Taxonomic names of viruses are less stable that those of bacteria, chromists, fungi, and protozoa, which are less stable than those of marine animals, which are less stable those of plants, which are less stable than those of mammals. There are many new species of virus and they are relatively ephemeral, with new strains being reconceived as species. We would probably be well-advised to keep a focus on those that affect humans, directly by infecting them or indirectly, by infecting food and other things of interest to humans. But the concentration of research effort in those also makes the names, circumscription, and placement less stable. So we will have to work hard to keep up with developments if we are to be of any use at all. DCDuring (talk) 23:12, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

باره (Persian)[edit]

I am concerned about the IP's edit at diff. I don't know Persian, but I do know the user redundantly added "noun" to the label template. Can someone who knows the language verify the IP's claim that the noun is "quite common in usage, not obsolete"? PseudoSkull (talk) 16:48, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

Pinging @ZxxZxxZ, who created the entry. PseudoSkull (talk) 16:57, 26 April 2020 (UTC)


What is prepizza?. --BoldLuis (talk) 20:05, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

SaltShaker Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - Second Edition (2009) lists the Spanish word prepizza as "pizza base, pizza dough with sauce." Seems attested enough, should be worth an entry. PseudoSkull (talk) 20:16, 26 April 2020 (UTC)


The current definitions are rather disorganised. I'm working on cleaning it up, but there will be inconsistencies in the process. Apologies! Frigoris (talk) 21:09, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

It's mostly done. --Frigoris (talk) 10:51, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

big girl[edit]

Our first sense is "An adult female". I can't say that I am really familiar with this sense. Do others recognise it? Mihia (talk) 14:27, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with it. BTW, sense 3 (effeminate man) is SoP really, since "girl" alone is used the same way, and you can attach "big" to most insults: he's a big idiot, a big Jessie, a big liar, etc. Equinox 14:41, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I added sense 3, and I did wonder about that. However, given that the "insult" sense is (for me) such a clear and obvious use of the phrase, it did seem wrong to me not mention it, given that we have the entry at all. Mihia (talk) 16:44, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
I am familiar with big girl meaning a mature person, at least nearly adult, no longer childish. It is like big boy in "Put on your big-boy pants and make a decision". You can find several contemporary book titles containing "big-girl panties". It's even topical, as in this story headline from Vanity Fair: "GOP Congressman: Lawmakers Must “Put On Our Big Boy and Big Girl Pants” and Let Americans Die" DCDuring (talk) 20:40, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
I'd regard that as the other sense of "an older girl; a girl who is no longer an infant". The reference to wearing different pants certainly seems to suggest no longer being a baby (in diapers/nappies?): so I think here the adult is being scathingly told that they aren't a baby any more, more than that they are an adult. Equinox 21:04, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
I'd agree that the wording is wrong for the sense I've heard. The essence of it is about behavior, making responsible adult-like decisions and accepting the consequences. DCDuring (talk) 23:16, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
We should probably have a definition of girl something like "an offensive term towards boys, weak or sissy, having traditional girly qualities" --Equidrat () 00:37, 28 April 2020 (UTC)
I suppose so. I've made an attempt. Equinox 12:31, 28 April 2020 (UTC)
  • OK, thanks, since there's no support here for keeping this definition as worded, it is sent to RFV. I suppose it should go through the proper process rather than me just deleting it. Mihia (talk) 10:49, 28 April 2020 (UTC)


Could we merge some of these senses? The punctuation mark is not a truly separate sense from the mathematical thing: they are the same symbol, which just happens to have different uses. Equinox 15:09, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

~#Translingual has more uses too, which are also presumably called "tilde" in English. I don't see the need to duplicate all this information across two articles. Maybe we could give a flavour of the main uses under a single sense line at tilde, e.g. "The character or symbol ~, used, for example, ... blah blah", and relegate the detailed breakdown to the article ~. Mihia (talk) 17:30, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
The diacritic might be worth mentioning separately since the word tilde itself is used functionally—"a-tilde" for ã is normal; "tilde 100" for ~100 is not—but agree with collapsing the rest —Nizolan (talk) 00:11, 28 April 2020 (UTC)


Is there any better way to handle the definitions of this term without having 63 senses? Imetsia (talk) 22:16, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

Yes, delete all of them. Mihia (talk) 22:27, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
Under what established rationale? Unciteability (RfV)? Failure to meet CFI (RfD)? This entry is the consequence of a vote about toponyms. DCDuring (talk) 23:22, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
Under the "common sense" rationale. Mihia (talk) 23:04, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
"Common sense" is not a criterion, not should it be. If you want them gone, RfV each one. I would hope that Kiwima would not waste her(?) time on them. You might also combine all for the ones for 'village' or all the toponyms into a single definition and not RfV that definition. DCDuring (talk) 23:32, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with verification that these places exist. It is to do with whether the purpose of a dictionary is to list every tiny place name, street name, bus stop, etc., multiplied by every language that uses the same script. Shall we have the same list in English too? Mihia (talk) 23:46, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
How do we know all of the villages are pronounced the same way? Also they probably all have different etymologies. The page should be split into 64 etymology sections. More research is needed. DTLHS (talk) 23:51, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
I also look forward to the much-needed expansion of San José. There are probably several thousand senses we're still missing. DTLHS (talk) 23:57, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
Sarcasm aside, I think a fully expanded toponymic dictionary with etymologies and other lexicographic information would be great. Copying a list of place names from a Wikipedia disambiguation article (why? because you're bored?) is not that. DTLHS (talk) 00:06, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
Imo it would make sense to have a single "common toponym" sense under the same principle that a surname entry shouldn't list every single person it could potentially refer to. —Nizolan (talk) 16:55, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
We have had an explicit vote that exempts toponyms from the rules that apply to organization names and individual names. It has been a while, so we could revisit the vote. Or we could come up with an argument that my interpretation of the vote is erroneous. DCDuring (talk) 19:24, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
One solution that retains the information, and I think follows at least the letter of the current policy, could maybe be to have a "common toponym" sense with a complete collapsible list beneath it, though it'd need new templates for the purpose. @DCDuring: Is this the vote you're referring to? Nobody seems to have brought up this particular problem there, if it is one, so it might be worth revisiting. —Nizolan (talk) 21:16, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
That's the one. It does seem to imply that, once someone has added a definition for a particular place, it needs to fail RfV or RfD to be removed. DCDuring (talk) 22:06, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
Another issue to consider is what language placenames belong to. It is one thing to have major names such as "London" in multiple languages, potentially with inflections, additional information, etc., and yet another to have large numbers of tiny names replicated across every language. Of course, in some cases places have different names in different languages, and when the script is different this must of course be the case in writing. However, the presentation of 63 names as "Galician" because they are in Galicia seems to be based on an assumption that they are therefore Galician-language words. Is this how it should work? Verification of actual usage in an individual language in order for inclusion seems unbearably tedious to me in the case of tiny names. If someone wanted to refer to "Pereira #45" in an English-language context, then they would call it the same, right? So does that mean it needs a separate "English" entry? That way madness lies. Mihia (talk) 22:48, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
Right, it would be very tedious. So perhaps it wouldn't get done. Thus RfV would be a very reasonable way of getting rid of many of the current definitions. If we end up with three uses of Pereira to name one or more villages, we could keep some such definition as Nizolan suggested. I don't think it's worth much further debate. Better just RfV 60-odd definitions, wait a month, get some cites for one or more reasonable definitions, and delete the uncited definitions. DCDuring (talk) 01:35, 8 May 2020 (UTC)
I don't agree necessarily that RfV in its usual form is appropriate, but it depends on the intended purpose of including (tiny) place names in the first place, and on the intended method of verification for place names. I would say that verification of a place name entails looking on one or more (reliable) maps. Is the intention for Wiktionary to list all place names that are recorded on reliable maps, like a kind of gazetteer? To me this seems more like a separate project, though I suppose there is no absolute reason why it could not be combined. I see no logic in recording (tiny) place names just where we happen to be able to find three mentions of that place in running text, in the normal way. I do agree with what DTLHS says that "a fully expanded toponymic dictionary with etymologies and other lexicographic information would be great", but I think the question is whether Wiktionary aims to be that, and, if it does, what changes to entry layout and procedures need to be implemented. If not, then the CFI would need to be looked at again. Mihia (talk) 23:43, 9 May 2020 (UTC)
The vote seems to me to say that the RfD question has been settled: we do want place names. (I voted no, BTW.) If you want to start another vote, I might well vote no again, unless there is some significant restriction on what is to be included. DCDuring (talk) 02:38, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

quadruple bluff[edit]

Does quadruple bluff really make sense? I cannot think of an example to use this term. --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:38, 28 April 2020 (UTC)

Well, it has citations. You could argue that it's a sum of parts. In reality I doubt that people often bluff this far... Equinox 12:28, 28 April 2020 (UTC)


Dear Community, Dear Equinox, You will remember that we posted a request of amendment last year in February to ensure the quality of the content of Wiktionary’s website. Data quality is in the best interest of the community. We mention in our previous message that TRANSTAINER ® is a registered owned by Paceco Corp. TRANSTRAINER® is a trademark registered for gantry cranes which is the generic term and not the legal term for these products. Following to our previous message, the definition under TRANSTAINER ® has been amended in Wiktionary as follows: Blend of trans- +‎ container; initially coined by the Pacific Coast Engineering Company (now Paceco) as a brand name. We are thankful for this change which is appreciated. TRANSTAINER® is currently registered in numerous countries including the US, Canada, a significant part of the EU for decades. Therefore, the term “initially” in the amended definition could be misinterpreted. In order to assure the respect of the trademark we would appreciate that the term ‘initial’ be removed from the description of TRANSTAINER and TRANSTAINERS in Wiktionary. Your collaboration is greatly appreciated.

Linden & De Roeck

That was a lot to verbiage for a request to remove a single word. I guess you're being paid by the minute. The entry is accurate as is, so I don't have an opinion on this; @BD2412, who added the word "initially". —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:11, 28 April 2020 (UTC)
The entry is accurate. Removing "initially" would suggest that the word continues to be owned. The citations found in print and incorporated into the entry do not include any trademark notice. We need not afford recognition to rights in a word beyond those that the world in general affords to that word. bd2412 T 17:20, 28 April 2020 (UTC)
I'm no fan of adding trademark status info to words, in part for the reasons BD2412 gives here (and others given in prior discussions, linked-to from the talk page of WT:TM). But in this case, the sentence is talking about the word's coinage, a specific, discrete event in rhe past: changing "coined" to "initially coined" mostly conveys (to me) that future uses were recoinages. Is this so, or do we consider it more likely that the word, once coined by PCEC/Paceco, came to be used by other people? Unless we're intending to suggest that future uses were fresh re-coinages, I think "initially" only adds some minor confusion here, and I would be inclined to omit it, or else reword the entry to match other entries which use the phrase "Originally a brand name". (One entry uses the phrase "initially a brand name", which would also work.) - -sche (discuss) 21:00, 28 April 2020 (UTC)
Is it only a trademark if it is all in capitals? DCDuring (talk) 21:35, 28 April 2020 (UTC)
Isn’t this matter also dealt with by the following passage in “Wiktionary:General disclaimer”? “Any of the trademarks, service marks, collective marks, design rights or similar rights that are mentioned, used or cited in the entries of the Wiktionary dictionary are the property of their respective owners. Their use here does not imply that you may use them for any other purpose other than for the same or a similar informational use as contemplated by the original authors of these Wiktionary entries under the CC-BY-SA and GFDL licensing schemes. Unless otherwise stated Wiktionary and Wikimedia sites are neither endorsed by nor affiliated with any of the holders of any such rights and as such Wiktionary cannot grant any rights to use any otherwise protected materials. Your use of any such or similar incorporeal property is at your own risk.” — SGconlaw (talk) 04:21, 29 April 2020 (UTC)
Unless you think the same term can be repeatedly coined with the same meaning, the word “initially” in “initially coined” is as strange as saying that Marilyn Monroe was initially born in Los Angeles.  --Lambiam 06:35, 29 April 2020 (UTC)
A term can be repeatedly coined with the same meaning, as long as the later coiners aren't aware of the existing coinage. I agree that "initially" in the transtainer etymology seems redundant; but, if anything, it would seem to help the trademark owners rather than harm them. Equinox 18:59, 29 April 2020 (UTC)
The early (c. 1960) attestation of the term was not for the term that means "mobile gantry crane". That makes the use of the term initially especially inappropriate and confusing. DCDuring (talk) 01:41, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
The earlier attestation is for a different sense with its own etymology. It could be argued that the trademark coinage was merely an adoption or redefinition of that sense, but I'm not sure how we would demonstrate that. bd2412 T 19:56, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

Meanings of component characters: 薄暮[edit]

Hello all. I come before you to ask that this edit [26] be upheld and not reverted. My rationale for making this edit is that Wiktionary users are highly likely to be unaware that 薄 means 'to approach; to go near' in this context, and I want to share this information with them so that they understand the word better. Reference: [27] "2 迫近、接近。" --Geographyinitiative (talk) 04:46, 29 April 2020 (UTC)

(Similar example 謀生谋生 (móushēng)) --Geographyinitiative (talk) 04:51, 29 April 2020 (UTC)
(Moved from [28]) --Geographyinitiative (talk) 06:02, 29 April 2020 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, why would you think that the edit might be at the risk of being reverted? I can't see anything unusual about your edit. --Frigoris (talk) 08:46, 29 April 2020 (UTC)
@Frigoris In 2018 and maybe as late as 2019, I would sometimes add something like this to some Chinese character words and it would get reverted. The rationale presented at that time was that it was better to present all the definitions that a character might have at once, but I saw it differently and I still see it differently. I see those little definitions above the character as a golden opportunity to tell the readers what a given character means in the context of a given word. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 11:18, 29 April 2020 (UTC)

facing: adjective[edit]

the houses facing
on the facing page

--Backinstadiums (talk) 15:16, 29 April 2020 (UTC)

I feel the rail transport sense and its antonym trailing could do with illustrative usexes.  --Lambiam 21:25, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

in from the cold[edit]

I don't think this entry is much good. The def is "moved from an ineffective position", with one okayish citation (about a footballer being moved to the heart of the defence) plus a mention of Le Carré's Spy Who Came in from the Cold, which I'm sure is irrelevant since it's a reference to the Cold War. Most of the figurative usage I see in Google Books seems to be not about moving to a more effective position but about rescuing from a harsh place of abandonment, like an orphan in the snow: e.g. "She let the thoughts in that were knocking on the door of her mind, begging to be brought in from the cold". Equinox 19:15, 29 April 2020 (UTC)

We already have an entry for come in from the cold. We could create one for bring in from the cold or brought in from the cold. Do we need this? PUC – 22:08, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
I wouldn't think so. I don't even see why we need come in from the cold in addition to in from the cold. I also agree that the present definition of in from the cold is poor or unrepresentative. Cf also leave someone out in the cold. Presumably at the end of this is a figurative sense of "cold". Mihia (talk) 19:24, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
I added a sense at cold:
(with 'the', figuratively) A harsh place; a place of abandonment.
The former politician was left out in the cold after his friends deserted him.
If we give sufficient information here, perhaps we don't need the specific in from the cold entries at all? Mihia (talk) 19:33, 4 May 2020 (UTC)


Hi The Wiktionary page for the ancient Greek word δελφίς has is ending in a short iota-sigma and its gender is designated 'f' feminine. This makes a little sense if it originated as a 'fish with a womb'. However, the declension has it with masculine articles and Liddel and Scott have it as masculine. The declension also has it with long-iota all the way through. Perhaps someone could either correct it or explain the incongruence?

Our page δελφίς marks the iota as long, except in the headword line where its quantity isn't marked one way or the other. But both the pronunciation line and the inflection table show the iota as long. The inflection table also shows the gender as masculine, though the headword line shows it as feminine. I'll fix both of those problems with the headword line now. (Incidentally, I've never believed the "fish with a womb" etymology; it smacks of folk etymology.) —Mahāgaja · talk 21:47, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
Could there be a relationship with ἡ δέλφαξ/τό δέλφος, “sow/pig”? Cf. French cochon de mer.  --Lambiam 21:18, 1 May 2020 (UTC)


A place that sells gill. What meaning of gill is it??? --Elvinrust (talk) 22:16, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

@Elvinrust: Webster's Third has a meaning of gill that we lack, namely a British dialectal word synonymous with tipple (any alcoholic drink). This is presumably related to our Etymology 2. —Mahāgaja · talk 23:20, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

May 2020


I undid User:Bakunla's addition of a macron to the second syllable because it caused module errors, not because I think they were wrong (I wouldn't know). Would someone who knows both Latin and the workings of our Latin declension modules (@Erutuon, maybe?) either fix them so they can handle this, or explain why the status quo is correct? Thanks! Chuck Entz (talk) 02:43, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

Pinging User:Benwing2, who wrote Module:la-nominal. — Eru·tuon 04:55, 2 May 2020 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz, Erutuon Fixed. Benwing2 (talk) 06:23, 2 May 2020 (UTC)
It is a bit strange that the initial I mutates into a J in the oblique cases.  --Lambiam 13:47, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Fixed. — Eru·tuon 22:21, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

location vs localisation[edit]

What's the difference? Is location rather geological and latter rather general? -- 12:51, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

Both words have multiple meanings, which overlap partially. The most common meaning of location is “a particular point or place in physical space”, as in “this is the location where Caesar was killed”. In that meaning, you cannot replace it by “localisation”: *”this is the localisation where Caesar was killed” does not work. Another meaning of location is “an act of locating”, that is, determining a particular point or place in physical space; in that sense it is a synonym of one of the meanings of localisation. To avoid confusion between the act and its result, may authors prefer to use “localisation” when referring to the process of determining the location (position in space) of something. Finally, localisation can also mean something entirely different, namely “making something (appear) local”. The well-known octagonal STOP sign reads ARRÊT in France; this is an example of localisation. Used in this sense, it cannot be replaced by “location”.  --Lambiam 14:16, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

歐式管 or 歐氏管 ?[edit]

I wonder if 歐氏管 (“Eustachian tube”) should be the more common and preferred form. Currently we have 歐式管.

Previously posted in the talk page Talk:歐式管. --Frigoris (talk) 13:12, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

@Frigoris: I think so. Guoyu Cidian and Cross Straits Dictionary have 歐氏管. 歐氏管 and 欧氏管 are also used in Korean and Japanese, respectively. 歐式管 seems to be a misspelling based on 歐式 (European-style), although it is sufficiently common (e.g. [29] [30] [31]). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 17:38, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

brumate, brumation[edit]

Does anyone know enough about reptile behaviour to improve these definitions? A formulation like "similar to X but not the same" is far from ideal for almost all lemmas. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 13:12, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

There seem to be number of states like this in various animal groups that are rather hard to define and distinguish. For insects, it's diapause. The definition there is deceptive, because an insect in diapause can stay in the same place without moving for a year or more. Then there's aestivation, which is the warm-weather counterpart of hibernation (both are named after the season they're associated with). I think torpor is another one. See Dormancy at Wikipedia for more details.Chuck Entz (talk) 19:20, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

slim to none[edit]

Worth an entry? Is it a cross between slim and close to none? It doesn't make much sense to me.

PUC – 12:21, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

The grammar of it, considered as SoP, is non-standard. See slim to none at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 12:26, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
To me, it seems an example of the general pattern "X to Y", indicating a range. Mihia (talk) 22:52, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
Slim is an adjective; none is a pronoun. This indicates a range, but a range would normally involve two terms that were the same PoS. DCDuring (talk) 23:10, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
I know, but I still think it is within the bounds of normal usage: "slim to nothing", "small to zero", etc. Mihia (talk)
But it's much more common and doesn't 'feel wrong' to me. I didn't even notice its ungrammaticality until it was brought here. Your examples do 'feel wrong' to me. DCDuring (talk) 23:27, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
OK, well, to me, e.g. "the chances are small to zero" does not sound wrong all, though I would accept that it is no doubt much less common than "slim to none". Mihia (talk) 00:12, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
I would agree with Mihia that it's a range. I can see why the grammar might be criticised ("slim" is an adjective, "none" is... a noun? or not an adjective anyhow) but the intent is clear. Also "slim" is used to describe chances in many situations, and doesn't require "none" nearby. Equinox 00:16, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

out of a bandbox[edit]

It seems we're missing an idiom here. What should be the title, though? look as if one has come out of a bandbox, look as if one came out of a bandbox, look as if one stepped out of a bandbox, come out of a bandbox, step out of a bandbox, fresh out of a bandbox, out of a bandbox?

PUC – 12:58, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

If anything, just out of a bandbox, because there are just too many variations (“as though it came out of a bandbox”; “like they just stepped out of a bandbox”) with some redirects and a usage note saying that this is used in combination with a variety of verbs whose meaning is “to emerge”. If the etymology and definition clarify this is used in similes about someone’s appearance, it is IMO not necessary to include look and as if in the main lemma.  --Lambiam 15:59, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

be not to know[edit]

Per the discussion at Talk:be not to know, should this be moved to be to, or possibly have no entry at all? PUC – 16:23, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

Be to can have many other meanings: “children are to obey their parents” (obligation), “you are to undergo a radical transformation” (expectation), “it was to keep you safe” (intention). The meaning here, possibility, is not tied to the verb know: “how were we to guess what you meant?”; “how was I to pay that amount?”. This possibility meaning seems to have negative polarity, but perhaps the negative polarity transforms the expectation meaning into that of an unreasonable expectation, as made explicit in “how could you expect me to pay that amount?”.  --Lambiam 15:33, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
As you say, "How was I to ~ ?", meaning "How could I (have) ~ ?", does not seem to be specific to "know". However, I can't at the moment think of any parallels to "I wasn't to know", where "I wasn't to ~" means "I couldn't (have) ~". Is this unique to "know"? Mihia (talk) 20:04, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
e.g. "They should have known I wasn't to be trusted with large amounts of money". Equinox 20:18, 4 May 2020 (UTC)


Ety 6, "Added to lines of poetry and verse to maintain metrics.", definition "Added for metrical reasons to poetry and verse." Probably this is obvious and I'm just having a brain fart, but can I get an example of this? In particular, is it suffixed to (the end of) entire lines of poetry as the ety says, or to individual words? And is it a suffix, or a space-separated particle? - -sche (discuss) 16:29, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

I can only think of this. —Mahāgaja · talk 17:29, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
There is a Christian children's song called I Wanna that does this: in the first verse wanna is rhymed with uponna (and it's clearly not intended to be "upon a"), and there is a four-way internal rhyme between none-a / done-a / one-a / Son-a and gonna. The song also uses the more traditional diminutive -y: In the last verse "oh yes He" is rhymed with messy and transgressy, which are functioning as nouns, not adjectives. I always thought of the -a and -y as being essentially diminutives, used to make the song sound cute ... it's intended to be sung by young children. But now it looks to me like the -a is being used in the sense we requested rather than being a mere diminutive. This is a fairly obscure song but the lyrics of two of the three verses are typed up online, and the full song can be heard on YouTube.
Regarding the other questions, it seems that it can appear in any place within a line, and the author of at least this one song used dashes, making words like "upon-a", which I respelled as uponna because there is no pause before the suffix. Soap 19:58, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, both of you. I've added the first one as an example, which should show readers how it's used. :) - -sche (discuss) 21:13, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

@-sche: What about I need a one dance? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:46, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

I’d have spelled that, I needa one dance.  --Lambiam 15:11, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: how do you parse the whole sentence? where's the verb? Unlike wanna, currently needa doesn't include the sequence need a. --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:19, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
By interpreting needa as need +‎ -a, with the meaningless metrical suffix discussed here. It is a matter of orthography; need-a would also have been fine with me, but need a is not: the sentence cannot be parsed with a standalone a.  --Lambiam 15:43, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
Hmm I thought of another example, I guess .... Jimmy Buffett "Just-a one more" .... and it seems that particular phrase appears in many other songs as well. We seem to have established ample attestation for the requested sense .... though so far all of our examples are songs, so I wonder if finding examples from poems might be more difficult. Soap 15:41, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

Pager codes[edit]

If I wanted to make entries for pager codes like 143 (I love you) and 637 (Always and Forever), would sites like this one and this one count as attestation of use? Few people these days use pagers and people who used pagers likely seldom wrote down what they dialed anywhere else. I would only be interested in listing the ones for which we can provide an etymology. People generally agree that 143 means I love you and that it comes from the number of letters in the words, and there are some where the numbers are meant to be letters read upside down. Soap 17:28, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

Apart from Buzzfeed not being durably archived, that's a clickbait listicle, naming words without using them in a real context; use-mention distinction. (BTW, any such entries should be Translingual, not English, I suppose?) Equinox 17:33, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
Okay thanks. That is going to make this nearly impossible .... though I'll add that my main interest in this is because way back in 1993 I saw a girl write 143 in a letter to her boyfriend. I was mystified and too shy to ask what it meant, and I only found out some years later when I came across 637 online and the person explained to me the meaning and derivation of both abbreviations. I have never used a pager. But clearly the usage of at least some of numbers spread beyond pagers if I was able to come across them in use on the Internet and even in a handwritten letter. So perhaps it's shown up in a romance novel somewhere. Still, I'm surprised you mentioned the use/mention thing as if it were an absolute rule because certainly some of our entries are just taken from other dictionaries? Soap 20:02, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes, some of our entries are taken from other dictionaries, but if they get taken to RFV and found not be actually used, they'll get removed, possibly to one of the "dictionary-only terms" appendices. This doesn't apply to limited-documentation languages, where even a single mention is sufficient for us to include a term, provided the source is deemed reliable enough. —Mahāgaja · talk 20:22, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

"shake off poverty" 脫貧脱贫 (tuōpín)[edit]

I am passingly familiar with the common parlance and special pronunciations used in English language state media and culture in mainland China, and I believe I have found a great example of a "Chinese English" translation: use of "shake off poverty" to translate 脫貧脱贫 (tuōpín), which is used in name of a state/party campaign to eliminate poverty in China. How can we note or tell the readers on the 脫貧 page that 'shake off poverty' is an approved terminology, while 'to lift oneself out of poverty' is probably more in line with American English? I don't mean to say that 'shake off poverty' is illegitimate as an English language phrase, but that it should be noted for what it is- a phrase used almost exclusively in the mainland China variety of English. Here is an example video that I added to Wikipedia as a source that uses the phrase: [32] Google News seems to only have China state media sources using the phrase "shake off poverty". --Geographyinitiative (talk) 05:41, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

I added a 'usage note'- [33] not sure if this is the correct way to convey this information to the readers. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 06:03, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
Hmm... I understand 'shake off poverty', although I wouldn't say it. I don't think it qualifies as an idiom in English, so a usage note in the Chinese entry is probably the best solution here. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:17, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge I agree that the phrase 'shake off poverty' is understandable but strange to the ear. 'shake off' is the kind of emotional feeling that comes from the character '脫' I guess (or maybe they didn't want to use other wordings). I have added some new details about the campaign against poverty that is associated with this wording. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 10:21, 4 May 2020 (UTC) (modified)
Fwiw I came across the entry lodge solemn representation recently which is in the same set of "official translations from Chinese"—notably it's the only member of the category Category:English officialese terms. I think that one is much less comprehensible than "shake off poverty" though. —Nizolan (talk) 21:57, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
If a particular translation is customary, I think usage notes are a reasonable place to mention that. :) Who is the actor and who is the subject of the verb, here, though? "To lift out of poverty" sounds like something you do to someone else: if you do it only to yourself, I'd add "oneself" to the definition, or if you can do it to someone else or yourself, then "to lift (oneself or someone else) out of poverty". To "shake off poverty" sounds like something one does oneself (otherwise I would expect something like "shake poverty off of"). The current definition, listing both, is therefore a little confusing. - -sche (discuss) 18:17, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
@-sche: It looks to be intransitive, as you expected—a quick search suggests "help someone shake off poverty" is the standard transitive form in Chinese media. —Nizolan (talk) 01:41, 6 May 2020 (UTC)



  1. A greater number of people or things.


  1. An extra amount or extent.

Does anyone understand why one of these is classified as a pronoun and the other as a noun? Mihia (talk) 10:24, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

  • I think it is wrong. "More" used to be a true noun, e.g. meaning "high-ranking people" (as in Macbeth, "Both more and less have given him the Revolt"), but as far as I know all these uses are long obsolete. Ƿidsiþ 10:28, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. Do you think both should be pronoun then (assuming we aren't going to list them under "determiner")? Do you have any clear test to distinguish noun from pronoun? Mihia (talk) 11:47, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
Nouns refer to some concept independent from the context. A pronoun depends directly or indirectly on some noun or pronoun, possibly implied or yet to be spoken. Nouns can be modified by an adjective; pronouns normally not. Except for uncountable nouns, nouns can usually also have an article (a(n), the). You can say, “The It girl has a certain ‘It’”, but that is not standard use.  --Lambiam 14:39, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
We should also list obsolete senses (while marking them as such).  --Lambiam 14:18, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
Isn't it used as a pronoun in terms such as "the more the merrier"? SemperBlotto (talk) 15:37, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
Not necessarily: the is not a determiner here. See the#Adverb. PUC – 16:03, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
AHDE and M-W call it a noun in the "the more" construction. M-W also calls it a noun in the definition "something additional : an additional amount", which appears to be referring to a use like "if you run out, there's more in the cupboard", but then later seems to contradict this. Collins calls "more" a noun (rather than pronoun) in all "noun-like" uses under the "American English" heading, but not under "British English", which seems weird to me and may be a random divergence. Other dictionaries seem to mostly call it a pronoun in "noun-like" uses. Mihia (talk) 18:00, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
If “more” in “the more the merrier” is a noun, then surely so are “sooner” and ”older” in “the sooner the better” and “the older the sillier”.  --Lambiam 19:31, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

more (2)[edit]

This definition, under "determiner", is a bit of puzzle to me:

Bigger, stronger, or more valuable.
He is more than the ten years he spent behind bars at our local prison, as he is a changed man and his past does not define him.

I suppose a simpler example of the same kind of use might be "She is more than a friend". I am far from convinced that the definition is optimally written, and since "more" has no noun object, not even seemingly an implied one, I don't really see how it can be a determiner. So what is it? A pronoun meaning e.g. "something extra/additional"? Mihia (talk) 18:11, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

The usex does not make sense semantically, and syntactically the term “more” is not a determiner here. Something like “I felt more woman than ever” is a better fit. I think that “more” in “she is more than a friend“ is best classified as pronoun (“an extra or additional quantity” – although here an additional quality rather than quantity).  --Lambiam 19:25, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
To me, the use of "more" in the usex in fact does make sense (though the part after the comma doesn't flow completely perfectly to my eye). It is saying that the ten years in prison is not all there is to him; there is more than that. In the "more woman" quote that you suggest, I think she is saying she felt more womanlike, not that she felt e.g. a stronger woman, though it is slightly ambiguous. The other slight issue is that "bigger, stronger, or more valuable" does not directly substitute into that sentence. Mihia (talk) 21:44, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
Agreed that the example makes perfect sense to me, though it's a bit stilted. From a phrase like "You're more than that" there is an inferred meaning of "(morally) better", not simply another extra quality. It isn't the same usage as in "more woman than ever". I would analyse it simply as an adjective though—like the terms given in the gloss, or my "better"—and not a determiner or pronoun. —Nizolan (talk) 22:07, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
Thinking about it, the example "she is more than a friend" is probably unhelpful since it generally does refer pronominally to some specific extra quality—lover, ally, etc.—which would have to be understood from context. "He is more than the ten years he spent etc." is better in this sense since it's unambiguous—there's no expectation that something specific is being referred to. —Nizolan (talk) 22:21, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
Adjective. Hmmm. It slightly distresses me to add back an adjective section when the traditional adjective classification of the main modifier usage has been "modernised" to "determiner". On the other hand, if we can definitely show that these uses are not determiner or pronoun ... and there are also cases such as "something more" where "more" seems suspiciously like an adjective. Mihia (talk) 17:38, 6 May 2020 (UTC)


"(specifically) The edible seed of the broad bean." I find it difficult to believe that "bean" by itself refers specifically to the broad bean any more often than to any of a number of other beans (the immediately preceding sense). Should this be removed? Or do we want to try to cite all the other specific kinds of beans anyone has ever referred to as "beans", presumably as subsenses of sense 2? - -sche (discuss) 22:03, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

Yes, a nonsensical specificity. Please remove this abomination from the face of the page.  --Lambiam 17:04, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
I notice that the usage notes (and e.g. the Old English entry) claim that bean originally referred only to broad beans, but Wikipedia, the Middle English Dictionary and Bosworth-Toller contradict this, saying it referred to all different kinds of beans. - -sche (discuss) 18:44, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
Except that the vast majority of beans people in the West eat today are cultivars of Phaseolus vulgaris, which is a New World plant and was therefore unknown to speakers of Old and Middle English. The broad bean is Vicia faba, which is an Old World plant and may have been the only kind (or at least, by far the most common kind) of bean available in pre-1500 England. —Mahāgaja · talk 21:02, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
True. Also, Middle English beeste will not have been used to refer to bush dogs or Tasmanian devils. But that is not a good reason to redefine the sense as “An animal or creature (living thing in the kingdom Animalia), except for bush dogs, Tasmanian devils and other species that were unkown at the time”.  --Lambiam 11:34, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
No of course not, but the Anglo-Saxons knew far more than just one species of animal, while they may very well have known only one species of bean. If King Alfred had somehow been confronted with a pinto bean, there's no way to know whether or not he would have considered it a bēan, while it is fairly easy to predict that Geoffrey Chaucer would have considered a bush dog a beeste if he had ever seen one. —Mahāgaja · talk 12:28, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
The Middle English Dictionary cites a book from the 1400s that refers to Lupin beans as such ("like in colour and in shappe to lupynes i. benes of Egipte" ... "þe mele of benes of Egipte"), and I didn't even try to work out how many other Middle English texts refer to e.g. non-broad Vicia species. Bosworth-Toller says beán meant "a bean, all sorts of pulse; faba, legumen; beán pisan a vetch", and indeed the "Old English glosses in the Épinal-Erfurt glossary" has an example of fugl(a)es bean meaning a vetch. At least some vetches are still sometimes called beans, like Narbon beans. I think there's a case to be made for defining Old English bean as meaning "especially" (but clearly not "exclusively") a broad bean, which is how I just redefined it, but the argument for giving "a broad bean" as a definition of modern English bean is a lot less persuasive, IMO. - -sche (discuss) 05:10, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

beat one's meat[edit]

"to masturbate with a penis"??? PUC – 23:02, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

I think this should be reverted. PUC – 23:05, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
The intention is probably to include trans women who have not undergone reassignment surgery. —Nizolan (talk) 23:08, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
I see. I'll leave it to others to sort it out, but for the record, I don't think "to masturbate with a penis" makes much sense. "to masturbate by touching one's penis", maybe. Or maybe the label "of a male" should be replaced by "of a person with a penis". PUC – 00:00, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
I've reverted it. Mihia (talk) 00:27, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
Don't remember intent, but men can also masturbate by stimulating the prostate directly. Don't really care though.__Gamren (talk) 16:04, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
I think if we could find a better phrasing than "with a penis" there ought to be no objection to mentioning the specific method, and in fact it might help to link in to literal meaning of the phrase. It's just that, to me anyway, "with a penis" sounds kind of weird, like it's a separate item that one employs to do the job. Mihia (talk) 17:31, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
I agree. Maybe something like "to stroke one's penis; to masturbate"? (The only hit I see for google books:"beating her meat" is indeed about a her with a dick, so it does seem to be organ-specific more than gender-specific per se. "Beat(ing) its meat" turns up an interesting array of hits, from monkeys (etc) stroking their penises to figurative usage saying that e.g. the Soviet space program was the Union beating its meat. Not sure if we want a separate sense for that or not; we do have a figurative/extended sense at masturbate.) - -sche (discuss) 03:49, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
Maybe "stroke or rub" would do? Mihia (talk) 19:48, 7 May 2020 (UTC)


Could it be possible that this term once referred to a parentless person of any age (not chiefly a minor)? I note that the missionary translator James Legge (1815–1897) used it thus: "A superior man, when left an orphan, will not change his name." Reading this in 2020, the sentence jars somewhat, so I was wondering if there had been a shift in usage. Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:30, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

I suspect the usage hasn't changed; it's always been chiefly a minor but never exclusively a minor. —Mahāgaja · talk 08:12, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
Is it not exclusively a minor in contemporary usage? The OED defines it as simply "a child whose parents are dead". I would be interested if the non-minor usage could be attested in texts written over the past century. I note all the relevant information at the Wikipedia page points to children. ---> Tooironic (talk) 19:54, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
Then again, I suppose the OED, by way of "child", may mean "one's direct descendant by birth", that is, regardless of age. The example sentences given, however, denote minors ("he was left an orphan as a small boy", "an orphan girl"). ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:20, 7 May 2020 (UTC)


Our entry at crackered marks it as the past tense of cracker, but there is no verb entry at cracker. The only usage of "crackered" I can bring to mind is adjectival, meaning "knackered" (from cream crackered) but I haven't got time right now to investigate further. Thryduulf (talk) 11:30, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

The page was created at the same time as a verb entry at cracker here, reverted there a few days later. —Nizolan (talk) 13:25, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

re-engining - or re-engineing?[edit]

I think the first one is correct, but looking at reengine, where someone didn't bother to format the inflections properly, it made me think. I have just created re-engine, which I consider to be the preferable form. No entries for inflections have been created, mercifully. DonnanZ (talk) 13:51, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

Thanks! DonnanZ (talk) 14:24, 6 May 2020 (UTC)


1. Both you and I are students.
2. There was a great deal of them, lavish both in material and in workmanship.
3. You and I are both students.

Dictionaries disagree about the PoS of "both" used in combination with "and". You can pretty much take your pick. We give (1) and (2) as examples of a conjunction. We don't presently have an example exactly of the form of (3). My feeling is that "both" is most probably an adverb in (2) and (3) at least. Any views? Mihia (talk) 20:17, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

"Villain, I have done thy mother."[edit]

In the quotes for do, sense 21, there's a super cool quote from Titus Andronicus:

Demetrius: "Villain, what hast thou done?"
Aaron: "That which thou canst not undo."
Chiron: "Thou hast undone our mother."
Aaron: "Villain, I have done thy mother."

A centuries-old "yo' mama!" burn! It shows up in modern texts, but the corresponding points in the First Folio (p. 45, left column) and in the First Quarto edition just skip the line. I'd like to properly cite the usage. Does anyone have any idea where that line came from? grendel|khan 00:23, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

The footnote here claims the line is found in all early Quartos, which seems to be contradicted by its apparent absence in the Q1 of 1594 linked to above. However, that Google Books facsimile version skips an entire page just at the critical junction. The line is present (in the spelling “Villaine I haue done thy mother”) in an html edition of Q1. The curious numbering "1759.1" – the last line on the preceding page is numbered "1759" shows, though, that something strange is going on. The line is also found (with a comma, as “Villaine, I haue done thy mother”) in an edition of the 1600 players’ text.  --Lambiam 06:56, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Wow, that's a lot of work! You're right that the page is missing; I noticed that the Google-digitized copy on HathiTrust does have the missing page, though that copy appears to not be on Google Books, confusingly. I've sent the appropriate feedback to the Books team. I'm not sure what the best course is here; I guess I can wait until Google fixes their copy before using the template? grendel|khan 18:01, 8 May 2020 (UTC)
Don’t hold your breath waiting for a Google fix. Which template are you referring to? As long as we have a satisfactory bibliographic ascription to the first Quarto, we don’t need a link to an online copy. And if we need a link, the HathiTrust copy should do.  --Lambiam 19:40, 8 May 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I'm using {{RQ:Shakespeare Titus Andronicus Q1}}... which does have a freeform URL parameter, come to think of it. And there we go! grendel|khan 07:13, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

88 14[edit]

Irrespective of the meaning, can anyone provide a pronunciation for this? "eighty-eight fourteen" or "eight eight one four". Thanks!

In theory, "eight eight fourteen" would make the most sense. I have no clue how it's actually pronounced, and I have no desire to find out, Chuck Entz (talk) 04:35, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
Judging by Google and Twitter search results for various spelled-out versions, it seems like both "eight eight fourteen" and "eighty-eight fourteen" (barely) exist, as well as the other ordering of the numbers (which might even be more common), "fourteen eighty-eight" and "fourteen eight eight". "One four eight eight" also seems to be used, though perhaps more in the same kinds of situations where you would spell out a word letter by letter. - -sche (discuss) 05:37, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes .... the linked Wikipedia article makes clear that it's 14/88, not 88 14. It wouldnt surprise me if both forms were in use just like people play with different forms of hello, but 14/88 or 1488 or some other spelling form is clearly the canonical form. Soap 16:36, 7 May 2020 (UTC)
I moved the page to 1488. - -sche (discuss) 02:38, 11 May 2020 (UTC)


At least one (perhaps both) of the citations relate(s) to human-alien sex. So perhaps that's what it means, rather than just different species (which would cover e.g. Earth dog and Earth wolf). It's so rare that it's hard to tell. Equinox 06:01, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

The things I search for for this website... >.>
Poking around Usenet, I see some uses on furry "sites", but some of those uses specify that they are referring to "alien sex", likewise on a Lovecraft-related "site", there is the line "I wonder what an individual who is sexually attracted to otherworldly spawn > is termed? Apart from "dead" that is.... Xenosexual? Mythosexual?" This is in line with your feeling. On a werewolf "site" (what is the term for these? I keep wanting to say subreddit... newsgroup?), someone opines that "A xenosexual would be someone primarily attracted to strangers or foreigners." and someone on soc.bi speaks of "[being] interested in members of a different sex, which might be xenosexual... I kind of like xeno." I haven't found any further uses of either of those possible meanings, though. I added an "especially aliens" clause. Someone would have to dig a bit further to see if application to bestiality etc (or just to non-alien furries) can be ruled out. Probably some further tweaking is needed to clarify that one of the entities involved has to be human or at least ...sapient?... since as you say, an Earth dog banging an Earth wolf would be sexual action between different species but does not seem to be covered by this term. - -sche (discuss) 02:35, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
(The discussion sites you are talking about are probably Web forums.) Equinox 03:16, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

straight-line: adjective[edit]

1.  (U.S.) in, happening along, or measured along a straight line: straight-line motion; a straight-line extrapolation of growth
2.  (U.S.) having components that are arranged in a straight line 
3. designed to move or transmit motion in a straight line 
4. prorated over a given term in equal amounts payable or deductible at specified intervals: straight-line depreciation
Microsoft® Encarta® 2009

--Backinstadiums (talk) 10:00, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

  • Seems to be attributive form of the noun. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:04, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

zone in (on)[edit]

hone in (on) is a well-known dumbass error (aka, per our usual euphemism, "Some educators or other authorities recommend against the listed usage") for home in (on), but some people also use zone in (on) to mean the same. Is this another mix-up, possibly between hone in and zero in, or is it a valid phrase? Or maybe there is also some overlap with zone in, an opposite to zone out? Mihia (talk) 19:46, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

Probably zoom in. Equinox 01:26, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

Mandate of Heaven[edit]

This split etymology seems dubious to me. Usually era names are transcribed (Tianming, Tiancong, Chongde, etc.), not calqued, right? ---> Tooironic (talk) 22:31, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

@Tooironic: I've opened an RfV. —Nizolan (talk) 05:03, 8 May 2020 (UTC)
Thank you. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:10, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

Auger in Spanish[edit]

I think the whole section about the word auger in Spanish is a fake. I believe this word does not exist in Spanish (it is not present in the RAE). First, auger was put as a descendant in augeō by Then the whole Latin section from augeō was put into auger and some changes were made by the same person. For example, auge was put in the Related terms section. However, this word came from the Arabic. What do you think? Greetings, --Adelpine (talk) 01:56, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

Good catch. Normally, this kind of thing would be sent to RFV, but I've deleted it out of process. This entry was created by an anon known for adding spurious Spanish entries reflecting hypothetical derivation from Latin. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:09, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

Is the spanish plural of lápiz mecánico really portaminas?[edit]

In the singular lápiz mecánico and portamina are both defined as "mechanical pencil" and are tagged as related to each other. Both explicitly declare their plural form to be "portaminas", which obviously makes sense for "portamina" but makes less sense for "lápiz mecánico" except that "lápices mechanicos" is a mouthful and is not listed in the wiktionary.

Here are a few other entries I've found that share a definition with a related word and then borrow its pluralization:

Should these words keep their unusual, explicitly defined pluralization or should they be fall back to what the "likely" pluralization is for each of them even if that usage does not yet have an entry? JeffDoozan (talk) 18:38, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

These are nothing more than copy-paste mistakes by @Vivaelcelta. I have now fixed them. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:04, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

Italian Suffixes[edit]

We seem to have large numbers of Italian suffix entries that are unnecessary. To the extent that affixes can be SoP, we have -arsi, -ersi, and -irsi (as well as some more creative ones like -eggiarsi and -evolmente). There are also some that don't seem to be affixes at all, like -coltura (equivalent of English -culture, as in agriculture, aquaculture, bioculture, etc.; words that should be treated as compounds, not noun-suffix combinations), -terapia (same rationale), and -cismo (an awfully specific particle that happens to apply to a small set of words, but whose general meaning can't really be generalized; we also don't have the English equivalent -cism). There are probably countless other examples, and likely some faulty prefixes too. Do we have any standards for the "SOPness" of affixes or any responses to the comments above? Imetsia (talk) 20:16, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

A prefix can certainly be SOP. I've just nominated -evolmente for deletion; I believe I was the one who emptied and deleted that category, but didn't think to nominate it at the time. -culture has already failed RFD for English and French, so I see no reason not to RFD these as we come across them. Ultimateria (talk) 23:04, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

Latin -formis: is it really best categorized as a "suffix"?[edit]

Currently there is an entry for -formis as a Latin suffix. On the one hand, I think it's likely that a number of people, including some coiners of new specific epithets in biology, think of -formis as a suffix. But on the other hand, my view would be that it is more accurate to see this as just the combination of the base forma and the suffix -is used at the end of a compound word, and I also think that this decompositional analysis is more consistent with the treatment of other words: we don't say that -pennis, -collis, -cornis or -rostris (from penna, collum, cornu and rostrum) are suffixes even though in distribution and sense these endings are closely analogous to -formis. For the sake of consistency, should the entry for -formis be removed as being, more or less, SOP of forma and the suffix -is (as much as an element for making compound words can be SOP)?--Urszag (talk) 18:17, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

@Urszag It's likely that these same people don't think of Latin as a language, but as a subset of English morphology. It's telling that -form is listed as a suffix but shaped or headed as adjectives (which, honestly, what? A shaped and bearded man? A headed goat? It's clearly a bound form, an affix). The Latin item is clearly a SoP - one look at this entry is enough: -is. Brutal Russian (talk) 08:36, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
@Urszag, Brutal Russian: It should be considered as a compound from -forma in classical/late terms at least, but the New Latin taxonomic and anatomical suffix is fixed with a more specific meaning and originated as a Latinisation of Greek -ειδής in preference to the hybridism of -ideus/-oideus (as in conoideus; hard to find online sources on this but e.g.). —Nizolan (talk) 22:33, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
Publicly available article discussing some of it: [34]Nizolan (talk) 22:40, 17 May 2020 (UTC)


1. In a circle around; all round; on every side of; on the outside of. [First attested prior to 1150.]
9. In the immediate neighborhood of; in contiguity or proximity to; near, as to place. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
1892, James Yoxall, chapter 5, in The Lonely Pyramid:
The desert storm was riding in its strength; the travellers lay beneath the mastery of the fell simoom. [] Roaring, leaping, pouncing, the tempest raged about the wanderers, drowning and blotting out their forms with sandy spume.

I am having difficulty seeing why "about" in the quotation supporting sense #9 does not mean "all round", which is the same as sense #1. Can anyone come up with an example that illustrates more clearly how #9 is distinct from #1 (and, of course, from all the other senses that are listed)? Mihia (talk) 21:07, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

For sense 9:
John is somewhere about the woodshed. There were abundant mulberry bushes about the castle.
I would say the quotation belongs under definition one, since it seems clearly distinct from the example I just gave (which I would mark as archaic or at least dated). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:28, 9 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. To me, the mulberry example seems perilously close to sense #2 "here and there in" (assuming it isn't intended as #1, "all around"). Perhaps the singular nature of John and his whereabouts could provide more of a contrast with #2 though. Mihia (talk) 21:39, 9 May 2020 (UTC)
Sorry, actually I guess the distinction of #9 ought to be that John is not inside the woodshed (and if he was, the woodshed would probably be too small for "about" to be suitable, in the way that we can say e.g. "John is somewhere about the house", meaning somewhere within the house). I guess that is what you meant. Mihia (talk) 22:44, 9 May 2020 (UTC)
Anyway, I made the suggested changes, but if anyone wants to look further at this, please note that I have reordered the senses so #9 is now (at the time of writing) #7. Mihia (talk) 22:54, 9 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I think there is a certain degree of ambiguity in most phrases. You'd need context (often including time period) to be sure exactly which sense of about is intended. Perhaps that's why some of the senses have fallen out of common use. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:03, 12 May 2020 (UTC)


This is a bit of a knotty point but I think there's some confusion going on between (reconstructed spoken) Vulgar Latin *-izo and (later literary) Medieval Latin -izo. I suspect that all of the suffixes listed at *-izo as "borrowed" should in fact be listed as borrowed from Medieval Latin. Generally since we treat Vulgar Latin as a reconstructed phase in derivations from Latin to Romance languages, "borrowings" from Vulgar Latin seem unlikely in Romance languages themselves (and indeed Category:Terms borrowed from Vulgar Latin is pretty sparse).

Our entry for English -ize traces it from Vulgar Latin via Old French -iser (we only have a modern French entry). But the suffix inherited in Old French from the VL is -oiier. The French Wiktionary notes that -iser first appears in the 16th century, and lists latiniser from "Vulgar Latin" latinizare as the first attested case, but properly the source should then be Medieval, not Vulgar, Latin, since the derivation is from Latin terms in use in the 16th century. —Nizolan (talk) 03:22, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

I've changed the etymology at -ize anyway to specify Middle French from Medieval Latin rather than Old French from Vulgar Latin given that the French is first attested in the 16th century. —Nizolan (talk) 03:33, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

Monday was a week.[edit]

I have added a Preposition section to was to cover some strange uses I came across recently. It doesn't seem to be covered by most dictionaries (the OED treats it, sort of, under the verb) and I have found it tricky to describe. Any suggestions on possible rewording would be welcome. Ƿidsiþ 07:00, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

I question whether this is a preposition. Wouldn't it be short for "Monday, (it) was a week (ago)", or something of that nature? Mihia (talk) 09:33, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
I also am not sure about this. I put "determiner" first, but that didn't seem right. It seems to form an adjectival phrase now, so I think it acts as a preposition but I'm still not sure what construction it came from. Ƿidsiþ 15:18, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
The whole phrase "Monday was a week" (or "Saturday was three weeks", etc.) behaves like an adverb / adverbial adjunct to the verb of the main clause (like "three weeks ago" or "yesterday"), but I don't think that should make any difference to how we should parse its components. There are two levels of analysis here. Similarly, I have no idea how French à mouchoir que veux-tu is built exactly, but I can see the whole phrase behaves like an adverb. PUC – 15:29, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
It seems to me that the PoS of the whole phrase depends on the sentence context, just as with e.g. "Monday" or "Saturday" alone. For example, in the first quotation, "Miss Lardner (whom you have seen at her cousin Biddulph's) saw you at St James's church on Sunday was fortnight", presumably "Sunday was fortnight", if this is indeed one phrase, cannot be adverbial in itself, but must be a noun phrase, the object of "on". Mihia (talk) 17:43, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
It seems possible to analyze "on Sunday was fortnight" in that case as having the structure [[on Sunday] was fortnight].--Urszag (talk) 18:17, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
I agree. Mihia (talk) 19:30, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
@Mihia: Indeed, I hadn't noticed the preposition in that quote. PUC – 12:46, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

What a fascinating phenomenon. As to what part of speech it is: it's hard to search for examples of this because there's so much chaff, but I'm trying to see if it can be found in the plural or in other tense forms, e.g. "New Year's and Christmas were a week and a fortnight" or "Sunday is a week" or "Sunday will be a week", and it seems like it can. The English Dialect Dictionary, in the entry for "be", has "6. Phr. [...] (6) to-morrow, &c. is a week, a week tomorrow", with these examples:

  • "(s.Wm.) Ye dunnet addle as mickle ta day, as we did Friday was a week, Hutton Dia. Storth and Arnside (1760) l. 28."
  • "(s.Oxf.) Us clubbed together las' Thursday was a fortnight, Rosemary Chilterns (1895) 98.:
  • "(Nrf.) Lizzie comed last Wednesday wus a week (W.R.E.)."
  • "(Suf.) 'Twas there to-morrow is a week (M.E.R.)."

The existence of "is a week", the present tense in what otherwise looks like the same situation, seems like evidence that this is a verb, no? I'd also love to see if it goes any further back. The Middle English Dictionary has "last was, last (Friday)" with citations like:

  • "(1449) Paston 2.104 On Fryday last was, we had a gode wynd."
  • "(1465) Paston 4.126 : He is come ridyng homeward on Friday last was."

but I'm not sure if that's the same (kind of) thing or not, what do you think? As an aside, the EDD also has a preposition be ≈ "by", with plenty of citations, which we're missing. - -sche (discuss) 16:42, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

I added the above-mentioned (and unrelated) preposition be. - -sche (discuss) 04:57, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I had assumed that the usage I added evolved from an earlier form "Friday was" (=Friday a week ago), although I can't remember if I've ever actually heard this or if I'm just imagining it (I don't live in the UK anymore). The present-tense example is very interesting. A future-tense version does exist with "come" – "Sunday come a sennight" for example. Ƿidsiþ 05:33, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

While searching for more examples, I happened to find that this is discussed in David Crystal's 2017 The Story of Be: A Verb's-Eye View of the English Language:

"Some temporal be-idioms are no more, in standard English. How do we nowadays refer to previous Mondays? 'Monday last. [...] Three weeks ago last Monday...' In the fifteenth century, a more succinct expression emerged, which could apply to any specific period of time: Monday was a week. (=on the Monday a week before last Monday)
[...Crystal then quotes the OED's examples, including "since August was Twelvemonth" and "about last Christmas was 4 years"...]
The was is often omitted: I was in London Monday three weeks.
In Maria Edgeworth's The Absentee (1833), the expression is hyphenated: his mistress was in her bed since Thursday-was-a-week.
Some quite complex constructions arose, whose interpretation now requires some effort. What does 'On the evening of Saturday was sennight before the day fixed' mean? [...] The construction may have died out in standard English, but it was alive and well in some regional dialects during the twentieth century, and [...] as recently as 1981."

That doesn't help with defining it, but does help with the part of speech. I can also find examples of "tomorrow will be a week [since X]", "tomorrow will be a week that I have been here", but I'm not sure if that's the same kind of thing as this. - -sche (discuss) 07:45, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

Great find! Ƿidsiþ 16:05, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
OK, I moved this to be#Verb, but left both a usex and a quote of this at was#Verb to hopefully direct readers to be, and added a quote (of what is at least a related sense, if not this exact one) to is. I tried to tweak the definition a bit and also added a second, more complex usex. I am considering adding a usage note to mention that sometimes the verb can be elided entirely, as Crystal says. Further revisions to the definition, criticism of my changes, etc welcome. In particular, if we want to handle "Monday was a week", "tomorrow is two weeks", and "tomorrow will be two weeks" all as one sense (which I am at least tentatively inclined to think is reasonable), then the definition needs to be worded better to cover all three. - -sche (discuss) 19:29, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
I don't think those present-tense examples are the same. Ƿidsiþ 06:46, 14 May 2020 (UTC)
As far as the usexes are concerned, now it reads:
third-person singular simple past indicative of be.
It was a really humongous slice of cake.
I saw her Monday was a week: I saw her a week ago last Monday (a week before last Monday).
Personally I am not a huge fan of this presentation. To be mentioned as one of just two examples of such a common word, it looks as if this obscure or specialised "Monday was a week"-type phrasing is actually a typical and common usage. Mihia (talk) 17:20, 14 May 2020 (UTC)
OK, I dropped the usex (left the quote of real usage, tho), and moved the disputed present-tense cites to the citations page. I added the quotation of Miss M. E. Rope from the EDD. I also discovered the phrase "on tomorrow week", a different but also somewhat odd time-related word usage. Will add a usage note about the possibiltiy of omitting the verb entirely later — may try to find citations first rather than just trust Crystal. - -sche (discuss) 07:01, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
Hmmm, personally I still think it looks odd to have this highly atypical "Tuesday was a week" example as the sole quotation for the sense "third-person singular simple past indicative of be" at was. I think that many people might not even understand what it means without explanation, and might puzzle at what it is doing there and whether it is a typo. Also, the entry for the relevant sense at be says "now chiefly in the present tense; rare and regional in the past tense", but both usexes and seven out of eight quotations are for the latter, which again may be a puzzle for readers. Mihia (talk) 19:34, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

about (2)[edit]

Adverb sense:

1. Here and there; around; in one place and another; up and down.
Bits of old machinery were lying about.

I am not clear what kind of usage "up and down" is referring to here. Can anyone see what it means, or provide an example that is consistent with the "here and there" or "in one place and another" theme? (Note that uses such as "leaping about", which could in some sense mean "leaping up and down", are covered by a different definition.) Mihia (talk) 13:41, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

I think every use of this in its bare form (i.e. not a preposition) could be substituted with around and that it is no more than a synonym of around. Soap 14:13, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
It's true that there are many cases where "about" and "around" mean about the same, and some sort of reconciliation of the two articles is something that I have in mind doing at some point, but personally I would not be happy with removing the separate content at "about" (adverb) and replacing it with the single definition "synonym of around". Anyway, does this observation help with understanding what "up and down" refers to? Mihia (talk) 14:21, 10 May 2020 (UTC)


How is there an Old English translation of this? Scots developed from Northern Early Middle English, so how could there have been an Old English term for it? Tharthan (talk) 15:42, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

Where do you see that ? Leasnam (talk) 15:54, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
Translation table of the noun section. Old English Niðerscyttisc. PUC – 15:55, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
Removed. Added by a US IP who also added terms in Acehnese, Asturian and Kabardian to other entries, which suggests they were using the interwiki links in Wikipedia articles. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:33, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

秋子 vs. 楸子[edit]

A species of crabapple, Malus prunifolia, goes by the name 秋子 in Flora of China[35] and by the homophone 楸子 in Chinese Wikipedia.[36] Is one of these spellings more correct? As I write this we don't have either. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 20:29, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

breathe some relief[edit]

Is this a regional expression? I was sure this was an accidental change of breathe a sigh of relief and was very surprised to find widespread use on line. --Espoo (talk) 11:56, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

There are a couple of literal uses, like "breathe some relief into your muscles" ... here it is clearly no mistake, since the longer form would be semantically inappropriate. The rest I think are just malapropisms .... I note quite a lot of the hits on Google are just requotes of the same article about San Francisco rents, and on Google Books there are very few examples. Soap 16:21, 11 May 2020 (UTC)


I don't like the definition of anterodorsal, "in front and toward the back". Is it front or back? Make up your mind. There is a specific definition in entomology: when the legs of an insect are stretched out to the side, the anterodorsal face is the one on the upper half in front, between the pure anterior and pure dorsal faces. In an insect the anterior and dorsal directions are at right angles to each other. Web searches have left me more confused of the application to humans. Anybody have a clear and accurate rewrite? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 20:59, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

  • I've tried to make it a bit clearer. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:15, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

composition fee?[edit]

Is "composition fee(s)", meaning tuition fees at certain old UK universities like Oxford and Cambridge as well as (apparently) Hong Kong University, a surviving fossilized usage of the obsolete sense 6 of composition, "agreement to pay money in order to clear a liability or obligation"? The judicial usage of "composition fee" mentioned in 19th century books—a fee levied by a court to take a particular case—makes me think so, though the waters are muddied a bit by the fact a few private secondary schools have recently taken to using it to mean paying several years of tuition in advance. Could merit an entry of its own? —Nizolan (talk) 01:15, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

I'm still confused by this after searching for more examples. This source from the 1980s says that the "composition fee" at Cambridge referred to "students taking certain aggregate courses", but that's not how it seems to be used originally: in the 19th century it looks like a "composition fee" at a university was simply a fee paid to gain the right to attend lectures. (Today it is simply a tuition fee for a graduate course.) This reference from the 1830s mentions "a composition fee" being paid by tenants to the lord of a manor for the right to marry someone. Then there seems to be a surviving usage in Indian law where it similarly means a fee paid for a certain right or exemption ([37]). I suspect the confusion is because of reanalysis of "composition" after its "payment" sense became obsolete in English: in Medieval Latin a compositio is principally a fine or a payment in settlement, and it's likely that any legal jargon would have derived from the Latin. —Nizolan (talk) 12:46, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Have created composition fee, I think the examples given support the derivation from the obsolete sense. —Nizolan (talk) 13:19, 13 May 2020 (UTC)

оловок or оловокъ[edit]

(Notifying Benwing2, Cinemantique, Useigor, Guldrelokk, Fay Freak, Tetromino, PUC): In the past оло́вок (olóvok) has failed a couple of times, please see Talk:оловок. I found it hard to find citations. Some IP contributors pushed the term in various places - synonyms, translations, cognates or entries. I am able to find a bit more now, especially if we look for pre-reform spellings. I found a couple of uses in old chemical books.

Vladimir Dal labels the term "оловокъ" as зап. каранда́шъ (karandáš). The abbreviations "зап." must stand for западные наречия/диалекты - Western dialects. He may have meant Belarusian, denying the language its status. The term also appears in other dictionaries - Ukrainian and Belarusian. Well, "Словарь бѣлорусскаго нарѣчія" uses the old Belarusian spelling of ало́вак (alóvak), which was "оловокъ" and Ukrainian dictionaries keep mentioning it as a cognate for the Ukrainian оліве́ць (olivécʹ) and Polish ołówek, e.g. https://goroh.pp.ua/Етимологія/олово#12833

Vahagn Petrosyan has created Appendix:Armenian dictionary-only terms for Armenian dictionary only terms. Shall we re-create or make a similar entry for Russian dictionary only terms? I am not sure we can find enough good citations.

The stress is assumed on the Belarusian spelling/pronunciation. The stem has definitely a reducible "о" in the suffix.


Pre-1918 spelling:

Hint: when searching in Google books in quotes, remove stress marks, remove similar languages from the search. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:02, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

If it is only that it is claimed to be Russian but it is actually Belarussian or Ukrainian then it is not dictionary-only. Since if one saw Russian as broader then it was consequential to see more words in it which we do not see as Russian. And Appendix:Armenian dictionary-only terms was not created by Vahagn Petrosyan but another annoying IP, pretending to have negative knowledge which it doesn’t have. I cannot recommend such an appendix, for most languages; probably for none except English and French. It is too difficult to positively know that something does not exist. And few terms unattestable by the present editors are actually ghost-words. It is just often that words are non-standard, dialectal, obsolete, and there are fewer and lesser corpora for such. For example common knowledge and usage of Russian literature seldom goes before Pushkin, and that’s also where Google Books usually ends for Russian, also because it has diffulties with the font types used for Russian until the early 19th century, and one should not depend on Google anyway. Most Wiktionary editors will go to hell for promoting evil by upholding Google. And for more complex scripts and many of the allegedly “well-documented” languages printing did not even start until around 1800. You may try for the names of fabrics in 16th-, 17th-century Russian, everyday items, like бязь (bjazʹ) / безь (bezʹ) (بز‎), фата́ (fatá) in the original meaning. Original texts with such words are hard to find on Google Books, mostly quotes from inventories (i.e. other texts), and some specialized primary dictionaries; and that even less so for Ukrainian and Belarussian, allegedly well-documented languages. And all of the terms under كپنك(cloak), a term that spread in the 15th-16th century in Europe and then fell out of fashion before reaching any standard. And are the terms in “Dictionary of obsolete and provincial English” mostly made up? No; there just isn’t such a thing as a “well-documented language”, as the larger a language is, the more words there are that exist but one has difficulties to quote; most terms found in medieval Arabic dictionaries can now not be found by searching, and of course the lexicographers did not lie, rarely there has been a confusion. Here, оловок, of course, there is grounds to assume that it didn’t exist: A Belarussian or Ukrainian word was held as Russian. Without specific reason why a word do not exist one should not claim it to not exist, and without specific reason why something be a ghost-word one shouldn’t let a word appear as if it were one. For this оловок there is a specific reason to assume that it doesn’t exist in Russian as defined here but there is no specific reason to assume it is a ghost-word or dictionary-only word since one hasn’t used to claim it as being present Russian-in-the-current-definition. A ghost-word or dictionary-only word is a word that exists in no capacity, and since according to some definitions Belarussian is Russian this word is not a ghost-word or dictionary-only word. Fay Freak (talk) 14:11, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

tu pac : series of difficult hills in competition[edit]

tu pac: in stunt bicycling, an extremely rough or difficult series of hills in a competition (slang) 
[Late 20th century. After the U.S. rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur (1971-1996)]
Microsoft® Encarta® 2009

--Backinstadiums (talk) 15:11, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

I can't find anything whatsoever about this online. Can you? It almost makes me suspect a copyright trap. Equinox 13:03, 14 May 2020 (UTC)

clown shoes[edit]

Are we missing a sense? This article says "'Clownshoes' or 'clown shoes' is a form of mockery. Clownshoes means that something or someone is laughable or absurd, and not to be taken seriously. The expression comes from the preposterous costume shoes." PUC – 20:02, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

How someone use the term to express mockery? As an "interjection"? As part of a phrase? DCDuring (talk) 00:00, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Haven't heard it. There's a handful of Web hits for e.g. "clown shoes politics". Perhaps connected to the recent Internet slang "clown world", describing (from a right-wing perspective) a world that has gone crazy with political correctness etc.? Equinox 00:12, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Seems easier to find without the space. ("While human civilization goes totally clownshoes" [38], "The whole thing on both sides was totally clownshoes" [39], "totally arbitrary clownshoes nonsense" [40]). —Nizolan (talk) 12:28, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
I've heard it used in spoken English (early 2000s New England, well before the "clown world" meme) to informally refer to an incompetent person, sort of an extension of clown, e.g., "the new guy they hired was a total clown shoe". Looking on Usenet, I see [41] "What a fucking clown shoe you are, Billy. Ya got nothing." (2007), [42] "Sorry, clown shoe. I'm not going to click any tinyurl link that you provide [] " (2006), [43] "You have no "professional reputation," you fucking clown shoe." (2015). I'll add them to clown shoe. grendel|khan 00:15, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

Merge ringer etymologies 3 and 5?[edit]

Investigating a possible police sense of ringer (car with fake documents made from reclaimed parts etc.) I notice that we have these two etymologies:

  • Etymology 3, "Probably from ring the changes": (i) proficient sportsman brought in, often fraudulently, to supplement a team; (ii) horse entered into race under false name; (iii) something that can be mistaken for something else due to close resemblance (usu. dead ringer).
  • Etymology 5, "Perhaps dissimilated from Middle English wringere (“stingy person, pennypincher, one who financially oppresses, an extortioner”)": (slang) Any person or thing that is fraudulent; a fake or impostor.

Should we merge the etymologies (and even perhaps the latter two senses)? Equinox 00:22, 13 May 2020 (UTC)

On the face of it, the etymologies seem different to me. Has roughly the same meaning developed via two different routes? Mihia (talk) 20:54, 14 May 2020 (UTC)

turn state's evidence[edit]

What sense of turn is used here? Chambers 1908 also has turn King's (Queen's) evidence: "of an accomplice in a crime), to give evidence against his partners"; and then there's turning approver. Equinox 02:45, 13 May 2020 (UTC)

I think it's "become": you could paraphrase it as "become state's evidence". A similar expression is "turn traitor." There are also phrases used to emphasize a dramatic change in role such as "passerby turned good Samaritan" or "enemy turned ally". Chuck Entz (talk) 04:01, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Agreed, via sense 3 of evidence, "one who bears witness". Also attested as a noun phrase similar to "enemy turned ally", see e.g. here. —Nizolan (talk) 12:23, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Interesting. I'd always assumed the evidence was being "turned" in some way, but couldn't see how. Equinox 12:57, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
No OneLook reference has an entry for state's evidence. Several, including MW, Oxford, and Collins have entries for turn state's evidence. DCDuring (talk) 14:05, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Having looked at Google Books hits for "states|state's evidence", which suggests that virtually all use of state's evidence is NISoP unless used with turn, I have requested a move to turn state's evidence. DCDuring (talk) 14:20, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Sense 3 of evidence looks very plausible, but does not fit the current definition of state's evidence.  --Lambiam 21:12, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Good point. I'd be interested in whether there was use is that sense in this millennium, outside of turn state's evidence. DCDuring (talk) 23:38, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
It probably doesn't fit since the definition currently given is incorrect. It fits perfectly with the definition at e.g. Merriam-Webster. The OED similarly lists "turn [state's/queen's] evidence" under the "one bearing witness" sense of "evidence" and gives a post-2000 example from The Times on 22 August 2002: "Stewart has grown increasingly paranoid since the investigations began, and now even former friends are turning evidence against her." Googling "turning evidence against her" yielded an even more recent result, from 2018 [44] ("her former partner in love and crime turning evidence against her to save his own skin"). —Nizolan (talk) 00:09, 14 May 2020 (UTC)
Also a useful older example from the OED, without the "turn": "Mr. Bartlett Channing Paine comes into court, and, as state's evidence, gives the following testimony" (1886). —Nizolan (talk) 00:13, 14 May 2020 (UTC)
So I guess the lexicographer's at those other dictionaries must be wrong to include turn state's evidence. DCDuring (talk) 02:47, 14 May 2020 (UTC)
Most likely there's reanalysis going on given that this sense of "evidence" is probably obscure to the majority of people. After digging around I found what looks like a clear example of this: [[45] "Requested access to the content of the “state’s evidence” turned in [...] This must not be mistaken with the testimony turned as “state’s evidence”"—here they've reanalysed it as ellipsis from "turn in". I think an entry at turn evidence would be a good idea. —Nizolan (talk) 12:30, 14 May 2020 (UTC)
Also consider that become state's evidence exists Chuck Entz (talk) 14:01, 14 May 2020 (UTC)
The British equivalent is turn king's evidence / turn queen's evidence. SemperBlotto (talk) 14:23, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Found this: 1861, John Henry Willan, A Manual of the Criminal Law of Canada (page 7): "The whole learning of approvements (i.e. trial by the evidence of an approver) is now obsolete being superseded by the modern practice of allowing an accused person to turn evidence for the Queen". Equinox
For the British use see e.g. the Feb. 15, 1697 entry here: "One Cardell Goodman was apprehended for being concerned in the plot against his Majesty and turned King's evidence." —Nizolan (talk) 12:59, 14 May 2020 (UTC)

referee and umpire[edit]

Both pages have the same usage note,

"In general, a referee moves around with the game, while an umpire stays (approximately) in one place."

Are we sure that this is an actual grammatical usage (semi-)rule? Or is it just a historical coincidence that football has referees and cricket has umpires? As a counter example, the referee in tennis does not move around with play (how could he) and is not even on court most of the time during tournaments with multiple games being played simultaneously. In fact the role of the tennis referee as arbiter of rules disputes between player and umpire is more in keeping with the etymology of umpire than with referee. Cricket itself also has a referee with that function. If I were to appoint a referee for my children's game of Monopoly, it seems hardly credible that I would be criticised for using that term rather than umpire. SpinningSpark 10:59, 13 May 2020 (UTC)

I don't think usage notes aren't restricted to grammar. Semantics seems like fair game. I have no opinion on the substance. w:Referee is informative about nomenclature in 37 sports. w:Umpire redirects to w:Referee. DCDuring (talk) 14:31, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
Even accepting that semantics are "fair game", where is the evidence that such a distinction is made. The Wikipedia article makes no such distinction, nor can it be inferred from the 37 sports described. Many of them provide counterexamples. SpinningSpark 17:22, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
It seems that (field) hockey, Australian rules football and netball also have "umpires" that "follow the game" like a referee in football (soccer). I think that the distinction mentioned in this usage note is probably bogus and may be based just on one or two instances that came to the writer's mind. Mihia (talk) 17:45, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
I doubt that this is true even now, let alone for all historical usage of the words. Ƿidsiþ 16:33, 17 May 2020 (UTC)

nemo resideo[edit]

Is that real or incorrect pseudo-Latin? Shouldn't that be nemo residet? The Internet is full of claims that this is an ancient Latin expression, but no reputable site even mentions it. My attempts to find the origins of leave no man behind and no man left behind and evidence as to which is older also failed. --Espoo (talk) 17:09, 14 May 2020 (UTC)

It is pseudo-Latin. "Residet" is right, though it doesn't look like "nemo residet" appears in any classical texts either so it's unlikely to be an ancient Roman proverb. There's another crinkle, though, which is that resideo is intransitive—it's not "left behind by" something, it's better translated as "no one remains". When the phrase "nemo residet" does appear in Medieval Latin texts it means that no one is left behind at a certain location because it's a ruin or under occupation (see this charter for an example: "In prioratu S. Adriani ... nemo residet, nec celebratur ibidem missa", "In the priory of St. Hadrian ... no one remains, nor is Mass celebrated there"). If it followed its historical usage it would either be a very aggressive motto or a rather defeatist one. —Nizolan (talk) 17:54, 14 May 2020 (UTC)
Puzzling out why we have a passive listed for resideo in the first place did prompt me to add a usage note about its transitivity. —Nizolan (talk) 20:48, 14 May 2020 (UTC)

factual -- two senses?[edit]

My impression is that there are two distinct senses of "factual" 1) true, accurate as in "all those claims are completely factual" and 2) pertaining to objective claims as in "most of the factual claims made are accurate, but they are presented in a misleading manner". Is this correctly understood?__Gamren (talk) 23:43, 14 May 2020 (UTC)

That seems accurate to me. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:49, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
I've taken a stab at revising the entry. See what you think. - -sche (discuss) 22:41, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
I like it, but both of the defs make use of the word fact, each using the corresponding sense of that word. I think that would be confusing.__Gamren (talk) 17:27, 17 May 2020 (UTC)


This can refer to both the literary genre and the field of research, correct? Surely these should be differentiated. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:14, 15 May 2020 (UTC)

bar room[edit]

Can this be used attributively with more or less the (pejorative) meaning of cracker-barrel? "bar-room philosophy", etc. I've found this thread but I'm not sure. I'm looking for translations of French de comptoir. PUC – 12:11, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

Something like that: b~ politics for example. Equinox 12:16, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
Thank you. Should we add a sense, or create an entry for the pseudo-adjective bar-room? PUC – 12:29, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
I notice we have an adjective section for water cooler (which I did not add, it was already there before my edits), which is also used similarly. PUC – 13:13, 16 May 2020 (UTC)


Eurytopical seems to be a rare variation of eurytopic, less than 1% as common in a search of Google scholar. Google adds "Did you mean: eurytopic?" I don't see any difference in meaning. Do we dismiss this as a mistake or add it as a rare and/or proscribed variation? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 12:32, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

It looks like it has decent attestation so labelling it a rare alternative form seems right to me. Like -ic/-ical in general the -topic words seem to have reliable alternate forms in -topical (I tested "cochleotopical" from cochleotopic as a random example), and since it's found published in peer-reviewed journals and the like I would hesitate to call it proscribed. —Nizolan (talk) 20:51, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
I went ahead and created it. —Nizolan (talk) 00:46, 17 May 2020 (UTC)

talk through one's hat[edit]

Do we need two senses? I don't really see a distinction. PUC – 13:12, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

The quotations given for sense 2 only make sense with sense 1 ("He's conceited and opinionative and argues all the time, even when he knows perfectly well that he's asserting something as true or valid"??) —Nizolan (talk) 15:53, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
I think the definitions can be seen as distinct as written; the question for me is more whether the second sense actually exists. Collins dictionary [46] gives two senses under the "British English" heading: "a. to talk foolishly; b. to deceive or bluff", roughly reflecting our distinction I suppose, certainly as far as "bluff" is concerned, but only one under "American English": "to make irresponsible or foolish statements; talk nonsense". I am a BrE speaker, but I can't say I am familiar with the "deceive" or "bluff" sense. Mihia (talk) 19:49, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
Also, at [47] I found this sense:
2. To exaggerate one's achievements or knowledge; to bluff or boast.
Dorothy keeps saying she can outrun anyone in our school, but she's talking through her hat if you ask me.
It seemed like the candidate was talking through his hat for a while when the debate turned to the topic of tax policy.
I can't say I understand either of these examples as meaning anything other than "talking nonsense". Mihia (talk) 19:49, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
If the distinction's between general bullshit and intentional deception then I guess sense 2 should specify "falsely assert something". Something else to throw into the mix: a user here also points out with a quotation that the original meaning may have been "to talk drunkenly". —Nizolan (talk) 20:35, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
At that forum they also quote https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/talking-through-your-hat.html, which says that the phrase "began life in the USA, in the late 19th century, with a slightly different meaning from the present one. It then meant to bluster." This accords with my feeling, from looking at some other randomly Googled material, that senses like "boast, bluff, bluster" may be older meanings that have now been supplanted by the "talk nonsense" sense. Mihia (talk) 22:05, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
The way my father used it (learned English 1933 et seq.) was as meaning "hold forth about something one knows very little about.", to use a definition from AHD. I have no specific recollection of hearing it from anyone else.
Thus, it's not necessarily a question of deceit, except perhaps in pretending to knowledge one doesn't actually have. Further, I would allow for the possibility that one could "talk through one's hat" mistakenly, not deceitfully, believing that one was saying was true. DCDuring (talk) 01:59, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
That's more or less how I understand the distinction between the two senses if the sources above are right: 1. holding forth on subjects you don't understand, which doesn't have to involve actual deceit or lying, vs. 2. deliberate bluffing / deceit. I haven't heard sense 2 myself either. —Nizolan (talk) 02:09, 17 May 2020 (UTC)


Potentially not restricted to the mouth, as an IP editor tried to point out. — surjection??〉 13:38, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

google books:"irrumation of" is not netting me anything specifies a particular body part, so I can't tell. I do see one (1) hit for "irrumate her anus sac", and this odd occurrence. - -sche (discuss) 07:52, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
Doesn't seem worth a separate sense; maybe if there really are quite a few such uses, the def could be reworded to "…of the mouth (or sometimes, by extension, of other parts of the body)", or similar. Ƿidsiþ 16:32, 17 May 2020 (UTC)

the gender community, the (anti-)gender movement, etc[edit]

I came across the phrase google books:"the gender community" today, in such phrases as google books:"women and the gender community" (which makes as little sense to me as "Australians and people with accents", or better yet "Australians and people with nationalities"). Poking around, it seems to be intended to mean "the transgender or non-binary community", and this or a similar sense seems to be found also in e.g. ["the" / "the anti-"]google books:"gender movement". (See also Talk:gender ideology.) I'm not sure where, how, or even whether to define this: maybe gender#Adjective as "transgender or non-binary"?? That seems very sub-optimal to me. It's probably connected to the idea that only trans or non-binary people have genders and "normal" people don't, which means it might not be lexical, it may just be a peculiar use of the "usual" sense (much like "I don't have an accent, I speak proper English, only other people from other regions have accents" wouldn't be a reason to add a "new" sense to "accent"). Thoughts? - -sche (discuss) 23:09, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

That's a weird one. "Gender movement", "gender ideology" etc. seem different from "gender community" to me as they refer to the concept of gender, whereas I think "gender community" refers to gender itself. Maybe "gender community" merits an entry of its own—here's one example where it seems to be used as a proper noun: "The ‘Gender Community’ is made up of transsexuals, transgender people, cross-dressers, and all others whose gender identity does not fall in line with the Western dichotomous view of gender" (p. 47). —Nizolan (talk) 02:19, 17 May 2020 (UTC)


How can be included a link in barnstar to go to see more info in Wiktionary:Barnstars.?. --BoldLuis (talk) 23:40, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

It shouldn't be. With rare exceptions, dictionary entries are for users rather than editors, and should not link to Wiktionary-internal pages. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:47, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
It could be linked. {{selfref}} is what you're looking for - it's used on beer parlour, for example. --Undurbjáni (talk) 23:55, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
In this case our barnstar policy page is a mostly empty stub, so not worth doing. Equinox 10:43, 17 May 2020 (UTC)

What is the Latin pronunciation of "Czechia"--How do we know the answer to this question, and does it even make sense?[edit]

In October 2019, I removed pronunciation for the Latin entry for the proper noun Czechia. This had previously been auto-generated by the la-IPA template, yielding a transcription with the extremely unlikely initial cluster [kz] or [kd͡z]. I did not add a replacement pronunciation because there are as far as I know no general rules about the pronunciation in Latin of the un-Latin digraph "cz", and I have no experience with hearing this word pronounced aloud in Latin.

In January 2020‎, a new pronunciation was added with an initial cluster /ts/. While not as improbable as [kz] or [kd͡z], I'm still kind of suspicious about whether /t͡ʃ/ might be used instead (as in the Czech word Česko, the alternative form Cechia, and the Italian word ceco), or whether this term even has appreciable usage in speech as opposed to writing. How should pronunciations for entries like these be evaluated? I don't know the basis of the edit that added the /ts/ pronunciation: maybe it is more than just a guess, but there's no easy way to find out. My own feeling is that it would be better to omit pronunciation than to list a pronunciation that is just a guess, but evidence about pronunciation is harder to cite than evidence about usage of a word in writing.--Urszag (talk) 01:55, 17 May 2020 (UTC)

Terms invented after the death of Latin as a spoken language shouldn't have classical pronunciations listed in the first place and, as for the ecclesiastical, I would hazard a guess that it's "however the speaker would say it in their native language". So I agree the pronunciation should be removed. (Are there even any ecclesiastical instances? "Bohemia" is used in church documents as late as 1978, cf. this letter by Paul VI) —Nizolan (talk) 02:05, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
Hmm, I found a use of "Czechia" in an odd document from 1765, as part of some screed that also includes "Zecchi", "Zechi", "Zichi" and "Zingi" as names that supposedly could have an etymological relationship, which implies that to the author there was some notable similarity in the pronunciation of "cz" and "z" here. Zecchus seems to be the name of a mythological founder figure of Bohemia. Now I also see that there is extensive discussion of the issues of pronunciation and spelling over at the talk page for the Latin Wikipedia article for the country. Interestingly, a native Czech speaker indicates that--maybe because cz is no longer used as a digraph in Czech itself--Czech speakers do in fact use /kz/ when they pronounce Latinized forms spelled with <cz>. Urszag (talk) 02:27, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
Interesting discussion. I see someone else there also mentioned that it'll differ "according to the underlying native language of the Latinist". The book link's also fascinatingly weird. I'm sure it's well-attested in New Latin writing; the problem is that our "Ecclesiastical Latin" pronunciation essentially just indicates how it's read in a church context according to a specific Italian-style standard that really only emerged in the 19th–20th centuries, so I don't think it makes sense to list an ecclesiastical pronunciation if the word itself can't be parsed according to the rules of that standard and has no actual church usage anyway. How Latinists pronounce terms in other contexts is a separate and much more intractable problem—there are different national standards for pronunciation in Latin teaching, for example—which I don't think it's worth getting into. —Nizolan (talk) 02:47, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
(straying off the immediate topic:) I disagree with the idea that terms from after Classical Latin should never list Classical pronunciations, and I've supported it when other editors have changed entries to un-suppress such pronunciations, since all our "Classical" pronunciations are based on modern theories rather than period audio recordings(!) anyway. (It's been suggested before that the label should perhaps be changed to "Classicist" or something, either generally or at least in the case of "post-Classical" words.) We also give all the [Latin] words a normalized spelling (in lowercase, etc) without regard to whether it was attested in that period. However, if in this specific case we have a sequence of letters and don't have a basis for knowing how that sequence would've been pronounced, then sure, omit the pronunciation. On rare occasion entries use "like X" or "see X" instead of IPA; if we have reason to think this would be pronounced like Cechia we could say something like "probaby like Cechia". - -sche (discuss) 07:44, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
Hmm, I'm not sure I agree with that reasoning. Late Latin can definitely include it as a next best thing, but to me the reconstructed classical pronunciation indicates how a term probably was spoken by native speakers of the language (around the time of the Principate). Even after the classicising wave of the last century or so the pronunciation of most modern Latinists typically only approximates this reconstructed classical pronunciation and varies by country. I won't go round suppressing it in existing entries but I've set classical=no in entries I've added for Medieval Latin coinages. —Nizolan (talk) 10:30, 17 May 2020 (UTC)


What's refer to in 黃俄? --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:52, 17 May 2020 (UTC)

Skin colour (cf.) —Nizolan (talk) 19:23, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
@Nizolan, should we have a racial sense at (huáng)? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:45, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: It would fall under sense 4 of English "yellow" right? Granted I think it's considered slightly less intrinsically offensive in Chinese than in English —Nizolan (talk) 10:58, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
But I'm asking about the Chinese entry, which doesn't have such a sense. @Justinrleung? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 14:50, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: I guess so. It doesn't seem to be commonly used outside of 黃種, but I can think of one instance where that's used on its own - in the song 耶穌喜愛世上小孩 (Jesus Loves the Little Children, translated from the English song). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 16:49, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
@Justinrleung: Would you mind adding that to the entry? I was going to, but I'm not sure what context label to use, and I wouldn't be able to add the quote from that song correctly. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:10, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: Yes check.svg Done. Some versions of the song use 紅黃黑白棕 (equivalent to the version with "red, brown, yellow, black and white" in some renditions of the English), which would be more obviously independent of 黃種, but I chose the version that is published in a hymn book, which has 紅黃黑白種. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 18:14, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
I can see a few attestations on Google for 黄色力量 too ("yellow power" in the racial sense), though they need to be disentangled from other political uses of "yellow". —Nizolan (talk) 18:27, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

There're some uses (what its entry calls "short for") not included yet, such as a bound nominal form for 黄金; for more info. see about elasticity --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:39, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

Ellipsis notation[edit]

[48] Equinox 12:25, 18 May 2020 (UTC)

To summarize my points, is there any particular reason or guideline to use {{...}} or {{nb...}} just to generate "[...]" instead of just typing the latter if one is not wishing to use the tooltip feature of those templates? At the moment, using the templates just seems like creating unnecessary transclusions. Why not reserve the use of those templates for situations when it is actually desired to use the tooltip feature, like this: {{...|Some text that doesn't need to be displayed}}? — SGconlaw (talk) 13:33, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Those templates generate the single ellipsis character "", which people may not know how to type directly, rather than three separate dots. I don't know how important this is though. Mihia (talk) 13:54, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
It adds extra machine-readable info too (e.g. classes for the square brackets), though how useful that is I can't say. At any rate transclusion isn't an ill by itself so if someone else troubles to add the template I wouldn't remove it. —Nizolan (talk) 14:16, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
The original logic by Equinox was completely valid, too. Sometimes the merit of being machine-readable is just because we know that original text and Wiktionary annotations are fundamentally different things, and we can easily conceive of an algorithm or bot needing to access that difference, so we put in the work beforehand to facilitate future work. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:14, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

about (3)[edit]

Examples are sought for the adverb sense "Near; in the vicinity". I am reasonably happy that this does actually exist, but I have been unable to come up with good examples that are clearly distinct, especially that are distinct from the sense "Here and there; around; in one place and another". I have deemed uses such as "there's a thief about" to be adjectival not adverbial. Mihia (talk) 13:50, 18 May 2020 (UTC)

Does something like "His house should be right about here" count? —Nizolan (talk) 19:26, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
If interpreted as an adverb, I think "about" would mean "approximately" in this example (which is a separate definition). If it means "near", I would say it is probably a preposition, and in fact we already have this for preposition:
In the immediate neighborhood of; in contiguity or proximity to; near, as to place.
John is somewhere about the woodshed.
Mihia (talk) 20:09, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Fair point. How about something like this quotation: "the watch which was lying about on the deck" ([49]—can't be the "here and there" sense since it's one object and not a preposition since "on the deck" isn't a noun phrase).—Nizolan (talk) 20:54, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Does it seem to you as if "about" does really mean "near; in the vicinity" in that example? Mihia (talk) 17:23, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes. Does it not to you? (Incidentally I was looking for "lying about" since the OED cites a very similar one for the "in the vicinity" sense—"Lying about was what seemed to me to be the old altar-stone"—but I wanted to avoid throwing in yet another OED quote.) —Nizolan (talk) 19:04, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
To me, no, not really, not in ordinary use. I interpret "lying about" as meaning "lying somewhere random-ish", like what "here and there" would mean if it could apply to a single location. Originally, as of the time of the OED quote, no doubt it meant what they say, but for me the modern, more colloquial sense of "about" dominates in all these kinds of "V-ing about" examples that I have been able to come up with. I can see the "in the vicinity" sense, but it is a stretch, and feels archaic, like something out of an old book. Mihia (talk) 21:35, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Mm, the difference between "somewhere random-ish" and "in the vicinity" seems much smaller to me, given that the sense isn't literally somewhere random but somewhere in a definite area. Fwiw the OED combines "around the place" and "in the vicinity", so e.g. (as an example I've made up) "reeds growing about the river" would also be the same sense. Of course both the OED's and my own example for the singular usage are indeed from old books. —Nizolan (talk) 21:59, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

they's: singular they[edit]

Is they's also used for the singular they? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:35, 18 May 2020 (UTC)

"Singular they" does not need an entry and the red link is misleading. Give an example of the sentence you are imagining. I don't think "they's" is a normal word used by normal humans. Equinox 18:50, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
@Equinox: there's somebody in that house, but I can't see what they's doing --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:30, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums:. No; singular they, like singular you, still takes the plural verb: "I can't see what they're doing". —Mahāgaja · talk 19:53, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
"Eye's right and they's wrong" is the title of a 2007 book. They's is readily attestable in dialog in books. Also, in some uses it seems to be short for there is or there are. It also sometimes seems to reflect the addition of a pluralizing -s to they: “You go in there y'self, and they's be cuttin' the price way down on you." And even possessive -'s: "Said they needed a proper community for they's child if it was to blossom."
I don't know how widespread the use is in actual speech, as opposed to in fictional dialog. It does appear in works by Ring Lardner, John Steinbeck, H. P. Lovecraft, the Brontes, Norman Mailer, James Agee, Damon Runyon, George R. R. Martin, James Whitcomb Riley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Tennessee Williams, Studs Terkel, and a host of lesser and newer authors, starting in the second half of the 19th century. DCDuring (talk) 23:34, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I think "Eye's right and they's wrong" is probably a use of non-singular they with non-singular 's (as already described somewhat in the entry, although this phenomenon occurs in other dialects than AAVE).--Urszag (talk) 02:08, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Certainly for almost all the authors above, most of the print attestation is not AAVE. DCDuring (talk) 03:38, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
I should clarify I was talking about standard English, not nonstandard varieties in which plural subjects take singular verbs. I suspect in AAVE, Backinstadium's example sentence wouldn't have copulas anyway: "There somebody in that house, but I can't see what they doing". —Mahāgaja · talk 06:25, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
As others said, standard English uses are with both singular and plural they. But to OP's question: if a speaker uses singular is together with plural they, I'm sure they will also use is with singular they.
I've also met people who used the standard they are for groups or an unknown person, etc, but overthought things when talking about one non-binary person and used they is in that case; it wouldn't shock me if that were even CFI-attestable. But I'm not sure any of this affects our entries, since it seems adequate to define they's as a contraction for "they is" without specifying exactly which senses of the third-person pronoun "they" apply. (Naturally, we could do a better job of specifying what dialects it's found in, and I would add a separate line for occurrences of "they's" that use etymology 2 of they and mean "there is".) - -sche (discuss) 09:09, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
I have always used "they" for a person of an unknown sex where some use "he/she" or "he or she". And, @Backinstadiums: I have always used "are" with it, in those cases. Tharthan (talk) 14:05, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
@Tharthan: are you an AAVE speaker? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:14, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
No, but... AAVE is not exactly standard (at least, not the broadest form of it). I thought that you were asking about standard English. Tharthan (talk) 16:44, 19 May 2020 (UTC)


This has been listed as "dog's name" in Dutch since the page's creation in 2004. Can someone move it to Fik if it's attestable? Ultimateria (talk) 04:19, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

die Zeit[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:

i was wondering if Die Zeit sounded like deceit; what a name for a newspaper!

So for the first time ever, i listened to a Wiktionary audio file. Two, actually, both from the Zeit page:

  • (file)
  • (file)

Does audio (Austria) actually say "die Zeit" instead of just "Zeit"? Is that acceptable? My guess is the "the" should go. How does a person edit an audio clip on Wiktionary? (Probably download it, edit it, delete the old, and upload the new, not that i know how to do that either. Oh, well; i'm probably not allowed to anyway unless i register an account.)

If audio (Austria) is correct, is Audio incorrect? If both are correct because the word has different pronunciations in different regions, then Audio should specify where that pronunciation is common. Change Audio to audio (Germany), perhaps? (Assuming that's where the pronunciation occurs.) And maybe put the Germany version first, since the word is so German-y.

To quote a comic strip, donkey shorts. 04:59, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

Yes, File:De-at-Zeit.ogg is die Zeit, not just Zeit. But we have a lot of audio files for nouns with the definite article, especially in French. I don't think it would be desirable to edit someone else's sound file like that, at least not if the intent is to overwrite the original. It would be acceptable to upload the edited version under a different file name, though. But probably not necessary, since File:De-Zeit.ogg already has Zeit without die, and there's no significant pronunciation difference between the two. —Mahāgaja · talk 06:23, 19 May 2020 (UTC)


's: = us pron. Now dial. exc. in let's = let us (colloq.).
1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 100 What'll ye gie's?

What does gie mean here? give? how's it pronounced? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:08, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

See the Scots entry at gie. Tharthan (talk) 14:09, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

luh: love[edit]

luh seems predominant for the non standard pronunciation of (only the verb?) love (see I Luh Ya Papi ) . Likewise, final /v/ sounds are lost in many other words, but I do not know what phonological context triggers it --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:14, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

I have also heard love (usually intentionally nonstandardly) pronounced with /f/ instead of /v/. Dropping the consonant altogether sounds very nonstandard indeed to me. But we could add an entry if it's citable. There do seem to be enough hits at google books:"I luh you" (and two at google books:"luhs you" and one at google books:"luhs her", with two of those three being "I luhs"), and one of the top ones makes the curious claim that "I can say, “I luv you” or “I luh you” and they would both sound the same, even though they are both a “short” form of love; no one would ever know the difference until I spell it out". - -sche (discuss) 00:27, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

insomuch as[edit]

Shouldn't some of the senses of insomuch be moved to insomuch as, the way we also have inasmuch as and not just inasmuch, insofar as and not just insofar, and inasfar as and not just inasfar, for the common senses of those words which are likewise [now] typically bound to "as"? - -sche (discuss) 18:24, 19 May 2020 (UTC)


Note at https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/largesse :

Regional note: in AM, use largess

Does anyone know what "AM" means here? Mihia (talk) 19:45, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

It seems to mean American English. Why they abbreviated it, I dont know .... there's plenty of room on the page. Anyway my hunch is based on what I get when I look at pages like https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/lift , https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/indicate , and https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/about . Soap 20:55, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Hmm, thanks, yes, it seems you may be right after all, though I have never heard of such an abbreviation, and it is also completely inconsistent with the entries on the same page, which give "largess" as an alternative spelling for British English but not for American English, where they give only "largesse". Ngrams also gives "largesse" as the most common spelling in AmE, just as it does for BrE. Mihia (talk) 21:20, 19 May 2020 (UTC)


Sense 2:

(computing) More likely to be exposed to malicious programs or viruses.
a vulnerable PC with no antivirus software

Is there really a distinct computing-specific sense of this word? Mihia (talk) 20:26, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

What would convince me is if we took the example sentence and stripped off the second part, and just used "a vulnerable PC". Would people know we meant software? Probably we would be understood, as opposed to someone thinking that e.g. the PC was sitting under a leaky ceiling or on a slanted table. But those situations are of course far less common than the intended sense so .... I dont know, I guess I dont really have a strong opinion here. But I also wanted to say that I think that vulnerable to me implies "naked; unarmed; unshielded" as if something that is normally present has been stripped away. That would eliminate the ceiling and table situations. Soap 20:41, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
To me, "a vulnerable PC", without more information, could mean any of those things: vulnerable to malware, vulnerable to being knocked over, vulnerable to being stolen -- anything, just depending on context. Mihia (talk) 21:39, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
I agree, though I wonder if this sense was added because of the technical usage of "vulnerability" as a noun in cybersecurity. I could perhaps see the argument for a subsense. —Nizolan (talk) 22:04, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
To me it might be worth a usage example under the common normal definition (#1). Otherwise we would need subsenses for every context-dependent kind of vulnerability. I would contrast this with the missing bridge sense of vulnerable, which most dictionaries have. I haven't found any other dictionary that has a specialized computing definition. I'd put it through RfV.
AHD has 5 subsenses, without an explicit unifying sense:
a. Susceptible to physical harm or damage: "trees that are vulnerable to insects."
b. Susceptible to emotional injury, especially in being easily hurt: "a lonely child who is vulnerable to teasing."
c. Susceptible to attack: “We are vulnerable both by water and land, without either fleet or army” (Alexander Hamilton).
d. Open to censure or criticism; assailable: "The mayor is vulnerable to criticism on the issue."
e. Susceptible to loss or poor performance: "a team that is vulnerable going into the tournament."
DCDuring (talk) 23:24, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
I wonder whether RFV is appropriate since there is no doubt that "vulnerable" can mean this -- just that it can also mean countless other things too, so why single out this one. Mihia (talk) 19:57, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

pronunciation of lacunae[edit]

At -ae, we list three possible pronunciations, /-i/, /-aɪ/, and /-eɪ/ (of which the last one seems to closely match the Ecclesiastical Latin). In Merriam-Webster's entry on lacuna, they also give the pronunciation of lacunae (the only dictionary I have found which does), and they give it as either /-i/ or /-aɪ/. Can lacunae also be pronounced with /-eɪ/, like (according to our entries) words like alumnae or formulae? (I would think so, but finding evidence is...nontrivial.) - -sche (discuss) 22:06, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

I think /-eɪ/ usually is much rarer than the other two for -ae, and I agree it's probably at least influenced by the Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation (where /-aɪ/ is classicising and /-iː/ is the inherited English one). As it happens anecdotally I'm fairly sure I do recall hearing "lacunae" pronounced with /-eɪ/, maybe not coincidentally in the context of academic discussion about Catholicism. It wouldn't raise my eyebrows at least. —Nizolan (talk) 22:19, 19 May 2020 (UTC)


In Roman Catholicism, "material" is applied technically to sins with a meaning something like "present in its characteristic objective behavior, but not necessarily performed with the knowledge that would make the sinner morally culpable". An example of this is the term material heresy, which should really be SOP with this definition in mind, but could be widespread enough compared to other "material sins" to be considered a fixed phrase.

That could merit a sense at material, but it's derived from the scholastic concept of the material cause, which is why it's contrasted to formal (from formal cause). I think—and Google suggests—that there are other cases where "material" is used that reflect specifically this derivation rather than any of the existing senses, for example in law (e.g.), but I'm less sure about them. Can anyone shed light? —Nizolan (talk) 23:51, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

@BD2412 might have insight into whether a sense like or related to this is also found in law. I can find some examples of "material crime" being contrasted with "formal crime", but two are clearly referring to religious crimes, and in one case specifically heresy. - -sche (discuss) 00:20, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
I don't really have any insight into this. In law, we literally use the language of materiality to indicate that something matters. I have not come across the "material crime" distinction before, but have mostly encountered the term with reference to material facts, material statements (i.e., if you lie in a deposition about whether you saw the crime, that's a material fact, whereas if you lie about what you had for breakfast and it has nothing to do with the controversy at issue, it's immaterial), and material variations from contractual terms. bd2412 T 00:51, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
I am only familiar with this in "material heresy", which means heresy that is not a sin, because it is unintentional. The sense is that the "matter" for sin is present (such as a heretical belief), but ignorance or some other factor precludes it from being sinful. Since a quick Google search reveals that "material sin" is a term in use, perhaps it should have its own entry (given that AFAIK most theologians would maintain that it is not in fact sin), with an additional sense at material to cover the sense used in "material heresy." Alternatively, if the sense used in "material sin" is predominant, the entry for "material heresy" could be kept and an additional sense added to material to cover the sense used in "material sin." Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:41, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

Category:English terms spelled with '[edit]

This category, which I resurrected today, had seemingly failed RFD in 2012. However, I couldn't bear to believe that that RFD, whatever its result, could possibly be valid. Due to the widespread use of the apostrophe in the past centuries, it is no longer possible to document English without apostrophes. Once we move into the coming 1984 style newspeak phase of English, then apostrophes will be eliminated. But before we get there, we haven't gone there yet, and hence I'm advocating for keeping this category. "Slowly but surely, the apostrophe has been forgotten or purposely left behind in an increasing array of words." --Geographyinitiative (talk) 01:31, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

Do not waste your time manually adding entries. You should edit I have edited the standardChars field for English in Module:languages/data2. DTLHS (talk) 01:41, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for your help. Let me know if there are objections or problems arising from me doing this. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 02:25, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
These "English terms spelled with" categories are only useful with characters that are rarely used. It's precisely because the apostrophe is a basic part of English that one would want to delete its categry. It's the same reason we don't have "English terms spelled with e"- it would be like a category for "bodies of water that are wet", or "Mandarin terms spelled with Chinese characters". Chuck Entz (talk) 03:25, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
In that case the category should be deleted again for having been recreated despite a previous RFD. @Geographyinitiative, if you feel that the category should be revived for some reason, you should file a request for discussion at Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/Others. — SGconlaw (talk) 05:36, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
To me, it seems that the "bodies of water that are wet" and "Mandarin terms spelled with Chinese characters" analogies are invalid comparisons because apostrophes are not part of the alphabet. To me, this very obviously qualifies as useful category because it's a character that is relatively rarely used and is not a bona fide letter (not in the alphabet). I added the category to Wikipedia's page on apostrophes [50] so let me know if you do delete this. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 05:51, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
I have come close to getting banned on Wikipedia for my love of the apostrophe which had been described by other users as obsessive or bizarre if I remember correctly, so I may be too forward of an advocate for their continued use and I bow to the wisdom of the community on this issue. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 05:53, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
I've deleted the category; please start a discussion on the page mentioned above if you feel it should be recreated. I'm also a stickler for apostrophe use, but having a category for entries that contain one is not, in my view, particularly helpful for this cause. — SGconlaw (talk) 09:03, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
@DTLHS: think you'll have to edit "Module:languages/data2" again to remove the apostrophe until a proper undeletion discussion of the category has occurred. — SGconlaw (talk) 09:07, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I let my annoyance at your over-the-top, baseless DRAMAH!!!! goad me into a knee-jerk reaction. I stand by the general principles that I stated, but in this case the category itself wasn't unmanageably full. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:37, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
As long as we're already checking pagenames to determine if they contain any of the characters we do categorize by, is there a cost associated to checking for additional characters? I imagine there may be. If the cost were not high, I would say: why not categorize even the common ones? I mean, if someone wants a list of English words spelled with "x", why not let 'em have it? (If the answer is "because it would be hella expensive, Lua-memory-wise", then I understand, but otherwise, what's the harm?) - -sche (discuss) 09:27, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
Personally I've no objection one way or another, but since there was a previous RFD discussion the correct procedure should be followed for re-creation of the category if thought fit. — SGconlaw (talk) 10:33, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
While there's probably no technical justification for categorically banning these, I am concerned about clutter. If this were taken to its extreme, it would lead to multiple "filler" categories added for each language section. No one is proposing that, but we have a large number of entries with dozens and dozens of categories at the bottom, and I don't want to make it worse for little or no benefit.
I also have a philosophical concern about proliferation of contentless filler- what I like to call the "well, duh!" factor. We have an editorial responsibility to choose what we present and not just throw things in because we can. I think some people forget that technology is a tool to accomplish things, not a reason on its own to do them. Yes, we can create categories for words that have both "c" and "n" in the same word, or that don't contain the letter "r", but is this information useful? We only have so much real estate on the screen- we don't need to look for ways to fill it up. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:37, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes (to Sgconlaw's point), I agree this shouldn't be recreated without re-discussion per procedure. For my part, I just wanted to feel out if there might be support, or a big technical impediment, to (discussing) creating such categories generally. To Chuck's point, if we did it, we should probably "hide" the "basic" ones the way we do maintenance categories (like, display "English terms spelled with ḱ" but hide "English terms spelled with k"). But, while there have been one or two times when I could've used a list of "[X] terms spelled with [Y]" for some [Y] we didn't categorize, I've survived not having them, heh, so I don't suppose it's pressing. (I don't recall exactly what I was doing that I wanted the full list. I ended up using AWB to search a database dump or dump of all page titles for such entries, though AWB maxes out after a certain [albeit high] number of entries.) - -sche (discuss) 20:11, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

I'on't: I don't[edit]

Mostly in AAVE, and mainly in the sentence "I'on't know", e.g. here, here, here, here, and even y'on't --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:59, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

Academic theory --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:42, 20 May 2020 (UTC)


Does list'ning or list'nin(') represent a common pattern to signal syllabification? --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:10, 20 May 2020 (UTC)


This is the first time I have added IPA for an English entry. Could someone please check it is written correctly? Thank you. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:53, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

@Tooironic: I've made it approximate (North American) English sounds. It's probably not a good idea to just take the Mandarin IPA and take out tones. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 06:52, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks mate. ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:41, 21 May 2020 (UTC)


The examples "Le debo 7,14 €." and "J'ai payé 10,14 €." on the page , (comma) have their language codes in the source code of the wiki pages, but the language names are not visible in the page. I think they should be. The example "Le debo 7,14 €." should look like "(Spanish): Le debo 7,14 €. ― I owe you €7.14", but I'd guess it would be better to make the template behave in that way rather than adding that manually to the wiki page. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 10:58, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

Actually, 99 percent of the uses of that template are in language sections, where displaying the language is a bad idea. Why make the template more complicated just so we can accommodate the occasional usage example in a translingual section? Chuck Entz (talk) 14:46, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
I've added the language names using the q= parameter. – Einstein2 (talk) 15:04, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

cartoon character[edit]

What about the figurative usage:

"That charlatan became a cartoon character in his disgusting display of irresponsibility this morning."

, meaning, "exaggerated villainous figure" or (in other usage) "wacky, ridiculous figure"? Tharthan (talk) 18:10, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I've mostly heard this as cartoon villain (e.g. "my opponent, who was a cartoon villain, stole the voices of Georgians" [51]). —Nizolan (talk) 20:45, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

Do „drunter“ and „drüber“ count as being prefixed with „dar-“?[edit]

I have just created drüber, which is an alternative form of darüber in colloquial German speech, after finding it high up on User:Matthias_Buchmeier/German_frequency_list-1-5000 as a redlink. Its standard form is in Category:German words prefixed with dar- for obvious reasons. In the case of the antonym darunter/drunter, both pages are not in this category. I am new to editing Wiktionary, so I'm not sure how to proceed here: should I manually add all three to the category (or maybe just darunter?), should I add the etymology dar- + unter to darunter and manually categorise the alternative forms for both words, or something else entirely? --Der Trutinator (talk) 11:00, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

It's probably better to treat them as alternative forms normally are treated: leave the etymology to the man form unless there's something unique to the alternative form. That way you don't clutter the prefix category with multiple variations on the same word. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:50, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

add in quadrature[edit]

I added an example of the phrase "add in quadrature" to the second definition of quadrature but I'm not confident it belongs there. Any opinions? Does it go where it is, on a different or new sense, or on a page of its own for the phrase? Add in quadrature means take the square root of the sum of squares, i.e. the side of a square that has the same area of squares with sides equal to the two values being added in quadrature.

Definition and example:

  1. (mathematics) The act or process of constructing a square that has the same area as a given plane figure, or of computing that area.
    • 1982, “Theory of generation‐recombination noise in intrinsic photoconductors”, in Journal of Applied Physics, volume 53, DOI:10.1063/1.330006:
      The derived expression for the g‐r noise consists of a thermal component and a background component which add in quadrature.

Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:00, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

I don't see how it can belong under this sense. It seems different altogether. Does the "square root of the sum of squares" meaning exist only in the phrase "add in quadrature", do you know? Mihia (talk) 22:12, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
No other use comes to mind, but I can't swear I haven't seen it. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 22:25, 21 May 2020 (UTC)


Does anybody have an example of noun sense 3 of hawk, "An advocate of aggressive political positions and actions", prior to the Vietnam War? It's a hard sense to search for. (At least for me without an OED subscription.) Vox Sciurorum (talk) 22:23, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

After writing the preceding question I checked war hawk which has that phrase going back to the 19th Century. But I'm still curious when it was shortened to just plain hawk. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 22:27, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
The OED lumps this in with a broader figurative definition that we don't seem to have. Their sense 3 says, "Applied to a person, in various senses derived from the nature of the bird of prey: e.g. one who preys on others, a rapacious person, a sharper or cheat; one who is keen and grasping; an officer of the law who pounces on criminals (as in vagabonds' phrase, ware the hawk [...]). Also in Politics, a person who advocates a hard-line or warlike policy, opposed to a dove [...]." They have citations going back to 1548, which seem to be fairly metaphorical in use. The first clear citation they have for the political sense is from 1962, in reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 04:05, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the research. With that clue I found a use from the Cuban Missile Crisis and added it as an example. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 11:57, 22 May 2020 (UTC)


Is there a case to be made that carnet d'adresses, carnet de bord, carnet de commandes, journal de bord, and/or livre de bord are SOP? I have too little knowledge of French to really know, but just a cursory look at these words makes me suspect they might be. Not to mention, the fact that there's 19 derived terms of the form "carnet de/d'/a [X]" (mostly redlinks) on the carnet entry leads me to the same conclusion. Imetsia (talk) 00:28, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

These all feel like set phrases to me (which is why I've created entries for them), but yes, they're borderline cases. Maybe it would be better to have them as usexes only at carnet, journal and livre. I really don't know. PUC – 13:46, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

Raise a hand against[edit]

Reading about the rfv for a sense of raise one's hand, it occurred to me that we don't seem to have coverage for this archaic-sounding expression, which means to attack or threaten. One could substitute "lift" for "raise", and "a" for "one's", or insert "in anger" before "against", so I'm not sure where the lemma would be. Am I missing something? Chuck Entz (talk) 03:29, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

There is also raise a finger against. Equinox 09:46, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
The latter being a negative polarity item, right? DCDuring (talk) 13:35, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
Not exclusively. "Woe betide you if you raise a finger against her" etc. Equinox 15:38, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
That kind of conditional is one of the contexts that licenses the use of negative polarity items. DCDuring (talk) 23:01, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

superhabitable planet SoP?[edit]

Is this more than a p~ that is s~? The entry talks about "exomoons" etc. Equinox 09:53, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

  • Looks pretty SoP to me. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:56, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
    Especially given our definition of superhabitable, but does superhabitable appear in any other collocations? DCDuring (talk) 13:42, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
    Answering my own question: world, moon, candidate, zone, exoplanet, star, galaxy. Superhabitable can also appear after copulas. Also, it seems silly to call the word "not comparable", whether or not we can find attestation at this time. DCDuring (talk) 13:58, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

English "mes"[edit]

Sample citation:

  • We'd book the whole restaurant of romantic tables for two and take over the lot. Yous and 'mes' everywhere having fifty different conversations simultaneously and trying out the entire menu and wine list all at once. It's like speed dating in fast forward.

I think we need to add a noun me to cover this usage of the pronoun. However, does this usage automatically derive from the pronoun and therefore not need an entry? Is the plural unobvious enough that it merits an entry?

For English, it seems that one of the commonest occurrences of "mes" is as a typo for 'times'. If I add the plural of "me" as a noun, should I also include this typo? --RichardW57 (talk) 11:36, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

I wouldn't bother with the typo for this or any other short string of characters.
You can see why other dictionaries don't bother with the noun PoS for the uses you've identified, but it doesn't seem wrong. DCDuring (talk) 13:39, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes, this is rather like it#Noun. Somebody or something can be "an it", hence plural "its". Please don't create the typo for "times"; it seems worthless clutter. Equinox 17:21, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
(Straying off-topic) this reminds me of something which I'll post in the BP about in a sec, because it's more general than just this one word. Btw, another plural we're missing is google books:"adulterings", which I picked at random while trying to find an example of an attestable plural we didn't have, but have subsequently come to think is probably inclusion-worthy. - -sche (discuss) 19:44, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

Audio clip at raudus[edit]

Can someone please check the audio clip at Latin raudus ? Thanks ! Leasnam (talk) 15:58, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

AAVE deletion of alveolar stops before -ing[edit]

They riding for us /ˈɹaɪjɪn/ (min: 2:12). I'd like to know whether whether it's represented somehow in writing.

Secondly, what phonological process enable it? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:10, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

See -in'. Historically, it is the dropping of voiced stops after nasals, which was largely reversed in the case of the alveolar (a.k.a. dental) stops. Thus, we have the frequent pattern of lamb and sing, but only a few words like bine.
If you read that again, you'll see that what is meant is the loss of the sound before -ing, not at the end of it. As for the question, I suspect it's part of the same process that converts a lot of oral final stops into glottal stops for many US speakers, and the well known Cockney loss of some medial consonants. This seems like a sort of fading of phonetic distinctiveness in sounds away from primary and secondary stress: if all you're paying attention to is the sound at the start of a stressed syllable, it doesn't really matter whether another sound at the start of an unstressed syllable is velar or alveolar- or glottal. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:15, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
I'm clearly not up on the relevant lexicons, because I interpreted the verb form as wriʼinʼ. British English habits will record a glottal stop after a vowel by an apostrophe, but I didn't think that was restricted to Britain. Larry Niven's singular fiʼ of fithp in Footfall is the same spelling convention. --RichardW57 (talk) 22:29, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
@RichardW57: See here --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:23, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

stiff as a post (stand stiff as a post?), stiff as a stick, stiff as a flagpole, stiff as a ramrod (straight as a ramrod?)[edit]

Worth entries? PUC – 11:24, 23 May 2020 (UTC)


Adverb sense:

Introduces a disappointing or surprising outcome. See also only to.
They rallied from a three-goal deficit only to lose in the final two minutes of play.
I helped him out only for him to betray me.

As far as it can be assigned to a traditional PoS, I think that "only" is a conjunction in these examples, not an adverb. I'm listing this here before I move it, just in case other people disagree. Mihia (talk) 14:11, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

We have only for as a conjunction and it feels like the same "only". Equinox 14:22, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

nomen invalidum[edit]

The plural doesn't seem to be rendering correctly. Do translingual terms have plurals? We all know it's really Latin anyway. Equinox 14:53, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

I have seen similar terms used in the plural following Latin rules. The specific word nomen invalidum may be limited to botany rather than taxonomy in general. Zoology and botany have different names for similar concepts. There's a missing technical sense for legitimate which is used in botany and not in zoology. Vox Sciurorum (talk)
I added a quotation and then something occurred to me: is it right to put an English-language quotation below a Translingual definition? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 23:10, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
There are no rules for Translingual entries. DTLHS (talk) 23:14, 23 May 2020 (UTC)


Does this Russian word mean 'accordion' or 'piano accordion'? The Russian Wikipedia page is linked to "Piano accordion" in English Wikipedia, but on the other hand, the title of the Russian Wikipedia page for 'accordion' is "Аккордеоны" which is just the plural form of аккордеон. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 09:32, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

I don't know Russian, but w:ru:Аккордеон does distinguish between клавишные аккордеоны (klavišnyje akkordeony, piano accordions) and кнопочные аккордеоны (knopočnyje akkordeony, button accordions), so it does seem that аккордеон (akkordeon) alone does not necessarily refer exclusively to the piano kind. —Mahāgaja · talk 14:59, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

by nature[edit]

Worth an entry? PUC – 14:25, 24 May 2020 (UTC)


The second example sentence for sense#1 reads "The frequency of bus service has been improved from 15 to 12 minutes." Since I am not a native speaker, would you agree that the "from 15 to 12 minutes" part is confusing or simply wrong? The question came up here [52]. And also, why is it labeled uncountable? What is wrong with "The frequencies of bus services A, B and C have increased"?--Debenben (talk) 16:25, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

in: 'n[edit]

Google Books offres several examples of "what'n / how'n the hell" --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:32, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

English tends to reduce vowels in unaccented syllables, and when those syllables end in a sonorant the reduced vowels can disappear altogether, leaving a syllabic sonorant. That's not at all unusual- many speakers do it all the time except when they're being very careful to enunciate. Indicating it with an apostrophe is just a stylistic device to emphasize the informal nature of the person's speech- a textbook case of eye dialect. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:13, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

Plurale tantum sense of Esperanto hejmtaskoj[edit]

My understanding is that hejmtasko, "homework" (from hejmo "home" + tasko "task"), actually cannot be used in "all senses", as its entry currently states. Rather:

  • The singular hejmtasko means "a homework assignment", but
  • The plural hejmtaskoj can be either:
    1. the ordinary plural of hejmtasko, meaning "homework assignments", or
    2. a plurale tantum sense of hejmtaskoj, meaning "homework in general, as a concept or as a student's ongoing obligation".

That said, this understanding is based entirely on feedback correcting me for using it wrong. Neither form of word is found at all in La Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto (PIV) or any other reference source besides Wiktionary I've found. (If hejmtasko/j were an ordinary compound word, that would be unsurprising, since PIV doesn't bother with defining self-explanatory compounds, but this unusual plural would ordinarily require an entry.)

Might someone have a source for this so it isn't just anecdotal? (I know some non-English languages have English Wiktionary portals to connect with other editors of interlingual entries, but I haven't found one for Esperanto—if it exists, a link would be welcome so I can bring this up there, too.)

If it seems sufficiently attested, I'll happily do the editing work necessary, which I think consists of:

  1. Modifying the definition in the hejmtasko entry
  2. Adding senses to hejmtaskoj so it isn't merely an inclusion of {{eo-form of}}
  3. Adding a link from hejmtasko to that new sense
  4. Altering hejmtaskojn to point to hejmtaskoj instead of (or in addition to?) hejmtasko
  5. Adding hejmtaskoj to Category:Esperanto pluralia tantum.

But I need more than "people randomly correcting me" to feel this is really attested.

Thanks! TreyHarris (talk) 19:59, 24 May 2020 (UTC)