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.

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Tea room archives edit

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Oldest tagged RFTs


January 2016

this is why we can't have nice things[edit]

Can there be an entry on this expression? It is used quite humorously sometimes. 22:10, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Have a look at Wiktionary:Criteria_for_inclusion to see if it fits in with what should be covered on Wiktionary. --JamesPoulson (talk) 07:06, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

dead skin[edit]

Do we currently include the relevant sense of dead skin at dead? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:58, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

"No longer used or required." works for me. DCDuring TALK 04:11, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Not for me. It looks pretty straightforward: "No longer living". It's true that, technically speaking, even parts of living skin are already dead, and the distinction is based on a serious over-simplification- but that's the concept behind it, as far as I can see. Likewise, a vacuum isn't really the 100% absence of air, and black isn't the 100% absence of reflected light- but that's how you explain it. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:53, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
I do think we need a sense of dead that's wholly or partially synonymous with necrotic. I'm not sure if dead skin is considered necrotic, though. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:40, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think a word like dead should have any definitions that need medical education to understand, because the medically educated would typically use other words to make fine distinctions and most use of dead is outside of a medical technical register. DCDuring TALK 11:17, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
"No longer used or required" sounds weird to me - we don't use or require our skin, do we? And we don't describe a body part or organ as "no longer living" do we? I'm tempted to add an entry at "dead skin" because I don't see how we can define "dead" in this term. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:07, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
This isn't about you, at least not the conscious you. It is that your body doesn't need it and your body's homunculus inside can't do much about it. DCDuring TALK 12:47, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

PLK at the start of a German postal address[edit]

Does anyone know what this means? Equinox 02:54, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Probably w:de:Postlagerkarte. - -sche (discuss) 04:54, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
It is the abbreviation for Postlagerkarte, explained in English here and at Wikipedia-logo.png Postlagerkarte on the German Wikipedia.de.Wikipedia:Postlagerkarte. I'd never heard of it and still don't fully get it. DCDuring TALK 04:56, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. That makes sense; it was an author's address given out publicly in the text of some 1990s software. Presumably used to avoid giving out the real home address, like a "P.O. box" in Britain. Equinox 12:35, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Peases (горох)[edit]

The entry for горох could do with a usage note or similar: this Russian noun is said to mean "peas", but that's the singular. So I am left wondering what the plural does? Imaginatorium (talk) 09:19, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Like some other nouns for fruits, vegetables "горох" is a collective noun, plural "горохи" is seldom used, more like "types of peas" and "горошина" is an individual, single pea. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:24, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Imaginatorium Examples - купить гороху (partitive case) or купить горох/гороха - to buy (some) peas. Other similar words - лук, картофель, чеснок, укроп, фасоль, виноград, вишня, etc. The rule is not universal for all fruits and vegetables, e.g. помидор, огурец, арбуз, etc. will require proper plurals in such cases--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:31, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Is this similar to English cereal or wheat? — Ungoliant (falai) 16:31, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV: To me it feels most similar to the English word rice (and in fact the Russian word рис ‎(ris) works the same way). I guess this is because when I picture rice, the individual grains are always distinct. --WikiTiki89 16:52, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
It was a close analogy, anyway. Benwing2 has added usage noted, thanks!--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 20:05, 4 January 2016 (UTC)


Anyone here clued up about Polish onomastics? If so, can you shed any light on the etymology of this Polish surname, please? Apparently, it's nominal, rather than adjectival, which is supposedly unusual for Polish surnames. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 16:15, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Zuba (using Czech or Ukrainian phonetics) from ząb. —Stephen (Talk) 19:12, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Stephen: Thanks! So, Zuba means "tooth", yes? If so, is this etymology correct? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 23:06, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that’s right. Or you could also add the information about Czech and Ukrainian. If Zuba had been derived by Polish speakers, it would have been Zęba, but it was made by Czech or Ukrainian speakers who did not know how to write Polish vowels. —Stephen (Talk) 23:16, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
I added more details to the etymology. --WikiTiki89 23:21, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Stephen, Wikitiki: Thank you both. I've looked at the declensions of all the descendants of the Proto-Slavic *zǫ̑bъ ‎(tooth), and they all have genitive singulars ending in -a / -а apart from the Czech zub, whose declension table states that its genitive singular is zubu; @Dan Polansky, can you confirm whether or not the information given by that declension table is correct, please? It would make sense that Ukrainians coined this surname — given that the guy I know who has this surname is from Stalowa Wola and that the only person with this surname I could find an article for on Wikipedia, Maria Zuba, is the Member of the Sejm for Kielce — but why, Stephen, do you say that it was coined by Ukrainians or Czechs? Could it not just as plausibly have been coined by White Russians (зу́ба), Sorbians (zuba), Russians (зу́ба), Yugoslavs (zuba, зуба), or Slovaks (zuba)? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 14:45, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
It really doesn't matter that the genitive is zubu in Czech, since it could easily have been "corrected" in Polish. Linguistically, there is no reason it couldn't have come from any of the languages you listed, but realistically it likely came from one with which Polish has a lot of contact. The surname itself might even have been coined in Polish, just using a borrowed stem. --WikiTiki89 15:55, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: I told the guy I know (henceforth “Mr Zuba”) that his surname derives from a Slavic word meaning “of a tooth”, but he was incredulous, maintaining that “it [sc. his surname] means nothing”. Unfortunately, I don't feel I currently have much evidence with which to convince him of your and Stephen's theory. For example, if the name had been coined by Czechs, is there any early (pre-“correction”) evidence of this surname being spelt *Zubu? (Alternatively, the Czech declension table may simply be wrong, which possibility seems more likely once you consider that it's generated by the code {{cs-decl-noun|zub|zubu|zubu|zub|zube|zubu|zubem|zuby|zubů|zubům|zuby|zuby|zubech|zuby}}. Since Dan Polansky is yet to tell us whether or not it's correct, I ping @Auvajs, Droigheann, Jan.Kamenicek, JanSuchy, Jklamo, Mormegil, Silesianus — the other members of Category:User cs-N with contributions since the beginning of 2016.) How do I convince Mr Zuba? Where and when did his surname first occur? Was it applied, as a nickname, to someone with big teeth? Or perhaps just one tooth? Or sarcastically to someone toothless? Or does “of a tooth” have a more figurative sense here, perhaps with “tooth” signifying martial prowess in some way? Is there grammatical evidence for his surname's origin in a genitive singular form of a common noun in its indeclinability? Or, if Zuba does now decline, was there a time when it was indeclinable? I would appreciate any evidence, citation, and/or argument you could provide to which I might have recourse in my conversations with Mr Zuba. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 01:52, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
I think the Czech genitive zubu is correct. There is no hard evidence that this last name must come from the word "tooth", but it is almost a certainty that it comes from something, whether its bearers are aware of it or not. "Tooth" is just our likeliest theory. --WikiTiki89 02:16, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Incidentally, I did just come across the last name Ząbkowski, which clearly comes from ząbek (diminutive of ząb) + -owski (forming last names). --WikiTiki89 02:23, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, the Czech genitive of zub is indeed zubu, although as pointed above, zuba is the genitive in Slovak. That said, I fail to see why this should have anything to do with a Polish surname. I can't think of a Czech surname which would be a common noun's genitive except where the noun denotes persons, presumably ancestors, e.g. Matějů/the Mathews', Kovářů/the smiths' &c. --Droigheann (talk) 06:38, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Although I think that there can be a connection with the Czech word "zub", it is not certain. The genitive "zuba" would be possible in Czech only if the word was considered to be animate (inanimate genitive is "zubu"), which could happen after it started to be used as a surname, but I doubt that the surname Zuba was formed in such a strange way. I do not think it is possible to find out the etymology of the word without the knowledge of its historical usage and historical forms. By the way, nowadays only 4 people in the Czech Republic have such a surname (see [1]), so it might not be a Czech surname at all. The fact that the words Zuba and zub are surprisingly similar does not have to mean that they have common etymology. I can also imagine that it was derived from a different surname like Szuba (though also not very probable). --Jan Kameníček (talk) 09:20, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Zuba is a fairly common surname in two Polish provinces, w:Województwo świętokrzyskie and w:Województwo podkarpackie (Subcarpathia). The provinces are adjacent to one another and border on the Ukraine and Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia). The idea that it might be Czech is due to the earlier name of Slovakia. So it is more likely from Ukrainian or Slovak, not Czech. The Slovakian genitive of zub is zuba. Mr. Zuba is mistaken...all names originally meant something. The meaning behind Zuba is that it originally was a nickname for someone with a prominent or noticeable tooth. Even though it’s a genitive form, it does not mean "of a tooth." It’s just that the genitive is a common way to form a surname. It just means "the Tooth." The Polish surname probably originated in Subcarpathian province, and a Polish citizen of Slovakian or Ukrainian heritage probably wrote it as Zuba. —Stephen (Talk) 15:46, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Devanagari ष़[edit]

What's the transliteration of "ष़" ( with a nuqta)? This rare symbol is supposedly used to transliterate "zh" ("ž") from South Indian languages. Which ones? Should it be "ẓ" or "ž"? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 11:10, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

No takers? Meanwhile, I have changed Hindi transliteration module Module:hi-translit to use "ẓ" but I still need to know its pronunciation and usage. One example I found on the web was आलप्पुष़ा ‎(ālappuḻā). @DerekWinters, Wyang, Aryamanarora. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:30, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Ooh, I found some stuff! w:hi:आलप्पुष़ा जिला has a Malayalam translation of ആലപ്പുഴ ‎(ālappuḻa) included. Great lead by the way! —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 01:00, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
See also w:en:Alappuzha district. It has audio as well. —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 01:07, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Aryamanarora Thanks. Do you think the Malayalam transliteration is correct? In English, it's spelled "Alappuzha". What sound does "ḻ" represent? Or should Hindi transliteration be changed instead? (I'll have a listen later, is it Malayalam or English pronunciation?) --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:09, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Atitarev: This is puzzling. The pronunciation is Malayalam - the end sounds like Hindi [ɽä], but the article w:Malyalam script says the letter at the end is [ɻa] ( ‎(ḻa)). I can't make heads or tails of the ष़. —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 01:15, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Aryamanarora Thanks. OK, let's park it until we get more info. It may as well be that Hindi is a misspelling, no? For 'ḻ' there is a letter (Malayalam = Devanagari , not ष़?). And [ɽ] and [ɻ] may be different (erroneous) ways to render the same sound? [ɽ] sounds more plausible and makes more sense why it's "zh". The Chinese (Mandarin) sound is often transliterated as "zh" and in Russian it's ж (English rendering "zh"). Mandarin (ròu) is жоу (žou) in Russian. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:27, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm voting for "ř", reason is that it's a retroflex 'r' sound. Wyang (talk) 03:09, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Wyang Sounds good to me. Do you want to change it?--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 08:18, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Yep, no problem. Done. Wyang (talk) 10:34, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
You have my पूर्ण समर्थन. —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 15:08, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I have been on vacation and just got back. So, ഴ is most definitely ɻ. Malayalam ള is equivalent to Devanagari ळ as it is simply the retroflex l. The zh came into use for transcription for ഴ because of the Portuguese when first coming to India. From the sources I've seen before, including the Hindi Wikipedia article on the Malayalam script, ഴ is transcribed as ऴ. However, specific articles, like that of the Alappuzha district and Kozhikode use ष़. I personally would always use ऴ but it seems ष़ is used due to English influence. I think the two are equivalent and that ष़ should be given ḻ as well. Having done some searching around on Hindi sites, it seems ष़ is used primarily for Malayalam transcription and is also an acceptable choice compared to ऴ. DerekWinters (talk) 01:41, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── So you're suggesting to change it to "ḻ". I kind of liked "ř". @Wyang, Aryamanarora Any opposition to changing it to "ḻ"? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:11, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Basically yeah. I see no difference between the two in usage. DerekWinters (talk) 05:18, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm fine with ḻ, as that is what Malayalam uses for the transliterate ration of ‎(ḻa) on Wiktionary. I did think ř was cool though. —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 12:55, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


Why does it not get a page. Utonian is now a word in Utah. It is someone who was born and raised in Utah. "I am A true Utonian."

See WT:CFI#Attestation. --WikiTiki89 20:36, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Trawling through Google Books I'm not finding much besides the yearbook of the University of Utah and a song called "Utonian Automatic". There's this that uses it as an adjective synonymous with Utahn/Utahan, and then there are this and [2], which are only snippet views, so I don't have enough context to figure out what they're referring to. I suspect they're referring to a fictional country being used as a placeholder in an example scenario, but I'm not sure. Otherwise just incorrectly spaced scannos for Plutonian and the like. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:03, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
There's also a fictional Utonia that is generating a lot of false positives. There was a 19th century newspaper called The Southern Utonian in what was then called Beaver City, Utah. --WikiTiki89 21:41, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Go ahead and create the page. DAVilla 01:01, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. --WikiTiki89 01:11, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

New taxlink template[edit]

I created Template:taxlinkwiki on the basis of Template:taxlinknew by DCDuring. The reason was that it seems to me that the links to Wikipedia, Wikispecies and Commons are too many and make the link line too long. So I tried to shorten it by omitting Commons, which DCDuring has already suggested at Wiktionary:Tea room/2015/June#A new taxlink template?. The difference can be seen here:

  1. FlammulinaWP WSp Commons (genus of fungi in the family PhysalacriaceaeWP WSp Commons)
  2. FlammulinaWP WSp (genus of fungi in the family PhysalacriaceaeWP WSp)

I believe it will keep the advantage of the red link and at the same time it will not be so messy, as can be seen at the entry penízovka. The link to the appropriate Commons category, if needed, can be put into the External links section. Jan Kameníček (talk) 20:22, 5 January 2016 (UTC)


Can we remove the part of the definition that says "in German law defined as a person under 14 years of age"? --WikiTiki89 20:35, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:51, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Not so fast. In English we often use the word minor in a legal context. Is Kind sometimes so used in German or is there another word that corresponds to minor? Why did the contributor pick 14 as the age? DCDuring TALK 12:59, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, but we don't add a parenthetical comment after the definition stating one country's legal interpretation. Why Germany, but not Austria, Switzerland or Liechtenstein? Chuck Entz (talk) 14:01, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
We add qualifications and specifications to definitions all the time. If there is a style problem, that is correctable.
I'd be fine with the legal definition for any country that wrote its laws in German. If this were something that required even a full sentence for each country, it might be too encyclopedic for inclusion. An alternative is to use one country as an example, possibly even in a usex. DCDuring TALK 16:58, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
[[Jugendlicher]] contains a usage note that has some bearing on this. Why are we taking action before native speakers (or DE-3s, at least) of German have a say? DCDuring TALK 17:07, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
The usual German word for a legal minor is Minderjähriger. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:22, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Is the usage note for Jugendlicher warranted by use either in law or in general usage? Or is someone trying to introduce a spurious precision to the word? DCDuring TALK 22:23, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, to the best of my knowledge German law does stipulate that the word Kind in any statute refers to a person under 14 years old, while the word Jugendlicher refers to a person between 14 and 17 inclusive. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:44, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi there, I'm a native speaker. I just want to add some things.
As to Jugendlicher, in the Duden dictionary (here the online version) the word has been given two definitions: 1. the more general meaning of "a male person in his youth". 2. in legal language, the meaning of "a male person between the age of 14 and 18 years".
As to Minderjähriger: this word is used in the legal language. (see Duden)
As to Kind: the Duden defines it first and foremost as:
1. "human being not yet born, just or not long ago born"; thus it can be used synonymous as "Neugeborenes" (new-born), "Baby" and "Kleinkind" (infant)
2. "human being who still is in the chapter of his childhood's life (more or less until it enters its sexual maturity), [and who] is not yet a Jugendlicher [adolescent]; human being not yet grown-up"
Furthermore, I just want to point out that the German language is not an exception at all. In many languages words with a general meaning can get a more specialised meaning in certain jargons, slangs and so on. In Germany the legal definition of a child differs from law to law. For instance, in the Jugendschutzgesetz (Protection of Young Persons Act) "Kind" is defined as "[a person] who has not yet reached the age of 14 years" (§ 1, JuSchG), in the Jugendarbeitsschutzgesetz (Health and Saftey Protection at the workplace of Young Persons Act) "Kind" is "[a person] who has not yet reached the age of 15 years" (§ 2, JArbSchG). In the context of the Achte Buch Sozialgesetzbuch (Eight Book of the Social Rights Code) "Kind" is "[a person] who has not yet reached the age of 14 years, as far as the paragraphs 2 and 4 rule something differently" (§ 8 SGB VIII). The exceptions given in paragraph 2 and 4 are as follows: "[a] child in the sense of § 1, paragraph 2, is who has not yet reached the age of 18 years" (idem., paragraph 2: Care and Education of Children as the Right and Duty of Parents), "persons who have not yet completed their 18th year of age" (idem., paragraph 4: Adoption of a Child). According to the Aufenthaltsgesetz (Residence Act) "minderjärige ledige Kind" (minor single child) is (§ 32 AufenthG) a person who has not yet completed his/her 16th year of age.
The legal situation in Austria and Switzerland is similar. In Austria the legal definition can even differ between federal states.
I hope you guys see now that it would not be a good idea - for practical reasons - to mention all these specialised definitions. — Best wishes and happy New Year to all of you, Caligari ƆɐƀïиϠ 17:46, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the help. This makes it seem to me that usage notes in all the entries involved would be the best way to address this, noting which words have definitions with sharp age boundaries (eg "14", "18"), and which are redefined for specific legal purposes, without getting into the specifics of the redefinition. DCDuring TALK 18:23, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Ic vs. Iċ[edit]

I have often wondered why Old English had both a palatised form of Germanic *ek (> , iċċ) beside ic, and indeed seems to be the only Germanic language to show a palatised variant. Frisian forms do not show palatisation (at least, not that I am aware of). I have a theory as to how this may have come about, and I am just wondering how sound my reasoning is.

Old English palatised PGmc k before i, j (e.g. PGmc *finkiz > OE finċ > Modern finch, etc.), but nowhere else (cf. *þekuz > OE þicce > Modern thick). I am toying with the idea that the dual form for "I" in OE may be the result of two separate instances of the use of PGmc *ek. The one resulting in ċ being from a contraction of PGmc *ek immi into *ekimmi, *ikimmi > OE iċim, iċiom > iċ eom, and the other (ic) from the normal outcome of *ek in all other situations. Does this sound reasonable ? Leasnam (talk) 21:02, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

I've never heard of being pronounced /ik/ in Old English; what's the evidence for it? Campbell's Old English Grammar doesn't mention it, but he does say that affrication was blocked/undone before a consonant, so it's possible that if /ik/ is real, it started out as a variant form before a verb starting with a consonant, while /itʃ/ was used elsewhere. He does also mention the variant ih in Northumbrian, and says this is probably the origin of the modern English word. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:13, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, now I see northern Middle English and Scots ik. Campbell mentions that the lack of affrication in northern dialectal forms brig ‎(bridge), rig ‎(ridge), steek ‎(stitch), eg ‎(edge), seg ‎(sedge), weg ‎(wedge), birk ‎(birch), and benk ‎(bench) is attributable to "complete failure to assibilate by Scandinavian settlers"; so maybe ik is also Scandinavian influence from ON ek. At any rate, now I'm thinking dialectal variation is more likely than free variation within a single dialect. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:22, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
But how is OE the ~normal~ outcome of *ek, unless followed by i/j ? bæc doesn't palatise, nor does frician ...Leasnam (talk) 21:31, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
I forget where, but I read that at some point (I think in Middle English), "I" was used before consonants and "ich" before vowels and before "h-". Maybe this could be relevant. --WikiTiki89 21:26, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Apparently there were two forms in Proto-Germanic, stressed *ek and unstressed *ik. Benwing2 (talk) 23:16, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
If you're wondering about the palatalization , Old English palatalized /k/ in the following situations:
  1. After /i/, except before back vowels. Hence ditch, pitch, etc. Maybe also after /in/; see below.
  2. Before all front-vowels when word initial, hence cheap < OE ċēap, churl < OE ċeorl, etc.
  3. Elsewhere, before /i/ and /j/.
finch and thick are special cases that are discussed extensively by Ringe. It's often said that /k/ in Old English also palatalized after /n/, but all cases admit alternative explanations, e.g. for finch I think the proto-form isn't clear (whether it's *finkiz or *finkaz). As for thick, Ringe has a long discussion of this but concludes that the failure of palatalization was because the form still had (or maybe kw) at the time, which didn't palatalize. Ringe says that non-word-initial was preserved in West Germanic through the separate history of the various descendants and lost individually in each language. Apparently Old Frisian preserves a clear distinction between non-word-initial k and in certain circumstances, but I forgot the details. Benwing2 (talk) 23:28, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
BTW, thick can't be derived from nominative *þekuz, and must come from the oblique stem *þikwi-, with West Germanic gemination of /k/ before /w/. Benwing2 (talk) 23:31, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you. I always thought that dīċ may have had interference from *dīkiją, yielding 2 possible forms, but I am satisfied for now. I still wonder why Old Frisian doesn't have a *itz for ik though. Leasnam (talk) 00:03, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
You're welcome. Keep in mind that palatalization was a totally separate process in Old Frisian, with its own idiosyncrasies, somewhat like how umlaut worked separately in each language. Benwing2 (talk) 00:53, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

About egalitarianism and the alternative form égalitarianism[edit]

I just looked up the definition and see that the accented form, égalitarianism, is put forward as an alternative. Is this correct? I speak both fluent English and French and have never seen accents used in English except when a word has been borrowed (like café). Does this indicate that the word originally comes from French? Or some older form of the English language? --JamesPoulson (talk) 01:00, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Well this word does come from French (since in French, the equivalent of equal is égale; and there is no such *egal- form in English). Nonetheless, such accents are normally dropped in English. You might notice that in google books:"égalitarianism", most of the few legitimate results are rather old. --WikiTiki89 01:19, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
That's right. I was just wondering if alternative form means it could be used as such in print today. English has many examples of Germanic and latin-derived words having the same meaning. The "proper" word would then be the synonym equalitarianism with egalitarianism having been adopted later on. --JamesPoulson (talk) 02:20, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
I guess we should add an "obsolete" or "dated" label to égalitarianism? —Pengo (talk) 02:28, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
How is that done? Actually, looking at the quotations it appears it was still used as is as recently as 2000. Perhaps this is particular to a literary crowd that wish to mark it's origins. I don't know as I'm not an avid reader or writer so it would figure I've never encountered it :) . --JamesPoulson (talk) 07:16, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
We can add the tag {{lb|en|rare}}. --WikiTiki89 15:42, 6 January 2016 (UTC)


Calling our talented English-language editors: we are missing four distinct sub-senses for nodule, i.e. those used in medicine, botany, geology and mollusc biology. See the Wikipedia page for more information. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:03, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

For the medical definition:

In thoracic radiology, a more or less dense opacity, homogeneous and round, single or multiple, visible in the lungs.

--JamesPoulson (talk) 07:24, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Question about myrrhine-myrrhic relation[edit]

Is myrrhine really related to myrrhic, as it is stated in the myrrhic#Related terms? --Jan Kameníček (talk) 14:46, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

I think the problem is that, as far back as Latin at least, the same spelling was used for both the stone and the plant/resin. In the Ancient Greek dictionaries I have access to the corresponding word seems to have only applied to the plant/resin. I find it hard to understand how the plant/resin lent its name to the stone or vice versa. It would be easier to imagine that the spellings of two words had merged. I suppose we could call the English terms related because the two meanings in Latin either were the same or were in the process of merging. DCDuring TALK 18:31, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

eyalet - etymology[edit]

The entry for ‘eyalet’ currently names the supposed Arabic word إِيَالَة as the ultimate source of the Ottoman Turkish term, whereas the Arabic Wiktionary entry says the origin is Turkish. Which is correct? Can someone cite a source? 2A02:8109:9200:7F58:A094:C488:A547:612D 19:05, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

According to the dictionaries I've checked, it belongs to the Arabic root ء و ل ‎(ʾ w l). I might either be a verbal noun of آلَ ‎(ʾāla, to lead), or just a simple noun from this root. Now I'm going to speculate a bit and say that it is entirely possible that this Arabic word was created by the Ottoman Turks for use in Turkish before it was ever used in Arabic, which could explain why Arabic Wiktionary says it comes from Turkish; this would be similar to how new Latinate words are created in English. --WikiTiki89 19:26, 6 January 2016 (UTC)


"To erroneously book or reserve something for two people, when there is only space for one." Not all double-booking is erroneous; some medical offices purposefully double-book patient appointments to accommodate for no-shows, etc. And if both patients show up, both are seen, so it's not really accurate that "there is only space for one". I'm not sure how to reword the definition, though... --Brainy J (talk) 02:59, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Sometimes the thing that's double-booked is a person (or people) so 'reserve something for two people' isn't entirely accurate. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:44, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
See double-book at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring TALK 19:56, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Latin 4th declension neuter noun "veru"[edit]

There is a Latin 4th declension neuter noun that is not included in the Wiktionary. It is "veru", meaning a "spit" (such as what one might roast a pig on), "javelin," etc. I'm not well-versed in how to create new pages, add them to categories, etc. Here is the entry from Lewis and Short's Latin dictionary if someone knows how to do the entry:

vĕru, ūs (collat. form of the nom. sing. vĕrum, Plaut. Rud. 5, 2, 15 and 17; masc. collat. form of the plur. vĕrōnes plumbei, Aur. Vict. Caes. 17; abl. verubus, Ov. M. 6, 646; Juv. 15, 82 al.: veribus, Charis. pp. 50 and 112; Prisc. p. 672; Verg. G. 2, 396; id. A. 1, 212; Plin. 30, 10, 27, § 88 al.), n. [perh. for sveru; Sanscr. svarn, a stake] . 1. A spit, broach, esp. for roasting upon, Varr. L. L. 5, § 127 Müll.; Verg. A. 1, 212; 5, 103; id. G. 2, 396; Ov. M. 6, 646; id. F. 2, 363; Plin. 30, 10, 27, § 88.— 2. A dart, javelin, Verg. A. 7, 665; Tib. 1, 6, 49; Sid. Carm. 5, 413.— 3. Plur., a paling or railing round an altar or a tomb, Inscr. Orell. 736.— 4. A critical sign on the margin of a book, = obelus, Hier. Ep. 106, 7.

This request shouldn't really be here, but here’s verū anyway. :)JohnC5 07:41, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

abime vs. abîme as lemma[edit]

A 1990 spelling reform eliminated circumflexes on a number of French words. We have the new spelling, abime as a lemma, yet the verbal form, which underwent the same spelling change, has abîmer as the main form. Both forms are still used, and I'm fairly sure that many French speakers are unaware of this spelling reform. I'm not certain, but I believe the older spelling remains predominant.

Obviously, we should be consistent. Should the newer, official spelling be the lemma, or should the more common form (from my experience, anyway) have the main entry? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 06:11, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Wiktionary:About French#Spelling reform says (in a nutshell) while both should be included, 'traditional' spellings should be lemmatized while 1990 spellings should be alternative form ofs. 1990 spellings aren't as common, for one thing, they've only been around for 25 years. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:26, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
The 1990 spelling reforms didn't abolish any spellings by the way, it introduced alternatives that make more phonological sense (the circumflex on the i doesn't change the meaning on the pronunciation, so you can dump it) but they were realistic enough to realize the pre-1990 spellings weren't going to stop being used. Both sets of spellings are accepted in exams in France by the way. In fact I got told off once for spelling plaît as plait at University. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:37, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Good to know, thanks. I knew that both were accepted, but I had thought that the newer one was an official replacement rather than an alternative. Thanks for making the appropriate changes. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:02, 9 January 2016 (UTC)


The etymology for the moon name is muddled between the given name Charlene and the Greek god Charon (it seems to me, after some searching, that Charlene was the ultimate source for the moon name and the Greek god simply influenced Jim Christy to not toss out the name), and also resulting in the pronunciation differences. Should we separate the etymologies of the god and the moon? And the pronunciations separated too? Hillcrest98 (talk) 00:52, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

I think it strains credibility to suppose that Christy wasn't aware that "Charon" was a notable underworld figure when he proposed it. Perhaps his choice was influenced by his wife's similar-sounding name, but Charon is not and has never been a nickname for Charlene, nor would the IAU have accepted any other etymology when the declared the name "official". I would reword the current entry to indicate that the moon is named after the ferryman, but that the name was influenced by the name of the discoverer's wife, Charlene. P Aculeius (talk) 19:11, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
A few sources conclude it as a concoction of "Char" (nickname) + -on suffix. Hillcrest98 (talk) 03:12, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
That's just not believable. "-on" doesn't mean anything in English; the entry for it seems to be built entirely on the adoption of the neuter inflection of Greek nouns. People don't just pull random suffixes out of a hat, and stick them on the ends of loved ones' names. It would be like claiming that "Jupiter" wasn't named after the Roman god, but after the mascot of its discoverer's favourite sports team, Youppi + the suffix -ter. Sure, maybe if his mother were named "Polly" he might have suggested "Polyhymnia", but that still wouldn't make the name "Polly + the suffix -hymnia". There's a difference between being influenced by a similar sound or name, and deriving another name from it. What we have here is the source of the namer's inspiration; not the name's etymology. P Aculeius (talk) 04:03, 14 January 2016 (UTC)


Our entry has

Abature (plural abatures)

  1. (usually plural only) Grass and sprigs beaten or trampled down by a stag passing through them. [Late 16th century.]

What does "usually plural only" mean?

How could one determine from this label whether abature is used with a singular or plural verb? DCDuring TALK 18:06, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

I interpret this to mean that "abature" is singular and "abatures" is plural, but that the plural form is the one that usually occurs, while the singular is rare. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:27, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Wouldn't that make the label "usually plural"?
I neglected to mention that the term uses {{en-plural noun}}. DCDuring TALK 23:20, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
http://micmap.org/dicfro/search/complement-godefroy/abateure has this exact sense: "traces qu'un cerf laisse dans les broussailles où il a passé" (traces that a stag leaves in the undergrowth where it has been). Renard Migrant (talk) 11:53, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I am puzzled by how specific this term is. How does this term apply if the grass etc. was trampled down by some other animal? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:31, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

one or more[edit]

Would you create this entry as an indefinite article? We are having a debate on fr:witk regarding un ou plusieurs. --Diligent (talk) 08:18, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Hmm. This is probably going to lead to a grammar war. I would say it was an adjective or maybe a determiner. It is probably a useful thing to have here, if only to discus whether the following noun should be singular or plural (I would vote for plural). SemperBlotto (talk) 08:29, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
It's not unique to one though; two or more, three or more, etc. Renard Migrant (talk) 11:51, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, there are one or two such phrases. (IMO: determiners, specifically postdeterminers — but perhaps only in the way "big and round" is "an" adjective.) Equinox 13:53, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
If we were to have the English entry, the PoS should probably be determiner because it must precede any adjectives in the NP of which it is normally a part.
IMO, the sole reason to have an entry is to discuss the grammatical point that SB refers to. DCDuring TALK 14:05, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


Someone just changed this from nonstandard to standard. I'd revert but because of the number of regions involved it might be standard in some of them and nonstandard in others. Certainly the UK spelling is honorific. Basically anything in the UK derived from honour that doesn't end in 'honour' (like dishonour) reverts to honor; honorific, honorary, etc. Renard Migrant (talk) 11:50, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

  • I'm pretty sure that it's neither British nor Commonwealth - it just looks weird to UK eyes. I'm going to revert it. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:54, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
    • en-GB does have honourable though, right, not honorable? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:31, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
      • Yes sorry I missed one. That's why I said 'basically' as I wasn't intending to check thoroughly. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:28, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
        • Though I'd write honorable, our entry says it's an alternative. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:41, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  • This spelling does not appear in BNC, COCA, or COHA. It appears with very modest relative frequency at GloWBE (Global Web-Based English) (8 vs. 514). DCDuring TALK 14:13, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
My understanding is that -our endings revert to -or- when certain Latinate suffixes are added, but not from ordinary English inflections and fully naturalized suffixes: honorific & honorarium but honoured, honouring, & honourable. Likewise colorize & humorous but coloured & humouring.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 21:56, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

sein#German in mir ist....[edit]

Usage note says it's shortened from 'mir ist es...' - I've never heard the phrase with 'es' and it sounds wrong as fuck to me. So maybe anyone else here is familiar with it and can shed some light? According to these , I don't think that usage note should be there, as the form with 'es' seems a minority neologism. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 14:03, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

No, I agree, "Mir ist es kalt" isn't possible. Nevertheless, "Mir ist kalt" isn't quirky case either. The sentence simply has no expressed subject. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:50, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Google Books can't even find enough instances of "mir ist es kalt" to make an ngram comparison of it with "mir ist kalt". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:01, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

child prodigy vs. wunderkind[edit]

The translations for "child prodigy" have been shunted off to "wunderkind", which I find mind-boggling; I would have thought child prodigy is the more common term in use. Donnanz (talk) 17:08, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

I agree. --WikiTiki89 18:21, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
How should we note that wunderkind is much more likely to be used pejoratively than child prodigy? I don't think that is just in my idiolect. DCDuring TALK 19:32, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
With {{lb|en|sometimes|pejorative}}? --WikiTiki89 19:42, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
It's possible of course that it's used pejoratively, but Oxford for one gives no hint of that [8]. Donnanz (talk) 20:45, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
The way I see it, it is possible for wunderkind to be used pejoratively, but it is not nearly as possible for child prodigy to be used pejoratively. --WikiTiki89 20:53, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps you're right. I jumped to the wrong conclusion actually, "child prodigy" wasn't created until 2009, and "wunderkind" was created first in 2005, so there may be a historical reason why the translations ended up there. Donnanz (talk) 20:59, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
I can imagine wunderkind being used pejoratively, but I associate that more with people sarcastically using a foreign term to make a situation seem more pompous or stilted than the word wunderkind itself being pejorative. I wonder if that distinction is too subtle to matter? —JohnC5 21:00, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Along a side note: we have golden boy as a synonyms for child prodigy. Is there any reason why we shouldn't have golden child ? Leasnam (talk) 21:04, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Only if it were not attestable. Google N-gram shows golden boy and golden child trending up and golden girl flat. It is difficult to determine when these phrases became something more than live metaphors, exploiting the positives of gold. I would expect that the ironic or sarcastic use would have soon followed. DCDuring TALK 22:26, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Isn't child prodigy a narrower term than wunderkind ? A wunderkind can be an adult, who was previously a child prodigy, but not the other way round, right ? Leasnam (talk) 21:57, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I always though that a wunderkind had to be young, but perhaps not quite a "child". But regardless of age, wunderkind isn't really the same thing as a child prodigy: wunderkind highlights miraculous talent, while child prodigy highlights the potential for great success in the future. --WikiTiki89 22:11, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't know, but an enfant terrible is usually an adult, so I wouldn't get too caught up in the literal meaning of Kind. Equinox 23:15, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, but in that case enfant also serves to degrade the person, so it makes more sense. I wasn't getting "caught up" in the meaning of Kind, but that's just what I always felt when I heard the word wunderkind. But on the other hand, unlike presumably most English speakers, I've been familiar with the word kind (as a relic from Yiddish) from a very young age, so I can't separate that association from the word wunderkind. --WikiTiki89 23:25, 13 January 2016 (UTC)


The usage notes describe that the genitive object is possible for "that which is reminded" and shows an example of this. I have only ever heard of "sich einer Sache erinnern" but not "jemanden einer Sache erinnern". I checked Duden, it mentions the possibility for a genitive object in the meaning of "remember" but I see no such thing for "remind". I researched through Google and I only found one relevant resultː a dictionary from 1788 titled "Versuch eines vollständigen grammatisch-kritischen Wörterbuches der Hochdeutschen Mundart, mit beständiger Vergleichung der übrigen Mundarten, besonders aber der oberdeutschen (Erster Theil, von A - E, Volume 1)". On page 1758, it lists "jemanden einer Sache erinnern" as an alternative to "jemanden an etw erinnern" (for the reflexive though, it does show the genitive object version as the main one).

If "jemanden an etw erinnern" was already the main form in a 1788 prescriptive grammar, I feel the genitive object form of this is long archaic. Should the page be edited to only include the possibility for a genitive object when it means "remember"? If it must stay, it would be better to seperate it from the reflexive as it is fully archaic, while the reflexive is dated/highly formal style.

Link to the dictionaryː https://books.google.ca/books?id=dWheAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA180-IA57&lpg=PA180-IA57&dq=jemanden+einer+sache+erinnern&source=bl&ots=XOsU9L9jIr&sig=iG5fE96z2zY88RR4H45dI8MBXv0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwicrLO9vKXKAhWJ8RQKHdRZCLEQ6AEIUTAI#v=onepage&q&f=false

I'm not sure if these changes would be appropriate, so I'm asking here to make sure. TrioLinguist (talk) 04:42, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

друг на друга, друг с другом, etc.[edit]

@Atitarev, Cinemantique, Wikitiki89 There are a bunch of these, maybe 8 or 10 with different prepositions in the middle. They claim to be pronouns but they're kind of like adverbs. Should they be in Wiktionary and if so, what part of speech? (BTW this issue came up not long ago but wasn't resolved then, I don't think.) Benwing2 (talk) 04:12, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

They're adverbs. I think they're used as idioms, but most Russian-speakers can readily produce forms with arbitrary prepositions and the appropriate case without having heard them, and there are derived forms, e.g. друг с дружкой for друг с другом. I think at least the most common bunch are worth keeping - they're rather like "whatever", "however", etc in that once you understand one, you understand them all, but the meaning isn't clear from the phrase itself. In both cases, they were SOP in the past, but have become idioms. We do have друг#Etymology 2 but I doubt many think of that word separately from the phrases. Eishiya (talk) 23:23, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I think we can delete them, leaving just друг друга (and друг дружку) with declension tables, much we have некого, but not не с кем or не у кого. --WikiTiki89 23:34, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
There was no consensus to delete them in the previous discussion. Perhaps {{form of}} is an option, after all. No need to create all possible combinations but we can keep the existing ones and add some more common forms.--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:44, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I think it's better to put some usage examples of those "друг друга" variations. --KoreanQuoter (talk) 02:25, 16 January 2016 (UTC)


The description of the animal is slightly more complicated than just a "horned horse". H. Stanford London, who wrote a book about the Queen's Beasts in 1953, describes the unicorn that most Britons (and other nationalities) are familiar with, the Scottish unicorn, in this way:

"To the head and body and mane of a horse, and slim legs of an antelope, a tail which is borrowed as oft from the lion as from the horse, and a goatee which would do credit to 'Uncle Sam' himself, is added the single, long, straight horn with its spiral twist which gives the creature its name and which it took from the narwhal or sea-unicorn." —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 10:14, 13 January 2016‎.

Britons 1953 are certainly not the world 2015. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 12:53, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
One single person described a unicorn like this in 1953. So? Renard Migrant (talk) 14:57, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Our definition doesn't say a unicorn is a horned horse, it says it resembles "a horse with a single, straight, spiraled horn projecting from its forehead". It is true, though, that unicorns as depicted in art from the Middle Ages on are different from horses in more ways than just the horn. The painting we use to illustrate shows a beast with cloven hooves and a beard, which horses don't have, though the tale looks more like a horse's tail than a lion's tail to me. But these details are probably best kept in the encyclopedia article rather than here. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:53, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Though we do include historical definitions, they have to be used in English to get in the English section. Medieval French, Latin, Spanish (etc.) definitions go in their own language sections. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:00, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
There are plenty of books in English describing the unicorn as having cloven hooves and a beard, e.g. [9], [10]. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:19, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
WLA metmuseum The Unicorn is Killed and Brought to the Castle.jpg
It's been a while since I read up on unicorns, but I seem to recall that they're supposed to be or to resemble one-horned goats, not horses. Both are mentioned in the lead of our Wikipedia article, but if you look at the illustrations (at least the ones definitely intended to be unicorns), they're all much smaller than horses. I suspect that the belief that they're horse-sized may be very recent, perhaps influenced by the lack of familiarity most people have with the scale of either horses or goats. If you don't see horses up close very often, you may not realize just how big they usually are! Note that in this detail from La Chasse à la licorne, a dead unicorn is slung over the back of a very modest horse! P Aculeius (talk) 19:01, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

precision instrument[edit]

What is a precision instrument? The Chinese equivalent (精密儀器) comes up in two different dictionaries. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:14, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

instrument (sense 3 or, possibly, sense 4) for precise measurement (or manipulation). DCDuring TALK 13:28, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

no spring chicken[edit]

I'd be tempted to merge this into spring chicken. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:20, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Should be deleted. Just standard use of "no". She's no angel; I'm no expert; etc. Equinox 18:18, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, it is an idiom, I'm no spring chicken myself. I wouldn't mind betting that the idiom is more common than "spring chicken" sans "no" [11]. Donnanz (talk) 18:36, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
One advantage with merger is that the non-metaphoric sense is present on the page, making further etymology unnecessary. A redirect to [[spring chicken]] and a second definition for the idiomatic sense should do the trick. DCDuring TALK 18:39, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
We need the idiomatic definition for spring chicken anyway, as the term is attestable. I don't know whether not a spring chicken is even worth a redirect. DCDuring TALK 18:59, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Ngrams the usage of "no spring chicken" as a percent of the usage of "spring chicken" has been steadily growing over the past century, reaching about 50% in the past decade (here's a plot of the actual percentages). So "no spring chicken" is by no means an overwhelming majority of the uses of "spring chicken". --WikiTiki89 18:49, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: fyi, you can get ngrams to actually show it as a relative percentage: [12]Pengo (talk) 01:12, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
@Pengo: See the second link in my post. --WikiTiki89 04:00, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


I have always been under the impression that verboten was quite stronger than forbidden, almost akin to "absolutely and entirely FORBIDDEN" or something like that. Anybody else have any comments about this? Tharthan (talk) 18:53, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

I think verboten sounds more autocratic or authoritarian and implies the threat of harsh punishment as well Leasnam (talk) 19:43, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I think that that is right. Tharthan (talk) 19:52, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Uncountable car[edit]

Sense 11 is:

(uncountable, US) The aggregate of desirable characteristics of a car.
Buy now! You can get more car for your money.

I don't think this should be a separate definition, it's just a type of usage of the other senses. Most countable nouns can be used uncountably in the "more X for the/one's Y" construction and its derivatives, this isn't something specific to car. Eishiya (talk) 18:59, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Grammatical distinctions related to countability/uncountability seem to cause non-native speakers a great deal of trouble. I don't think that all senses of car are used uncountably. DCDuring TALK 19:03, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
They may not be actually used, but all of the senses we have listed can be. I feel that the distinction between "get more (rail/elevator/...)car for your money" ("get a better, longer-lasting thing!") and "get more (...)cars for your money" ("get more things!") is specific to that type of construction, not to car. We don't tend to say "get more elevator car for your money" or "get more house for your money" because most of us aren't in the business of selling elevator cars or houses, but I can easily imagine scenarios where such phrases would be appropriate, and the house example gets plenty of Google hits in just that sort of context ("get a bigger/better/newer house"). (Edit: Also, this uncountable sense only seems to occur only in this construction and its derivatives, which would suggest that it's not a separate sense. It's rather hard to verify that, though.) Eishiya (talk) 21:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree. Equinox 22:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't really trust contrived I ("imagined") examples that purport to "prove" that a given usage is possible. It's time to put armchair evidence, even more than armchair theories, behind us. And we don't include every innovative use of language. \
What are your feelings about transitive and intransitive senses for verbs that can be claimed to have the same meaning? DCDuring TALK 22:10, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Delete this sense: We had a similar definition at house and that was deleted. This sense is no different from the sense of car that means "automobile". Perhaps we should have some single place for describing the more X for the Y phenomenon, but having pseudo-definitions at house and car ain't the way to do it. Purplebackpack89 04:43, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
You have to ask if something's a property of this word or a property of the English language in general. The same goes for sarcastic usage such as 'brilliant' to mean 'terrible'. Renard Migrant (talk) 11:50, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I would love to see facts or reliable authority demonstrating or asserting the universality of countable interpretations for all definitions of nouns. Does the principle apply to all organisms, to the basic meaning/referent of a proper name of a person (vs. certain metonomic "meanings"), to number nouns, to words used in partitive constructions ("piece of furniture")? How elaborate a set of rules and exceptions do we need to believe that Wiktionary users are aware of? Is it obvious that uncountability could be made to apply to any noun that has magnitude, extent, duration? How can we be sure?
In any event, certain common instances of uncountable use of common, normally countable nouns are useful, even necessary, for a user to be led toward whatever general principle there might be. "House" and "car" are two that a language learner could encounter. DCDuring TALK 13:07, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I do not think this should be a separate sense. I do not think there is a count noun that cannot appear in a non-count context, given a bit of ingenuity. For example, you could say "His parking skills were so terrible, there was more car outside the garage than inside". Just as I don't believe there are any non-count nouns that can never appear in a count context. Does anyone have challenge examples? Imaginatorium (talk) 06:46, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • The ability of English and many other languages to use any normally-count noun as a mass noun is called the "universal grinder". The quintessential example is "after the traffic accident, there was dog all over the road" — one could as easily say (and Google suggests people have said) "there was car all over the (road|floor|place)". - -sche (discuss) 07:44, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
    So, this raises some questions in my mind:
    1. What about an EL learner whose native language, eg, apparently Chinese, does not have the "grinder" apparently misnamed as "universal"? We are often very solicitous of such learners.
    2. Most native speakers have no trouble using the grinder if it applies in their language. But how would someone curious about usage who used the grinder, say, me, find out about the principle and its limited scope across languages? Most of one's experience is of instances, not principles. Should no instances of the usage be left as breadcrumbs? We have no other mechanism that I believe is now effectively used to communicate about this.
    Such questions have much application beyond this instance. We often rely on general principles of language which are not obvious, limited to some languages, usually without any but armchair support, that may even be false, especially as stated, to justify exclusion of a term or definition. DCDuring TALK 12:55, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree the principle of "universal grinding" (this means, surely, universal within any particular language, not universal to human thought) will not be obvious to a person whose native language does not have it, but nor will any other grammatical feature which does not match their previous experience. This is supposed to be a dictionary, not a grammar, nor a language course, so I do not think it is a good argument to add bits here and there on the grounds that they might help particular speakers to be reminded of facts of English grammar. What of speakers of languages with no grammatical number (like Japanese, or Chinese); should we add separate entries for "cars" to remind them that this means a number of cars being 2 or more? (AAMOF, I doubt if Chinese has a grammatical mass/count distinction, any more than I am fairly sure Japanese has, and therefore I do not see how you could even attempt to use a putative "grinder". It is the anomalous grammar of "dog" as a NP without article which marks it in this way, and without an article to omit, no such marked expression could be created.) Imaginatorium (talk) 13:28, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • 1999, Hana Filip, Aspect, Eventuality Types, and Nominal Reference, page 62:
    We have seen that the "Universal Grinder" is not truly universal, because not all the expected count-to-mass shifts can occur.
Hence my skepticism about our invocation of general principles. Based solely on my reading of that section of that book (which uses these only for analogy), it seems to me that we are at least bound to note for English the exceptions to the twin principles of the universal grinder and the universal packager, the latter referring to the idea that almost all mass nouns can be used in plural form. For example, pea is not used uncountably. And principally foodstuff mass nouns can be used countably to mean "portion of" (eg, "a beer", "two beers"). (BTW should the universal packager [with the same author as universal grinder] be renamed the universal foodstuff packager?) DCDuring TALK 13:54, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I am not quite following you here. (Indent confusion: Is this a response to my post?) You seem to be advocating adding distinct "senses" for the generally productive use of "grinding/packaging", on the grounds that this might help some foreign learners. I think that is a very bad approach. Two other comments: this "packaging" thing works rather easily for plausible restaurant orders; but it is easy to use count:dirt, just imagine counting three lorries into a tip... "There go two dirts and a scrap metal." Also just about any mass noun can be counted by types. And second, your throwaway remark about "pea" is obviously wrong, as in "My attempt at a pea souffle with the new mixer just left pea all over the ceiling." Imaginatorium (talk) 15:40, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
That seems a little off. I would say "peas" in your example sentence. Aside from the possible confusion with pee, there are some nouns that are plural when used in mass-noun contexts. A good illustration of the difference is when you refer to wheat berries instead of wheat- they're really the same thing, but one is uses the singular and the other uses the plural. That doesn't mean they're countable, though: a cup of peas isn't spoken of in the same way as would be the number of individual peas that making up that cup. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:32, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, when my automatic pea-shelling machine went wrong, there were peas all over the floor. When the blender went wrong, there was pea all over the ceiling. I agree this is not a particularly likely example, but it does make a real distinction, and I am arguing against the idea that you can divide nouns into those that can and those that can't be ground. Again, I don't know the term "wheat berries", but it is very common that there are both count and mass ways of talking about the same thing, to the mystification of speakers of languages without mass/count *grammatical* distinctions. (I don't understand your comment about the cup of peas, but I must draw your attention to the question I asked right at the top of this page, about горох, this very vegetable.) Imaginatorium (talk) 19:50, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Betsy Sachs, The Boy Who Ate Dog Biscuits (1989, ISBN 0394847784), page 46: He put some mashed pea on the spoon. [...] Sarah made a face. She spit pea all over Billy.
- -sche (discuss) 22:20, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Is it pea or mashed pea? I find it is easier to accept uncountable mashed pea than uncountable pea. I wonder what the corpus evidence would say, if appropriate instances were found. If folks here accepted quantitative corpus evidence on semantics, then the work of gathering and preparing such evidence would be more worthwhile. DCDuring TALK 22:54, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I think I agree with Eishiya. You can substitute almost any noun and have "more X for the money" (or buck, or anything else). I don't know how many variations I've heard; it just seems to work with just about everything. More tree, more house, more computer, more wall, more gun, more cat, etc. Apparently anything normally countable can be treated as uncountable in this type of phrase. As Mr. Backpack points out, we did just delete a virtually identical sense at "house" with near unanimity. Dare I suggest that such definitions constitute a slippery slope (but not a fallacy)? P Aculeius (talk) 15:44, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Should we revisit the question of even having any reference to un/countability on the inflection line? Should we abandon having uncountable definitions? IOW, should we leave our FL users to task of figuring out for themselves which determiners go with which definitions or of using determiner-noun collocation to locate definitions? If we keep some such definitions but not others, how do we decide which to have and which not to have? DCDuring TALK 16:30, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think there is a good way to decide which nouns should have a special "uncountable" sense for what seems to me to be a rather colloquial figure of speech. People would be forever adding and deleting these definitions, and arguing over whether they were sufficiently attested, while the rest of us would be tempted to seek some armchair. I think that "uncountable" is important to note with nouns that are at least nominally uncountable; I don't think it's important to note nouns that are usually countable, since most are, although it may occasionally be necessary to note a countable exception to a typically uncountable noun. But if so, it ought to be a use particular to that noun, rather than a general principle that most countable nouns can be informally referred to as a quantity.
Even though this is a dictionary, and not a grammar, grammatical rules do have their place, and if we're trying to help people understand figures of speech, it would make sense to provide some guidance for countability in general; perhaps have "uncountable" and "countable" link to an explanation that indicates that countable nouns can colloquially be used as though they were quantities (although I would spare readers the images of the "universal grinder" and "dog all over the road"; surely we can come up with less grisly examples). P Aculeius (talk) 17:39, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
The idea would be to come up with some criteria which gave a safe haven to definitions that conformed to the criteria. Any such safe haven would be temporary anyway, but at least we would have a chance to consider the consequences of the criteria in practice, based on our actual experience rather than on speculation unsupported by evidence or authority. DCDuring TALK 22:54, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Preferably a very simple policy statement. But I'm having trouble formulating it. Something along the lines of "many nouns that are ordinarily countable can be described colloquially or humorously as a mass or substance. This usage does not make the noun uncountable or require additional definitions, although words that have both countable and uncountable meanings should have separate definitions." I'm sure that could be worded more clearly. Can you think of any examples of words with both countable and uncountable meanings outside of this specific figure of speech? A few examples might help to reformulate this. P Aculeius (talk) 00:05, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
information has (at least) one very specific countable meaning, though it is often used as the prototype of uncountability. I'll try to produce a list. DCDuring TALK 00:20, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
See User:DCDuring/EnglishNounsBothCountableAndNot for a list of 40. They look like words recently edited. I've noted a few that seem duplicative. DCDuring TALK 00:49, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, I have a better sense of what to suggest now. Just as a starting point, how about:
"Many nouns are ordinarily countable in a particular sense, but can be described colloquially or humorously as an uncountable mass or substance; for example: get more car for the money. Such figures of speech do not give make the sense itself uncountable, or constitute a new, uncountable sense. Note that some nouns do have separate countable and uncountable senses; for example:
  • The builders did some work (uncountable); we purchased three works of art (countable).
  • They took in some fresh air (uncountable); the pipers played several airs and other melodies (countable).
  • The fence was made of iron (uncountable); Mrs. Hughes purchased two irons (countable).
P Aculeius (talk) 13:56, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Since the term figure of speech was first used here in this context, it seemed inaccurate and to prejudice the discussion. I also prefer that we stand on our hind legs and admit we are making choices of presentation rather than acting as if we were being coerced by reality. There are or may be conflicting views on almost all matters that we write about.
"Many nouns are ordinarily countable in a particular sense, but can be describedused colloquially or humorously as anto convey the referent as an uncountable mass or substance; for example: get more car for the money. We do not treat [s]uch figures of speechexpressions as do not give make the sense itself uncountable, or constitute a new, uncountable sense. Note that some nouns do have separate countable and uncountable senses; for example:
  • The builders did some work (uncountable); we purchased three works of art (countable).
  • They took in some fresh air (uncountable); the pipers played several airs and other melodies (countable).
  • The fence was made of iron (uncountable); Mrs. Hughes purchased two irons (countable).
Added earlier, forgot to sign. DCDuring TALK 16:02, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think that figure of speech is inaccurate, much less "prejudicial." I don't think anybody was cowed into silence because I described "dog all over the intersection" as a figure of speech. I think that "expression" is a bit vague. But my main objection to this version is the rather opaque phrase, "used to convey the referent" in place of "described". "Described" seems reasonably accurate, since what we're discussing is something like a metaphor; in formal speech we would never speak of amounts of "car", or "house", or "dog". "Convey" is simply the wrong word. It means to carry, escort, transfer, bear, or impart; one can convey meaning or an idea, but "convey" does not mean "to impart the meaning of" or "to describe as." Most people don't know what a "referent" is; I had to look it up, and according to WNCD it could mean the person referring to a thing, as well as the thing referred to (in fact, that's the first meaning given). IMO policy statements should be written as clearly as possible, preferring familiar words and phrases to unfamiliar ones. Also, if one strikes the words "do not make the sense uncountable..." (the word "give" should not have been there), then it seems that an editor could justifiably reject the description of a term as "countable" merely because it can be colloquially referred to as an uncountable mass. A particular sense of a noun should be either countable or not (irrespective of whether it's labeled); it shouldn't be both, and useful labels shouldn't be affected by this unusual type of expression. P Aculeius (talk) 00:37, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Rephrasing following discussion:
"Most nouns are countable, but can be described colloquially or humorously as an uncountable mass or substance; for example: get more car for the money. In Wiktionary entries, such expressions do not render a countable sense uncountable, nor should they be treated as separate, uncountable senses. Note that some nouns do have separate countable and uncountable senses; for example:
  • The builders did some work (uncountable); we purchased three works of art (countable).
  • They took in some fresh air (uncountable); the pipers played several airs and other melodies (countable).
  • The fence was made of iron (uncountable); Mrs. Hughes purchased two irons (countable)."
Simplified opening clause; retained described in second clause of first sentence; in second sentence, changed potentially vague "we do not treat" to more specific and neutral "in Wiktionary entries"; adopted expression after considering alternatives; changed "make... itself" to "render"; changed "or constitute" to "nor should they be treated as". P Aculeius (talk) 14:56, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
DCDuring, after your criticisms of armchair theorising, I'm surprised to see you post this [13]: "almost all proper nouns can be forced to be used uncountably ("There was too much Boston in his speech")"! Seems just like "more car for your money", IMO. Equinox 01:28, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
IMO, there are uses of proper nouns, such as pluralization and uncountability, that can be forced without a native speaker viewing it as an error. Theses instances fall into a small number of types with can be described in a comprehensive grammar and are described in CGEL. These uses cannot necessarily be readily attested for each individual proper noun. Something similar is true for common nouns. What distinguishes car and house is that the usage is readily attestable and perhaps widespread, whereas perhaps it is not for "salt shaker" or "rosebush". DCDuring TALK 04:12, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Indonesian bom[edit]

Is there anyone around who knows Indonesian? Johanna-Hypatia, Malaysiaboy, Taxman1913, anyone else? Is this edit legit? Normally I'd be inclined to revert an anon who changes both the etymology and the meaning of a word, but in fact I am more inclined to believe that Indonesian borrowed the Dutch word for "bomb" than that it borrowed the Dutch word for "tree". Or are they both right (in which case we need to list two separate etymology sections)? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:11, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

'Bomb' is essentially the only meaning for bom in Indonesian, so the edit is correct. For completeness's sake, there are two further meanings derived from the Dutch word for tree, but both are now obsolete: 'pole, shaft of a carriage' and 'boom, i.e., a barrier of chains or poles over a river to obstruct navigation, toll-bar, Customs. pegawai bom 'Customs officer'. Stevens & Schmidgall-Tellings, A Comprehensive Indonesian-English Dictionary (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2004), p. 148–149. Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 15:18, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually watching the news coverage of the Jakarta bombing, I did notice the word 'bom' from the native Indonesian pictures being shown on the BBC. I think it's legit based purely on that. Totally different etymology I assume. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:24, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
w:id:Bom Jakarta 2009 (see the English interwiki if in doubt). Renard Migrant (talk) 22:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I can confirm it's legit. I don't know if the 'tree' sense is real, but it's not immediately verifiable if so. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:59, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
[14] agrees. It's a "bomb", not a "tree". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:31, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • OK, thanks everyone! —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:29, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Aɴɢʀ, Malaysiaboy, Renard Migrant, Μετάknowledge, Anatoli T.: Sorry for joining in so late. 'Bomb' is the only meaning of bom to which I can attest. It is a very common word and used frequently on television news. The official dictionary of the language the government publishes has three entries for bom. The first is 'bomb'. The second entry is as Johanna-Hypatia says: 1. a pole for pulling a carriage or cart; 2. a joist; 3. a boom - this is really any type of pole from which things like sails or anchors on a ship or a mosquito net over one's bed are hung; 4. gate at a tollbooth. This second entry is obviously derived from the Dutch boom. But there's no indication that it means 'tree' in Indonesian. The common word for 'tree' is pohon. The definition in the second entry is not marked archaic, as the government usually does with words that are nearly obsolete. My wife, a college-educated native speaker, is unable to attest to this second sense of the word. The third entry is a word from the Biak language that the government has judged is used commonly enough in Indonesian to merit a dictionary entry. It is defined as a 'spear used as a dowry'. I doubt anyone other than those familiar with the culture of Biak Island could attest to this definition. Taxman1913 (talk) 05:29, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

cur is archaic?[edit]

Both senses of cur are tagged as archaic. I'm not sure I believe that. Benwing2 (talk) 02:22, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

I've never used it in natural speech except humorously or when imitating a pirate. Maybe we need to add "now humorous" or similar to the context label. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:36, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't normally use it either, but I can see it used in literature or maybe by Brits, or humorously as you mention. Benwing2 (talk) 03:42, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Still used in both senses, but not a common word. "Archaic" seems to fit, as it's still reasonably familiar. P Aculeius (talk) 03:49, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
rare would also fit well. I too am surpised that it is labelled archaic Leasnam (talk) 12:21, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it's as rare as it is old-fashioned, which probably explains the difference. Someone using the word nowadays is more likely to be affecting erudition or waxing poetic than simply trying to avoid repeating "dog". P Aculeius (talk) 14:50, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think so. A cur is not just a dog, but its a mean, nasty, (stray), unsocialised, street dog. It's also a pejorative when used of a person. Leasnam (talk) 02:59, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
All of which is in the definition. It doesn't make it any less old-fashioned. P Aculeius (talk) 03:03, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
It's old-fashioned enough to be dated perhaps, but not really archaic. I wouldn't be surprised to see it in a book from the 1940s; I don't expect to have to look all the way back to the King James Bible or Spenser to find it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:39, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
It can be found in dialog in recently written novels, it seems to used to date the dialog. ("Unhand her, you cur!") To me it seems more likely to be used in the second sense than in the second in current speech or writing. DCDuring TALK 18:57, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
You mean more common in the second sense than in the first? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:10, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
D'oh. DCDuring TALK 13:57, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree that "dated" is more suitable. Equinox 19:09, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
OK, I tagged both senses as "dated or humorous". Benwing2 (talk) 23:05, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

balme and/or barma[edit]

I can't figure out the English translation of these French and Italian words. See Balme (cavité naturelle) and/or Barma on the relevant Wikipedias. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 11:23, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

This page translates Italian balme pl as "rock shelters", and this page translates it as "protruding rocks". It's very hard to search for because of the large amount of interference from words meaning balm. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:04, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Running modern words through {{R:DMF}} is incredibly useful. It finds the etymology and links to Old and modern French dictionaries. DMF gives it as cave or excavation (but which sense?) while Godefroy gives cave or cavern. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:57, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks all. SemperBlotto (talk) 17:03, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Missing sense at 決まる?[edit]

I think a sense is missing at 決まる

  1. to look good in (clothes)

Source: http://jisho.org/search/kimateru

--Daniel Carrero (talk) 11:34, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, confirming, eg 服装が決まっている. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:08, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • For clarity's sake, it bears noting that this sense arises as an extension of the general to be set, to be decided sense: to be set → to be in orderto be properly put togetherto be sharp and neat in attitude or appearance. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 00:04, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes but that belongs to etymology. Basically, it's the expanded sense of うまくいく or 整う, as described in Japanese dictionaries. The example I gave above (服装が決まっている) is present in a Japanese-Chinese translation - 服裝整齊/服装整齐 (fúzhuāng zhěngqí) ("clothes are neat/tidy"). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:20, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree. The problem is that just adding a "second meaning" would be rather misleading. The current "to be decided" really gives no idea of the range of meaning, and I can't easily see how to make it do so.Imaginatorium (talk) 06:15, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
  • As Imaginatorium notes, this sense is more than just a second meaning, and simply adding a sense line that states to look good in (clothes) would be very misleading -- while one can say in English, you look good and have the clothing left out, one cannot say in Japanese 決まる or 決まっている and have it come across as the same intended sense -- the Japanese sounds more like you are (your schedule, your situation, etc. is) decided / set / determined. Any expression that conveys the look good sense must include some mention of clothing or attitude or appearance. The underlying meaning is still to be set, to be in order. The entry needs usage notes and usexes, in addition to etym, pronunciation, alternative forms, and several senses not yet present.
Time allowing, I'll have a go at both the 決まる ‎(kimaru) and 決める ‎(kimeru) entries. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:37, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

sit on the fence[edit]

Tagged but not listed. Or if it has been listed, I can't see it in an archive. Renard Migrant (talk) 13:18, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Here's the archived discussion, FWIW. Keith the Koala (talk) 13:54, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Why should we have this other than as a redirect to on the fence? It's not strictly speaking a set phrase as adverbs can intervene. Be, remain, leave, stuck, and perch are verbs used with on the fence, be being more common than sit. Sit is a common collocation, which fact should be in collocation space. DCDuring TALK 14:40, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. Although if consolidated, I would keep the cartoon with "on the fence". The fact that the caption adds "sit" notwithstanding, it clearly uses the phrase. P Aculeius (talk) 14:46, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
We can use usexes too, probably underused for this purpose in our entries. DCDuring TALK 16:29, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
In its defence, there's no actual sitting involved in sitting on the fence. It's part of the metaphor. Renard Migrant (talk) 01:20, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

assume the mantle[edit]

Now, I am not very familiar with "assume the mantle", although I am very familiar with "take up the mantle".

My question is, could this not be used like this:

PERSON1: Why does Batman look so different?

PERSON2: That's because he isn't Bruce Wayne.

PERSON1: What?!

PERSON2: Yes. After Bruce Wayne went missing, Dick Grayson took up the mantle.


Whilst I admit that I do not recall ever hearing it used in that way, it doesn't sound odd to my ears. Tharthan (talk) 18:13, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Other verbs used with the mantle: claim, pick up, take on, inherit, clothed in, pass, accept, take over, accept, wrap in, don, transfer, wrest. They are listed roughly in order of frequency in COCA.
Many of these verbs are also usable with throne and crown; some with scepter; a few with role and its near-synonyms, all with similar meanings. DCDuring TALK 18:57, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually, my question was this:

It says that the phrase is used with "of", but can it not be used in the fashion demonstrated in the dialogue above as well? Tharthan (talk) 19:22, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

@Tharthan: Can you please get into the habit of linking to entries that you are discussing, especially in the section heading? That way it is clear that you are discussing an entry and not a random phrase you came across. --WikiTiki89 19:27, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, alright. Sorry about that. Tharthan (talk) 19:30, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
This does sound like a sense of 'mantle' rather than an idiom. Renard Migrant (talk) 21:05, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
If the context made fairly clear what mantle was being assumed or taken up, there would be no need for an of phrase, adjective, or other modifier to specify the mantle being assumed. In the more metaphorical uses of mantle it often is necessary to further specify the nature of the mantle. DCDuring TALK 23:14, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Medieval Greek vs. Byzantine vs. Constantinopolitan, here and at en.WP[edit]

Hi! I'm chronically ill, so I have to leave these points for others to follow-up on. Thanks in advance!

At γραφή § Ancient Greek, the Pronunciation section expands to display:

5th BC Attic: IPA: /ɡra.pʰɛ᷄ː/
1st BC Egyptian: IPA: /ɡra.ˈpʰe/
4th AD Koine: IPA: /ɣra.ˈɸi/
10th AD Byzantine: IPA: /ɣra.ˈfi/
15th AD Constantinopolitan: IPA: /ɣra.ˈfi/

Byzantine and Constantinopolitan both link to the en.WP article, Medieval Greek, which en.WP says is "also known as Byzantine Greek."

  1. Is the Byzantine and Constantinopolitan distinction a Wiktionary-only distinction or one that appears in general scholarship (whether or not it's universal)? Would it still make sense without the century labels?
  2. If the distinction is not a scholarly one, should the last line be changed to "15th AD Byzantine" to remove any implication otherwise?
  3. If the distinction is a scholarly one, should the en.WP article explain the distinction? Should its intro also include "and [aka] Constantinopolitan Greek"?
  4. Should the Wiktionary entries Byzantine and Constantinopolitan include mention of being distinct or synonymous nouns or adjectives relating to Medieval Greek?
  5. Do any of these points suggest that the other Pronunciation lines need similar review?
  6. I created a redirect on en.WP to Medieval Greek with the title Constantinopolitan Greek, but will not change the article itself. Current redirects are listed here. If necessary, please change the redirect to point at a section or anchor.

Sorry all I can do is point these things out, but my real-life limitations are getting in the way of doing this myself and likely have made me miss something obvious here or on en.WP. My limitations might also prevent me from making it back here to review your responses. Thanks in advance if you can work on this! — Geekdiva (talk) 20:59, 16 January 2016 (UTC)


Could someone have a look at sense 3? I can't really understand it and I don't see how it differs from sense 1. The usage example given seems identical in meaning, despite the attempt at clarification. Smurrayinchester (talk) 23:01, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

 ??? Sense 3 is entirely different from senses 1 and 2. I'm not sure what needs further clearing up. Tharthan (talk) 23:25, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
The distinction eludes me too. DCDuring TALK 23:46, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I could possibly understand the difference if the example at sense 1 ran "making the film" instead of "the making of the film", but then I don't understand the "explanation" at sense 3 at all (a planned procedure rather than a specific physical action took hours?) --Droigheann (talk) 23:52, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
This diff introduced the definition, apparently as a translation target for Low German -unge, -en and Middle Low German -inge. DCDuring TALK 00:26, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I would merge the two senses, based on how they are currently written and based on their current usexes. I'm not sure if the distinction between "making of a foobar" and "the making of a foobar" is something that would require separate senses, but the senses in the entry now both use "the ...ing" in their usexes. - -sche (discuss) 07:35, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I can make no sense of this either, but it looks awfully like the stuff they write in language learning books, as though trying to explain the difference between two different forms in German (or Latin) which correspond to the same English form. (Quote: "usually identical with meaning 1. in the English language" gives it away.) Imaginatorium (talk) 07:59, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, it seems to have been designed to explain the Middle German translation that was added with it, as DCDuring notes. I have (perhaps speedily) merged the senses. - -sche (discuss) 08:21, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I see. You said "sense 3". I thought that you said "etymology 3". My bad. Tharthan (talk) 10:48, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


Is Twinkle not available on this wiki? Ipadguy (talk) 00:27, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


Shouldn't this also be defined as a "blow", i.e. a nominalization of "to slug"? Cf. "she gave him a slug in the arm" etc. Benwing2 (talk) 07:45, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, that would be a good idea. P Aculeius (talk) 15:31, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Added defn. There are also two very similar definitions, a commuter picked up to allow use of HOV lanes and a hitchhiking commuter, that might be the same, although I'm not sure; someone from the regions where these defns are current should fix if needed. Benwing2 (talk) 23:06, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


Just added as a noun. Considering Talk:selah, there is consensus not to have such entries, right? Equinox 02:37, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Isn't this more like the surviving senses of selah? DCDuring TALK 03:08, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Only one sense of selah survives, which is specifically not "an occurrence of the word selah" (more or less the one that got deleted). So, since continueds refers to occurrences of the word continued, I think the answer to your question is no. Equinox 06:16, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, this seems to fall clearly on the mention side of the use/mention distinction. Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:35, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
It could be rephrased as a non-gloss definition, along the lines of selah#Interjection ("A word occurring between verses or paragraphs in parts of the Hebrew Bible, namely in Habakkuk and the Psalms, perhaps indicating a pause for contemplation."), eg, The word used at the apparent end of a body of text to indicate that the text continues in another location, such as the next page.
It had never occurred to me that such directions to a reader were dictionary material, but we have verbal analogs such as uh, er, as I was saying, etc. (BTW, the definitions for those should be reformatted as non-gloss (functional) definitions. They are obviously not even close to being substitutable and so should not take the form of our usual gloss-type definitions.) DCDuring TALK 13:46, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think selah and continued are entirely analogous. The other sense of continued is a participle and the surviving sense of selah, well, isn't. Purplebackpack89 15:21, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I think if continueds exists, it's not the plural of a noun continued. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

God does not play dice with the universe[edit]

Is this in fact a general English term/proverb, or just a famous quotation? Equinox 06:15, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

It's the most familiar version of Albert Einstein's reaction to various aspects of quantum theory (which depends on the source, as does the exact wording of the statement), suggesting inherent randomness or unpredictability (quantum indeterminacy, the uncertainty principle, etc.). Always attributed to Einstein, never cited as a proverb. P Aculeius (talk) 13:30, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Uh oh, time to expunge all the proverbial expressions taken from the Bible and from other identified sources. Or will three attestations of use without reference to Einstein suffice? DCDuring TALK 13:50, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry you're in favor of deleting all proverbs just for Hell of it? Renard Migrant (talk) 18:15, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
On the contrary, I favor keeping all of them, even everything happens for a reason. I don't think it should matter whether we can identify a supposed original author, whether the expression is news, whether it is SoP, whether it is a declarative or imperative sentence, or whether it is subject to variation in any or all of its components. The previous comment implicitly invoked a principle that attributed quotes or paraphrases (always?!?!?) attributed to a coiner are not proverbs. (The putative proverb in question is not always attributed to Einstein.) DCDuring TALK 18:40, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I think you're misunderstanding my point. The question was whether the saying was a "general English term/proverb, or just a famous quotation". I understand the question to be asking whether the assertion has some significant use independent of Einstein or his feelings about quantum indeterminacy, or perhaps even existed before it became identified with Einstein, perhaps as an proverb (the usual understanding of "proverb" being a traditional saying expressing some profound truth, especially a religious one). The saying certainly isn't religious; despite its mention of God, the notion of God playing dice would never have been used by Biblical scholars; Einstein used it as a metaphor for the theory that one could not predict the action of matter and energy on a quantum level, even with a full understanding of its physical laws. So it doesn't come from the Bible, and it seems highly unlikely that anybody would come up with it independently or have a substantially different use for it. It doesn't express a profound truth; it's not especially profound, and a fairly high proportion of the scientific community now accepts the theory, and has concluded that Einstein was wrong to dismiss it with a pithy sentiment. So it's definitely not what most people would call a "proverb." Nor does it seem to be in general use, which is understandable considering how specific it is. There just aren't a lot of occasions that would justify a metaphor like this. I have no doubt that people have repeated it with various wording and without being able to recall who "said" it. But the answer to the original question would seem to be, "no, it's not a general English term/proverb. It's just a famous quotation (or at least a paraphrase of one)." That's all I meant. P Aculeius (talk) 23:57, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Nothing about the substantive meaning, let alone the truth value or utility or profundity, of the expression has any bearing on whether it is called a proverb and on whether or not we might keep it as such.
The expression is used with at most the most tenuous of connection with physics and sometimes without attribution to Einstein. (See these uses from Google Books. Some of the usage is about God or fate or something.
The sole thing that IMO disqualifies this from being a proverb is that it is not referred to as a proverb, in contrast to everything happens for a reason. DCDuring TALK 02:45, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
proverb 1. Chiefly Bib. A profound maxim; in Scriptural use, a parable; a truth couched obscurely. –Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. proverb 1. a short popular saying that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought... 3. Bible. a profound saying, maxim, or oracular utterance requiring interpretation... A proverb is a saying popularly known and repeated, usually expressing simply and concretely, though often metaphorically, a truth based on common sense or the practical experience of mankind... –Random House Dictionary. proverb 1. A short, pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a well-known truth or fact. –American Heritage Dictionary.
So truth, profoundness, useful thought, common sense, practical experience, and fact are attributes of proverbs, none of which apply to "God does not play dice with the universe." It is neither truth nor fact since it expresses an opinion generally believed to be incorrect; it is not useful because it relates to a very specific matter and cannot be extended to unrelated situations without changing the meaning; it is not common sense because it concerns a controversial aspect of quantum physics; it does not reflect practical experience because one cannot directly experience it or know from experience whether it is true or false; and while undeniably pithy, there is nothing particularly profound about a probably incorrect conclusion couched as a rather unserious metaphor.
Please don't mistake my meaning; I have the utmost respect for Albert Einstein, even if he was wrong about this; I am inclined to sympathize with his view, whether it is true or not; I may even hope that he was right, although the consensus of the world's leading physicists suggests otherwise. But the only truth here is that nobody, to the best of my knowledge, ever imagined God playing dice at all, before Einstein's quip about quantum indeterminacy; and if someone did suggest it, nobody was brave enough to publicize it and the saying never caught on.
The search above for the phrase in fiction without the occurrence of "Einstein" contains seven hits from 1995 to 2012, two of which don't count, as one appears on the list for no apparent reason (a search for the word "dice" didn't turn up any hits in the book), while another one attributes the phrase to "one of your leading physicists," an oblique reference to Einstein. Of the remaining five, four appear to be from self-published novels, and none of them quote it or identify the source, although all of them use variations of the language attributed to Einstein. According to Wikiquote, Einstein's original words, written in 1926, and paraphrased as given above, were "I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice." As the earliest of the unquoted hits occurs nearly seventy years after, and all of them use identical phrasing, I think it's apparent that it is derived from the common paraphrase of Einstein, whether attributed or not, and irrespective of whether taken out of context. Whether quoted or paraphrased, it is not a proverb; nor is it a general English term. Five hits in novels spanning the last twenty years hardly constitutes a common saying, compared with, say, actual proverbs such as, "a stitch in time saves nine" (34,000 hits in Google books) or "good fences make good neighbors" (13,000) or "home is where you hang your hat" (748, probably a bit dated) or "there's no time like the present" (14,500). P Aculeius (talk) 05:01, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Quite a good point. Still, I do think proverbs should be proverbs and not only quote. Quotation does not imply not proverb, but it doesn't imply always proverb either. Usage as not a direct quotation does look like a good idea to me. Doing that doesn't rule anything in or out automatically in my view. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:42, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Wikiquote gives a bit more detail about the origin. The "original" is translated from a letter in German to Max Born. The pronoun is simply a reference to the noun of the previous sentence, Alter ‎(old man), which may or may not be a standard epithet for God. Einstein himself apparently repeated his statement several times in different forms. (Personally, I think Born's reply deserves more airplay: "Don't tell God what to do.")— Pingkudimmi 07:57, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I note that the definitions above exclude that of MWOnline 11th:
proverb 1 "a brief popular epigram or maxim : adage; 2: byword [only included to avoid selection bias]
adage "a saying often in metaphorical form that embodies a common observation"
All considerations of the quality of an expression that is a candidate to be a Wiktionary proverb entry seem to me to depart from the principle that Wiktionary is descriptive rather than prescriptive. I am not surprised that some dictionaries, especially AHD, offer a more elitist definition of proverb. Under Wiktionary's policy, attestation requires but three unambiguous citations; additional ones are superfluous. One rationale for this is that we attempt to include emergent proverbs and those that have a low chance of making it into print.
I would argue that the Einstein quote may be an emergent proverb, but that it has not yet become a proverb. The expression in not found in near proximity to the words proverb, adage, or proverbial nor does it appear in books of proverbs or even online compilations of proverbs, in contrast to everything happens for a reason, which arguably reflects the same sentiment as God ... universe does when used outside of the context of physics. DCDuring TALK 12:36, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think it's "elitist" at all. Nobody is saying that Einstein is somehow too lowbrow. It's just that quotations and proverbs clearly don't seem to be the same thing, to most of us. Equinox 15:14, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
No publication suggests that Einstein's quote is a proverb. So my intuition that it was one is apparently wrong.
I was taking issue with the use of selected definitions of the term proverb, many of which definitions strike me as elitist and inconsistent with Wiktionary's purportedly descriptive principles. To me, any expression that is attestable and included in a compilation of proverbs or called a proverb in durably archived works is includable because its status as a proverb makes it a "set phrase" sensu lato. I also think the use of proverbs is a speech act, invoking that authority or wisdom of such expressions to achieve a purpose in discourse, such as consolation or advice. DCDuring TALK 17:11, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
The definitions in question were quoted in response to the assertion that "nothing about the substantive meaning, let alone the truth value or utility or profundity, of the expression has any bearing on whether it is called a proverb..." Since the general understanding of what a proverb is depends largely on factors such as truth, value, utility, or profundity. The question asked was "is this a proverb?" There's nothing elitist about quoting relevant definitions and usage notes from other dictionaries in order to decide if the label fits. P Aculeius (talk) 20:47, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant proverb as we use the term for an L3 header. DCDuring TALK 21:13, 19 January 2016 (UTC)


@Hekaheka and anyone else who does Finnish: is symbooli a common enough misspelling to warrant keeping, or should we RFD it? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:31, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I would rather say it's an archaic spelling. It gets more than 1.000 BGC hits, mostly in 19th and early 20th century books, whereas 19th century hits for "symboli" are hard to come by. In modern Finnish double-o spelling would be considered an error, but one sees it every now and then. I have edited the entry accordingly. --Hekaheka (talk) 18:48, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

web site vs website[edit]

[[15]] indicates that we should consider moving everything at web site to website. thoughts ? Leasnam (talk) 22:55, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

So I'm not the only one who thought that the content being at web site was bizarre. I support moving it. —suzukaze (tc) 22:58, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Only one thought, which is 'yes'. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:59, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
done. Leasnam (talk) 23:03, 18 January 2016 (UTC)


User:Alphama has been trying to get this changed from a misspelling, first by using a Wikipedia {{fact}} template, then by making various badly-formatted edits to the entry. I've reverted all of those, but their concern is legitimate and should be addressed by someone who speaks Vietnamese. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:23, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

For what it's worth the Wikipedia page seems to be at Súp, with another page also using Xúp in its title. —suzukaze (tc) 23:30, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
There are no any evidences which prove súp is a mispell of xúp. We use both, check [16], [17] Alphama (talk) 16:01, 25 January 2016 (UTC)


We have give a monkey's and not give a monkey's. Does anybody give a monkeys? Keith the Koala (talk) 21:01, 19 January 2016 (UTC)


The Chinese section says "姫, is a variant form of 姫" (i.e. it links to itself). Where is it supposed to link to? ? - -sche (discuss) 07:40, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

It should link to ... fixed. —suzukaze (tc) 08:06, 21 January 2016 (UTC)


"Sophron" is an adjectival form of the word "sophrosyne", which is a very important word to ancient Greek playwrights. But it's not found in Wiktionary. Is it possible to have the adjective added to Wiktionary? I found the word in an Oxford Press edition of "Hippolytos" by Euripides (Euripides. Hippolytos. Oxford University Press. (1973) 978-0-19-507290-7 p. 6) Clockchime (talk) 17:25, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

We do have sophrosyne. —Stephen (Talk) 17:49, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, we do, which is good, but sophrosyne is a noun, and Euripides uses the adjectival form quite often. Wiktionary requires a separate entry or page, even for an adjective. Clockchime (talk) 02:39, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Euripides doesn't use English sophron, he uses Ancient Greek σώφρων ‎(sṓphrōn)- in Euripides day, the ancestors of the English probably spoke an early form of Proto-Germanic. If the Oxford Press translation uses the word a lot, it could very well be that they're just transliterating it so their readers don't have to deal with an unfamiliar alphabet in addition to the foreign word. Leaving a word untranslated is a way of making readers aware that the meaning doesn't exactly fit any one word or phrase that might be used to translate it in a given context, and of forcing readers to approach the word on its own terms.
For us to create an entry for sophron, we would have to have evidence that it's been used in English to convey meaning as an English word, not just to discuss or define the Greek word. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:28, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

I believe I have found good quotes for an entry on the word “sophron", which is an adjective defined as: of sound mind, self-controlled, temperate, sober-minded, modest, chaste. Here are three quotes:

“Phaedra tries to conquer her passion by being sophron, hates those who are sophyon only in words, and dies hoping that Hippolytus will learn to be sophron.” From: Appendix written by Michael R. Halleran, (page 279) of the book: Medea, Hippolytus, Heracles, Bacchae: Four Plays. Author of the plays: Euripides. Hackett Publishing (2012) ISBN 9781585105991

“As a young gentleman, Charmides was expected to be sophron, self-restrained in his moral behavior, and we learn in the prologue that he so well fulfills this expectation that he is regarded as the most moderate … of the young men of his generation.” From: Plato's Charmides and the Socratic Ideal of Rationality. Author: Walter T. Schmid. SUNY Press (1998) ISBN 9780791437636 (page 11)

“Her longing for Hippolutus is raised beyond plain lust because it is also a longing for purity, an end to lust, for what is saphron.” From: Introduction by Robert Bagg. Euripides. Hippolytus. Author: Euripides. Oxford Univerisity Press. 1973 ISBN 978-0-19-507290-7 (page 8). Clockchime (talk) 13:08, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Would this be better as a redirect to the Ancient Greek entry? DCDuring TALK 13:27, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
  • It appears that the word meets the definition that would allow it an entry or a page on Wiktionary, and it has the citations. Also since it is the adjective of the word sophrosyne, which has an entry here, (as is pointed out above), then it seems that "sophron" should have a page here on Wiktionary. Its use is often contrasted with the word "hubris" or hubristic. Clockchime (talk) 16:50, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
@Clockchime, Stephen G. Brown, Chuck Entz, DCDuring: If sophrosyne gets an English entry, I see no reason why sophron shouldn't get one, too. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 18:58, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate all the comments here. With no objection, I'll see about adding "sophron" as an entry. Thanks to all. Clockchime (talk) 03:15, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

plug-in (noun)[edit]

Currently we only have the computing sense I'm acquainted with, but in this article I've read "It seems that while enjoying the aroma of fragranced candles, plug-ins, air fresheners and cleaning products we are increasing our exposure to a serious nasty." Now it's obvious what the author means in the context, but how wide could be the scope of the noun - any device one plugs in the mains? And is this widespread usage or would it deserve attestation to meet CFI? --Droigheann (talk) 23:38, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I think it is used mostly in situations where what is typical or salient is not plugged-in but the component in question is. For example, a plug-in lamp might be contrasted with a flashlight, a plug-in lamp-dimmer with one integral to a lamp, plug-in air-freshener to the more customary kind, a plug-in network connection to a wireless one. Something similar covers the situation with browser plug-ins, where the contrast is with capabilities integral to the browser.
I suppose the term was used to modify nouns in its early use (c. 1922) before it became a noun itself. DCDuring TALK 00:10, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I see, that makes sense, thanks. --Droigheann (talk) 00:39, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Almost all use at COCA is about plugging in to either a power circuit, an information circuit, or a software system. I found only this for another kind of plug-in, a camp stove:
  • 2005, Michael Lanza, “Kitchen”, Backpacker, volume 33, number 2, page 91:
    Most Versatile / MSR SUPERFLY With a wider burner and greater flame distribution than the Raptor, this stove cooks more evenly, which is ideal for gourmet camp feasts. And its innovative cartridge connection accommodates both screw-on and plug-in canisters, increasing your fuel options
Perhaps a genericised trademark from Glade® PlugIns®. Equinox 22:35, 23 January 2016 (UTC)


This is a rare case where a weird Unicode shape actually does have a meaning beyond its codepoint definition – the aubergine/eggplant has become a fairly standardized symbol/euphemism for "erection". But how do we cite/define this? Since there's no good way to search by emoji, is something like "It’s called Deuce, and it’s an HBO series about the ’70s-’80s porn industry (yes!) from The Wire/Treme creator David Simon (YES!), starring James Franco as identical twin gangsters (*eggplant emoji*)." acceptable? Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:25, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Well, it's not durably archived. I seriously doubt that this will be citable, but it leaves you with two options: struggle to find such uses in durably archived media (I have seen emoji in newspapers on occasion, for example), or suggest that CFI be emended to improve our ability to add such definitions. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:43, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Very Old Slang[edit]

What do we do with slang from centuries ago, such as the "bam" noted in the etymology of "bamboozle"? Is it eligible for inclusion, so long as it meets the standard requirements? What ought it be marked with? "archaic slang"? Because "archaic" doesn't really cut it, as it was indeed slang, not just some informal speech. Tharthan (talk) 22:55, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

{{lb|en|archaic|slang}}. What's the problem? --WikiTiki89 22:57, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
"Archaic" means "No longer in ordinary use, though still used occasionally to give a sense of antiquity" (per the entry); nothing here prohibits it being slang as well. If this sense is never used any more, it should be marked obsolete. Benwing2 (talk) 23:11, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, what's the issue here? Renard Migrant (talk) 12:38, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

salu-salo (Tagalog)[edit]

I was rather startled to find a translations section has been added. Is that OK? Shouldn't the translations be entered in the respective Wiktionaries? Donnanz (talk) 23:22, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Entry_layout_explained#Translations says that it shouldn't be there. —suzukaze (tc) 23:38, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
The entry was a total mess, which I cleaned up to the best of my ability. If anyone wants to explain to its creator how to make a good entry, that would be great. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:40, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it was a mess, and the translations seem to be for a gathering, not a table. Donnanz (talk) 11:00, 24 January 2016 (UTC)


The entry for the Ancient Greek word ὄσσε needs some work: additional information should be added about exactly what forms do and don't exist, and the declension table should be edited accordingly. Also note that the header for the declension table currently says ‘Declension of , ’. Esszet (talk) 23:36, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

@Esszet: I've added what I could from the LSJ entry. If someone better than I at parsing Ancient Greek could tell me what the number and case of each of the cited uses is, I could edit the declension table accordingly. I couldn't source quotations for "Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 3.400.5" (the genitive plural ὄσσων ‎(óssōn)?), "Sophocles Ichneutae 47" (either of the datives ὄσσοις, ὄσσοισι ‎(óssois, óssoisi)? [LSJ doesn't give the number]), "Eustathius of Thessalonica Collected Works 58.28" (the dative ὄσσει ‎(óssei)? [LSJ doesn't give the number]), or "Hesychius Alexandreus" (the genitive plural ὀσσέων ‎(osséōn)?); if they could also be added, we could supplement the declension table with those forms. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 21:21, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Alright, thanks for that. Esszet (talk) 23:06, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I couldn't find the "Eustathius of Thessalonica Collected Works ", but there is an index to his commentaries (the relevant page is here with the actual works indexed listed here). It may not have the exact form mentioned, but it does have an interesting assortment of other forms, with the sentence containing each occurrence included in the listing. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:01, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually, I misunderstood the nature of the text in the index. At any rate, I think I've figured out the numbering system (there are several of them overlaid on each other in the text volumes, and they tend to be a line or two off). So, here are all the relevant passages:
  • 58.25 (25th line of global section 58), with the LSJ-referenced one a few lines down [https://archive.org/stream/commentariiadho01eust#page/50/mode/1up here. The numbers you want are on the left side of the page, or you can look for where it says "(Vers. 105.)" in the text. There are a good number of uses in the next half-dozen or so lines.
  • 75.25 Section 75 starts on the previous page, so look at line 25 or so in the numbers on the left (line 10 in the numbers on the right). Not much to look at in this one, but the link is here.
  • 432.10 This actually starts on line 9, and there's a particularly interesting form on line 12 here.
  • 855.34 For this one, the numbers to look a are on the right-hand side, and it seems to start on line 35, where it says "(Vers. 453.)", and continues to the first line on the next page here.
  • 1746.23 For this one, you can ignore the numbers. It starts with the first line on the page and continues for 5 lines, with the most interesting stuff on the 4th line here.
That should be everything, if we can believe the index. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:03, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: Thanks. I make that:
  • ὄσσε τὼ ὀφθαλμὼ, παρὰ τὸ ὄσσω, ὅ ἐστι βλέπω, ὅτι κατά τινας μὲν ἀπὸ τῆς τὼ ὄσσω δυϊκῆς εὐθείας μεταπέπλασται, κατὰ δ᾽ ἑτέρους ἀπὸ τῆς ὄσσος ὡς τεῖχος εὐθείας κεκίνηται, ἧς καὶ δοτικὴ ἑνικὴ εὕρηται ἐν χρήσει, ἡ εὐθεία τῶν δυϊκῶν τὼ ὄσσεε καὶ συγκοπῇ τὼ ὄσσε. 58, 25. 75, 25. 1746, 23. καὶ ὅτι ἀμφισβητεῖται κατὰ τὸ γένος, πλὴν ἐκ τῆς χρήσεως τῆς ὄσσων πληθυντικῆς γενικῆς καὶ τῆς ὄσσοις δοτικῆς ἀρσενικοῦ ἐλέγχεται γένους εἰναι. 432, 10. ἀλλαχοῦ δὲ ὅτι τὸ ὄσσος ὄνομα παρ᾽ Ὁμήρῳ μὲν οὐδετέρου γένους ἐστὶ, παρὰ δὲ τῇ τραγῳδίᾳ ἀρσενικοῦ. 855, 34.
Can you give a rough translation, please? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 03:02, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Somehow we overlapped posts without an edit conflict. Ignore that paragraph, since it seems to be a summary by the editor (though I could be wrong, yet again). Chuck Entz (talk) 03:07, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Making changes[edit]

I cannot work out how to make a change when I identify that a particular word is incorrectly spelt. The word is 'contemporania' in Catalan. It should be spelled 'contemporània', but I cannot see how to make the change.

Can someone offer a tip on how to do this? Thanks. —This unsigned comment was added by 79philip (talkcontribs).

Click the move button. — Ungoliant (falai) 13:41, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I have deleted the incorrectly spelled entry. Thanks for pointing out the error. —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 18:56, 24 January 2016 (UTC)


I found in the A Dictionary Of Modern Slang, Cant And Vulgar Words Used At The Present Day In The Streets Of London from 1848 this:

AXE, to ask.---Saxon, acsian

So is it not possible that the modern nonstandard use is so derived, if acsian lasted that long? Tharthan (talk) 17:26, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Of course. The use of "ax" for "ask" goes clear back to Old English. There's nothing modern about it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:55, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
And the route from OE. to AAVE is obviously the widespread use of Beowulf in middle schools. DCDuring TALK 15:53, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
ಠ_ಠ —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:17, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
In which British dialects is ax ‎(ask) common? DCDuring TALK 17:11, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, D H Lawrence has a character asking, "How should thee like to go home wi' thy tale o' today, to Minnie, might I ax thee?" Equinox 17:16, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Any idea about the part of the country the story was set or where character was supposed to be from? I could imagine it to be widespread, as recurring metathesis reinforces the history (or is it vice versa?). DCDuring TALK 17:54, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
It's The Daughter-in-Law (1912), set in Nottinghamshire. Equinox 18:07, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Some of the words seem to be northern: tha, nowt, which is consistent with what the WP article on East Midlands English says about northern Nottinghamshire.
Any thoughts on other regions? DCDuring TALK 18:18, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, OED lists forms of ask as "α. OE ásci-an, ácsi-, áhsi-, áxi-, áhxi-, áhxsi-, áxsi-an, -gan, -gean, æcsian; ME axien, acsien, ME æxi, axi, ME acsi, acsy, oxi, oxy, oxsi, oksi, ME axen, (ME axse, exe,) ME–15 axe, ax, (15– dial. ax). Also β. ME esci-, eski-en, ME easki, ( Orm.) asskenn, ME ask-en, ME–16 aske, (ME hask, haske, ascke, axke,) ME– ask. Also γ. ME esch(e, esse, ME asch(e, ME ashe, ME–15 asshe, (north. asse, pa. tense ast)."; ODO doesn't specify England's dialect(s) either but mentions West Indian.

Category for attendees/alumni of a university[edit]

Do we want a category to house words like Yalie or IITian? What would it be called? There are undoubtably enough of them to fill one. Additionally, do we want entries like Bruin ‎(a student at UCLA, especially one on a UCLA sports team) to exist? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:50, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

University is too narrow. There are words for (former) school pupils as well, e.g. Grecian, Carthusian, Etonian. Equinox 00:52, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@Equinox: Good point. But what might that category be called? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:04, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
"Members of academic institutions" or something? What comparable categories do we have for groups of people? Equinox 01:10, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The nearest cousin or sibling-cat that comes to mind is Category:en:Demonyms, or perhaps its “informal” subcat.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 01:40, 25 January 2016 (UTC)


What is 14-snap as in "14-snap blade"? (a blade of a box cutter of a certain measurement, I suppose?)

Like in this Amazon page: [18]

--Daniel Carrero (talk) 15:27, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

  • It isn't a "14-snap blade". The knife comes with 14 blades that can be snapped into position. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:32, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
If they're like Stanley-knife blades (and they look very similar), the blades are diagonally scored at regularly intervals so that, as the blade edge blunts (which tends only to happen to the first few millimetres of the leading edge), that part of the blade can be snapped off, leaving a new, much sharper, leading edge. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 15:59, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, and the blade is attached to a thumb-slide mechanism that includes a spring-loaded stud engaging a series of notches inside the handle, allowing it to be extended to the desired length and latched there. The spacing between the notches matches that between the scores on the blade, so advancing it by one click after snapping off the last segment will restore it to the same length. Some models have a removable pocket-clip that doubles as a blade-breaking tool.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 00:57, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I think the usual term (if one wants to be specific) is a "snap-off utility knife". --Droigheann (talk) 07:47, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

boots on the ground[edit]

I am having difficulty understanding how to deploy topical labels to this entry. Sense one says it is "military", which in this case is a topical, not a context, label. I have added sense two, for which one of the citations is (humanitarian/civil) military, but other usage is not. Both definitions reflect current usage.

What label, if any, belongs on sense two? Should the label on sense one be removed? DCDuring TALK 13:24, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

I'd go with "by extension" Purplebackpack89 15:25, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
That makes more sense than removing the label on the first. P Aculeius (talk) 15:50, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Yes check.svg Done DCDuring TALK 15:51, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Translation of potecă[edit]

(the following discussion was brought here from WT:RFV, because the Tea room is a more appropriate forum)

An editing war broke out earlier at walk, because of this word. The primary sense of the word is "mountain path", "narrow pathway" and "track" (N.B. only by extension can it mean a natural "path" and "trail") – not walk as a "maintained place on which to walk", as another user insists. I don't want to get into a prolonged editing war or get into an unnecessary discussion about semantics, but it just isn't the correct translation (see the discussion page for walk). --Robbie SWE (talk) 16:32, 27 January 2016 (UTC)


When comparing most to much, it seems there is disagreement as to whether certain usages are determiners or adverbs. I'm pretty sure the "most" entry is wrong in a few different ways and "much" is correct. Can someone familiar with the relevant grammatical nuances look into this? - dcljr (talk) 22:50, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Never really encountered the term "determiner" before Wiktionary. As far as I can tell, determiners seem to be a subset of adjectives. The distinctions under much seem to be correct (except that "hope" is uncountable in the example given as an exception to the usual uncountability of things described by "much"). The first example given under most is not. In "most bakers and dairy farmers..." most is an adjective, not an adverb. It modifies bakers and dairy farmers, which are nouns. The easy way to remember the distinction is that adjectives modify nouns or pronouns, while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. I'm less sure of "most of the world's water". Without the possessive case of world's, the phrase reads "most of the water of the world", in which most describes the noun water and therefore is an adjective, but I'm not sure if "of the world's" could be considered an adjectival phrase modified by "most", which would make it an adverb. P Aculeius (talk) 00:26, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
A determiner doesn't have to be an adjective. I gather it can be an article or a pronoun (the, this, each, ...) --Droigheann (talk) 01:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't see how "most" in "most of the water" can be an adjective. If anything it looks like a noun. Equinox 00:37, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Or a pronoun. At least ODO think so [19]. --Droigheann (talk) 01:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers identifies this use of "most" as something called an "indefinite pronoun". Otherwise, most is usually an adjective or an adverb, depending on what it modifies, although there are also some noun senses. Webster's Third seems to agree about the pronoun sense. What's confusing about this is that it doesn't appear to take the place of a noun, but instead describes or limits it, which should make it an adjective. At any rate, the grammarians seem to classify it as a pronoun in this type of construction. I've made an attempt to separate the adjective and pronoun uses and supply examples where they were lacking or moved. But I'm guessing someone will want to re-combine both of them, so we'll see how long that lasts. P Aculeius (talk) 04:17, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Our presentation of much does not include either adjective or pronoun as PoSes. I think both classes of function are subsumed under the Determiner PoS.
The entry for [[most]] seems wrong, possibly in its entirety. The entry for [[much]] seems less wrong, but still needs work.
I realize that asking what you mean by "its entirety" seems illogical, but are you saying that the definitions are wrong, or the example sentences and quotations are bad, or located under the wrong headings? I'm reasonably certain that I sorted them correctly and provided appropriate extra examples where some were moved, and that the uses listed as adjectives and pronouns are under the right headings, as far as those traditional parts of speech are usually defined. Is your objection mainly that all of the adjective and pronoun senses should be combined under the heading of "determiners"? P Aculeius (talk) 05:36, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
We have made an incomplete transition between the traditional treatment of the words we now call determiners using PoS headers Adjective, Pronoun, Noun, and Adverb and a modern treatment which includes almost all functions and definitions under the Determiner heading. It might be time to complete the transition. One useful discussion is at Wiktionary:Beer_parlour/2007/January#Tests_for_English_determiners. See w:English determiners too. DCDuring TALK 04:52, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Not convinced that would be useful for most readers. Almost all English speakers go through school learning eight parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. All of them have fairly simple definitions that can be applied to determine which part of speech any given word should be; there are occasional grey areas, but these eight types of words have been recognized for a long time and are understandable to everybody. I like to think I have excellent grammar and a good understanding of the basic rules, but even after reading the above discussion of "determiners" I have very little sense of how one identifies them or distinguishes them from adjectives or pronouns. The heading seems to include a great many words that are traditionally considered one or the other, and which clearly function as one or the other. But the rules for distinguishing them from other adjectives or pronouns seem to go on forever; there is a list of twelve characteristics used to distinguish them from other adjectives, and seven more to distinguish them from other pronouns; and they require the unsuspecting examiner to be familiar with concepts such as "phrase structure", "fused-head constructions", "gradeability", "licensing", "slots", "anaphoric references", and "tag questions," all of which would require the reader to look them up and try to comprehend exactly what makes a "determiner" like or unlike an adjective or pronoun. The definitions of "adjective" and "pronoun" are simpler by orders of magnitude. An adjective is a word that modifies (limits or describes, if you want to be technical) a noun or pronoun; a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. What possible advantage is there in eliminating clear and widely-understood headings such as "adjective" and "pronoun" that most English speakers are familiar with, and which have been found in nearly all dictionaries for generations, in favour of a new category that combines both, but which requires paragraphs and paragraphs of technical knowledge to describe accurately? P Aculeius (talk) 05:36, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
You sound like an improved version of my 2008 rantings against Determiners.
As I see it, the principal value of the Determiner heading is that it is not the Pronoun or Adjective heading: it suggests that the words of the determiner type behave differently.
Most native speakers do not have any trouble using determiners, just as they do no have any trouble using prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, and certain adverbs. However, some of these are the words that hardly anyone, including lexicographers, can do a good job of defining or of describing all the ways in which the word is or is not used.
Someone learning (or teaching) English as a foreign language is more likely to benefit from a dictionary's efforts to characterize these words. There may be a better chance of helping the user because the determiner heading highlights the distinct character of these words rather than lumping them with words that behave differently, eg adjectives or pronouns. As to the technicalities of tests to distinguish word classes, they are important to grammarians and lexicographers in helping them (us!) put the word into a category, which conveys a first level of help to a user.
I don't expect to be able to convince skeptics of any of this. My only hope is that they will take the trouble to consider how two or three determiners behave in detail. They can then draw their own conclusions. DCDuring TALK 06:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
MacMillan considers most and much to have three parts of speech: pronoun, adverb, and determiner. Cambridge Dictionaries consider most to have the same three parts of speech, and much to be just a determiner. MacMillan considers what we currently label noun sense 1 to be a pronoun; Merriam-Webster, on the other hand, agrees with how we've split the pronoun vs noun senses. - -sche (discuss) 06:18, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
What you neglected to mention was what part of speech Merriam-Webster classifies it as: an adjective. Which is how it's defined in the Oxford English Dictionary (1971 edition, the one I have at home, no subscription required), Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary and Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, Webster's New World Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary, The American College Dictionary, The Random House Dictionary, and Funk & Wagnalls, as well as in the Simon & Shuster Handbook for Writers. While the free "Oxford Dictionaries" website calls it a "determiner", it also describes it as a superlative adjective in an example sentence. Our entry now contains no mention of adjectives. I'm not saying that it's not a determiner, or that dictionaries or grammars which so describe it are wrong. Merely that most people have no idea what a determiner is, and if you try to describe or explain the category and how it differs from a subclass of adjectives (to which a class of pronouns has been added), their eyes are going to glaze over and they'll have no idea what you're talking about. Everybody knows what an adjective is. So if you want to say that a word is a "determiner" because some modern grammarians and dictionaries have adopted the term and applied it to certain words, go ahead. But don't erase the heading of "adjective" if you want people to understand what part of speech it is. Put the two descriptions alongside each other; by all means do so (without implying that one is correct or the other incorrect, or that one is "modern" and one "dated", which is the same thing). But Wiktionary does a disservice to users when it eliminates established and familiar terminology in favour of unfamiliar and highly-technical distinctions that most people don't understand, in this case leaving readers with no clue that the two senses currently listed as "determiners" are ones that would otherwise have been called "adjectives". P Aculeius (talk) 13:37, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think the free ODO website "describes it as a superlative adjective", at least I didn't found an "example sentence" where it's supposed to do that, all I see is "adverb forming the superlative of adjectives". Incidentally the subscription-only online OED divides its entry into three parts: "adjective and determiner", "pronoun and noun", and "adverb". Funny things, these English parts of speech. "Seven", for instance, is simply a cardinal number per ODO, either an adjective or a noun per OED, and either a numeral or a noun per Wiktionary. --Droigheann (talk) 14:25, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I assume we're seeing the same thing, but what it says is: "Forming the superlative of adjectives and adverbs". It's not calling it an adverb that forms the superlative of adjectives. However, if OED online refers to it as an "adjective and determiner", and most print and all older dictionaries call it an adjective, then perhaps what we should consider is creating a new header: "adjective or determiner" (and perhaps one for "pronoun or determiner", since that also seems to occur). This wouldn't replace the adjective header in all instances, but only those in which a word is considered both, depending on the authority, for a given sense. So "green" would still be an adjective, but "most" would be listed as "adjective or determiner" (alternative titles: "adjective and determiner", "adjective (determiner)", "adjective and/or determiner"). Not surprised by the treatment of "seven." As an abstract concept, it's a thing, which makes it a noun. But most of the time it's used to describe nouns, and so is usually an adjective. Under the traditional headings, "numbers" are either nouns or adjectives, depending on usage. Not sure if an ordinal number couldn't be considered a pronoun instead of a noun. However, as I've always understood it, the term "numeral" refers to a symbol representing a number; i.e. 5 or XII, standing for the "numbers" five, twelve, or twelfth. This may not be a universally recognized distinction, however. P Aculeius (talk) 15:42, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Re most at ODO: It has the header "adverb" just above "Forming the superlative of adjectives and adverbs", exactly like it has the header "suffix" just above the same claim at -est. As regards numbers/numerals, I suspect it's a matter of tradition and/or interpretation, and anyway not directly related to most: I just wanted to allude to the fact that there are cases where a grammar or a dictionary has to be arbitrary because there's no generally accepted approach. --Droigheann (talk) 16:34, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I see what you mean. It's saying that it makes the adjectives or adverbs modified superlative, rather than calling it a superlative itself, so this isn't an example of adjectival use, even though OED does use the word "adjective" in addition to "determiner". Sorry for the confusion. P Aculeius (talk) 16:41, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they used "adjective and determiner" without further specifying which applies to which following subsection precisely because they too couldn't come to an agreement ;). Or maybe they wanted to imply "for some this is an adjective, for others a determiner, it's not for us to judge". Or maybe they meant "here it's an adjective and at the same time a determiner" ... who can tell? --Droigheann (talk) 23:50, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Hence my opinion that adjectives and pronouns need to be so labeled, even when they can also be described as "determiners". I don't object to indicating that something is a determiner, but I do think it's a mistake to pretend that they're not still basically adjectives or pronouns. P Aculeius (talk) 01:54, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Not all sources will recognise "determiner" as a distinct class anyway. So with your proposal, every single "Determiner" would become "Adjective or determiner". We might as well just stick with "Determiner". What we can do, though, is templatise the header so that it points to Appendix:Glossary#determiner. —CodeCat 16:02, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think I understand your logic. "Not all sources will recognise 'determiner' as a distinct class anyway... [therefore] we might as well just stick with 'Determiner'." All sources recognize "adjective" or "pronoun". Why not favour headings that everyone understands and recognizes? I'm happy to compromise with a header that indicates that some adjectives or pronouns are considered "determiners" by some sources. But it makes no sense to favour a heading that many people and sources do not recognize to the exclusion of one that everyone does understand. P Aculeius (talk) 16:37, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I think "determiner" is a reasonable description for these terms; it describes succinctly and specifically the class of pronominal adjectives, articles and similar entities, which behave similarly to each other and have lots of special properties vis-a-vis regular adjectives. Traditional grammar arbitrarily segregates a, an, the as "articles" and has problems classifying other determiners, e.g. "my" is sometimes called a "possessive pronoun" (although it doesn't function as a noun, like most pronouns do) or a "possessive adjective" (which is better used to describe things like Russian's -ов/-ин adjectives) or other things. Among the special properties:
  • Cross-linguistically, determiners can often be used as pronouns (cf. "this is" vs. "this horse is", also "most", Latin meus "my/mine", etc.)
  • Cross-linguistically, determiners have a special position w.r.t. normal adjectives, e.g. in English they must always go first before any adjectives
  • There are often restrictions on stacking determiners, whereas adjectives can normally be stacked ("the large, red, beautiful house"), e.g. in English you can't say "this my horse" or "my this horse" (although Italian allows "questo mio cavallo")
  • Determiners often have special morphological properties that are not shared by adjectives, e.g. German's der-words and ein-words or the "pronominal declension" of Latin, Sanskrit and many other old Indo-European languages
  • etc. Benwing2 (talk) 06:15, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
As explained above, nobody is arguing that words shouldn't be labeled as "determiners". The argument is that "determiner" shouldn't be used in place of the identification of a word as an adjective (or pronoun, in cases where pronouns are considered determiners). As you've just demonstrated, figuring out what is or isn't a determiner is a tricky, technical business. The typical English speaker doesn't understand what's meant by "cross-linguistically" unless you explain it, and won't necessarily know what other languages do with their equivalent words; won't analyze to see if they can be used as multiple parts of speech, have special positions, won't be familiar with "stacking", and will not understand terms like "special morphological properties" or "pronominal declension" or be familiar with Latin, Sanskrit, or other old Indo-European languages. If these are (some of) the distinguishing properties of determiners, then the distinction is useless to the average reader trying to understand what is meant by the heading. By comparison, nobody is confused by the basic definition of an adjective: a word that describes a noun or pronoun.
Apparently most determiners are also considered adjectives, although a few may be pronouns, or either, depending on their use (note that many words can be multiple parts of speech depending on the sense or usage). For that matter, articles such as a, an, and the are also adjectives; nobody objects to identifying them as articles, however; the best way to consider articles may be as a particular subset of adjectives. Which is probably the best way to describe adjective determiners. A subset of adjectives identified by particular technical rules, which most speakers of the language either do not know, apply without understanding, or do not need to know. And, as also considered above, all or nearly all printed dictionaries, most dictionaries found in homes, schools, and libraries, and most on-line dictionaries still describe them as adjectives, even if they also call them determiners; Wiktionary seems to be exceptional in suggesting that they're not adjectives. Why?
Wiktionary's goal is to be as inclusive and helpful as it is possible for a dictionary to be, so why would it reject the most familiar and common terminology in favour of a very recent distinction, the rules of which simply fly over most people's heads? Again, I'm not arguing that the word "determiner" be stricken as a description from the definitions of words to which it applies. Merely that such words should be clearly labeled "adjectives" when they are adjectives, whatever else they may be. Would it be so difficult to use a heading such as "adjective or determiner", "adjective and determiner", "adjective, determiner", or "adjective (determiner)"? It would certainly make Wiktionary entries more accessible to readers. P Aculeius (talk) 13:18, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
As modern grammarians understand them, determiners are a separate class from adjectives, so calling them adjectives is inaccurate. The dictionary is in the business of presenting accurate information, even if (perhaps especially if) it is information readers are unaware of. Many English speakers and many grammar textbooks from the past, and even many from the present day, erroneously think that capitalization is what determines whether something is a common noun or a proper noun, but our entries do not label all capitalized things proper nouns, nor all lowercase things common nouns, because that would be inaccurate: American ‎(person from America) and Archimedes' screw are common nouns; bell hooks and ffrench are proper nouns. Over the years Wiktionarians have often fixed entries like this. (Another issue with "adjective and determiner" is that we have traditionally limited part of speech headers to one part of speech. We've also tended not to have links inside headers, but perhaps we should revisit that and link determiner as CodeCat suggests.) - -sche (discuss) 21:52, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
That seems to be your point of view, not demonstrable fact. Who decides what parts of speech there are in English? Nobody. We don't have a governing authority deciding what is and isn't English. A point Wiktionarians should be all too aware of, considering the frequency with which the doctrine of Wiktionary being "descriptivist" in the sense that it defines words as they're used rather than with some notion of correctness or etymological meaning is trotted out. The notion that it is inaccurate to call a word an adjective merely because some grammarians and dictionaries refer to that type of word as a "determiner" is an assertion of correctness which apparently represents a distinct minority opinion. Nearly all dictionaries continue to refer to such words as adjectives, even if they also use the word "determiner" to refer to them.
Just as importantly, this doctrine flies in the face of the notion of Wiktionary as "descriptivist", in the sense that it rejects the common understanding of most English speakers, giving as justification that common use and understanding are "incorrect". So you need to make a choice. Is Wiktionary supposed to be the most inclusive dictionary, or the most correct dictionary? Are Wiktionarians the arbiters of English grammar, deciding for the rest of the English-speaking world what is and isn't a part of speech, when even the cited authorities cannot agree? It's not Wiktionary's job to push the English language forward, discarding rules and concepts that editors consider obsolete, even though the rest of the English-speaking world does not, and enforcing their own ideas of how English grammar works or ought to work.
As for the suggestion that a link be placed in section headings, to an encyclopedia article explaining what a "determiner" is, and how to tell whether a word is one, simply to avoid using the word "adjective" to describe words generally regarded as adjectives: how could that possibly be a better solution than simply keeping the traditional definition of an adjective in the header? No further explanation would be needed, as everyone understands what an adjective is; but even with the benefit of an encyclopedia article defining what a "determiner" is, most people will still be left scratching their heads as to just what part of speech it is after reading it. And why exactly should anyone have to read an article about it, anyway? It doesn't take an encyclopedia article to understand what an adjective is. That can be summarized in eight words: "a word that describes a noun or pronoun." So, is the goal here to avoid anything that would actually be useful to the average reader? Outside the Wiktionary community, can one person out of a hundred define what a "determiner" is, in a way that reliably and predictably includes them and excludes non-determiners? Can it even be done without a series of bullet points, using complex grammatical concepts that most people have never heard of, and omitting the finer distinctions that distinguish them from similar parts of speech? That doesn't sound like a dictionary that's trying very hard to serve all readers. P Aculeius (talk) 22:28, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

There have been some prior discussions, some of which go over this very same ground:

You can probably find more.

It's not that this hasn't been discussed. We didn't rush to add "Determiners" because it was the latest fashion. (It isn't.) DCDuring TALK 00:40, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

  • I have taken a run at correcting the entry, retaining the Determiner heading. To summarize the changes:
    Usage examples have been moved, edited, and added.
    Citations have been moved.
    {{sense}} templates have been added.
    Countability/uncountability labels have been edited.
Questions about revising our presentation practices for entries for words some call Determiners are Beer Parlor matters, possibly requiring one or more votes. It seems a bit complicated to me. DCDuring TALK 17:06, 29 January 2016 (UTC)


Discussion moved to WT:RFV.

The "penny century": 1920s slang or one-time joke?[edit]

Hello. The expression "penny century" is used in the December 12, 1920, sunday page of the classic comic-strip Krazy Kat. It's a pun on "the penitentiary", but I couldn't find whether it was actual slang or a one-time joke?

Context: They're talking animals, and that page is about a blind pig beggar. A mouse notices he's a fake blind and reports him to the police station. They send a cop, but bleeding-heart Krazy Kat runs ahead to avoid the pig "be put in the klink". The pig is asleep and the cat fixes him. When the cop and mouse arrive, there's no evidence and the cop leaves. The cat says to the mouse, eye dialect included:

Was'nt it kleeva of me to fix that poor "blind-pig" up like that, and save him from the penny century, or something, heh? [sic]

(It's lettered ALL-CAPS but I assumed lowercase rather than the Penny Century.)

The thing is, Herriman's strip was full of wordplay and mangled words and eye dialect, but also real slang, so it's hard to tell: slang or nonce?

P.S.: Looking it up, it's drowned out by modern things:

  • Some modern biking slang that should maybe be documented?

Okay, that's all. Thanks if you can find something! 06:39, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

It says here [20] that the name of the modern comic book character Penny Century is a pun on penitentiary, but this could be an independently discovered pun. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a one-time joke. Benwing2 (talk) 07:28, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, I was wondering if it could have been in use in some blues or folk songs of the era, as Herriman was often quoting from them... Or maybe not. Thanks. 19:47, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

an all, and all[edit]

I assume an all is etymologically a dialectal form of and all. Can and all be used the same way as an all? If so, an all should be switched to soft-redirect to and all via some "form of" template, yes? (Should they have the same part-of-speech header?) - -sche (discuss) 08:35, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

It appears to be from and + all (maybe and + al(so) ?). I am not familiar with and all being used in a similar way Leasnam (talk) 20:54, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
If there were cites for an all we could possibly answer the questions. It might be that the definition of an all ("as well") could be subsumed into def 3 of and all:
(dialectal) Used to add emphasis.
He starts yelling and we come running to help, but a fat load of thanks we get and all!
Cites would help. DCDuring TALK 21:03, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
None of the 6 uses of an all at COCA seem to be anything but alternative forms of and all with the definitions that we have there. OTOH, some of the 49 uses at BNC, mostly from speech, could be read as "as well'. Eg, "So we lost, but went down fighting, and had a good night out an all. Which makes it all okay, I guess." DCDuring TALK 21:12, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
It's basically a Scottish thing: [21]. --Droigheann (talk) 22:16, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
I didn't know that dictionary. Thanks. DCDuring TALK 01:24, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
You're welcome. You can find some instances in the Scottish corpus too ([22], [23]), but of course as "an" in Scottish texts can be "an" or "and" and "a" can be "a", "all" or even "I" one has to look for them. I'll treat our entries on Monday if I remember. --Droigheann (talk) 02:23, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
The D-less form is certainly Scottish; indeed I’d say markedly Scots as spelt in the heading, because in English texts (Scottish or otherwise) it’s usually graced with an eye-dialect apostrophe—often an’ a’, as in w:The Hundred Pipers#Lyrics. (BTW an can also mean “if”.)—Odysseus1479 (talk) 03:31, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
It's not exactly eye dialect, it's the apologetic apostrophe. --Droigheann (talk) 22:01, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

tenpercenters - Jewish origin[edit]

The term "tenpercenters" has its roots in Jewish literature. The Hebrew version is "ma'asair". It can be found in the Old Testament, particularly the Torah (a.k.a. the Five Books of Moses).—This comment was unsigned.

Well we don't have an entry for tenpercenter for a start, and your Hebrew word is written in Latin script, which is a lot less helpful than in Hebrew script. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:57, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
The entry is at ten-percenter, and the term מַעְשַׂ֤ר just means tenth or tithe. It has no relationship with ten-percenter beyond being coincidentally the same number. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:57, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Can anyone check the Spanish entry for van?[edit]

Hi! I am not sure if it is the right place to post here, so here I go! I don't speak Spanish at all, so I can't fix this one. But I notice that in the Spanish entry for van, the "second person plural ..." entry conflicts with the one shown in the conjugation table for Spanish ir. Thanks for the fix/explanation! --TheBlueWizard (talk) 03:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

That’s because the Spanish pronoun usted is used with third-person verbs despite being a second-person pronoun. — Ungoliant (falai) 04:00, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Should Suggilate be spelled with two Ls (Suggillate)?[edit]

Our version is spelled suggilate, but Webster's Unabridged Dictionary 1913 spells it as Suggillate (with 2 Ls). These are the only 2 dictionaries I can find it in, except Wordnik (which is explicitly copying our version) and at Merriam-Webster.com (which lists the noun form "Suggillation" (again with 2 Ls) as a medical term, but not the verb "Suggilate/Suggillate"). 2600:1015:B106:F21E:C58E:CDC7:232A:AA22 06:21, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

@2600:1015:B106:F21E:C58E:CDC7:232A:AA22, SemperBlotto, Renard Migrant, Chuck Entz: Latin usage isn't entirely unanimous on this; the Latin verb can be spelt suggillō, suggilō, or sūgillō; du Cange, Gaffiot, the OLD, and Niermeyer all lemmatise the suggill- spelling, whilst Lewis & Short lemmatise sūgillo (presumably for consistency with its presumed etymon, sūgō). This suggests that suggillate is the preferred spelling etymologically, but that suggilate and sugillate are also etymologically justifiable. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 02:34, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Japanese "verb conjugation"[edit]

I just happened on this entry: 傳送. Basically a Chinese word meaning "transmission", it forms a verb in Japanese in the absolutely standard way, using the auxiliary verb する (suru). Of course the entry for suru contains its full conjugation, as it should, but the entry for 傳送 also contains a copy of this conjugation, with 傳送 prefixed, all repeated in kana and romanisation. This strikes me as unimaginably silly, and not helpful, because it fails to present the generalisation. It is as though in a dictionary in some other language, every English entry for an adjective included the complete conjugation of the verb "to be" to show the predicative use of the adjective. Is this an isolated example, and can I just delete it? Imaginatorium (talk) 14:11, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

I don’t see the problem. I assume you realize that these entries are for English-speakers, most of whom have little knowledge of Japanese grammar. The entries are not for native Japanese. I think the 傳送 entry is good the way it is. —Stephen (Talk) 23:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Of course I understand the purpose of en:wikt; can you see the problem if every English adjective came with a complete conjugation of the verb to be? The word 傳送 is invariable; it can be made into a verb by adding suru, just as war can be made into a verb by adding make. Should we give the entire conjugation of make at war as well? Imaginatorium (talk) 03:44, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I think it's fine as it is. The JA editors went rounds arguing the pros and cons of this approach, and what you observe on that entry is the consensus we arrived at.
Japanese monolingual dictionaries give 伝送 (the modern spelling) as a suru verb. Native speakers understand how suru works, so there's no need to go into conjugation. For that matter, native speakers understand how conjugation works, so aside from a few cryptic notations to indicate conjugation type, dictionaries don't give any real conjugation information at all. Wiktionary is not bound by the same restrictions, so entries include lots of explicit information that is merely alluded to, if that, in printed dictionaries. Moreover, this is all handled by templates, so there's no concern of manual labour, or of information getting out of sync.
I will ask a question in return, Imaginatorium: what harm is there in including this information? It's apparent that you, personally, don't see value in this. But others do. Why should we remove it? What harm is there in keeping it? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 04:47, 31 January 2016 (UTC)


Certainly no dispute over the meaning, but trillions here is described as an adjective. Surely it's a noun, the plural of trillion. Same as billions, millions, quadrillions and gazillions. Renard Migrant (talk) 14:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

But who really cares about grammar?
The usage example is clearly for a noun. But eventually English might morph into an inflected language in which something like trillionsa will be an inflected form of an adjective modifying dollars, which would be closer to the semantics. DCDuring TALK 15:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Yep, I've moved the usex. - -sche (discuss) 20:52, 30 January 2016 (UTC)


In April last year, the page on "satt" was edited (https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=satt&type=revision&diff=32897640&oldid=32663672) to remove the usage notes that a genitive object with "satt" was archaic; in the definitions, "with accusative" was changed to "with accusative or genitive", and the given example which was in accusative had been switched to genitive. Now, this edit seems to me to be pretty prescriptivist -- I've personally never seen it used with genitive, but I'm not a native speaker. Should these edits be reverted? TrioLinguist (talk) 20:56, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

The editor who made the change is a POV-pusher of older, often no-longer-used spellings and grammar who(m?) we've been cleaning up after for a while. Their edit was par for the course, and illustrates why we tolerated them for so long: they're taking something which could be argued to be inaccurate in one direction and changing it... but pushing it deceptively, inaccurately far in the other direction. (I finally blocked them the other day after they marked the current spelling of dass as "obsolete".) Use of satt with the genitive isn't labelled "archaic" by German dictionaries like DWDS and the Duden, but it's not accepted without comment, either; they label it gehoben, which generally corresponds to our label {{lb|de|literary}}, and it may in fact be archaic in actual practice: google books:"Faulheit satt" and google books:"Dummheit satt" show use with the genitive in the 1700s and 1800s, and use with the accusative in the modern era. The collocation "des Lebens satt" (vs "das Leben satt") does still see use in the modern era, but it is a set phrase from 1 Chronicles 23; contrast the dates of the hits for "des Todes satt" and "den Tod satt". - -sche (discuss) 22:14, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

"esforzar" spanish conjugation[edit]

There are errors with the conjugation for the verb "esforzar" and I've got no idea how to fix those. (talk) 21:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

The problem seems to be in {{es-conj-zar (o-ue)}}. All of the entries that use this template have errors in the past participles. Only the masculine singular returns correctly; the other three forms are wrong. —Stephen (Talk) 23:52, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Fixed. Benwing2 (talk) 06:44, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

"never!" (interjection)[edit]

In Wallace and Gromit's 3rd short film (A Close Shave), there's this exchange:

"[My father] was an inventor."
"Never! Well, I do a bit of that myself."

Are we missing an interjection sense at never that covers this? --Daniel Carrero (talk) 01:17, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

It sounds like a shortening of well, I never, includable if it's attested. - -sche (discuss) 01:30, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I'd say the sense is closer to "you don't say". I would have assumed it was just "never" as in "that was never the case; I can hardly believe it". Equinox 14:01, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
It does sound like an interjection rather than an adverb to me. It's basically a synonym of no way, expressing surprise. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:04, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I've been trying to think how I could cite that use, since apparently I can't just search for "never" and expect a (seemingly rare) interjection sense to come up.
I even searched for "never I do a bit of that" to see if someone had published that quotation in Google Books or Google Groups. (0 results) --Daniel Carrero (talk) 23:49, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps "never he said", "never she exclaimed" etc.? Equinox 23:54, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
@Equinox Thanks for the idea, I'll search for it later when I have the time. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:27, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

on the town[edit]

The header says "adjective", the headword-line template says "adverb", and the category says "prepositional phrase". Which is it? - -sche (discuss) 01:31, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Prepositional phrase includes both adj and adv. That's why we have it as a PoS. DCDuring TALK 02:07, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. - -sche (discuss) 07:59, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

is "smoke" meaning "beat" used in the UK? Australia?[edit]

Following up on #Smoke (v), it seems improbable that "smoke" would mean "beat someone at something" only in the US and New Zealand, but other meanings offer so much interference when searching (and books don't always say where their authors are from) that I can't find clear evidence that it's used elsewhere. Can anyone confirm? If it's a general sense of the word, not limited to any particular dialects, we could remove "US, New Zealand" from the context label. Usage examples: "we smoked them at rugby", "we smoked the other team". - -sche (discuss) 07:59, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

It's used this way in Canada as well. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:07, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I can't think of any obvious British usage. I mean, I'd understand it of course but it doesn't strike me as British. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:06, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
@Renard Migrant: It doesn't strike you as specifically British, or it strikes you as specifically not British? --WikiTiki89 19:29, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't think I've ever encountered this in British speech or writing. Equinox 19:35, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Latin verb "lacio"[edit]

I came across the page lexi, which says that the word is the 1st person singular perfect active indicative of the verb lacio. However, on the page for lacio, it says that the verb has no perfect forms, as does Lewis and Short. Looking at it now, it wasn't just lexi that was created — the entire perfect system was created for this verb (i.e. lexero, lexeram, lexisti, etc.) Could this be a bot error or something like that? Also, the page for lacio itself is missing a conjugation table. Calucido (talk) 18:26, 31 January 2016 (UTC)


How is this pronounced? A user tagged the pronunciation section with a verification template, disputing that it could be pronounced with a schwa in the second syllable. - -sche (discuss) 23:05, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

In Greek, it's Σόλων, or /so'lōn/, and accordingly The Bantam New College Latin & English Dictionary gives "Sol•ō(n)". However, Webster's Biographical Dictionary gives "sō'lŏn; -lŭn", and The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia gives "sohlon". So in English it's usually pronounced with a short vowel or schwa in the second syllable, but in Greek and Latin the second o is long. The first o is stressed in Greek, but written with an omicron rather than an omega. It's treated as a long o in English, but it looks like the stress is always on the first syllable, which probably explains why the second o is treated as short in English. P Aculeius (talk) 23:27, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

February 2016

law of one[edit]

How general is this? I can only find it discussed with relation to a particular book, "The Ra Material" (supposed taped interviews with the spirit of the Egyptian sun-god). Equinox 12:44, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

index word?[edit]

Nouveau Dictionnaire Larousse page.JPG

What is the English term for the "index words" that are often found at the top of a page of an encyclopedia or dictionary, as for example CYPHELLE - CYPRINIDES on top of the right-hand page of this sample of Larousse? Are they simply index words? --Hekaheka (talk) 15:39, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

They're called guide words (a term we don't have, but see [24]). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:48, 1 February 2016 (UTC)


Just noticed we have /ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/ as one of our pronunciations. Any dictionaries have this? Who pronounces it this way? Renard Migrant (talk) 22:53, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

While we're at it, I assume "A distortion of the countenance" is from the Webster's 1913 dictionary as it's so old fashioned. I mean, countenance rather than face, lucky for me I know what that means. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:57, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionaries, and American Heritage all include the /ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/ variant. Can't say I've ever heard it myself, but it's in them. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:17, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Open challenge to anyone who can find evidence of this on the Internet. YouTube, facebook videos, Vimeo (etc.) would be great. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:28, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
This stack exchange thread provides some references (and at google books:"gri-mace" "grim-ace" there are more) suggesting that /ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/ was the pronunciation in the 1800s, but that people must have already been changing by then to the current pronunciation /ˈɡɹɪm.əs/, since prescriptivists were railing against it. There've been a few cases (bon appétit is one) where dictionaries claim one pronunciation can be used, but we've removed it from the pronunciation section due to a conspicuous lack of real-world use. The poster of that stack exchange thread claims to use "gri-MACE", though. - -sche (discuss) 23:45, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
OED has only /ɡrɪˈmeɪs/, including the attached sound file, both for noun and verb [25], [26]. Maybe it's a UK vs US thing? --Droigheann (talk) 19:58, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Renard is British and hasn't heard of it. And Angr names two American dictionaries that have it. I think it's an 1800s (/ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/) vs 1900s (/ˈɡɹɪm.əs/) thing, with apparently a few pockets of speakers preserving /ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/. - -sche (discuss) 04:34, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Well there's also Forvo [27] and acapela [28] but of course I don't know how reliable they are. --Droigheann (talk) 14:08, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I just checked the New Oxford American Dictionary app on my computer: it has "ˈɡrɪməs, ɡrəˈmeɪs" Chuck Entz (talk) 14:21, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, references that are uses, not mentions. An audio file of someone who's told to pronounce a word a certain way defeats the object about as thoroughly as you can defeat an object. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:58, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Scottish poet Robert Fergusson (1750–1774), in a poem, rhymes "na: rather gleefu' turn your face, / forsake hypocrisy, grimace". John Mitchell, in a work published in 1838, rhymes "without a hindrance or grimace, / a ready grave in every face". I haven't seen more recent examples. - -sche (discuss) 23:13, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

woodwind player[edit]

There are entries for woodwinder and woodwindist, both I have never heard of, but "woodwind player" wins hands down on Google: 74,300 untested results for woodwind players, 243 for woodwindists, and 668 for woodwinders. I think it's worth an entry. Donnanz (talk) 09:38, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

I should have known: woodwinder and woodwindist are WurdSnatcher creations. Donnanz (talk) 10:09, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Being widely used isn't one of our Criteria for inclusion, but being idiomatic is. And a woodwind player is still just a [[woodwind]] [[player]], so there's no need for a separate entry. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:14, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
How odd, there is an inexplicable aversion to the use of player, yet there's entries for woodwind instrument and wind instrumentalist. But never mind, translations for woodwind player can go on a different site which doesn't have this kind of phobia. Donnanz (talk) 19:39, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Those other entries existing doesn't mean they are approved of by all. Equinox 20:14, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Nor is the aversion "inexplicable"; it has been explicitly explained more than once. Equinox 20:15, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Off the top of my head I can't think of a single idiom ending in 'player'. X player is a player of X, no matter what X is, be it one word or several. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:59, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Bit player has a figurative sense. Donnanz (talk) 10:37, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
In that case we're missing a sense at brass, which only talks about "a class of wind instruments", I think a brass player only plays one instrument at a time. --Droigheann (talk) 10:54, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
That has to be true, a brass player has only one mouth, different from a percussionist who may play more than one instrument. A brass band, of course, has several brass players, as well as drummers. Donnanz (talk) 12:08, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Infiniverse neologism?[edit]

This might be one of the countless random entries added by young enthusiasts backing what is either an obscure science fiction reference or an inside joke of some sort, there is this page on the word "infiniverse", an obviously unprofessional addition. It looks like the definition of "universe", also confusing it with the notion of "observable universe", with an extra mystical mention of "dark matter and energy", which I, random everyday user as I am, took the liberty to edit out. This definition has apparently existed since October 2005. Looking through the history of edits, I am growing more dubious as of the legitimacy of the word at all. Search engines return mostly trademarks. Unless coined by a confirmed source, should the "infiniverse" page event exist? 22:45 2 February 2016

Well we're not professionals so looking 'unprofessional' is like a dog that looks like a dog. Also if the word passes WT:CFI, it doesn't matter who made it or whether we like 'unprofessional' due to the inclusion of this single word among millions of others that we have. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:47, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I can see some (not very many) hits in a Google Books search. You can use WT:RFV if you want to challenge its existence with the given meaning. Equinox 00:18, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Same random everyday user again. Google Books does return the use of the word "infiniverse" as early as 1888, capitalised or not (also countable, really as a substitute word for universe). My apologies if my first comment was counterproductive. Let me rephrase. "(Tibetan Buddhism) Everything that exists, seen or unseen.(dark matter or energy) The universe is the observed part (material substance) of the infiniverse" is not an acceptable definition. 10:03, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

spot on[edit]

Is this really common in American English? It rings British/Australia to my ears. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:14, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

It's common in American media. Unless it was originally limited to Britain, I would just remove the context label — if it's common everywhere, there's no need for a label. On that note, can you shed any light in last month's thread on whether "smoke" as in "we really smoked (beat) the other team" is used in the UK / Australia? It seems to me like it is, in which case it's another word that's used everywhere and can drop its regional label. - -sche (discuss) 23:50, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
To my American ears this sounds fine. Benwing2 (talk) 01:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Then I support removing the context tag altogether. As for this supposed usage of "smoke", I have never heard it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:33, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

"carrot" as an example of pronunciation[edit]

Please see Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2016-01/Pronunciation. It uses the word carrot as a (simplified) example of a pronunciation section that is being proposed to be added to WT:EL.

Current discussion about using carrot: Wiktionary talk:Votes/pl-2016-01/Pronunciation#Suggested changes. There, @Tharthan said "Carrot is improper [...]" and gave their reasons. Can we keep that example or should we change it?

Please check if the pronunciation information of carrot in the vote is accurate and good as an example entry. I'm also open to using a different word if other people want. I'd just like to use a single entry with all the information (IPA, audio, rhymes, homophones, etc.), since the current pronunciation section in EL has the information a bit scattered in different places with different entries.

Thank you! --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:23, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Why not use "was", "of" or "off"? Those words have differing GA and RP pronunciations. Tharthan (talk) 02:27, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
That idea is good, but can we use a word with two or more syllables? It would demonstrate the use of the hyphenation template. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:29, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
The problem isn't with "carrot", by the way. It was with how Angr listed the pronunciation transcriptions. Merged pronunciations (such as the cot-caught merger, hurry-furry merger, merry, Mary, marry merger) come after the unmerged pronunciations.

What about cauliflower? Tharthan (talk) 02:27, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Hmmm. In my speech, marry (/e/) and Mary (/e/) sound the same but merry (/ɛ/) is different, so I'd say /keɹət/ not /kɛɹət/ (which would be spelled kerrot) or /kæɹət/ (not possible). But I suppose I'm in the minority here. Benwing2 (talk) 02:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
OK, I see Tharthan made the same point basically. Benwing2 (talk) 02:45, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
@Tharthan As for cauliflower, you could say that cot-caught mergers in the US have either [ɑ] or [ɒ] (or [ɔ]?) depending on the speaker. Benwing2 (talk) 02:48, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

@Benwing2 In response to your" /kæɹət/ (not possible)" I notice that with speakers with the merry, Mary, marry merger, they are often literally taught the merger as children, as in they are taught that /æ/ cannot come before /ɹ/. I have always found this amusing; that a merger would be taught to children, so as to stop them from pronouncing the words in the original, unmerged fashion. I would be like if I were to teach my children that "sh" cannot come before a consonant, and that instead it is pronounced as "z" so that when they read "shmoe", they read it as "zmoe". Anyways, my point is that it is very strange that a merger would be taught to children. At best it's misguided, at worse, I daresay it could be malicious. Tharthan (talk) 02:53, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

  • You have stepped, apparently unintentionally, into a minefield (namely the minefield of how to represent those confusing Mary, marry, merry sounds; even the agreed-upon IPA symbols we use aren't really good representations of how many pronunciations of some of them actually sound). If all you're looking to do is give an example of format, pick some other word. :) How about lever or privacy, which have different GenAm/US and RP/UK pronunciations? - -sche (discuss) 03:15, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
    To recap what I said in the discussion I linked above: if it's not asking too much, I'd like a single example entry with all pronunciation items simultaneously: 1) IPA pronunciations; 2) audio files; 3) rhymes; 4) homophones; 5) hyphenation. (I hope I didn't forget anything?) Thanks for all the suggestions, but cauliflower, lever and privacy don't seem to have homophones, so I can't use them as example entries with {{homophones}} in them. The word carrot seems to be perfect because it has all the items, including "caret, karat, carat" as homophones (assuming this list is accurate). Only one or two homophones would be okay. If there's actually no "perfect" entry like I asked, I would settle with using multiple example entries. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 03:35, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Carrot is fine with me. Benwing2 (talk) 03:39, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
BTW, yes, caret, karat and carat all sound the same as carrot. Benwing2 (talk) 03:42, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, Benwing2 is correct, "caret", "karat", "carat" and "carrot" are all homophones. The choice of "carrot" is fine, so long as the pronunciations are properly listed. Tharthan (talk) 03:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
"Properly" meaning giving your preferred pronunciation first, as opposed to the one used by the majority of Americans? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:00, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
No, properly meaning giving mergerless pronunciations first just as we do with other entries. Unless you are also going to suggest that the initial pronunciation given for "caught" to be the same as for "cot", and the pronunciation for "both" to be the "bolth" pronunciation, having /pɔɹ/ before /pʊɹ/ in the "poor" entry, or the "melk" pronunciation for milk, etc. etc. The number of people who use a merged pronunciation is irrelevant to whether a pronunciation ought to come first or second. For instance, a major city in a country might have a certain pronunciation be used that is not the traditional pronunciation, and that city may have loads and loads of people in it. However, in other places the traditional pronunciation is still used on a daily basis, and so that pronunciation should be listed first, especially if there are other dialects in other countries which also use that same pronunciation (and that pronunciation is the only pronunciation used in those other places). It gives entries a neat and tidy look as well to do it that way. It is simply good form.
Mind you, this is not just in regards to English. Look at German "stark", and how the pronunciations are listed there. Now I don't know about you, but /ʃtaɐ̯k/ and /ʃtaːk/ are the pronunciations I have most heard of that word, yet nevertheless /ʃtaʁk/ is the traditional pronunciation, and is a pronunciation still in use, hence it is placed before the "newer" pronunciations. Again, it is simply good form. Tharthan (talk) 14:51, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Where did you get the idea we give mergerless pronunciations first? I'm unaware of that convention and have never followed it. Especially in a pronunciation labeled General American, a nonmerged pronunciation is quite marginal, since most Americans without the merger don't speak GenAm, but rather a Northeastern or Southern variety. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:21, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Question: Would you list the "cot" pronunciation of "caught" before the "caught" pronunciation of "caught"? Would you list the "melk" pronunciation of "milk" instead of the milk pronunciation of "milk"? Would you list the "bolth" pronunciation of "both" before the "both" pronunciation of "both"? If you would, then you would be in the minority because that's not how pronunciations are generally listed across the English Wiktionary, irrespective of the language (as far as I can tell). If you wouldn't then don't be hypocritical in this scenario.
The number of Californians means that the "cot" pronunciation of "caught" probably number-wise has more speakers in the United States. But, y'see, that's biased. The population of California, and Californians themselves, are not indicative of the rest of the country. Same thing with the Midwest, for instance. The Midwest may like to pronounce route as /ɹaʊt/, but that doesn't make the pronunciation list order /ɹaʊt/, /ɹuːt/.
The other thing is that, as -sche noted: the number of different merged pronunciations for words hit by the merry, Mary, marry merger is ridiculous. Why list your preferred merged pronunciation /kɛɹət/ over other merged pronunciations /keɹət/ / /keəɹət/ / /kɛəɹət/ etc.? At least if we used the unmerged pronunciation, we don't have these problems. Same thing with the cot-caught merger: do we use /ɒ/, /ɑ/ /ɑː/? No, we just use the unmerged pronunciation, which doesn't have those problems. Tharthan (talk) 15:49, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
How about queue (one syllable), aloud (two syllables but not broken up by hyphenation), or wholly, symbol or altar (broken up by hyphenation)? Surely at least one of these is uncontentious... :p - -sche (discuss) 17:59, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, any of these would be great to me! (because they all have IPA/audio/rhymes/homophones/hyphenation as I requested) I'd be happy with any of these examples, I'll let other people choose. I'd settle for the one that is less controversial if that makes any sense, whichever allows WT:EL to be updated quicker. :) --Daniel Carrero (talk) 18:29, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
queue, aloud, and symbol don't have separate lines for RP and GA, and the latter two don't have any homophones. It might be confusing to illustrate the use of {{hyphenation}} with a word that doesn't hyphenate. altar has the same problem as carrot, namely two different pronunciations in GA (depending on presence vs. absence of the cot-caught merger this time instead of the Mary-marry-merry merger), but really at this point the only controversy with carrot is which GA pronunciation to list first, and I don't think that's an important enough issue to disqualify it from being used as an example. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:58, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, like I said, carrot is fine with me, for one. Also, you never addressed "wholly". That has two homophones: holy and holey.Tharthan (talk) 19:07, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
wholly and holy aren't homophones in some accents. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:05, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
What, is it a homophone of holly in those other accents, then? Tharthan (talk) 20:14, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
No, wholly has a new phoneme in those accents: see Wholly-holy split. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:45, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree with -sche that we should use a word with a less controversial transcription as an example, such as lever or privacy. --WikiTiki89 20:31, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
One of Daniel's desiderata is a word with homophones. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:46, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Even then, isn't it just being read as "whole-ly" or something? And /ɒʊ̯/ is a phoneme I have never seen, but wouldn't it sound something like "au-ww" (I'm reading it as /ɔəʊw/) or something? How on Earth did that come about? Tharthan (talk) 22:10, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
What about censor? Chuck Entz (talk) 04:18, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
lever is homophonous with leaver in British accents. There's also marten, which seems to be homohonous with Martin in all accents, while simultaneously being pronounced differently in the US and UK. Google site:en.wiktionary.org English pronunciation US UK "IPA" "audio" "rhymes" "homophones" "hyphenation" and page through the results until you find something you like. - -sche (discuss) 05:29, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
If it's okay with everybody, I'm going to start Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2016-01/Pronunciation on the scheduled date, which is February 9. The word carrot looks fine to me. This is a wiki, so the example entry of WT:EL#Pronunciation can be changed in the future if people want. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 04:11, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I used the words suggested here to create Poll: example word. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 05:08, 4 February 2016 (UTC)


I came across this paragraph in Treasure Island:

And now I began to feel that I was neglecting my business; that since I had been so foolhardy as to come ashore with these desperadoes, the least I could do was to overhear them at their councils; and that my plain and obvious duty was to draw as close as I could manage, under the favorable ambush of the crouching trees.

Here the word ambush has no implication of attack or surprise, but only of hiding under cover. We don't seem to have any such sense. --WikiTiki89 20:51, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Chambers has "a place of lying in wait". Equinox 21:07, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
So the couch, when lying in wait of the pizza delivery guy? It seems a little underspecific. --WikiTiki89 21:13, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, it means lie in wait in the idiomatic sense. Not for pizza. Equinox 22:12, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Oh. Well it seems that our entry for lie in wait also implies an attack. So that definition doesn't help much. --WikiTiki89 22:47, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster has “the persons stationed in ambush; also : their concealed position”. —JohnC5 21:08, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
But that refers back to the the first definition, which does mention a surprise attack. --WikiTiki89 21:13, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure this is a metaphorical use. —JohnC5 21:28, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
It's not a very metaphorical book. Otherwise, that would have been a good explanation. --WikiTiki89 21:33, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
What about "crouching trees"? That seems at least a tad metaphorical to me. Either that, or Jim-lad has a lot more to worry about than pirates... Chuck Entz (talk) 07:32, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Looking at some 200 of many hundreds of uses of ambush at COCA, there were some few uses that did not involve physical attack, but there was at least a metaphorical attack involved. I don't see how there is not some kind of implication of attack even in the Treasure Island quote above. The "crouching trees" support this implication IMO. DCDuring TALK 22:44, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
There is no such implication in the quote. He very explicitly says that his intention is only to eavesdrop. --WikiTiki89 01:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
If a word is normally (say, 99% of the time) used with a specific meaning, then in the other 1% the word can bring the normal meaning to what would seem to be an inappropriate context. An author or speaker counts on the reader or audience being influenced by the normal usage and exploits their expectations. That's a large part of creativity in the use of language: somewhat inappropriate, unconventional use of words that nevertheless communicates because of the shared expected meaning.
Pursuing every instance of such creativity is not just losing sight of the forest for the trees, it's losing sight of the trunks for the twigs. DCDuring TALK 15:34, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with taking interest in an unusual twig. It may be that this is an unconventional usage, but I wouldn't know until I've asked the question. --WikiTiki89 15:45, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
This quotation seems to be using a sense more along the lines of the "a place..." ones mentioned above, and they seem to cover it, even insofar as they imply that an attack either literal or figurative is involved. This quotation does seem to be invoking an attack metaphor, as John and DCDuring say. He has penetrated their defences to observe them; they are unaware and would be surprised. - -sche (discuss) 14:37, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

warp, cast[edit]

What is a "cast of fish" as in the second definition of warp, which reads "A cast of fish (herring, haddock, etc.); four, as a tale of counting fish." For that matter, what does the whole definition mean? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:19, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Pinging @Leasnam, who added it - I can't make head nor tail of it either. Keith the Koala (talk) 22:24, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
It was taken word for word from Century 1911, usually not a bad source. I don't understand this one. I have a link to Century at the bottom of our entry. DCDuring TALK 22:52, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
No idea either. Renard Migrant (talk) 23:24, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
This Google Books search has some discussion and may generate some cites. I don't see how we can let the wording stand. DCDuring TALK 00:08, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
This is an instance of a rare, archaic or obsolete sense of a word (tale ("count, enumeration") being used in a definition. A warp is a group of four fish used to speed the counting compared to counting by individual fish. It may offer some benefits of averaging (lower standard deviation of weight). We need to weed these out, though I don't know how to identify rare, etc senses of common words. DCDuring TALK 00:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
What do you suggest as a new definition? Should it be general ("a group of four"), or specifically refer to fish? There's evidence that it has been used in reference to weeks, but I can't find any actual uses of that. I'll have to take a look and see if I can find cites referring to something other than fish. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:26, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
[edit conflict] I see now that tale is meant in one of the archaic/obsolete/rare senses having to do with counting and numbering, and that "four, as a tale of counting fish" may mean something like "approximately four fish," making warp, in this sense, something like "dozen" or "couple" but for four. This is supported by one of the results for "a tale of counting fish", which notes that "a warp of weeks" is a month, or approximately four weeks. Searching "warp of fish" yields a few results, as does "warp of weeks", though the latter are all from dictionaries or wordlists of some sort. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:23, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Notes and Queries (1893) reports: "The fish are counted by taking two in each hand and throwing the four together in a heap. Thus: “Four herrings make a warp. Thirty-three warps make a hundred, or one hundred and thirty-two fish." Hence the value of elementary education in arithmetic. DCDuring TALK 00:32, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Century also shows a sense of cast ("an allowance; an amount given, as of food: as, a cast of hay for the horses"). HTH. DCDuring TALK 00:38, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I think both cast and warp refer to throwing, as mentioned above "The fish are counted by taking two in each hand and throwing the four together in a heap." We might call it a "toss" today. Leasnam (talk) 02:03, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
"an allowance; an amount given, as of food: as, a cast of hay for the horses" --Same here, the amount equal to that which can be tossed out at one time/instance Leasnam (talk) 02:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Unusual pronunciations[edit]


This word and several of its rhymes say that in the US they can also be pronounced /ˈbɹiːŋ/ (/θiːŋ/, etc). Really, with the first part sounding like brie cheese? It's not in the US dictionaries I checked. Is this GenAm or a specific (sub)dialect? - -sche (discuss) 15:47, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

There was an editor recently promoting this supposedly Californian phenomenon (and a seemingly rare one) of "-ing" beeing pronounced "-eeng". I've always been skeptical of it. --WikiTiki89 15:50, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Was it the same editor who was trying to convince people that "cole" and "(mono)cle" sounded the same? - -sche (discuss) 15:56, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I think so. User:Gilgamesh~enwiktionary it seems, who did in fact add this pronunciation to bring. --WikiTiki89 15:57, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
...and who was the one behind the "cole" pronunciations. I am going to remove those pronunciations, then, since I can't find them in dictionaries and the user is known to have ideas about pronunciation which are ... idiosyncratic. There are also a lot of /æ/ words like /ˈæŋkɚ/ (anchor) to which /eɪ/ variants like /ˈeɪŋkɚ/ have been added, labelled "US". I'm guessing that's the same editor. - -sche (discuss) 16:06, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Actually pronouncing /ˈæŋkɚ/ as something like /ˈeɪŋkɚ/ (in general pronouncing /æŋ/ as [eɪŋ]) is very common in æ-tensing accents. See Wunu's pronunciation at Forvo. --WikiTiki89 16:34, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
What about the alternative /-iːŋks/ pronunciations listed at lynx and some other pages? - -sche (discuss) 17:13, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Also added by him. --WikiTiki89 17:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)


The pronunciation /ˈbl̩θ/ is almost certainly spurious and part of the "cole" issue discussed in the section above this. But is /boʊlθ/ valid? For which accents? - -sche (discuss) 17:11, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

I have no idea how widespread it is, but I've always suspected that some people throw in an /l/ (although I've never consciously noticed it). I've even noticed that I myself sometimes almost let an /l/ slip in. As for the process itself, first of all, in these accents, /oʊ̯l/ is already monophthongized as /o(ː)l/ or /ɔ(ː)l/, and in the case of both, the /ʊ̯/ of /boʊ̯θ/ is simply hard to distinguish from /l/ (which is really something like [ɫˠ]), so the /l/ is stuck in instead of the /ʊ̯/, merging with the /o(ː)l ~ ɔ(ː)l/ phoneme. --WikiTiki89 17:27, 5 February 2016 (UTC)


Added by the same user who edited the entries named above: [wɫ̩f]. Has anyone heard it pronounced that way? - -sche (discuss) 20:32, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

You can kill it. Incidentally, I have always pronounced this as /wɔlf/ and pl. /wɔlvz/, in contrast with "Beow[ʊ]lf" and "w[ʊ]lverine", but cannot find any dictionary that attests to that pronunciation, but it's exactly like JessicaMS's pronunciation at Forvo. --WikiTiki89 20:44, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
That seems like it might be a spelling pronunciation. —CodeCat 21:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
In this wordreference thread, someone from the Pacific Northwest says they use that pronunciation (sort-of... they also say it's /o/ and that it's the same vowel as "wool", sic). OTOH, I can't find anything more reliable that would confirm that either in the specific case or as a general Pacific Northwest English phenomenon. - -sche (discuss) 21:23, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I think he's saying that in the Pacific Northwest they pronounce /ʊl/ as /ɔl/, since he says that it's the same as both wool and coal. As for me, I do make a distinction, as I said, I pronounce wolverine with /ʊl/, which makes it seem that the spelling pronunciation theory is insufficient as an explanation, since wolf is a more common word than wolverine (despite X-Men, think), but spelling pronunciations tend to affect uncommon words. --WikiTiki89 21:39, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
It seems like a phonetic variant one might hear in rapid speech. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:43, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

kaufen vs. käufen[edit]

This is both a TR and an ES question really, I decided to put it here.

I have occasionally heard an umlauted form of this verb, in particular I remember hearing it in the parody song "wir käufen alle bei ALDI". I wonder if an entry for it is merited, and how widespread it is. As for the etymological question, I wonder if the umlauted version is old or is it only a recent phenomenon? An entry for *kaupijaną was just created, which could be the ancestor of this umlauted form, but of course only if it has been in continued use since Germanic times. Old High German didn't write down umlauts, but Middle High German did, so are there any traces of an umlauted form in MHG? —CodeCat 17:28, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

In Gerhard Koebler's OHG dictionary I find entries for both koufōn (class 2 weak) and koufen (class 1 weak). Umlaut would be expected in the latter form. Now the question is whether the modern käufen descends from old koufen. —CodeCat 17:38, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

The forms formed by strong conjugation (käuft, käufst etc.) are regional nonstandard variants. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 23:31, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

But what about wir käufen? —CodeCat 00:01, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I've looked around Booble Gooks and found quite a few hits for the umlauted form and its inflections. So I've created an entry for it now. I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable to specify where and when this form is actually used. —CodeCat 01:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
That seems to be a regional variant too, but from my experience it's far less common than the conjugated forms with Umlaut. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 12:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

by the way[edit]

How is this a prepositional phrase? --Fsojic (talk) 20:53, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Because "by" is a preposition, and "the way" is a noun phrase that is the object of that preposition. This is the very definition of a prepositional phrase. Now to be more specific, it is an adverbial prepositional phrase, and should be labeled as an ===Adverb===. We really shouldn't use ===Prepositional phrase=== as a POS header. --WikiTiki89 20:57, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I thought "prepositional phrase" meant a phrase that behaves syntactically like a preposition. Another question: how is the supposedly British meaning ("irrelevantly; off-topic") under the header "Adverb" different from the first one? And "off-topic" isn't even an adverb itself, why use it to define an adverb? "off-topically" (if it does exist) I could understand, but not this. --Fsojic (talk) 22:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
It's just a poorly written entry overall. --WikiTiki89 22:49, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I had changed the PoS from Adverb to PP. Although many PPs are used both adjectivally and adverbially, I don't think this one is used as an adjective. I could not find it used after a form of be. Though there may be some examples somewhere, it is misleading not to make clear that it is basically (or entirely) adverbial. Whatever changes are made, please make sure it appears in Category:English prepositional phrases, wherever else it appears. DCDuring TALK 04:11, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
That's why I never understood why we have the heading Prepositional phrase at all. What information does it give me, except that the first word is a preposition? I can learn that by clicking on it. Perhaps there is a reason but I'm unable to fathom one out. --Droigheann (talk) 11:31, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Most prepositional phrases can be used both adjectivally and adverbially. Why would you want to be adding and maintaining duplicate semantic content? DCDuring TALK 13:18, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Because looking at Category:English prepositional phrases I'm not sure those that can be used both adjectivally and adverbially form such an ovewhelming majority. I can imagine even by the way used attributively, as in "in a by the way manner", but is it adjectival? Wouldn't that imply that a noun used attributively turns into an adjective? --Droigheann (talk) 13:45, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Don't ascribe to much reality to word classes, especially as we apply them to phrases. I don't know whether there are any dictionaries that label phrases with word-class labels. IMO the focus should be on presentation to the user, avoidance of duplication (for user and contributor), respecting user expectations and, to some extent, reflecting changes in lexicographic fashion (eg, determiners). Lexicographic fashion is far, far behind linguistic fashion, probably because it is more constrained by user expectations. DCDuring TALK 15:01, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
User expectation is what troubles me - when I see Adverb or Adjective, I expect some kind of behaviour; when I see Prepositional phrase I think "So there's a prep, and?" But it may be just me; and there's something in what you say about avoidance of duplication. As regards our treating noun phrases as Nouns, verb phrases as Verbs and so on, that's why I'm ready to put up with almost anything here POS-header-wise, only sometimes I can't help grumbling a bit, sorry for that. I'm getting too old and fogeyish I guess. --Droigheann (talk) 16:01, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
We had a vote, but there's no reason why we couldn't go back to the former approach. It would be much easier to decide if we had some facts about users. As it is, we depend a lot on imitating other dictionaries.
The adoption of "Determiner" as a PoS heading was more controversial (I initially opposed it.). Part of the decision was based on a few dictionaries (all UK-based, BTW) adopting the practice. I think Oxford uses "determiner" as a label in some of their UK editions, but not in (any of?) their US editions. One advantage I've found is that I've learned a good deal more grammar since we've adopted "Determiner". DCDuring TALK 16:31, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

lesser mortal[edit]

Does anyone have a good definition for this? It's listed twice in requested entries, in 2011 and 2016 (the 2nd one by me without noticing the first) Donnanz (talk) 10:10, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Isn't this just lesser + mortal? We may be missing a sense at lesser, but unless there's a use of it that I'm not familiar with, I would think it's SOP. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:51, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I have the feeling it could be idiomatic - "we lesser mortals" for instance. Donnanz (talk) 19:34, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
What makes that evidence of idiomaticity? Consider "we members of the City Council". DCDuring TALK 20:36, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Not in the same league IMO. Not the same as mere mortal either. I did find a wee bit here [29] - "You're looking down your nose at us lesser mortals". Donnanz (talk) 00:26, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
OK. how about the very attestable we Members of Parliament? Is that any less idiomatic? I still don't see why you think the Oxford Dictionary usage example for "lesser" makes lesser mortal idiomatic? It would seem just the opposite: they wouldn't use an idiom to illustrate the meaning of a component term. Eg, He kicked the bucket would not be used to illustrate the meaning of bucket or kick. DCDuring TALK 00:45, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Hmm, right, whether it's an idiom or not is debatable. But it's apparently also regarded as humorous [30] (unfortunately this site is ruled by the advertisers). Anyway I thought an entry for lesser mortal is worthwhile, so I created one, adding an example sentence which can be altered, and some quotations would be useful. By the way, Andrew Sheedy is right in saying there is a sense missing at lesser. Donnanz (talk) 14:34, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
That's not the definition I'm familiar with. I often see it used about someone who's particularly brilliant at what they do, a Serena Williams, Albert Pujols or Ronnie O'Sullivan for example. 'A lesser mortal would have crumbled under the pressure' isn't someone of inferior social status but someone who isn't as virtuosic. If the lower social status sense is real, could someone add a couple of citations just to put my mind at ease? Renard Migrant (talk) 15:50, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I have added "ability", which I very nearly added in the first place. That should cover your point, I think. It can always be revised further. Donnanz (talk) 16:03, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Added {{rfquote}} to the entry. I'm not sure whether it should be "rfquote" or "rfquote|lang=en"; I did the latter. Donnanz (talk) 19:19, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

male-only disease[edit]

Out of pure curiosity, is there a word like gynecopathy for a male-only disease? --Ce mot-ci (talk) 10:58, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

andropathy --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 11:02, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Cheers Cat. --Ce mot-ci (talk) 19:00, 7 February 2016 (UTC)


See .e#Etymology. I avoided using using {{etyl}} and {{m}}, on purpose; with the current guidelines, Loglan cannot be documented and therefor cannot have a code. How exactly should this be handled? -Xbony2 (talk) 22:13, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

We can have etymology-only languages. Or using plan text as you've done. Renard Migrant (talk) 00:20, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
There's not much point using {{m}} if it can't be linked to, so... plain text it is. -Xbony2 (talk) 19:37, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
There is still some point. {{m|lang||unlinked word}} would still tag the text with metadata (at the HTML level) that is in the language with code "lang". This could be useful information to screen readers and other such things, indicating that it is not English. The code und can be used for an undetermined or unsupported language. --WikiTiki89 20:02, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, alright. -Xbony2 (talk) 21:04, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Appendix:Proto-Slavic/korabjь (vs. korabljь)[edit]

I sort of thought Proto-Slavic was normally reconstructed with l's between labials and /j/, and that the lack of such sounds in certain languages (e.g. West Slavic) is due to them dropping out later. Benwing2 (talk) 23:05, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

It doesn't seem likely that they would have dropped out later, precisely in the locations they had been added in the first place. But we do tend to include the *l in our entries (like *zemlja). This in particular is an unusual case because the *l is lacking in variants of the word in some languages (Serbo-Croatian and Ukrainian), where it would have been expected to be there, although it can also be explained through inter-Slavic borrowing. This word also came in relatively late in the history of Proto-Slavic, as an early borrowing from Greek. Previously, we didn't even have an entry for this in Proto-Slavic and handled each descendant as a direct borrowing from Greek. See also the previous discussion we had in the ES. I'm not sure what we should do here. --WikiTiki89 23:36, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
At least in theory, there are possible cases of inherited -blj- and -plj- sequences. Proto-Balto-Slavic underwent a change of -eu- to -jau-, so this could produce -bljau- and -pljau- from -bleu- and -pleu-. If such cases can be identified, with other Balto-Slavic cognates to confirm it, then we can tell by the outcome in West Slavic what is actually going on. —CodeCat 23:55, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89, CodeCat Thanks. Note that a change like [pl] -> [pʎ] -> [pj] may have occurred in Italian, so it's not so far-fetched for labial+/l/+/j/ to have simplified to labial+/j/, and there was analogical pressure to do so. Note that in general sound changes getting reversed isn't so strange, esp. when there are easy analogies to do so; e.g. it's often said that Yiddish reversed the final devoicing of obstruents. Or the Old English changes ɑ -> æ (Anglo-Frisian brightening) -> ɑ -> æ (second fronting in Mercian and such), where we only know such back and forth changes occurred because of intervening changes that interacted with them. Benwing2 (talk) 00:23, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
It's not far-fetched, it's just less likely. But like CodeCat said, if we were to find instances of original *-blj- or *-plj- sequences, then we can know for sure. --WikiTiki89 04:03, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but these four words have blj or plj: Appendix:Proto-Slavic/čaplja, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/sablja, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/stьbljь, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/pljьvati. - -sche (discuss) 22:47, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
In *čaplja, *stьbljь, and *pljьvati, the *l is epenthetic, but *sablja could potentially be just what we were looking for. It does seem interesting that Bulgarian and Macedonian still drop the *l, but all the West Slavic languages keep it. But we have to account for the possibility of later borrowings into West Slavic, and it would be nice if the direct source of the word in Proto-Slavic were clearer. --WikiTiki89 23:36, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I did some further researching and apparently Latvian has the lateralisation too. For Latvian pļaut there is the Lithuanian cognate piauti, and for spļaut there is spiauti, matching Slavic *pljuti. Greek evidence confirms the PIE sequence -py- here. —CodeCat 01:08, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Although they are redlinks, various entries also mention Appendix:Proto-Slavic/bljuvati/Appendix:Proto-Slavic/bljьvati, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/bljuzgati, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/bljuščь and Appendix:Proto-Slavic/pljunǫti, if that gives you any blj/plj leads to look into. There's also Appendix:Proto-Slavic/pljuťe, which my previous search missed because it was added after the last database dump. - -sche (discuss) 04:59, 11 February 2016 (UTC)


Is there a special definition of "roads" being used in sentences like "Deaths on British roads rise by 13%"? It's not necessarily literally true, since it doesn't refer to, say, people who had a heart attack on the street. Instead it means "Deaths due to road vehicles increased". Does this deserve a separate definition like "(by extension) Road traffic as a whole"? Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:45, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

I'd be reluctant to add this kind of metonymic usage. On roads means something like "in the system of roads and vehicle". I would find it hard to come up with a substitutable definition of roads that could be part of a prepositional phrase headed by on. IMO deaths on roads conveys its meaning successfully because it brings to mind "deaths typically closely associated with typical activities on roads". I think that typicality is a common element in the use of words to communicate among humans. DCDuring TALK 11:51, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Reminds me of on camera (recently raised regarding on TV). Equinox 15:06, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I think that [PREP] + [bare NOUN] often has a more figurative or abstract than [PREP] + [DET/ART] - [NOUN]. There are a lot of them at home, to work/at work/from work/during work, to/at/from/during church/school/hospital (UK English), by car/train/plane/boat.
In/on/for TV/television have the same "feel".
CGEL has a section "Restricted non-referential interpretation of bare NPs" which covers this class of usages of singular count nouns without determiners ("bare"). One type is "role" NPs, eg, president, office manager, which can appear after the preposition as and some others. Other types are fixed expressions or fixed frames of everyday life:
  1. activities linked to locations: hospital, school, stage
  2. indications of status: off/on target, in/out of place
  3. means of transport and communication: by email, by bicycle
  4. meals: lunch, brunch, supper
  5. times: dawn, siesta, noon, two o'clock
  6. repeated nouns: arm in arm, side by side
  7. matched nouns: from father to son, from beginning to end
(I don't think this categorization by any means exhausts the possibilities.) The number of nouns that can be used in these ways is large, with varying, short lists of prepositions for each category, sometimes not working with all the nouns in the category.
I think one implication is that we need to test our definitions for some of the nouns involved to make sure we have suitable definition for it in this kind of use preferably with a usage example. It is conceivable that some would want entries for these, but it cannot be because they cannot be readily understood. DCDuring TALK 18:22, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree with DCDuring; I wouldn't add a sense for such usage. Compare "the Kenyans won the World Cup qualifying match": not all of them, almost all of them didn't play, but we shouldn't add a sense "[a member of] Kenya's World Cup qualifier match team" to Kenyan. - -sche (discuss) 05:03, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes you have to be careful about retrospective logical analysis. The reason is, that's not how language works. We can all find alternative interpretations for language after the fact. A bit like "I have a cat's head on my T-shirt". No I don't, it's a picture of a cat's head. Renard Migrant (talk) 19:52, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
In this particular instance, "deaths on British roads" we're talking about a quality of the utterance as a whole, not the word 'road' in particular. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:38, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

About the meaning of amigo/a[edit]

I have always thought "amigo/a" only meant "friend". Google translates "amigo" to "boyfriend" and "amiga" to "friend", so I looked things up. Wiktionary agrees with my old belief. However, looking at spanish Wiktionary, I see only the "boyfriend" meaning (quoting, «Hombre con quien se tiene trato sexual habitual sin el vínculo del matrimonio», «Man with which one has a habitual sexual intercourse until the bond of matrimony», and just under that «Relacionado: amante.», «Related: amante», amante meaning lover), plus a technical meaning and a euphemistic «penis» meaning. So I wonder: is this true? What is the meaning of "amigo": "lover" (as is even backed up with a citation on the Spanish entry) or "friend"? Both, perhaps? And is there an asymmetry in the meaning between masculine and feminine?

MGorrone (talk) 16:28, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

It can mean both friend or lover and there is no gender asymmetry. BTW the Spanish Wiktionary lists lover as the 5th sense, the first beeing friend. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 17:55, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Right, I should have mentioned that Spanish wiktionary distinguishes between four senses as a "adjetivo" (adjective) and 3 as a "substantivo" (noun), and the "friend" sense appears under "adjective". So perhaps the Spanish Wiktionary just forgot to duplicate the meaning and misnumbered the meanings since when starting the "noun" section the numbering should restart from 1. So should I take it it is only the Spanish entry being sort of untidy, and the "friend" meaning being valid both for "amigo" as an adjective and as a noun? And also, this means "amiga" can also mean "lover" (female lover), sense which is missing from both entries, right? MGorrone (talk) 22:32, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes, that's right, however it's common practice at the Spanish Wiktionary not to duplicate adjective senses in a following noun section, as a lot of adjectives are also used as noun with mostly the same meanings. They simply add a usage note se emplea también como sustantivo (also used as substantive). Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 00:43, 12 February 2016 (UTC)


Defined as an English preposition meaning "under". How is this in fact used in English (outside of fixed borrowings like sub rosa)? Can we add examples? Does it need a gloss, e.g. legal, formal? Is it just wrong? Equinox 17:53, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

They must have been thinking of "first man to run a sub four-minute mile" or "a sub second gamma spike". Those are among the very few uses to be found at COCA. The second one is normally spelled sub-second, probably because it is (always?) used attributively. "Sub-second speeds" is 8 times more common at Google Books than "subsecond speeds". There aren't enough of those collocations for Google n-grams. OneLook doesn't have an entry for subsecond (or sub-second). I found some predicate use of sub-second.
I conclude that sub can be used in terms that are used attributively and may sometimes also be used in terms used as predicates. The usage seems limited to quantitative thresholds. I think that usage can be interpreted as prepositional phrases with sub as the preposition. DCDuring TALK 22:37, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
A sub par performance? Renard Migrant (talk) 22:42, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
That one is using a sub- prefix, I think. subpar. Equinox 22:46, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Relatedly, I think our entry for subsecond wrong. First, one can have "sub-two-second pit stops" and "sub-two second pit stops". Second, subsecond seems to be used as a countable noun, so the "adjective" use might be better interpreted as attributive use of the noun. DCDuring TALK 22:49, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
It think sub par preceded sub-par and subpar. The earlier forms remain in use as predicates after forms of be. It is interesting that par is also a kind of threshold level, though often used less quantitatively than in golf. DCDuring TALK 22:57, 10 February 2016 (UTC)


what is the difference between appendices and appendixes?

Appendixes does actually cover this. Renard Migrant (talk) 19:43, 11 February 2016 (UTC)


Anon has questioned "(intransitive) To miscarry; to bring forth offspring prematurely. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]"

Is this really not obsolete? In general, the whole entry could do with having the most common definitions first. With commons words, we're really bad at this! Renard Migrant (talk) 20:35, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

I see -sche's already started on it. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:37, 11 February 2016 (UTC)


Translations have been redirected to stead, but when looking under stead I can't see anything relating to behalf. Am I missing something? Donnanz (talk) 11:53, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

I see stead is mentioned in the definition, which may explain it. But I think the definition needs a lot of revision anyway. Donnanz (talk) 12:02, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

I have opened a new translations section with a provisional title. Donnanz (talk) 12:10, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

The list-of-synonyms approach to definition is a problem. Some on the list don't work as simple substitutions for behalf. The list of synonyms should appear under Synonyms. Only a near-perfect synonym, with the same grammar (eg, complementary preposition), preferably not incompatibly polysemous, could be a good definition. I wonder whether that "definition" is an unedited copy of the Webster 1913 entry. There are quite a few. DCDuring TALK 13:17, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
It may be a difficult one to put "in a nutshell". I have added a reference for the time being. Donnanz (talk) 15:07, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
The definition doesn't seem to be from Webster, it's more or less the same as first entered in 2004. Donnanz (talk) 15:24, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
As it was in Webster 1913:
"Advantage; favor; stead; benefit; interest; profit; support; defense; vindication."
As we have it now:
"Advantage; favor; stead; benefit; interest; profit; support; defense; vindication."
Very common for our first waves of definitions, many of which are substantively untouched. DCDuring TALK 16:02, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Hmm, OK, it's only 102 years out of date. Donnanz (talk) 18:38, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Some basic words don't change very much in a hundred years. Webster 1913 is copyright-free, so fair game for legal copying. Wiktionarians are not really all that great as lexicographers, so copying has been and remains a natural alternative for building up a large mass of definitions. DCDuring TALK 22:57, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
A note saying the definition came from Webster should be added, I think. But there's no reason why the entry can't be updated and generally improved. If Wiktionarians have a reputation as mediocre lexicographers, there's a challenge. Donnanz (talk) 10:44, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

can't whack it[edit]

I'm having difficulty deciding what to do with this - "can't whack it" roughly means "can't beat it", but whack (attempt) doesn't exactly mean beat (win). (See also this classic Viz cartoon.) Keith the Koala (talk) 17:09, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

"Whack" does mean "beat", though. - -sche (discuss) 18:10, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
The term bushwhacker springs to mind. Donnanz (talk) 10:51, 13 February 2016 (UTC)


The example sentence for the noun's eighth meaning ("vagina") really isn't the best, is it? --Fsojic (talk) 18:53, 12 February 2016 (UTC)


Couldn't blogmaster be something different from "blogger", just as a webmaster can be different from the main poster on a website?

What I mean is this:

Couldn't a blogmaster just be someone who maintains a blog, rather than being the blogger themselves? Tharthan (talk) 19:15, 12 February 2016 (UTC)


Could a gamester be someone who "games" something. For instance, could someone who "games the system" be pejoratively referred to as a "gamester"? Tharthan (talk) 19:16, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

in school[edit]

Does this warrant an entry? In a sentence like "he has three kids, two of them are in school, one's not in school yet." it doesn't mean that the two kids are in the school right now, just that they go to school. 2602:306:3653:8920:558D:3E52:6937:8C37 02:55, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

I feel like this is more a function of the ambiguity of the verb "to be"—that it can be either habitual or episodic—than anything idiomatic about the phrase "in school". A similar ambiguity is found in "He's working", which can mean either "He's at work right now" or "He has a job". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 07:06, 13 February 2016 (UTC)