Wiktionary:Tea room/2005

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January 2005

This is an archive page that has been kept for historical purposes. The conversations on this page are no longer live.

Pronunciation of Iapetos

This came up on an astronomy forum. You can see my comments at http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=394326#394326 .

The informal pronunciation given in Wikipedia doesn't match the that given by dictionaries, and doesn't follow what the "proper" pronunciation ought to be.

So, what should it be? I think astronomers have not said it much until last week, so an incorrect pronunciation is just the guess of who's reading the paper rather than a long-established practice.


Well, if you, like me, believe firmly in etymology -- which is not always the best guide to modern use -- in the original Greek (and subsequent Latin) it's a long I, with the rest of the vowels short; as Latinate stress is usually given to borrowed Greek words, one would expect overall the best pronunciation to be /aɪˈæpɪtəs/ (or "eye-APP-it-us", for the IPA-impaired). I don't know what current or former practice of the word is though. —Muke Tever 18:22, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
[emendation, for future reference -- Latinate stress is often given to words, but there was a rule happening around Middle English that moved that stress back a foot, which is why we say NAtion (na-ti-ón to ná-ti-on) and not naTION like it still is in Spanish (nación). But there aren't enough syllables in this word for that rule to apply.] —Muke Tever 18:25, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
How do you insert IPA symbols into a wiki? --Gelu Ignisque
Er, same way as you insert any Unicode characters into a document. The method will vary widely with the kind of operating system your computer is using. If you mean me, personally, I have a (slightly incomplete) IPA keyboard installed, which I supplement with judicious use of Windows Character Map. —Muke Tever 16:17, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Definitions of adjectives?

I have often wondered if it was neccessary to find an adjective in the dictionary before it could be used correctly. Recently, I have wondered about the adjective "dichotomic", which I have read in often in books, particularly in techincal and botanical domains. Also, a quick google search will show that it is in widespread use. Unfortunately, I have not found it in any dictionary or encyclopedia. I created and article on wikipedia, and asked for peer review. The review asked me to move it to wiktionary, and they then linked the word "dichotomic" to the entry "dichotomy, for the purposes of being encyclopedic. I have therefore created a dictionary entry for dichotomic. I was wondering:

  • If I could have some peer review on this word, dichotomic.
  • Must an adjective be defined in a dictionary, apart from it's equivalent noun, for it to be valid for useage?

Well, I don't know about peer review, as I'm not a botanist. But I'm sure I'm not the only person that looks at Special:Recent changes and noticed your new entry, either. As far as the syntax & formatting of your entry goes, I must say "Nice Job!" There are a few things you can fix to match general formatting conventions here though. (Since this is Wiktionary, I do expect someone probably will come along and clean it up, perhaps before you even read this. I can't speak for anyone else, but I will leave it alone for you to try doing yourself.) Also, please read Wiktionary:Entry layout explained for a good quick-start.
  1. Move all external links to a section called ===Further reading=== (including things in your reference section.)
  2. Approach this as a dictionary, not an encyclopedia such as w:Wikipedia.
  3. Enter an ===Etymology=== section, and list dichotomy there.
  4. Enter a ===Pronunciation=== section...
  5. Enter a ===Quotations=== section of sample sentences from your references.
  6. IF you don't have NIST's permission to use their definition, yank it, and leave just the link. If it is clear that their definition is in the public domain (which I think by nature of being a Federal entity is automatic, but I may be wrong) then enter a definition line something like this: "#''(computing)'': Search by selecting between two distinct alternatives (dichotomies) at each step." and list the link the the External links section.
  7. Precede the second definition with "#''(botany)'': ".
  8. Try to add illuminating examples.
  9. Add a ===See also=== section to dichotomy with a link to dichotomic.
  10. Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion says that you are in the clear. Note that the warning that appears at Category:Protologism also indicates that you are OK in creating an entry for this.
As far as your second question goes, I hope the above links are clear enough, that yes, this merits a Wiktionary entry. (Even though I personally think the stated threshold for inclusion is far too low.) --Connel MacKenzie 06:05, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Dichotomy already has an adjective, dichotomous. Dichotomic doesn't seem to have a particularly pleasing stress rhythm in English. By the way, it's perfectly fine to use adjectives that aren't explicitly given in dictionaries; the usage of language determines what goes into the dictionaries and not the other way around. My dictionary shows faunology and not faunological, but the latter is such a logical extension of English etymology and morphology that it's perfectly justified to use it -- and I did, in an essay mocking Ronald Reagan. --Gelu Ignisque

Thank You Guys! I have made the neccessary adjustments. After looking at the issue, I cannot make dichotomic as analogous with dichotomous. Although they are indeed close etymologically, the specific meanings of dichotomic are quite distinct from those of dichotomous. Thanks once again, if anyone has anything more to criticize on the entry, please feel free.

Small words - help, please.

I found a page on suffixes, and a page on prefixes, which saves on time when looking for such. But I also want a list of small words to check against - words that are, er, small. Yes. That connect things and relate things. I suppose not all small words will be small, and so all small words aren't all small, and a better name is needed. Perhaps one exists? I do hope someone knows what I talking about, for I should have to think a little more to cover it myself.

<Jun-Dai 01:31, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)> Small words that connect and relate things? Sounds like you are talking about prepositions, and perhaps also short verbs. Words like of, on, to, in, 'around, between, etc. (and if you are including short verbs, then is, be, say, do, etc.). Does this sound like what you are talking about? </Jun-Dai 01:31, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)>

I can't tell if you've seen these already. If not, they should help a little...

<Jun-Dai 02:29, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)> Interesting. What's the point of the latter page? It seems like they don't aid someone who is searching for a common word, since it only produces the entry for those words (which could be gotten to by either appending the word to the wiktionary url, or by entering the word in the search box and pressing "go"), and not pages related to the words. </Jun-Dai>

<Thread-starter replies:

  • Thankyou. ^_^
  • The second's list of words is interesting, though the words are not non-searchable. At least, the search box takes you to them without need for a mediating list of words linked to pages. The list interests me, though.
  • The first post had some of the words I was thinking of. I now have a list of prepostions, which is helpful to me, but I find no list of short verbs. Do these short verbs have a collective name? Or come under a series of possible headings?

/Thread-starter replies:>

Sorry, I know this isn't quite what you're looking for, but it's a start, and I have to make lunch for the kids...
Here are some two letter words in wiktionary:
as am an as at be by do go ha he hi if in is it me no of ok on or pi so to up us we
Here are some three letter words in wiktionary:
ace act add aft age ago aha aid ail aim air ale all alp amp and any ape apt arc are arf ark arm art ash ask ass ate awl axe aye bad bag bah bar bat bay bed bee beg bet bib bid big bin bit boa bog boo bow box boy bra bro bub bud bug bum bun bus but buy cab cad can cap car cat cob cod cog con cop cot cow cub cud cue cul cup cut dab dad dam day den did die dig dim din doe dog doo dot dry dub dud due dug duo dye ear eat ebb eek eel egg ego elf elk end ere erg eve ewe eye fad fag fan far fat fax fed fee few fez fib fig fir fit fix flu fly fob foe fog fop for fox fry fun fur gab gag gap gas gay gel gem get gig gob god got gun gut guy gym had hag ham has hat haw hay hem hen her hex hey hid hie him hip his hit hoe hop hot how hub hue huh hum hun hut ice ilk ill imp ink inn ion ire irk its ivy jab jam jar jaw jet jib jig job jot joy keg key kid kin kit lab lad lag lam lap law lay led leg lei let ley lid lie lip lit lob log lop lot low lug lux lye mad man map mat maw may men met mew mit mix moo mop mow mud mug nag nah nap nay nee net new nil nip nit nix nod nor not now nun nut oaf oak oar oat odd ode off oft ohm oil old one orb orc ore our out owe owl own pad pal pan pat paw pay pea pee peg pen per pet pew pie pig pin pip pit ply pod pom poo pop pot pow pry pub pug pun put rag rap rat raw ray red rid rim rip rob roc rod roe rot row rub rue rum run rut rye sad sag sap sat saw sax say sea see set sew sex she shy sic sin sip sir sit six ska ski sky sly sod sol son sop sow soy spa spy sty sub sue sum sun tad tag tam tan tap tar tax tea tee ten the thy tic tie tin tip tit toe ton too top tot tow toy try tut tux two use vat vet via vie vis viz vow vue wag wan war was wax way web wed wee wet wey who why wig wit woe won woo wow wry yak yam yap yea yen yep yes yet yip yon you yum zag zap zig zit zoo
Not sure of an appropriate place for them though.
Created Wiktionary:Common short words for this. --Connel MacKenzie 16:00, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I can't help but wonder whether http://homestarrunner.com/sbemail131.html isn't a derivative work?  :-) The fury! So exciting! --Connel MacKenzie 20:07, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

<Thread-starter replies: Thankyou. ^_^ All very interesting, and the type and use of small words, as in literally small, interests me, so no doubt I'll be sure to enjoy the list and enjoy a little bit of thinking (like if they have any common facility, for instance, and other stuff), but what, in my inarticulate way, I was getting at was, er, ..., um, words that operate on the language, starting, perhaps, with operations on nouns? I'm not entirely sure. There must, I feel, be a core of little words, small words, whether literall small or not - it's a signifier I've made up :p - that together, whether they be a few hundred or so or more, can give a speaker greater power in a language. Like, prefixes and suffixes can help articulate a speaker and increase their power of speach, I think. But there must be some more words, which connect and place words one with another in various particular, or not so particular, ways, which words when learned would be more useful than others. Like I said originally, I'm not really sure what I'm on about. But I hoped someone might know, to save me a few weeks of looking myself.

  • Words like an, as, at, be, by, do, go - they all qualify with what I'm looking for. Words like tin, tie, vat, vet - not really (though I'm not sure how to be sure), however interesting they may be to consider where and how they fit into language; so now I might think it over just for the pleasure of wondering if there's any particular nature to literally small 'small words'. I suppose use would qualify, too, as well as too and did, but then, I'm not entirely sure what I'm trying to get at. :p Which isn't /entirely/ helpful, I know. :lol But thankyou, though - the list is part interest and some help, which tends to beat no help at all, and interest is rarely unwelcome. ^__^

/Thread-starter replies:>

There is a Simple English project (linked from the front page, IIRC) that aims to provide the Basic English 850 concept of using variations of only 850 words (from the 1930's.) There is an article about it on Wikipedia, that you might find interesting. I thought it was repulsive to teach people who want to learn the language, how to say things incorrectly. --Connel MacKenzie 08:53, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Gah. I think that the thread-starter wants are called function words. —Muke Tever 17:56, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

FYI in linguistical analysis these are called stop words and, as mentioned, are often removed in searches since they are so common. Dictionaries built on these words, by which I mean procedures to filter them or, in the case of language classification, detect them, are optimized for speed. Davilla 19:20, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

What to do with multiple forms in the Latin indices?

The Latin word indices contain many instances of words that are merely different forms of the same root, as in aemula/aemulus/aemulum. Seems wasteful to define each separately or to make redirection pages. Would it be acceptable to alter the index page such that the various forms all point to the root word after writing the article for same, like [[amor|amoris]] instead of [[amoris]]?

I know they seem useless, but I have no objection to separate short articles for the inflected forms. The amoris page may show nothing more than "genetive singular of amor", but that's fine. Latin is not as widely taught as it used to be, so we can't presume that everyone understands the declensions. Similar situations arise for other languages. I've often looked for a word in the dictionary for another language, and not found it because it was an inflected or compound form.
Don't rely too much on the indices. They are mostly there to let us know what still needs to be done. No attempt has been made to ensure that they are comprehensive. Eclecticology 21:40, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

herrabba (sp?) v. jihad


An article on National Public Radio suggested use of the word "herabba" rather than jihad. Jihad having a different meaning. How does one spell this word and what exactly does it mean?

If you paste the link above this is where you can listen to Anisa Mehdi's commentary.  
Rethinking the Word 'Jihad'

All Things Considered, January 7, 2005 · "Jihad" is one of the few Arabic words used in English. It means "spiritual struggle," but many Muslims have pointed out that "jihad" is almost always used in English in the context of terrorism, even though the actual meaning is broader. Commentator Anisa Mehdi would like to propose a word that could be used instead of "jihad."

The textbook Perspectives on the Past defines a jihad as a holy war. --Gelu Ignisque

February 2005

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Special:Wanted pages shows 27 links to Fuller. Wikipedia has a list of quite a few people with this surname. Which one is it? SemperBlotto 15:24, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

With such a common surname it is impossible to tell easily. This is where access to a hard-copy 1913 Webster would be a big help. More recently I've tended to mark these references as Fuller?. This will keep them all together so that it can be fixed when someone has the data. This would then leave fuller without the question mark to serve for the common noun. Eclecticology 20:14, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
My best guess would go with Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) since a lot of the words and quotations seem old, but I would not be comfortable with putting that in an article at this stage. Eclecticology 20:25, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)


I was a forward air controller in Vietnam. During that war (and probably previous wars), conducting the air war was a complex thing, and every day AF Headquarters would churn out the "Air Order of Battle," a huge document tasking each squadron with sending x number of aircraft with such and such ordnance, against this or that target. Since the entire document was much too large to cope with, each squadron was sent a "fragmentary order," detailing only that squadron's participation. The targets on that fragmentary order were thus "fragged," i.e. selected for destruction. The term thereafter came to mean the use of a fragmentary grenade to assassinate one's superior officer, but that was, I think, a convenient corruption of a word that was already in use in the theater; it was quite common to talk about a target being "fragged," and it meant nothing more than the rather precise and detailed targeting discussed above and had nothing to do with fragmentary grenades per se.


Do you think that Philia should be renamed as -philia and reformatted to be like all the other suffixes? I haven't got the time at the moment or I would have just gone for it. SemperBlotto 19:56, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

That seems to be a correct approach. I could not quickly find a reference to "Philia" as a stand-alone English word. Eclecticology 21:14, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
It seems to be in use as an informal variant of -philia, especially in the plural. google:philias returns a wikipedia redirect "List of philias", and a NSFW sex blog called "Amelia's philias". —Muke Tever 05:36, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Can anyone explain the contents of gerku please. It seems to be a word for dog, but in what language? and what is all this x1 stuff supposed to mean? Confused SemperBlotto 22:56, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The language is an artificial language called Lojban (ISO 639: jbo, formerly referred to as art-lojban). The x1 stuff is the syntactical explanation of the word. Lojban is a logical language, and thus tends to get picky about such things. gerku is really poorly formatted, though. —Muke Tever 18:18, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)
It was one of the first articles before we settled on a style. I've reformatted it to be closer to our style, though I'm not sure where to put some things, such as the rafsi. The etymology needs some explanation, though as most gismu etymologies are like that it shouldn't be put in the gerku page. From each of six languages a word was picked, then a five-letter Lojban word was constructed which has letters in common with several of them. Occasionally this results in a word (such as ferti or vajni) which resembles one of the six well, but usually it ends up being a mishmash of several words. -PierreAbbat 02:04, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

March 2005

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Trademark status of a couple of words

Anyone know the trademark status of these words?

  • biro (Brit/Aus/NZ alternative term for "ballpoint pen") - looks like it might be a generic term or a lapsed trademark.
  • Ugg boot - looks like it might be trademarked in Australia (see [1]) - how about elsewhere?

If anyone can find this out, could they add this information to the relevant pages, please. — Paul G 18:43, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • biro already says that it's derived from the surname of its inventor. In most countries, it is impossible to trademark words that are already proper names. To balance the subtraction of that word from your list of questionable words, I'll add a new one: Häagen-Dazs. Uncle G 01:24, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Whether the trademark is still applicable may depend on what happened to the company in Argentina. Eclecticology 19:18, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Is "arguement" a valid alternate spelling of "argument"? --WP:Goobergunch (talk) 18:08, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

No, it's a spulling misteak SemperBlotto 18:14, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

-ing words

The more that I think about ****-ing words, the more confused I get. I can't get it straight in my mind when we should just redirect to the verb, or have a separate entry. And then, with a separate entry, how to describe them. For instance, have a look at bathing and programming - are either of them correct? If so, why? If not, why not? SemperBlotto 13:28, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • They are correct inasmuch as they are entries in their own right, yes. A separate entry, like those two, is precisely what we should be aiming for, as per WT:ELE#Definitions. A redirect is what we have as an interim measure when a full entry has not yet been written. Turning full entries like these into redirects is going in the wrong direction. Entries for inflections/conjugations/declensions should, however, merely have one definition stating that they are "{{{inflection}}} of {{{infinite/simple form}}}", and only have further definitions if there are additional meanings specific to the inflected form alone. This is best taken to the Beer Parlour, by the way, where this has been and is being discussed. Uncle G 14:23, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)
As someone who has entered hundreds of redirects, I'm a little taken aback by your comment. I do not think that I have ever replaced formatted content with a redirect. (I have moved plural articles to their empty singular form, which leaves a redirect behind.) I enter full length definitions when it seems that a simple redirect is insufficient. Programming is a good example, as it has a wider meaning that either the gerund or the past participle form of program.
Leaving aside the "-ing" conversation as a whole to Wiktionary:Beer parlour, can we discuss programming for a moment? SB and I agreed that this deserves a close look from a few other pairs of eyes. Neither of us can tell what's wrong with it as it stands, but certainly ===Noun=== is much more correct than something assinine like ===Gerund=== or somesuch. Also, it seems to be unclear if on a separate entry, one should even enter the meaning of the verbal form, or if instead we should leave the reader guessing, by saying "Past participle form of xxx" and nothing else. Since there is no policy (still forming), how about we all take a reasonable look at this, a simple test case? Does it make sense the way it appears now?
When done with this one word's review, I'll ask for equal treatment of bathing and perhaps blooming. But for the moment, please stick to just programming. --Connel MacKenzie 06:27, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

words that end in hth

there is apparently only one word in the english dictionary ending with hth does anyone have any ideas

  • eighth - unless you also want to count highth, an obsolete variant of height. Eclecticology 22:22, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Actually, people still say "heighth" for height, so it's not obsolete, but certainly is nonstandard. —Muke Tever 04:41, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
as well as the variant highth TheDaveRoss

In case it's of any interest, the ending looks like it's -ghth, with the gh put in for Scottish, similar to the way English spelling was standardized with words like night and light, where the gh is pronounced in Scottish but not standard English. RSvK 16:51, 14 May 2005 (UTC)


"Publicly" has just been added (which is correct). I was about to add "publically" as a common misspelling of "publicly", and decided to see just how common it was by a Google search. Among the first page of hits were online dictionary entries of this word, suggesting that it is a valid spelling after all.

I had always understood that "publicly" was the only permissible spelling because there is no word "publical" to which the adverb suffix "-ly" could be added, unlike almost every other adjective ending in "-ic" which has an alternative "-ical" form. Has "publically" got into dictionaries on the grounds that it is very common but incorrect, is it correct, or is it archaic or obsolete? Having said that, I have been able to think of one or two other "-ic" adjectives that don't seem to have an "-ical" form (or perhaps where this is obsolete), such as "terrific", for which the associated adverb ends in "-ically" rather than "-icly" ("terrifically").

(Tangent alert ... The facetious pseudo-PC term for "bald(ing)" is "follicly challenged", formed by treating "follicle" as if it were an adjective. This is often seen as "follically challenged", by analogy with adjectives that end in "-al". There is no adjective "follical" - the adjective associated with "follicle" is "follicular" [compare "spectacle"/"spectacular"]. The two forms seem to be equally common: Google gives around 4000 hits for each, with slightly more for the incorrectly formed one.)

Paul G 18:24, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Real job

Real Job --

1. a job which requires the employee to conform to a dress code, work normal business hours, and accept payment subject to taxation. Antonym: Gig.

2. used by some whose hobbies have expanded to the point at which they appear to be or contain jobs, to distinguish paid, regular employment.

I'd like to put this in the right place, but haven't the first idea how to do it, or even if it's permitted. I spend most of my time in WP and can't see clearly how Wiktionary handles this kind of jargon. Xiong 07:10, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Heh, I'd add another sense, that being a "career-type" job as opposed to a McJob. —Muke Tever 15:40, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

April 2005

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Would californication be a portmanteau? It's a neologism too, surely.

It could be considered portmanteau. Whether to treat it as a neologism depends on what quotations you can include to support it. Eclecticology 09:41, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
In case you didn't know, Californication is a rather cool song and album by the w:Red Hot Chilli Peppers. "It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication" is one of the lyrics. However, finding a proper definition would be a bit of a pickle, I guess. But something on the lines of "The Californian dream" would be a guesstimate --Wonderfool 10:12, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The relevant part of the song is an acceptable quote to illustrate the use. Eclecticology 00:34, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
In the context of the song there are definite negative connotations to this word, as in perversion due Hollywood's nature of avarice, vice, violence, whoredom, you name it. The "California Dream(ing)" a la The Mommas and the Papas had a decidedly positive connotation, dreaming of sunny beaches and the like, so I would be hesitant to put them in the same category. TheDaveRoss 07:08, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Origin of correctamundo/correctimundo?

Could anyone please enlighten me? Thanks in advance, Gelu Ignisque.

My first guess would be that it was a jocular pronunciation of Spanish correctamente ("correctly"). But I don't have a source to back that impression. —Muke Tever 01:48, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Urban Dictionary [2] says that it's a "fonz-ism". Since Fonzie is of italian descent, I think it's a kinda "italianization" (sorry for this term, I can't find a fittier one) of the english adverb. In italian, modal adverbs require a subfix, -mente. For example, if you want to make and adverb out of "felice" (i.e. 'happy'), you have to write "felicemente" (i.e. 'happily'). Moreover, the spelling "mundo" fits better for the Southern Italy pronunciation. Sorry for my bad english. - Bilvio Serlusconi 14:41, 6 Apr 2008


Just to be sure - - what part of speech is volume in the phrase "The last British-owned volume car manufacturer, MG Rover, has closed down, with the loss of 5,000 jobs" ? SemperBlotto 07:25, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I may be wrong but I would call it an adjective, along with "car" and "British-owned." They are modifying "manufacturer" are they not? TheDaveRoss 07:13, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC) (edit) that is unless I misinterpreted the meaning of "volume car manufacturer, if the cars being manufactured are "volume cars" then "volume" modifies "cars" TheDaveRoss
"Volume" isn't an adjective. "Volume" only exists as a noun. In the above sentence "volume" is used attributively like "queen" is used attributively in the phrase "queen Victoria". Same with "car". Ncik 29 Apr 2005
It's a noun, but one used as a modifier, that is, a word that has some characteristics in common with an adjective but is not actually one. Newspaper headlines are a common source of these (as is the phrase "newspaper headlines").

May 2005

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About Hangeul Jamo

How will a Hangul-Jamo that there is the same letter on plural cords, and is not normalization be good? ex.:

  • Hangul choseong Kiyeok (, U+1100)
  • Hangul jongseong Kiyeok (, U+11A8)
  • Hangul letter Kiyeok (, U+3131)

--kahusi - (Talk) 15:47, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Approximant sonorants

While writing the pronunciation for mandible, I came across a problem: I can't remember the notation for (or our policy on) a sonorant consonant (a consonant acting as a vowel/forming a syllable). I've used a schwa (ə) for the sound for the time being, but I'm not happy with it. Any help? --Wytukaze 11:58, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

A syllabic consonant (which doesn't need to be a sonorant, though it usually is) is notated in IPA by a line underneath; U+0329, as, [l̩]. In X-SAMPA (and SAMPA for English) it is the equals sign, as, [l=]. In "dictionary" notation it's either [əl] or just [l], depending on the dictionary. —Muke Tever 17:19, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

just des(s)erts

Is the right phrase just deserts or just desserts? websearching came up with roughly equal results, but I'd've thought it'd be desserts, cos it sounds like deserves. --Wonderfool 20:48, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

1 s, "just deserts" as in what one deserves. - TheDaveRoss
I think you'd have to list "just desserts" as an alternative form, though, many people would know it as that, even if it's not etymologically correct and all that. --Wytukaze 20:55, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

castiglion, castiglione

We recently stayed in Tuscany near the town of Castiglion Fiorentino, a beautiful small walled city between Arezzo and Cortona. While there I asked everyone I could find what "castiglion" means, but no one could tell me. It looks like a variation on castle, but the regular Italian word is castello. Two people suggested it was castle + lion (the animal), but that seems unlikely. Can anyone provide information on this word?

My best guess at this point is that it's from castello plus -ion or -on meaning big, similar to English fort and fortress.

Other words with a similar ending are postiglione or postillion; also cotillion. Maybe even million. Thanks for any help anyone can give.

This is certainly a tricky one. There's the possibility it derives from Castilian, of course, but that seems a bit stretched, though castile is of course related. I've done some heavy searching, but I'm getting nothing. It's a surname, w:Baldassare Castiglione has plagued me immensely. Several sites offer surname histories, but these are designed for people who want framed histories of their surname on their wall, and as such, I can't see the history without paying for this crap (not to mention it might be fabricated). I'm genuinely hooked now, it shouldn't be this hard to find the meaning of the word. This is going to annoy me. --Wytukaze 16:21, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, place names don't have to have any meaning, but the -one ending normally means something bigger than normal. Maybe it was just a big castle. SemperBlotto 16:29, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
That does seem the most logical conclusion at this point. Interesting that it's not *castellone or some such, I blame cursed language evolution. --Wytukaze 16:35, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
Pretty much all names have meanings, especially older ones; mostly they've just been forgotten. At any rate the name is very common; the Latin for this is variously given as castellio or castilio, and the cognate name in French is Châtillon, and the Spanish is Castillón or Castellón. It does indeed look like the Romance augmentative of castellum "castle". —Muke Tever 16:48, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Muke's reply triggered another idea: the Latin word castilium means pretty much the same as the more classical oppidum--fortress--and would fill the bill, Latin castilium becoming Romance castilion, with the Latin -um suffix becoming Romance -on. RSvK 21:23, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Possible, though oppidum means 'town', not 'fortress'. —Muke Tever 23:56, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
So Latin castilium must be a semi-irregular derivation from castellum, which is in turn the diminutive of Old Latin castrum, "castle." Also, -ium isn't a Latin augmentative suffix, so if the name comes from castilium then the augmentative theory is wrong. I think it's a very good guess that castilium is the true source because Latin intervocalic /l/ tends to turn into Italian /ɮ/, as in familia ==> famiglia. --Gelu Ignisque


nom has been added, with a language of "Frencisc". Does anyone know if this language exists? Is it some form of French? SemperBlotto 07:22, 19 May 2005 (UTC)


Can someone please add the correct pronunciation in the surname entries for Reilly and O'Reilly. Currently, both items exist but as stubs only.

I'd try to help, but neither O'Reilly nor Reilly exist. 24 20:15, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
I set up the pages. Can a native speaker please check them. --Mkegelmann 17:03, 29 May 2005 (UTC)


Several retail chains use the word planogram to describe schematics for merchandise display on a shelf. Its mentioned in On Target : How the World's Hottest Retailer Hit a Bull's-Eye by Laura Rowley.

Entry created (I used to work for Tesco) SemperBlotto 06:50, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Abbreviations of people's titles

To answer a question that came up in Wiktionary:Requests for deletion: I've researched this before, for Wikipedia.

  • British English: As per Fowler's Modern English Usage and as per Partridge's You Have a Point There (and even as per Readers Digest The Right Words at the Right Time), the rule is that abbreviations only end in a full stop if the last letter of the abbreviation is not the last letter of the word. "Saint", "Mister", and "Doctor" thus abbreviate to "St", "Mr", and "Dr"; whilst "Professor" and "Captain" abbreviate to "Prof." and "Capt.". ("Right Honourable" thus abbreviates to "Rt Hon.".)
  • United States English: As per Wilson Follett's Modern American Usage, the rule is that periods are always employed, so "Saint" is abbreviated to "St.".

Uncle G 17:00, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

The "full stop" article in Fowler goes on to say, "As long as consistency is maintained ... types with or without full points, are both acceptable, unless ambiguity would arise by omission of the full point." Eclecticology 17:48, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
Isn't this all beside the point (heh) anyhow? We are not supposed to abbreviate in Wiktionary articles, and certainly not in titles (unless it is a redirect.) We should have a Saint article but St. should only be a redirect, right? Erm, bad example...the question was raised for WT:RFD#St. Mina. St. Mina should be a redirect to Saint Mina even if "St. Mina" is more common, right? Again, a bad example, as it has been deleted already. --Connel MacKenzie 01:31, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

June 2005

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Add words

When one is adding words to this project. Should this one give it a definition or does someone else it? And are translates in every words? --Cookie 10:31, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Everyone does as much as one wants, can and has time to do. A definition is one of the most important parts of every entry, since it is generally harder to add a definition after the translations or the etymology is given. Concerning translations, we give them only to English words (here on en.wiktionary.org), but to ever english word, there will be translations (sooner or later) every other language. But noone expects anyone to be able to add "all" those translations by themselves - me, for instance, add Swedish translations to as many words I can find, while someone else deals with German or Russian. \Mike 11:40, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I’m having an argument with some of my fellow officers about the definition of Honorary as in Honorary Officer see http://www.ho.org.za/HomeFiles/Who_we_are.htm. I maintain that it means the second meaning for Honorary, voluntary or unpaid. While they insist it is that we are appointed with honour as in honorary degree. We are not appointed with out the normal prerequisites; we have to pass a quite hard course with over 70%. Can any body help? Frank

a word for posting wanted definitions?

I'm sure we have all come across people who, when they want to know the meaning of a word, and we haven't got it yet, create an article with the required name and either just repeat the word, or ask what it means. Is there a name for that activity? Or would someone like to invent one? SemperBlotto 10:07, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC) (it was snapping turtle just now)

Haha, I'd call it Dutch posting. nl.wikt is full of such entries, to take a few from nl:Speciaal:Random.  ;) (ok, it's not near as bad as snapping turtle tantum, but still...) More charitably, probably just 'fishing'. —Muke Tever June 27, 2005 22:14 (UTC)
These entries are computer-generated based on some free dictionary that gave all it's contents to Wiktionary. These articles are not the result of "Dutch posting"... They only need some more clean-up. We're working on it right now. David 6 July 2005 13:10 (UTC)
lol, I know. Hence the smiley ;) in the original. Smiley.pngMuke Tever 7 July 2005 06:26 (UTC)
However. I added definitions for "nl.wikt", "is", "full" and "of". :-) David 7 July 2005 21:56 (UTC)

Etymology of 'Gitmo'

I'd like to find the etymology of a word that annoys me to no end, 'gitmo'. This grotesque abbreviation is used lazily in newspaper headlines reporting on the gravest topics. What is most pathetic is that there is no 'i' in Guantanomo Bay. It is difficult to determine how 'gitmo' originated, but I would appreciate finding out. The current entry at gitmo has no etymological information besides saying it originated from Guantanomo Bay. Superm401 21:30, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

A preliminary guess is that it was originally "G'mo", then "G'tmo", then "Gitmo". That is an admittedly stupid sequence, but it could well be right. Superm401 21:43, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The official abbreviation (from its website) seems to be GTMO. This would most easily be pronounced gitmo I suppose. SemperBlotto 21:57, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Just for the record, the correct spelling is "Guantanamo Bay". There is discussion of the abbreviation in the Wikipedia article on Guantanamo Bay. — Paul G 09:23, 26 September 2005 (UTC)


I never knew why we have only a category for heteronyms and list homophones, quite for certain. From the definitions provided here on Wiktionary (conferring with Wikipedia) I came up with the little truth table that is now on heteronym, homonym, homograph and homophone.

Given the definitions we have for these terms, I'm not convinced that Category:English heteronyms is the correct category...or that that should be a sub category of Category:English homonyms? Would it be helpful to also break out Category:English homographs and Category:English homophones? Did I get the names right? Did I spell them right for once? Nitpickers, please nitpick these to correction!

--Connel MacKenzie 06:22, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Colour category


The current Appendix:Colours page is getting quite big, and might be difficult to navigate through.

I was thinking that I might sort out the colours by group (eg., reds, blues, greens, etc.). I know that some colours might fall inbetween groups (like yellow-green), but maybe can be placed in 2 groups?

Just wanted to check with others before I go and reformat the page.

Sally Ku 27 June 2005 03:54 (UTC)

I have no strong feelings on the groupings, but I think the lovely color samples should be part of the index page (to make a handy reference of it.) Maybe one section alphabetical, one section by color group? --Connel MacKenzie 27 June 2005 04:22 (UTC)
And I'm waiting for Sally to create a colour triangle for us. SemperBlotto 27 June 2005 14:09 (UTC)
I think we call that a color wheel in the US. That also might be a bit too much to ask (you'd need a java app to position the color name at the correct point, or have an arrow that moves the the correct point of the wheel as you select a color name and displays the component color breakdowns below, in HTML hexadecimal and percentage.) --Connel MacKenzie 27 June 2005 14:57 (UTC)
Volunteering Sally to prepare a colour wheel/triangle seems like an excellent idea.;-) It could be more useful than the patches that appear on individual pages. The results will vary according to the quality and settings for the user's monitor. The other problem with colour names is that I don't think that there are any standards for them. Different manufacturers will often use the same name to mean different things. Eclecticology June 28, 2005 04:31 (UTC)
Well, so far, she has done an amazing job!  :-) The top of the appendix she is working on (currently Wiktionary Appendix:Colours; needs to be moved to Appendix:Colors) should probably have a fairly verbose disclaimer at the top, explaining that there are no "offical" colors and that these are mostly relative color relations? Or that there is an "official" color and these match that list (is there?) if that is the case. Also could use redirects from the British spelling colour to color. It also need the short TOC thing. --Connel MacKenzie 6 July 2005 18:12 (UTC)
And a link to w:Color name. --Connel MacKenzie 6 July 2005 18:31 (UTC)
Added the link! Sally Ku 7 July 2005 03:52 (UTC)
Will work on those tweakings too! :-) The length of the TOC was bothering me too.. any suggestions on how it can be shortened to maybe just show Alphabetical Listing, Colour grouping (and each group) -- basically just hiding the alphabet list?Sally Ku 7 July 2005 03:52 (UTC)
I did it the ugly manual way. (The result looks nice I think, but the Wiktionary article itself is starting to look ugly.) The color groupings (if edited) will need to be updated in the pseudo TOC above, as would any future sub-sections at the end. But Template:CatagTOC (or whatever it is called on Wikipedia) just would not work for this. --Connel MacKenzie 7 July 2005 07:56 (UTC)
BTW, it was Template:compactTOS that I was thinking of. Mostly inappropriate here. --Connel MacKenzie 07:21, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for your input!! I will first try to make 2 lists on that page.. one sorting in alphabetical order, and another by colour group, and put the colour tabs beside the names. As for the colour wheel... sounds like a great idea, but not yet sure how I can write that up. Sally Ku 2 July 2005 07:23 (UTC)


In Japanese, they have a word, which is Ka in romanji. It basically acts as a question mark. What part of speech would it be? An auxilary particle? if that exists --Expurgator t(c)

<Jun-Dai June 27, 2005 17:37 (UTC)> That would be a particle, though it will depend on the system you are using. In Japanese, the part of speech is called 助詞 (じょし). The main article should be at -か (there are several uses for this particle. In addition to the "question mark" function, it also serves as a kind of or.), and , -ka, and ka should all redirect or link to it. -か, the main article, should also be added to Category:Japanese particles. </Jun-Dai>

July 2005

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I notice there is no entry for "Thicket" in either Wiktionary" or "Wikipedia". I came across this term yesterday when I was using Microsoft "Front Page" to edit a website, and wondered what it meant. There doesn't seem to be a good definition of the computer term out there, so my first attempt would be: Thicket: (noun), (computer term), A group of files and folders associated with a web-page and manipulated as a single object.

Comments appreciated.

See my effort at thicket. Feel free to modify. SemperBlotto 16:54, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

I'd think thicket used metaphorically could be applied to lots of things, not just files and folders on a computer. A thicket of political battles. A thicket of red-tape. A thicket of police blocking the protester's way. I'm not sure the computing use is common enough to say it is not just a metaphor for a forest that is thick with bushes and trees...i.e. something very hard to pass through. --Connel MacKenzie 21:57, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure commonness would be the best criterion for whether to define metaphorical uses (though certainly it should be a factor) ... if the metaphor is a technical term or otherwise standard jargon (as this appears to be) it should certainly be included as well. —Muke Tever 16:06, 27 July 2005 (UTC)


I saw a question blip by here, asking how to find words of French origin. I think that is actually a reasonable question that we should probably address for each language. For French, I'd say start from Category:French derivations but of course, that probably isn't the most intuitive answer. The fact that our categorization scheme is essentially new and insufficiently populated at this point is no reason to ignore it. (Wiktionary questionitis, however, is.)

To find English words of French origin, look in Category:French derivations.

--Connel MacKenzie 05:13, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Part of Speech for Dairy

Although dairy is listed as an adjective in some dictionaries, I'm convinced that it's not. Dairy is not a state: something cannot be "dairy" at one point and not be "dairy" at another. Dairy is not a condition: there are no comparative or superlative forms. Nor is it a quality: one cannot talk about the "dairiness" of an item.

Uses of the word as in "dairy farm/farmer/farming", "dairy cattle", "dairy food", etc. can be explained as compound noun phrases. American Heritage provides as an example "the dairy section at the grocery store," but it does not list meat or produce as adjectives. Webster does not list dairy as an adjective, instead noting that use of the noun is often attributive. Davilla

Well, I should say that the dairiness of certain animals does indeed seem to be much talked about.
That 'dairy' can't have a comparative or superlative only means it can't be a scalar adjective like "big" or "long"; it can still be a binary one, like "existent" or "dead".
And adjectives can often refer to unchangeable states; the most common ones are material or origin adjectives like 'wooden' or 'Martian,' and 'dairy' would fall into this class, if we were to consider it an adjective.
Certainly 'the dairy section' is a really bad example (at least, entirely unconvincing), but given that English doesn't overtly mark adjectives (as, e.g., the Latin adjective meaning 'dairy', lactarius, which would agree in gender with the noun it's construed with) it would be hard to tell outside of the feeling of native speakers. —Muke Tever 00:20, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Yes, it need only fit one pattern, and I used a poor test for state. (Did I also switch the other two?) Whether it definitively resolves the issue, the surprising use of dairiness is enough for me to withdraw objection. It would help if someone could find a printed quote convincing enough as this page. Davilla 13:42, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Dairy is definitely an adjective as well as a noun. Sometimes it's hard to come up with a test and you need to rely on your sprachgefühl, but the existence of the antonym non-dairy as used for that weird white stuff to put in your coffee which makes it look like it's got milk in it. — Hippietrail 15:35, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

"Dairy" is indeed an adjective. According to an Oxford language guide I have at home, there are four criteria for a word to be an adjective, if I remember correctly. The existence of a comparative and a superlative is one, but "unique" does not (officially) have these, and is still an adjective. I don't remember all of the criteria offhand, but not all of them have to be met for a word to be an adjective, and there are examples of words that break each of the rules (although not all four) and are still adjectives. I'll have to dig the reference out and post it here when I remember to. — Paul G 15:47, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm a bit worried I spoke too soon. I looked up the online dictionaries after my last message. Collins also only lists dairy as a noun but AHD and Encarta list it as both noun and adjective. If we were Wikipedia we would have to list both points of view. I am actually in favour of doing this here in some kind of section which discusses briefly how various print dictionaries handle tricky situations. Any suggestions for a name for this section? — Hippietrail 16:24, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
See new entry "Criteria for adjectives" below. — Paul G 09:07, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Singular or plural verb forms with somebody, anybody and nobody?

Hi everybody.

I'm a non-native English speaker, and I have a little question about English grammar: Should I use singular or plural verb forms when somebody, anybody or nobody is subject?

--MathiasRav 22:40:55, 2005-07-26 (UTC)

Always use singular. Saying "somebody are in Sweden", "nobody are in Sweden" is bad. The same is with everybody, that takes singular verbs also. I.e. "everybody/everyone is in Sweden" is correct. However, "all of us" or "all of them" takes plural --Expurgator t(c) 22:51, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Thanks :-)

--MathiasRav 13:35:51, 2005-07-28 (UTC)

Three strange stubs

In Category:Stub there are three articles with names that look like a pair of question marks. Supposedly CJK characters, but with no description. Does anyone know what they are - or shall I just delete them? SemperBlotto 16:01, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Safe to delete. There's no content, and the creator claims not to know any other languages apart from some Latin. [3] Davilla 18:02, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough. Deleted. SemperBlotto 18:08, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
    • Check the coding in the URL before doing this. They should be different from each other. There are some CJK characters that do not appear on all browsers. Eclecticology 01:03:37, 2005-07-31 (UTC)
      • In fact, I was able to get one (but only one) of the alleged words to display correctly on my annoyingly Chinese-language OS. On the other hand, if it's definitionless Chinese words you want, I could give you a bucketload. Davilla 23:25, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

August 2005

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I've just been (re-)reading Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, part of Frederik Pohl's Heechee saga. Several times in the text he uses this one word, 'rag-flop', which sprang out at me: the author is not one to make up words unnecessarily, but there was no reference in my Chambers or Collins (concise), and Google was dominated by "rag" (poker jargon adjective) "flop" (poker jargon noun) and chance combinations.

Here it is in context: She was having the time of her life with the machine intelligences. But I wasn't tired of [her], so I stayed around until she at last admitted she had everything she could use on rag-flop tape ....

I guess it could be an invented word to represent some advance in computer technology required for the plot, but in case not (or even if so), I'd like to find out what the word does (or might) mean. Hv 23:32, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Talking about bands: singular or plural?

Hi everybody.

I'm writing about my favorite band's newest album.

When the band (called Dream Theater) is subject, should I use singular or plural verb forms? I think I've read it depends on the accent you're speaking (British / American), although I'm not sure.

--MathiasRav 20:04:34, 2005-08-12 (UTC)

You get the same problem with names of companies, and with all nouns that refer to collections of people like department and crowd. Most English speakers - when uncontrained by a style guide or an editor - will naturally use the singular form when referring to the group as a whole ("Dream Theater is performing", "The department is unmotivated") and the plural when thinking of them as individuals ("Dream Theater are arguing with each other", "The department are working out when to take their holidays"). But most editors and professional writers consider it an error to be inconsistent. They will pick one form or the other and stick to it.

--Allan 09:02:00, 2005-08-13 (UTC)

Okay, thanks a lot.

--MathiasRav 13:33:53, 2005-08-13 (UTC)


1.) The article pass is a good example of why the current splitting of translations is untenable in some cases. There needs to be a section that has translations for *all* meanings of a word. Most languages are going to perhaps exclude one meaning for a particular word's translation. All the rest (including brand new invented meaning) are likely to translate the same, whether noun, verb, adjective or adverb. Within a word, there are no sub- table-of-contents things...right now someone "using" Wiktionary would need to find their way back to the top of the page, find the appropriate translation link, then hunt down within that section for their desired meaning.

It is my opinion, that with a word like pass, it is ludicrous to have more than one translation section. Any exceptions to the rule should separate themselves out from the single batch of main translations of pass (regardless of POS.)

2.) The article pass also incorrectly breaks out verb meanings by transitive and intransitive in the verb headers. There needs to be a single verb section, with any Template:contex lines/meanings tagged with the appropriate template. (Note, that if the meaning is both, it must not be tagged. And generally, tagging transitive is not useful.)

--Connel MacKenzie 01:52, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

I think that there is much room for agreement, but words with such a wide variety of meanings will always be a problem. For now many sections are set up for translations, but only a few Japanese and Swedish translations are actually there. We don't know where this one is heading, but it would help to remain open and flexible to a wide range of possibilities.
Your point about the transitive/intransitive distinction is a stronger one. This, along with count/mass in nouns, are syntactic rather than morphemic distinctions, and as such are not always obvious when the word is used in isolation. The tag can be put when the situation is clear, but there is little point to using a template for this. It's just an unnecessary complication for editors. Eclecticology 10:16:50, 2005-08-13 (UTC)


I suspect there may be a mistake in the template for Template:new_en_adj. The category it provides is Category: English adverbs when I assume it should be Category: English adjectives. -- Shoehorn 20:03, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Fixed it yesterday. SemperBlotto 13:57, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Chinese and Japanese Translation

How would you say "the devil's kitchen" in Chinese, and "the multimillion-dollar hunt" in Japanese? Thanks, anon.

Spanish: lime and lemon

I was once told that lime in Spanish translates to limón and lemon to lima. If this is the case then I wouldn't be surprised if most pocket dictionaries get it wrong. In fact the Spanish dictionary I checked said that lima is a yellow fruit. Oddly enough it said the same thing about limón, the reason being that color derives from the climate the trees are grown in rather than the type of fruit. I really have no idea how anyone could tell them apart. Davilla 12:56, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

You could ask a Spanish-speaker :p Growing up in a Spanish-speaking community I'm pretty sure I heard both lemons and limes called limón, but a limón is canonically a lemon. According to Wikipedia limes do get yellow[ish], but they're usually picked unripe and green. Anyway: a picture of limones y limas at a Spanish website (in Colombia) to assuage doubt. —Muke Tever 18:39, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

September 2005

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Please correct me if I'm posting to the wrong forum, but I would like to find out about moving the entry labrador to Labrador. Cheers. --Shoehorn 00:43, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Done. You can do this by using the "Move" function in the side bar. It won't work if there is already something there, in which case you do well to leave a message on this page. Eclecticology 07:40:46, 2005-09-01 (UTC)


Hi,Iam from the Czech Republic, can you please help me to translate following text : "It has a case-type cross-section, and is fitted with a foot plate and with fittings protecting structures complying with the ADR 3 and 9, code LGBF"

my e-mail Ditakr@yahoo.com thanks

You don't say, but I suppose you are looking for a Czech translation. Translation of sections of text is not a service that Wiktionary provides, although there might be someone here with technical knowledge of Czech who could help you. If you hunt around, there are other services available elsewhere on the Internet that you might find useful. — Paul G 09:08, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Trying to fix two

"Two" is defined as an adjective for the age of two, incorrectly listing a plural form. The intention wasn't "he's two" unless that definition's to be added for every cardinal. I made a separate twos page to partially correct this, but I don't know what to do with the translations.

Apparently this is one of the most commonly edited pages. How did this go unnoticed for so long? Davilla 20:14, 10 September 2005 (UTC)


Special:Shortpages is now showing some page blankings, which possibly are due to regular users not being able to "Move over redirect" (actually, I think regular users can, but may not realize it.) Because of the user involved, could another admin please delete Fotze and then move fotze to Fotze, so as to preserve the edit history? Otherwise, it might look like page-history vandalism. --Connel MacKenzie 08:34, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Oh, I might have done something wrong. Sometimes when I come across rubbish on a word's talk page, I just blank it out and don't list that page under RFD. Does that mess things up? I didn't want to create work for y'all, so I just didn't put the {rfd} template/flag on it after blanking it. Should I just be rfd'ing these instead of blanking them? Cheers, --Stranger 16:03, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, you should replace the content with {{rfd}}. But that is not at all like a page-history deletion attempt. When an article needs to move, it should be moved, not blanked and recreated elsewhere...doing that potentially destroys the history trail of the original entry (if not caught.)
Again, could another admin please roll back the more recent changes to fotze and Fotze, then move the fotze entry to Fotze, then edit the entry for any remaining capitalization errors (if any.) Or perhaps let a regular user attempt the page move after the entries have been rolled back?
--Connel MacKenzie 17:29, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

talk the talk and walk the walk

I think (but could be wrong) that the first phrase means "having a theoretical knowledge (or the appearance of knowledge)" and the second means "having practical ability". Am I correct. Should they be two entries or one? And, if so, what would you name the combined entry? SemperBlotto 22:00, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

My understanding of the phrases is, respectively, to boast of being able to do something, and actually doing it, as in "When it comes to windsurfing, he can talk the talk but not walk the walk," which is more or less the same as what you say, SemperBlotto. An expression similar to the combined one is "practise what you preach". I think they should probably be two phrases as they can be combined in various ways (one example is as I have done here; another might be "If you talk the talk, you must walk the walk."). Those are just my thoughts anyway. — Paul G 09:12, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Esperanto correlatives

There are a number of words in Category:Esperanto correlatives. Should they really be conjunctions? SemperBlotto 16:35, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Probably not. I randomly looked at neniel which has the translation as "in no way", and that is really an adverb. They will probably need to be looked at one by one. Whatever we choose to call them, (and I am not conversant with Esperanto grammar) I would still urge the format Category:eo:Whatever. Eclecticology 20:24, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
They really are correlatives, although I'm afraid that's a part of speech that only exists in Esperanto. I had never heard of them before I learned Esperanto.
kio -> what io -> some nenio -> none ĉio -> all
kiu -> who iu -> someone neniu -> no-one
kiel -> how iel -> somehow
kie -> where tie -> there
kial -> why

The list goes on. Before the i, it is possible to have k-, nothing, nen-, ĉ-, t- and after it: -o, -u, -a, -al, -el, -e and some more.
and it wouldn't be Esperanto if kialo wouldn't mean: reason. So it is possible to use them as a basis to further make words with as well. iomete is somewhat (as an adverb).
They're amazingly versatile and it takes a bit of getting used to them. In a way it's all very logical, but to me it was more confusing than learning all the possible adverbs, pronouns etc. they replace in the various languages. The advantage is of course, that once you know the 5 initial letters, you can immediately ask questions of a certain kind and reply to them. Polyglot 21:38, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
Ok, then all the more reason for someone who understands the language to deal with this. Eclecticology 00:03, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
I can't see anything wrong with them. I checked them, formatted them, turned some words into links to their English counterparts. I also created a table on top of the category to show how they are usually presented/taught. Maybe it makes more sense to see them together like that. It's a close ended list. Oh, and I added some words that are derived from them. They are called correlatives in Esperanto. I don't know if it makes sense to call them anything else. Some translate as interrogative pronouns, others as relative pronouns, etc. Others prove very hard to translate to existing words in other languages. Polyglot 09:03, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
OK, would someone like to update our definition in correlative - cheers. SemperBlotto 09:15, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
I added a rough definition. It is probably too long, but I cannot offhand think of a way to succinctly describe the concept. —Muke Tever 20:13, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Devanagari alphabet

This entry as it is, should probably be in the Wiktionary index: namespace or something, right? Anyone know enough about Devanagari to salvage this entry? Or should it just be rfd? --Connel MacKenzie [+] (contribs) 17:25, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Words ending in "like"

I have just used the word seallike in the definition of phocine. Do we include such words? There will be very many. Are they run together, hyphenated, or two words? I can see that some common ones (ladylike, godlike etc) should be included) but marshmallowlike? Where do you draw the line? SemperBlotto 11:28, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

  • OK, I think that I've figured it out. If in doubt, use a hyphen. And don't include the hyphenated ones in a dictionary. SemperBlotto 13:52, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
WT:CFI#Attestation vs. the slippery slope. A mere orthographic practice like hyphenation is no guarantee of anything (cf. far-fetched). If a word is used, we define it; if it is not, we don't (even if it is otherwise well-formed or expected). At any rate, seallike is good enough for Encyclopedia Britannica's Student Encyclopedia ([4], [5]), if that's of any worth. —Muke Tever 19:46, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
Well yes, it uses the word - but doesn't seem to bother to define it. I won't put too much effort in defining them all just yet (maybe when we have got all the other missing words added). SemperBlotto 19:55, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
In my case, I add to or create a citations page. Ones that I recall coming across in published works in the past months are barnlike/Citations and kaftanlike/Citations. I didn't create articles for those but our policy is to create articles for all words which are found in at least one (good) print dictionary. The full OED includes many in their "combinations" sections along with other forms. — Hippietrail 20:51, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Torch passing or Relay

I would like to know if anyone of you can help me find a word that means, signifies, symbolizes or implies "passing the torch or flame?"

Non-standard possessives without apostrophes

It is very common in retail to see the non-standard possessives "mens", "womens" and "childrens" (or sometimes "kids") used for clothing, as in "50% off all mens clothing". (You might say it is the antithesis of the greengrocer's apostrophe.) The omission of the apostrophe is correct in compounds such as "menswear", but English punctuation still demands that these should be written "men's", etc. As they are so common, however, is it worth having entries for them, but pointing out that they are non-standard but in common use? — Paul G 09:19, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Where? This is a question of a suffix that could be applied to almost any noun. The error involves an entire grammatical pattern rather than a single word. Eclecticology 05:16, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
Well, personally, I think that's rather the point. We should gather citations for this sort of thing, and those with enough can become articles, and those which are patchy shouldn't be added as a grammatical error. However, defining the boundaries may be quite difficult. --Wytukaze 18:19, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm referring specifically to these few terms used in clothing retail, along with "ladies", which I overlooked in my original posting. I don't intend to extend the concept to other nouns, and I am not referring to "mens", etc, as a suffix (or a combining form) - it just happens that "menswear" is already the correct spelling. These forms are very widespread: you'll see them in any clothes shop. — Paul G 13:24, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I am still unclear on what is wrong. Clothing for multiple men is menswear. They don't possess it yet; if they purchase an article, then it is theirs. You don't seem to be suggesting mens' as the correct plural possessive form, which I would expect in the example you gave above. But I am not sure that the possessive case is implied or intended in that example. Is it? Without the apostrophe, I'm inclined to believe the plural of "men" is intended, not the possessive case of "men." --Connel MacKenzie 15:46, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

wikipedia auxilio redactorial

Where should wikipedia auxilio redactorial really be? Wiktionary Index: perhaps? Or rfd? --Connel MacKenzie 18:11, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

I would be inclined to delete it, as well as all the links to it. Wiktionary:Interlingua index should do the same thing as it purports to do. Eventually these should be all moved to the "Index" namespace. PS: I'll respond to your Beer Parlour comments there. Eclecticology 09:16, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

October 2005

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abbreviation; neocon meaning; new conservatine mis-interpretations; too many to list spelling of ; punctuation of; origin of;

I'l ask that any panelist not ask me to look it up in my dictionary, thesaurus because well, I don't have one on me.

Are you requesting this entry? Moving to Requested articles. — Paul G 13:26, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

week, month

Sorry about the formatting, it's all I could think of quickly while paying for internet cafe time. Here is a longish but fully illustrative cite from Prescott on both the Aztec month and week:

  • 1843 — In the measurement of time, the Aztecs adjusted their civil year by the solar. They divided it into eighteen months of twenty days each. Both months and days were expressed by peculiar hieroglyphics,- those of the former often intimating the season of the year, like the French months, at the period of the Revolution. Five complementary days, as in Egypt, were added, to make up the full number of three hundred and sixty-five. They belonged to no month, and were regarded as peculiarly unlucky. A month was divided into four weeks, of five days each, on the last of which was the public fair or market day. This arrangement, different from that of the nations of the Old Continent, whether of Europe or Asia, has the advantage of giving an equal number of days to each month, and of comprehending entire weeks, without a fraction, both in the months and in the year. — William H. Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico, Book 1, Chapter 4

Both words are used in these senses later, and also earlier, throughout the remainder of the book. He probably uses them sometimes in the more usual sense too but I haven't bothered looking for such. — Hippietrail 01:27, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


Either our sense is not flexible enough and should be re-worded more like that of month, or we need to add a sense to cover weeks of lengths other than seven days used in ancient or exotic calendars. For instance, the Aztecs used a week of five days. — Hippietrail 14:47, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

The idea of a week is rooted in the Judeo-Christian mythology of God having created the world in seven days. The Greeks and pre-Christian Romans had no such idea. Can a period of any other length really be a week? Special calendars such as the French revolutionary calendar tended to have their own names for similar notions. Eclecticology 18:34, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
I can provide some cites from W H Prescott who is important enough to have cites for other words in the full OED. It seems another way of looking at the origin of the concept of a week is that they are divided by market days. Now we just have weekends but they are probably related. I might even be able to find an illustrative quotation from Prescott. Of course another way to define a week might just be "a division of a month". — Hippietrail 00:51, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


Related to my post above on week, should we split into two senses, one general allowing for months of varying length in exotic or ancient calendars, and one pertaining specifically to the modern Gregorian calendar? — Hippietrail 14:48, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

If there were to be two primary senses for this they should be based on the time that it takes for the moon to go around the earth, and the divisions of the year. What we now have tends to emphasize the Western POV, but I would not blame our contributor for this since that's the way that has been traditional in the West. The way that the year is divided could be the subject of an entire book. Eclecticology 18:54, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes there is the term lunar month. There may or may not be a set phrase civil month as there is civil calendar, or there may well be some other term I'm unaware of. — Hippietrail 00:51, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
AHD also includes these: sidereal month, lunar month, and month. None of the big 4 online dictionaries include a sense which would cover the Aztec 20-day month as described by Prescott. I wonder what the unabridged Webster or full OED have? — Hippietrail 01:05, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Collins additionally includes calendar month, tropical month, synodic month. Encarta adds solar month. Encarta's sense #1 comes closest to covering the way Prescott uses the word to describe the Aztec calendar. — Hippietrail 01:12, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Here is an illustrative cite from Wikipedia on another exotic calendar:

  • ~2005 — The ancient civil Egyptian calendar had a year that was 365 days long, consisting of 12 months of 30 days each, plus 5 extra days at the end of the year. The months were divided into 3 "weeks" of ten days each. — Wikipedia, Egyptian calendar

And another:

  • ~2005 — Also, as an anti-religious measure, the seven-day week was abolished and replaced with a five-day week, to banish the Christian Sunday as day of rest. — Wikipedia, w:Soviet revolutionary calendar

And another:

maize, corn

Are sweet corn, sugar corn, and green corn synonyms of the words in the heading, or something slightly different? Is Indian corn obsolete or just archaic? I'm marking it obs. until somebody knows better. — Hippietrail 15:19, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Leave it to an Aussie to bring this up! :-P This as much as anything explains my opposition to the term "dated". I also avoid the other two terms unless they are clearly applicable. Showing a series of dated usages tells the story much better. I'm not familiar with "green corn". In areas of North America which do not grow corn as a primary crop the tendency is to simply use the single word for what is commonly eaten. Corn growing areas would regionally use "sweet corn" or "sugar corn" to distinguish that part of the crop that is for human consumption. "Indian corn" may be a little old but it still carries connotations of fall colours as a decorative motif. Eclecticology 19:23, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
In fact in Australia we only say corn for maize - I've never heard any Aussie say maize or use corn in reference to any other grain. Of course there be usages for both which have died out. The only combinations I can recall from home are baby corn as used in stir-fries and sweet corn but I was always ignorant what the latter meant. I recently heard an Englishman use sweet corn in reference to maize. The other terms I had not heard before but Collins gave the synonyms sugar corn and green corn which was good enough for me to add them to the article. — Hippietrail 00:51, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
I have seen Indian corn on sale in the UK recently. It was like a standard corn on the cob but had corns of several different colours, and was meant to be part of a floral decoration. SemperBlotto 16:23, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Indian corn, sweet corn are in current (very common) use here in the US. Although sugar corn is rare, it is a likely term within the farming community. Do we have any farmers contributing here that can attest it?  :-) --Connel MacKenzie 19:35, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Somebody has added a sense #3 to corn which just spells out sense #1 in long form. — Hippietrail 16:33, 22 October 2005 (UTC)


The book I'm reading is 150 years old and in it I have encountered the noun stuff used several times in the plural. We do not cover such a sense yet. — Hippietrail 15:38, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

It's mostly used that way in relation to fabrics, but also in compounds like foodstuffs. Eclecticology 19:25, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
I have heard or at least read dyestuffs before. Prescott's uses of stuffs are definitely for materials but I'm not sure if they are restricted to textiles. I'll have to check further. — Hippietrail 00:51, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Collins senses #11 and #12 seem closest. Encarta's sense #10 (which is marked with your despised dated), is close but specifically "woolen fabric". I don't believe the Aztecs had wool. Merriam-Webster seems to be ordered chronologically which appeals to me since it is definite. Their senses #1, #3, and possibly #2 are closest. AHD has sense #8 which it marks as Chiefly Britsh - possibly but although my edition seems to have British spellings, Prescott was definitely an American. Webster's dictionary was not published until Prescott was 32 years old so it seems the British spellings are also American - just older. — Hippietrail 01:45, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

today, tomorrow

The book I'm reading, 150 years old, always uses to-day and to-morrow, which aren't in the online dictionaries but seem familiar. Should I add them as archaic spelling alternatives or just add a few cites with these spellings? — Hippietrail 16:13, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

  • That seems very reasonable. I'm not sure if I have ever seen yester-day though. SemperBlotto 16:19, 17 October 2005 (UTC)


Are the two English senses perhaps really homonyms? They seem rather too far apart. — Hippietrail 16:20, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure that they have separate etymologies. The wood/metal probably from Old French bille (log), and the quartering of soldiers from bulle some sort of document or order? SemperBlotto 16:43, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

See http://machaut.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/WEBSTER.sh?WORD=billet Eclecticology 18:46, 17 October 2005 (UTC)


I was about to add the nudist / naturist usage but found it's already here. But I can't imagine it being used as an adjective. It's a noun eg "The beach was full of textiles!". Also, I'm not sure if it's restricted to non-nudists or can be used for anyone wearing clothes in a place where nudity is permitted. How many of our contributors are harbouring info about this topic? — Hippietrail 17:42, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

It appears that "textiles" in that example sentence is a euphemism for clothed people. :-)
There is the usual English practice of using almost any noun in an attributive sense whether or not it has previously been recognized as an adjective. I would be inclined to seek verification of both naturist usages, all the more so when a compulsive disorder is suggested. Eclecticology 18:46, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
I actually made up the above example to show how I believe it's used. Here are some real examples from the internet:
  • The inflow of more an more textiles means that if naturism is your priority it is hard to recommend Mykonos these days...http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/1794/cyclades/mykonos.html
  • "I have recommended "Cap'n Barefoot's Naturist Guide" to a large number of friends - nudists and textiles, and have received unmixed praise from all.http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/1794/greekgde.html
  • Textile: Non-nudist or clothing-required, as in "nude-beaches are better than textile-beaches."http://www.cybernude.com/terms.htm
  • By its presence, Wildwood speaks favorably for naturism and nudism by promoting quality education and information about a clothing free environment to the textile community. — www.wildwoodnaturist.com/
  • Textile: The modifier used by naturists when referring to non-naturist things. (e.g. textile beach. Also, "They are textiles"-"They are non-naturists")http://www.fcn.ca/FCNFAQ.html
  • Textile is also a jargon term used by naturists or nudists to describe a person who wears clothes.w:Textile
Notwithstanding one naturist glossary describing it as a "modifier", it seems to be a noun which is often used attributively. — Hippietrail 17:22, 18 October 2005 (UTC)


I'll use this forum rather than marking as RFC. Is it worth making this a policy and having a tag to attach to articles currently under discussion here, and another for ones under discussion on the beer parlour? - the latter being used for problems with wider scope affecting entire policy issues.

This article currently tags each sense with "also", two of which are synonyms: "shower bath" and "bridal shower". The other is merely a circumlocution: "shower of rain". Also for sense #3 I don't believe anybody ever does or ever did say "I am going to have/take a shower bath".

The two synonyms do match how some dictionaries, but so far not us, handle some synonyms, especially those with words in common. The rest blur this usage and make the whole practice in this article fuzzy and worthless. Also, we already use circumlocutions as labels for translation tables. In this article circumlocutions as used in each place to not even match.

I recommend removing the circumlocutions entirely leaving just those which belong to the translation tables, and moving the synonyms to a synonyms section as per our usual format. — Hippietrail 15:52, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

"Shower bath" is old-fashioned. It's what they used to be called years ago. See print dictionaries. — Paul G 13:53, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes I know. I just dispute that people use or used it in sense #3. Then there's always the question of whether it is archaic or just dated or if we're too scared to say it's either. — Hippietrail 16:24, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

proper noun, proper name

Deja vu! Minutes after mentioning the treatment of synonyms in my previous post, I have just found that our article for proper noun has an "also" for proper name. There is no synonyms section and the latter merely redirects to the former.

Is this an acceptable way of handling synonyms on Wiktionary, and if so, is it covered by our formatting guidelines and policies? If it is covered, what is our policy for using this format (more common for alternative spellings but I belive even that is not policy) as opposed to our usual format? How do we decide? Merely if there are some words in common in compounds, or based on the non-original research of looking at other dictionaries, or some other way? — Hippietrail 16:04, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

The Searching Wictionary link has been Grafitied.

It's just some gibberish and then some swears.

  • Thanks for telling us - we missed that one (now fixed) SemperBlotto|Talk 16:52, 21 October 2005 (UTC)


In the synonyms section, starter is listed under the description as being served between two other courses. This is patently incorrect. A starter is always served first. It seems not to matter what type of course is first, appetiser or main. But it must be first. It is not a misnomer as far as I am aware. — Hippietrail 00:23, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

  • I think that ALL the second line of synonyms are wrong. By the way, in a real Italian restaurant, the bread and wine arrive before the antipasto, but I don't suppose that counts as a course. SemperBlotto|Talk 12:20, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes I think it's def #2 which is wrong, or there is simply a missing def for which all in the 2nd line are synonyms. I've never had a "formal meal" but I've looked at the entrée part of the menu many times to decide what to have first. — Hippietrail 15:13, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Mea culpa. I had "entrée" = something at the beginning in mind when I entered these. I plead ignorance over the definition; either the def is right and the syns are wrong, or possibly vice versa. I've removed "starter". — Paul G 13:44, 27 October 2005 (UTC)


I'm trying to find out whether this is a heteronym in US English. Here is what I have discovered so far:

  • Adverb: grave + -ly: in a grave manner. No problem with that one.
  • Adjective: spelled "gravelly" in UK English, meaning "like gravel" in some manner, such as "a gravelly path" or, more commonly, "a gravelly voice". Now, US spelling rules say that when you add a suffix to a word ending in an 'l' that is preceded by a vowel and the stress is not on the final consonant, you don't double the 'l' (eg, "swivel" -> "swiveled", "swiveling") whereas UK spelling always doubles a final 'l' preceded by a vowel, whatever the stress pattern ("swivel" -> "swivelled", "swivelling"; "rebel" -> "rebelled", "rebelling"). Note that the suffix here is -y (to make an adjective), not -ly (which would make an adverb).

So is "gravely" a heteronym in US English? dictionary.com, which is compiled from US dictionaries, has only "gravely" as an the adverb, with the adjective formed from "gravel" given as "gravelly". It also has the adjective "squirrelly", which fits the same pattern as "gravelly".

So this pretty much answers my question, but I'm still curious whether or not "gravely" is an permissible alternative spelling of "gravelly" in US English and so a heteronym. — Paul G 13:42, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

A template for Art

We have a {{art}} template that just expands to "Artificial". I want one that expands to "Art" or "art" and adds the Category:Art. What would you recommend calling it? SemperBlotto|Talk 16:08, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I wish we'd used some kind of Hungarian notation for template names all along. That way we could have had something along the lines of cat_art and abbr_art. — Hippietrail 16:21, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

November 2005

This is an archive page that has been kept for historical purposes. The conversations on this page are no longer live.


Help! What is the term for a word that takes the same form in its singular and plural form - eg scissors? Needed for homework. Many thanks

Yes we use the Latin term plurale tantum, but it's probably quite rare. But you've worded your question wrong. "Scissors" is always plural and never singular. You cannot say "a scissors" but must say "a pair of scissors". Words which have the same form in singular and plural are "fish" and "sheep". For these the term "invariant" is often used. — Hippietrail 19:30, 1 November 2005 (UTC)


I think we're overdifferentiating our definitions here. Senses #2 and #3 to me are the same, tasteless being more crucial than cheap. The online Collins has more senses but a different breakdown that I think is more accurate: [[6]] — Hippietrail 01:16, 2 November 2005 (UTC)


This article is on the Hebrew word for dictionary. Anon has recently moved it from מילון which they labelled a misspelling but not changed the body of the article to match. Also they moved it to a pointed spelling מִלוֹן which is against our policy for languages which use optional pointing or diacritics. I've moved it to the new spelling without pointing but have no resources to check whether the old or the new spelling is in fact correct. — Hippietrail 16:40, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, the he: logo says מלון, but the main page says מילון. My own dictionary says מלון ... מילון on he: redirects to מלון (which describes מילון as "כתיב מלא" which seems to mean something like "common spelling"). Given that the "מלון" spelling is usually pointed, and the unpointed spelling seems usually to be "מילון", I suspect that this is a case of chirik (מִ) being promoted to chirik malei (מי) "for the sake of disambiguation". Possibly the best practice would be to follow he: on this. —Muke Tever 17:03, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
That anonymous user was myself; sorry for being anonymous. The correct spelling, I believe, is without the yod: מלון.‎ "כתיב מלא" means "full writing", i.e. (in this case) with the yod. And, yes, it's a case of chirik chaser being promoted to chirik male for the sake of disambiguation. So both spelligs are used, but the "correct" spelling is without the yod, as in he:. The entry reflects this now.msh210 21:23, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

When is a proper noun not a proper noun?

I'm tidying up the Transwiki:Body parts slang (no don't ask, see the discussion in BP and on related projects, I went & opened my big mouth :-). Anyway when a proper noun is used as a slang word for something that is not a proper noun (in this instance Himalayas for a large pair of breasts) should it still be capitalised as a proper noun?MGSpiller 20:35, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Depends on usage. Compare boycott, nimrod, silhouette, with John Hancock, Hitler, and Tony. I don't think there are set rules, though I think that if it is a direct comparison (as opposed to being named after something) it is more likely to remain capitalized (thus, "a lady Hitler" — but still, "the little nimrod"). —Muke Tever 16:10, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
My understanding is that in English all proper nouns are capitalized. If it's not capitalized it's no longer a proper noun. So if the slang word is written capitalised it would still take the proper noun label. But in my experience the topics of "proper noun" and "capitalisation" have always been slightly fuzzier than I like. In languages with proper nouns but without capitalisation I wouldn't have any clue how to draw the line... — Hippietrail 19:10, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, I think capitalization and proper-nounhood are things that are too often conflated. AHD's def of proper noun doesn't mention capitalization; nor does Webster 1913 ("a name belonging to an individual, by which it is distinguished from others of the same class; -- opposed to common noun; as, John, Boston, America."); m-w.com's only mentions that they are "usually" capitalized. Of course, it's true that English's threshold for words "proper enough" to be capitalized is somewhat higher than many other languages—we even capitalize many adjectives and ethnonyms that go uncapitalized, say, in Romance languages—but even so there are many that slip by, such as yesterday, meatspace, or the moon (as opposed to other moons—though some writers, especially those in science, do speak of ours as 'the Moon'). My own rough guideline for determining proper-nounhood is whether its definition is given in definite or indefinite terms: if it's indefinite, a something (a large pair of breasts, a satellite orbiting a planet) then it's not proper, but if it's definite, the something (the day before today, the large natural satellite that orbits our planet) then it probably is. (The definiteness suggests you have a particular object in mind, and that nothing else exists that meets your definition—or would meet it if your definition were perfectly phrased.) I don't have any solid inbuilt rules for whether a common noun derived from a proper noun should still be capitalized or not, though. —Muke Tever 02:33, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
It does indeed depend on usage and would vary from term to term. The Cockney rhyming slang term "bristols" (short for the plural of "Bristol City" (a football team) rhyming with "titties") is has a lower-case initial. This is not automatic, and probably comes about as the term ages. Certainly less-established slang such as "Himalayas" (which I can't say I've ever heard) would not automatically lose its initial upper-case letter. — Paul G 18:22, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Verb "mote"

I found the word “mote” in the dictionary when looking for a definition of the word, and found out that it could also be a verb, an auxiliary verb. I am quit interested in finding out how it is used, and what I would be saying if I wrote it or used it. I realize that this word may be archaic. 02

It's an archaic form of might, mostly used in subjunctive constructions. It appears in Chaucer and Edmund Spenser. Eclecticology 08:56, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Antonym of "Antagonist"

What is the antonym of Antagonist? I'm using it in the sense of a person in a fight who was the one to start it, and want a word that means "a person in a fight who was not the one to start it". The Antagonist article gives Protagonist as an antonym, but I have always understood this to mean (in this context) "one of the people who took part", not specifially on one side or the other.

Thanks, Thryduulf 21:21, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Try instigator. Eclecticology 00:50, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
The antagonist article does not include the biochemical meaning (I'll add it tomorrow, if no-one beats me to it) but the antonym to that is agonist (see the wikipedia article on w:agonist).
For a slightly older perspective you can check the webster definitions of agonist [[7]], protagonist [[8]] and antagonist [[9]]. While usage has blurred this over the years they give agonist as a contender or participant, protagonist as the hero or leading part and antagonist as the villan or adversary. Over time agonist has fallen into disuse and protagonist has taken over its meaning, which has led to your present quandry. I suggest using the old meaning i.e. protagonist. MGSpiller 01:07, 9 November 2005 (UTC)


The article gives a sense for "Spain" and another for "South America". Does anybody know if it is also used in Mexico and/or Central America. English speakers often incorrectly treat "South America" and "Latin America" as synonyms. I have seen this in subtitles but cannot be sure what country the subtitles were made in or intended for. RAE only gives one interjectino sense and does not restrict it with any regional labels. — Hippietrail 20:10, 18 November 2005 (UTC)


Can somebody who knows how reduce the size of the gigantic picture please? — Hippietrail 18:16, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Done, but does the page need an image? -- Nick1nildram 19:34, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm not into the image thing here so I'll have to leave that open to the other contributors. — Hippietrail 01:18, 20 November 2005 (UTC)


This probably belongs on a requests page but what the hey. The article so far only covers verb senses. I'm sure there are also more than a couple of noun senses if anyone feels up to it. — Hippietrail 01:39, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

All those senses were nouns, I moved them under nouns and added the verbs. JillianE 17:59, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Plural form of communique

Can anyone give me the correct plural form of communique? Is there a source for plural forms? I have found various websites that give general rules for the formation of plural forms, but have not found a dictionary that supplies the plural form of the listed nouns.

MSN's Encarta Dictionary gives only the accented spelling and the plural communiqués. — Hippietrail 03:29, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

is "heliocastic" a word?

A couple of years ago, I heard someone use the word "heliocastic" to describe a regime that is trying to remake the world by destroying everything that came before. He used it in reference to the Khmer Rouge. I think it's a great word, but I can't find it anywhere. I've googled it (the only hit was on my own wikipedia question in the cached version), and checked the OED to no avail. I put this question on the wikipedia reference desk for language, and people came up with some interesting ideas, like suggesting that the word was really "holocaustic," but I'm 100% sure that the guy said heliocastic. By way of background, the person who used the word is hyper-educated...I think he's on faculty at one of the colleges at Oxford. The other thing I don't get is the etymology of the word. I don't see what the sun would have to do with such a regime, and have no idea what "castic" is derived from. Anyone have any clever ideas as to whether this word exists or whether I heard it wrong? It's been driving me nuts for years!!!! Binkymagnus 01:47, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Well it's possible his tongue slipped, either from heliocaustic 'sunburnt' [at least that's what Greek ἡλιόκαυστος means) or holocaustic (which indeed does mean 'burning entirely'). The only classical root in 'cast-' that would give 'castic' is Latin castus “chaste” (or, in a stretch, possibly Greek κάστωρ/Latin castor “beaver,” which makes even less sense). But 'caust-' is Greek meaning burning or burnt. Do you remember the person's name? Possibly you could find his email and ask. —Muke Tever 16:14, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
well, between the responses i've gotten on wikitionary/pedia, and the OED, I'm thinking he said it wrong, and that the word is indeed holocaustic. ta. Binkymagnus 19:08, 26 November 2005 (UTC)


I know its a kind of poisonous material that can produce harmful effect on the subjects it is used upon, yet unable to get details of, such as the nature of chemical; if it is synthesized; origin - plant or animal, and, moreover, Wiktionary does not offer any detail of the subject word.

Other than this forum, I can be reached on: jawaid.akhter@bms.com OR alee3396@gmail.com


I think augur also has at least one verb sense that we currnently omit. — Hippietrail 17:07, 26 November 2005 (UTC)


Do we really need such a feline foto gallery? — Hippietrail 16:55, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes! Feed the cats!! --Wonderfool 18:43, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

שבר -- can't edit!

In שבר some of the Hebrew dots are out of order: the punctuation marks (U+05B0 through U+05BB) are (in some cases) before the dagesh (U+05BC) and/or shin-dot (U+05C1), which causes IE6 to render the word very oddly. So I decided to edit the page, putting the punctuation after the dagesh and shin-dot, and hit Save. But the page was not changed, and History doesn't record that I edited it at all. What gives? —msh210 19:54, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

There is a bug report on Bugzilla about this. Some months ago all wikis got Unicode normalization, which is generally a good thing since it means that searching will work no matter if some people use "precomposed" diacritics and other use "combining characters". Unfortunately for years Microsoft had been making all its Hebrew and Arabic fonts as well as Uniscribe wrong. They required vowel points and such on the opposite side of the letter than was required by Unicode. Apparently they have fixed this bug in the latest service patch, but there is no fix for Windows versions other than XP. There was talk about adding a user preference to do another "bug compatibilty normalization" for users who do not have the right version of Windows but I don't think anything has been done about it. Here is the bug report if you would like to comment on it: http://bugzilla.wikipedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=2399

December 2005

This is an archive page that has been kept for historical purposes. The conversations on this page are no longer live.


I find the "usage note" in this article to be POV. The part about people using the term not knowing about the subject seems wrong to me. Usually it's scientist types who use it, not ignorant people, which is how they know that the subject does not meet the scientific method. Other people usually prefer terms like "bullshit" in my experience.

Then again, to some "hard scientists", even such accepted fields as pscychology are not true sciences but nobody calls them pseudoscience.

One rule of thumb might be that pseudosciences require an element of faith whereas true sciences can rest on a body of accepted proof.

It's certain that to those who believe in these fields this term is pejorative so a usage not is justified but the wording needs to be adjusted somewhat.

There is also a grammatical error: "pejorative many". — Hippietrail 16:54, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

need correct pronunciation for three Hindi (I think) words.

I am trying to assist a middle school teacher with the correct way to say three words in connection with his lesson on Gandhi.

The three words are Putlibai (Gandhi's mother's name), ahimsa, and Satyagraha. If you can help please email me at debnal@netecin.net with a phonetic spelling (do I need to say english?) He doesn't want to mispronounce the words. Thank you in advance for any help at all!

old school

Please see my the talk page for this article where I dispute that the term is an idiom in favour of it instead being considered perhaps a figurative use. In any case our definitions do not really stand up in comparison to the "big" dictionaries which have an online presence and I suggest these defs be reviewed along with the division of parts of speech between hyphenated and non-hyphenated spellings. — Hippietrail 18:30, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

fury, Fury

In a book I just read "Fury" was capitalized when used in our sense #3 "Roman mythology female personification of vengeance". Is this used in both cases or should we split this sense to a capitalised page, or is my book just being unusual? — Hippietrail 03:10, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

The Furies were a Roman trinity of minor godesses. I would certainly class them as a proper noun in need of capitalisation. --MGSpiller 23:40, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I'll make the change but leave the discussion open for a while in case anybody dissents. — Hippietrail 02:00, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

My first impression was to go with a generic "fury", but now I see that my Oxford capitalizes it. Eclecticology 02:49, 13 December 2005 (UTC)


An Italo Svevo novel I just read in English used this Italian accented spelling consistently in both the body and the introduction. Does this happen outside this book? — Hippietrail 03:14, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Do you mean "is caffè always written with a diacritic on the e?" Yes, it is. The most commonly stressed syllable in Italian polysyllables is the penultimate. When the accent is on the ultimate syllable, there is always an diacritic to indicate this. When the accent is further back than the penultimate, there is rarely a diacritic (at least, I can't think of any such words off the top of my head). Diacritics are also used to distinguish some homographs (such as "te" (to you) and "tè" (tea)).
Whereas French uses accents to indicate the quality of the marked vowel, and so requires a particular flavour of accent (acute, grave, circumflex, etc) in any given place, Italian can use either the acute or the grave accent to mark the stressed syllable. I would say that the grave accent is possibly the more common, but might not be true. You would need to check an up-to-date (see the following paragraph) Italian dictionary to check which is used.
Note that some Italian monolingual or bilingual dictionaries (especially older ones) mark the stressed syllable of all polysyllables with an accent mark. This does not mean that these should be used in writing and printing. — Paul G 18:18, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Sorry Paul, I think you missed my point. I read the novel in English translation and the word spelled caffè was used throughout as an unitalicized English word meaning cafe / café / coffee shop. I've just never seen the Italian word used as an English as I have these other three. Hope this is clearer. — Hippietrail 01:56, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Ah, I understand now. I have never seen this. It looks like an stylistic device to me, possibly to retain an Italian flavour in the translation. The English translation of "caffè", the establishment, as "café" or "coffee shop", as you say. The OED has "café" only. — Paul G 09:02, 19 December 2005 (UTC)


It's correct that we say His instead of his when God is the owner, right? Is this archaic or are we still meant to use His? --Wonderfool 11:34, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Then I guess it's a similar with Your, You, Yours, He, Him Thy, Thine, Thou, and maybe Us, Our and We if 2 Gods were talking to each other? --Wonderfool 11:44, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't think it's archaic, so much as a secular verses religous usage. My own usage would likely be small letters but we should definitly document the capitalised usages. --MGSpiller 23:46, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I also wouldn't say it's archaic. It does seem that it used to be more widespred because the majority of writers in English used to be christian. I'm not sure how usual this practice was outside christianity but I'm sure I have seen it. I have also seen capitalisation of other words referring to God or Christ or Jesus besides pronouns, recently I saw Redeemer used consistently this way. Anyway since the divide in religious and secular life has increased, the capitalisation has decreased in the general population who are not active believers. — Hippietrail 15:55, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
My UPI Stylebook (1992) enumerates specific cases to be capitalized and doesn't list this. My junior high English book (1977) has rule (5) "Capitalize words referring to the Deity. Example: God and His universe." I'm not sure that the copyright dates are the determining property. Basically, we need to figure out which stylebook we are using and see what it says. JillianE 04:19, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Surely we are not using any particular stylebook but attempting to document all usage? Like there are various geographic dialects, there are religious usages of words which are used by a large number of people which should be documented. In my experience, capitalisation of words relating to Yahweh or referring to Yahweh is a Christian usage and pretty common. This precludes Us, Our, We etc. as Christians don't believe there is more than one god. However I'm pretty sure that there are various examples of those usages in fiction, I'm not sure I can point directly at any though. --MGSpiller 19:58, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

definitions needed

I have a very old embroidered picture with the following labels under depictions of plants. I think it is in Nahuatl. Does anyone know what these plant names mean? aoxochitl, mzquitochitl, quelzalylim, tihquauitl. Thank you in advance for any help. C.B.

They're not in my dictionary. In particular 'mzquitochitl' and 'quelzalylim' look misspelled. Are you sure of the orthography? —Muke Tever 18:15, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree though I don't have a dictionary - yet. There are Google hits for "amoxochitl" but the variations on the others I tried didn't find anything. — Hippietrail 18:27, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


A few points:

  1. Currently only listed as a noun but nouns cannot be trademarked, only adjectives - please check. I've heard this explanation WRT "Rolls Royce" which that company tries to enforce as an adjective.
  2. Currently used the ® symbol but in my experience dictionaries choose just one symbol and use it throughout, also in my experience the usual symbol is ™ which we currently use in other articles.
  3. We do not list the generic sense which is the only American synonym I know for what in Australia and I think the UK is known as jelly. Trademark issues aside, we should handle the generic use of this word by Americans identically to how we handle the generic of of Hoover/hoover by the British. This means we need to examine how it is capitalised when used in the generic sense. — Hippietrail 16:26, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The sign ® (registered trademark) is legally distinct from ™ (unregistered trademark) though, isn't it?
Yes but this distinction is too much work for dictionaries to research and keep up to date I expect. Every dictionary I've seen has a disclaimer which states that they make every effort to find which terms are trademarked but that marking or not marking such words does not imply such and such. I don't have one at hand sorry. I think we should do the same. — Hippietrail 17:03, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. However, it is not a great deal of effort to look up the company's site and check which symbol they use. I try to do this whenever I believe a term is a trademark.
http://www.jell-o.com/ seems to list it as JELL-O ® not Jell-O. --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:39, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I didn't think to do it before but Collins is a bit ambiguous with: Jell-o noun #Trademark(in US and Canada) jelly. — The wording is ambiguous. Is the word used only in US and Canada or is it only trademarked in those countries? Note also the lowercase final "o". MSN Encarta Dictionary gives no part of speech, instead just "trademark" and the def is "a trademark for a gelatin-based dessert". AHD via Answers.com gives no POS but notes that it often occurs in print as Jello and gives a cite. M-W also gives "trademark" as POS.
None of these online dictionaries actually use either ™ or ®.
One question I still have. In Australia there are many brands of "jelly" on supermarket shelves. In the US and Canada, how do the non-Jell-O brands describe themselves? — Hippietrail 17:19, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Just 'gelatin' afaik. (Even Jell-O is "Jell-O brand gelatin".) Jelly, when applied to food, is only a thing made from fruit and generally applied to bread, and only distinguishable from jam by pedants or those reading the label. —Muke Tever 07:46, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
I did realize the US idea of jelly but I don't think I've ever heard gelatin used for a dessert in Australia. It's just an ingredient there. — Hippietrail 18:30, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
The difference between jellies and jams is more than pedantic. Jellies are made from fruit juces; jams are made from mashed fruit; and marmalades are made from fruit chunks. Jellies and jams derive their consistency from fruit pectins; gelatins derive from boiling the connective tissues of animals. Eclecticology 08:24, 19 December 2005 (UTC)


I heard the word dodgy used on NPR this morning. Can someone look at some sample uses at NPR use of the word 'dodgy' and see if the entry is complete? For one thing the entry says it is primarily a British word, but I found a number of uses at NPR. JillianE 17:20, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

context quotes format

If I want to quote an example from a novel, what format should I follow? Lotsofissues 01:24, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

decline, conjugate, inflect

  • We seem to have an incorrect definition for the verb decline - it says that it happens to a verb. My dictionary says that it happens to nouns adj etc NOT verbs! Please can someone confirm (or deny) – thanks – Saltmarsh 14:26, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
    • I checked a dictionary and yes decline nouns (number and case) and cojugate verbs. But in ebglish do we deline adjectives as well as nouns and pronouns? JillianE 16:04, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
      • Yes verbs are conjugated and nouns are declined. Both are inflected, which is the generic term. German and Old English both also decline adjectives but modern English does not. I'm not actually sure if English -er and -est would be called inflections but I expect so. — Hippietrail 17:08, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
        • I changed the note to say adjectives are declined in some languages, should we specifically note that modern English isn't one of them? JillianE 15:57, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


In words derived from french such as sauté, what do we refer to the accent mark as? I've been told by people who speak french there is accente grav and accente grue (I don't know how to spell that and I don't speak French myself even with a bilingual dictionary). Is there a word for such marks in general?

Also, I added an entry at saute that says see sauté with an accent mark. Is this proper procedure? JillianE 15:59, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

é has an acute accent, è has a grave accent, ê has a circumflex accent, and ë has a diaeresis, dieresis, or umlaut - the people get into very heated discussions in this case about which terms are correct and when. The general informal terms is accent, the general technical terms are diacritic, diacritical, and diacritical mark.
Hope this helps. — Hippietrail 16:11, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Thank you. Diacritical was the word I wanted. JillianE 15:43, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
The French terms are accent grave and accent aigu ("grave accent" and "acute accent" respectively). "Grave" in "grave accent" is pronounced with an "a" as in "halve" rather than as "grave" meaning "tomb". Yes, that is the correct way to link from an entry without an accent to one with. — Paul G 08:46, 19 December 2005 (UTC)


Today's languagehat.com lists a sense we don't have: "duff 'partly decayed organic matter on the forest floor' (from a dialect form of dough!)". If anybody knows anything, please add it. — Hippietrail 18:16, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Dictionary.com has that sense from the American Heritage Dictionary. It also has the sense I recognize: the buttocks (I'd say "your seat") (as in get off your duff and help me) as slang (but I don't know if that is the correct spelling so I'm not adding it). JillianE 19:29, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
it's in the OED too (though it doesn't recognise that derivation) - I'll add it here. Widsith 00:02, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Botanical adjectives

I have just completed the rhymes page for words such as "gracious" (which is here). The majority of the rhymes I have found are terms from botany that end in "-aceous". My criterion for putting these into Wiktionary was that each term had to be in at least two sources. My sources were Chambers Dictionary (1998); the OED (second edition); Google Print; which could count as multiple sources, and the online AHD.

The following terms are in Chambers but I have not found them in any of the other sources above, except, in a few cases, from listings in bilingual dictionaries in Google Print, which don't count, as far as I'm concerned.

cepaceous (in the OED but marked as obsolete)

Can anyone who knows about botany confirm whether or not these terms exist by providing references? Thanks. — Paul G 08:57, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Criteria for adjectives

Here's the posting I promised about the criteria for a word being an adjective, summarised from The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar, 1993 edition:

Most adjectives are attributive (used before a noun); predicative (used after a noun); able to be modified by words such as "very" and "too"; and be comparable (that is, allow "more" and "most" to be put before them, or, equivalently, to allow the suffixes "-er" and "-est" to be added), but many do not fulfil all four criteria. The above reference gives the following as examples that do not: "unique", in the sense of "the only one of its kind"), which is not comparable (you can't say "very unique" or "more unique", in the strict sense of the word); "afraid", which is not attributive (you can't say "an afraid person"); "utter", which is not predicative (you can't say "his disregard was utter").

There are other examples given there too where don't behave as required by these criteria but are still adjectives, such as "elect" in "president elect", "special" in "nothing special" and "impatient" in "people impatient with the slow progress of the talks" (which can be read as "people who are impatient...").

This point isn't in the book, but I'd like to point out that when a word can only be used attributively and this use comes from a noun, it can be argued that it is a modifier rather than an adjective. This argument can be applied to "dairy", hence the controversy. This does not of course help resolve the issue, but does help explain how it arises. — Paul G 09:22, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Paul G 09:22, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Nice post but be careful. The term "modifier" does not contrast with the term "adjective". Adjectives are modifiers. I don't think there is any perfect term for a noun when used as a modifier unfortunately. I would say "it can be argued that it is a noun used attributively rather than an adjective". — Hippietrail 17:06, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
The OED apparently uses attrib. to mark them (highlighting one of the more useful properties of abbreviations I've run across recently, viz. allowing one to fudge what a word's ending may be—even more useful in inflecting languages than in English). I also recently ran across ‘attrib. passing into adj.’ in an OED entry, which seems like a decent way to describe emergent phenomena. —Muke Tever 07:29, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
The exceptions are real, but I don't get a couple of the examples. Why is "impatient" such a different case? You could have "people high in spirits", "faces red with anger", "a coin square in shape", etc., etc. Also, a Ferrari painted in gold and silver might be proved unique, but I would consider a Ferrari poured from gold and silver to be more unique. Maybe "the only one of its kind" isn't comparative only because of the wording, in contrast to "differentiated from all others of its kind" or the like. Davilla 22:59, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
But unique means "the only one of its kind", so it cannot be compared. "More unique" comes from a misunderstanding that "unique" means "unusual", which it does not. — Paul G 14:21, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

redlink report

Is there a report of all the redlinks in wiktionary? Sort of an extension to requested entries. JillianE 16:29, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Sure is: Special:Wantedpages. It's not always up to date though since it requires a "developer" to run a script and those guys don't always hear us when we ask them to do it for us. Wiktionary currently have exactly 0 representation among the developers, unfortunately. — Hippietrail 17:56, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
I've noticed, at least on la:, that the cached special pages have been being refreshed every few days lately. —Muke Tever 19:19, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Tim Starling has this scheduled to run Wednesdays and Saturdays at midnight. --Connel MacKenzie T C 09:06, 21 February 2006 (UTC)


The sense which is most usual for me is missing. A kind of low-quality hut or cabin. — Hippietrail 16:14, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I have added the correct definition. the others look rather iffy to me so I have put it thr RfV. SemperBlotto 22:52, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

These meanings may have come from morewords which (sort of) references them and says they may be archaic. Saltmarsh 15:15, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
SOED lists #2, #3 & #4 as dialect. Saltmarsh 15:19, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Religious or Political Disinformation of Articles.

How does "gnostic atheism" ie religious chauvinism, deserve a guernsey in the article on Strong Atheism? Could someone please introduce "religious chauvinism" as a topic instead.

The entry for Guernsey (redirect from guernsey) does not seem to have a sense that fits the context above. On the other hand the entry seems to need a little work. Is the plural correct as the same as the singular? Are all the senses actually proper nouns? Some of them look common to me. JillianE 14:08, 24 December 2005 (UTC)


Wikipedia has an article covering a sense of this word we don't have which is used in typography: w:Asterism (typography). — Hippietrail 00:38, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia is correct, according to the entry "asterism" in Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, and the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition. Primetime 07:13, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Where report vandalism?

Anon is replacing pages with Mayodan (apparently a known vandal). I'm not as familiar with wiktionary as wikipedia, where do I report it? I reverted all the pages I could but a copule are creations. JillianE 19:47, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Now at user: . JillianE 20:20, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

WT:VIP or WT:BP. Or both. --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:16, 19 January 2006 (UTC)


I just commented out the adjective sense as it seems to me to be yet another attributive use of a noun. Please comment here or on the talk page if you can show otherwise. — Hippietrail 17:24, 26 December 2005 (UTC)


I would've thought the verb to faint is pretty common. It's mentioned in this article only in the awkwardly worded definition of the noun! — Hippietrail 17:04, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

I added the verb, could someone please add the inflections? JillianE 04:54, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
done Eclecticology 05:48, 28 December 2005 (UTC)


"One shouldn’t cross a street while reading a newspaper"

Can anyone tell me the grammatical function of 'reading' in this sentence?



  • Well, when I was at school (many, many years ago) it would have been a gerund. But they seem to be rather unfashionable these days. (and shouldn't it be whilst) If the sentence fragment is short for "while one is reading . ." it would be a present participle. SemperBlotto 13:30, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
This is where I also get fuzzy since I'm only an armchair linguist with no training. If it's acting as a noun to any degree it's a gerund. If "while" were a preposition that would settle it, but I think it's a conjunction which leaves it fuzzy. But trying to translate into Spanish "durante leyendo" sounds wrong and "durante leer" sounds less wrong. Since the Spanish verb-as-noun feels better to me I'm going to guess that an English verb-as-noun is also right, and that would mean a gerund. But let's see what an expert has to say! — Hippietrail 18:27, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Tia, reading is a present participle because it's a verb ending in -ing in the progressive tense. It is a verb in the adverbial clause while reading a newspaper. The while conjunction sets the clause off as adverbial. There are two types of participles: present and past. Present participles are used to form the progressive tense (e.g., I am walking) or as adjectives (e.g., I had a winning ticket). The Spanish translation would be mientras leyendo, but that's irrelevant. In Spanish, verbs acting as adverbs are called "gerunds" (gerundios), whereas in English, they're infinitives.

Hippietrail, there are two types of verbs: finite and nonfinite. Finite verbs can complete a sentence, while nonfinite verbs (verbals) cannot. There are three types of verbals: gerunds, participles, and infinitives. When a verbal is acting as a noun in a sentence in English, it's a gerund (e.g., "Walking is fun") or an infinitive (e.g., "To walk is fun"). Walking in the preceding sentence is also a participle, but not in a nonfinite sense. In Spanish, a verb acting as a noun is an infinitive (e.g., Caminar es divertido, "To walk is fun"). When a verbal is acting as an adjective, it's just a participle (e.g., "I had a winning ticket"). But in English, all verbs ending in -ing are called present participles, even if they're finite or not. For example, talking in "I'm talking to Jan" is a verb in the progressive tense, not an adjective, but is still a participle. Past participles end in -ed.

Primetime 01:26, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

  • The particiants in this thread may be interested in the parallel thread now in User_talk:Stephen_G._Brown#gerund. To me it doesn't seem to agree 100% with what I see here. — Hippietrail 16:26, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
    How so? I just read what Stephen said and didn't see any disagreement with what I just said. What you wrote about halfway down was incorrect, though.

    Primetime 18:34, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Ok, just 'cose the Spanish do treat a participio presente the same as an gerundio, we should think twice before treating 'gerundio' as if it were an exact translation of the English 'gerund'. All we can say it's a verbal, since the word is derived from a verb. That's all English grammar can do for it. Because of that, it should be mentioned on wikt.en only if it were here. Or if it were to stay at gerund, then we might make it clear to the reader that the Italian and Russian 'gerund' is different from the English 'gerund'. That's my humble opinion. It might be interesting to further discuss the way we should treat grammatical terms, though. — Wietse 00:38, 30 December 2005 (GMT)


Are these words interchangeable? Or is branchs the plural noun and branches the verb form? JillianE 17:40, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, I would have said that branchs was a spelling mistake. The verb form is definitely branches and so is the normal plural. Google has branches (126,000,000) and branchs (329,000) (many of which are Branch's (from the surname)). SemperBlotto 17:02, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Merriam-Webster's unabridged dictionary writes that it's plural of -BRANCH. This could mean that it's only written as a plural version of a compound noun with -branch as a suffix. Doing an advanced search on their website gives 20 other examples, all of which are biological. For example, M-W lists the plural form of elasmobranch as elasmobranchs [10]. It doesn't even mention elasmobranches, as if that would be inproper.

Google Book Search has about 443 examples of its usage, as well. But, many are in other fields [11].Primetime 18:02, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the 'branch' in 'elasmobranch' etc., is not /bræntʃ/ as in English 'branch', which, having a sibilant ending, must have a plural in -es, but /bræŋk/ as in Latin branchia "gill", which having a regular consonant ending, has a plural in -s. —Muke Tever 18:57, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, I found out what happened. If you type in branchs at dictionary.com it brings up the branch entry with the different forms, but if you do a find on the page it shows that branchs isn't used in any of the definitions. (The dictionary.com look up must try to change it to the singular to look it up so it find the def for branch. JillianE 19:11, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

This is an archive page that has been kept for historical purposes. The conversations on this page are no longer live.