Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

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format when referring to verbs

Should it be

  1. Present participle of to project.


  1. Present participle of project.

The first refers to the infinitive (to project) but we don't list entries under the infinitives. Sorry, 50% chance I've worded a lot of entries incorrectly. (Could even be [[project|to project]] but that's a lot of typing.)JillianE 19:47, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

The second. So long as it isn't conjugated (e.g., projected, projects) then it's technically still infinitive (i.e., infinite, or unlimited by a subject), with or without the particle to. For example, go in "I let her (to) go" is an infinitive. Primetime 20:10, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
This should be discussed on WT:BP or WT:ELE, not here. Ncik 02:07, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Icon proposal

Hello, I was thinking about putting icons like in french wiktionary, for the etymology, pronunciation, word type, translations and see also. You can look to an example here : http://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/homme . What do you think ? Optimix 23:35, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

This is not the right place to discuss this. But this issue has been disucussed in the right place; see WT:BP#Neat icons. I don't think we are going to have icons. Ncik 02:06, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
ok, I see thanks Optimix 05:58, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Pupu, Pu-pu? Hawaiian? Need a definition.

See pu pu SemperBlotto 16:53, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

rip off, rip-off

Currently we only have the unhyphenated spelling but that one includes the hyphenated as a variant. This does not accord with other dictionaries.

My Diccionario Oxford Pocket lists the unhyphenated form as only a verb and the hyphenated only as a noun. Encarta online does the same. Collins online redirects each to the same article under "rip off" with the "rip-off" spelling coming in at the end of their definition #2 in an unclear way which could mean that it applies only to the following entries, which is where their noun senses begin.

At any rate we need to do more work on this to see if it's a US v. UK thing or just different dictionaries taking different POVs, in either case we must not take any POV and cover all of them equally. — Hippietrail 17:36, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Broadly, we have the following: two words (phrasal verb); single word, hyphenated (UK spelling of noun from phrasal verb); single word, unhyphenated (US spelling of noun, and, increasingly, a variant spelling in the UK). I'm glad to see that Wiktionary is not going the way of some less well-edited newspapers and the like and letting hyphens slip into phrasal verbs, which are never hyphenated. In any case, yes, we need to do some research to see where the hyphenated and closed-up forms are used. — Paul G 17:43, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

crew cut, crew-cut

The entry ёжик gives the translation crew-cut (a style of haircut). In electronic dictionary WordNet and in my English–Russian and Russian–English dictionary (Kenneth Katzner), I can only find unhyphenated version crew cut. Which one is correct? And if both, should I list both in the translation? Thanks, —Oleg Katsitadze 09:56, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

crew cut is normal. crewcut is an acceptable alternative. the hyphenated form might, I suppose, be used as an adjective. I would only list the two-word version in a translation. SemperBlotto 10:08, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I feel rather than just saying what's normal and what's acceptable that we should say who says so. In this case Collins, Encarta, and Merriam-Webster only list crew cut. AHD lists crewcut first and crew cut second. None lists a hyphenated form. I always prefer to list all forms in translations. Somebody needing translations can then compare the entries and see what suits their needs best. — Hippietrail 18:20, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

use of would

Can some explain the use of would in the following sample from wikipedia where "would see" really means "saw"?

"In 1994, Parmalee would see more time with the Dolphins' offense."

Is this a tense or a mode or what? (The whole article was written like this but has been changed to past tense, I'm just wonder.)JillianE 14:37, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't know what this is called but it's often used when relating a sequence of past events in which from Parmalee's time at the beginning of the sequence, the other points are in his/her future even though they are in the reader's past. — Hippietrail 18:15, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

file sharing

Quite apart from the RFD, this article is very much below par. The definitions are very poor and muddled. Currently they are:

  1. (computing) the process of making files available to others to download from the Internet
  2. (computing) the use of a file sharing network, or peer-to-peer software

It is clear that the original and still-used sense of this term is in regard to local area networking or other types of networking where a certain service makes directories and files from some other computer accessible as though they are on the local computer. Examples are w:AppleTalk, w:RFS, and SMB or Samba.

The newer and possible now more common sense covers the use of specialized peer-to-peer file-sharing networks over the internet. The same which are controversial when used for copyrighted material. Both of the current senses are actually for this sense. In fact the current sense 1 seems to be a specialization of sense 2. For instance it appears the current sense 2 would cover any use of Napster or Kazaa whereas sense 1 would cover only using Napster or Kazaa for posting files.

Am I missing something? — Hippietrail 18:10, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

It would seem that is what is being gone for: the first sense is the literal sense of sharing files as applied to computing, and the second is apparently the broader, more idiomatic sense of being involved in file sharing/piracy from either end. Now, I could see rewriting the first sense to be agnostic as to whether a client-server or peer-to-peer network is used (and also to whether it is over the Internet or a local network), and making the second sense more specific to how it is used, thus:
  1. (computing) The act or process of making files available over a computer network such as the Internet.
  2. The use of a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, especially in violation of copyright.
... or some such. —Muke Tever 18:16, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Those may be closer but still off the mark. For sense #1 it feels more like the term for the system rather than just the use of it - but that needs to be checked. But in any case you don't have to make any files available - you might instead join the network and use the files made available on other systems. It still seems pretty fuzzy though.
As for sense #2 I don't think it's restricted just to the use of the system, it's certainly very commonly used attributively as in "file sharing system" - though hyphenation needs to be thoroughly checked in that case too.
Thanks for helping me think about it, Muke! — Hippietrail 01:57, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
I think one of the distinctions being made is that 'share' has two meanings: there's sharing with, when you give part of, say, a sandwich, to someone else; and then there's sharing in, where you take part in someone else's sandwich. So if you say "I can't get file sharing to work with my new box", you mean you are trying to give away files (share them with people, sense 1), but when the government and publishers talk about "cracking down on file sharing" they are considering the system as a whole, where the relevant people are both the sharers-with and the sharers-in, thus sense 2. ...if that makes any sense. —Muke Tever 18:16, 15 January 2006 (UTC)


I just saw a note attached to the etym here that Wikpedia disagrees with our current etym (from Swedish). What we should do is check several authoratative sources (well-known dictionaries or etymology sites), if all agree list what they say. If some disagree list the alternatives in the order of most agreement. If all or most agree but there are persistent claims of some other etymology we should include it as a kind of discussion item or point of interest, perhaps under a subheading such as "Word history" or "Folk etymologies" etc. — Hippietrail 18:43, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Just to confuse things, the OED says it's short for the Swedish trampcykel med motor och pedaler ‘push-bike with motor and pedals’. There's certainly no way it's got anything to do with the word mope, as currently stated. Widsith 12:18, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
    • It doesn't actually state that. There are two separate etymology headings and two separate etymologies. moped is the past participle and simple past of mope. The etymology of the noun has nothing to do with the etymology of the verb form. Uncle G 13:01, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
      • Whoops, you're absolutely right. I was skimming, badly. Widsith 14:54, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

scoot over

I wonder whether scoot over means only something like slide aside (while sitting), or, more generally, move aside? I've only heard it in the first sense. —Oleg Katsitadze 12:15, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

I would say that it means move aside--Go 15:05, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

The usual sense is indeed something like 'move one's seat aside' when it is a command. However a cursory google print search shows there is also the occasional "scoot over to" where 'over' does not belong to 'scoot' (e.g. 'they scooted over to the windows' = 'they scooted [over to the windows]'). Incidentally standing policy would put the move-the-seat-aside sense at scoot over with a link from scoot. —Muke Tever 18:05, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Dangherous was quicker than me :). Can you (or someone) please check I understand correctly what you mean. I removed the move aside meaning from scoot, and added seat to the definition of Dangherous, with an example. —Oleg Katsitadze 21:49, 15 January 2006 (UTC)


What is the current trademark status of this word? Should it be capitalised? — Paul G 16:55, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

All dictionaries capitalize it. It's capitalized in articles in Britannica, as well. --Primetime 15:09, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Many books do not capitalize it (but then again, many others do). —Muke Tever 17:57, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

high style?

What is the correct way to mark a word or phrase which is pompous, bombastic? Russian expression for this is высокий стиль and the literal translation is high style. I can't seem to find a good translation for this. I need this to mark a translation of the Russian песнь. Thanks. —Oleg Katsitadze 20:31, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

I think the ordinary English word is "formal" - or is this unsuitable? —Muke Tever 17:50, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Not quite what I need. песнь is not really formal, but rather pompous poetic or something :). —Oleg Katsitadze 19:19, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, there's poetic, but that may not be what you're looking for. Possibly 'formal' with a qualifier, e.g. exceedingly formal ? I think the ordinary English word ... at least, that's relatively NPOV ... is "high-flown", but I don't think that's a word much used in dictionary style. Someone else may need to step in and offer suggestions here :p —Muke Tever 20:20, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Can language be elevated or lofty? Then maybe these are what you are looking for. Ncik 20:56, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

I guess I'll settle on lofty, unless something better comes up :). Thanks to everybody. —Oleg Katsitadze 21:29, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

"Literary" ? I think "lofty" is looking a bit weird in the entry. Vildricianus 11:31, 21 January 2006 (UTC)


And another one — is deprecative a correct mark for a scornful, derisive term? I need this for Russian версификация on the page for поэзия (=Synonyms=). Thanks again. —Oleg Katsitadze 21:19, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

"deprecative" and "deprecatory" are both acceptable, I think, but I think the more usual dictionary term is pejorative. —Muke Tever 17:53, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
This is exactly the word I was looking for! Thanks! —Oleg Katsitadze 19:21, 15 January 2006 (UTC)


I think that second definition of swain contains a typo (cuntry instead of country), although this typo is probably was in Webster, since The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 contains exact same typo (if this is a typo indeed). Oh, and the question, of course, is whether this is a typo, and should cuntry be replaced with country. Thanks. —Oleg Katsitadze 21:38, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

it might have not been a typo, so just check with the author of the article whoever that might be--Go 15:02, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

The author is Poccil, and his/her last contribution was in December 2004. So I doubt contacting him/her will do any good. —Oleg Katsitadze 16:21, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the author is Webster 1913 (see, e.g., at e2's version where 'cuntry' is repeated.) I would mend it to 'country,' as it is a spelling that will raise fewer eyebrows. (And yes, it does seem that 'country' is the word to which it should be referred; see google for cuntry at gutenberg.org and "country gallant".) —Muke Tever 17:48, 15 January 2006 (UTC)


John Fowles's Mantissa concerns a man in a hospital suffering from a variety of psycho-sexual delusions. At one point, after he has been making lurid suggestions to his nurse about her and the other nurses, she says to him:

‘...if you are secretly attempting to drive us to coenonymphic or pseudoterguminal stimulation, I can tell you this now – no chance. Is that clearly understood?’

Well, it isn't clearly understood, by me at any rate. I can work out what coenonymphic means (I've stuck a page in for it), but pseudoterguminal defeats me completely. Obviously both words are coinages, but what is he getting at? Is anyone here very good with their Greek who could hazard a guess? I have a first edition, so just possibly it's a spelling mistake which was later corrected, though a mistake for what I can't imagine. Any help or suggestions much appreciated. Widsith 19:43, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Actually the -minal indicates a (pseudo-?)Latin *tergumen (-inis, neut.), with a pseudo- stuck on to make it "false-terguminal". But "tergumen" doesnt seem to exist (the closest possibly is tergum "back", i.e. part of the body). —Muke Tever 19:39, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, tergum had occured to me...it doesn't seem to fit, but who knows...I will probably just have to take it all as a general outburst of pretentiousness, which I suppose is part of the point. Widsith 11:13, 21 January 2006 (UTC)


User:WALPOLE is not a real user, but is being used by students as somewhere to build a joint project. See User talk: Is this acceptable? SemperBlotto 11:07, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, let them do their stuff on that page. Its harmless, as long as they leave it on that page and stay out of "our area" (unless they wish to contribute to Wiktionary, of course)
Wiktionary is of course not Wikipedia but to paraphrase Wikipedia, Wiktionary is not a free host, there is a good deal of latitude with user pages and in this instance there is an intention to limit the use to a couple of months but the phrase "slippery slope" springs to mind. Whether WALPOLE is one person or a collective doesn't strike me as much of an issue on the other hand.MGSpiller 01:08, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm begining to notice that they are active at about the same times Exicornt is. Move to rfd. --Connel MacKenzie T C 00:28, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Looks weird, very non-wiktionary and moreover, I think that some parts of it may be a copyvio (large sections are from this site). — Vildricianus 21:57, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

sole/soul survivor, survived the soul

For some reason I've been hearing soul survivor or sole survivor in loads of different songs and movies recently. What does it mean? --Dangherous 23:04, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I've defined the right one for you. The other is a spelling mistake. SemperBlotto 23:10, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
  • It's a spelling mistake if accidental, but doubtless the former form may have been used intentionally as a pun from time to time. —Muke Tever 17:56, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
    • Wikis are good! --Dangherous 23:21, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
  • "Spelling mistake" is not accurate; it's a mondegreen. As in the Bob Dylan song: "The ants are my friend's blowin' in the wind." Eclecticology 03:17, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
  • ...or Jimi Hendrix's famous comment, ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy’. Widsith 14:32, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
  • "Scuse me while I kiss this guy"? What's the mondegreen that is referrring to? --Dangherous 17:26, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
"while I kiss the sky" SemperBlotto 17:34, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

poker face

How is my defining of poker face as "An expression put on to hide one's feelings from others"? I think the defn could be better than that. --Dangherous 17:30, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

I edited it, I dunno if it's better or not. Added the literal poker sense too, as the extended sense follows from that. —Muke Tever 18:21, 23 January 2006 (UTC)


We define galena as being an antidote for poison. I don't know that definition, and it's not in any dictionary I own. Everyone else seems to think it means something else, namely lead sulphide or PbS. Can anyone corroborate the current definition? Widsith 12:07, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Could it be derived from the famous physician Galen? (And I added the mineral definition and the wikipedia template). JillianE 14:51, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
A Galenical is the remedy. I shall add it, and related words, tomorrow (too sleepy). SemperBlotto 23:02, 24 January 2006 (UTC)


Is a redirect to synchronize. I thought the use of redirections was strongly discouraged, and in this case it's a clear bias in favour of the -ize suffix. But since I have read somewhere about dealing with it this way in order to keep both versions identical, I did not edit it straight away. Vildricianus 23:00, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Converted to an "alternative spelling". SemperBlotto 23:05, 24 January 2006 (UTC)


In talk:xerox there is a question about trademarks I don't know quite how to answer. Evidently, an anonymous IP edited the entry, but that anonymous IP resolves to the xerox.com domain.

The entry needs to be split (currently Xerox redirects to xerox.) A quick google search of "xeroxed" showed citations all the way back from the 1960s. --Connel MacKenzie T C 07:25, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I would support splitting them. It's a fact of life that this word has become genericised whether the Xerox company likes it or not. We are only reporting on that. We can use "xerox" without violating trademarks because we are not producing a competing product. Eclecticology 17:40, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I see no reason to split the article. We decide whether in the generic sense it needs to be capitalized or not, we mark it as a trademark, somewhere in our policy we state that we do our best to find out if words are trademarks but we are no legal authority. Many of the online dictionaries even have a special POS for trademarks which may be related to the fact that only adjectives can be legally trademarked but in practice most people use them as nouns.
Companies use their own trademarks as nouns in noun phrases such as "Xerox® brand". Davilla 02:00, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
In this case Encarta sets POS to trademark and capitalizes, Collins capitalizes and uses both noun and verb as POS noting in noun sense 1 that it is a trademark, OED capitalizes its noun entry but not its verb entry and gives the noncapped spelling as an alternative also for the noun.
After deciding how we handle all that we do not need an article for this or any other company which manufactures photocopiers unless our policy is to define all company names. Maybe we should adopt a policy similar to Given names and surnames that we keep company and product names only if the article contains worthwhile dictionary info such as etymology and translations. — Hippietrail 18:04, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that the generic sense needs to be capitalized at all; I haven't looked, but I'm presuming that Connel's references back to the 1960's are not capitalized. Setting "Trademark" as a POS opens up a potential for a whole new argument that doesn't advance anything. The rationale that an abbreviation could stand for several different things (mostly but clearly not all nouns) doesn't apply for trademarks where the usage should be unique.
Obviously we shouldn't start adding all company names. Xerox is a clear candidate for an article because its name has led to the generic term. Eclecticology 19:38, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, more Google™'s references :-) than mine. I searched for "xeroxed" to avoid the noise. http://books.google.com/books?lr=&ie=UTF-8&q=xeroxed&btnG=Search led me to an entry from the United States Congree Judiciary committe published in 1966, but the title is truncated. Even though works produced by the United States government are supposed to be in the public domain, books.google.com won't show the full title to me. Page 427 - [Specifically : On June 18, 1963, the xeroxed copies of the tops and bottoms of ... These tops and bottoms had been cut from a xeroxed copy ( the Brubeck ... I can't quite get at the parts needed for a cleaner citation though. --Connel MacKenzie T C 21:41, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
3120 hits with many beginning with a lower case letter seems like a good starting place. Google does have a few bugs in the way it presents things. Their references are normally to recent editions, and often ignore the fact that the first use of a word will be in a much earlier edition. Eclecticology 01:29, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Here's what some big dictionaries do:
    • AHD (answers.com): 1 entry, 1 sense. no pos "Xerox" only. entry discusses that word is a trademark and that it "often occurs in print in lowercase as a verb and noun".
    • Collins word exchange: 1 entry. 2 senses. "Xerox" only. sense 1: pos=noun. trademark. 3 subsenses: process, machine, copy
    • Encarta online: 1 entry. pos=trademark "Xerox" only.
    • M-W online: 2 entries. entry 1: pos=verb "xerox" only. 2 senses. entry 2: pos=trademark "Xerox" only. 1 sense.
    • OED online: 2 entries. entry 1: pos=noun "Xerox" also "xerox". entry 2: pos=verb "xerox" also "Xerox". Plenty of citations given from 1952 to 1985 giving both uppercase and lowercase for both noun and verb including inflected forms. Also specifically states "Hence xeroxed ppl. a., xeroxing vbl. n. (both also with capital initial)."
  • Although capitalization was used more liberally in the past, common use recently, esp. very recently in the internet age, does not disagree with what is considered proper. Names are capitalized. Otherwise words are not capitalized by default. Specific exceptions have to be made where this is not true, e.g. for languages, the days of the week, etc. I'm in favor of using lower case for genericized trademarks, even in the noun sense, regardless of what other dictionaries do, to reflect the fact that the use is in a common sense rather than proper. The continued capitalization reflects that, the word having not gained acceptance, editors are careful not to make a faux pas. Think of what you would do if you looked up one of these words in a dictionary and found no entry. A conjugated verb would be more easily distinguished from the trademark, but a noun in the lower case would usually be considered erroneous because, "Look here, there's no such word." The problem is that the genericization of trademarks does not occur in print; it occurs in speech, and print does not immediately recognize the generic term as a new word. By following the norm and listing a generic word as capitalized, dictionaries are only continuing a practice that counters standards everyone already agrees upon: "Institute" is capitalized in MIT, but not in general. Davilla 00:24, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Is it now our policy to include articles for all names of companies, products, etc if they form a part of an etymology for a regular word but not otherwise? — Hippietrail 17:45, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I know you don't like the idea of splitting the article, but your citations seem to be making a case for it. I wouldn't go so far as to use the word "policy" for this approach. "Pragmatism" would be more appropriate. Eclecticology 18:21, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Actually now that I've done my research I am in favour of splitting the article since that is currently the way we handle the same word being used in both uppercase and lowercase. I remain against adding entries for company or product names whether or not they have contributed etymologically to regular words. I can see no pragmatic value in it. If instead we included such words on the same basis as with given names and surnames I would see at least some point. — Hippietrail 18:46, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Um, in this case, a xerox employee (presumably) added to the etymology, which started this round of discussion in the first place. But anyway, I'd like to see a vote on the topic, i.e. "Should Wiktionary include entries for company (or product) names that are part of another word's etymology?" --Connel MacKenzie T C 06:56, 28 January 2006 (UTC) (edited 06:58, 28 January 2006 (UTC))
Correct me if I'm wrong. The standing Wiktionary policy is that company and product names should not be included. If that's so, the proper sense of Xerox should not be listed as an entry at all. I don't think anyone agues that we shouldn't identify the word as a trademark. This can be easily resolved by including the company name in the etymology. Davilla 00:45, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
That is inaccurate: there is no policy. The practice that most strongly supports splitting them is that of using "See also" at the top of pages where terms differ based on capitalization (a result of last June/July's inappropriate/premature de-capitalization of the English Wiktionary.) --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:39, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

AHD uses the following disclaimer:

Words that are known to have current trademark registrations are shown with an initial capital and are also identified as trademarks. The inclusion or exclusion of any word, or its capitalization, in this dictionary is not, however, an expression of the publisher's opinion as to whether or not it is subject to proprietary rights, nor is it to be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark.

Clearly somebody in the legal dept. thinks it's necessary. What does it protect them against? Does our disclaimer cover the same basis? Davilla 00:29, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

The spanish word for photocopy is xerocopiar from xerox...I wonder if the RAE is worried about trademark issues. Further, the Online Etymology dictionary has this to say about the word Xerox:
1952, trademark taken out by Haloid Co. of Rochester, N.Y., for a copying device, from earlier xerography "photographic reduplication without liquid developers" (1948), from Gk. xeros "dry" + -ography as in photography. The verb is first attested 1965, from the noun, despite strenuous objection from the Xerox copyright department.
so it appears they don't like the idea...including a disclaimer seems like a decent idea. - TheDaveRoss 00:54, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

UK county names ending in -shire

In the UK, the -shire ending for names of UK counties is pronounced "shuh" (shə, /ʃə/, /S@/). Is the correct US pronunciation of these really "shyr" (shīr, /ʃaɪr/, /SaIr/, to rhyme with "fire"), or is that pronunciation only used by Americans who are unaware of the "shuh" pronunciation? (This is not to denounce Americans as ignorant - I'm just looking for the correct US pronunciation.) See, for example, the pronunciation I've added to Gloucestershire. — Paul G 11:53, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, I'm a Swede and, while we learn in school to pronounce words the British way, I thought /ʃaɪr/ was the normal prounciation even in British English. /ʃə/ sounds snobbish to me, but perhaps I have seen too many American movies or that I just wasn't paying attention while in school. --Patrik Stridvall 13:23, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
There's something peculiar about the idea of a "correct" American pronunciation. The state of New Hampshire is not usually pronounced to rhyme with "fire". Even in Britain I would expect that there could be some variation in how the final "r" is handled. This seems to justify my usual avoidance of pronunciation issues. Eclecticology 17:13, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

The Scots always use 'shire' (=fire) almost rolling the r. Local accent/dialect plays a big part in how the ending is used in England and Wales. In the northeast of England 'shah' is shortened to 'sha' (with a hard 'a'). NW.

The RP is definitely "shuh", and so this is the pronunciation given in the entry. This applies to the pronunciation of "New Hampshire" as well. This pronunciation is not considered snobbish in the UK (at least, not in England). The word "shire" by itself rhymes with "fire", even when used to mean "those counties ending in -shire". — Paul G 18:18, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
What is a "hard a"? — Paul G 18:18, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

I've always said Gloucestershire like "fire" and don't recall hearing the "shuh" for any name besides New Hampshire. --Connel MacKenzie T C 07:28, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

You were mistaken. It is Glosster-shuh, Har-ford-shuh, Oxford-shuh, Came-bridge-shuh, etc. But as stated, many Scots pronounce Scottish counties -shyr. Kittybrewster 00:00, 5 March 2006 (UTC)


Is the IPA on that proper? It has a ♪ symbol, and a smiley. Looks like a joke to me.

The IPA, which is included, as IPA should be, between // slashes, is (though I probably incline more to pronouncing it with /ɑ/ rather than /ə/). The music note and the smiley are a comment added to the side, and are probably safely removable. —Muke Tever 17:55, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Pronunciation fixed and completed. — Paul G 18:28, 30 January 2006 (UTC)


Virgin Atlantic have a billboard advert out at the moment in the UK advertising that they now fly to Dubai. It features Arabic script that has been styled to suggest an aeroplane. The Wikipedia article on Dubai has the Arabic for "Dubai" and it looks vaguely like an aeroplane, but not in the way that the advert has it.

Does anyone here who is familiar with Arabic know what the script actually says, or whether it is just Arabic-looking text in the shape of an aeroplane (and hopefully not suggesting anything insulting)? — Paul G 10:40, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

(I can't find the ad on Virgin's site - sorry.) — Paul G 10:49, 2 February 2006 (UTC)


While adding the Spanish translation for the sick used in playing pool sense I noticed most other senses are missing. Also the dictionaries I've checked have 2 or 3 homonyms spelled "cue". — Hippietrail 15:28, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

fish bowl

I can only recall seeing this as fishbowl, which the article doesn't even mention. Online Collins and Encarta also both only list the single-word version and not the two-word version. — Hippietrail 17:41, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

usage rates:

  • fishbowl 2,750,000 googles
  • "fish bowl" 1,230,000 googles

JillianE 17:17, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I added the fishbowl as a small simple aquarium.

I do recall the word used in the manner: it's like living in a fishbowl, it seems everyone can see what I'm doing. I don't know if that needs a sense. JillianE 17:17, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Print.google.com is giving strange results on this lookup. With quotation marks around the two-word version, I found the reference (about fishbowl, fish bowl, fish-bowl, gold-fish bowl) that seems to indicate that the single-word version is the neologism. "Fifty Years Among the New Words: A Dictionary of Neologisms 1941-1991." There do seem to be plenty of references for the two-word entry. I doubt our CFI matches Collins' or Encarta's perfectly. --Connel MacKenzie T C 01:41, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

been there, done that, bought the T-shirt

I've written a definition (on the basis of seeing BTDTGTTS (aka BTDTBTTS) in an Internet discussion and having to hunt around to find out what it meant) but it seems a bit imprecise to me. Would anyone like to see if they can improve on it? Thanks. — Paul G 12:25, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I always knew this as "been there, done that, got the T-shirt to prove it", probably with half a dozen variations. "Been there, done that" is much more common and stable though. — Hippietrail 16:38, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't sure about "resignation"; I've rephrased slightly. What would really help with this entry (like with most idioms) is a really good citation from somewhere. Widsith 13:04, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Hippietrail that the short form is far more common. Perhaps that's where the main article should be, and all the others should be treated as variants, including the abbreviations which would be completely meaningless to me. Eclecticology 08:54, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh yes, I had forgotten that form. But which came first? Was the short form shortened from the longer one, or is the longer form an extension of the shorter one, intended to add emphasis to the phrase? — Paul G 15:52, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Whichever it is, we shouldn't really have duplication of the definition, as they are slightly different (BTDT suggests boredom is the reason, while the longer form suggests cynicism and exhaustion. We should define this in one place and cross-refer from the other forms to avoid duplication and contradiction. — Paul G 15:55, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Google Book Search gave me over 4000 hits for the short phrase, with perhaps no more than one in ten having the extension. One in particular from The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms here, under "seen one, seen them all", suggests that the phrase originated in Australia in 1963. In one reference on the Google listing (They don't let me see the page) mentions the Wes Noonan book Hardening Network Infrastructure there is the sentence "They are the folks with the 'been there, done that' t-shirts". This leads me to believe that the short phrase came first, then people started putting it on t-shirts, then the longer phrase came into being.
There's another interesting phrase from Mette Norgaard's Ugly Duckling Goes to Work: Wisdom for the Workplace from the Classic Tales of Hans Christian Andersen: "Advertising feed our discontent. We want to wear the new brand, see the blockbuster movie, and taste the microbrewery beer. Like the tree, we are wondering whethere there is something 'out there' that we are missing. We attend concerts and workshops with a “been there, done that, got the sweatshirt” attitude, and then look around thinking, “Now what? We become experience addicts, needing the 'next new thing' to feel engaged." In addition to being an interesting quote it also give yet another variation on the phrase with "sweatshirt" instead of "t-shirt". Eclecticology 20:42, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
With Google giving me so many results there is another point that can be made here. Some words and phrases deserve a full-ranging essay in addition to the usual sort of entry. The present phrase could be an excellent candidate for that treatment because there is so much nuanced material. Eclecticology 22:04, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I've mentioned "word histories" a few times. This is a perfect example of what a word history is and why it is different to an etymology though they both deal with origins and development of bits of languages. — Hippietrail 22:09, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I would say rather that where single-word entries require an Etymology section, phrase entries require the kind of explanatory history you are talking about. Widsith 10:56, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Here's a brief entry I just found by accident: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/59900.htmlHippietrail 22:35, 6 February 2006 (UTC)


Can someone more familiar with this than I am take a look at my definition and improve it if necessary? I got this from Wikipedia, but the article there is not very good. — Paul G 15:48, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

aan het (Dutch)

Anyone knows how to format this? Adverbial phrase? — Vildricianus 22:00, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Is it an adverbial phrase? I can't tell but it could be. It is always a bad thing to take a stab at a POS when you don't really know. That happens here too much already. Better leave it out or put a message or comment that you don't know what it is. That way we don't misinform anybody if we're wrong.
But I do agree it needs more standard formatting. — Hippietrail 22:06, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Does it have a POS? aan is a preposition, meaning on, at, and het is the definite article the. Combined with an infinitive they do indeed form something like the present continuous, like the examples say, but I've got no idea how to say this. (This is indeed the Tea Room :-)). — Vildricianus 22:14, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

It probably has a POS, much like nada más in Spanish has a POS (in that case it is an adverb). It does go with a verb so that would make my educated guess by adverb but my educated guesses here have been wrong before. Also, is het only an article or can it also be a pronoun under certain conditions - it feels like a pronoun to me, especially since it is not followed by a noun at all. My guess is it's similar in some ways (and different in others) to English it in "it's raining".
My second guess would be that it's a particle, but I'm not sure if particles can be phrases. — Hippietrail 22:26, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable indeed. het can indeed be used as a pronoun, but not in this case I guess. It sounds more like "the working". The phrase as a whole reminds me most, in English, unless I'm mistaking, of the archaic "a", as in "a doing", "a working". "He went a crying and a shouting." — Vildricianus 22:48, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Your analysis also sounds quite reasonable. I think the competing guesswork hypotheses are solid ground for not putting in a POS just yet (: — Hippietrail 22:58, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I've already come up against this issue with French and Italian, which combine some prepositions and articles into single words. For example, French has "au" (= à + le, and Italian has "al" (= a + il), both of which mean "to the", "at the" or "in the". Because these are single words rather than phrases, as in Dutch, there is even more of a need to find a part of speech.

I found prepositional article by hunting on Google. This has 300 Google hits (including various Wiktionary articles where I have used this as the part of speech) - see, for example this page. Might this be the appropriate term for aan het as well? (Let's not have "prepositional articular phrase", or the like, please :) )

I notice that the French and Italian articles for au and al now give the part of speech as preposition - this can't be right, surely, as these words are is never used before a pronoun. "Prepositional article" is more accurate, IMO. — Paul G 12:04, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I've always seen words like al listed simply as contractions. Or so I thought. My Diccionario Oxford Pocket Español-Inglés has "prep + inf" which is unlike its usual "POS" fields. — Hippietrail 15:50, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
They certainly are contractions, but "contraction" is not a part of speech. What is the part of speech of the English word "won't"? Probably "verb" (or "verb form"). — 16:04, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
No kidding that "contraction" is not a part of speech. But our "POS" heading isn't just for "parts of speech" anyway but we don't have a better name for it. "Part of speech" is not even used by linguists any more and may well not be used by lexicographers either. The pocket dictionary in front of me in its how-to-use pages uses "grammatical category". OED actually does use "part of speech" but it still gives only "contraction" for he'll. M-W uses "function" but for he'll doesn't include that field. AHD gives "contraction" for he'll. Encarta doesn't seem to name their field but for he'll they also simply use "contraction". Collins also doesn't label their field and also uses "contraction" for he'll. — Hippietrail 16:22, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Etymology of Brown

Can someone look in the OED and tell me how far back the word brown goes? (My town library doesn't have an OED and I've never gotten around to going to the big town next-town over). Apparently the Chinese word for brown comes from the borrowed word for coffee and is a new creation. For us brown is the color of dirt but in China apparently the dirt has so much clay in it that it is a shade of yellow. Brown is a cognate for the German braun, so it looks to me to go back a ways in English but I'm curious. JillianE 01:52, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Due to a TV series on the BBC the online OED is free for 48 hours each week, but not for much longer. The earliest cites for brown go back to about 1000AD for a couple of adjectival senses. It seems to have a "Common Teutonic" origin, but this etym is quite complex for me so maybe I've missed a bit. — Hippietrail 15:58, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure I get exactly what you're asking, but "brown" is about as old a word as you can get. It was used in Old English ("brun") although then it meant either "dark" or, confusingly, "bright, shining". There's lots of talk in Old English poetry of "brown-edged swords", ie with shining or glittering blades. (The comparison with Chinese languages is interesting but obviously there's no relationship.) The word's association with a specific colour didn't come about till Middle English. Widsith 16:08, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
If I remember correctly 'brown' is one of the later color terms that comes latest to a language, regardless of what color dirt it's spoken on. Berlin and Kay did a study on basic color terms in languages awhile back, and found that languages have a rather strict (but not totally inflexible) hierarchy of color terminology: if the language has two basic color words, their canonical values will be black and white; if it has three, it has those two and red; if four, then those three and either green or yellow; if five, those four and the other of green or yellow; if six, those five and blue; if seven, those six and brown; if eight or more, those seven and some combination of purple, pink, orange, and grey. Germanic is interesting in that it has seemed to have gotten many of these color names early and lent them out (both 'brown' and 'blue' got sent into Romance languages). When B&K analyzed Chinese they only found six, presumably 白色 (white), 黑色 (black), 红色 (red), 绿色 (green), 黄色 (yellow), and 蓝色 (blue) [I don't have the book atm to see]. 咖啡色 (brown, coffee-colored) appears to have become more common than the native (?) term 褐色 (brown), suggesting a lack of 'basic'-ness to 褐色 keeping it from being common. Having 紫色 (purple) appears to be an anomaly in the hierarchy, which may also be duplicated in Japanese. —Muke Tever 19:11, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Can someone who knows the forms for adding etymologies add this to brown, please? JillianE 18:19, 12 February 2006 (UTC)


This one has one etymology but two different pronunciations for adjective and verb. I've formatted it with ===pron 1=== and ===pron 2===, or should I put the pronunciations after the PoS? — Vildricianus 14:20, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

There is a single pronunciation section for such words (which are known as heteronyms). See absent for the format, and Category:English_heteronyms for a list of words marked as heteronyms in Wiktionary. — 16:00, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, I think my format of absent was more accurate, as it listed the pronunciations where they belonged, under the various etymology headers. — Vildricianus 16:42, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

In the case of multiple etymologies, pronunciation sections are supposed to be subordinate to the etymology sections...as are all headings (except ==Language==, which the multiple etymologies are subordinate to.)
===Etym 1===
====all other headers at this level====
===Etym 2===
I don't like that format myself, but that is what is done here. --Connel MacKenzie T C 21:19, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

The issue is that there's only one etymology. — Vildricianus 21:27, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Ah. In that case, I'd prefer a single ===Pronunciation=== section with each pronunciation broken out (similar to the way translations are broken out) as Adjective then Verb. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:23, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I would do the same with the Pron sections as we do with the Etym sections: make more than one with all subordinate headings 1 level more than usual:
===See also===

Hippietrail 23:06, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

That's exactly what I was thinking. Each pronunciation belongs near the POS it represents, even more so when there's only one POS with two different pronunciations (no example ready). — Vildricianus 09:01, 9 February 2006 (UTC)


Here's a strange thing. It says it's a letter in the Dutch alphabet, but for me (native Dutch speaker), this is the first time ever I see it. AFAIK, we use the letters I + J to form IJ, but here it seems to be one grapheme. At least, I don't have it on my keyboard. I know of some people who use Y to represent the IJ, but that's certainly incorrect. Now there seems to be a dotted Y. Anyone? — Vildricianus 09:01, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

w:IJ (letter) seems to explain it pretty well. —Muke Tever 17:59, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I've added Muke's Wikipedia link to the entry. Should it be moved to the capitalized version (as per the Wikipedia article) or should the capitalized version redirect to the lower-case version? --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:21, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I've done some lookup, and there's a fair deal of bias involved actually. To be concise: some people think it's one letter, others think it's two; this is of little concern to us. Of course, I don't dispute the rule that "ij" needs an entry. The thing is, do we have that entry at ij (two characters) or at ij (one character, unicode U+0133)?

I'd say ij (2), and a brief explanation (not a redirect) at ij (1). Because: no one would find the one-character entry unless they produce the letter by inserting a symbol in their wordprocessor and copy-pasting it. As a matter of fact, no one does write it in one letter at all on their keyboard. As an example, the Dutch wikipedia lets ij (1) redirect to ij (2), and in the entire text (also on the English WP), it is written as a combination of i + j. The one-character ligature does not really have the same status that ß or æ do. The fact that both Van Dale and the Taalunie (two authorative sources) state that the one-character ij is wrong doesn't matter much in this case (bias).

Now it's possible to suspect me of POV, and perhaps we need a Dutchman to comment on this matter. Don't get me wrong, however, ij is a letter in its own merit, being more than just a diphthong, and should indeed be written as IJ when capitalized. But not, I believe, as one character, this especially to enhance functionality here at Wiktionary. — Vildricianus 19:21, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

One point of response: one doesn't have to produce the ligature to look it up. One might find it 'in the wild' on the internet and come here to look it up by copy & paste (especially, say, if their system doesn't display the character in an expected manner).
æ is a special case btw... In Modern English it's a typographical nicety (even more so than the ij ligature, as a title-cased Ae is just as acceptable as Æ) though in some languages it's counted as a letter in its own right. Not being a Dutch expert I can't vouch for the unity or duality of the ij-graph, but I think we should follow Unicode's deprecation of the ligated glyph, 1) keeping articles (like dijk) under the separated ij form and 2) accommodating abnormal data by allowing redirects from the ij-ligature. I would allow an article at ij though to explain the character, just as any other strange character, though in this case too I think a redirect to ij might be acceptable. —Muke Tever 21:26, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Reading the Wikipedia article on w:æ, I must say it has very much the same status in English as w:ij has in Dutch. No official location in the alphabeth, commonly written as two seperate letters, but causing problems in names. Compare for example w:Aeon Flux which redirects to w:Æon Flux, while w:archæology redirects to w:archaeology. My opinion is, we can keep the common usage of two letters where it doesn't really matter (as in "dijk"), but should use the correct single letter when it actually makes a difference (as in "IJmuiden"). Especially in the English Wikipedia and Wiktionary, since it is used there by non-Dutch who will not understand why "ij" is capitalized as "IJ", while "ei" is capitalized as "Ei". -- Pbb 13:18, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Listing prepositions/combinations etc

Me again. This could as well end up in the BP, but I ask here since it's about eager. How do we actually list which prepositions it takes? Like: eager to do something / eager for something. Right in the definition? Each with an example sentence? Separate header? Separate entry? — Vildricianus 09:53, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I can't comment on what's more correct, but I would strongly suggest using examples. The format may be changed, the wording of comments rejected, but a good example will stay, and a mediocre example more often improved than deleted. In general examples illustrate what was on someone's mind when they wrote a definition, sometimes doing a better job than the definition, poorly worded or approached.
I've been working on pages for a few phrasal verb, where adverbs and prepositions sometimes alter the meaning of the verb, and in some senses don't, and I've listed all senses as separate entries. However, in your case I would place usage notes to the extent they are warranted: eager followed by the infinitive of a verb, or by for in the case of a noun, indicates the object of desire. Davilla 22:43, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

island name

How do you call an island you can walk to from main land when it's low tide but have to swim across when the tide is high?

A tidal island. — Vildricianus 13:11, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Tea Room linkages

For The Beer Parlour, Requests for cleanup, Requests for verification and Requests for deletion, there are categories and templates that assist in naviagation from the relevant conversation to/from the entry. Does anyone object to me creating template:tearoom that would say something like:

[[Category:Tea room]]''This entry is being [[Wiktionary:Tea room#{{PAGENAME}}}}|discussed]] in the Tea room.''

and adding the template link at the bottom of pages herein? Similarly, once archived, the page's talk page could include a template:tearoomarchive link, perhaps? --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:27, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Please, be bold! I was planning on making a TR template myself, but I haven't been putting as much wiki time in lately. —Muke Tever 21:15, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Small change to me. Definitely goes on the talk page though. On the topic more generally, has anyone given more thought to how these discussions will be indexed rather than the current process of archiving? Davilla 22:22, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I have not. Do you have any good ideas to offer? --Connel MacKenzie T C 03:44, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

OK Muke, I will be bold. But I think I'll use Template:rft (request for tea/request for talk.) :-) --Connel MacKenzie T C 07:30, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Hands are feminine?

The word mano in Italian and Spanish (and, with a different spelling, in Portuguese) looks as if it should be a masculine word, but in all three languages it is feminine.

I read in a book several years ago that there is a good reason why mano is feminine, even though it looks masculine. However, the author did not go on to say what the good reason was.

Does anybody know this 'good reason'?


Well the obvious immediate answer is that they are all descendents of a feminine word in Latin, manus, though what the "reason" for its gender is I don't know. I believe the feminine -us ending is common for 4th declension, though my Latin is pretty basic. Manus comes from the same Indo-European base as Old English mund "protection" - also feminine - so these words may simply represent an Indo-European feminine class. Widsith 17:32, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The Latin fourth declension is mostly masculines in -us and neuters in -u; manus is an exception even there (the other common exception is domus "house"; others are ănus "old woman", socrus "mother-in-law", nurus "daughter-in-law", porticus "porch, portico", colus "distaff", acus "needle", and tribus "tribe"; Idus "Ides" and Quinquatrus which only appear in the plural; and penus "store of food" and specus "cave" which are also masculine).
In modern languages the gender is usually expected to relate to the word ending in -a or -o, but the original case was that *-ā was the feminine, and *-o- the masculine and neuter stem formant for regular adjectives only. Root nouns would have an inherent gender (having nothing to do with the last letter of the word), and particular derivative suffixes (applied to root nouns or verbs or whatever) would attach a gender, like -dad "-ity" does in Spanish, making anything it attaches to feminine.
As for manus and friends specifically... the Proto-Indo-European root may have been an r/n stem (whence also the Greek word μάρη "hand"—not the usual word—is derived; so *mə-r, *mə-n-és/*mntós in Pokorny, though only *man- in Watkins)... this class is normally neuter—like femur (stem femin-, also regularized as femor-), iecur (stems iociner- et al.), iter (stem itiner-), which also descend from it—but it seems whatever *-u- extension was added (*man-u-) to make the stem decline more sanely also made it feminine. So unless the "good reason" was meant to be "inheritance from the feminine Latin word manus", I couldn't say what it would be. —Muke Tever 19:33, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Since it's related, I might mention that I created a category for Spanish words of this sort, Category:Spanish nouns with irregular gender. It would be a good idea to have such categories for Italian and any other languages which generally have regular gender endings (hence it wouldn't work for German). — Hippietrail 18:30, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. Hippietrail - Perhaps you could add the following words to your list of Spanish irregular genders: anagrama, axioma, carisma, plasma, pijama, piyama, rapiña Shraddhan

alcohol enzyme

What's the name of the enzyme that breaks up alcohol in our blood? Have been looking for that word for a long time, there are dictionary to know the meaning of a word but I don't any other way to find a particular word for things I want to know except here.


The quotation from Webster uses "therefor" + "e". If this isn't a typo I would have expected so see "[sic.]". Davilla 01:24, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

therefor without the "e" is ancient legal jargon. See the discussion at [1] for instance.

Well yes, but the citation is giving an example of the wrong spelling. And it is not marked [sic.] by W. 1913 nor Wiktionary. --Connel MacKenzie T C 09:00, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Not presently anyhow. If anyone can verify the validity I will mark it so. Davilla 15:32, 11 February 2006 (UTC) Done. Davilla 20:02, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you.

The spelling in the quotation is not wrong; it's just from the 14th century. I've revised it to make the rest of the spelling conform to the original. I think these old spellings should be preserved even if they do not conform to modern standards, but they should not be the only quote given. I tracked down another quotation from Wikisource to clarify the situation. With a little more searching, perhaps in law sources, I'm sure we could find an even more recent example. Eclecticology 20:11, 4 March 2006 (UTC)


There's a host of translations here, but it's a plural form, so they shouldn't be. — Vildricianus 12:59, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Is it a regular plural in the tranlations? JillianE 18:17, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
For irregular plurals, it is very reasonable to have the plural translations. (I am of ths opinion that all forms of all entries should have their translations entered explicitly. No vote has ever been taken on the matter though.) --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:30, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Looks like another challenge then. Up to BP in due time. — Vildricianus 19:58, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Oxford English Dictionary - predecessor?

The Universal Dictionary of the English Language, editors (British) Robert Hunter, and (American) Charles Morris. Published 1896-1897 in 4 volumes (5359 pp) by Peter F. Collier, New York. See further details at "my talk" (my wiktionary ID = "Wayne R. Roberson, Austin, Texas")

Where can I find info re the origins of this dictionary and its relationship with the Oxford English Dictionary? A primary difference is that the citations to works are usually to author's name and truncated name of the work but without date; exceptions are citations to newspapers, many of which are in the late 1880s.


This dictionary is one of many successors to Webster. A 1909 dictionary, also edited by Morris had the title The universal self-pronouncing dictionary of the English language ... based upon the solid foundation laid by Noah Webster and other lexicographers, thoroughly modernized by Charles Morris. The earliest listing that I can find in this line of dictionaries involved Hunter (1824-1897) alone, and was published in 1879 with 7 volumes. Charles Smith Morris (1833-1922) first appeared on the title page in 1894. He was a prolofic author. There is considerable variation in the title and publisher of this line of dictionaries. Peter Fenelon Collier (1849-1918) appears to be the same person that founded Collier's Weekly in 1888. To a more limited extent the practice that you outline was already present in the 1847 Webster, and was considerably expanded for the 1913 edition, but these references are often cryptic. Eclecticology 06:37, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

doesn't one?

Invalid punctuation in title, so entry will be deleted, but where should article go? Also, the heading ===Tag=== should be ===Interjection===, right? --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:34, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Which punctuation mark? I don't remember the result of the stylistic apostrophe debate. The reason the question mark was included is that "does one" can be snipped out of two many constructions that aren't tags, such as "He does one lap" or "Does one know..." 05:45, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I understand the construct; your entry was clear about the usage you were defining. That's why the entry is nominated for discussion at this time. I don't know where this belongs. Also, I may be entirely wrong regarding punctuation, as I just noticed Where's the beef?. --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:55, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Ah. I have just put these on RfV. I think that they should all be deleted. SemperBlotto 08:06, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I believe the question here is the correct title, as distinguished from whether they are part of the language or should be included in the dictionary. You should argue your case in RfD. Davilla 11:10, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Since these are intimately intertwined, perhaps it would be best to move this to Wiktionary: Requests for deletion#does one?. --Connel MacKenzie T C 17:41, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

RfV will be no help with this. There's no doubt that it's a very common phrase. I would remove the question mark from the title; we need to allow for the fact that this expression can also come at the beginning. I couldn't find anything in my references right away, but I would be inclined to call it an "interogative phrase". It's definitely not an interjection. The useage note is also mostly wrong. Eclecticology 04:42, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, if even Eclecticology doesn't get the use of "one" as a placeholder, then maybe this was indeed a poor title from the onset. Davilla 06:13, 19 February 2006 (UTC)


Hi I cant find an etymology for this word. If anyone can help I would be both grateful and humbled. Regards Andrew massyn 19:52, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, on a trivial basis it is an unusual compound of Nicholas + -ism. Another, apparently more common spelling, is Nicolaism, which is more straightforwardly from a Latin Nicolaismus, from Nicolaus (stem Nicola[o]-) + -ismus. It appears to be related to the w:Nicolaitans (Latin Nicolaitae, Greek Νικολαιται, 'followers of Nicholas') mentioned in Revelation 2. —Muke Tever 20:33, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, but I would argue against its acceptance as an etymology, because reference to unspecified deeds (as per the Nicolaitans) do not equate to clerical marriage or to clerical concubinage. On that argument, it could be related to any diatribe against any Nicholas. I think we need to be more definite than that. Regards Andrew massyn 22:12, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, it isn't my speculation, but appears to be the Internet consensus; a few sources I found: Nicolaismo Nel cristianesimo delle origini, corrente che ammetteva il matrimonio dei sacerdoti. Menzionato per la prima volta nella Bibbia (Apocalisse... —off the Italian Encarta, but the rest is premium and I can't get to it. A Spanish source, Historia de la Iglesia says: La lucha contra el Nicolaísmo tiene que ver con una referencia al Ap 2,6, que era interpretado por los gregorianos como una referencia al celibato del clero. [2] <<<removed-spam-link>>>.netfirms.com/newpage153.htm#SEC14 . Notes from a university course: "Nicolaism (after Rev.2.6,14- 15). Clerical marriage, especially in rural areas, a matter of general acceptance by the C11th." [3]. —Muke Tever 16:31, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

It seems that Nicholas II, Pope from 1058 - 1061 was the first Pope to argue for reform against clerical marriages. I have included a quote from the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia. (dont know how to do external links) but the reference is "New Advent - The Catholic Encyclopedia" see the articles on Nicholas II, Gregory VII and celebecy. This quote comes from the article on Nicholas II.

  • 'Early in his pontificate he had sent St. Peter Damiani and Bishop Anselm of Lucca as his legates to Milan, where a married and simoniacal clergy had recently given rise to a reform-party known as the "Pataria". A synod for the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline was held under the presidency of these envoys who, in spite of a tumultuous uprising which endangered their lives, succeeded in obtaining from Archbishop Guido and the Milanese clergy a solemn repudiation of simony and concubinage.'

Gregory VII was the next Pope and it would seem that his proscriptions were a follow on from that of his predecessor. I think that this would be a more accurate derivation of the term, although it is not used in the encyclopedia at all. I am satisfied with this etymology, but will await consensus. Regards Andrew massyn

Yes, I ran across that information about Nicholas II. Given that 1) no source cited so far links this Nicholas to the etymon of Nicolaism, and 2) it seems highly unlikely that -ism—which when applied to names means following that person's doctrines or practices (Marxism, McCarthyism, Hamiltonism)—would be applied to the person who was against the practice, I decided not to offer it as a possible etymology. Compare simony, a term often occurring alongside ‘nicholaism,’ also named after a person who practiced it, not a person who condemned it. —Muke Tever 23:27, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Well I am humbled after all! I went to the local University, who went to the OED and Lo! Nicholaism is derived from Nicolaitanism which comes from Nicolatian. So this is the etymology will be putting in. According to Oxford, the Reverend Cawdrey (1604) held that a Nicolatian 'is an heretike, like Nicholas, who held that wiues should bee commmon to all alike' Where the Rev. Cawdrey got his info from is beyond me. Regards Andrew massyn


I was reading a dictionary, and came across the entry for nay. there was heading, that, if wiktionarified, wld look like this:



  1. The word nay

What's the point in including that in a dictionary? Should we include it? --ex-admin part-time sockpuppetting quasi-vandal Wonderfool 17:21, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, let's take a vote, then count the yeas and nays and see who wins. —Muke Tever 01:36, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
A better definition would be, ‘1. (archaic) no. 2. an instance of saying nay, especially when opposing a motion put to the vote.’ Or something like that. Widsith 10:21, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

honorific suffix

I was watching something on television about the pageantry in England and they showed someone and the caption said so-and-so KG. From context KG stands for Knight of the Garter. If I entered it in wiktionary, what heading would I use? JillianE 02:15, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Surely just a simple acronym. A suffix has to be attached to the end of a word to be a suffix surely. Things like KG/PhD/CBE/OBE etc. are acronyms, not suffixes --Dangherous 10:31, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Although on grounds of pronunciation, many people would prefer to call this an initialism. Widsith 10:23, 24 February 2006 (UTC)


This seems so very wrong. Does anyone know the rules guiding when one should use "wet" vs. "wetted"? I thought "wetted" was always considered improper. --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:44, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Its primary sense is as an adjective e.g. 'the wetted cloth'.
In the verbal sense, my dictionary shows wetted as a rare past participal of wet. Regards Andrew massyn 20:29, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
I think this is possibly a UK/US English thing. Compare "shrank"/"shrunk", "spat"/"spit", "fitted"/"fit", "dived"/"dove". dictionary.com, the content of which is compiled from American dictionaries, has "wet or wetted". Could someone check UK and US usage here? — Paul G 11:21, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
On these regular vs. irregular past and past participles for the same verb, there may be an error in using only what's considered "correct" on either side of the pond. For everything else we note actual usage, and I don't see why this should be any different. I've learned many of the variations because I've had to teach these as a foreign language, and I've discovered in conversation with English speakers that almost every region is unique. Personally I sometimes use one form for the past and the other for the past participle, but usually just one or the other. Some forms that others use I would only use as adjectives, yet what's used is a much narrower range than what's understood, as with anything else. Davilla 17:55, 27 February 2006 (UTC)


Similarly, isn't this supposed to be woken? --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:50, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

As the past tense, in the KJV: And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,... Zechariah 4:1. As the participle, in Shakespeare: Come, Desdemona, 'tis the soldiers' life. / To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife. Othello, Act II scene 3. —Muke Tever 00:00, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
I've added archaic tags to the defs. Widsith 11:32, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

peg-leg - peg leg

I have always known it as peg-leg, but on looking it up it seems that peg leg is equally used. Can anyone comment on the distinction? Thanks Andrew massyn

The latter is leg with peg used attributively, while the former is the same being taken a compound word. A semantic distinction is not likely to be being made. (For my part, I prefer peg leg, as peg-leg suggests a pronunciation that I've never heard; though if peg leg were to be used attributively, it would probably be hyphenated following normal rules: “the pirate, Peg-leg Pete”) —Muke Tever 23:55, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Pegleg in one word is also used. Eclecticology 05:28, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

chav and WikiSaurus:chav

I think we need a tighter defintion of chav so that WikiSaurus:chav can be a bt more focused. See the discussion pages at those two locations--Richardb 00:57, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I have had a go at rewriting. The Etymology section here is long-winded to the point of being encyclopaedic...surely there's no point including every unfounded folk-etymology? Widsith 11:16, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Flagging "Active Discussion" pages

I've created a new template and category which might be of interest to Tea Room browsers. Template {{ad}} flags a page has having an active discussion page, and puts the entry into the category:Active Discussion. So, just by going to the category, you can see a list of all the entries that are being advertised as having an active Discussion page, advertising for people to add their bit to the discussion.

Is this useful ?? Only time will tell if people adopt the idea. --Richardb 11:02, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Might be useful. As you say, time will tell. I think a problem with many discussion is that they are forgotten. Perhaps a scheme that indicates the year and month of the discussion (in addition to your new category) could be helpful. See {{subst:nolanguage}} for an example of this technique. --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:24, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
This does seem to have been adopted by a few people, so it is worth checking WT:ADcategory:Active Discussion occasionally.--Richardb 13:01, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Quote attribution anyone?

I am wondering if anyone knows the specific information(date,place,name and title of quote originator,etc)for the quote (this is an approximation)"Kill them all,God will know those that are His." I seem to recall it coming from the Crusades,but which crusade and what the circumstances were I can not remember(I read it in passing about 10 to 20 years ago) . Any help would be greatly appreciated since I can not find it and it is driving me insane.Thank you very much.--Mongrel Mongol

I always thought this came from persecution of the Cathars, ie 13th-century Europe. It was not always easy for Church authorities to distinguish between the heretic Cathars and law-abiding Catholics, and naturally many of the former group tried to pretend to belong to the latter. The official response was Neca eos omnes, Deus suos agnoset or ‘kill them all, God will sort them out’. The sentiment is based on a misreading of 2 Timothy 2:19 (the Lord knoweth them that are his etc.). Afraid I have no idea who the specific person was that actually said it though. Widsith 12:53, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
w:Béziers attributes Neca eos omnes, Deus suos agnoscet (spelling corrected) to Arnaud-Amaury (d. 1225) at the siege of Béziers in 1209. Elsewhere http://klesinger.com/jbp/neca.html refers it to Amal Ulric, which is likely a different version of the same name. Wikipedia does not yet have an article about him; but see http:/www.languedoc-france.info/120502_arnaud.htm Eclecticology 08:11, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Ah, nice one, thanks for the correction. The French Wikipedia does have an article about Arnaud Amaury, here: [4]. Widsith 10:32, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

castrum vis-a-vis casa

User:Rsvk some months ago posted in various articles (castrum, castle, etc.) an etymology that derives Latin castrum from Latin casa. I have not yet verified this in my references, and I want to get other Wiktionarians involved in verifying the etymology that Rsvk has placed. My reference (Calvert Watkins, American Heritage Dictionary, 1969) derives castrum from PIE *kes-, "to cut off, separate" without casa as an intermediary; furthermore, casa is not derived from PIE *kes- in the 1969 AHD, but is listed as being of undetermined origin. Alexander 007 23:08, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

My Latin dictionary (Whites school & Collage Dictionary 1899) shows castrum as akin or like casa from a sanscrit root skad meaning a covering; and castellum as the diminutive of casterlum from castrum meaning a protected place or castle or fortress. Andrew massyn 21:26, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I think you'd agree that a work from 1899 may well be outdated, especially if it erroneously speaks of "sanskrit roots" rather than Proto-Indo-European roots :-) Alexander 007 13:29, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I dont agree. Latin aint that vital a language. It dont sing and dance. It tends to be static. The meanings are over 2000 years old! A dictionary from 1899 is a babe, a pup, an infant in arms when compared to the language. If the dictionary predates PIE so what? It doesnt change the meaning or the etymology of the words. If you think the derivations are wrong, then provide correct ones.Andrew massyn 21:34, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
I didn't say that I think that the 1899 etymology is necessarily wrong, rather that it may well be or probably is wrong. I prefer Calvert Watkins' etymology from 1969, though I'd like an even newer reference. Latin is old---but scientific etymology is in its infancy, and a work from 1899---especially if it is contradicted by a later work from 1969---is suspect. Alexander 007 02:18, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
And realize that regardless whether the etymology from 1899 is right or wrong, your argument is quite idiosyncratic. Ancient Greek is a very old, static language as well, but ancient Greek etymology is a lively field, with continuing updates and revisions and debates. That's how it is in etymology. Many etymologies in any language from 1899 are no longer accepted. Alexander 007 02:38, 18 March 2006 (UTC)


It seems to me that sense 3 is the same as sense 1. Also there is a sense not yet covered, indicating manner - eg he fumed with anger. As it's such a common word I didn't want to change without running it by some other people.. Widsith 10:38, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

I've gone ahead and added the other sense. I haven't taken sense 3 out yet though as it seems to have a separate translation in Romanian. If someone who knows more about that than me could check it, I'd be grateful...to me sense 3 is pleonastic. Widsith 13:48, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

There is logically a distinction between
  • Two people doing an action together as one
  • Two people doing the same action but independently
  • One does one type of action and the other does another type of action in support of the first action. That is they are not equal partners.
In the examples for "sense 1" "with" can be replaced with "together with" in "sense 3" it normally can't. There might be some language that actually makes all three distinctions. So perhaps the entry should be split instead... --Patrik Stridvall 14:46, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

There is such a logical distinction, but I do not agree that the word with carries the depth of connotation you have described. When someone says I'm with you all the way!, they are just using the sense of being "together with" someone, albeit symbolically. Perhaps that metaphorical use deserves its own sense, perhaps not. It just jars with me, that's all. I note that in all the translations bar Romanian the two senses are identical - that's why I wanted to check on the Romanian. Widsith 15:25, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

The word with in itself does not in English as far as I know. The Swedish med doesn't either. Like in English the together (Swedish: tillsammans) is often left out. It is about how with is translated in other languages, like possibly as you meantioned Romanian.

Speaking of with, since I notice that you speak French, in French with can sometimes be translated as chez, see http://www.wordreference.com/enfr/with.

  • C'est une obsession chez elle. (= It's an obsession with her.)

Though I not sure which sense that should be added to. Possible (5) "expressing manner" though I'm not sure. --Patrik Stridvall 19:11, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Well I don't really know what the policy is, but the fact that chez is sometimes translated by "with" surely doesn't mean we create a separate sense of the English word, just for the sake of the translation? Although we can use "with" to translate "chez", that is just idiomatic...the sense of the French c'est une obsession chez elle is really something like ‘where she is concerned, it's an obsession’. Although...as I type this, I realise that in fact with does indeed have that sense in English as well...hmm. I guess there is another sense to go in after all! (I still say we should get rid of 3 though.) Widsith 19:24, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, thinking more about it I think that that the translatation of "It's an obession with her" would in Swedish not translate as med but as hos which like French chez normally translates to English as at or in and which when I think more about it usually translates to chez when you translate from Swedish to French... So I really think it is a separate sense of with.
Translating prepositions between different language is usually a serious pain not only because of idiomatic uses but also because the same preposition is used for many different senses which usually only partly overlaps. If you involve more than two languages it often becomes mindbogglingly complex.
As for the policy question, I don't know. The way I see it, optimally each sense respresents a distinct concept and as such they will translates differently for languages that does make a distinction. So teoretically if some language makes a distinction then there exists distinct concepts and thus each English word that can represent the concepts will have to have extra senses. In theory that is. As for how is is supposed to work in pratice I'm not sure. Especially for prepositions which usually varies depending on the verb. As I understand it m:WiktionaryZ is supposed to work that way. That is you define a concept, or what the WiktionaryZ people calls a DefinedMeaning, which words can associate with.
So, if some language translates (3) differently then we should keep it. BTW, do you really mean "her" in the example of the new sense (6), "The problem with John is that he's too hasty. It's an obsession with her". Shouldn't it be "him"? Or does the sentence means something differently than I think it does? --Patrik Stridvall 21:42, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
John's girlfriend is not satisfied with his sexual technique!
OK, since I'm not a native speaker, I guess I have to take your word for it. I really can't say I understand why though, but then some idomatic expressions doesn't really make that much sense to me either. In any case, should we really have examples that refers to a unmeantioned second party? --Patrik Stridvall 20:51, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Both of those example sentences include "with", so later I even wondered whether they were intended as separate examples. If we change the pronoun it changes the meaning, but not the way that "with" is used. I tend to view examples as placeholders until we can find good quotes. I don't think that introducing a second party makes much difference. Eclecticology 09:20, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Prepositions are notoriously difficult to translate, and no amount of policy is going to help us. In some circumstances "with" can be translated into French with "à" or "de", which in turn can adjust to their own context to become "au" or "en". The WiktionaryZ concept of using a defined meaning is a great theoretical idea, but it does not translate well into practicality. Eclecticology 21:01, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately I think you are right. Even with languages like English and Swedish which are quite similar, how prepositions are translated is a terrible mess. I have been thinking about improving the pages concerning the Swedish prepostions but after examining how Swedish-English dictionaries does it I have postponed it until an underterminted future. It primarily a lot a examples with a few pointers regarding in which context what translates to what. Or rather usually translates to what, there are often many exceptions. Some that are not even meantioned that I know of from the experience I have from reading English over the years. As to how I, or for that matter anybody else, will be able to bring enough order to it get it into a format that WiktionaryZ can use I really can't imagine, and I can imagine quite a lot. It will be hard enough doing good pages here using a free text format when translating only from Swedish to English. --Patrik Stridvall 20:51, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
I have started revising with based on the 1914 Century Dictionary. It gives 11 primary definitions, toe of those have sub-definitions. I am adding most of the quotes there, but I like to expand the references so that they are more meaningful and traceable. To co-ordinate the translations between English and Swedish you would probably need to start with a thorough treatment of med in sv:wiktionary. Then you could develop the English version for med. Only then would you be in a position to fully compare the two. That's only two languages! Introduce a third language, even a fairly compatible one like Danish or Norwegian, and things get even more complicated. Eclecticology 09:20, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I have edited med#Swedish in attempt to make it better. I turned out to be quite complicated and I was about to give up, but after deciding to only include the important cases I finally manged to make some sense of it. This is just the tip of the iceberg but I have no idea what to with the rest. Still, it handles that important cases. --Patrik Stridvall 14:07, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

When researching the Swedish word med, which is what with normally translates to, I realized that the sense 3 ("in support of") of with is almost but not quite the same as sense 1 ("in company of"). The "in support of" sense have against as an antonym as in "You are either with us or against us" but the "in company of" sense does not. Sense 1 only implies some sort subselection but sense 3 implies there in addition exists some sort dichotomy. English and Swedish doesn't make any such distinction but perhaps there are other languages that does. --Patrik Stridvall 14:12, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

"Against" is a synonym for "with" in the expresseion "fight with somebody". :-) Eclecticology 01:56, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but that more a property of a specific sense of the verb "fight" than that of the specific sense of the prepopostions "with" or "against". The act of "fighting" can in this case be "symmetric" or perhaps reciprocal would be a better term. In the sentence "I sail with/against the wind" there no such relation between me and the wind as might be the case in "I fight with/against you". Note that it depends on the sense of fight what the sentence means. If we are boxing then "with" and "against" are synonyms. If we are in a war "against" usually implies that we are on opposite sides, if "with" is used however it can mean both "together with" (we fight on the same side) and "against". But as I said this a property what senses the verb can take not a property of any senses the prepositions can take. This should propably be meantioned in the usage notes. --Patrik Stridvall 11:19, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Not really a property of 'fight', but rather a whole set out of some Whorfian crypto-class, including not only 'fight' and similar terms, but also "talk" and friends, where the meaning of 'with' is rather more "in counterchange with". —Muke Tever 23:34, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Hmm. Well, I supposed we could an additional sense to with. However, the more I look prepositions, the more I get the feeling that the trying to translate prepositions is like trying to fit something in a "box" there it doesn't belong. Swedish and English is very similar on a superfical level but translating prepositions is something I have learned more by example than looking in a dictionary. I'm trying to learn French and prepostions are what I find the most difficult. As for the other parts while it is sometimes difficult to remember all rules at least there are rules at least on some level. OK, I was exaggerating, of course there are rules governing prepostions too, but they are almost entirely unlike Swedish so I'm having a very hard time learning them. Sure someday I will learn French prepositions as well, but not likely through using dictionaries but rather from experience...
I'm a programmer by profession and I have over time more and more have come to see prepostions more like the names of the parameters functions (read: verbs) can take. OK, the analogy is not really that good, but it is not that bad either. It is not really help me much in practise though. So I'm really at a loss in what to do, the only consolation is that it seems to me that everbody else is as well. I haven't seem anybody that has even done a half decent good of describing how prepositions are to be translated between two specific languages, let alone more than two...
So should we split "in support of" in two and add a sense "in counterchange with" where against is a synonym instead of an antonym? BTW, perhaps "with the support of" would be better than "in support of". It make more sense in the sentence "I'm sailing with/against the wind". As for "in counterchange with" wouldn't "in interaction with" be better? --Patrik Stridvall 12:38, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

E numbers

I was considering adding definitions for each of the E numbers. There are over a thousand of them so I thought it best to get agreement before I started. Each one would be quite simple - such as

#(E number) turmeric or curcumin
[[Category:E numbers]]

There is already a list of them on Wikipedia, and that is what I would use as source. SemperBlotto 11:24, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't see why not. We already have vitamin C and H2O. Jonathan Webley 14:54, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
These are encyclopedic, and are adequately treated in Wikipedia. A bad decision about H2O should not be used as a precedent for more bad decisions. Eclecticology 20:32, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
C'mon, you've never heard "ache two oh" in speech? Davilla 19:48, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
I've heard of "aitch two of". Where is your ache felt? Eclecticology 08:31, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Umm... deliberate misspelling, just to make you admit it. Yeah, that's it. Yeah. Ha! You admitted it! Uh, yeah. Davilla 16:49, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Señores, it's pronounced "hech tú o" Arriba! --EncycloPetey 08:41, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

The first question we should ask is if it should even go on existing pages, e.g. turmeric and curcumin. If it doesn't even belong there then this whole proposal is moot. Davilla 19:45, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not keen on it, but would be much less likely to object then if each of these numbers had its own page. Eclecticology 08:31, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm ambivalent in the matter. Before this discussion, I'd never heard of this numbering system.
I have several food packages in my kitchen right now, I just checked, and I'm pretty sure they were used in my home economics book from elementary school. It was some time of ago though. So at least here in Sweden you can see them everywhere if you only look for them. Most people don't care much what is in their food though so I wouldn't be suprised if many people only vaguely know about them. ---Patrik Stridvall 19:54, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
A better comparison than H2O is C19 - a simple definition of an abbreviation. Not at all encyclopedic. Someone looking at the list of ingredients on his chicken tikka massala is just as likely to look here for E100 as on Wikipedia (where it gets redirected to turmeric). Anyway, I'm not going to jump in just yet (lots of other things to do). SemperBlotto 08:38, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I think we should add them as well since they are abbreviations. Not only on pages of their own but also as synonyms to the relevant words. But shouldn't it be under ==Translingual== as you can find them in Swedish, and presumbly in other languages as well, list of ingredients as well. --Patrik Stridvall 14:51, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes. Fixed example. (and I agree about linking to them from the defined substance) SemperBlotto 15:02, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

As someone who has written ingredients panels I'm probably biased. They are official European abbreviations for a number of food ingredients. They can be used on ingredient lists in any of the 25 EU member states. While the numbers go well over 1000 not every number is assigned so there are probably around 700 or so. They are not very popular with consumers (at least in the UK) so more often the ingredients are listed in full. Obviously dictionaries are not just numbers games but a lot more copies of product labels are printed than any books. How do we feel about Brakes Orange Squash as a citation? :-) MGSpiller 22:35, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

OK. I have made a start, also adding definitions for anything red-linked. I'll just do a few at a time. SemperBlotto 14:53, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Are they really translingual? We've had numbers for food additives in Australia for a while now and I've never heard anybody talk about a name for the concept. The only one I know of off the top of my head is monosodium glutamate - which is flavour enhancer 621 - we don't use an "E" - at least not 7 months ago when I was last in Australia. Is it E621 elsewhere or are there two systems?
  • I wouldn't call it a synonym either, I'd prefer a special heading "E number" just as I've made efforts for "Scientific name". I think there are a few others. — Hippietrail 23:42, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

They can be used in ingredients lists in any of the dozens of official European languages so translingual would seem appropriate. The European E numbers are based directly on the "International Numbering System" defined by the Codex Alimentarius committee which is part of the WHO so yes 621 in Australia is E621 in the UK, France or Poland. As for a special heading I can see the argument that they should be separate from conventional synonyms and I can also see the argument that synonyms would adequately cover them. So do we have any consensus on a separate heading? MGSpiller 01:43, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Strange synonyms, yes, but I don't see this as being so special as to have a separate heading. Davilla 23:51, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
So what are their parts of speech and can you provide citations of them being used as words in running speech? Don't forget that there'll be at least 2 synonyms: 621 and E621. I don't know about variants using lowercase E, or spaces or hyphens between the E and the numbers. — Hippietrail 00:03, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Seems to me that any bottle listing of ingredients that doesn't define the code would qualify as a citation "in the wild." --Connel MacKenzie T C 07:43, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I have stopped adding E numbers since the discussion started on RFD - but I intend to start again tomorrow. SemperBlotto 12:35, 12 March 2006 (UTC)


Seven definitions listed, but none seem right. Anyone know of a good way to approach this cleanup? --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:04, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

They look like definitions of just plain anti-. Unless someone wants to do it for real right now, probably just delete it and wait for a proper definition in the future. Keffy 18:12, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

your guys's

How do we reflect that "guys's" is a typo of "guys'"? --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:12, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Is it actually a typo? How else would the spelling reflect the pronunciation? Davilla 12:48, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
It is indeed the spoken form that's unusual. The spelling is the normal and standard form one would expect for the representation of it. —Muke Tever 14:56, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
This one is just dumb-ass illiterate, and should be deleted. Eclecticology 20:22, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Fie, for shame. I don't remember reading a rule anywhere about forming possessives from multi-word pronouns. But I figure I should add your all's for dialect balance's sake. —Muke Tever 23:19, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Someone should note that the grammar on this is as poor as it gets. Me knowings we's liking being descriptvists, limit's should have us though. - TheDaveRoss 23:22, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Added labils non-standard and as non-literate as patheticly probable. Every one should know the possessed form is you guys's! (or is it your guys')? Also created a page you're guys's: common misspelling of your guys's. ;-P Davilla 16:45, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
The correct form would be "_you guys'_" (possessive of "you guys", which is plural, so takes an apostrophe without an additional s). (I've put in underscores so that the apostrophe doesn't get obscured by the quotation marks. Of course these aren't part of the correct form.)
I'm sorry, but WTF? That right there is ridiculous. "You guys" is a set phrase for a noun in attribution, the same as "you, guys"—you guys are strange = you, guys, are strange—of which the possessive would be "your, guys" (your, guys, attitude sucks). Possessive -'(s) is a marker attaching to phrases; compare "we the people declare" -> "our the people's declaration"—not "our the people declaration", nor "we the people's declaration", which would make us the declaration, not the people. The additional 's on a plural is merely a (quite common) feature of colloquial—yes, literally unlettered, but not illiterate—speech, which of course isn't expected to follow the same rules as the standards of literary writing. —Muke Tever 23:19, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I dispute the pronunciation: surely it would be /-ɪz/ (as in "is") or maybe /-əz/, but not /-ɛz/ (as in "fez")
It's illiterate. Unless it's widespread, delete
"Your guys's" outnumbers "you guys's" on Google by a factor of 21 to 1. —Muke Tever 23:19, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
And "labils" was a deliberate mistake, wasn't it? :) — Paul G 17:07, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
So was "patheticly", as oddly enough pathetical is a word. Seriously, though, should the label be substandard? Oh, and usually a space is used instead of underscores. Davilla 18:27, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
"Substandard" is POV. And in this case wrong as well. —Muke Tever 23:19, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
POV? I can go with that. I'm not sure when "substandard" would apply, but if it's POV then that doesn't matter here. Leave it at "non-standard". Davilla 18:10, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Please also note the movie citations added: 'tis a movie! Any errors introduced are from the person making the "citation" not in the movie itself (where it is merely pronounced, not spelled!) We should not delete this entry, but explain in painful detail why this is incorrect. If someone is going to go out of their way to make this error and promote that error here, we should respond with a scathing reprimand. Deleting it will just make it sneak back in when no one is looking. Again. --Connel MacKenzie T C 17:24, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't guess many people see them, but movies do have scripts. Any chance this was the original spelling, assuming it's even in the script? Davilla 18:31, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
And if it turns out that the script writer was illiterate as well? What does that prove? While, I admit that we need to be able to handle misspellings somehow this should be done in MediaWiki by adapting the search for our needs. Ideally there should be some sort of algoritm for each language that does a qualified guess what was meant. The algoritm for English should be aware of that some people write "your" or "you're" even when they mean "you" and "guys's" or even "guyses" when you mean "guys'". This would probably be useful for Wikipedia as well. --Patrik Stridvall 19:36, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
1) Isn't an illiterate writer an oxymoron ? 2) "misspelling" is POV. —Muke Tever 23:25, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
1) Not in the sense "Not conforming to prescribed standards of speech or writing". 2) Perhaps --Patrik Stridvall 10:58, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
1) No, but it might be a contradiction in terms, although everyone seems to misuse "oxymoron" in this way nowadays. — Paul G 11:30, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Oxymoron = "foolishness μωρία with a point ὀξύς". It doesn't matter to me if he has a point, impov it's still foolishness ;p Incidentally oxymoron's assertions in the usage notes are unsourced and not echoed by m-w.com which gives a broader definition without comment. —Muke Tever 23:25, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Delete. Ncik 19:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

[5]Muke Tever 23:25, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, instresting reading. Thinking more about it seems that the lack a distinct second person plural pronoun in English have led to a number of creative solutions to the problem. In Swedish, it is a non issue since we don't have that problem. I, as a non-native speaker, am not really in a position to say what is good or bad English but I will say this: While I personally would rewrite a sentence to avoid using it, it is not that awful, is it? --Patrik Stridvall 10:58, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
That's not really accurate, Patrik. Correct would be to say that in modern standard English, the second person singular is absent (thou). But that's entirely off-topic. — Vildricianus 11:11, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
You are right. Amusingly enough, the cognates of thou is the reason Swedish and German doesn't have that particular problem. :-) Still, it is the plural case that seems to have suffered the creative solutions. --Patrik Stridvall 13:00, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

:Deleted. Being bold, and deleting this tosh. --Dangherous 11:18, 8 March 2006 (UTC).

Restored - sorry, I was too bold. --Dangherous 14:17, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Great, so now even three citations doesn't count for anything? If we really want to clean our feet of dirt and filth, shouldn't we maybe change the front page to read "a free, multilingual dictionary in only the proper languages"? At least that way we'd be up front about it, and people who think they can add so-called-words just because they're used will be put in their proper place. Davilla 12:33, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
We were having a good time with this, but all joshing aside, please restore. Davilla 18:07, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Restore The debates is still ongoing and Muke have presented reasonable still unrefuted arguments so deleting it is very rude IMNSHO. Illiterate or not it seems to me that it must be widely used if a linguistics professor would even bother to meantion it. --Patrik Stridvall 13:00, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
But the English professor mentioned it only as a joke! Apparently a quite successfully delivered joke, as "the class just laughs even harder." --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:08, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
They're laughing at the formality, most probably. Humor is too complex to disect. Anyways it's not a cite as the word isn't used in running text, so no point debating the phrase's legitimacy on these grounds. Davilla 23:44, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
  • How on Earth did this get deleted? Both sides think the entry should remain. The debate is regarding whether "we" should be illiterate because of a couple 14-yr old idiots, or if we should inform readers that this is an incorrect formation. Muke's assertion that misspelling is POV is invalid, by the way. Even if it were not, this is a more blatant corruption, not an accidental misspelling at all.
  • Actually, even that is inaccurate. The issue isn't whether to label it as incorrect or not: the issue is how to label it as incorrect. Restore. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:27, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
    • Disclaimer: I lived in SoCal for slightly less than 10 years. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:34, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps it is better off deleted, since Muke removed "non-standard". The correct formation of the plural possessive would be "your guys'." But for any imaginable such cases, that form would still be non-standard. A native speaker will not form a sentence that way, but rather might ask, for example, to borrow "somebody's phone" or "someone's phone." If the movie transcript has that wording, then the inappropriate use of "guys" is presumably meant to convey stupidity. Or else it is an otherwise humorous play on words. But even then, I doubt an offical transcript has this misspelling. The citation given did not indicate that it came from an official transcript...rather it implied that it was someone's (probably incorrect) transcription of movie dialog. --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:01, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
"non-standard" was redundant anyway, that's implied in "colloquial". —Muke Tever 23:27, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Not really. "Colloquial" is about formality, not dialect differences. It's possible to be standard and informal at the same time. Keffy 16:40, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
This is true, but no citations have been brought forth saying that this is non-standard for a colloquial form. (Heck, there haven't been any citations brought forth for your guys' or you guys' at all.) I'd gladly concede that it may be non-standard for literary language (though I'd like to see citations for that as well) but it's specifically claimed that it's colloquial. —Muke Tever 22:41, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
It seems to be back. Restored the "non-standard" tag. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:46, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Delete. I don't care whether this is illiterate or not. The real issue must be that it would fail CFI. After all we don't have entries for my brother, my brother's or my brothers'.

But it wouldn't fail CFI. Three cites would be easy to gather (indeed, already exist on the page) and that's even if you don't count the usage in a major motion picture under the "well-known work" rule. —Muke Tever
Unlike my brother, which doesn't deserve and entry, you guys does, and it's one that's not being contested here. The question is the possessive form. Davilla 23:44, 9 March 2006 (UTC)


Can our friendly neighbourhood Brits verify the whole "Asians aren't Asians unless they come from the Indian subcontinent" thing? Or did the original poster in 2003 perhaps confuse a demographic accident of his/her local immigrant community with the meaning of the word Asian everywhere in the English-speaking world except the US? The slighly incredulous Keffy 06:41, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I can confirm that Asian in the UK often refers to those from the Indian sub-continent. See COD Jonathan Webley 07:29, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Asian everywhere often refers to those from the Indian sub-continent. I'm not questioning "often". I'm questioning "exclusively". Keffy 17:55, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Be that as it may, I can tell you this. I think few, if any, in Sweden that when writing in English would use the word meaning somebody from the Indian subcontinent. The word Asian have cognates in many other languages as well and thus is not a word non-native English speakers is likely to look up. So not marking it as a British perculiarity is not likely to reflect how the word is likely to be used. --Patrik Stridvall 19:35, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Asian in Britain, as everywhere else, means someone from Asia. It is not limited to those from the subcontinent. Widsith 19:54, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

It is often used by us in Britain to refer particularly to those from the Indian subcontinent to the exclusion of those from the Far East, Middle East or Siberia. Yes this is logically inaccurate, yes this is confusing, but it definitely happens. It's possibly due to the significant numbers of post colonial immigrants from the region. MGSpiller 00:51, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

  • I'm Australian, where people hearing an unqualified use of the term Asian assume the speaker is talking about East or Southeast asian. I've been surprised when watching British TV and I've seen British people in Australia surprised at how we use the word. I've even had conversations about it and at least one person told me that he would use "Oriental" for the senses I use "Asian". — Hippietrail 23:35, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
OK, I've cleaned this up a bit. Perhaps the third sense should be marked as (Australian). Note that I've tagged the UK sense with "loosely" because, strictly, it is not correct (people from outside the Indian subcontinent are Asian too, by the first definition). — Paul G 14:56, 9 March 2006 (UTC)


I wonder if the (football) meaning shouldn't be spelt as two words: up front. Ncik 19:03, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I believe that the adjective is either upfront or up-front, but the adverb is up front. There is also a card game that -pedia calls w:Up Front. It gets clumsy doesn't it. SemperBlotto 14:58, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Do you mean football or soccer? --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:21, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I think he means football not American football SemperBlotto 16:25, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Well speak English then! :-) The only un-ambiguous term for that is soccer. --Connel MacKenzie T C 08:03, 11 March 2006 (UTC)


The current English etymology suggests that the two parts of this term were borrowed individually and joined to make a new English term. This seems wrong to me. It's probably just an etym entered by somebody not aware of this subtlety. — Hippietrail 22:32, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Fixed. — Paul G 14:16, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

pretence pretense

I think that pretence is British, but pretense is American. Is that not correct? SemperBlotto 11:57, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I would agree that pretense is American; I don't know what is preferred across The Pond. The Random House American Collegiate seems to agree as well. --EncycloPetey 12:01, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I've not looked it up but I would instinctively go for the c version & I've never wandered over the wastern side of the pond. MGSpiller 01:37, 14 March 2006 (UTC)


I've been snooping around in Wiktionary:Frequency_lists#Most_common_words_.28TV_and_movie_scripts.29, having a bit of fun defining undefined TV words, and there's loads of red links for things like workin, playin, seein, doin, amalgamatin etc. There's no place for these in Wiktionary right? --Expurgator t(c) 18:00, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

It's spelled -in'. AFAIK it's mostly used in quotes to mark that the last part of the word was not pronounced.
Rather, differently pronounced. Namely as /ɪn/ instead of /ɪŋ/ . It seems like a predominantly American alteration to me. Ncik 00:01, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
It sounds like the last part is not pronounciated, but yes strictly speaking you are right. Yes, especially one used by uneducated people in American, I think. --Patrik Stridvall 09:11, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Since it doesn't really change the meaning of the word, there is not much point to have entries for them. Possibly we should meantion in the pronunciation section for each "-ing" word that is there is an alternative "slang" pronunciation. --Patrik Stridvall 19:07, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Also, a lot of writers now do use these forms without the apostrophe. Widsith 05:43, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Sigh... I would consider that a misspelling but there might be people that believe it is spelled that way. So I don't know... --Patrik Stridvall 09:11, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Even if you know that the correct spelling is -ing you might still decide to spell it -in. If it is a misspelling, then, in many cases, certainly an intentional misspelling. We should be careful to point this out. But we should be equally careful to inform the reader that this is non-standard. Ncik 11:48, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that every English verb borh regular and irregular can take the -ing ending so having both -in' and -in as alternative forms means just a lot of useless information on the page of each verb. Futhermore there is no difference in meaning in any case I know of so every page with the alternative forms will look the same. It's a pronunciation issue and should be handled as such. --Patrik Stridvall 12:08, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Treating them like any other alternative spelling should be fine. Ncik 02:08, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

I should point out that these words appear with -in in the frequency counts solely because of the way the counting algorithm treated apostrophes -- as described on the explanation page. Most (more than half, but by no means all) of them were originally spelled with an apostrophe. In principle, I don't care strongly either way about having articles for -in'/-in forms. In practice, I'd make it an even lower priority than the already abysmally low priority of making separate articles for every noun plural. In theoretical practice, it's the kind of thing that should eventually be handled by a smart, user-friendly front-end of the sort envisioned by Davilla. Keffy 03:10, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

We'll b savin' ourselves loads of workin' by never allowin any of them in Wiktionary. So I'm thinkin we should just b disallowin every single word in English endin in -in'/-in, including "innin", innit.


Probably better to ask here than RFV east def.'s 2 and 3, "the right part of anything" and "the wind from the east", which include translations! Davilla 23:55, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

The "wind" sense is certainly correct. Can't find the "right" sense. — Vildricianus 09:01, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Really? Surely a wind from the east is an easterly? Widsith 18:16, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
  • "dated" or "poetic" would be the right tag here I think. — Vildricianus 19:27, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Then provide evidence. Eclecticology 06:38, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
  • 1847: Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Princess — (...) and I sat down and wrote, In such a hand as when a field of corn Bows all its ears before the roaring East (...)
  • 1853: Charles Dickens, Bleak House — "Where did you say the wind was, Rick?" asked Mr. Jarndyce. "In the north as we came down, sir." "You are right. There's no east in it. (...)"
  • 1859: Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities — Up the two terrace flights of steps the rain ran wildly, and beat at the great door, like a swift messenger rousing those within; uneasy rushes of wind went through the hall, among the old spears and knives, and passed lamenting up the stairs, and shook the curtains of the bed where the last Marquis had slept. East, West, North, and South, through the woods, four heavy-treading, unkempt figures crushed the high grass and cracked the branches, striding on cautiously to come together in the courtyard.
Or did I misinterpret? (Perhaps #2, if so, it should go in the cap version, right?) During my week off I will look for a way to more efficiently provide quotations for English words. Also, what format do we now favour? These quotations under the defs, or a separate header? — Vildricianus 10:34, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
No. 2 could easily mean "there is no east in" the direction of the wind, so I don't think it adds anything. I'm moving 1 and 3 to East. Davilla 09:25, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
[6] seems to be the problem for def #3. Def #2 seems to be trying to describe the east side of a building? --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:26, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
The British do not drive on the right side of the road. If you're using an Australian map of the world east would not be right. There's a built in ambiguity "right" there. :-) Eclecticology 18:35, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
This is why we should encourage example sentences. Davilla 00:27, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, it seems like the definitions should be fixed first. (Note: I made my guess at what they were trying to get at, from the translations that were entered during that same edit.) But that definition seems more and more unlikely. Also, smileys pertaining to Australia are indicated as (-: not :-). :-) --Connel MacKenzie T C 06:26, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I mean that an example sentence would clarify the intent if it had been added by the original contributor. Otherwise we're left guessing if it was part of speech or what that was confused. Davilla 09:25, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Removed "right part of anything". Davilla 17:44, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

And translation. Davilla


Odd breakdown of meanings for cricket here. They should be merged into a single meaning, generic for all (or most) sports, such as chess, football, poker, soccer, etc. --Connel MacKenzie T C 08:01, 11 March 2006 (UTC)


Just noticed the recent up-casing and ®-branding of realtor. I'm sure the whole trademark argument has been had before, so I'll restrict my rant to the following three points:

  • Even the (American) National Association of Realtors never claims "Realtor®" is a trademark. It claims "REALTOR®" in all caps is a trademark. Are we too going to go to put it in all caps? (And if not, what is the point of listing the word under a third, completely imaginary form that's neither the actual trademark nor the spelling that regular people actually use?)
  • The word is not a trademark throughout the English-speaking world. We're under no obligation to distort our presentation of how a word is used world-wide because of some legal quirk in a couple of countries.
  • Even in countries where "REALTOR®" is a trademark, we're under no obligation to distort our presentation of how the word is actually used. The trademark owners do have a legal obligation to whine every time someone uses their trademark generically. The rest of us are under no legal obligation to pay any attention to their whining. (Our only legal obligation is not to try to pass ourselves off as being the trademark owner, which we obviously aren't.)

I'm all in favour of keeping the usage note (corrected for case). It's an important thing to know about the word. I'm even in favour of keeping the capped version(s) with soft-redirection if necessary. But our main article explaining the meaning of "realtor" should be where it belongs -- under lowercased "r" with no wimpy ®. No disrespect to realtors (some of my closest friends and parents, etc...). But coddling their marketing strategies ain't my job. Keffy 08:11, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

(PS: couldn't resist adding Sinclair Lewis using the word generically in 1922 to the article. Keffy 08:15, 11 March 2006 (UTC))

I tracked down a few quotes for this, with the earliest uncapitalized one being from a US Senate hearing in 1919. It would be interesting to check with the original 1916 article to see whether Chadbourne capitalized the word when he coined it. (Does anyone have acces to that journal?)
The NAR seems to have consistently won its cases when it went to court over the trademark. This would have some effect when someone would want to call himself a Realtor. Nothing that I saw dealt with the issue of the all caps form that they use in all their notice, and which appears to be the format in the 1947 registration application. These cases should not have any effect on those of us who write descriptive dictionaries. If the term is used generically, we merely observe the fact. Eclecticology 23:20, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Saw a commercial about this on TV recently—I don't know if that's what sparked this—but it was along the lines of "make sure your agent is a realtor" (or whatever) with an of emphasis that only people who belong to that organization can call themselves realtors, and the word "realtor" was adorned by the ® symbol. —Muke Tever
I noticed all your additions throughout the day. I'm impressed. The guilt I feel at all the extra work you went through will be a more effective disincentive to future Tea Room rants than if you'd disagreed with me violently. (But probably not effective enough to eliminate them altogether. :-)). Keffy 00:11, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
This one was a fun challenge. Google Print had many more examples. One was a year earlier (1918), but the way that project is functioning I couldn't be sure of that date. They have added a lot of old US govenment document, but keep them protected despite the fact that these are clearly in the public domain. The other interesting point was the issue of generic names. The point for me is that companies have no control over genericization except except in very limited circumstances. Eclecticology 02:59, 16 March 2006 (UTC)


sinh has 3 pronunciations. How odd. Any other words have 3 pronunciations? See Talk:sinh and discuss there on editting formalities for multiple prons, i.e should it go:


  1. Like sinch
  2. Like sinech
  3. Sine H
  4. shine

It maketh me scratch my metapohrical head anyway. --Expurgator t(c) 21:44, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

looking for the term used for an overly religeous person

I recently heard a word that is defined as an overly religeous person... and can't remember it. It seems there really isnt a forum for doing a reverse lookup of words by their definitions.

Perhaps you mean a zealot? — Vildricianus 11:08, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Or perhaps devotee? Try a thesarus. Jonathan Webley 11:21, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Or a fanatic, or ... anyway, we do have a little 'search' button on the left there that searches whole pages, not just titles. You might get more results if you spell it religious though. —Muke Tever 11:47, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Maybe bible basher for a devout Christian?
Related to that, bible thumper? 02:20, 27 March 2006 (UTC)


According to one of the sources I found when looking for apostil, the word apostille seems to have been reserved by the French. All three forms namely apostle, apostil, and apostille seem to be used equally in English, and I don't know which is 'correct'. Personally, I have always used apostle. Any thoughts? Andrew massyn 10:28, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

There may not be a 'correct'. It's not like English is governed by a standards body, after all. What we have are 1) curmudgeons who censure what they consider to be errors, 2) dictionaries who decide, on whatever grounds, the spelling they will recommend, and possibly 3) use of the language by a large community of speakers. When none of these have a consensus, what is "correct" is a mere matter of opinion. —Muke Tever 16:11, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree, and perhaps my query wasn't clear enough. apostille seems to be French, and appears to have crept into English through the back door. When there are already two alternate spellings in English, do we reflect the third when it is probably a common misspelling? Andrew massyn 22:21, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
What I mean is... especially in an NPOV place like this... we can't label anything as a "misspelling" without a source (who in turn needs to be cited). We can say it is or isn't the most common current spelling (preferably with statistics), or that it is or isn't etymologically correct, or that major dictionaries X, Y, and Z give spelling A and B under the headword A, etc. There do exist words with alternate spellings in English (axe/ax, griffin/gryphon...) and I'm not aware of any limit beyond which any others are automatically branded "misspellings", so I'm not sure about what you mean by that part. —Muke Tever 02:36, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

The symbols 0 to 9

At present, these entries just redirect to zero to nine. Shouldn't they have their own definitions? SemperBlotto 12:23, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

More than that. They should be complete pages with etymologies, translations (i.e. in this case transliterations, e.g. into Latin as I-IX (did they have a 0?), etc. Ncik 14:03, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Nope, 0 was a fundamental innovation several centuries later in India. MGSpiller 21:51, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Different pages, absolutely. They sometimes substitue for words, e.g. "4" for "for" in English, and not just since the dawn of IM. "0" is ofen pronounced "oh" rather than "zero". I would even include handwriting samples since the symbols differ slightly internationally, if you can believe it! Davilla 14:15, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


Hi people. Does anyone know more about the Chinese term (pan, which can also mean leader, unless I'm mistaken)? Is it indigenous to Chinese or is it a loan from a non Sino-Tibetan language? Alexander 007 10:30, 19 March 2006 (UTC)


Is there a word for a male seraglio; or is this just a fantasy? Andrew massyn


What's the right POS for this word? It's synonymous with "understand?" which implies a verb, but then it has no English inflections. Jonathan Webley 20:21, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I think you have it right with verb. - TheDaveRoss
Sure. After I hit him, he capiched. I've been hitting him, now he is capishing. But google only found 47 hits for capisched and I didn't check for capiching. JillianE 00:40, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Can someone add a pronunciation, please? (or if you prefer: Add a pronunciation, capiche? <G>) JillianE 00:40, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I wish I would have seen this page before writing an English definition for capisce. Davilla 14:35, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


truth or dare

Truth or Dare or truth or dare...that is the question. --Expurgator t(c) 22:00, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I would say Truth or Dare for 2 reasons:
  1. It is better written.
  2. I always took it to be a proper noun.
But either would be perfectly fine. Celestianpower 22:48, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Tag or tag? Kickball or kickball? I say lowercase. - TheDaveRoss 01:35, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

The best way to solve this is by finding a consensus of citations. I suspect Truth or Dare is the most commonly used. 09:03, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Truth... no, dare! Wait, misread the question. :-p Davilla 14:04, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Spanish abbreviation for the United States

Why is EE.UU. the abbreviation for 'Estados Unidos'? Why not just E.U.?

Because Estados Unidos is plural. Why they form initialisms that way is beyond me, I am not even certain if the formation is that way across the board or not... - TheDaveRoss 01:44, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Forming the plural of one letter abbreviations by doubling that letter is done in many languages, English included (eg. pp. for pages). Ncik 02:11, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually it's not limited to one-letter abbreviations, but extends to abbreviations in general. Hence et seqq. for et sequentia ("and things that follow"). But it is rarer in English nowadays, and you probably only expect it for traditional abbrevv., not new ones. —Muke Tever 00:00, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
...Muke's "abbrevv." being a "new" one, of course, before anyone rushes to define it. :) — Paul G 09:39, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
There's four examples of it in Google Books—three in nineteenth-century German, one in 1908 English. I don't think it was too common, though. —Muke Tever 23:04, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

A word I've heard but can't remember the definition.

Now I've heard the word chanundrum, although I'm not sure I'm spelling that right as I can't find it anywhere, but I don't remember what the meaning for this word is. A friend used saying that Someone was in a chanundrum, I apologize again if it's mispelled, over me. I'm lost for words and knowledge on this as I've heard it before but never used it myself as I don't exactly know what it means. If someone would correct the spelling to where I can find it or just leave the definition here for me, or perhaps both, I would greatly appreaciate it.

Perhaps you mean conundrum. Alexander 007 13:56, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


dirty word, dirty joke, dirty video

Do these deserve their own entries? See dirty. Davilla 21:25, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

They do. Jonathan Webley 21:28, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
They don't. — Hippietrail 21:31, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
They do. --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:49, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
They don't. Widsith 02:37, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
They do. First of all they have English synonyms. Secondly I'm sure that many languages use euphemisms for that sort of things. While the given Swedish translation for that sense is the most exact term and would leave no doubt in anybodies mind what you were after, it would often be preferable to be less exact and more vague. :-) --Patrik Stridvall 09:37, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
In my view, one of these does, and the rest don't:
  • "Dirty" means "obscene", "pornographic" or the like in all of these, so most are not idiomatic as they can easily be understood once the sense of "dirty" is known.
  • "Dirty word" however certainly does merit an entry, as this has a figurative sense, meaning something like "something that someone does not like to hear or talk about"; for example, "Work is a dirty word to him".
Other than that, I don't think they should have separate entries. Yes, they have synonyms, as does "dirty magazine" ("dirty" in the same sense as the above), but merely having synonyms does not feature in our criteria for inclusion. They are all the sum of their parts "obscene film/joke/video".
The main problem as I see it is that it is not obvious to non-native speakers what sense every combination with dirty takes. Of course, this a general problem with almost any combination of words. --Patrik Stridvall 17:52, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
Note also "blue film", "blue joke", "blue video", "blue movie" in the same sense - are these idiomatic, or is "blue" just a synonym for "obscene" again? — Paul G 10:03, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
Not sure, just because something is used as an euphemism doesn't by necessity make it idiomatic. We also have off-color and profane that are not listed as synonyms either. In this context they are bordering on idiomatic as well. BTW, is it really meaningful to have different senses for sexual and non-sexual content? When I updated the page I didn't want to change that. --Patrik Stridvall 17:52, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
The synonym argument is tricky. On the one hand, it doesn't meet CFI. On the other hand, if it's listed as a synonym on another page, it should be possible to fill out the page. There is something fundamentally wrong about having permanently red links. The resolution to the problem is not to think about it. I would guess this theoretical conundrum is resolved in practice, that there's some invisible force resolved to removing as links phrases that don't meet CFI. (Invisible means it's not me, guys.) Regardless, it's a difficult angle to the theoretical question and probably not the best approach. Davilla 20:24, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Most of these, including colors, apply broadly, but there's a strong case to have dirty bomb as a separate entry rather than a separate definition, IMO. Continuing that trend, I would rather list many of these as separate entries, dirty trick and dirty money in addition to those above, and merge and generalize the definitions at dirty. "Violating accepted standards or rules" through "considered morally corrupt" all seem very similar, along the same vein. Davilla 08:26, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, it's a matter of degree. They are certainly secondary senses to the same primary sense, but as you can see they have different English synonyms and while I don't think you understand the Swedish translations, they translate differently depending of the exact sense. Dividing words in senses is very hard. I usually try to avoid dividing a primary sense just for translations unless I can find English synonyms that can't reasonable be said to attach to all secondary senses.
Unfortunately the synonym argument is in fact completely moot for senses. Looked at one way, synonyms and definitions serve the same purpose; the former are simply more concise. Another way to think of it is this: out of context, only certain words are universally synonymous with a certain sense. Given a context, the sphere of words that can convey the same meaning expands because the context restricts the meaning that we attach to those words. The same words wouldn't necessarily convey the same meaning in another context, which may lead one to conclude that a word must be defined differently in every context. However, this is not a wise approach. It will pretty much always be possible to divide an idea more and more finely, whether with definitions or with synonyms or with synonyms in certain contexts. So synonyms do not support a more restricted and narrowly defined definition any more that a more restricted and narrowly defined definition supports itself.
The same applies to translations if we think of them as synonyms in other languages. I believe the practice that's developed here is to define the word in English and if necessary annotate the translations. Davilla 20:24, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Almost all of our entries avoids the question of primary and secondary sense. It is a little unclear in general exactly what is a primary sense and what is a secondary sense but perhaps we should have a format that marks it somehow. But then different dictionaries seems to have different ideas on how to do the division so perhaps it better to avoid the question entirely. I don't know.
As for dirty bomb well, I suppose that it falls under "covered with or containing dirt or other unwanted substances" and it doesn't really appear except with the synonyms of bomb. The same can to some extent be said of the weather sense. Possibly we should have a "See dirty bomb" and "See dirty weather" instead of the translations. --Patrik Stridvall 10:04, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Hold on! Just because radioactive material is unwanted doesn't mean the first sense fits at all. A dirty bomb isn't something you bring out the Ajax for. If the current definition of the first sense somehow fits, then that's only because it's imprecise. Davilla 15:23, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I find the tangents here a bit distracting. Idiomacy is one criteria for multi-word entries, but not the only. (I haven't checked just now, but would suspect the CFI has perhaps undergone certain POV manipulation.) Muke had posted a list of over 20 criteria for multi-word entries last year - a couple met resistance from two users, but the rest were deemed reasonable by all, at the time. AFAIK, those were supposed to be our criteria for multi-word entries, NOT the so call "sum-of-parts" invalid argument. Seen in that light, we should unquestionably have each of these entries. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:30, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Keep in mind of course that Connel wants to make Wiktionary into some kind of thing that print dictionaries have never been before. Look up each term in Oxford, Websters, or any other really big dictionary and decide how traditional and precise or radical and cluttered you want Wiktionary to be. — Hippietrail 19:05, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Indeed. We are already far beyond what paper dictionaries are. And we are not paper. --Connel MacKenzie T C 00:08, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm moving some definitions into their own entries and leaving most terms unfilled for now. Davilla 15:23, 28 March 2006 (UTC)


I came across this use of "Albatross" by Sen. Lugar in a speech that he delivered at the Brookings institution. "Energy is the Albatross of U.S. National Security." What does it mean? Is it in common usage? Dictionary meaning of "Albatross" does not fit into this sentence. Can someone throw some light on it?

  • It is the second sense listed at albatross, which appears to be a copyvio from ditcionary.com and is about to change :). - TheDaveRoss 03:57, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
This use of 'albatross' is a literary reference—to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, where albatross around the protagonist's neck was a literal albatross that he had killed. —Muke Tever 14:35, 24 March 2006 (UTC)


Is there a word or phrase that emphasizes the difficulty in choosing between equally good choices? Something along the line of "embarrassment of riches" but more specific.

Sophie's choice? Oh no, that's a very bad choice. Sometimes we say one is spoiled for choice or spoilt for choice though. --Expurgator t(c) 14:50, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

"a historic" or "an historic"?

I'm confused, becuase I've seen "an" used before "historic" sometimes instead of "a". The historic entry doesn't say anything about why this would be, and the dictionary.com example shows "a historic". Isn't "an" used only before vowel sounds? -- Creidieki 07:40, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Some people pronounce the H, some don't, and a/an would be appropriate depending. Davilla 17:05, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Some people also pronounce the H and still use "an". This has always sounded wrong to me but often this is done by the kind of people who correct others' English. — Hippietrail 19:07, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Careful, Hippietrail. You might make me want to follow you around correcting your grammar, and I'll bring a couple of countries along with me to help. It's one of those British-tends-more, American-tends-less things. For almost everyone who uses an before H, the syllabe with the H must be unstressed. So "an hisTORical" is fine, "an HIStory" would be weird. H is a pretty wimpy consonant at the best of times, and in an unstressed syllable it's often too wimpy to keep the N from popping up. -- Keffy 19:30, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Now that you mention it it does feel "British" to me though I'm pretty certain I've heard it discussed that some Americans do it too and I've definitely known many many British people, especially of a younger generation, who do not do it. In Australia there was a "proper" way of talking which has almost died out. It was the people who used this mode of speech in Australia that tended to say "An historical ...". — Hippietrail 19:41, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I wasn't really sure what to say about this in the historic article. I noted the existence of the issue, which I think is an improvement over no mention. I wasn't sure how to format it. -- Creidieki 20:51, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
The French consider H to be a vowel and some users of RP will do the same. I have noticed BBC newsreaders do this kind of thing. It always seems pretentious to me. MGSpiller 01:04, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
It does seem pretentious now, but it used to be incorrect to do otherwise than use "an" before H+vowel. Nowadays it only seems to crop up with phrases like "an historic occasion" which politicians and newsreaders like. I would describe it as formal, or maybe even formal passing into archaic. Also, pace MGSpiller, consonantal H does exist in French, eg la hache (not l'hache). Widsith 02:35, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough, my French is rather sketchy. Indeed I'm not entirely sure what you mean by pace, I would expect en passant from the context. MGSpiller 12:38, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Erk, it has another definition which isn't on here yet. It's a Latin term which you add before a person's name as a gesture of respect when you're about to correct them, roughly meaning "with all due respect to...". Quite often it's used ironically, though it wasn't by me! Actually, it's probably just as pretentious as "an historic"... Widsith 08:21, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
The letter h is indeed a consonant in French, just as in English. It is always silent at the beginning of words, but this does not make it a vowel (just as the silent h in English words such as "hour" and "honest" is not a vowel).
There are two varieties of h in French: "h muet" ("silent h") and h aspiré ("aspirate h"). Neither is pronounced in modern French, but words beginning with h muet cause certain preceding words to undergo elision or liaison, while this does not happen with those beginning with h aspiré. Elision means the contraction of certain words (such as "le", "la" and "de"); liaison means the pronunciation of the final, usually silent, consonant of the preceding word.
For example, "homme" ("man") begins with an h muet, so we have:
  • l'homme ("the man"): elision of "le" ("the")
  • des hommes ("some men"), which is pronounced /dɛzɔm/ rather than /dɛ ɔm/): liaison (the "s" of "des" is pronounced, which, usually, it is not)
In contrast, "hibou" ("owl") begins with an h aspiré, so we have:
  • le hibou ("the owl"): no elision
  • des hiboux ("some owls"), which is pronounced /dɛ ibu/: no liaison
Some words beginning with h come from French and were once pronounced similarly to how they are pronounced in French. Most of these words have ended up with the h being pronounced but a few haven't (such as "honest"). "Hotel" is one example - you'll still hear some older people pronounce it with a silent h (and I'm not talking about dropping the h - they would never pronounce it). Hence they it is quite correct for them to say "an hotel".
As Keffy says, the stress must be on a syllable other than the first for "an" to be used. Saying "an historic..." is popular with BBC newsreaders (and they seem to be among the few people in the country who use "an" instead of "a" here) but it is not really standard UK English any more (in that pretty much everyone says "a historic...").
I would agree with Widsmith that it sounds pretentious but would prefer to mark it as "old-fashioned" or "dated" rather than "archaic", as many older people (and the BBC) still use it. — Paul G 15:28, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes that sounds better. By the way it's Widsith (Old English "far-traveller") not Widsmith (maker of wids). Widsith 08:21, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Oops. I was concentrating on what I was writing and overlooked the correct spelling of your name. Sorry. — Paul G 09:35, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
For this old British wrinkly, "an (h)istoric" seems to run together easily, whereas "a Historic" seems to have a little judder of a pause before the H, and seems a little unnatural. SemperBlotto 09:54, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
From this British whippersnapper, I agree with SemperBlotto: "a historic" sounds jarred and unnatural. It's somewhere inbetween "an hour" (universal) and "an horse" (wrong). Because the "h" is unstressed, it tends to be left out and you end up saying "istoric", in which case you'd say "an" but, if you were to deliberately make yourself say the "h", then you would use "a". Or at least, that's my understanding of it. Celestianpower 09:44, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Another note: although, as mentioned above, words beginning with H generally took ‘an’ only if they were stressed on a syllable other than the first, that rule is relatively recent. Chaucer for example could write ‘an hill’. Widsith 06:19, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

O. Henry at it again...

O. Henry seems to have this obsession with ridiculous words noone's ever heard of before, and WT.s had them up to now. I just ran across "kalsomining" in The Higher Abdication and can't find it in Wiktionary. Anyone know, or can infer from context what it means? Thanx and sorry if it was already here and I missed it... 02:15, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

It's a variant spelling of calcimining (or calcimine), an American term for distemper (the paint, not the cat disease). -- Keffy 02:28, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Dang, I'd've never gotten that one. Thanx. 02:52, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Another one: "bungstarter" ?! Same place, 3rd paragraph. Thanx again. 02:58, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

As you find these, please add the text {{rfv}} to the page and then nominate the suspect word on Wiktionary:Requests for verification. — Paul G 15:32, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
The link is to a century old WikiSource text which the enquirer is asking for help with. The context to Bungstarter doesn't help much, on the other hand it does not add much to the text as a whole. It would definitely not be a good idea to add {{rfv}} to a wikisource text. MGSpiller 19:45, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, a bung is "a plug used to close a hole in a barrel" so I guess that bungstarter is either "somebody who opens barrels" or possibly "a tool used for opening barrels". This quoute from Google Books seems to confirm it: Pat, let me have that keg," and the schoolteacher proceeded to hammer around the bung, in the way of the orthodox bungstarter.
The big question is whether we should have an entry for bungstarter or not. It certainly is possible to dig up three independent quotes from Google Books. Any definition of the word will be pure speculation though. So we probably should mark it somehow if we add it. --Patrik Stridvall 11:03, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
OK I looked it up in a "real" (Read: Print) dictionary and it's evidently the second suggestion (A tool). 00:16, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I have added an entry for bungstarter now with a few quotes from Google Books. --Patrik Stridvall 20:24, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
(OMG)Thanx dude. I've started on "The Trimmed Lamp" and found this one "duck-fit" from this context: "If one was to speak to me," laughed Lou, "I know I'd have a duck-fit." (Discussing a lower middle class man meeting a millionaire). 03:54, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Also "leal", from "The Social Triangle" ("The leal and the hopeful shook Billy McMahan's hand."). Thanx again 22:33, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

difference between the English words: grammatical and syntactic?

-- 10:15, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

"syntactic" means having to do with syntax, or how words are arranged to form utterances. "grammatical" means having to do with grammar, which is nearly the same thing but slightly broader (it also includes how words are inflected, and, to some people, spelling as well), but the usual sense is another one, that of 'conforming to accepted usage of grammar' (You could say "I ain't going" is not grammatical, but you wouldn't say it's not syntactic). —Muke Tever 23:33, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Grammar = syntax + semantics + (optional) orthography. Ncik 01:48, 28 March 2006 (UTC)


An anonymous user has altered the headword of this article without moving the page to match. Does anybody know which is correct, the title "שאתה־יודע־מי", or the new headword "אתה־יודע־מי"? — Hippietrail 15:11, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

It probably should be אתה־יודע־מי. The phrase שאתה־יודע־מי is possible, but the prefix -ש means something like because. I’ve moved it back where it was. —Stephen 03:04, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

The Lord Voldemort (he:לורד וולדמורט) page on the Hebrew Wikipedia might be of some use. If you can read it. I can't. --Patrik Stridvall 17:53, 3 April 2006 (UTC)


This word has an entry, but I think we need to be very careful about this sort of content. A much more useful and appropriate approach for this definition would be to state other names for the chemical compound and describe its makeup. Listing a purported medical property is misleading, not particularly neutral, and even potentially harmful. Can we make this article more scientific? --Dvortygirl 08:09, 28 March 2006 (UTC)


This adjective is defined as if it were a noun. I suppose it IS a real word (I certainly use it). SemperBlotto 07:29, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

An adjective in the examples given, and so changed. Don't know if the noun sense also exists. Davilla 18:28, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

fr:donner de la confiture à des cochons

The French have a nice idiom, fr:donner de la confiture à des cochons (literally, To give pigs jam), meaning "To give something to someone who won't know how to appreciate it". I've been racking my brain and racking the Internet for a nice idiomatic English translation to that, but no luck. Any suggestions? --Expurgator t(c) 12:30, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Maybe to cast pearls before swine? Kipmaster 13:06, 29 March 2006 (UTC)


Connel wants to keep a "Noun" section in this entry for the US highway. What do others think? Ncik 17:37, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Connel wants to keep everything. He doesn't want a dictionary as we know it. He wants "everything". — Hippietrail 00:39, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't think so. --Connel MacKenzie T C 06:29, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Keep provided I can add entries for 71, 183 ("one eighty-three"), 290 ("two ninety"), and 2222 ("twenty-two twenty-two"). But why stop there? I'd also like to add I35 = IH35 and First through Eleventh. But why stop there? I'd also like to add Loop 1, South First, and Mopac. And I promise you I can find more than enough citations for each. I'd also like to point out that 101 is a year, a building in Taipei, the binary for 5, the gray number for 6, and a hundred and one other things.Davilla 10:20, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Excellent. Make sure all those are marked as regional and with what region. —Muke Tever 14:29, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
The years and ordinal numbered streets could probably be handled with a general note in the appendix that I would expect to grow. The remaining streets are in Central Texas, though I'm less confident now about my claim of attestation for the numbered ones. They are usually marked differently in print than in speech, and they're too local to be used in a national production, so I'd probably have to find radio transcripts or something. The building is probably only called 101 in Taiwan, otherwise "Taipei 101". The full name would probably be considered encyclopedic, and I don't think I could attest the moniker, though it's worth a try. Davilla 21:55, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't know if it is true in other dialects, but in the US, highways take on a life of their own. You typically don't say "Take the highway 101 to exit ..." but instead "Take 101 to exit...". Obviously the first is grammatically correct, but colloquially unacceptable. That is, if you said (or wrote) the first, you would be laughed at. If this is a dialectal difference, it would perhaps explain the difference of opinion regarding the term's acceptability as an ordinary noun?
  • That said, the same does not seem to apply to all routes and highways in the US. That is, I think the second-most famous highway (after highway 101) in the US would be Route 66. But famous highways like I-5, I-15, 495 (/I-495 /the L.I.E.) or the B.Q.E. are more than just "notable." Their affect on people's daily lives force them to be distinct elements of the language. I'm not sure what the proper way to denote these are, on Wiktionary.
  • There seem to be a gazillion formatting rules for these as well. For example, LIE is not acceptable IIRC, but only L.I.E.. On the other hand, BQE is is more common than B.Q.E., but both are used. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:45, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
This is probably irrelevant to your point, but note that California (especially the southern end) exhibits a regional variation to use the definite article with highway names, both named and numbered ones, "take I-5 to Seattle" is common in Washington and Oregon, but "take the I-5" to Sacramento" is common in L.A. Rodasmith 16:07, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

April 2006


pro-life, sense 3 seems inaccurate to me, but I am not exactly sure how to fix it. It reads favoring Christian fundamentalist views of medical issues. My first problem is that I know for a fact that, while this is more precise than the previous "religious views", even fundamentalist Christians hold a variety of views on medical issues, and certainly it shouldn't try to encompass the entire field of medicine, there are only a few issues that this terms would probably apply to. Second, I don't think it is a prerequisite to belong to the Christian religion in order to hold "pro-life" views of anything, I could be wrong here. Thoughts? - TheDaveRoss 02:01, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

I've moved that to the talk page. Such a sweeping generalization needs to be supported by evidence. There are many non-Christians with a pro-life view, just as there are many Christians who would balk at being associated with the pro-life movement. Eclecticology 03:14, 2 April 2006 (UTC)


OK, we have a page for malfeasance, which is fairly common, but according to the Nebraska State Legislature there also exists misfeasance and nonfeasance, neither of which I've heard before or know the meaning of. Anyone else know if they're real? Thanx. 06:47, 2 April 2006 (UTC)


Could someone have a look at the definitions? I think 2. and 3. should be merged. If not, they need clearer explanation. — Vildricianus 08:50, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, it is about the same as the difference between a letter and a word with one letter. It say clearly say numeral in one of the definition and digit in the other so any misunderstanding must come from ignorance of the difference between a numeral and a digit. Explaining that belongs on their respectives pages not on the page for zero. Quote A numeral that can be combined with others to write larger numbers, and that cannot itself be split into other numerals. Futhermore there might be some language that use different words and for that matter even different symbols for the standalone variant and the combining variant. --Patrik Stridvall 16:38, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Definitions one and two might be mergeable, but definition three is a different use. Saying I have zero dollars. Makes a statement using the quantity with value equal to zero. Saying Her PIN is three, zero, zero. refers to a digit or button. This is the distinction between the first two definitions, and it is a subtle one. However, saying that One million includes six zeros. Has nothing whatever to do with the quantity zero. Mathematically, each zero in the number one million has a different meaning as a placeholder. --EncycloPetey 09:49, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Definition 1 is abstract quantity, independent of representation, for example, on an abacus, sign language, or written in definition 2. Mathematically 2 & 3 have to be identical since a digit represents zero tens, zero millionths for example; but the common usage is far enough from this to merit an entry. The PIN example may well better than the current one.
1 is the abstract quantity of 0, yes, but 2 & 3 are different mathematically. 2 is the symbol for the cardinal number 0. 3 is the symbol that multiplies a numeral with a factor 10 if added to the right. Yes, they look exactly the same in Western script. Not sure if that is the case in all scripts, though. --Patrik Stridvall 18:21, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Quite right -- allow me to rephrase: in defn 3, it's still zero of something, but part of the meaning of a digit is its place as in tens place etc. The 0 in 101 is different from the 0 in 1011. This needs to be in digit definition.Rmo13 22:50, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, as I said earlier, explaining the difference between a digit and numeral shouldn't be done on the page for zero. --Patrik Stridvall 19:38, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Definition 2 could be extended (or a definition added) to include any physical representation of zero, including sign language, bit state, etc. She signed a zero. The definitions in 0 does this to some degree. I have a problem distinguishing definition 5 and 1. In any event the current example for 5 seems more compatible with defn. 4 since lose indicates a negative outcome is possible. I propose The lack of customers meant the income was zero. Rmo13 14:33, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

5 and 1 is almost the same yes. However 5 is more vague meaning more for all practial purposes zero. Not sure if that is enough for a seperate sense. --Patrik Stridvall 18:21, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
I finally get it:defn. 1 is for countable objects; defn. 5 is for uncountable type concepts: He knew zero about basketball. or She showed zero interest. This is non-quantitative nothing. (2nd example is adjectival) Rmo13 22:50, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
The examples are good, but it has nothing directly to do with countabillity more that counting it would be pointless. I changed definition 5 to "(informal) Something that is for all practical purposes irrelevant.". I think its clearer now. --Patrik Stridvall 19:38, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunate wording on my part. Concrete/discrete(eg. dog) as opposed to abstract/substance(eg. love or carbon) please see [7] for discussion grammatical uncountability. Thus zero dogs pl, but zero carbon sg. Rmo13 21:44, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps, but the way I see it "The profit was zero." also belongs this sense. Obviously the actual profit is very unlikely to be exactly zero, it more that it would serve no purpose to count it since it is so low that it is not really useable for anything. But it is still something concrete/discrete. --Patrik Stridvall 21:42, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

foxing fox foxed

I wanted to amplify 'fox' with the definition and etymology for the discolouration on paper. Wikipedia gives the definition as from (F)errous (Ox)ide, but I havent found any other source for this etymology, and must therefore regard it as suspect? Does anyone know if it is correct? Andrew massyn

I'm reasonable sure that is means fox-coloured. SemperBlotto 15:16, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

The OED, 2nd edition, has only one etymology for the verb "fox" (deriving it from the noun "fox", which also has just one etymology). One of the meanings of the verb is given as: "trans. To discolour (the leaves of a book)." Similarly on www.etymonline.com, which states: "Foxed in booksellers' catalogues means "stained with fox-colored marks." Ncik 16:51, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks all Andrew massyn 20:36, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

The etymology based on Ferric Oxide is indeed suspect. Although iron is a factor in foxing it does not act alone, but has been acted upon by several possible external forces. See http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/don/dt/dt1434.html Eclecticology 22:54, 2 April 2006 (UTC)


Shouldn't this entry mention that "Dick" is also very commonly used as a shortened version of "Richard"?

It already does. You want the entry for Dick, not dick. Wiktionary is case-sensitive. --EncycloPetey 10:48, 4 April 2006 (UTC)


What does CW mean in this article? — Hippietrail 18:34, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

It looks like it's supposed to indicate CommonWealth English MGSpiller 21:01, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Yup. — Vildricianus 21:05, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I can't seem to find enough sources to include CW right now. — Vildricianus 21:15, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

the vitamins

One of these days (when I've finished the E numbers) I'm going to start on the vitamins. But how should I name ones with subscripted names e.g. vitamin K3 Should they just be listed under vitamin K? or as vitamin K3 (which is incorrect). I know that it is possible to get subscripted characters into an article name, but I don't want to do that as nobody will ever search that way. SemperBlotto 10:47, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

vitamin K₃, with a redirect at vitamin K3 (which is what the user is most likely to type). —Muke Tever 22:40, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Can titles contain subscripts? JillianE 15:05, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but not using HTML syntax: 3. I use HTML syntax in preview mode, then cut-n-paste, but there is probably an easier way. --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:50, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
I'd prefer this example entry at K₃, without the "vitamin " prefix. Or at least a redirect from one to the other. Not a strong preference, but worth discussing. --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:54, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

bat an eyelash

Is this the same as bat an eyelid? Is one wrong? --Expurgator t(c) 19:30, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes. No. —Muke Tever 22:39, 6 April 2006 (UTC)


An anonymous contributor correct indicated the current deficiency with the third definition. It certainly doesn't match the Wikipedia definition very well. I'm not sure that the Wikipedia definition covers how the term is used adequately anyway; semaphore usually refers to a small block of code, not the single protected variable (that the compiler uses to accomplish the blocking.)

So, do we rewrite the definition to match Wikipedia, or add another meaning for the colloquial programming meaning, do both, or something else entirely?

Definitions one and two also need some work. Do we have a list of the semaphore signals? Should they be included on the page or linked to somewhere in the Wiktionary namespace?

--Connel MacKenzie T C 05:48, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

I have expanded the computing definition. SemperBlotto 11:05, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
OK, I removed the rft tag for now. But I'm still a little unclear as to whether the technical vs. colloquial computing usages merit separate definitions. (I guess that would be moderately technical vs. extremely technical?) --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:36, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

A & E

I came across this due to the ampersand in the title, but of more concern: Do we want this at A&E or A & E? Including the spaces seems just wrong, to me. --Connel MacKenzie T C 06:40, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

A quick search on Google shows that A&E is more common but A & E is in use (though it does not distinguish A. & E. from A & E). MGSpiller 18:43, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
As a point of minor amusement, I didn't notice that we had A&E until I had posted the above message and saw that it was blue. I did not even think of checking A. & E.. Whew! At least that one is a red-link! --Connel MacKenzie T C 06:48, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

pixilated vs pixelated - not the same word

This page seems to state that the terms is another spelling for pixelated. This is not correct. The latter term derives from pixel, a mid-20th century term. The former term is at least a century older and comes from pixie. It could well be that pixelated was influenced by pixilated, but that's hardly the same thing. — Hippietrail 18:22, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

...and UK English has the spelling "pixellated", I believe. — Paul G 09:07, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Fixed. I'm not sure about the single/double "l" though... someone will need to check UK/US usage here. — Paul G 09:19, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
I started to reply that User:Paul G did some research on the doubling rules a while back, but it probably wouldn't make much sense for you to ask yourself. :-) A quick google books comparison shows that for both terms, (e and i) the single "l" is more common - implying that the single "l" flavor is the US spelling. (To my eye, the double "l" looks correct though. So apparently I'm just confused.) --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:10, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Yup, that's right... I'll give the rule here. When a verb ends in single vowel + single consonant and is stressed on the final (or only) syllable, then the consonant at the end is doubled when adding suffixes such as -ed, -er and -ing; otherwise, it is not doubled. Hence:
  • set -> setter, setting (monosyllable ending in single vowel + consonant)
  • forget -> forgetting (ends in single vowel + consonant; final syllable is stressed)
  • target -> targeted, targeting (ends in a single vowel + consonant; stress is not on the final syllable, so the consonant is not doubled — note that this is a spelling that many people get wrong)
  • repeat -> repeated, repeater, repeating (stress is on the final syllable, but it ends in two vowels + consonant, so the consonant is not doubled)
However, in UK English, verbs ending in single vowel + l ("el") double the final l in all cases but one (see below), irrespective of where the stress falls. Hence:
  • travel -> travelled, traveller, travelling (but "traveled", "traveler" and "traveling" in US English, because the stress is not on the final syllable)
  • propel -> propelled, propellor, propelling in all varieties of English (because the stress is on the final syllable)
The only exception is "unparalleled", which is the spelling in all varieties of English (an exception to the UK rule as UK English would require "unparallelled"*).
There are some other exceptions in UK English, such as "worshipping", "kidnapping", which are stressed on the antepenultimate syllable, which would give "worshiping" and "kidnaping" according to the rule. US English allows "worship" and "kidnap" to be inflected with either single or double p, but "formatting" is the only spelling (maybe so it doesn't look like it should be pronounced "for-mait-ing").
So the rule would suggest "pixellated" in UK English and "pixelated" in US English. I was non-committal about the spelling as I'm not sure whether these are the spellings used in the two countries. — Paul G 13:42, 18 April 2006 (UTC)


A couple of questions on this entry I have just created...

  • Is it pejorative or affectionate?
  • Does it actually mean a Welshman, or is a nickname for someone who is Welsh (like "Paddy" is used as a nickname for someone who is Irish)?

Thanks. — Paul G 13:59, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I think it is pejorative: The only sense I know it in is "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief. Taffy came to my house and stole a side of beef." Regards Andrew massyn 19:33, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Lyrics, Origins and History

The children's nursery rhyme 'Taffy was a Welshman' has its origins in Celtic Mythology. Amaethon (from which the name Taffy is derived) was the God of Welsh Agriculture. This Celtic God Amaethon was renown for stealing a variety of wild life from the god Arawn, the Lord of the Otherworld. The association between Taffy and the thief is thus explained...Andrew massyn 19:36, 13 April 2006 (UTC) http://www.rhymes.org.uk/a79-taffy-was-a-welshman.htm

Us Welshmen consider this mildly pejorative. --Dangherous 09:40, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, Dangherous. I've added the label "somewhat pejorative" to the entry. Outstanding questions:
  • What is the plural? Taffys (as it would be for a name) or Taffies?
  • Is it a Welshman, or a nickname for someone who is Welsh (reiteration of my earlier question)
  • Can it be applied to a Welshwoman? — Paul G 13:23, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, I'm not sure about the plurals or the Welshwoman things, sorry. --Dangherous 15:22, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
Woah, I think the etymology of this is wrong. I was always told (and Wikipedia kinda backs me up) that it was due to the River Taff, a river running through South Wales, kind of like the River Thames of Wales as it runs through Cardiff (Welsh capital). The Dafydd reference seems rather dubious to me, but I'm no expert, just your average half-Welsh student. --Dangherous 15:28, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
The OED says it is from "Dafydd". It also says it is a nickname. — Paul G 17:24, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

you shouldn't have

I've added the idiomatic sense of this phrase, but I'm not happy with the definition I've written. It's more than just an expression of gratitude: it's also to show that the recipient of the gift feels that the person giving it needn't have done so, but I'm not sure how to phrase this. — Paul G 09:06, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

tweaked slightly... Widsith 09:24, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
That's much better. Thank you. — Paul G 09:58, 12 April 2006 (UTC)


It says etymology is from backslang, but there's nothing backslang-ish about it. (Backslang of tourist? Eh?). Or maybe the contributor meant just "slang". --Dangherous 09:40, 14 April 2006 (UTC)


I believe this is an older English word for some unit of measurement but I can't find it in any dictionaries. Perhaps my spelling is wrong. Does anyone recognize this word?

The only references I can find show it as an obsolete spelling of meadow. Andrew massyn 20:12, 15 April 2006 (UTC)


The problem with heresy

I am trying to define various heresies, but am having difficulty getting my mind around some of the fine distinctions. (Talk about Angels dancing on a pin!). Please look at monophysite & monophysism and see if I got it right. Also nestorianism. Thanks. Andrew massyn 18:35, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I have made some changes to nestorianism. Monophysite looks bang on. Widsith 10:06, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
See also the terms homoousian, homoiousian, heteroousian. Widsith 10:49, 16 April 2006 (UTC)


User:Kappa added ===Homophone=== * [[fils]] "son" to fis. I don't think this is correct, as I've always thought fis was pronounced "FEE", with fils being "FEESE". Dictionaries never have pronunciation for these inflected verb forms. Which is correct? --Expurgator t(c) 12:30, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't think listing fils#English as a borrowed word is correct. The French pronunciation looks correct ("FEE") to me. --Connel MacKenzie T C 12:45, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Huh? Okay I won't comment as I really don't know enough French, but it seems we do need a comment from someone who knows for certain. My question is how French pronunciations of single words such as these handle possible liaisons with subsequent words, and when we should consider them to be homophones. Davilla 19:56, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Wonderfool. They aren't homophones. Widsith 08:08, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Even with a liaison, they are not homophones (the liaison is a /z/ not a /s/). I changed it and I added other homophones. - Dakdada 12:26, 17 April 2006 (UTC)


Somebody added AU and NZ to the more harmless definition of fanny. As far as I've been told, fanny is vulgar in New Zealand, and probably Australia as well. I would recommend not adding regional labels if one doesn't know better, but I would be breaking my own advice by changing them without asking first. Davilla 19:43, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

  • This source says the Australian usage is the vulgar form. And this other source says the same for New Zealand. 23:51, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
  • It is vulgar in Australia. It's just that in the recent generation and a half a lot of words once considered vulgar are a lot less so. That doesn't mean you'd say it in fron of your aged aunt who is a nun. — Hippietrail 23:58, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
  • It is also considered vulgar in Ireland (I am not sure about Great Britain). A word to be used with caution, I think, regardless of region. Rredwell 00:54, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I can confirm that the word is considered vulgar in New Zealand, although somewhat obsolescent Mostlyharmless 01:01, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I can confirm that it is vulgar (although not swearing) in England (but you don't have to listen to me, I'm don't even have an acount). meta:User:Dbmag9


Moved in from Beer parlour:

Can someone check the entry lard? The 3rd and 4th senses look suspect to me. Also, I ran into a sentence I now can't find that used larded as larded with legal terms describing an agreement. JillianE 23:26, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Thoroughly revised. I agreed with you, took out 3 + 4, added the verb and some other stuff. This should prob'ly be on the Tea Room. Widsith 07:57, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Collaboration of the week

See Wiktionary:Collaboration of the week for rock, gem, stone, gemstone, and jewel, plus inflections and derivations. Davilla 22:52, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Settled on rock, rocker, rocky, rockily, rockiness for first batch. Davilla 22:00, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

"Homefront" in French

What would "homefront", as in "the war on the homefront", be in French? Sil vous plait. (I'm cross-posting this to fr.wiktionary.) -- Zanimum 00:23, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Réponse sur le Wiktionnaire français : [8]. Kipmaster 16:53, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
"homeland" was determined by Google's translate engine http://www.google.com/language_tools to be "patrie" but its results for "homefront" unfortunately is "homefront" It does, however, translate "home front" as "à la maison avant" Ummm... wonder if that's how the French got all those English sounding words like "télévision" Lets see... maybe something like "hômëfrônt" might work. At least anyone speaking English would have a pretty good idea of what you were talking about... Why isn't there a translate page in the Wiktionary?
Pce3@ij.net 02:27, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
They just say à l'intérieur. ‘Home front’ is two words by the way. Widsith 08:05, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Actually "Home front" is a phrase. Pce3@ij.net 11:35, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
...consisting of two....words. Widsith 11:42, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
...a phrase (grammar) is "A group of two or more words,..." Pce3@ij.net 14:34, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
so you both are correct. Isn't the world wonderful? Kipmaster 14:50, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks all! -- Zanimum 16:05, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Cites for abiding-place and abiding place

Should I include citations for abiding place on abiding-place/Citations or do I need a seperate page at abiding place/Citations? In other words, do I commingle both spelling variants? — Vildricianus 17:52, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Hyphenated versions often are commingled, yes. I got that wrong myself, not too long ago. --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:09, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. So I'll leave a link at abiding place referring to abiding-place/Citations for cites. — Vildricianus 18:19, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
I've thought about this for a long time but haven't had to handle such a case yet. The purpose of the citation subpage is to show use and development over history, which would include the various types of compounds possible in English. But their other purpose is to show that a particular variant is actually used.
At this early stage I'd say it's OK to redirect from one citation page to another, too link them with "See also" or "Alternative spellings", or to link both to a special combined page via either redirects or readable links. We can keep thinking about it and discussing it and finally choose which way works best. Citations pages do not necesarily need to work exactly the same way as article pages of course. — Hippietrail 18:25, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

This is a key question. It will become very important when we start to include a lot of obsolete or historical spellings. Personally I think all forms should link to the same citation page so that it shows a word's development over time. However, where quotes are included on the page itself (and it would be a shame to lose that altogether), I think they should reflect the specific spelling of the namespace. That seems to be the best of both worlds. Widsith 09:11, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

That, indeed, seems to be the most reasonable approach. Perhaps we can elaborate on the differences between quotes on the basic page and quotes on the /Citations subpage. Perhaps the former can serve as a means to attest the word, especially its spelling, and the latter to illustrate usage and give an overall through-time overview of the word, especially its meaning. (Um, this seems to be exactly what you said, right?) — Vildricianus 12:00, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Right! That will really make Wiktionary a very useful resource. We should get an idea of how well it works as the number of quotes on here starts to increase. Widsith 14:01, 21 April 2006 (UTC)


There are two uses of the verb "to escape" used in computing. One is to exit a process (e.g. by pressing the escape key). The other is something to do with using special characters in the middle of text - but I don't know how to define it. I'm sure that someone here does though. SemperBlotto 21:38, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Fixed. --Connel MacKenzie T C 00:40, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

In certain cases in Computer science to escape a character is to take away it's special meaning. In a regular expression a '(' parenthesis is a grouping symbol, if you want the literal symbol you need to 'escape' it by putting a special character, an escape code (which need not be chr27, backslash is common) in front of it. RJFJR 03:00, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

hmmm, that seems to be covered by a verb sense. I added a quote to the talk page. It might belong under escape sequence. RJFJR 03:05, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I said I fixed it, in response to SemperBlotto above. But your quote from the "bible" is very good - it shows I forgot the adjective sense. Thank you. --Connel MacKenzie T C 03:09, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Not directed at any of you, but... God, I hate adjectives with no comparative or superlative form! Davilla 07:36, 23 April 2006 (UTC)


Help! I need lots of it.

  1. Latin scholars. What is the exact meaning of "cabillicare" Is it "to ride"?
  2. Websters defines cavallero as a cavalier or a gallant, as well as a libertine. I don't know if they are using "cavalier" and "gallant" in the positive or negative sense. In consequence, I am very perplexed (although that seems to be my normal state, these days). Andrew massyn 18:36, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
  1. There is no "cabillicare". The late "caballicare", like the classical "equitare", means to ride a horse (they are derived verbs from caballus and equus, both meaning "horse".)
  2. I don't know of any negative sense of the noun cavalier. The word, like caballero, means literally 'horseman' and by extension 'gentleman'. —Muke Tever 21:01, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Muke. Andrew massyn


This seems to be missing the prostitution meaning. Anyone have a good way to word it? --Connel MacKenzie T C 21:51, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I have added my understanding of that meaning (without first-hand experience, you understand). SemperBlotto 21:59, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I meant as a noun, actually, from "one who trawls the avenues." I think I need more research on this one. (Textbook style research, that is!) --Connel MacKenzie T C 22:31, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

yiff (and derivations)

It looks to me like somebody has snuck in a bunch of vanity protlogisms. Can somebody give a second opinion before RFD'ing? — Hippietrail 15:56, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

It does look like nonsense, but then it also exists on Wikipedia, where it has already survived a RfD process. However, since it doesn't seem to have made its way into print yet, our criteria might be stronger. Widsith 16:11, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
There are lots of hits on print.google.com - but for the Middle English word of the same spelling - we should just replace it with that IMHO. — Hippietrail 16:32, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
In situations like this, I prefer the RFV process, not RFD. If we assert that it is not a word in the English language, then WT:RFVA provides a quick justification for deleting it immediately if/when it resurfaces, without adequate print citations. That is, if we honor a term with our RFV process once, the onus of finding print citations shifts to the person re-vandalizing Wiktionary with their bogus terms. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:44, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
Um, "yiff" is almost 15 years old. And I'm certain it has made it into print—at least in the furry presses. And of course it's been on TV several times (the talk page mentions at least one instance.) —Muke Tever 22:50, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
In any case, isn't it remarkably bad form to RFV an entry that already has quotations? If you'd like to contest further senses, use {{rfv-sense}}. —Muke Tever 22:55, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't think it's bad form when all the quotations are from Usenet or websites. — Hippietrail 00:28, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it is, because WT:CFI (as already discussed on WT:RFV#meef) explicitly allows Usenet as valid evidence. —Muke Tever 11:05, 25 April 2006 (UTC)


This should at least be marked as a trademark. Furthermore I have read that Rolls-Royce vigorously enforces this trademark to the point of insisting that it be used only as an adjective. Company literature and employees will never say anything other than "Rolls-Royce motor car" etc. We don't even have a adjective sense here. How to deal with trademarks has come up before. Last time I checked a few dictionaries and many acutally label such entries simply "trademark" rather than any part-of-speech. — Hippietrail 17:13, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

What company literature and employees say is beside the point, as "Rolls-Royce" is almost exclusively a noun in everyday use. It should certainly be marked as a trademark, but the part of speech must be "Noun", whatever the company might say. Incidentally, in "Rolls-Royce motor car", "Rolls-Royce" is still a noun (it is a modifier), not an adjective. Compare "car showroom" - here "car" is still a noun, not an adjective.
I know that companies enforce this by law (for example, according to the Lego company's page about their trademarks on websites, "...LEGO [...] should always be used as an adjective, not as a noun [...] Never say 'MODELS BUILT OF LEGOs'" and should be all in capital letters) but this is not how these terms are commonly used. Wiktionary must reflect actual usage, not company policy. Of course, we can alway refer to company policy in the "Usage notes" section and refer the user to the relevant page. — Paul G 16:25, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Oh I forgot to mention, the reason companies do this is because only adjectives can be trademarked, nouns cannot. This would at least suggest that at the time of trademarking these words were in fact only adjectives and only later did regular people turn them into other parts of speech. This may be why so many dictionaries never mark trademarks as any part of speech. — Hippietrail 16:40, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure you're almost correct, maybe not with the POS exactly, but the example you gave is how they request the TM be used. Davilla 17:07, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
They enforce this BY LAW!?! I would hope not! In fact I've read the courts only care that they make some effort to ensure the preservation of the trademark. As with xerox and genericised citations in the OED dating back 50 years, there doesn't have to be any provable success. It's a stupid criterion to judge trademarks on, IMO, but that's the one they use. Davilla 17:07, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Transcription of the word "Wiktionary"

Unless, of course, one is going for only the British pronunciation of "Wiktionary," one should be sure to include the SAE transcription of the word, with the IPA epsilon between the "n" and the "r." In addition, for IPA purposes, the final I in the word should be lower case, as it is the tense form. If this has already been addressed, or I am completely off base, I do sincerely apologize. Cheers. Sunny.

If you are referring to the image at the top lefthand corner of the page, then yes, this has come up many times before. This is just one UK pronunciation. When you say "epsilon", do you mean /ɛ/ or schwa (/ə/), the vowel in the first and second syllables of "second", respectively? One UK pronunciation has a schwa between the n and r, while US pronunciation has /ɛ/ there.
I think we are stuck with the image as no one has ever come forward to say they will change it. If Sunny's question isn't already in the FAQ, it's probably time we added it. — Paul G 15:53, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Actually you yourself added it to WT:FAQ back in January. :x) —Muke Tever 22:42, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Ah, thanks for that, Muke. I'll update it with anything else I've said here, and then we can refer users to it the next time the question comes up. — Paul G 08:44, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Regarding the final vowel, RP has /ɪ/ (as in "bit") in that position, while most English speakers tend to use /i/ these days, in common with US speakers. Some dictionaries (eg, dictionary.com) use ē (equivalent to IPA /iː/) here as they lack a symbol for the shorter /i/. — Paul G 15:57, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

This issue of discussion is purely stupid since Rolls-Royce is obviously not a trademark, it is a car, and the manufacturer of the Engines of Boeings.


This says it is Greek, but is a transliteration (I forget what we do with those). Anyway, I was wondering if the etymology is similar to that of theology and related words. Any ideas? SemperBlotto 16:14, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

It has been moved. Do we leave redirects in place? —Vildricianus 08:12, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
The quotes I provided with the initial entry indicate that it has been used in English, spelled out in Roman letters. Ergo, the redirect ought to stay as they direct from an actual alternate usage. bd2412 T 19:20, 2 May 2006 (UTC)


Should this article be reformatted as a spelling mistake entry? — Hippietrail 15:50, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

I doubt that anyone accidentally writes "Mejico" for "Mexico" in English, so I would say it isn't a spelling mistake. Perhaps it should be noted as a facetious spelling imitating the Mexican pronunciation of "Mexico", if we have this as an English word at all. — Paul G 09:03, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
This is interesting! Collins Word Exchange actually has an entry for this. It works oddly too. If you search for Mejico you get a page with two entries, if you search for Méjico you get just the first entry. Of the other online dictionaries, Encarta has nothing, M-W (which doesn't allow accents in searches but shows them in headwords) has an entry for Méjico that says "see Mexico", answers.com does its own redirect to "Mexico" that prevents me from knowing whether the AHD has an entry for the Méjico or Mejico spellings. What should we do? — Hippietrail 16:10, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
If it deserves an entry, let's not follow the answers.com or Collins Word Exchange examples on this one. Plenty of see alsos should do the trick. Davilla 19:02, 27 April 2006 (UTC)


Does anybody know if French really uses different capitalization for these different senses? I think it's wrong. — Hippietrail 18:37, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

No, it's OK. I've put Arabe on to a page of its own. Lucky it. Widsith 18:57, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
FWIW, French has an initial capital for the names of nationals but uses lower case for the names of languages and for related adjectives. Hence "Anglais" means "Englishman", but "anglais" means "English" (the language and the adjective). — Paul G 09:05, 26 April 2006 (UTC)


I would like to know the word that describes the use of a mother's maiden name(family name) for the first name of her child?

  • Although this is common in northern England (and elsewhere), I'm not sure if it has a specific name. I have only heard the resulting given name described as derived or transferred from the surname. I shall ask my genealogy friends. SemperBlotto 07:19, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
The word matronymic comes close, but this describes the use of the mother's name for the child's surname. Is that what you are thinking of? (By the way, shouldn't that be "maiden name" in the defintion rather than "given name"?)
(To the original poster: please sign your name using ~~~~ (four tildes) so we know who you are, even if you don't have a username here. Thanks.) — Paul G 09:00, 26 April 2006 (UTC)


Is this an initialism or an acronym? — Vildricianus 18:55, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Abbreviation, I'd say. :-) Although I wouldn't expect to ever hear it pronounced. In the limited situations where short pronunciation might be userful, I think using it as an acronym would be disrespectful. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:29, 11 May 2006 (UTC)


I've been working to rename categories to fit current accepted standards, but I've come across a problem. Although Filipino is one of the two national languages of the Philippines, it does not seem to have a language code, or if it does then I can't find it here or in Wikipedia's Babel. Can someone help? --EncycloPetey 10:31, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Its the same as Tagalog, isn't it? --Dangherous 10:41, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
If that's true, then why isn't Tagalog listed as a synonym? --EncycloPetey
They shouldn't be the same. w:Tagalog language is one of many natural languages of the Philippines whereas w:Filipino language (formerly known as Pilipino) is an artificial standard/official language, supposedly created from all the languages of the Philippines, but largely based on Tagalog more than any other. Tagalog has the ISO 639-1 tag tg and the ISO 639-2 tag tgl. Filipino/Pilipino no ISO 639-1 tag but does have the ISO 639-2 tag fil. Many people are sadly ignorant of the distinction between the two languages and make the mistake of thinking they are synonyms. This may even be the reason ISO had no two-letter tag... — Hippietrail 16:45, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Birds and their capitalization

I've added a whole bunch of derived terms to petrel. Does anybody know whether their capitalization is correct, and if not, whether there is a consistent standard in that? Wikipedia uses names like White-faced Storm-petrel but I've also seen white-faced storm petrel in use. — Vildricianus 21:28, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Google shows every combination except "white-Faced storm-petrel", with and without hyphens. My gut reaction is that all lowercase should be correct - unless Storm turns out to be the surname (common around Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire). SemperBlotto 21:47, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
    • That's what I thought as well but I got distracted by WP again. Thanks. — Vildricianus 21:54, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
      • The use of capitalization, by the way, is an orthographical convention used (in WP and some other places) to indicate that a specific species is being referred to, and that the word is not using whatever common meaning it may have. (e.g. a red fox may be any fox that is red, but a Red Fox is Vulpes vulpes, even one that doesn't happen to be red; notice too that the Latin uses a similar convention, capitalizing the genus). Wouldn't expect the capitalization in a dictionary entry, but then... the whole argument the lower-case activists had for making Wiktionary titles case-sensitive was that a word when capitalized is somehow semantically different enough from its uncapitalized version to require a separate page, and it would be a horrible insult to their silly efforts to ignore this principle :p —Muke Tever 23:27, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
        Should we assume the same is true for other animal names? I ask because this edit changed the case of "giant panda", which my dictionaries have as lower case, to "Giant Panda". Rod (A. Smith) 01:18, 16 June 2006 (UTC)


It is widely reported that the term was coined by Jan Smuts in 1917 in his speech at the Savoy. I have my doubts. I think the policy was set out there, but the word is much later in origin. I have a feeling that Dr Verwoed coined the word, but cannot find the original citation. Does anybody know? Andrew massyn 15:10, 30 April 2006 (UTC) P.S. I have read the speech and the word Apartheid is not there. Andrew massyn

I've no idea whether Jam Smuts coined the word. The earliest English-language quotation in the OED is from 1947 from the Cape Times. There is also one from 1929 but this is in what looks to me to be Dutch (but could possibly be Afrikaans).
Would you be able to put in the quote? I don't think OED will have a problem with that. Andrew massyn 10:33, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
As the word is not in the quotation, I have removed it from the page. It might be of interest, but as it doesn't quote the word, it is not a quotation! — Paul G 10:14, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
I notice that the Wiktionary article says that Smuts' is the earliest usage, but doesn't give a quote. Andrew, have you seen the whole speech? If so, and the word does not appear, then the Wikipedia should be informed and asked to edit their content. I've asked Wikipedia to substantiate their claim. — Paul G 10:24, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes I have read the speech. It does not contain the word. Some time ago, I wrote to our archives to ask when their earliest recorded use of the word was, but didn't get a reply. Andrew massyn 10:33, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
I've added a quote from 1798 USA - from google book search. SemperBlotto 10:26, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
WOW! That then buggers the etymology Andrew massyn 10:33, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
This is incorrectly dated in the article the actual date is 1963.
Wikipedia have replied:
"[...] This quote occurs in a Smuts speech on 27 May 1917 at the Savoy Hotel in London: "Instead of mixing up black and white all over the country, we are now trying to keep them as far apart as possible in government". It's possible Smuts coined the word "apartheid" elsewhere in the speech, but we'd need an actual quote to back up the claim."
Can an 18th-century quote be applicable to the 20th-century policy in South Africa? If not, what does "apartheid" mean in that quote? I'm sure the OED would be very pleased to hear of it too, as they are always looking to antedate examples of usage. — Paul G 09:02, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

From Wikipedia's discussion.

According to Hermann Giliomee's book, "The Afrikaners: Biography of a People" (University of Virginia Press/Tafelberg Publishers, 2003.) the first printed use of the term in its modern sense dates back to 1929. He writes (p 454):

The first printed record of the term 'apartheid', used in its modem sense, dates back to 1929. In addressing a conference of the Free State Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) on missionary work, held in the town of Kroonstad, the Rev.Jan Christoffel du Plessis said: 'In the fundamental idea of our missionary work and not in racial prejudice one must seek an explanation for the spirit of apartheid that has always characterized our [the DRCs] conduct.' He rejected a missions policy that offered blacks no 'independent national future.'
By 'apartheid' Du Plessis meant that the Gospel had to be taught in a way that strength­ened the African 'character, nature and nationality' - in other words, the volkseie (the people's own). Africans had to be uplifted 'on their own terrain, separate and apart.' Blacks and whites had to worship separately to 'ensure the survival of a handful of [Afri­kaner] people cut off from their national ties in Europe.' For Du Plessis it was not so much a matter of protecting privilege or exclusivity than finding a policy that concen­trated on the eie, or that which was one's own, and which promoted what he called the selfsyn, or being oneself. Implicit in this was the view that only identification with one's own ethnic community was authentic. Du Plessis envisaged the development of au­tonomous, self-governing black churches as a counter to English missionaries, who tried to produce converts by copying 'Western civilization and religion.' — HeervanMalpertuis 22:17, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

I shall be putting this as the source for the etymology, and will move this to the discussion page. Andrew massyn 14:29, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Is this the longest word, if a word at all?

I've heard that the word 'Pneumoultramicroscopicsiliconevolcanconiosis' is an English word which is a kind of disease you could get while mining. Can someone please prove this?

The page exists - pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis - but this name for the condition was coined as a contender for the longest word in the English language, not as a real, medical term. Jivlain 00:23, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

May 2006


The Collaboration of the week are the words wire and its inflections derivatives wiring, wired, wirer, wirily, and wiriness. Davilla 21:16, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

And wiry. Davilla 18:53, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

fulfil, fulfill, and their derivatives

I was helping my daughter with her homework, and we were considerably confused over the UK/US spelling variants of fulfil/fulfill, and the various derived terms. I did a bit to clean up these two entries, but would be pleased if others would pass an eye over the entries as it was so confusing.--Richardb 12:58, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Also, there is plenty of scope for improvement - pron, ety, more definitions (which may or may not be common across the two spellings)

I've expanded them both a fair bit. I never realised there was a spelling difference before... Widsith 14:10, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

You might be surprised... UK English has a single l in several words where US English has double l: "fulfil", "instal" (despite the influence of "install" in computing senses), "instil" come to mind, and there are probably one or two others as well that I don't recall at the moment. — Paul G 09:00, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
[9]. — Vildricianus 16:05, 12 June 2006 (UTC)


Anyone care to have a stab at adding to this one. There a lot of subtly different meanings that need Thesaurus lists. It's a bit of a test of if WikiSaurus really is going to work for us, ow we might need to refine it.--Richardb 15:15, 6 May 2006 (UTC)


The verb section lists six separate meanings, but it seems to me there should really be only three, right? --Connel MacKenzie T C 21:49, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

I can see how 2 (To construct in words.) and 5 (To establish a context for understanding or interpretation.) might be combined, but I'm at a loss to see what other definitions you think might be the same. What I see are (1) to construct a physical support structure, (3) to crop an image visually, (4) to make seem guilty, (6) to place within a picture frame. Could you elaborate on which of these you think belong together? --EncycloPetey 17:09, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
They could be merged to some degree, but not that completely IMO. Yes, "to add a decorative border to a painting or photograph" is a special case of "to position visually within a fixed boundary", so it's an open question how to handle these. The problem is it might also be considered a special case of "to put together the structural elements", but the examples of making houses and movies would be too broadly brushed under one definition.
The example of framing the question is a poor one under the definition "to construct in words", that is, to phrase. To frame the question means "to establish the context for understanding or interpretation". However, I'm not so sure that frame and phrase are synonymous except figuratively. In other words, "to construct in words" may not be the ideal definition to use.
That comes out to as few as four and as many as the existing six definitions, depending. Davilla 17:17, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
Framing a scene in a movie is a cinematography issue, involving the placement of a camera, actors, and props, as well as the choice of lens and lighting. Framing a painting is a carpentry issue, involving a choice of texture, color, and whether or not to place protective glass within the picture frame. Given the vast difference between tools and procedures, as well as the result, I would keep the two senses separate. They are likely to be different in other languages. --EncycloPetey 17:26, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Sense 5 (establish a context for) is a misunderstanding as far as I'm concerned. You can frame an argument, a question, an apology etc....the sense is of putting it together, coming up with, shaping. OED gives this sense as ‘devise, compose, conceive’. Widsith 17:34, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

But constructing an argument in words, or devising, composing, conceiving an argument, isn't the same as framing essentially the discussion of the arguments. The first just means phrasing a simple question etc., as participation in a discussion or what have you. The latter means establishing the way in which something is viewed in the first place, e.g. the merits by which the arguments of a discussion are weighed. There would be a difference, for instance, in asking, "Can these definitions be safely combined?", and "Would it be beneficial to combine these definitions?" The focus is either on the language or the users. The first also implies that the definitions should be combined if they can be. If that aspect were overlooked, then Connel, had he originally written the question that way, would have successfully framed not just his own question, but the entire debate. Now Connel may have a lot of weight here, but I doubt it's that supreme. The media, on the other hand, does have the power, collectively, to frame public discourse, just in its selection of which stories are newsworthy, or in the way it analyzes a problem, even if the opinions themselves are balanced. Hence the less liberal the media, the more it can be employed as an instrument of control. That's a bit of a stretch from "choice of words". Davilla 18:10, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
I'd argue the point about me having a lot of weight here. :-)   --Connel MacKenzie T C 20:44, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Lists of derivations from affixes

I saw Connel moved -ize/Derived terms to Appendix:-ize (derived terms). I don't completely agree here, as most suffixes have their derivations listed on the page itself. For -ize, that would be overkill, which is why I moved it to a subpage. However, it's not a bad idea to have them in an Appendix – arguably it's even a better idea – but then we should do the same for all such derivations. Open to interpretation is a) whether they belong in any Derived/Related terms section, and b) how useful they are for the average user looking up an entry. Therefore, concentrating such lists in an Appendix section is perhaps worth considering. —Vildricianus | t | 12:25, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

I would say it's arguable whether such terms are really ‘derived’ from -ize at all. Rather, -ize is a suffix which forms derivations of other words. Widsith 13:59, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
In this case, the bigger picture is, these really can't be all that useful. Davilla 16:57, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
Why not? There's really no argument against them. —Vildricianus | t | 15:56, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Are you going to do a list of derived terms from the plural suffix -s? :) Widsith 16:01, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Smiley noted, but of course -s isn't a derivative suffix, it's an inflection. The distinction might be important to this issue. —Muke Tever 00:08, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay, -er then? Davilla 20:23, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Sure. Actually I put all Webster 1913's derivatives of -ess in la:-ess. —Muke Tever 00:37, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Relevance? This clearly illustrates a lacking concept of scale. I've never heard of a "pencil sharpeness" or a "temperature controlless" or a thousand other words where -er is appropriate. Plus you'd have to consider all the shorter comparative adjectives, unless that's an infection too.
But who am I to say? There must be at least a couple of applications where it would be useful to have an Appendix:List of probably a third to a quarter of the verbs in the English language.
On the other hand, I would find a list of words ending in "ize" that didn't derive from the suffix to be somewhat more intersting. And probably not nearly as big. Davilla 17:08, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, comparison is an inflection. And while you may not have heard of a 'pencil sharpeness', a non-native speaker who's heard -ess is the feminine of -er may easily produce 'pencil sharpeness' if the item is feminine in their language. At any rate, if the -er list is truly that huge (keeping in mind WT:CFI#Attestation vs. the slippery slope) it could always be moved to a subpage or appendix, as Wikipedia does with long subsections of standardly–laid-out pages ("History of Peru"). —Muke Tever 23:07, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I can't accept this distinction. Many words in English are inflected by means of suffixes. Widsith 09:24, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Oh, sorry if I jumped the gun there. "Lists of..." I thought belong in the Appendix, not the main namespace. Did I do something wrong? --Connel MacKenzie T C 20:34, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Not at all. In fact, I like the idea of having these as an Appendix: instead of having them listed under "Derived" or "Related terms", which is, as Widsith pointed out, not entirely accurate.
Whether such lists are relevant (certainly the bigger ones like -ize, -er, -ness, -less, -able, -ible etc), is disputable of course, but then, Wiki is not paper. I'm fond of morphology and I think Wiktionary is the one place to have such lists. —Vildricianus 16:15, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Italian vulgarisms

How do you spell "van coolo!", the popular Italian vulgarity? There's gotta be someone here wth knowledge of Italian w*@*@s. --Dangherous 13:31, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Translations of the week

1 bed
2 gold
3 hand

That's this week's batch. Come one everyone – by this time next week I want to be able to order a hand-made gold bed anywhere from here to Timbuktoo. Widsith 18:12, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Hehe. I saw your spelling of Timbuktu, and got worried that I'd spelled it wrong for years. Widith, I don't think I've ever seen you make a minor error before now! (Thank goodness, I'm not the only one that makes human errors.) --Connel MacKenzie T C 15:34, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Ha! Well it certainly wouldn't be my first, but in fact it's a common enough spelling: see Timbuktoo. I've also seen Timbuctoo quite a lot as well. Widsith 15:53, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
It's not so much an error as an older standard, I believe, from the same age that brought us Hindoo. —Muke Tever 23:31, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, Widsith is into old and archaic stuff, so he was pretty consistent there :-P —Vildricianus | t | 15:54, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Verily, thou hast a point. Widsith 18:44, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Some of the translations of happy birthday have initial capitals, which are probably unnecessary. I've changed German and checktrans'd the rest. — Paul G 08:52, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Etymology of Chinese Kanji

I am interested in for example kanji "仌" the etymology of it. I am japanese archaeologist but also interdsciplinary interest for origin of kanji hierographical matter. I also interested in link between ancient ritual activity and kanji in japan and china. The person like me is suitable to take part in Wiktionary ? Someone can give me a advice for me ? Kazuo Ueno, 9/5/06

Yes, we would appreciate your help with etymology of kanji. Most kanji entries should show etymology. 仌 looks like two radicals, but it would be interesting for the entry to show its evolution through the Chinese dynasties as seal characters, bronze characters, etc. Please register an account so we can more easily discuss the topic. Rodasmith 17:03, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Spain Castile

The Collaboration of the week are Spain, Castile, Catalonia and their derivatives. Davilla 20:02, 10 May 2006 (UTC)


This is my first attempt at a Wiktionary word. Could I get some feedback? My IPA is a bit rusty (been awhile since I minored in college,) so could someone familiar with the word look it over and let me know if it's up to Wiktionary snuff? Honestly, the Entry layout explained page is a bit daunting for a noob. Thanks! Caulfield14 20:29, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Nice word, decent entry. We normally put IPA in slashes here rather than square brackets, and a decision was taken to use /r/ rather than /ɹ/. Apart from that it was fine; have a look at the minor formatting changes I made. I also added a citation, which is always an asset for an obscure word. Widsith 15:56, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Armada and Sakes

I've redirected these from the cap to the lowercase, but in retrospect was wondering if there is a separate meaning for these terms as capitalized - is there a particular armada known as "the" Armada? And should sakes be capitalized when used as a religious interjection, (Sakes!). bd2412 T 03:55, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes. No. Widsith 16:03, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks (and for doing the Armada entry). Cheers! bd2412 T 17:54, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

pluralia tantum

As per template:pluralonly, when is the plural of a word considered pluralia tantum? Pants, the clothing, I understand to be different from pant, the material, but are wheels different from a wheel, rocks from a rock, etc.? Davilla 15:43, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Pluralia tantum would be words with senses that only appear in the plural (and that wouldn't be expected from the singular). Latin (where the term originated) had the same dilemma, e.g. with littera ‘letter, letteral’, and its plural ‘litterae’ also meaning ‘letter, epistle.’ I should mark as plurale tantum any sense of ‘Xes’ that do all of the following:
  1. The sense does not apply when used in the singular. Ex. jeans are an article of clothing, but jean is not.
  2. If the word has a singular form X, the sense does not have the literal meaning of ‘many or all Xes.’ Ex. wheels ‘car’ does not mean ‘many wheels’ or ‘all wheels’ or even (arguably) ‘four wheels.’
  3. If the item denoted can conceivably represent a group of objects, the sense has not yet produced a singular in the standard language by back-formation. Ex. scissor ‘one blade of a pair of scissors,’ which (I think) is still somewhat informal, but if it were to become standard, scissors could no longer be marked plurale tantum.
  4. The sense takes plural agreement—that is, it has to be grammatically plural, not just plural in form. Ex. Athens, whose -s is a plural marker (the name being plural in ancient Greek and Latin), no longer construes as a plural noun; on the other hand, trousers takes a plural verb.
A ‘new’ plurale tantum is probably going to have a sense something like ‘a particular kind of group of Xes or X-like objects, or its related apparatus.’ (I should think rocks ‘testicles’ and wheels ‘car’ fall under this.) —Muke Tever 01:20, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, well sense 3 is the most important one here for me. No one would look up scissor. But you might look up rock to understand an idiomatic use of rocks. That is why I feel a bit uneasy that rocks = testicles and wheels = car have been removed from the singular pages. Widsith 09:17, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Ah. Well, without a coherent policy on what deserves entries and what doesn't, I'm sure the question remains open. Personally with the singulars rock and wheel existing, I wouldn't give rocks and wheels anything that could be mistaken for entries at all (cf.). But that doesn't happen on en: :p —Muke Tever 22:18, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

And what about words that are usually but not always plural? I would think the curves of a woman should be under the plural, but curve claims that it can sometimes be singular. Davilla 18:49, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

When I made that error, I don't think we had as clear a recommendation on what a plural entry should look like - we certainly didn't have this category yet. Please feel free to correct it. --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:20, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Well that might be a bad example then, but I've seen others that are legit. Could anyone help exemplify my point? Davilla 20:20, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Like organs ‘internal body parts’ (well, at least in Latin, viscera), or oats possibly? —Muke Tever 22:58, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, like that. Someone thought oats was common enough that they translated it into Chinese, although Chinese doesn't even have plural forms! Davilla 18:13, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

but is it art?

I dont think it should be here, but the quote was just sooo good!

"When the flush of a new-born sun fell first on Eden's green and gold,
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mould;
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, "It's pretty, but is it Art?"

from Rudyard Kipling's The Conundrum of the Workshops Andrew massyn 19:08, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Maybe a page so titled doesn't deserve an entry in Wikipedia either, but I'm sure there must be treatment of this subject somewhere on that site. Davilla 12:31, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I'll sneak it in under rude. Andrew massyn 19:34, 14 May 2006 (UTC).
Hmmm... okay, but don't expect that to preserve it, you know, in full for all time. Davilla 20:17, 15 May 2006 (UTC)


Why doesn't this template generate redlinks for plurals any more? 05:17, May 14, 2006 SemperBlotto

It seems to work for me, looking at {{en-noun-reg}}. --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:22, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Corrected {{new en basic}}. --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:36, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, that was my fault. I accidentally removed the link when I enabled the optional "singular" and "plural" parameters to allow links like in "sun room". Fixed. Rod (A. Smith) 22:12, 15 May 2006 (UTC)


Perhaps, like me, you have found yourself needing to wish ‘happy birthday’ to a mastiff in Antananarivo – yet inexplicably, such expressions are absent from many leading-brand phrasebooks. Worry no longer, because this week's ToW will doubtless draw a huge response and get you out of another potentially embarrassing situation. Widsith 10:59, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

1 even


Currently: oedipal redirects to Oedipal. Should this be at the capital? JillianE 16:37, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Google Book search suggests use of oedipal vs Oedipal depends on one's editor. Of course, since this is a casing wiktionary, both entries must exist, separately, as a matter of the same policy that implemented casing... —Muke Tever 23:22, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, we fixed that. If one capitalization form exists and the other doesn't, and someone tries to reach the wrong one, the "Wiktionary does not have an entry for this word" message now provides a nice link to the other. (See cypriot and Cypriot for an example.) So we don't need to enter explicit other-case redirects for every word in the dictionary any more. See Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Redirects from lower to uppercase for the whole (long) story. —Scs 01:28, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, that new feature hasn't stood the test of time, in just a couple days. But I don't think that is what Muke was talking about at all. Muke was suggesting there are valid times to not capitalize the term. Therefore, on en.wiktionary, we "should" have two separate entries. I'm unclear on this rule; I thought adjectives attributed to Proper nouns were always caliptalized? --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:35, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. The idea is not that there should be a redirect from one form to another, but that there should be separate articles for both — under the same policy that says all spellings of a word get their own entries, and that there shouldn't be redirects from one spelling to another. —Muke Tever 22:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, good point. The impression I get (though I haven't researched it) is that it's at least something of a stylistic issue; different style guides may differ. It's also a marker of the extent that a name has turned into a generic word, based on how many or few people still remember the name. Boolean/boolean, Byzantine/byzantine, Baroque/baroque, Gothic/gothic, the list goes on... (And, hey, how about those Vandals? :-) ) —Scs 20:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Disputed names for polygons with large numbers of sides

Wikipedia has a number of (very short) articles for polygons with large numbers of sides. I would define these myself or put them in "Requested articles", but I'm doubtful whether they exist.

For example, chiliagon features in some other dictionaries, but this term would never be used in mathematics. For polygons with more than about 12 sides, mathematicians tend to use n-gon, where n is the number of sides. So a chiliagon would be referred to as a 1000-gon, for example.

Can anyone find evidence for the actual existence of the following terms? By actual existence, I mean in used, rather than in Wikipedia, other encyclopedias, Mathworld, mathematical dictionaries, standard dictionaries and "lists of interesting words"?

Paul G 10:33, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Made a stab at some - more later. SemperBlotto 11:41, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

I have added a couple more. Although chiliagon and myriagon aren't used much by mathematicians any more, they seem to be used quite a lot still (apparently after Descartes) in Philosophy and general thought exercises. Widsith 13:13, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

So, silly question, I'm assuming from Paul's statement that 1000-gon isn't pronounced "chiliagon" as etymology would have it... how is it then to be pronounced? kilo-gon? thousand-gon? one-thousand-gon? a-thousand-gon? mille-gon? —Muke Tever 12:54, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your research, SemperBlotto.
"1000-gon" is pronounced as written: "thousand-gon" (although I can't attest to whether the suffix is pronounced like the word "gone" or with a schwa for its vowel; maybe this varies depending which side of the Atlantic you are on, as I know those in the US prefer the "gone" pronunciation while in the UK we tend to use /g@n/. It's not "a thousand gon" because of course mathematicians use it in sentences like "Let X be a 1000-gon", but this might allow for the pronunciation as "one thousand gon". — Paul G 10:12, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Hey, I would think that the pronunciation of any polygon with more than about a hundred sides would be /ˈsɜɻ.kəl/. :-) —Scs 20:06, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Only in computer graphics, of course... :) — Paul G 09:23, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

"I'll tell the world!"

In my usage, this is an interjection meaning emphatic agreement, with a specific sort of implication along the lines of of, "Oh, did you just discover that not-so-obvious truth, too? I've been meaning to shout it from the rooftops for a while now..."

But someone just questioned me on if it, and a google search doesn't back me up. Has anyone else heard this usage? Or is it some specific regional thing I picked up from my father? —Scs 22:52, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Where are you from? In the U.S., I’ve never heard or seen this before, or anything similar. Perhaps it’s British or South African. —Stephen 14:28, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
This sounds very familiar to me, but perhaps a regional US expression? --Connel MacKenzie T C 14:54, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps, but we may never know. I asked my dad about it, and he figures he picked it up as a kid growing up in the Detroit/Dearborn Michigan area, but neither of us has any more details. So for now it stays an idle curiosity in my head, unless I happen to come across any actual citations. —Scs 19:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I've heard this phrase used this way in the Midwestern US. Mostly in Missouri, but most of those I've heard use it were from the Illinois, Indiana, Ohio area. I believe I've also seen it on television, though I couldn't guess which show or movie.-- 20:06, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I think I've heard it on TV (probably on a program of US origin, possibly Roseanne) too. --Enginear 18:57, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

class act

This could use some improvement. --Connel MacKenzie T C 14:38, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Attempted -- see what you think. (It still might be missing something, e.g. an implication that the person might be "classy" in spite of the fact that, just underneath, there's more than a hint of disrepute, e.g. when speaking of a porn star who's a real class act.) —Scs 16:28, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Much better, thank you. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:37, 22 May 2006 (UTC)


Is it standard usage for plus to be a conjunction meaning and? (Someone said last night, lamenting the poor grammar of the world, that dictionaries were only beginning to include this sense, does it need a usage note?)

But that leads to the second sense of that POS:

one plus one is two

Is that really using plus as a conjunction? And if it is a conjunction should it be is two or are two? RJFJR 15:52, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Using plus as a conjunction = and is fairly common, especially in the States and not really considered colloquial any more. It is in quite a few dictionaries, my sOED and Collins both have it. As for ‘one plus one equals two’, plus functions there as a preposition. The grammatical number of the verb varies and I don't believe one is more correct than the other. Widsith 16:50, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Edit: I see that the plus article doesn't have a preposition section. The page needs some cleanup. Widsith 16:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I was always under the impression that terms for mathematical functions like "plus" (a reading for "+", the symbol for the addition function), "times" (a reading for "×", the symbol for the multiplication function), and "xor" (a reading for "", the symbol for the disjoint union function) can be used in two ways: (a) as a reading of the corresponding symbol in a mathematical equation or (b) as a conjunction in a traditional English sentence that is similar in meaning to a mathematical equation. When used as the reading of the corresponding symbol in a mathematical equation, the reading of "=" is "equals" or "is". When reading the terms as conjunctions, the standard rules for subject-verb agreement apply. Rod (A. Smith) 21:03, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, if I knew nothing about English grammar, I would guess it's a coverb in this use rather than any of the others. But that's kind of a radical opinion, especially considering that it isn't a verb in the first place! But consider "modulo" which is a preposition in "1≡8 (mod 3)" and more of an actor (verbesque) in "int i=8%3". Davilla 20:33, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
As to numbers as they pertain to the "number" of the verb, these generally take is. Must have read this in AHD but I can't find it at the moment. I'd guess you're right about the use as a conjunction. Davilla 21:06, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I think you're right – but you make it sound as though the maths symbols predate the words! In fact plus was used in this way (prepositionally) long before + became commonly used....the standard abbreviation before that was P. Widsith 21:09, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Actually, AHD seems to be in the minority here. All the other dictionaries give the most common senses as preposition which is what I thought, at least one gives no conjunction senses but most give it for the sense that means and. AHD does give the most usual senses the label conjunction but it would seem wrong for a wiki to follow a single source over several others - especially without noting it. — Hippietrail 21:18, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

foy est tout

A misspelling of foi est tout? --Dangherous 17:46, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Yes. I'll delete it. Even the correct spelling doesn't seem to be idiomatic. SemperBlotto 07:36, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Redirect Pinyin?

  • By the way, this belongs on WT:BP, as it deals with a group of words, (a rather large one, at that!) rathen than with one single entry. --Connel MacKenzie T C 08:08, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
So moved. Davilla 16:46, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

aan het

I see a "POS" heading has been added, infix, but the definition of that term specifically mentions added morphemes. This is actually a fixed grammatical formula consisting of multiple words, nothing to do with morphemes. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't have a POS as we generally think of them - the best I can think of is particle but I'm not sure if particles can consist of multiple terms. Collins and Encarta agree that an infix is a type of affix, not a type of word or phrase.

Though particle may or may not be correct, it's surely not as wrong as infix so I'm going ahead and changing it but please continue discussion here.

BTW, I'm more and more forming an opinion that much of our format, including POS is too rigid and will need to be improved sooner or later. — Hippietrail 17:24, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

My, that sounds ominous. --Connel MacKenzie T C 20:03, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Basically I think we need to re-think our heading structure and adopt something more like what real dictionaries use. They don't use POS as a heading but rather as a marker at the sense level. If we do that we can make POS optional or much deemphasize it at least. We'd be better off with a structure that indicates what an entry is in relation to Wiktionary rather than in relation to a language. I think the way answers.com splits up a page by type of entry/article is a good one. It can have an encyclopedia entry, a regular dictionary entry, an idiom dictionary entry, an acronym dictionary entry all in one page nicely indicating which bits are which. — Hippietrail 20:20, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh, that's what you were getting at. I strongly agree. But you and I may be in the minority, in this regard. --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:18, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
You know about WiktionaryZ, right? –Scs 18:12, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Yeah. It's somebody else's project which has different goals. I have an open mind about it but have many times expressed concerns to its developer who usually doesn't grok what I'm saying. The stuff he has demonstrated so far seems to show that my concerns are real. Anyway there's not much use in our doing nothing at all while we wait for it to be ready. If he comes up with good stuff and we come up with good stuff it can surely all be put together some day in the future. For now though I want to develop my own ideas without waiting on an unrelated project. — Hippietrail 19:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough (and I tend to agree); I just wanted to make sure you were aware of it and its ideas. –Scs 20:22, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Just to follow up, particles seem not to specifically be restricted to single words. AHD defines them as uninflected items and M-W as units of speech. — Hippietrail 17:36, 23 May 2006 (UTC)


In my very recent experience, the definitions are wrong. In my accumulated 2 years traveling around much of Mexico south of Mexico City I've never seen any shop with a sign saying "abarrotería". However in Guatemala they are common but they are general stores as the Mexico def here says. They are also general stores in El Salvador and Honduras but I haven't seen any in Nicaragua or Costa Rica at all. In all countries I know a hardware store is always a ferretería and never an abarrotería. — Hippietrail 19:23, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, well I put the regional tags on here as given in my Collins. I lived and worked in S America for a long time and never heard the word used at all, so I can't really comment further. But, if you know better and you're out there now, you may as well go ahead and change it. Widsith 19:26, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
This is tricky. We need a way to tag each sense etc with a reference such as which dictionary says so or who knows from experience. — Hippietrail 19:50, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Grammatical ellipsis

I just made this edit to "English", but now I have second thoughts. I think that What's the English for... uses grammatical ellipsis of the word term, phrase or expression, i.e. that it's short for What's the English term for.... However, I notice that our own entry for ellipsis as of yet lacks the grammatical sense (which I'll add in a minute) and "English" shows "the English-language term or expression for something" as a subsense of "with reference to the language", implying that there is no ellipsis in such phrases.

Thoughts? Rod (A. Smith) 01:39, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, it depends...you could parse the sentence as having grammatical ellipsis of a noun, but equally you could see English as a noun in itself, having in this case a specific sense. This is really just an example of the very common process by which adjectives become used substantively, e.g. ‘three of the wounded [people] later died’, ‘which is the biggest [one]?’ etc etc. Once this starts happening it isn't really usual to talk about grammatical ellipsis; you wouldn't expect a Usage Note to say that ‘an American’ means originally ‘an American [person]’, for instance. Widsith 06:50, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for that clarification, and thanks, to you and Davilla for cleaning up the mess I left there. Rod (A. Smith) 23:02, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Absolute superlative

Does anyone know the difference between an absolute superlative and an elative? And which european languages have which? I have two greek grammars (one english and on danish) that contradict each other concerning what the greek fourth grade is. Mackridge et al states that greek is the only language that has an absolute superlative, Engberg states that greek has an elative.

The Absolute superlative side states that Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan has an absolute superlative form, but is this the same as the greek absolute superlative, if we accept it as such? I am just confused, hope someone can clarify this for me. Ptalatas 04:24, 27 May 2006 (UTC)


I've introduced a second sense, but on reviewing that, I'm not sure it's accurate. Second opinion? —Vildricianus 21:44, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

The two senses look the same to me. Ptalatas 23:37, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
The meaning is the same. The only difference is the pattern: seem adjective, seem noun (archaic), seem like noun, seem to verb, seem clause. Poetically I think there are also some inverted sentences where the subject is a second object. Anyways these could be verified. Davilla 12:46, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

From WT:BP. —Vildricianus 19:55, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

How can there be translations for a translingual symbol? 19:17, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Good question. But I do know that Spanish uses instead the pair m and f. It could be that our concept of Translingual is imperfect - does it mean across all languages, across all languages in the latin script, or used by severla languages? — Hippietrail 19:29, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it's important to translate the various abbreviations for number. It varies widely across languages. —Vildricianus 21:26, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Maybe this one should really be labeled English then. By the way, the Russian seems to be a translation for "number" rather than for the abbreviation. Davilla 18:23, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually it's not clear - is № really an English or Translingual sign? Doesn't the English just use nr.? It's certainly the Russian standard to use it as the abbreviation of номер - the second translation given is for the "number sign". Perhaps the latter should be in the Russian section only. —Vildricianus 20:32, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with "nr." at all. Just "no." etc., e.g. w:No. 4. But then, I wasn't familiar with either-- is número, sure, but what's the other? "númera" ?—Muke Tever 21:38, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Oops! is surenly a brain fart by me, overextending from º and ª in stuff like 1º and 1ª for primero and primera. Sorry. — Hippietrail 19:32, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
In English, the symbol is quite rare, and No. is almost always used instead. Likewise, Spanish uses núm. or , and it’s like that for a majority of languages. It’s different in Russian, however...Russian never uses anything like No., but almost always the symbol . Even the poorest manual Russian typewriter of the early 20th century included the symbol, usually on the 4 key. —Stephen 21:49, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, in my default font is displaying as No.. w:Numero sign indicates that this No. is the normal representation in typography that doesn't have/use a fancy glyph. —Muke Tever 01:03, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
That's a font bug then (if you're talking about cyrillic, that is). The sign is still included everywhere in fonts that are meant to display cyrillic properly, and also in all keyboard settings for cyrillic. — Vildricianus 22:54, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Wonderful discussion, but no one has edited the page. I'm going to chop it up now. Davilla 13:03, 5 June 2006 (UTC)


Last week's were a big success: [10], [11], [12]. Let's try to keep it up! —Vildricianus 21:25, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

1 people
2 drink
3 dawn


In igloo, it claimes to have "Eskimo derivation". I always thought that Eskimo was kinda pejorative - should this be renamed sth like "Inuktitut derivations" (or however it is spelt)? --Newnoise (Shout louder) 11:26, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Inuit or Innuit. Davilla 18:21, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
No, Newnoise is correct, the phrase ought to be "Inuktitut derivation", as Inuktitut is the language, whereas Inuit is the plural of Inuk (to mean people and person, respectively); exempli gratia: one would not say "Spaniard derivation". Doremítzwr 01:39, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

put forward

How is put forward an Irregular verb phrases? --Newnoise (Shout louder) 11:49, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Ncik's spielerei. I think it's ridiculous; I've never heard anyone speak of an irregular verb phrase or an irregular phrasal verb. Just because they're derived from an irregular verb is no reason to start categorizing them that way. They should be listed in the Derived terms of the relevant irregular verb, in this case put, and that's it. —Vildricianus 14:33, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

"on how" vs. "in how"

I am having trouble with a sentence.

My gut tells me that this is correct: "Students receive instruction on how to schedule appointments." This seems wrong: "Students receive instruction in how to schedule appointments."

I don't the rules behind this, do you?


  • I have tried to find some rules for this but I haven't had much luck. Doing a quick search on Google though for "instruction on how" and "instruction in how" shows that both phrases are interchangeable as far as everyday use is concerned. This is probably the result of either regional dialects or purely personal choice. I'd suggest that you stick with whichever one sounds right to you, as I can't find any reason to discount either phrasing. Road Wizard 19:13, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
    • An update on my last post; I am now finding instances where both phrases are used on the same page, in the same context, with the same verb. This lends weight to the idea that it is all down to personal choice - at least as far as common useage is concerned. Road Wizard 19:27, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
They are both OK. In English you can have instruction in or on something. Widsith 07:32, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
While yes, they are both OK, I always thought that "on" was used when referring to a specific individual thing, or a finite set of individual things. But "in" was used when referring to a classification.
"His studies on mathematics" (referring individual studies that "he" authored.)
"His studies in mathematics" (referring to classes that "he" attended on the subject of mathematics.)
In the example the original anon posted put forth, "in" would sound very wrong to me. --Connel MacKenzie T C 17:40, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Do we have on how to and in how to entries? Should we? --Connel MacKenzie T C 15:55, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
No, I don't think we should, because "in how to" and "on how to" are not set phrases. Other prepositions could come before "how to"; for example: "I am learning about how to write a book". If anything, the set phrase is "how to", or, more likely, there is no set phrase at all, as the "to" is part of the infinitive that follows. Note that "how to" is not used in phrases like "Do you know how cheese is made?" (compare "Do you know how to make cheese?") and "Do you know how one must address the judge?" ("to" not being part of the the infinitive "must"). — Paul G 18:13, 11 June 2006 (UTC)


There seems to be some inconsistency with lifesize, life-size and life-sized. What is the best way to say that the recommend spelling is the hyphenated version? --Connel MacKenzie T C 17:29, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, you could label the others as (colloquial). But recommended by whom? Widsith 17:32, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
That, good sir, is the rub. --Connel MacKenzie T C 17:43, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
To answer Connel's question:
Create a page for the recommended version, listing the others as a third-level header before the POS header, thus:
===Forms and variants===
  • a, b, c
Create pages for the alternative forms, making each one a simple cross-reference to the main form.
Forget "colloquial" - they are just variants and have the same register as the other spellings.
In any case, who says "life-size" is the "correct" spelling? — Paul G 14:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, lifesize gets the magic red squiggle when I spell-check it. Also, doesn't WT:ELE say that the heading should be ===Alternative forms===? --Connel MacKenzie 21:43, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

June 2006


I'm not sure the wiktionary term for this sort of thing, but recently someone added a definition to insanity that says: "trying to solve problems, expecting different results, using the exact same methods..."

While this is sometimes considered insane, it is not a definitive meaning of insanity.

--Versageek 23:14, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

There's actually a famous quote that goes around saying that that is the definition of insanity. Picturesque as it may be, it doesn't add anything to the ordinary definition. —Muke Tever 00:54, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Sounds to me more like a quote than a definition of a sense. RJFJR 14:21, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Great, but nobody edited the page. Generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Davilla 17:43, 8 June 2006 (UTC)


From WT:ID Road Wizard 07:20, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

What does the word "diagetic" mean? It may be used in a musical context. -- asked by

I found a definition (for film) at http://www.filmsound.org/terminology/diegetic.htm -- 01:09, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
I can't find any reference to the word in any published dictionary I have available, but several online sources agree with the definition above. There appear to be two alternative spellings, diegetic and diagetic, though the word appears to stem from diegesis. If nobody gets around to it before hand, I will set up new entries for the two sometime this weekend. Road Wizard 06:36, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
We probably need new entries for diegetic, diagetic, diegetic music, diagetic music, non-diegetic music and non-diagetic music. Road Wizard 07:20, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
The non-di(a/e)getic entries don't seem necessary. RJFJR 14:20, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

mirror-inverted and mirror-reversed

Are these words synonyms? Do most native speakers understand their meanings? "mirror-inverted" has less than 1000 Google hits. This word is suggested by some dictionaries for the German word "spiegelverkehrt", which means literally "mirror wrong". Is there also a wrongness implied in "mirror-inverted" (more than in "mirror-reversed")? Sometimes you can say, an image is right and its mirror image is wrong. E.g. the mirror image of "Z" is wrong in the sense that it has no meaning, at least not in latin alphabets. In other cases image and mirror image are essentially equal. E.g. I cannot decide which of my hands is right and which is wrong, only right and left. In German there is also a neutral version, "spiegelbildlich" (literally "mirror image like").--Gazmo 00:35, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

I think that mirror reversed is synonymous with mirror image, while mirror inverted means the image is vertical flipped, probably specific to optics applications (i.e. telescopes.) --Connel MacKenzie T C 17:25, 4 June 2006 (UTC)


What part of speech is deceased in a deceased estate? I first thought it was an adjective, but I'm not so sure. Surely the deceased relates to the (implied) dead people, and not to the estate. Andrew massyn 18:26, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Could you give the full example sentence, please? --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:07, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
"The executor wound up the deceased estate of Mrs Smith."
"An executor's commission for winding up deceased estates is 3.5%" Andrew massyn 19:14, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Shouldn't it be deceased's estate ? — Vildricianus 22:01, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
No, deceased estate is the correct term for the estate of a deceased person - I am unsure of the part of speech of "deceased" but my guess is noun. SemperBlotto 22:11, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Is it a noun phrase then? — Vildricianus 22:17, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
I expect adjective. My SOED tells me that deceased as adjective can also mean "belonging to the dead". — Vildricianus 22:21, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks I will add that to the word. Andrew massyn 18:43, 4 June 2006 (UTC)


This seems to be another primetimeism, in particular, the Usage note. I'm having difficulty tracking the exact copyvio down though - help is appreciated researching this. The suspected sockpuppet has been blocked indefinitely as a precaution, while this is investigated (haven't found a Steward yet to do the checkuser.) --Connel MacKenzie T C 02:10, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Hey waitasec. There is also de:Benutzer:Beobach972. Are you really sure this is Primetime? — Vildricianus 10:32, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Unblocked, for now. Still haven't caught a Steward. --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:45, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Hi there. I just now noticed this discussion (I must say, I didn't even notice I'd ever been blocked.) PS: for the benefit of anyone else reading this and being as confused as I was as to what on earth a sock puppet is - click and get the definition. Beobach972 19:42, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
A Steward confirmed that you are correct. This was no sock puppet, perhaps a good faith effort. --Connel MacKenzie T C 15:53, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
OK. — Vildricianus 20:05, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
In retrospect, yes it was political, though I only intended to clarify for the purpose of helping people avoid rather embarassing mistakes in translation. I think I've a better understanding of NPOV now, though -- and whatever is posted is checked and neutralised by the community to keep the world in line, anyway. By the way (about a week prior to noticing this discussion here) I put back in the most important info in the Usage notes (id est, the caution on translation because, as I found out on the German wiktionary when I tried to enter an entry for sodomy as 'anal sex', Germans don't understand that meaning except as an archaicism; so it's a false friend in translation). So if you want to take that back out...? Beobach972 19:42, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Of course 9/10ths of that usage note is horribly wrong, as there was no English for this word to even be in in the time periods described. —Muke Tever 00:14, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
I must say I'm a bit confused by that comment ... it'd have been Old/Middle English, but it's not like the English language didn't exist. The entry for Sodom itself has Old English. Beobach972 19:42, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
To say nothing of the lack of NPOV... --Connel MacKenzie T C 15:53, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

I moved the "usage note" to the talk page. Andrew massyn 19:27, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Calling it drivel (in your edit summary) wasn't a polite/civil choice of words. I forgive you, of course - but I thought I'd let you know. Beobach972 19:42, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

On related notes - 1. can we get an IPA pronunciation for Sodom? 2. should apple of Sodom be linked to the Wikipedia article of the same subject? Beobach972 19:42, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

site map

Gangleri requests translations of this term for use in his localization work. Thanks all, in advance, for whatever help you can offer. --Dvortygirl 06:57, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

swank and swanky

Maybe I'm wrong, but swanky is an adjective isn't it? And swank is a noun describing someone swanky? Stumbled across this in Wikipedia's compost heap. --Dangherous 11:09, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

swank is a noun a verb and an adjective. Have added to it. Andrew massyn 20:52, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
(Although the comparative of the verb looks like it is a wanker with a lisp).Andrew massyn :)


Clearing Special:Shortpages today, I was systematically changing Drago's "See ---" crap to redirects. As I finished running through them, I noticed many were simply vandalized; there are real entries underneath, in the history!

Help! --Connel MacKenzie T C 02:10, 9 June 2006 (UTC)


Adjective is listed as "plural of"... Does it work that way in Spanish? --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:27, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes. Spanish adjectives agree in number (and gender) with the modified nouns. The "dictionary" form of adjectives (and most nouns for people and animals) is the masculine singular. Just as the plurals of nouns should use {{plural of}}, so should adjectives. Likewise, the feminine forms of adjectives (and of most feminine nouns for people and animals) should use {{feminine of}}. (Of course, I created the entry in question, so my position may be discounted here to some extent.) Rod (A. Smith) 16:47, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Incidentally, algunos is also the plural of algún, which is the same word alguno as used before a noun. Should that be noted at all on this page? Davilla 16:51, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
No, no, I'm just trying to learn if I should be looking out for it or not. Thanks for the explanation! --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:52, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Regarding algún, I don't know whether to consider algún->algunos different from alguno (-> algún ) -> algunos. While we're at it, I'm not happy with my treatment of algún on "alguno" and on "algún". I thought of algún as another form of alguno, so I showed it indented after the inflection line but it doesn't look right. Rod (A. Smith) 17:06, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Weird that it's selective. The feminine and the feminine plural should also be entered of course. If ever the English entries get done, we might perhaps consider bots for all languages. — Vildricianus 18:21, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Wait, wait, wait... since when does it algún have an accent? I've never seen it without an accent. Is this current latino? Olde Spain?Hamsaysitadakimasu 10:40, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Then again, it doesn't sound right stressing the normal syllable.Hamsaysitadakimasu 10:40, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

is this a word!

The word "irregardless" I have heard people use this in discussions and have had a debate with people over this word. Please give some input on this.

  • Our entry says it's non-standard, but I still use it irregardless. Kappa 01:18, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I remember these types of arguments too, but the word is completely reasonably legit. irregardless = regardless, get over it already. Davilla 08:18, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
It's not that simple, and it's wrong to imply that calling it non-standard is somehow pedantic or reactionary. Just as we rightly accept any attested word regardless of its official ‘legitimacy’, so we must also accept and take on board the reaction of those people who feel that it isn't ‘completely legit’ as you say. The fact that this question has been asked at all shows that people look to dictionaries not just for definitions but also for some idea of a word's register and ‘standardness’. It's right to provide that, and the fact is that irregardless is not suitable for a business letter or any kind of formal English. Coming as it seems to from some blend of irrespective and regardless, there may always be a suspicion that the person using it is simply making an error. Widsith 17:33, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Usage notes updated accordingly. Serious dictionaries mark this word as non-standard, and so, therefore, must Wiktionary. — Paul G 18:00, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
This is supposed to be a descriptive dictionary, not a prescriptive one, so please follow up these claims. I would also like to know which of the quotations I've cited are presumed to be uneducated or jocular. ∂ανίΠα 23:16, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Many people would regard them simply as mistakes, or at best as poor style. Descriptivism is not about saying every word that's used is now OK, it's about accurately describing the way language is seen to work. It's very clear in this instance that the word is not widely accepted. Your quotations are extraordinarily selective: googling this word produces almost nothing but condemnation of it as a faux-pas. Google Books is also full of similar examples. For some reason you have filled the page with unrepresentative citations. Widsith 09:10, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Not only that, but you have wound the page back to the version that was full of typos.
A couple of typos I can take blame for. That's small "potatos". You fixed the spelling of "humerous", but the bigger error was in the edition and year. My fault, and I've corrected it. If you fixed "controversey" it was by rewriting the text, half of which I did keep by the way. I didn't do a complete revert.
I don't want to start an edit war, but there was something seriously wrong with the page as it stood, which I corrected, and you have undone all of my work.
I undid your deletion of notable omissions of the word from various sources. I undid your expansion of abbreviations that were within quotation.
I know what it's like to have someone revert a lot of work, but I didn't do that. The perscriptive use is the issue at hand, so I'm sorry about the second half of the usage note. But I didn't undo your etymology at all, and I even followed your styling in the references. My biggest objection is to the label of irregardless as jocular.
I don't understand why there should be any objection to going along with what other dictionaries say and accepting that this word is in fact non-standard, and not merely "considered non-standard by some". — Paul G 09:30, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Maybe "most" or "usually" would be better, but I at least used the word "often", not "some". ∂ανίΠα 12:45, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
What I did was the same thing I do when I'm verifying or discrediting a neologism. I went past the first few pages of cruft that didn't actually use the word in context anyway. Usually it's urban dictionary nonsense; in this case it's a lot of bourgeois nonsense within which are mixed a few credible sources. What contemporary dictionaries say can be summarized as this:
  1. The term is used more often in speech and casual writing than in formal writing.
  2. This term only occasionally appears in edited prose.
  3. It is widely condemned because of a logical absurdity nonetheless present in other words like debone, unravel, and (superficially at least) inflammable.
Now then, #1 supports the tag informal, #2 and as many citations as you request are an admission of acceptance in some circles, supporting a regional label, and #3 supports a usage note. Given its widespread use in speech, none of these support the label non-standard. ∂ανίΠα 13:39, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, but that's nonsense. This has nothing to do with being a ‘logical absurdity’ and everything to do with popular use of and reaction to the word. It is no more acceptable for you to dismiss the bulk of popular opinion as ‘a lot of bourgeois nonsense’ than it is for a prescriptivist to decide that the term is invalid. Try using irregardless in a job application and see how far you get; that is the reality of usage and we must reflect it. For many people this word is still seen as a mistake; providing citations for mistakes is not very difficult, but nor is it proof that a word has become accepted or standardised. Widsith 16:19, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Fine then. Julio Vasquez claiming that irregardless isn't even a word (!) makes him look really sharp. But I don't see how it could be used in a humorous fashion, at least not in the US. Either people would understand the meaning and miss the joke, or get so wound up about the double negation that they couldn't laugh at it. I don't suppose we have an RfV-tag process? ∂ανίΠα 23:25, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
First of all, my apologies to Davilla for dashing off a broad objection without looking too closely at what she (he? sorry, I can't tell your sex from your user page) had changed. Nevertheless, the gist of my objection stands, namely, that the word is non-standard and sometimes an ignorant or illiterate (there, I've said it!) usage. No editor of a serious publication or novel would allow this term to pass, except in a quotation.
It is used humorously by those who know full well that the correct words are "irrespective" and "regardless", and I have heard it used in this way in the UK. — Paul G 09:17, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

feng shui

Pronunciation: My understanding was that /fUN "SweI/ ("foong SHWAY") was the correct pronunciation, and that /fEN "Sui/ ("feng SHOO-ee") was used by those ignorant of the "correct" pronunciation. The former is closer than the latter to the Chinese pronunciation, which is also given (although I'm not sure anyone actually uses that in English).

Inflections: I've changed the present participle from "feng shuying" to "feng shuiing". The former looks incorrect, and there are many more Google hits for the latter. After all, we don't say "skying" (for "skiing", but maybe thats to avoid confusion with the present participle of "to sky") and "feng shuying" looks like it should rhyme with "guying".

Anyone have any definitive answers to give on these points? What do up-to-date print dictionaries say? — Paul G 17:51, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

In Mandarin, "feng" sounds more-or-less like the "fung" in "fungus". Kappa 19:56, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
And indeed, in English-following-Chinese it is /fVN "Swe(I)/. I don't think /fEN "Sui/ is used only by people who don't know the Sino-Anglicized way though: I'm pretty sure it sees jocular use, and possibly disparaging use as well (by association with hooey and phooey). —Muke Tever 22:31, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
OK, thanks for the feedback. I thought the vowel in the first syllable was /U/ (at least, I'm fairly sure that's what I've heard here in the UK) rather than /V/. Could someone check an up-to-date print dictionary, please? — Paul G 09:03, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Well weirdly enough, the SOED gives /ˈfɛŋʃu:i/ invalid IPA characters (:), replace : with ː or /ˈfʌŋʃu:i/ invalid IPA characters (:), replace : with ː. But I normally hear it as something like /fɒŋˈʃweɪ/. Erk. Widsith 09:14, 12 June 2006 (UTC)


What does the word "atahee" mean in English? Is it's origin Pakistani? Claire


I need a bit of help with this one...

  • Wikipedia's list of homographs, on which the heteronyms I have entered into Wiktionary are based, gives "whoop" as a verb meaning "to beat", with pronunciation /wUp/, and also an interjection, with pronunciation /wu(:)p/ . What does the interjection mean?
  • Does "whoop" in the sense of "to beat" also mean "to defeat", as I have added?
  • Is "whoop someone's ass/butt" a set phrase, in that it means to defeat someone, or to attack someone physically?

Thanks. — Paul G 10:55, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

As much as I know looks correct now, although I wasn't aware of "hoop" as a pronunciation. Better to check that it applies to all listed senses, especially an added interjection. I wouldn't be surprised if the last is meaningless.
The set phrase could mean either. ∂ανίΠα 11:45, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
I've fixed the nesting, adding the second etymology. Whooped their ass, means defeat. "Whoop your/his ass" is to deliver a defeat by means of a physical attack; to beat someone up. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:23, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
The pronunciation was my mistake. The "hoop" pronunciation is for the intransitive verb associated with the noun (that is, "to make a whoop"). All fixed now in the pronunciation and homophone sections. Thanks for pointing it out, Davilla (or should we be calling your "thaniPa" now? ;) ) — Paul G 09:12, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

It is possible that the word whoop does not mean what is being discussed here, but instead, is simply a loud, enthusiastic yell. In the context of "to beat," I believe whoop is simply a misspelling or mispronunciation of "whomp."


Uppercase or lowercase? — Vildricianus 13:21, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Both. Uncapitalized = "relating to a presbyter". Capitalized = "relating to the Presbyterian Church". SemperBlotto 13:26, 13 June 2006 (UTC)


Same question as above: --Dangherous 13:50, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Properly capitalised, but citations can probably be found for tarzan as well. Widsith 17:11, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

suit sense 8

"(card games): One of the four sets of cards which constitute a pack; — each set consisting of thirteen cards bearing a particular emblem, as hearts, spades, cubs, or diamonds."

This definition does not cover the cards used in other countries which use suits such as acorns, bells, coins, cups, flowers, grass, leaves, pentacles, rods, shields, swords, and wands. AHD, Collins, and Encarta online also make this error. M-W online and the Wikipedia article do not make this error. — Hippietrail 17:50, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

It doesn't exclude them either, so it's not really a mistake – the examples given are just examples (Webster's casual ‘as...’). But it could be written better, that's for sure. Widsith 17:56, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
The example-bearing 'as' doesn't exclude, but the rest of the def does exclude any suit which doesn't have 13 cards (cups, coins, etc. tend to have 14, IIRC) or which may not constitute one fourth of the pack (the fictional game Double Fanucci does no violence to the word though it has fifteen suits of eleven cards each). —Muke Tever 21:43, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Good point. I think Hippietrail has reworked this now. Widsith 08:10, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Capitals and proper noun

A proper noun is written with an initial capital letter, but a word with a capital letter is not necessarily a proper noun : languages, demonyms and other things like names of days are common nouns. We made the same mistake on fr:, and I'd like to inform you of this common error, since I trid to correct Latin, but have been reverted. - Dakdada 18:04, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

French grammar may have different rules from English for classifying nouns as proper or common, but in English, the names for months, days of the week, and languages are definitely proper nouns. Rod (A. Smith) 18:50, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Can you confirm it for demonyms too ? - Dakdada 19:05, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Certainly proper nouns in Dutch. Not certain for English. — Vildricianus 19:17, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I can't find any reliable source that says that English demonyms are proper nouns. However, English capitalization rules require proper nouns, proper adjectives, and "I" to be capitalized. By contrast, English common nouns are only capitalized only when other capitalization rules apply. So, the fact that no other capitalization rule seems apply to "Spaniard" strongly suggests that it is a proper noun. Rod (A. Smith) 20:45, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
As far as 'proper' goes, all these are considered proper by courtesy in English. However under the proper meaning of proper (‘appropriate to one thing in particular’) they aren't. ‘Spain’ is a proper noun, as there is only one Spain; it cannot be pluralized without referring to a different kind of thing (e.g. a metaphorical Spain, something similar to Spain, or Spain in a different time period). ‘Spaniard’ is technically a common noun, as it pluralizes easily, Spaniards being many; it inherits its capitalization (and its status in English as ‘proper’) due to its derivation from ‘Spain’. Other languages which are not so keen on capitalizing see this more clearly and decapitalize it ‘appropriately’. —Muke Tever 22:47, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Then I'd like to know what makes Spaniard a proper noun, while it don't have anything to see with proper noun, apart from the capital ? And the definition of proper noun is probably the same in every languages. :p - Dakdada 22:40, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
No, the definitions of parts of speech are quite language-specific. In Europe though, where most of the languages are closely related, the differences are not so visible. —Muke Tever 22:47, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Hum I still can't find anything saying that languages or demonyms are proper nouns. All I find are some documents saying that the words that begins with capital letters are : days, months, languages, demonyms, proper nouns, etc. and proper noun is always defined as « the name of a particular entity (person, animal, places, etc.) ». So it looks like days, demonyms etc. are not considered as proper nouns. However, I don't have a lot of English stuff to help :( I still need reliable sources :/ - Dakdada 11:05, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't really see the value in the distinction. How does it matter exactly whether or not it's ‘proper’? Widsith 22:05, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps it doesn't matter and we should do away with "===Proper noun===", but to answer Darkdadaah's question, Muke explained that demonyms are not proper nouns. I still maintain that the names for days of the week and names for months are proper nouns in English.
Note that proper nouns can often function as common nouns, e.g. "John" in "John is taller than Jane" functions as a proper noun because it names a particular entity. "John" in "My class has two Johns and one Jane" functions as a common noun because it identifies members of a group of entities who have the name "John", and we can say "the John" or "a John". Similarly, "June" in "The weather is nice in June" functions as a proper noun because it names a year-independent abstract entity, but "June" in "the June before last" and in "each June we travel to..." functions as a common noun because it refers to one of several year-specific months that have the name "June". Rod (A. Smith) 23:02, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Hm this is antonomasia I guess :P You can also say he is a Superman, but it is only rhetorical : Superman is a proper noun, and it is only used as a common noun in the sentence. Same for "John" : when you say "My class has two Johns", you mean "My class has two persons called Johns" : Johns is still a proper noun, although it is used as a common noun here. So, if we want to compare them we have to get rid of any rhetorical things. (note that you can also substitute a proper noun by a proper noun : You are Mozart).
As for the distinction... I suppose that the difference is that common nouns have a definition that describes there meanings, so the meanings can be translated, whereas the definition of proper nouns only describes the "unique entity" they name, and then we can't translate them unless the name for that "unique entity" exist in the other languages, (or if we translitterate them). - Dakdada 14:36, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Anyway thanks for the answers (and sorry for bothering you with that matter ^^). - Dakdada 14:36, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

wombtwin survivor : new word

In 2003 I invented the term "wombtwin survivor" as a simple term for the sole survivor of a twin or multiple pregnancy. Is this term worth including in wiktionary as a neologism? I have had a website called wombtwin.com since 2003 and have had thousands of visitors and there is also a yahoo forum under this name. The term is found acceptable by the surviving twins concerned and is used commonly among this group.

It appears that womb-twin or womb twin could be a legitimate term, just barely though. The problem I see with "wombtwin survivor" is that the references are not independent where they exist, so it likely wouldn't pass our CFI process. That's my opinion. ∂ανίΠα 16:12, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
It is, however, fine as a protologism; you can add it here. — Paul G 09:18, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Greeting Hey!

The current NA culture seems to have completely embraced in the last 5 years the usage of Hey instead of Hi (hello) as a greeting. I seem to recall its first use in the Friends TV show. Can anyone provide me more info on its origin or which culture group may have strongly influenced its usage?


This should be rolled back, right? Did we ever discuss where elaborate word histories would go? Certainly not replacing the correct etymology, right? --Connel MacKenzie T C 23:52, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you. Etymologies should be as concise and efficient as possible. Wiktionary is a point of reference, it's not an appropriate place for explanatory essays like this (IMO). Widsith 08:12, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
We could do without the first factoid, the region and quotation belong elsewhere, but otherwise it's not off-topic, just excessively wordy, overly explanatory, and needlessly detailed. 20:27, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
moved the etym to the talk page. Andrew massyn 19:16, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

"more than you need"

I'm looking for the word that means "more than you need". French, I believe. Sounds like.. "boozswa"?

Are you thinking of bourgeois ? SemperBlotto 11:24, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes, thanks! Now I really feel dumb. I had actually run across "bourgeois" during my search. And I used it as a "substitute" thinking I still hadn't found the right word. Now as I see that it is what I was looking for.

Hm, except "bourgeois" does not mean "more than you need" - that would be (as a noun) something like "superabundance" or "excess". Are you thinking of French besoin, which simply means "need"? This is a lot closer to the pronunciation you give. — Paul G 13:43, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
"Bourgeois" doesn't strictly mean 'more than you need,' but it is used as a general deprecative word in English: AHD gives the sense as "Held to be preoccupied with respectability and material values", something like materialistic; in slang use, where people don't know it's literally "middle class", the meaning may diverge wider (for example take what people--who also don't know how to spell it--think it means at urban dictionary). —Muke Tever 14:38, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

yellow pages

Arn't yellow pages always capitalised? Andrew massyn 20:34, 16 June 2006 (UTC)


Erl posted the following question to Talk:meadow:

Is this definition accurate? I thought a meadow could be an area naturally covered with grasses and flowers, not neccessarily low-lying, a field (artificially bounded) or a pasture (for grazing). But I am not a native english speaker.
Erl 15:01, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

The definition questioned is this:

  1. A field or pasture; an area of low lying vegetation.

Rod (A. Smith) 01:04, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

It doesn't have to be low-lying, but low-lying grassland is often called a meadow. It is a certain sense of the word, but not really different enough to be a completely separate sense. Widsith 07:54, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

It seems that 'low-lying' (usually applied to tracts of land) is being understood to refer to 'area' here, where the sentence wants to refer it to 'vegetation' (i.e., the vegetation is not very tall). —Muke Tever 22:42, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

No, I think it's the area that's intended – a patch of well-watered ‘lowlands’ near a river. Widsith 06:28, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Hm, I've never heard any reference to a meadow being near a river. However, both m-w.com and webster 1913—but not AHD—refer to low-lying land (not low-lying vegetation) and webster 1913 mentions rivers as well, so. —Muke Tever 00:55, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Meadow (for me in the UK at least) refers to exactly what Erl says: an area of land naturally covered by grasses and flowers (cowslips, poppies, the like), if that helps. — Celestianpower háblame 10:13, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


This entry's history is interesting. At first, it seemed like it should perhaps be a redirect, but there is obvious resistance to that; I don't understand why. If kept as a stub redirect thing, is it likely to be a common type of stub redirect? If so, shouldn't it have a more standard kind of layout? --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:48, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

It seems reasonable to keep traditional/simplified Chinese entries separate just as we keep traditional/reformed spelling English entries separate (e.g. "colour" and "color"). For one, the simplified entries each have one extra step in their "etymology". For another, the two entries should have distinct (but probably templatable(?)) usage notes since each version is appropriate only in certain contexts. Rod (A. Smith) 06:20, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I understand the resistance to redirects. If you look at my entries (of which this is one), you will see that I go back and forth on this issue. Philosophically, I agree with separate entries. In practical terms, redirects are just plain faster. Remember, we're talking computers! People won't want to use software that is overly cumbersome (unless they are diehards like me). I think templates are an interesting idea, and may just be the solution for English. Chinese simply has too much variation to make templates a viable option on a large scale. It's much easier and faster to create a separate entry for each word than to create THOUSANDS of templates (which is what would be required for Chinese) in addition to the entries themselves. In other words, we must come up with an easy-to-implement solution that allows the user to input all required information with a minimum amount of hassle. As a contributor, I shouldn't have to be spending this much time debating about the LOOK of the entry; I should be more worried about the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in the entry. In my opinion, the LOOK of the page (including whether to display in simplified or traditional should be incorporated into the preferences settings).

A-cai 08:45, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

word find-one has a high view of the ink, paper, binding of the book rather than the teachings

I'm looking for a word that means someone who worships the matter rather than the propositions of scripture, in other words one has a high view of the ink, paper, binding of the book rather than the teachings contents in the book.

Ideally the word would be bibliolater (lit., ‘worshipper of book(s)’) but the metonymy from a book to its message is pervasive enough to have affected some usage of this word. There may yet be a more suitable word that I'm unaware of offhand. —Muke Tever 22:40, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Such as those Christians & Moslems who believe it's sacreligious to put the Bible or Qur'an on the floor? Or do you mean those Christians who believe that the King James translation into English was inspired by God, and is exactly correct, and that therefore the original Hebrew/Greek text, where it differs in meaning, is wrong, even though John wrote I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Rev 22:18-19)? Either way it's a form of idolatry, but I think I've heard a more specific word, which I can't remember either. Enginear 22:48, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Funny thing is I've used this word before and I know it begins with an "o" but I'm overlooking it in my search's now. I think it has it's root in "organisim" following the idea of the "matter".

Possibly pedant or pharasite in an extended meaning? Andrew massyn 02:16, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Cofferred Ceiling

Please tell me what this is- I have no idea & saw it in the verbage describing a new home for sale. Is it an architectural word? I would appreciate comments. Many thanks, Linda in Southern CA

A coffer is a kind of ornamental panel sunk into the ceilling. Widsith 12:21, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
I recently created a coffered ceiling for a client. By using layered, offset trim boards and crown molding, as well as smaller trim stock, we gave to the perimeter of the ceiling an elaborate dropped-beam look with a semi-hidden profile. At the point where the great room divided between the living and dining area, we added a cross-beam with the full profile which merged with the perimeter trim on either side. Square or contoured stock can be substituted for crown molding, and will lend different effects to the "great house" appearance. User:drruddicomb14 Nov 2006


Allegedly US spelling, while acknowledgment is UK. It's the other way round, isn't it? — Vildricianus 12:14, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Looks like it to me. Acknowledgment looks totally alien to me (a Briton). — Celestianpower háblame 12:17, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't think either of them are wrong in either country. They are certainly both given in the sOED. Fowler's comments: ‘Needless uncertainty prevails about the spelling of inflexions and derivatives formed from words ending in mute e. Is this -e to be retained, or omitted? (...) The only satisfactory rule, exceptions to which need be very few, would be this: if the suffix begins with a consonant, the mute e should be retained; if the suffix begins with a vowel, the mute e should be dropped.’ That would support acknowledgement, which is preferred by the OED; but the fact is that, at least in Britain, both forms are common. Widsith 12:34, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


This is quite an odd entry. Someone (according to the entry) says that the pronunciation is wrong. However, I would argue that the whole thing is wrong. I would never use strewed, I would use strewn (I'm in the UK) - "Everything was strewn around the room: we had been burgled (burglarized)". it says in the entry that US says strewn too. If so, who uses strewed and if that's nobody, do we need an entry? — Celestianpower háblame 07:59, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Usually, strewn is the past participle, strewed is the past tense. ‘Everything was strewn around the room’ versus ‘he strewed hay on the stable floor’. But I think strewed has been used at times as a past participle too. Widsith 08:22, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
I think it is interesting that it is listed in Webster's 1828, but is not listed in Webster's 1913. I think it should be marked as "obsolete." It certainly shouldn't be listed here as a past participle. --Connel MacKenzie 16:16, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I believe this form is delibrataely used by Pearl S. Buck in The Good Earth as one of several archaic stylistic touches, apparently influenced by the KJV bible. — Hippietrail 19:40, 12 July 2006 (UTC)


To capitalise or not? We have Anglophobe and Francophone, which are not proper nouns but seem to be generally capitalised. Help! Jonathan Webley 10:23, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Huh, funnily enough the OED gives Francophile but francophone. Widsith 13:25, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

collaboration of the week.

TheWiktionary:Collaboration of the week is: Wiktionary:Collaboration of the Week/current cow We need definitions! translations!! quotes!!! streamers!!!! bunting!!!! happy smiling faces pictures glosses and lots of candyfloss. Get to it guys!

Where is indigo - as in "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain" ?

Word used for No Return

I am curious if anyone knows the word that was derived from the settlers coming to the new world, and burning their ships in the ocean, thus eliminating the option for returning home.


unsigned comment!
Your description does not match my recollection of grade-school history classes on early emigration to America. I'd imagine the passengers, after kissing the ground and vowing never to sail again, might have had negative feelings about such disease-infested hulks. The crucial no-turning-back point of the journey was when half the rations were expended. What are some examples of such ship-burnings? --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:16, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


I would like to get an English definition of etatisme (and an English pronunciation also; ergo {rfp}

This word is used occasionally in English language journal articles in the discipline of Economics.

E.g., "From the standpoint of etatisme and planning, a man may not less rationally condemn it, even if fully convinced of the validity of all that has ever been urged for it on economic grounds." (Schumpeter, J. 1954. History of Economic Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press.)

This was then requoted more recently in Timberlake, Richard H. 2005, Econ Journal Watch, Volume 2, Number 2, August 2005, pp 196-233. INTELLECTUAL TYRANNY OF THE STATUS QUO

I believe the word is of French origin and may be related to (possibly an antonym, but very uncertain) of dirigisme. user:Connel MacKenzie suggested I put the request on this Wiktionary page.
Thanks. 04:23, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

See etatism. Widsith 08:03, 22 June 2006 (UTC)


Can anyone give a better definition of the noun senses of scant? Thanks Andrew massyn 14:44, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Websters 1913 doesn't agree. (Nor do on-line dictionaries.) These definitions could simply be wrong. --Connel MacKenzie T C 14:59, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
no, they are definately there. I have added quotes & links to the entry, and hopefully have clarified the definitions. Andrew massyn 17:28, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

can't wait

I'd like to hear from someone how this is idiomatic. — Vildricianus 09:27, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Well, the phrase is used only when one must wait, but would rather not. I think it is better described as a set phrase, rather than being idiomatic, though. --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:08, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

how do you pronounce moor?

I've been mucking around at rhymes:English:-ʊə(r) and rhymes:English:-ɔː(r), and now I'm confused. The suggestion there is that moor rhymes with floor and store, and is therefore a homophone for more. And I'm sure that for some speakers it is, but me, I've always pronounced moor to rhyme with pure and the surname Muir. Does anyone else, or am I the only one? —scs 15:12, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Surely both are possible. — Vildricianus 17:29, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
PS: Are you American? — Vildricianus 17:30, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
For a while I was having fun keeping Connel guessing, but: yes. —scs 17:47, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry if I gave the impression I was wondering. :-)
(no prob. :-) —s)
The way I pronounce them, moor does not rhyme with floor, nor store, nor pure, nor Muir. --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:04, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
But is it close to pure without the /y/ sound, i.e. to poor? (Paul claims that the vowels in pure and poor are the same, or close enough for Wiktionary rhyme page work. See his talk page and also mine for far more than you want to know on this subject.) —scs 23:59, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
The vowels in "poor" and "pure" are clearly different for me. Jooge 02:32, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I (and I think most people in SE England, where there are no moors) pronounce it like more or store. In N England and Scotland (where there are) I think it's usually pronounced like poor. Throughout most of UK we pronounce pure and Muir as pyoor/myoor. --Enginear 00:05, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Now all we gotta do is get someone to weigh in from south west England! (Anyone from Dartmoor?) —scs 15:27, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, I know the area pretty well. The locals pronounce the "moor" of "Dartmoor" rather like "myrrh", ie to rhyme with purr, so rolling the first r more than the second and stressing the first syllable,Dartmoor becomes Darrrtmyrrh". Since Plymouth is less than 20 miles to the south of the centre of Dartmoor, it is not surprising if some East Coast US pronunciations are similar (see next post). In fact the minor-stressed moor in Bodmin Moor (30 miles NW of Plymouth) is pronounced exactly as described below, somewhere between poor and purr. --Enginear 10:26, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm from America, and frankly, I think that poor rhymes with more and store and pure without the /y/ sound would sound a little like purr. Also, my opinion is that moor is pronounced like poor, more, and store. I'm sorry if I confused anyone.
Here's my two cents worth. Moor, floor, more, poor, store, pour, pore, paw, law, for, etc. all rhyme for me. They don't rhyme with pure. Pure rhymes with Muir, fewer, tour, cure, etc. Neither pure nor poor rhyme with purr. Jimp 02:36, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


Somebody should have fun coming up with a clear definition of this one, in its various uses, as in Basque and somewhat differently in Georgian. English sentences on the pattern "the door opened", i.e., sentences without a grammatical agent, are sometimes so-termed.

Also, see my note at Talk:meadow regarding the use of prado instead of vega as the Spanish pronunciation.--Allamakee Democrat 23:09, 25 June 2006 (UTC)


In the 1950's and 1960's Sea Cliff Yacht Club was privileged to have among its ranks an excellent seaman and skipper who exhibited the characteristics of corinthianism to the extent that his lifelong friend Ralph Longo donated a trophy to this club in memory of his dear friend who passed on before his time. source


I've seen the term used to mean 'snooty athleticism', the attitude you get in certain sports, as if golf is reserved for the upper classes while the working classes are to stick to baseball or soccer, but clearly this is not meant in the quoted passage.

I've also see the term used to mean Pentacostalism in particular reference to it's practice of glossolalia (speaking in tongues).

Information Systems

what is about advantages decentralisation of hardware and software.....what do u all think about this....can u give some opinion?

My opinion is that a good system for centralizing knowledge in your head -- that is, for learning it, whether it's about hardware or software or any other topic -- is to do your own homework. —scs 19:39, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
A good reference that comes to mind is a particular Dilbert cartoon. The Boss instructs everyone to centralize operations for efficiency, then one year later to decentralize everything for flexibility, then one year later to centralize everything for standarization, then one year later to decentralize... --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:40, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


Is "worth" properly classified as an adjective? The following example sentences purport to show use of "worth" as an adjective:

  • My house now is worth double what I paid for it.
  • I think you'll find my proposal worth your attention.
  • This job is hardly worth the effort.

I know that "worth double what I paid for it", "worth your attention", and "worth the effort" are adjectival phrases, but "worth" itself seems to function as a preposition in those examples. Is "worth" a preposition? Rod (A. Smith) 20:12, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

  • This is very interesting. AHD and Encarta both simply list adjective for this sense. Collins lists adjective but adds the note "governing a noun with prepositional force". M-W goes even further and lists this sense as a preposition. I wonder what the OED and Websters unabridged do. — Hippietrail 21:57, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Now that I'm home, I have access to Fowler's, which says, "The important fact is that the adjective worth requires what is most easily described as an object." (Just when you think you know a language, it threatens to downgrade your Babel box.) Rod (A. Smith) 22:19, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Speaking of H.W. Fowler, see gale: this has his definition. Modern usage tends to regard a gale as a serious windstorm, not something just above a breeze, notwithstanding the Beaufort scale.--Allamakee Democrat 22:40, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
I always used "gale" synonymously with "squal" regarding storms on the Long Island sound. This should be a separate conversation about it, perhaps. --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:36, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I added worth#Usage notes, but I don't know whether Collins or Fowler should be quoted directly there. Rod (A. Smith) 23:01, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes. With a ===References=== section. --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:34, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


This sense is not covered: "45th - Luke Wilkshire delivers nicely-weighted cross from left byline, just over the top of Cahill, but it is cleared by Marco Materazzi." - from http://www.couriermail.news.com.au/story/0,20797,19602810-5003412,00.htmlHippietrail 22:33, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

line up

There is a redirect here from line-up but the article fails to mention it as an alternative spelling etc. Redirects from one spelling or synonym to another should never be "silent". Here is an example for line-up: "As expected goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer came into the Australian starting line-up instead of Zeljko Kalac." - from http://www.couriermail.news.com.au/story/0,20797,19602810-5003412,00.htmlHippietrail 22:36, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Is "ignorance" the correct opposite?

Knowledge is according to the Wikipedia "...information of which a person, organization or other entity is aware." Is the word "ignorance" or "ignorant" the opposite of knowledge or is there a better opposite word? Airhead 01:55, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I think it depends on which aspect you invert for you opposite. If you invert the "truth" aspect (part of "information"), you get "fiction". If you invert the "someone" aspect, you get "undiscovered facts". If you invert the "aware" aspect, you get "ignorance". Rod (A. Smith) 02:14, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your expansion... The aspect I was looking for is "aware." BTW is their a dictionary of opposites anywhere around? Airhead 02:23, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you'll find antonyms in many of Wiktionary's entries. — Paul G 19:19, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Hell, etc.

I've started distinguishing between proper nouns and common nouns in the common article. Currently hell is on the list. Hell is a proper noun when referring to the place of reprobation. I also noticed the software would not let me move Supralapsarianism to supralapsarianism (It said I was not logged in). Yes, I have recognized that caps make a diffference, but hey, habits elsewhere in the wiki-universe are hard to break.

Dontcha just love those gloriously long words that spell out eternal foreordained damnation?

I also did some work on the Indo-European categories, but stopped, seeing the problems. As forever, the problem is fonts. Will be doing more work on etymologies.

Again. The clumsies of finding a template. I'm good at wallowing through the flooded basement of categories. But templates? These are hard to find, even harder to understand. Do I need a lesson? --Allamakee Democrat 04:19, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

The last time I checked WT:I2T (index to templates) was rather lengthy, and split into several sub-pages. There is talk of how {{cattag}} should work in the grease pit. There was talk of someone attacking and building a larger list of custom line/category tags in use, but I don't know where that got to. --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:33, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Dictionary of opposites?

Wikimedia dictionary of opposites anywhere? If not how about an external link? Airhead 04:41, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Wikisaurus lists antonyms, as do hundreds (thousands) of individual entries. What exactly do you mean? --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:59, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


I want to know the exact word in English and Spanish

—This comment was unsigned.

This needs to move to WT:ID. --Connel MacKenzie 18:11, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Is anyone familar with WordNet?

WordNet Airhead 12:31, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

I've only seen it used once, as a reference here, and upon investigation the information it contained was incorrect.

  • It is part of Princeton University. It is unlikely that its definitions are "incorrect" but they will have an American slant. SemperBlotto 15:25, 25 October 2006 (UTC)


Should gcd be GCD? RJFJR 04:08, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

six of one, half a dozen of the other. —scs 00:23, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

rhinoceros - plural forms

One of the plural forms of rhinoceros is labelled as "etymologically correct" but is not in any of my dictionaries. Is it valid? What does "etymologically correct" mean? (we are a descriptive rather than a prescriptive dictionary aren't we?) SemperBlotto 14:09, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Well in a sense rhinocerotes is indeed "more correct" than the common one, as derived from Latin. The usage in English is at least archaic, I believe. — Vildricianus 14:12, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
From Google Books: rhinoceri and the rarer rhinoceroi. Are these sufficient? Doremítzwr 14:49, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
rhinocerotes has been used in English – there are plenty of nice cites on Google Books. But we shouldn't label it ‘etymologically correct’: that is not a useful, or even very meaningful, comment. Widsith 11:25, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Very well, what phrase do you suggest as an alternative? I take “etymologically correct” to mean ‘correct in the language from which (the word) was borrowed’; if you can think of a succint phrase which better embodies this definition, then I will be happy to use it in place of “etymologically correct”. Doremítzwr 11:51, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Normally I use 'classical plural' or—I think more correctly now—'classicizing plural' for Latin/Greek words (ex. at epiglottis), contrasted to English or (better) Anglicized plural. This similar to practice in other languages (e.g. Japanese kitsune). (I say 'classicizing' as I don't really think 'Latin plural' would be appropriate, it being originally Greek, and neither is 'Greek plural' appropriate, as the Greek plural is actually ῥινοκέρωτες.) —Muke Tever 11:58, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Well I would just mark it (archaic). Although, checking my sOED, I see they have done things differently. They give rhinoceros and rhinoceroses as the only plural forms, but note that ‘plural forms in Latin plural -otes have been regarded as belonging to next’, the next entry being rhinocerot, a rare (singular) variant and synonym of rhinoceros. So maybe we should adopt that solution. Widsith 12:25, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
That’s fine with me, but we still need an alternative term to “etymologically correct” for all the other plurals of that nature which don’t go away as easily as rhinocerotes. Doremítzwr 23:19, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
"Etymologically constructed plural" or "Etyomologically derived" perhaps? --Connel MacKenzie T C 01:16, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
“Etymologically derived” would be my choice. Is this term satisfactory for everyone else? Doremítzwr 01:20, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't see the need for it personally. We have an =Etymology= section to explain where words came from. Widsith 07:17, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
To distinguish between plurals that are erroneous or add the ubiquitous ~s morpheme and those that remain faithful to the plural form from the language from which the word in question was borrowed. This is often unclear from the etymology (unless one has background knowledge of the language in question). It is my belief that we should include the “etymologically derived” plural(s) of every word (noting if they are rarely or never used), as there are many people (like me) who have a somewhat obscurantist tendency to be ultra-correct, and only ever use plurals from the words’ languages of derivation, and would thus appreciate being able to find the original form in an accessible resource like Wiktionary, and not having to search for ages through obscure academic writs. For example, to pluralise imprimatur, platypus and saga, I would use imprimantur, platypodes and sögur. Including these forms could only improve Wiktionary as an online resource, and would not detract from its claim to be descriptive, rather than prescriptive. What does everyone else think? Doremítzwr 15:08, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
But it is not ‘ultra-correct’ to to use plurals from a word's language of origin; in fact usually it's just wrong. Since no English dictionaries list these forms, and they are virtually unattested in English, you really have no authority to claim that they are correct. The grammatical rules of other languages are just not relevant. Most English words are from Old English, which formed plurals by adding not -s but -as; are you going to adopt that as well? One dog, two doggas? Anyway, how far back do you go? And why stop with plural inflections; why not adopt subjunctive cases as well when the mood requires it? Or resurrect the dual form when talking about two things? These attempts to be ‘correct’ are misguided. They ignore the fact that English has a grammar of its own which is more than capable of forming plurals in its own regular way without being in any way ‘wrong’. Yes, sometimes people use these forms out of error rather than choice, but that doesn't mean that there is some ‘pure’ form of inflections for every word that can be found if you just go back a language or two. I agree that the information should be available on Wiktionary, but the proper place for it is usually within the relevant source-language section rather than in the English (unless it has been attested in English). Quite apart from anything else, there is also the consideration of register: platypodes really sounds very pretentious. I'm sorry to rant at you....this is a subject that gets me going! Widsith 08:30, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
It would be entertaining, though, to see the logical conclusion of *ultra-correction, i.e. text with all words honoring the tenses, moods, declensions, conjugations, and orthography of the source words so far as they can be traced. Works written in *ultra-correct English would have to be updated every time an earlier root of a word is discovered. Rod (A. Smith) 19:40, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that would be entertaining at all. That line of thought is what has led to "proto" forms gaining an air of legitimacy, when in fact, they are a measure of a particular "researcher's" imagination. --Connel MacKenzie 16:21, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Greek index

This links to Hellenic pages. What should it be? Index:Greek or Index:Hellenic? — Vildricianus 15:54, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

I'd put it at Index:Greek with a redirect to that from Index:Hellenic. RJFJR 12:57, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Capeverdean Crioulo

Capeverdean Crioulo or Cape Verdean Crioulo ? Important where the index pages are. — Vildricianus 09:32, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

I googled it.
  • "Capeverdean Crioulo" returns 10,100 hits
  • "Cape verdean Crioulo" returned only 112 hits
Based on this it is where it belongs. RJFJR 12:08, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but "Cape Verdean" versus "Capeverdean" gives something else. — Vildricianus 12:22, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
In the spirit of inter-wiki harmony, I'll mention that Wikipedia uses "Cape Verdean". But on Google, "Capeverdean Creole" returns 2,140 hits, to 23,500 for "Cape Verdean Creole". Or is Creole a different language than Criulo? Because I was just assuming it to be an Englishified spelling. Beobach972 15:11, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

X one's Y off and the like

I understand what the contributor is doing here, but is it reasonable? Would a user find it? Can anyone think of a better way of doing it? SemperBlotto 07:11, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

This is an interesting problem which I've thought that an ultimate on-line dictionary ought to handle somehow, and there are lots and lots of combinations which fall into the same category, but I don't have any clever ideas for how to handle them yet. (A friend of mine -- a fellow C programmer -- and I use "%s" instead of "X" and "Y" as the placeholder when discussing such phrases.) Until we have some notion of how to handle them, and some way of at least giving our readers some indication that they exist and can be searched for, I'd say we shouldn't clutter the database with them (i.e. that X circles around and X one's Y off should be deleted for now, or relegated to some holding pen of an appendix). —scs 23:58, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
It should be noted that we actually do have entries for some of them, for example, work one's butt off. Jooge 00:18, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
P.S., shouldn't this be at RfD, not RfV? Jooge 00:26, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Moved to RfD. This was originally at RfV, but that's the wrong place for it. Jooge 09:28, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Well, since the "circles around" entry starts with a generic term, can't we just make it circles around? bd2412 T 03:29, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Excuse me? How the X does deleting entries help us come up with a category for them?
Additionally, all the common variants one knows of (for idioms) are supposed to redirect to the X/Y/Z form. work one's tail off, work one's ass off and work one's butt off should all end up at the same place. Apparently, when it was entered, it wasn't recognized as being in this form, or it might have been entered differently.
KEEP ALL OF THIS TYPE. --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:22, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
P.S. This should be at WT:TR or {gasp} WT:BP, not rfv, nor rfd. --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:22, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
  • X circles around really should indicate that run was the original verb in place of "X". --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:24, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    • Was it? I've heard all sorts of variations, how can we say which was first? bd2412 T 04:30, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
      • Ok, done some research. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, the idiom began as "run rings around, in the 1800s, derived from horses running on ring-shaped tracks. Presently, "run circles around" gets about 800 Google books hits to about 500 for "run rings around" (although some are literal references as opposed to idiomatic); any other "(verb) circles around" gets no more than a handful of hits. Cheers! bd2412 T 04:40, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

RFD is a highly inappropriate place for this. Does anyone have a clue about how to solve this? — Vildricianus 11:41, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Obviously run rings around needs an entry. Any other forms which have been attested should have their own, separate entries. There is no need or advantage in trying to group them together in one ‘formula’. Otherwise we would also need Xing up a storm, X me up, pull a X, and several hundred thousand others. Widsith 11:48, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
  • What happened with this entry? Idioms are supposed to have all common varieties entered here. I don't see any huge consensus for deletion, either. --Connel MacKenzie T C 21:20, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Just to add to all of this (just found the discussion), there's also scare the X out of... --Dajagr 00:46, 10 August 2006 (UTC)



In trying to make the entry for inclosed I said that inclosed and enclosed were equivalent, in a section for alternative spelling. What I really mean is: as far as I can tell you can use either. However, I wouldn't use inclose because it sounds strange to me. Is inclose a British variation and enclose the US? Is there a subtle difference (perhaps some senses not the same)? RJFJR 18:55, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Seems to be a joke of some sort. Perhaps "inclosed" is an obsolete spelling? --Connel MacKenzie T C 22:18, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Inclosed gets 698,000 google hits.
  • Enclosed gets 101,000,000 gogole hits. (10e+8 hits? I didn't know google went that high!)

So inclosed is used but not nearly as much as enclosed. RJFJR 13:17, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps. But that doesn't explain whether it is a scan-o, an obsolete/archaic spelling, or a regional variety. P.S. try searching google for the or a! --Connel MacKenzie T C 21:18, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
OED uses both 'enclose' and 'inclose' in their headword, and say that while 'enclose' is most common in England (and etymologically justified) 'inclose' predominates in certain legal contexts and is given as "the typical form" by "the majority of recent Dicts.". —Muke Tever 22:46, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
The two words are largely interchangeable, the difference is in the root forms of the prefix en/in. The prefix /en/ [meaning inside] is Greek in origin. The prefix /in/ [meaning inside] is Latin in origin. Both prefixes are correct and interchangeable in English usage for many words, however, the prefix /en/ is more often used (enclose, encapsulate, enable) to mean within because the prefix /in/ also means no or not (infrequent, incautious, incapacitate)
/en/ as a prefix almost always means inside or within while /in/ frequently also means no or not. Because of the possible confusion with the two definitions of the prefix /in/ many people would be uncomfortable with using inclose as it feels like it should mean not enclosed. (Prefix origins come from Websters) -- 21:56, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

your all's

--Connel MacKenzie T C 21:16, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Shouldn't it be "you all's", not "your all's"? "your all's" sounds wrong. Gorrut 03:03, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

See dictionary.com’s entry for you-all. I personally prefer the double-inflected your-all’s to you-all’s. Doremítzwr 01:32, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Better, see the previous Tea Room discussion on "your guys's" which caused this entry to be made in the first place. — 14:06, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
That discussion is a perfect example of the sheer absurdity of descriptivism - does it not dawn on people that some of these manglisms are just plain wrong? Doremítzwr 01:08, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
Er, I always took them as an example of the sheer absurdity of prescriptivism - trying to horn its way in to registers of speech where it has no place whatever. —Muke Tever 21:58, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
The correct form is y'all's. Your all's is the result of people who don't know any words fewer than seven syllables attempting to rationalize the speech of people who can't enunciate.
Seriously? The proper posessive form should be "all your." "Your all's" shouldn't even be an entry. This phrase is the result of bad transcriptions and authors who do a very poor job trying to make their characters sound uneducated.--Pokey1984 22:24, 12 October 2006 (UTC)


The plurals entered for rhinoceros now seem quite absurd...bordering on vandalism. Compare:

  • Bartleby/AHD: pl. rhinoceros or rhi·noc·er·os·es
  • Cambridge: rhinoceros (plural rhinoceros or rhinoceroses) Show phonetics

noun [C] (INFORMAL rhino)

  • Dictionary.com/AHD: pl. rhinoceros or rhi·noc·er·os·es
  • m-w.com: rhi·noc·er·os ... plural -noc·er·os·es or -noc·er·os or rhi·noc·eri

Note: other online dictionaries generally don't list plural forms.

On the other hand, the plural given is "rhinocerotes", which is not found in any of the above sources.

For some reason, this word has become a popular meme again. (Confer MILF about a year and a half ago.) This entry should be protected, sysop edit only, for several months, after being reverted to the last "known good" edit by User:SemperBlotto.

--Connel MacKenzie T C 05:40, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

rhinocerotes is a perfectly acceptable word in English and there are many cites for it on Google Books. However, as I think I mentioned wherever else this discussion was taking place, it is usually considered to be the plural of rhinocerot (a rare variant of rhinoceros), rather than rhinoceros itself. The sOED includes a usage note to explain this. Maybe we should move things accordingly. Widsith 07:58, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
That's bizarre. If there's a classicizing plural (rhinocerotes) it would be associated with the classicizing singular (rhinoceros). For evidence, take authors who use 'rhinocerotes' and 'rhinoceros' but not 'rhinocerot' (Google books: two English hits, one English grammar reference, and possibly more under disabled preview) (Google web: 200+ hits, admittedly polluted by wikipedia mirrors); also, absence of authors using 'rhinocerot' and 'rhinocerotes' (Google books: no results) (Google web: this discussion; random wordlists; and a paper where 'rhinocerot' is used in a quoted poem—it rhymes with 'not') Adding -es to make a plural of a word ending in T is bizarre (as is using a classical plural with a nativized singular like rhinocerot — cf. the RFV discussion on idiom, idiomata at WT:RFV#idiom). —Muke Tever 11:49, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
  1. What's so great about protecting pages sysop-only? That should only be done in the worst cases of vandalism (real vandalism), for a couple of hours, days maximum. Not months, Jesus.
  2. Are you really relying on free online dictionaries only? I thought we were explicitly trying to become better than that.
  3. There's already a topic on this, a few sections above. — Vildricianus 12:36, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  1. Thanks for the link to the above section...no, I had somehow missed it.
  2. I agree that things should be moved around a bit. "Rhinoceri" certainly is a valid plural of the term in en-us (especially according to books.google) even if it is frowned upon by some prescriptivists.
  3. "A couple hours, days maximum" is the Wikipedia policy, not at all applicable to Wiktionary. We don't have a thousand sysops watching VF.
  4. I'm not relying solely on on-line dictionaries. But in stating references it only makes sense to list ones that people can access here in a click of a mouse button.
--Connel MacKenzie T C 01:10, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
WP doesn't have a thousand sysops. Actually, I don't believe that WP has a lot more good sysops than we do. A hundred at most.
Instead of protecting the page, the user who poses the problem should be dealt with. — Vildricianus 08:26, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, there is that. But hearing "what is the plural of 'rhinoceros'?" as a trivia question on a local radio station tells me that we'll probably see much more nonsense, instead. --Connel MacKenzie T C 15:38, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Then we'll watch it and revert it, perhaps semi-protect for three/fourish days. — Vildricianus 16:32, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

OK. I've moved rhinocerotes to the rhinocerot page and added a Usage note on rhinoceros to explain this. I also reworded the note dismissing rhinoceri and rhinoceroi (both of which are well-attested); rather than saying they don't exist, which is patently untrue, I've just explained that they were formed by analogy with other Latin and Greek plurals and are usually considered erroneous or jocular. Hope everyone's happy. Widsith 09:14, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Very nicely done. Thank you. I think this should be semi-protected now. --Connel MacKenzie T C 08:02, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the entry is now in very satisfactory form. Well done Widsith. ~Doremítzwr
That won’t be necessary, as I seem to be the offending editor, and I have neither wish nor reason to edit the entry again. However, what I did ought to be interpreted in the context of other people’s reäctions to how I initially edited the entry. Firstly, SemperBlotto reverted what I wrote without explanation (I always give an explanation, either in the edit summary or on the editor’s talk page), so I rewrote it, and asked him why he reverted it on his talk page; when he gave a reason, I took it on board straight away (see here), so, the moral of the story is to never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity (aka assume good faith). Shortly after this new compromise was reached, Vildricianus reverted it; though a few minutes later he reverted his own revertion. If only we’d all coöperated, then this whole process would have taken a lot less time and effort. Furthermore, we wouldn’t have people talking about protecting pages for months on end. Doremítzwr 15:29, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, it does seem to be only my individual notion that it should be protected. My reason for suggesting protection uses this only as an example; the term (plural of...) does seem to be a curious trivia meme at the moment. --Connel MacKenzie T C 17:48, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Exactly right! See my most recent comment in the “rhinoceros - plural forms” discussion. Doremítzwr 01:13, 8 July 2006 (UTC)


Could someone explain what does it mean "tubo" in English? Sentence says"we could have a "tubo" togheter"... I feel lost! Thanks a bunch

Where did you read this? It looks like Aussie slang of some kind. Widsith 08:36, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
From context I'd take an educated guess that it means to be in a hot tub together. RJFJR 02:15, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
It's certainly not any aussie slang this aussie has ever heard before. It is spanish for "tube" though. — Hippietrail 22:27, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Curious kidneys

According to the entries for kidney, the Dutch (and Afrikaans) and French translations are the reverse of each other. Interesting coincidence!

Does anyone else know of any words in any pair of languages that have the same meaning and are the reverse of each other? Anything longer than the four-letter example I have found? — Paul G 20:42, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Another example is NATO (in French OTAN). There should be many examples along this line, but I might be cheating... Lmaltier 18:17, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a good contest to save for for Labor Day weekend. Or maybe even Wiktionary Day. --Connel MacKenzie 23:40, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

A longer example (but I'm cheating again): kayak (in French: kayak. Lmaltier 21:23, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Word "imprint" in the publishing industry

Does the word imprint mean "brand" or "publisher" or something like that when talking about books? The w:chick lit article uses the word "imprint" in a way like that in the first paragraph, and the article here didn't really clarify that. -- Creidieki 06:57, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes indeed; strictly speaking, the imprint is the publisher's name, date & details printed at the front of a book, but it's used by metonymy for the publishing house itself. Widsith 18:13, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. I see you've added it to the article, and I'm happy now. Thanks for your help! -- Creidieki 13:32, 8 July 2006 (UTC)


mantelpiece/mantlepiece: I think we may have committed an orthographic error with mantelpiece/mantlepiece. --Expurgator t(c) 18:05, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Fixed. Rod (A. Smith) 19:18, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

so far so good / shit happens

I'm sure there's something a bit wrong with these. Proverbs? Interjections? Phrases? The mind boggles. --Dangherous 11:33, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

The headers here are either =Idiom= or =Phrase=, not =Proverb=. Other than that, they do look like fine. --Connel MacKenzie 16:25, 12 July 2006 (UTC)


(I was going to post this on the Requests For Verification page - but it said that simple fact-checking requests like this belonged here in the Tea Room.) Can somebody verify that the term (Siebenmeilenstiefel) exists in German? Beobach972 17:13, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes, they appear in at least a few fairy tails, including Der kleine Däumling ("The small dwarfling"), which you can read at http://www.1000-maerchen.de/fairyTale/621-der-kleine-daeumling.htm . Rod (A. Smith) 18:56, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Ok, thanks for your help. I did clean up the formatting just a little bit though. Beobach972 19:47, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I suppose the next question is - should we create pages for foreign language pluralia tantums, like we have for English? Beobach972 19:47, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
For Category:de:Pluralia tantum? I don't see why not. --Connel MacKenzie 16:26, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Alright, cool. Rückenschmerzen, Piepen, Kröten (only in the sense of cash, this is also the regular plural of Kröte, frog), Moneten, Salomonen (does that count, as a proper noun? I don't think you'd say "Solomon Island" in English, either), and Siebenmeilenstiefel go in the German category. Beobach972 15:11, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

pluralia tantum redux again.Does this qualify?

The cutes.

  1. Of small children, especially girls.
    My daughter has a bad case of the cutes. She's an ever-loving charmer, beautiful, and smart. This is different from a cute girl.
  2. Of criminals, mostly male.
    He's cute sarcastic and impudent in his arrogrance towards the authorities.

—This unsigned comment was added by Allamakee Democrat (talkcontribs) 2006-07-11 00:53:07.

"My daughter has a bad case of *the cute" is meaningless, so "the cutes" is a plurale tantum. I'm not sure what you're asking with respect to the "he's cute" example. Rod (A. Smith) 04:56, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm not so sure this analysis is deep enough. There is a formula in English for making forms as "the xxxs", which I would regard as different from pluralia tantum and that including such waters down the pluralia tantum category. — Hippietrail 19:56, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps a good litmus test is whether or not the word can stand on its own, without context or articles : take the sentence the dwarf wore seven-league-boots. Seven-league-boots are still grammatically logical items when removed from the context of the sentence. The same goes for the red pants are cool versus pants. On the other hand, the sentence my daughter had a bad case of the cutes. seems alright, but cutes by itself (at least to me) does not make sense. It has to have the article the, at a minimum, to make sense. Beobach972 14:47, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
(replying to Hippietrail) I don't understand how the existence of such a formula or the number of pluralia tantum is relevant. Is our definition accurate? From "plurale tantum":
  1. A noun (in any specific sense) that has no singular form.
Rod (A. Smith) 03:40, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's right. The specific sense bit is important, because a word doesn't have to be completely non-existant in the singular to be a PT. E.g. rock is, well, a rock. rocks is the plural of rock; but it also acts as a plurale tantum meaning ‘testicles’. (I don't know why that was the first example that came to mind..) Widsith 18:36, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, Widsith. So, in summary:

  1. "The cutes" is a plural noun with a specific sense (its only sense) that has no singular form.
  2. A noun in any specific sense that has no singular form is a plurale tantum.
  3. Therefore, "the cutes" is a plurale tantum.

Rod (A. Smith) 19:48, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Interlingual language

Alright, new question. Is this just a weird mistake for categorising Interlingual terms (like letters of the alphabet, chemical symbols, etc), or is that truly a language (like the Interlingue language)? The category does not appear to have any words in it, in either case. Beobach972 01:32, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Looks like someone's experiment. Deleted. SemperBlotto 17:09, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

"committed" in "committed relationship"

What does the word committed mean in the phrase committed relationship? Does it mean married or engaged, or just going steady? (For that matter, what exactly does going steady mean?) -- Creidieki 16:59, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

I have added an adjective definition to committed. going steady means having an exclusive relationship (between two sexes, but not necessarily having sex) that is not yet a formal engagement. In the US, I believe some sort of ring is sometimes exchanged though. SemperBlotto 17:07, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for adding that to committed; I've certainly seen you doing a lot of work around here. I was slightly confused by your statement; gay couples can't "go steady" by definition? What's the difference between a committed relationship and going steady? -- Creidieki 05:07, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
A committed relationship implies a commitment to stay together of some sort, while going steady is more tentative, where the couple is happily together, but with no assurance from each other regarding long term plans. The "between two sexes" I assume is meant to convey that plutonic relationships can also qualify as going steady (but actually, I'm not certain that definition is correct.) I do not know of any custom here in the US, of giving a ring when going steady - that would be more of a commitment. --Connel MacKenzie 16:59, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Would perhaps using something like 'romantic relationship' rather than 'between two sexes' better convey the intended meaning?--sanna 17:06, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Probably. Yes, that is a better wording, I think. Be Bold? :-)   --Connel MacKenzie 16:05, 20 July 2006 (UTC)


This is defined as a preposition, but the definitions seem to be of the adverb to me. SemperBlotto 09:48, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

According to me, they look more like defining a preposition. — Vildricianus 09:50, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
In "Where have you been? I’ve been around", around is an adverb. However, in "I’ve been around town", it’s a preposition. —Stephen 16:10, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeah it can definitely be used adverbally, e.g.: ‘I'm just looking around,’ or ‘There's not a house for miles around.’ Widsith 08:49, 14 July 2006 (UTC)


I came to Wiktionary (which I found very recently), to find out if I should spell a word "orchestrator" or "orchestrater."

I don't know the protocol for adding a word. (is it customary to avoid adding every possible suffix or prefix?) (if I were to add this word, should I try to add it to an existing page (orchestra or orchestrate?)

I'm not invested in adding a word. I just want to be helpful (and find out how to spell the word). I would be happy for someone else to figure out the right spelling and, if it would be appropriate, add the word to Wiktionary.

It should be orchestrator. The general rule I was taught, in the UK, is that where the action is performed by a person, -or is used, and when by a thing, -er is used. I've no idea why, but I have found very few exceptions. However, since the exceptions tend to come from the US, the rule may not be so foolproof there. --Enginear 21:25, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

There isn't really any logic to it. -er is the native suffix (i.e. it comes from Old English -ere), so it's more likely to be added on to native words, e.g. lover, driver, maker etc. Whereas, -or came to us through French from Latin, so it's more likely to be on Latinate words, e.g. doctor, governor, orchestrator etc. However, there are very many exceptions. Widsith 08:46, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for that -- I suppose I should have looked up our articles on the suffices myself. But they suggest there is a partial logic, at least re the "more difficult" (to a schoolchild) longer French/Latin words, in that -or is only used in Latin where a person is the agent, and apparently English tends to follow Latin usage, hence computor (in UK, not yet an entry) for a person who counts, and computer for a thing. Computer suggests that it can also be used for a person, but I have never noticed that. Have you? Since non-automated counting is rather out of fashion these days, your field of reading is probably more appropriate than mine! The exception I notice most often is compressor.

Neal Stephenson uses the spelling "computer" to refer to persons who do mathematical computations in his BAROQUE CYCLE novels.

The phonetic spelling of Wiktionary

I am a beginning linguistics student and I happened to notice the phonetic spelling of Wiktionary in the icon on the opening page. If asked to do this word for an assignment, I would have put an epsilon after the "n" and replaced the "I" with an "i". Correct me if I'm wrong.



It depends where you're from. The icon represents Received Pronunciation, and we have actually discussed this topic many times before in the Beer Parlour, since RP is not really in use any more. Most people in the UK would say /ˈwɪkʃənɹi/; sometimes there will be another vowel between the N and the R, as you suggest. In different parts of the US it will be different again. If you want more info, have a look through the Beer Parlour archives, where this has been discussed ad nauseam. Widsith 06:38, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
It is also at the very top of WT:FAQ. :-)   --Connel MacKenzie 06:40, 15 July 2006 (UTC)


I'm not sure what to make of this word. It appears at least twice in David Brin's The Uplift War and is uncommon enough that I had to go look it up to get a definition (changing color). I thought it would make an interesting entry, except that I'm having trouble getting good verification for it. Google Book Search turns up two entries, both of which are over 50 years old, and both of which seem to be non-English dictionaries. A plain Google search on it turns up scads of free dictionary entries, mountains of lists of words in which it appears, one person complaining about Brin's use of it, and...well, nothing that appears to be an actual usage of the word in context. It's appeared in dictionaries since 1913, and exactly one nonlexicographical work that I've been able to to find. Is this worthy of inclusion, or some sort of dord-like blip on the dictionary radar? --Dajagr 01:39, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

With that definition, it looked to me like a misprint of allochromous -- but I couldn't find any hits at all for that either, other than dictionaries! --Enginear 12:42, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Websters says "A variety of colors: said of minerals" Perhaps you should check for references in nonfiction, such as books on caves or mining. I vaguely remember a childhood trip to Fantastic Caverns where the tour guide used a word kind of like this one in description of the cave formations, which were made up of multicolored mineral deposits. I'm not certain I am remember correctly, however. --Pokey1984 22:41, 12 October 2006 (UTC)


I am working on crib. On the talk page, I've added, redeffed and reordered the defs, as well as adding some images (I'm interested in finding an image that shows cribbing, the stuff under a building that's about to be moved; a pic of a typical Hollywood mineshaft scene would be welcome too). I firmly believe in the dictum "no original work" but nonetheless, I wonder if I detect a second etymology, that regarding 'bits taken from other sources', as with notes or a crib sheet, specifically, possibly related to scribe/scrive, with 'scrive' being the join between the two: carpenters routinely scrive lines. When you look at the majority of the defs, they all ultimately refer to a roughly constructed boxy wooden thing (with the exception of the finished bit of US furniture for a baby). This would be an 'influenced by' 2nd etymology. I do not plan on posting this in the etymology, but will hint of it (at least by the arrangement of defs), but did write Michael Quinion on the subject; he may or may not reply. Tomorrow, about 24 hours hence, I plan on moving the talk page stuff to the main page, depending on what you guys think. This will be my first featured word candidate. --Allamakee Democrat 04:09, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't see a second etymology; all the defs that I can see seem to have developed from the sense of a framework or structure. I think you have to be a bit careful of including a note on the =Etymology= line saying what you think the ‘overall sense’ is, because it gives the impression that the word has some inherent root meaning, whereas in fact the definitions have usually developed independently from one another, and do not spring from any historic ‘true’ meaning (in OE the word was used exclusively for animals' feeding troughs, and Jesus's manger). So I think decisions about ‘overall meaning’ are best left to the reader's own judgements. But great work with the rest of the article – pics are fab – some example sentences for all the senses would be a desirable next step. Widsith 06:50, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I did a little research on the etymology of "crib" as in "crib notes" and came across some information at the Word Detective. --Dajagr 18:55, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Interesting that use as child's bed is attested 38 yrs after publication of the KJV Bible, cf Widsith above. --Enginear 12:52, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

asf? Really?

In looking to see if wiktionary had an entry for asf (abbreviation for and so forth), I noticed what it does have in the entry. (Shouldn't that be asl not asf?) Beobach972 16:17, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I guess that is meant to be "age/sex/from" but yes, you should add a second line for "and so forth." --Connel MacKenzie 19:01, 15 July 2006 (UTC)


Can somone fix the links on the second and third citations on this page. The discussions there are very interesting, but they are blog spots and i cant make the links work. Many thanks. Andrew massyn 21:26, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Try it now. —Stephen 10:52, 16 July 2006 (UTC)


(Cross-posted from Talk:sceot. Rod (A. Smith) 06:05, 16 July 2006 (UTC))

Could this translate to any of the meanings of shot? According to [13], it simply means "tax". – Minh Nguyễn (talk, blog) 03:16, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Huh, another Drago entry. The answer is no, sceot has only a few specific meanings. The tax thing is a bit of a red-herring – that sense only appeared very late in OE and came from Old Norse. I will have a play with this. Widsith 08:06, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Silly money

I'm not at all familiar with wiktionary, so I'm just going to leave a doodle here and let you make something of it...

Anyway, I came across the expression "silly money" in a conversation with a British friend the other day, while I caught the gist of the expression, I couldn't find any clear definition. Anyway, let's be the first dictionary to define it :)

Would it be found at Silly, money, or silly money, though? 10:06, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

If we had it, it would be at silly money. I wonder if it's akin to funny money (which we do have), or play money, or Monopoly money, or fun money, or mad money, or fuck-you money? —scs 12:53, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Huh, I never realised how idiomatic it is! Anyway it's in now. Widsith 12:59, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Ah, I thought that might have been it. (And I tweaked your definition.) —scs 13:07, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Cites added (from 1996 on) --Enginear 13:25, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

win/lose quote

There's a quote by some famous old warrior that goes something like "it is not sufficient that I prevail, you must also be degraded" or something like that. Anybody remember? —scs 12:46, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Gore Vidal said, ‘It is not enough for me to win, the other guy has to lose.’ Is that what you're after? Widsith 12:54, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
That was quick! Thanks. Yes, that's exactly what I remember. (I paraphrased it when I asked the question, because I assumed my memory was wrong, because "I win / you lose" can seem almost tautological.) —scs 13:09, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

air bridge, air-bridge, airbridge, airlift et al.

I'm a bit confused here. Which is which? An air-bridge is said to be that corridor thing people use to step into a plane. An air bridge then would be an airlift, especially the Berlin one. Is it the Air Bridge, proper noun? — Vildricianus 13:59, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

I hope someone makes the right decision because I got it from here. --Takanatsu the Frippant 14:11, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
I'd say we should have one entry (perhaps with redirects) for airbridge/air-bridge/air bridge, with two senses: 1. airlift 2. Jetway®. —scs 14:15, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
As Vild implies, I have never seen air bridge used to describe any airlift other than the Berlin one, so perhaps def 1 needs restricting. Otherwise, I agree. (But I am more bullish re redirects for spelling variants than the official line.) --Enginear 13:35, 30 July 2006 (UTC)


Currently this article only has a verb form sense but much more common is the noun sense. I would add it but I'm not certain which specific senses it has such as the crime in general, a specific instance of the crime, etc. The big 4 online dictionaries all have no entry for it separate to either shoplifter or shoplift. A noun entry should include the synonym retail theft and the specifically Australian synonym shop stealing / shopstealing. — Hippietrail 03:36, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Crib redux

I'm almost finished, but that means it will never be finished. Right now, 21 defs just for the noun, tho' were it not for sofware limitations, this would be about five defs, with abc type defs. Defs without usage examples tend to be head defs.

I've also archived the talk page.

I did not plan on this project becoming so huge. The next step is to compare my defs with OED and W3, which I do not have access to save for trotting up to the local public library.

Does Wiktionary do Requests for Peer Review? This article has been upgraded damn well, with all those juicy documented usage citations. Next time I'm in a library, I will consult OED on the word, but in the meantime, I'd like the best sorts here to chime in.

This is fun. --Allamakee Democrat 04:35, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I think nominating it as a featured entry might be the method for that sort of review. On another note, I personally don't like seeing talk pages archived. I think that Wikipedia-style archive is simply the wrong approach (for Wiktionary as well as Wikipedia) and the history is best left intact, right where it was. --Connel MacKenzie 16:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

"the hoi polloi"?

Since "hoi" is already the definite article, why should the wiktionary cater to ignorance by saying "the hoi polloi" is acceptable? Is this to be a dictionary of how poorly educated people speak English? Let Merriam write that kind of dictionary, and let wiktionary show how to speak English properly. jvr

Besides yourself can you provide us with any other authoritative references to show that remaining ignorant of how the common people speak is more "proper" than the current entry? I can provide a reference for "the hoi polloi": The Larousse Gran Diccionario Ingles-Espanol, Spanish English, 2nd Edition, 2005, Chambers Harrap publishers. — Hippietrail 05:19, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Also, hoi is not an article in English. It isn't even a word. hoi polloi is a word, as a matter of fact it is an English noun. Nouns may be preceded by an article. Therefore, in English, the hoi polloi is grammatically correct. (Odd, I just followed the hoi link and found entries in Finnish and Pirahã. Someone want to add the Greek?). RJFJR 12:53, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

These arguments seem to crop up a lot recently. To the original questioner, I would say that Wiktionary is here to show the ways in which a given word is used, not to impose our own views of correctness on it. I would also remind Hippietrail et al that people look to dictionaries quite legitimately for information about how to resolve disputes like this, something which has nothing to do with remaining ‘ignorant of how the common people speak’. In this case it is NPOV to call the word ‘acceptable’, particularly since for many people it's the opposite. The Usage note should simply explain where the confusion comes from – claims to acceptance are best left for users to decide for themselves, based on attested citations. Widsith 15:37, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

PS Fowler's is quite good on this issue, pointing out that such phrases ‘are equally uncomfortable in English whether the is prefixed to them or not. The best solution is to eschew the phrase altogether’. Widsith 15:39, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Hoi Polloi’s a bit of an oddity. I doubt that many would argue that to precede the words alcohol, algebra or alkali with the definite article would create a redundancy; however, a great many would argue that the ‘the’ in “The Alhambra” is redundant. However, hoi polloi is different from the above four examples. If it was written ‘hoipolloi’, or even ‘hoi-polloi’, then to precede it with ‘the’ would be grammatical; however, as it is a two-word noun phrase, I would consider “the hoi polloi” to be redundant. If the article ‘hoi’ is confusing, why not simply write “the polloi”? Doremítzwr 15:41, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Again, Wiktionary's job is to give people enough information to make that kind of choice, not to tell them whether it's right or not. We should just provide citations to show usage, and in this case there's no doubt it's been used plenty with and without the. Widsith 15:47, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Citations are always the best resource for a good dictionary. For Doremítzwr I highly recommend finding some usages without "the" used by prominent writers. Users can then say "hmm writers a and b and c use 'the hoi polloi' but writers x and y and z just use 'the polloi' and writer q uses just 'hoi polloi' so since I respect q's writing above the others that's they style I'll use". — Hippietrail 22:07, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I dewikified the component words because they do not have any related meaning as individual words in English. Someone has wikified them again, justifying this by saying "component words are wikified no matter whether or not there are English entires [sic] for them since wiki links do not take language into account and surprising things may appear there at any time".
While it is true that Wiktionary links do not take language into account, I would expect, on clicking on the component words of a phrase used in a particular language, to find out more about those component words in that language. The user clicking on "hoi" and expecting to find out more information about this supposedly English word gets Finnish and Pirahã entries, and gets nothing at all if clicking on "polloi". "Hoi" is also an English word (an interjection used to attract attention) even though we do not yet have an entry for it, but this is utterly unrelated to "hoi polloi" and so that phrase should certainly not link to it.
The justification given for wikifying the component words of "hoi polloi" is therefore fallacious, and so I have dewikified them again.
Anyone wanting to claim that "hoi" and "polloi" are Ancient Greek words and so can be wikified might like to try finding them in a dictionary of Ancient Greek before making such claim.— Paul G 19:55, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
It was me who rewikified them. Our defacto policy has always been to wikify all components whether they lead somewhere or not. If you wish to change this policy I recommend you start a discussion on the Beer parlour. It is also good practice for one page never to second guess the content of another page. Who is going to watch pages for appearing articles or senses to reinstate content-dependant links? Similar second guess dependant linking and nonlinking has been tried and failed before in other parts of Wiktionary. Red links hurt nobody. — Hippietrail 03:50, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Could we not get round this problem by linking to [[hoi#Greek|hoi]]? Should we not link to the appropriate language generally? --Enginear 13:49, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
What? Are you suggesting that Wiktionary doesn't have "Romanizations" anymore? --Connel MacKenzie 08:10, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Well nobody complained when the Greek section was removed from beta so I don't know what to think in regard to romanizations here anymore. — Hippietrail 13:18, 23 July 2006 (UTC)


What happened to the translations? I'm certain there once were some. — Vildricianus 18:15, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

http://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=a&diff=932505&oldid=928292 --Connel MacKenzie 18:20, 20 July 2006 (UTC)


See my comments in Talk:truck. The George Washington and Joel Chandler Harris quotes have me in a quandry. Exactly where does the "garden" sense of truck come from? This revision is by no means done, but I would appreciate some comments and even some help. What does OED and W3 have? --Allamakee Democrat 01:32, 22 July 2006 (UTC)


There is a missing sense which w:Jack London used often in White Fang in regard to pine trees: "Never did he fail to respond savagely to the chatter of the squirrel he had first met on the blasted pine."

Here are some copyrighted defs: "Blighted, withered, or shriveled"; "affected by a withering disease or a similar destructive force (literary)"; "blighted or withered"; "damaged by or as if by an explosive, lightning, wind, or supernatural force" — as you can see they don't all quite agree in the details. — Hippietrail 12:04, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

"Blasted" is a term used in the UK as a euphemism for "bloody" (= "damned", "goddamn"). Is this London's meaning? — Paul G 19:40, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
No that's another meaning we already have. — Hippietrail 03:44, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

‘Blast’ the verb can mean ‘blow balefully on’, with specific senses of ‘wither, shrivel’, ‘blight, ruin’, or ‘curse’. So blasted, as the past participle, can mean any of these things. But to me ‘blasted pine’ means basically withered, with undertones of being slightly creepy and diseased. The word has carried quite a lot of connotations ever since Shakespeare used it in King Lear, where the famous ‘blasted heath’ is a place of chaos and madness, windswept and inhuman. London would probably have had Lear in mind. Widsith 07:46, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

To me, perhaps less poetically, it just speaks literally, blasted by gales or hurricanes, and reminds me of trees, as many in Cornwall or the west coast of Scotland, which appear to have a permanent bend away from the wind, with all the branches being on the leeward side. (This is because leaves on the side of the prevailing wind quickly dry up in the strong winds, particularly if there is some salt spray. The trees then concentrate on developing those branches which "bear fruit".) --Enginear 14:12, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
For me it has connotations of being struck by lightning and then regrowing. A blasted oak would be dead in some parts and live in others. Alternatively, a blasted moor would be scrubby and rock strewn, but not necessarily diseased, although it might be. I cant think that one would talk of a blasted swamp or a blasted apple orchard to imply disease only. If trees were bent over (as they are in Cape Town aswell), then I would call them wind-blasted and not blasted on their own. Andrew massyn 21:16, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

QI and the wonderful Mr Stephen Fry

Logophiles in the UK can do worse than tune in to QI, which is being repeated on Friday nights on BBC1 (if you are unfamiliar with this programme, follow the link to read all about it in the Wikipedia article). While not explicitly about words, Stephen Fry loves to toss in etymologies where these are of interest.

Last night's episode contained a beauty, and I wonder if there is any truth to it. I saw the programme first time round but forgot to post about it here. Supposedly, Hornby (if I remember correctly) used to produce their models in two box formats: "box standard" for the ordinary model and "box deluxe" for the higher-quality model. Supposedly (again), these are the origins of, respectively, bog standard (by corruption) and the dog's bollocks (a corrupted spoonerism), these meaning, respectively, "ordinary" and "excellent". It would be wonderful if these were true. Does anyone know if they are?

While on the subject of British television programmes, the OED recently asked the public to help antedate certain words and phrases, and made a TV series out of it called Balderdash and Piffle (Wikipedia entry, OED's page on the programme). "Bog standard" was one of the phrases they asked for help with, and "box-standard" does indeed appear in the etymology for OED's entry for this word, so it might well be true.

"The dog's bollocks" could just be another one in the long list of things belonging to animals that are used for things that are considered to be very good ("the bee's knees", "the cat's pyjamas", etc; apparently "the bee's knees" and "the business" are not etymologically related).

Anyhow, if anyone has confirmation of these proposed etymologies, please let us (and the OED) know. — Paul G 19:38, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Stephen Fry is highly intelligent and is certainly a logophile. A few (?10) years ago, when the Tory party was in power, and one of its more extreme ministers was Virginia Bottomley, he said that one of the things he was most proud of was coining an anagram of her name: I'm an evil Tory bigot. I suspect he achieved that without the help of computers.
The OED has been seeking help on their website re box standard for a similar length of time, originally looking to antedate a usage for "standard" competition motor bikes in (I think) the 1960s. I wrote to them, many years ago, pointing out that by the early 70s the phrase bog standard was in use in the motor car tuning trade, and suggested that was a corruption. I suspect I was not alone, and after a while they noted this on their website.
However, since Hornby trains have been produced since 1920, there is a significant chance that they could have produced box standard sets long before the motor-bike usage -- indeed the move from children's toys to "big boys' toys" seems appropriate. The nomenclature sounds odd, but there again it could be militaristic speech from when they restarted production after WW2: Box, standard and Box, deluxe.
Having said all that, since the suggested change from box deluxe to dox belux to dog's bollocks is so much in the style of Stephen Fry's dry humour, and since his suggestion re bog standard almost depends on it, I am tempted to think that the whole issue may be a hoax. There again, in the programmes I saw, everything appeared genuine. This programme wasn't first broadcast on 1 April was it? --Enginear 15:04, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Speaking of British grammar-related TV programmes, one to watch out for is Never Mind the Full Stops. On BBC4 on Thursday nights. It has some grammar stuff. I wacthed it as a Wiktionary "employee", and made some notes. Maybe will add them here one day. --Expurgator t(c) 21:24, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
The other thing to come out of the last episode was the debunking of the myth that nylon is named from New York + Lon(don) – something our article still reports as true... Widsith 07:48, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
The false etymology had gone when I looked at the page, but I've added a note to the etymology stating that it is a myth, in case anyone should try to reinstate it. — Paul G 09:15, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Copied from Stephen G. Brown’s Talk Page: hoi polloi — the second definition is disputed

It states thus in the very usage note that you reverted! Doremítzwr 16:56, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

You may dispute that it is good usage, but we know that it is frequent usage, and that is what we are documenting here. —Stephen 17:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
It is frequent uneducated usage. It is absurd not to state that the second definition is disputed (I would simply label it as incorrect), firstly as it is the word’s true meaning’s diametrical opposite (leaving the word hugely ambiguous to the point of being meaningless), and secondly because the second meaning, however common, and no matter what you say, is disputed (for example, see dictionary.com. It is doing users of Wiktionary a disservice not to state that the usage is disputed, thus, I will reïnclude the parenthetic preface. Doremítzwr 17:31, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Stephen. The label is wrong. It should be explained in a =Usage notes= section only. --Connel MacKenzie 17:34, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
The issue is dealt with clearly and concisely in the article. Adding disputed the way you did is ambiguous and cannot be tolerated. You are trying to say that some people think it’s an incorrect usage, but a reader would interprete what you wrote to mean that you are disputing the fact that it is so used by anyone. Leave the remark off, it is already handled satisfactorily in the article. —Stephen 17:43, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I did not think that the tag I added could possibly be interpreted in any way other than indicating that the usage’s correctness is what was disputed. Anyway, the tag is removed, and the usage note edited; if what I have written is acceptable to you, then this issue is closed. Doremítzwr 17:46, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
It looks mostly OK, but for any prescription, we are supposed to add a ===References=== section that indicates who prescribes it. --Connel MacKenzie 17:49, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Why can’t we prescribe it? By the way, what was wrong with my most recent edit to the usage notes? Doremítzwr 18:32, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
We can't prescribe things because it goes against the wiki mantra of not being a primary source plus wiki editors may well be untrained amateurs who don't even use their real names and most users know that. If Strunk and White or The Chicago Manual of Style prescribe it that's much more useful to our users since they are trusted experts on prescribing things. — Hippietrail 21:58, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, how about we use that much-neglected human faculty of common sense coupled with logical argument in order to prescribe rational rules to prevent absurdity and corruption of language? Certain changes in language can be seen as evolutionary, such as the numerous colourful neologisms that crop up to specifically desribe as yet unlabelled phenomena, or bifurcating plural forms which refer to different things that were formerly undifferentiated homonyms (such as the two plurals of cherub). However, to take change (“the process of becoming different”) and evolution (“the gradual process by which something evolves to a different, often more complex, form”) to be synonymous would be a fallacy (“[an] argument which professes to be decisive of the matter at issue, while in reality it is not”).
If we take the functional view of the purpose of language to be the conveyance of meaning, this allows us to make perfectly valid value judgements concerning what changes to a language are good and which changes are bad. Good changes are those which aid the actualisation of language, being those changes which allow greater meaning to be conveyed (id est, are evolutionary); whereas bad changes are those which hinder the actualisation of language, being those changes that serve to restrict the meaning that can be conveyed (id est, are retrogressive).
Does this not sound perfectly sensible and logical? Why is this amateur’s reasoning not commensurate with the reasoning of some distant ‘expert’? What reasoning might this conceptual ‘expert’ employ in order to better prescribe what is and is not correct? Why must Wiktionary pride itself in never producing an original thought? How is this “much more useful to our users”?
Doremítzwr 00:57, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

As this discussion has clearly stagnated, I have brought the issue before a wider audience for comment. Doremítzwr 13:39, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I thought this issue had been resolved already. You should know by now that Wiktionary is not here to ‘prevent the corruption of language’, a concept which is to all intents and purposes utterly meaningless. I'm sure people were complaining a thousand years ago when English lost grammatical gender and a case system, but it didn't stop Shakespeare writing some decent enough poetry a few centuries later. Attempting to rollback linguistic changes which you think are ‘bad’ is futile and misguided; you might wish to make ‘value judgements’ about which changes are good and which bad, but that is not the job of a serious dictionary, which is there simply to record and document changes. If language was regulated by committee then maybe you would have a point, and we would have to expunge homonyms from English altogether to reduce ambiguity and aid the ‘actualisation of language’ – but that is not the way things work. Your opinion is not invalid, but the point is that users of Wiktionary should be able to form their own opinions on such issues without our telling them what they should think. Widsith 22:18, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I too, thought this was over. A pet peeve of mine, is seeing people use the made-up word "actualization" (or, God forbid, with an "s" where the "z" belongs.) So, should I assume that your entire diatribe is "bad" because of my pet peeve? Should I delete any mention of "actualization" from Wiktionary? As much as I'd like to, I don't think I ever will. We can't prescribe any particular usage, as no one is asking us to be the sole authority on the English language. But we can describe other experts complaints. --Connel MacKenzie 06:46, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
I suggest a bot to add, after every occurence of "actualis/zation": This word makes Connell and me puke. Shame on you, Widsith! Seriously, I agree that value judgements should be in usage notes, backed up with references ASAP, but we should be sure the note is either immediately after the relevant definition, or is referenced from it, to reduce the likelihood that people will miss it. --Enginear 15:24, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Shame on me? I was only quoting Doremítzwr – hence the quote marks. Widsith 07:34, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

"Powered by"

What is meant by the term "powered by" seen in Internet-related ads? Template:pos vt

—This unsigned comment was added by Claypool (talkcontribs) at 22:16, July 23, 2006.

It is a reference to the hardware or more often the software that enables the web site to function. --Connel MacKenzie 05:41, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
EG. "Powered by w:ASP" means that the website is written in Microsoft's Active Scripting langauge. "Powered by AMD" means the processor's an AMD, etc. Sometime's you'll see "Served by" in place of "Powered". 04:06, 27 October 2006 (UTC)


Does Catalan have genders? If so, add one to vida#Catalan. Or else. --WildrickExpurgator t(c) 16:49, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes Catalan has two genders, masculine and feminine, just like most modern Romance language. We have a mechanism for marking entries that don't yet include gender information: Category:Catalan nouns lacking gender. Just add it in the position where you would normally put {{m}} or {{f}}. — Hippietrail 03:29, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


I've noticed that the English definition for "Gael" relocates to the same word, only with the "G" lower-cased; why is this? A Gael is a real linguistic-ethnic group, and as such should be capitalized. The same is true, possibly, of goidel. There doesn't seem to be a reason for not capitalizing it, but I don't know how to change the title of an article. Anyone who could help to correct this would be appreciated.

Until recently, all entries were capitalized as a software requirement. The software was modified to allow lowercase entries and all entries were then automatically redirected to lowercase forms. We have to correct any words that really have to be uppercase by hand, and nobody had gotten around to fixing the words you found. —Stephen 14:03, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


What's with the pronunciation for argh? It seems to be smileys, and not IPA. But I don't know IPA so well. Anyone know? -- 16:41, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

That’s the work of User:Strabismus. He does funny things with letters and spellings. You can just pronounce argh as 'aaaaaah, pronounced as though you just learned that your house burned down and you lost your job at the same moment. A sort of angry, frustrated, desperate scream. —Stephen 16:58, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
You can add {{rfap}}/{{rfp}} for entries like that. I usually pronounce the "R" and "guh" when I say it, but that is mainly, only on Halloween when wearing a pirate costume. --Connel MacKenzie 19:48, 26 July 2006 (UTC)


Some comment on the talk page is welcome. There are a couple of defs I'm uncertain of. I have a juicy Walt Whitman quote that suggests 'wound' is one sense:

  • And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles

--Allamakee Democrat 00:04, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Following up to myself, the article is essentially done. Found sources that reinforced my understandings. Still, tweak as you see fit. The etymology does need some work, tho'. Latin galla needs a def. As for OE geolu, we have a color-word, which actually could, back then, possibly mean "green", a la bile.--Allamakee Democrat 03:42, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Meaning of the Al Chemist and QUQ

Insert non-formatted text here

Hi folks !

Just joined the club .. ! Hope to get some improvement in my general knowledge and vocabulary.

BTW I'm looking for the meaning of ALCHEMIST - a name written after quoting a philisophical saying send by one of my friend.

The question is given below:

The mans treasure is where he searches for his heart bla bla bla.... (I don't remember what my friend had send me through an SMS.. but I remember she wrote at the end.! She finished the quote and wrote - "The Alchemist" as if the Alchemist said it!

Another one quote she send me is :

" Death is not the greatest loss in life -- The gretaest loss is what dies inside us while we live ! QUQ

What is the meaning of this Al Chemist & QUQ ?

I know the normal meaning of alchemsit but I am looking for the meaning of the literary usage of the word Al Chemist.

Pls help me to find an answer to these puzzles.

The Alchemist is a philosophical novel by Paulo Coelho, which is probably where that first quote is from. The second quotation is something Norman Cousins said, but I don't know what QUQ means (quote, unquote?). Widsith 08:22, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I think general English-learner questions like this are better handled in WT:ID. But anyhow, someone like me might sign an SMS message with a humorous attribution. I have not encountered QUQ before now, but Widsith's theory sounds 100% correct. I'd assume that anyone calling themselves an alchemist (or "The Alchemist", or "Al Chemist") would be either a bartender or a drug dealer. --Connel MacKenzie 05:36, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Anonymous editor

Should we takes this guy's word for it? --Anonymous editors 16:51, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

It depends on exactly what’s meant by "dull". In Spanish, romo is a dull or blunt point; desafilado is a dull edge, as a dull knifeblade. —Stephen 11:34, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

99 names of Allah and friends

Hi guys. I'm in the middle of waging all-out war on the uncategorised categories and uncategorises pages lists. I've spotted quite a few curious entries along the way :

  1. 99 names of Allah - keep, or is it the sum of the parts?
  2. Burger King - I'm unsure of our policy on this - do we allow entries for this sort of thing?
  3. Bönhase - oohh, I got a kick out of that one. It does not mean cat (at least not to any German I know). This article w:de:Bönhase explains what it does mean, but I can't quite condense that enough for a dictionary entry. (Also, add these as Alternative spellings (or at least link them) : Böhnhase, Beinhase.)
  4. Britannica - again, do we allow this sort of entry, or not?

More in a bit, I'm sure. Beobach972 17:57, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, these too : Bohemianism (erm...?), Boba Fett (do we allow this?), Boden null (how should this be categorised, and what header should it be given?). Beobach972 18:32, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

  1. Keep
  2. RFD
  3. RFC
  4. Keep
--Connel MacKenzie 09:00, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation for deism and derivations.

In words such as deism, deist, pandeism, panendeism, etc., should the "e" be pronounced like a long "a" - my research indicates that "deus", which is the root for all of these, is pronounced like DAY-us, and that these words should be pronounced like DAY-ism, DAY-ist, pan-DAY-ism, pan-en-DAY-ism, etc. Dictionary.com offers the long "e" and long "a" as alternate possibilities, but I believe only the long "a" should be considered correct based on the root (contra theism and variations, derived from θεός, pronounced "THEE-os"). bd2412 T 22:43, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Either /eɪ/ or /i:/ is fine for this vowel. You're right that the /eɪ/ is closer to the Latin, but still not exactly the same – Latin used the ‘pure’ /e/, so deus = /d̪eus/. I'm not sure what your point about Greek is – the e-vowel sound there was identical (θεός = Classical /tʰeos/). I'm not sure why we have developed two pronunciations, but they're certainly both well-established and both pretty common in my experience. Widsith 08:42, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I was under the impression that θεός was pronounced with a long "e". My point was that many people, I think, pronounce deism as though it rhymes with theism, deist as though it rhymes with theist, pandeist as though it rhymes with pantheist, and so forth, because the words have similar appearances and are within the same realm of study (especially once you get into hair-splitting differences between, e.g. pantheism, panentheism, and panendeism). I'll go with /eɪ/, then. Cheers! bd2412 T 16:01, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm no expert, but I believe Greek ε was always a short vowel. Long-e was represented by η (/ɛ:/) or ει (Classical /e:/, later moving towards /i:/). See w:Phonology of ancient Greek for more. Widsith 07:31, 1 August 2006 (UTC)



Was there a discussion about this, here, that was archived somewhere? --Connel MacKenzie 08:10, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I recall speaking about it. It had to do with the adjectival sense of the word, the wetted sheets etc. Decided it was UK usage. Andrew massyn 21:50, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
OK...if it's safe to do so, could you remove the {{rft}} tag, please? (Aren't Tea Room archives supposed to be on the page's talk page? Or was it somewhere else?) --Connel MacKenzie 05:26, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I have moved the discussion to the talk page and amended the definition.Andrew massyn 21:25, 11 August 2006 (UTC)



WT:ID#Do specific words have specific meanings, or do they not?. --Connel MacKenzie 08:21, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Plural of metropolis

Our article claims "metropoles", but I can't find any proof for this. The SOED claims "metropolises" and "metropoli", the former which is confirmed by some online dictionaries (most don't mention any plural, though). — Vildricianus 08:40, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree with the sOED. metropoles has its own singular form, metropole. Widsith 09:24, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Metropolis comes from metro- (mother) + polis (city-state). As the plural of polis is poleis, then the plural of metropolis is metropoleis. Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 18:01, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
2,030 hits on Google and 408 hits on Google Books — I think this, together with etymological reasoning, qualifies as verification. Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 19:58, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
In the U.S., we say and write metropolises. I would not have understood the meaning of metropoles. —Stephen 19:31, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
On what grounds do you object to metropoleis as a plural form of metropolis? Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 20:53, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
The cases I see fall into two classes: papers on Classical Greek cities where the native Greek terms are simply Romanized, with the Greek plural used; and in foreign works, such as Italian, or in English written by a foreigner. If there is a segment of British society where this plural is used, then name it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s Greek, not English. You keep trying to force foreign plurals on us. —Stephen 21:07, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Let me get this straight — poleis is OK and megalopoleis is OK, but metropoleis is not? Why the inconsistency?
It’s no surprise to me that the majority of the occurences of metropoleis are in books and papers discussing Classical Greek cities — what other occasion would one have to use it? ~How often do you use the word polis (or its plural, poleis), without reference to something Greek?
The “-is > -eis” rule for forming plurals may be foreign, but how many aren’t? What really constitutes an English plural anyhow? Just adding an ‘s’? How about foot > feet, man > men, cow > kine / cattle, child > children, louse > lice, leaf > leaves, or person > people? What about Latin’s “-um > -a”, “-us > -i” and “-a > -ae” or Greek’s “-is > -es”? I’d argue that these forms are sufficiently naturalised to be considered English. Apart from this, I’m arguing more for consistency, if we have “polis > poleis” and “megalopolis > megalopoleis”, then we ought to have “metropolis > metropoleis” — in the same way that if we have “pous > podes” and “octopus (from oktopous) > octopodes”, then we ought to have “platypus > platypodes”.
Oh, and you said you wanted the name of a segment of British society which uses metropoleis. Well, I’ll give you one in America, which has nothing to do with either Italy or Greece: The American Bundestag Intern Network (see page three of the first issue of the ninth volume of their newsletter at: www.abinonline.org/Newsletter/FallNewsletter2003.doc). Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 22:59, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand what the problem is here. User:Doremítzwr, you are wrong. The English plural is not the Greek plural. This is the English Wiktionary. The term being discussed is the English term. Stop trolling here or you risk being blocked. --Connel MacKenzie 03:52, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with User:Connel MacKenzie; we should give the 'metropolises' plural as the main one; it's the English plural. (Although myself, I'd just find some periphrastic way of saying it, like metropolis-sized cities.) If User:Doremítzwr can provide 3 citations/attestations of the 'metropoleis' plural, however, I support the inclusion of a usage note to mention that one may encounter that plural form; because rare or restricted usage is neverthless usage. Beobach972 04:57, 7 August 2006 (UTC)


I'm fairly sure Wiktionary:unearth this should be merged with just plain old "unearth". Or does it get it's own entry in that namespace? Beobach972 00:40, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't see that entry. What entry do you mean? --Connel MacKenzie 17:53, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Hmmp. Well, it was there last night. I dunno; if it's not there anymore then it's naught we have to worry about anymore. Beobach972 04:57, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
I thought your request was worded a little oddly, and searched for a few of those entries, but found no deletion logs or anything similar. I can't think of any idiomatic use, nor specific use that might justify a separate entry. --Connel MacKenzie 05:02, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Bristol nails

Would anyone be offended if I deleted sense 3 ("One of the four round pedestals in Bristol") from nail? —scs 17:39, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't think you should simply remove it. Was it added there as a result of the circular arguments against an entry like Bristol nail or Bristol nails? If so, then the meaning should be put into one of those other entries. --Connel MacKenzie 17:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Help with a translation

-- 06:29, 7 August 2006 (UTC)


Can any body help me please. we have been told our family names MOTTO is

'Deo Patrisesque Fidelis'

Is anyone able to translate this for me in English please?



Hello Carole. I think I need to move this request to WT:ID. --Connel MacKenzie 04:57, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
It means "To God, our Father, faithful". --EncycloPetey 05:01, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, it means "To God and Country, faithful." The word patrisesque comes from patria (country), not pater (father). --EncycloPetey 03:38, 24 August 2006 (UTC)


Anyone know why we have no adjective for loose listed? --Connel MacKenzie 04:56, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Because no one noticed it before? There are still plenty of basic words and definitions to be added. The words alienated, embossed, and orange juice have all been added in the last hour. --EncycloPetey 04:59, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh hush; you know we have loose requirements about inlcuding basic words around here. Kidding (or rather punnining) of course. Beobach972 05:04, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
This is part of a larger problem. There are many cases in which we have an entry for a word, but only for one part of speech or one meaning. We don't notice it because links are now blue, and we assume that whoever added the word did a reasonable job. I shall try to add an adjective definition soonish (so much to do, so little time). SemperBlotto 08:35, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Gray or Grey?

Is there a difference between Gray and Grey (besides the obvious spelling) ? I've heard from a peer that Gray can mean the feeling (ex. i was feeling gray today) and grey was the color. Thanks for the input! -- 23:09, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

As far as I know, they are interchangeable. The spelling gray tends to be preferred in the U.S., grey in GB. However, some derivations are more common with one or the other. For example, even in the U.S., greyhound is more common than grayhound. Except for these slight regional preferences, there is no difference in meaning, and either gray or grey can be used for either color or mood. —Stephen 23:30, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
I believe that Stephen is right, and grey is used as a negative expression. Bob the Wikipedian 9:22, 9 August 2006 (CDT)
There is the metric unit the gray which is never spelt with an <e>. Jimp 15:38, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Grainary/Grainery/Granary/Granery- Which is the right spelling?

I need to know how to spell it and can't find an article on it, so I can't check my spelling.

Nevermind...it's granary...thanks to Microsoft Word!


The entry currently dismisses this word as a buzzword and states that it is equivalent to "production."

See this example of typical usage.

It may be a buzzword (is that a bad thing?), but it's important to know when it's being used properly. This is a common expression in software development and it does not mean "production." It is most certainly not slang.

—This unsigned comment was added by Knowlengr (talkcontribs).

Being a "buzzword" means that it is a neologism specific to a narrow usage. When I use the term "buzzword," there is invariably a negative connotation intended. I don't know if it would be better classified as "jargon" rather than "slang." But it certainly is a "buzzword." --Connel MacKenzie 18:10, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Fixed. Better now? --Connel MacKenzie 18:17, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
No, that was much, much worse. "Productization" is not illiterate or incorrect, as your edit claimed. It has a meaning completely distinct from "production" and is used by quite literate people to convey a common concept with no English synonyms in commercial computing. Fixed. (grumble, grumble) Rod (A. Smith) 00:16, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Um, no. Your edit has made it worse; you can't take a noun, "verb" it, then "noun" that resulting verb. --Connel MacKenzie 18:01, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Maybe Connel can't make nouns from verbs based on the verb's origin, but if so, that's his eccentricity and, so far as I can tell, his alone. Note that tens of thousands of common, prescriptively accepted nouns were created from other words created from nouns: authority, believer, childhood, domestication, eccentricity, ... marketability, operation, prescriptivism, quirkiness, realization, scholarship, television, United Kingdom, verisimilitude, westernization, xenophobia, yesterday, zoology. No sane prescription invalidates any such words. Rod (A. Smith) 19:08, 13 August 2006 (UTC)


A lengthy usage note has been added with curious copyvio-ish wording. It is encyclopedic in length, and needs to be trimmed down to one or two sentences, for Wiktionary. --Connel MacKenzie 18:04, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


A new contributor (from a couple IP addresses in Bermuda) has changed the entry Bermuda. He/she apparently is trying to start an edit war about it, as the hostile tone on my talk page indicates. The geographic information currently provided is far too ambiguous to be useful, if technically correct. Other dictionaries do not list Bermuda as an adjective...should we? Obviously any changes I make to it are immediately rolled back. While I'm not convinced they are insincere, they obviously are passionate about the topic. Rather than me losing my patience with them, could someone please take a close look at this entry? --Connel MacKenzie 23:01, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

in Bermuda shorts is Bermuda an adjective? RJFJR 05:11, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Bermuda is only a noun. The adjective form is Bermudan or Bermudian. Terms such as Bermuda shorts and Bermuda grass are compound nouns. —Stephen 12:15, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Are they still Bermuda shorts and Bermuda grass or are they now bermuda shorts and bermuda grass? (i.e. have they lost their association with the place?) RJFJR 12:33, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Looking in other dictionaries for comparison, no they have not lost their association. --Connel MacKenzie 17:58, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

"Bermuda" is a proper noun. In "Bermuda shorts", it is still a noun, but one used attributively (also known as a modifier). US usage sometimes decapitalises proper adjectives (compare abelian and french windows) but I don't know if it allows this for proper nouns too. Whether they "Bermuda shorts" have lost their association with Bermuda or not is probably not relevant to whether "Bermuda" should be capitalised or not. — Paul G 09:57, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I've recused myself from editing this entry, under crazy accusations of bad faith. But edits like this seem much worse, IMHO. --Connel MacKenzie 21:45, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

single source

The IEEE magazine Spectrum (it's the generally readable magazine instead of the peer reviewed technical journals) has a section each month called Technically Speaking. Each issue introduces words on a theme. Is a word being defined in this article sufficient to establish existance and justify an entry by itself?

For instance, August 2006 was about environmental terms. The first one in bold is anthropocene, a word coined by Nobel Laureate (chemistry) Paul Crutzen as the current geological epoch characterized by humanity having a detectable impact on the global climate and ecology. 48,400 googles. I listed it at protologisms. Should I have given it an entry? RJFJR 05:02, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

With that many Google hits (many of them offering 'correct' usage of the term) I'd say it's a word. bd2412 T 19:50, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

The Mormon problem.

See history of Deseret. This gets into very nasty npov areas. Shall Mormons, dispensationalists, Christian Scientists, Scientologists, et al., be allowed to edit articles according to their sectarian view? Shall Wiktionary become the next great battlefield of w:Helena Kobrin?

  1. The Book of Mormon was first published in 1830. It's 1830's English. Removing the date is offensive. Shall 1611 be omitted in any reference to the KJV?
  2. Removing the authorial attribution to Joseph Smith is as offensive as removing the authorial attribution to Isaiah or Micah in the bible.
  3. Any suggestion that it is divinely inspired is as offensive as suggesting the bible is divinely inspired (it's called 'scripture' in the history).
  4. The Bible is an old old old book, with a standardized name and a standardized citation apparatus, just like the Shakespeare corpus, just as is the Koran. The Book of Mormon, like MaryBakerEddy's book and L. Ron's books, are johnny-come-lately and lack any historical basis for being treated as anything other than just another book.
  5. Shall we bring in w:Emanuel Swedenborg's writings, and shall they be considered Holy Scripture too? w:Ellen White? w:Mary Baker Eddy? w:Helena Blavatsky? w:Charles Taze Russell? w:Father Divine? Shall all of the writings these be accorded the same dignity as the KJV?
  6. Suggested rule. Unless it was in wide circulation by 1611 (to include subsequent English versions), it's treated as a regular everyday book. We might chose an earlier date, actually.--Allamakee Democrat 09:56, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm just arguing the other side as a way to explore the question. For a start, 1611 seems highly arbitrary. There are numerous alternative translations to the KJV that were produced later, by people seeking to improve on the wording/translation/usage, which presumably have methods of reference. Any book could be assigned a system of citation. (question, do any of James Joyce's novels have a scholarly method of reference?) Hopefully NPOV will keep this from becoming a battlefield. RJFJR 12:41, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
We are talking about how Holy Scripture is to be quoted. Unless we are to give equal ground to the Book of Mormon, or Mary Baker Eddy's Keys..., et al., we need an absolute cutoff date. 1611 is convenient, as this is the date of the standard citable edition of the bible (Wycliffe's New Testament is earlier, along with the Geneva Bible, et al.). It's unlikely that the Analects of Confucius will get quoted this way, but they could. I suggest that the Rig Veda can be quoted a la the bible, but this too is unlikely, in that they have their own learned textual apparatus in English for quotation. My article was polite. How does one deal with johnny-come-lately divine revelation.?--Allamakee Democrat 12:57, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Assigning a cut-off date doesn't seem like the right approach to me. Do you accept that Mormanism is a religion? (Disclaimer: I am not Mormon.) Certainly their texts are considered "scripture" to them. I think I saw the edit you are questioning. It looked OK to me then, but perhaps I'm missing something. The contributor gave a reference for the minor changes he was making, that on cursory inspection seemed to be Mormon-sanctioned. Why would we ask for anything more than that? You can just as easily add a note (referenced) that attributes authorship as the original entry did.
I think assigning an arbitrary cutoff date would make it a NPOV issue. Frankly, I'd reather stick to referenced material to avoid that entirely. The question of what type of religion it is, is certainly a different question that would invoke ridiculous long-term NPOV disputes. I've previously learned that the hard way; please let's avoid that, by sticking to referenced material. --Connel MacKenzie 17:52, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Cut-off dates are arbitrary and there's no need. Go ahead and treat it as a work of scipture. After all, it wouldn't be a bestseller on its own merits.
Yes, the date is important as the date that the words first appeared in English, regardless of whether this is truly a translation. However I would insist that the original text is cited if the 1830 date is given. Otherwise use the date of the revision. DAVilla 21:04, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't see that it needs to be treated differently than any other publication for purposes of dates. In terms of date, we're always interested in the date of a particular source in a particular language (even more so for quotations used as examples). The book of Isaiah is demonstrably dated to BCE, but only in Hebrew and Greek. If I use some English translation, then that translation will have a date that it was published, and that date of the translation should be included with the citation. If I cite a different English translation, I will use a different date. This applies to any published work in translation whether it is the book of Isaiah or Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Whether we accept the Book of Mormon as divinely inspired and translated from golden tablets or not, we can demonstrate the date when the first English edition appeared, and that is what we cite. If someone would like to use an earlier edition, they will have to be certain that the earlier edition is available for study in a library. --EncycloPetey 00:19, 15 November 2006 (UTC)


moved here from WT:BP

You must excuse me if this in the wrong place...but I am hoping to introduce several new definitions of the word 'half-truth'.

Having spent some 17 years researching this concept there are several types of half-truths that are not in any dictionary.

Half-truths are types of statements that are deceptive lies.

1. Partly true statement. (standard definition)

2. A statement that is part of the truth. (© submitted in 1994)

3. A literal half of a truth, ie 'we are all equal before God', becomes, "we are all equal'.©

4. A statement taken out of the correct time continum.©

5. A word with two or more meanings that is used to distort the actual meaning.©

6. A truth that is a minor truth. ©

7. Misrepresentation generalization, ie 1+1= 2, ignoring that 1+1=1 (abstract world of thoughts)©

Used with permission from Caesar J. B. Squitti © Caesar J. B. Squitti

--Caesarjbsquitti 15:19, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Sure. So long as each sense meets the Criteria for Inclusion, they belong here. Rod (A. Smith) 17:17, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Caesarjbsquitti, I noticed you made use of the copyright symbol. However, the instructions just above the "Save page" button explicitly state "contributions to Wiktionary are considered to be released under the GNU Free Documentation License". Therefore, by contributing here, you have released those contributions under the GFDL. The copyright notice is merely ornamental - like putting a copyright notice on a Rembrandt which is already in the public domain. In any event, those phrases are generally too short to be copyrighted. Cheers! bd2412 T 17:29, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Since Caesarjbsquitti has not yet submitted his material to any Wiktionary entries, any would-be copyrightable text may not necessarily have been released into GDFL. However, as BD2412 notes, it doesn't matter because copyright protects only expressions, not concepts. (See Project:Copyrights.) Rod (A. Smith) 22:30, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I am fairly certain that talk page and project page discussions constitute "contributions to Wiktionary" and fall under the GFDL - I've seen this discussion on Wikipedia, although I can't point to it right away. bd2412 T 16:08, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
I summarized the concepts above into "half-truth". Feel free to amend that GDFL-friendly summary there! ;-) Rod (A. Smith) 00:46, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for placing this information to the righful place.

Another suggestion about 'half-truths'. I have identified about 7 different types. Some types of half-truths, are in fact truths, so logically a half-truth can be included into the definition of 'truth' or 'lie'.

Please advise as to how to submit an entry. Thanks

--Caesarjbsquitti 03:15, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Would you like a step by step tutorial? If you have access to irc://irc.freenode.net/#wiktionary I or one of the other regulars would be delighted to walk you through a couple easy starter entries. --Connel MacKenzie 03:18, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
I recommend finding an irc client such as chatzilla or mIRC. You can go through the tutorial we have here, or read our criteria and our formatting instructions. But I think you'll find your changes to truth and half-truth will continue to be rolled back, in the styles you are submitting them in. --Connel MacKenzie 04:53, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
irc://irc.freenode.net/#wiktionary link does not work.

By the way, I introduce another form of 'half-truth' today...statistics.

A statistic most often is a truth, but not the whole truth about a subject or matter, and can be deceptive.

Example: The fastest growing sport, may not be very popular.

While I do not have the time to post the adjustments to 'truth', 'lie' and 'half-truth', ie a half-truth is a truth, that MAY BE a deceptive lie...and consequently a lie may be a half-truth that is a truth, would you please make the necessary listings. (Source: The Jesus Christ Code.© )Thanks !

--Caesarjbsquitti 15:51, 13 August 2006 (UTC)


I was going to put {{checktrans}} on sister-in-law, since I doubt Old English bróðorwíf means "a sister of someone's husband", when I realized that sister-in-law (as well as other -in-law words) doesn't really have four definitions, but rather has one definition that happens to include those four people. It would be like giving two definitions of "arm": 1) "left upper limb"; 2) "right upper limb".

Can anyone write a succinct, single definition of sister-in-law? The best I can come up with is "a woman who would be someone's sister if all marriages were incestuous". --Ptcamn 09:30, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

"A woman related to a particular person through an intermediate who is the spouse of one and the sibling (or sibling-in-law) of the other." —Muke Tever 11:02, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Er...no. Unlike arm, in this instance it is far more useful to have two separate definitions. It also helps with translations since many languages use separate terms. Widsith 11:25, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

But other languages may recognize many more categories than English does. For example, some languages distinguish between whether the person the sister-in-law is related to is male or female, or whether the person is older or younger than the other. Are we really going to quadruple the number of definitions to facilitate listing these translations? --Ptcamn 11:34, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
No, that is just a bonus. The main reason is that it isn't helpful. I don't know of any dictionary which tries to sum these meanings up in one definition. It can probably be done but it's inevitably less clear and hence not very useful. Widsith 11:40, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I find the third sense problematic, tho - would not the wife of one's brother-in-law generally be one's sister? Otherwise, how does the other party come to be a brother-in-law? bd2412 T 19:44, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
If your brother-in-law is your sister's husband, then that brother-in-law's wife is your sister, yes. But if your brother-in-law is your husband's brother, then that brother-in-law's wife is indeed your sister-in-law. But I think this sense is less common than the other; Webster 1913 qualifies it with "sometimes". (And... if your sister's husband is not monogamous, his other wives are presumably your sisters-in-law as well?) —Muke Tever 01:11, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Mmmmm... still not buying it. If my wife has a brother (i.e. my brother-in-law) I believe his wife is just "my brother-in-law's wife". I don't think she becomes my sister-in-law. But, can't argue with the dictionaries, I guess. bd2412 T 01:21, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, I've put a (rare) tag on that sense, as I can't find any examples of it either. Widsith 06:57, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't think we should be promoting "sister-in-laws" as being of equal status with the correct plural "sisters-in-law". Margaret Mitchell might have put it into the mouths of one of her characters in Gone with the Wind, but that doesn't make it correct. I've deleted this supposed plural but kept the quotation and added a usage note. If we really must include it (as a lot of people do use it ignorantly, and we aim to be descriptive) then it needs to be marked as erroneous (it is the sisters that are plural, not the law). The same would then be required for all other in-laws (except for in-law itself, of course). — Paul G 09:51, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

You use a really strange definition of "descriptive". What you're doing here seems to be very much the exact opposite.
"Sister-in-laws" should be included in the inflection line, since it's just as real and describable as "sisters-in-law". I don't mind if we also include a usage note warning against it, provided it's referenced and put in the mouth of the source, not stated as fact. --Ptcamn 10:50, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Well done for pointing out my sophistry :) Does listing "sister-in-laws" in the inflection line not give it equal legitimacy with "sisters-in-law"? Perhaps there should be a reference to the usage notes there. — Paul G 09:27, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
The usage note was not strong enough in my opinion. "Considered incorrect by some" gives too much legitimacy to a plural that is in fact widely considered to be incorect.
The entry at onelook.com gives 18 links. One of these is to Wiktionary. Of the remaining 17 (and it must be borne in mind that some of these are mirrors of others, meaning that some give identical information), nine give "sisters-in-law" as the only plural and eight do not give a plural. None (except for Wiktionary as it currently stands) give "sister-in-laws" as a valid plural.
The British National Corpus has 31 hits for "sisters-in-law" and two for "sister-in-laws", while Google print has 11,400 hits and 334 respectively, so there is no denying that "sister-in-laws" is sometimes used, and so we can't ignore it entirely.
For the time being at least, I'm confident that pretty much all editors and style guides would insist that "sister-in-laws" should be changed to "sisters-in-law". I have therefore changed the usage note to "The plural sister-in-laws is occasionally seen, but this is considered incorrect by most sources; see, for example, (reference)." I think this wording is an acceptable balance between descriptivism and prescriptivism. — Paul G 09:42, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
It's considered incorrect by most sources that bother to talk about it, but that's because sources that consider it acceptable are not likely to talk about it at all.
I don't mind if the usage note is made "stronger", but I still insist it's put in the inflection line. The usage notes section is for just that, notes on usage — not for continuing the work of the inflection line because there was some inflected forms we didn't think were legitimate enough for the section inflected forms normally go in. --Ptcamn 06:07, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Paul G. Sister-in-laws is usually (but not always) tolerated in casual speech if it is only used a time or two in a conversation, but I do not believe it is ever acceptable in writing. By way of comparison and contrast, the status of ain't as a solid English word can hardly be denied, but sister-in-laws is always considered a mistake in written English as far as I know. I believe every general English dictionary recognizes ain't, but I have never seen sister-in-laws in print (meaning books, magazines and newspapers, not the Internet), and writing it is just begging for condemnation. Of course, I can only speak for American English ... British English has many divergent dialects and perhaps sister-in-laws is a standard form somewhere or other in the Midlands or remote estuaries. —Stephen 20:06, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
No, if a source doesn't talk about it at all, it's because it's unacceptable. I too agree with Paul. DAVilla 01:07, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Sister-in-law, looking at the word itself, should mean, "sibling by legal definition" as opposed to by blood relation. So, technically, this definition should depend on the relevent laws. Regardless of who is whose sibling/spouse, sister-in-law would be "a female who is ones sibling in the eyes of the law, usually the sibling of ones spouse." --Pokey1984 00:18, 13 October 2006 (UTC)


Southerner or southerner? --Bottletoground 18:11, 14 August 2006 (UTC)


Do we take Ths guy's word for it?. I'd've hoped that the Albanian language hadn't penetrated our language. --Bottletoground 21:14, 14 August 2006 (UTC)


This entry has been getting lots of anonymous edits recently, and has the beginnings of a table of the "100 names of Allah". Could this table be confirmed, and completed (if confirmed) and then moved to some sort of Appendix? SemperBlotto 09:17, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

So far, it’s looking pretty good, and it’s useful material. As soon as the flurry of activity dies down, I’ll move it to the Appendix. —Stephen 15:30, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Moved to Appendix:The 99 names of Allah. —Stephen 15:44, 6 October 2006 (UTC)


I was rather surprised to see the spelling "focussing" on the main page. According to Wiktionary this is a British spelling. This is not the case. The preferred spelling in both British and American English is "focusing". The OED has allowed the doubling of the S as a variant only very recently, and this only because the misspelling had become so common. I'm new to Wiktionary so I'm not sure how best to flag this. On the talk page for either of these words? Or in the articles themselves? And is there a Wiktionary article in which the standard rules regarding the doubling of the final consonant are laid out?--Shantavira 10:24, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Hello?--Shantavira 07:50, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Hello. The way to do this is simply via an =Alternative spellings= heading. Wiktionary does not pass judgement on which is more correct, since both are well-attested and attestation is out guiding principle (they are also both found in dictionaries). Labelling focussing as British is not to suggest that it is the only spelling used in Britain, only that it is rarely found outside British use. Whether or not this is actually the case will depend on evidence from citations. Widsith 20:57, 22 August 2006 (UTC)


See Talk:fanatic. --Connel MacKenzie 18:44, 16 August 2006 (UTC)


The second definition of the pronoun sense - obsolete version of my. Is this not a possesive determiner rather than a pronoun? If so, do all the translations need checking?SemperBlotto 09:29, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Whether incorrect, and I'm not sure that doing so is entirely, it's easy enough to call such a word a pronoun. DAVilla 22:28, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Some grammarians use "possessive determiner", some use "possessive pronoun", and others use "pronoun". The first is perhaps the most precise, but I don't think we need anything more than the simple "pronoun" here. I think we once discussed limiting the number of possible parts of speech that could be used as headers. — Paul G 09:25, 27 August 2006 (UTC)


I'd like to pre-empt the kind of discussion now going on at w:Macaca. The short story is that a Senator running for re-election called a volunteer for the opposing candidate who happened to be of Indian origin "Macaca" at a campaign function. Debate has exploded as to whether the word was a nonce slip of the tongue, a French racial slur (or variation thereof), or some kind of a "white supremecist code word". Says the Washington Post, "Depending on how it is spelled, the word macaca could mean either a monkey that inhabits the Eastern Hemisphere or a town in South Africa. In some European cultures, macaca is also considered a racial slur against African immigrants, according to several Web sites that track ethnic slurs."[14] Based largely (but not entirely) on the above-noted incident, "macaca" now reports over 4 million google hits.[15] Protologism? Word? Meaning? bd2412 T 01:26, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I don’t know it in English, but in Spanish it’s a female macaque; also, a drunken spree, a jag. Likewise in Portuguese, it’s a female macaque (monkey). —Stephen 02:19, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
There is no town in South Africa remotely close to this. There is no South African monkey of this sort either. Andrew massyn 06:15, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Not surprised. There is certainly a genus of monkey (which I believe requires capitalization), and the word sounds something like... well, a bunch of things. However, with the media and certain political elements running with this story, some folks are liable to come to Wiktionary to look up this word, and we should have a definitive entry on the term (pun intended). bd2412 T 14:39, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
The word has now been added (by others, I note), with an English definition of "A dismissive epithet used by French-speaking colonials" - shouldn't that be a French definition? bd2412 T 00:52, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

extreme onyms

Everybody knows about synonyms and antonyms. If you've used WordNet or read Wiktionary:Semantic relations you know about hypernyms, hyponyms, holonyms and meronyms. But what I'm wondering is, why isn't there a fancy "onym" word or pair of words to describe the relationship between warm and hot?

That is, I'm thinking there ought to be something along the lines of

But in the several list of onyms out there on the net (e.g. here or at Wikipedia), I've never come across proper terms for these. Perhaps I'll have to coin some as protologisms. (It'd be better to use pompous-sounding Greek roots instead of "extreme" and "moderate", though. :-) Anybody got any suggestions?)

scs 18:28, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

FWIW, I don't think =Meronyms=, =Hypernyms=, =Hoponyms= or =Holonyms= should by considered valid headings. They should be =Synonyms= section disambiguations, similar in format to =Translations= sections 'disambiguation' instead. --Connel MacKenzie 19:55, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
At any rate, I was asking the question out of curiosity and for my own purposes, not because I was getting ready to add Wiktionary headings or sections for these. —scs 20:02, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I understand what you mean, but have no idea what the proper terms for them would be; perhaps someone else will answer your original question. --Connel MacKenzie 20:06, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Huh?? So it's your position that trunk and pachyderm should be listed as synonyms of elephant? DAVilla 01:11, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I have always known them as degrees of comparison. Why have a fancy word when the ordinary words do the job nicely? Andrew massyn 20:22, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Kusha la paya

What does it mean? Is it Spanish slang? It is on the Las Ketchup album. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Please move question to WT:ID. --Connel MacKenzie 19:58, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
It’s Spanish Gypsy (caló) for ¡Mira la tía esa!. —Stephen 17:49, 23 August 2006 (UTC)


How should the plural forms be described for this entry? The Latin-ish plural form is normally used only for insect feelers, while the American-ized plural is only for TV's, right? --Connel MacKenzie 05:20, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

That’s right, antennae are the biological appendages, and antennas are technological devices. —Stephen 17:40, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps a Usage Note...? Widsith 17:41, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

OK, thanks. --Connel MacKenzie 16:45, 27 December 2006 (UTC)


If anyone knows how to spell this in Tibetan, please put the Tibetan spelling in the etymology. Thanks. Andrew massyn 20:18, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

The Tibetan spelling is already there: Template:ELchar. —Stephen 01:39, 24 August 2006 (UTC)


Okay me and my friend were joking around about attacking people and what is considered assault / battery. What I'm wondering is where did the term 'battery'(definition #2)came from to mean to purposely striking someone. From the original meaning I knew as a child (as a noun - Definition #1) the device that gave something some power. (sorry forgot to log in) --Age 01:18, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Battery, as in assault and battery, comes to us from Middle French batterie (bombardment) < Old French baterie < Old French batre (to beat) < Latin battuere (to beat, to knock) < Gaulish < Proto-Indo-European base *bhau- (to strike). It is cognate with such English words batter, beat, and battle. —Stephen 01:32, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Ahhh!!!!! that makes a lot of sense! I feel silly for not thinking about it in that way! hah Thanks a lot! Batter and beat helps make it sound much more clearer! Thanks again! --Age 02:13, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Pluto, planet, dwarf planet

Wiktionary will have to redefine a few things, after Pluto has been kicked out of our Solar System. That event brought me to Wikitionary, because I wondered how long it would take for reference sources to update an event as educationally important as the number of planets in our solar system. --Feet first 19:14, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Um, Pluto is still part of the solar system, which includes asteroids, comets, etc... it's just not classified as a planet any more. — Paul G 08:05, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Add new definitions, rather than redefine. The International Astronomical Union doesn't own the English language: the old definitons still have currency (I expect there'll be dissenters who continue to call Pluto a planet), and even if they didn't they'd be kept for historical reasons (and marked obsolete). --Ptcamn 19:30, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
moved from Beer Parlour. Excellent subject! Robert Ullmann 20:07, 24 August 2006 (UTC)


Illustration of the outcome of the vote.

The final definition, as passed on 24 August 2006 is

A "planet" (1) is a celestial body that: (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.
A "dwarf planet" (2) is a celestial body that: (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.
All other objects (3) orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies".

Pluto is a "dwarf planet" by the above definition and is recognized as the prototype of a new category of Trans-Neptunian objects.

Footnotes state that:

  1. The eight planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
  2. An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects into either dwarf planet and other categories.
  3. These currently include most of the Solar System asteroids, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), comets, and other small bodies.

The diagrams illustrate the evolution of the proposal and the outcome of the vote.

—This comment was unsigned.

Again, so what? Has anyone outside of IAU started referring to Pluto as a Dwarf Planet yet? If so, then in about a year from now, we can consider changing that definition. Until then, Pluto is a planet, linguistically. Personally, I doubt very strongly that the new definition will hold that long. --Connel MacKenzie 21:25, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
For the next year, I suggest a Usage Note linking to the WP article. But in the longer term, this is only a particular instance of a case where the strict technical meaning differs from the everyday meaning. We started a discussion about how to deal with such entries two/three months ago (allied to a discussion on when/whether entries should be tagged with all manner of distinctive qualities, eg slang, regional use, etc). I was taking a fairly inclusivist line, but haven't kept up recently, and don't even know where the discussion has gone. --Enginear 16:51, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes. The story has made even the local morning news programs here on just about every local station. --EncycloPetey 04:12, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not a linguistics professor, but I would say that dwarf is a modifier, ergo dwarf planet (linguistically) is one kind of planet. The scientific distinction should not matter for the purposes of Wiktionary unless we plan to have a category called dwarf planets that is a subcategory of planets. Anyway, thanks for the interesting discussion. The 15 new Mandarin words in Category:zh-cn:Astronomy were a direct result of this thread.

A-cai 01:21, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't know what New Yorkers at the American Museum of Natural History call Pluto, but it has not been considered a planet since the Rose Center opened in 2000. DAVilla 02:47, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Can anyone verify that the Galilean moons were considered planets when they were discovered? Does this apply to the English language? DAVilla 02:41, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I can't definitively answer that they were considered planets, since I don't have a copy of Galileo's book in Italian. (By the way, he named them after his patrons, the Medici; the names have since changed.) I have heard from time to time that they were considered planets, though, because they did not follow the movement of the stars. Whether this issue applies to the English language will depend on how Galileo's work was translated into English. --EncycloPetey 04:12, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Nor am I a linguistics professor, but I would say that the dwarf of dwarf planet is no more necessarily a modifier than the hot of hot dog, ergo if a dwarf planet (linguistically) is one kind of planet, then hot dog (linguistically) is one kind of dog.
"The International Astronomical Union doesn't own the English language" this is true. Yes, it's a question how the word is used. I'm sure there are dissenters who continue to call Pluto a planet. Yes, the old definition still has it currency but what about the currency of the new one?
"Has anyone outside of IAU started referring to Pluto as a Dwarf Planet yet?" I have. I don't believe that I'm the only one. I'm more optimistic about the fate of the new definition than you seem to be, Connel MacKenzie.
I'm sure that in time the dissenters will pipe down and the new definition will be accepted. It may take more than a year but more likely than not the day will come when the old definition will be marked obsolete.
Jimp 16:20, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, planet is still missing the usage notes section, describing or linking the IAU's decision. The Wiktionary practice is to assume something is a word, if it has been used for at least a year. So the IAU's definition probably shouldn't be mentioned outside of the usage notes section, until August 25th, 2007. At that point in time, the normal meaning can be labelled as {{archaic}} if we don't devise a generic better way of distinguishing technical vs. colloquial uses before then. --Connel MacKenzie 16:56, 27 December 2006 (UTC)


(moved here from RfV)

I added this entry off the "wanted articles" list. I'm familiar with the term, but I'm looking for second opinions as to whether the meanings I've found are correct. Any takers? Cheers! bd2412 T 21:50, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

  • I thought it was Jamaican slang for a sanitary towel SemperBlotto 07:22, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
    • There are sources that back that up as well (e.g. [16]). They all appear to be in agreement that the "clot" or "clat" or "claat" references a cloth, but spit on whether the "bumba" or "bumbo" is for bum (as in backsides) or blood. But the sources I've cited for the first possibility just look more professional. bd2412 T 13:22, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
The terms I am familiar with are "bumboclat", "pussyclat", "rassclat" and "blodclat" ("bum cloth", "pussy cloth", "arse/ass cloth" and "blood cloth", respectively). I have only ever heard these (I live near Brixton, an area of London with a lot of Jamaicans who use these terms freely) and do not know how they are spelled. What I would say is that I have rarely heard these used as nouns (as in "mi wash mi rass wid mi rassclat") but only as interjections, where they are expressions of surprise or annoyance (compare "bloody hell!", "Christ!", "damn!", etc).
"To be cheated on"? Just how is that an interjection? Hm... time for a clean up (with a bumbaclot?). — Paul G 07:59, 2 September 2006 (UTC)


Why are there two noun sections? --Connel MacKenzie 16:56, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I explained on the Talk:کس page. —Stephen 18:13, 25 August 2006 (UTC)


I was going to add to the derived terms.

  1. Is Winston Churchill's black dog (depression) idiomatic to him or is it in general usage?
  2. The black mark in piracy? - I cant remember if it was in Kidnapped or Jamaca Inn - What was it called? Andrew massyn 04:00, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, a Google search for the phrase black mark on Wikisource didn't turn up any hits from Stevenson's Kidnapped. --EncycloPetey 04:08, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I've now remembered, It was theblack spot. Still cant remember from where. Andrew massyn 04:56, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Try searching Treasure Island, parts one and six. --EncycloPetey 05:19, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Or simply chase the Wikipedia link from our existing black spot entry. —scs 12:43, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Word for the relationship between the verb and the actor noun?

Is there a word that describes the relationship between a verb and the noun which describes one who does the act described by the verb? For example, one whose action is to write is a writer, one whose action is to to fight is a fighter, one whose action is to sculpt is a sculptor, one whose action is to occupy is an occupier, one whose action is to lie is a liar, etc. In short, is there a term to be used to explain that "writer is the __________ of to write"? I am thinking that since most verbs have a corresponding noun describing the actor, we should include these in the entry for the verb. Could go under "see also" or "derived terms", but I was wondering if there was a more precise designation available. Cheers! bd2412 T 02:49, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

I've heard "agent noun" used to mean that. For example, "writer" is said to be the agent noun of the verb "write". Rod (A. Smith) 04:03, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm... sounds right - so says agent noun, and w:Agent noun. A Google Books search reveals this use, as well as some other less common uses, for the term. Does anyone have thoughts on including an "Agent noun" subhead for verbs that have one? bd2412 T 04:18, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Meh. I think it's better in =Derived terms= or =Related words=. Widsith 18:20, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok, that works. How about noting agent nouns in parens, tho, under the derived terms heading? E.g., under derived terms for run, include: runner (agent noun).bd2412 T 14:45, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't see why not. Widsith 16:11, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Talk:dwarf planet

Recently, a Min Nan translation for the word dwarf planet was added to English Wiktionary. I became curious about the translation, because I had never before come across the Min Nan expression in question. As it turns out, the translation was based on a (nearly obsolete) Min Nan borrowing from Japanese. A person on Min Nan wikipedia decided to use the term when translating the word dwarf planet into Min Nan. That translation was then copied over to the dwarf planet page. Please see Talk:dwarf planet for more details.

I'm curious if there is any reaction from the English Wiktionary contributors about using translations which are based on nearly obsolete words, when no true modern word exists. I'm a little hesitant about the idea myself, but I am also aware that people who speak less common languages will sometimes try to coin new words (or reuse old ones) as a way to promote the continued use of that language. If this is the case, I don't want to be discouraging of that practice. However, I'm not sure about the best way to handle such a situation. Any advice would be appreciated. A-cai 12:47, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I think it’s useful to include difficult terms in lesser known languages such as Min Nan because it will eventually catch the eye of an educated native speaker. Then if the native speaker disagrees with the term, he will feel duty-bound to correct it or amend it in some way. But if we don’t put any Min Nan version of dwarf planet at all, then it will not occur to any Min Nan readers add it in. I think the words and phrases that garner the most attention from the public are those that are wrong or not used for some reason ... correct words don’t get that much attention from people, and missing words bearly get any attention at all. —Stephen 20:39, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I understand your sentiment. However, it does seem to contradict the first rule in WT:ELE#Translations. A-cai 22:41, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

It’s not the same thing. I’m a translator by profession and I’m aware of the trouble bad translations cause. I’m not talking about bad translations here, but about technically correct translations of terms into languages that may not normally be used when speaking of such technology. Only a tiny few of today’s languages are fully developed to a point where they can easily describe complex nuclear physics, astronomy, medicine, chemistry, etc., and most of the speakers of the minority languages only speak them at home with close family and friends, to talk about dinner and their children. When they go to work in the morning, they adopt one of a very small handful of super languages such as Mandarin, English, Spanish, Russian, Hindi, German, French, or Portuguese. Their workaday world is carried out entirely in a foreign tongue and they often do not know how to speak of something as simple as a car battery or dwarf planets in their native tongue. However, due to the recent influence of the Internet and new font and keyboard technology, people are beginning to use their languages more openly and for broader purposes. The terms given, for example, at dwarf planet are not bad translations, but some of them are unfamiliar due to the problem that I described. The choice is to (1) give only the Mandarin word in place of the Min Nan; (2) ignore Min Nan and put nothing at all; or (3) give a usage that is correct but unfamiliar to most speakers, since the language hasn’t normally been used for technological purposes. The translations there are all good ... and native speakers now have the choice of accepting the Min Nan, changing it to Mandarin or something else, or just deleting it. The term used is the one that is used on the Min Nan Wikipedia. I think this is a much better solution than simply ignoring Man Nan as though it doesn’t exist. —Stephen 01:00, 29 August 2006 (UTC)


This was referred for verification requesting evidence that this is indeed the variant and ditzy the standard form. I have moved the request here. Andrew massyn 18:08, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

The OED's earliest quotation (Detroit Free Press 1978) is for ditsy, but with a meaning of stylish or fussy. With the meaning scatterbrained, there are four ditsy and two ditzy. There is a back-formed noun ditz. One quote uses ditsy and ditz in the same sentence (and this is the only non-US quote). So the answer's not clear-cut. --Enginear 12:50, 8 September 2006 (UTC)


The first noun definition is for a form of payment. Is this pluralizable as tenders? (If not, could someone fix it?) SemperBlotto 14:50, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes it can have the plural tenders. I'll put in an example. Andrew massyn 17:52, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry I was thinking of an offer of payment, not the actual money itself. I have amplified to incorporate the offer of payment as a noun, but dont think that the first definition has a plural form. 18:06, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I can completely vouch for this - it's the origin of the term legal tender. There are tons of legal cases using it in this sense, tender meaning the means of payment itself. bd2412 T 18:29, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but can cash (tender) have a plural? I fully agree that the means of payment can be pluralised. Andrew massyn 19:21, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Seems so.[17] bd2412 T 19:38, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
No, those are tenders as in the documents or the offers - The means of payment.
    • The cash or specie (tender) is singular. The document(s) 'tender(s)' would be "we the undersigned, tender US $ xxx in settlement of the debt and offer settlement on x day by means of payment in cash or bank guarenteed cheque drawn on Y bank in favour of Z" or something along those lines. That is the means of payment.
    • Assume that the payment were in diamonds (plural). Diamonds would then be 'tender' in the sense we are discussing. A possible sentence would then be "We accept diamonds as legal tender for this transaction." What are your thoughts? Andrew massyn 21:24, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
The first use is as a verb. If there were options for the type of payment you might say "we except both gold and diamonds as legal tenders for this transaction." bd2412 T 00:40, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Legal tender may be a sidetrack. I believe it is a set phrase which is always singular, eg both gold and diamonds as legal tender. However it may be that both gold and diamonds as acceptable tenders could be correct. --Enginear 19:53, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Moved discussion to talk page. Andrew massyn 07:21, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

What is a warezgroup?

What is a warezgroup? Please respond on my talk page at wikipedia; I'm user 100110100. Thank you! 00:39, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

A group of people who exchange warez. RJFJR 13:33, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

types of

How do we handle types of things?

My new pet is a turtle.
My new pets are turtles. (countable: a member of this group of animals)

A ladybug is an insect.
Honeybees and ladybugs are types of insects. (countable: a type of this animal)

Usually English doesn't make much distinction, but there are exceptions:

My new pet is a fish.
My new pets are fish. (countable: a member of this group of animals)

A trout is a species of fish.
Trout and salmon are fishes. (countable: a type of this animal)

The problem is, this isn't just about animals, it's about almost anything. It reminds me of the question on "the ability to" do something, e.g. "My math isn't very good." How finely do we want to define these? Do we simply treat the exceptions separately? DAVilla 00:50, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

According to fish the plural is either fish or fishes. "Trout and salmon are fish." Sounds fine to me. Is there really a distinction here or is it just a preference on which plural to use? (If it isn't just preerence then the entry on fish should be clarified). RJFJR 14:06, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Sure, but you still couldn't use "fishes" to mean several members of that group. Anyway, the question is about the granularity of meaning. DAVilla 18:38, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh, the granularity problem. I think we have to use a nebulous "common sense" approach, combined with a sense of "how likely is it that another language has two different words for this" approach. (And by the way, a ladybug is a kind of insect, not a type of insect, if you use the strict definition of type.)
Thanks. At the level I teach English, to foreigners, type = sort = kind. I'd forgotten that I used to make a distinction. DAVilla 05:13, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
And don't forget fishies![18] bd2412 T 22:13, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Floyd: Hey greenstuff, who's that out there swimming with the fishies? (Muppets, unconfirmed) DAVilla
Surely fishies is a plural of fishy. Widsith 08:16, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Surely so - just added that to that fishy entry. bd2412 T 03:12, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Phrase for a type of chess tactic/confidence game.

I have heard a phrase that describes a tactic in which one unskilled chess player simultaneously plays two very skilled players. The skilled players are in different rooms and do not know about each other, each thinks he is only played the unskilled player. The unskilled player plays the white pieces against one opponent, the black peices against the other. He responds to each players moves by using each skilled player's last move against the other. This is also a model for a kind of confidence game. I thought the phrase was something like "blind chess" or "blind man's chess", but those are turning up no hits. Any thoughts? bd2412 T 18:21, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

It may not be the phrase you seek, but "man-in-the-middle" is the name of the type of attack that such a tactic employs. That phrase refers to any security scenario wherein the attacker intercepts and relays communication between two parties, especially when the attacker then assumes the identity of either party. Rod (A. Smith) 19:03, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks - searching for that term (plus chess) brought me this anecdote:
A famous story of the little girl who played ... against two Chess Grandmasters ... How was it possible to win one of the games? Anne-Louise played Black against Spassky. White against Fisher. Spassky moved first, and Ann-Louise just copied his move as the first move of her game against Fisher, then copied Fisher’s replay as her own reply to Spassky’s first move, and so on. This problem exploited by Anne-Louise is known in the cryptographic community as Chess Grandmaster Problem and the resulting attack is denoted as mafia-fraud. J. H. Conway. On numbers and games. AcademicPress, London, U.K., 1976.
Interesting stuff. bd2412 T 20:11, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
See also here, where Derren Brown played 9 grandmasters simultaneously, using a similar method. Widsith 07:23, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I note that chess grandmaster problem gets about 300 Google hits and a handful of Google books hits, and just about all of them relate to a problem of cryptography for which the above-referenced game strategy is an analogy. (In fact, almost all of them occur in titles that say "solving the chess grandmaster problem" or in opening lines that say "my solution to the chess grandmaster problem is..."). Is this worth an entry? bd2412 T 22:06, 1 September 2006 (UTC)


collective nouns

Moved to WT:BP. Policy considerations. Andrew massyn 12:31, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

definition of enurement

What is the definition of enurement?


Allison Golsby

Enurement is a less common spelling of inurement (which we don't have, but means to habituate or make accustomed to the difficulty of) see inure. - TheDaveRoss 00:30, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Upon further research (books.google) you probably came across it in relation to taxes or benefits, and an inurement in that case would be something which is profitable or beneficial. For example, non-profits are prohibited from "private inurements", or from engaging in activity which results in gain for the members of the organization. - TheDaveRoss 00:37, 4 September 2006 (UTC)


hypocrisy: The false expression of beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not actually possess.

Is it a double negative to say both false and that one does not actually possess ? Is it redundant? RJFJR 14:39, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

It is not grammatically a double negative, but neither is it semantically non-redundant. Since all beliefs that one does not possess can only be expressed falsely, "false" is redundant and should be removed because it is unnecessary. Rod (A. Smith) 17:00, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Redundant? Yes. A double negative? No. To me, it seems clearer in meaning as is. DAVilla 17:02, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
actually is redundant too. You could just say that one does not possess. But maximal efficiency is not a goal in most writing—you don't have to remove everything that's not strictly necessary. --Ptcamn 14:25, 8 September 2006 (UTC)


The new User:Fabartus doesn't seem to want to listen to me. Could the community please offer some helpful instructions to this rogue contributor? He has some very strong opinions that we should format all entries as Wikipedia articles, evidently. --Connel MacKenzie 00:28, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

He's been loading lots of templates, none of which are appropriate here. Apparently it is to make text "portable" between wikiprojects, ignoring the fact that it isn't generally useful or appropriate to copy text into a wikt, or (in most cases) out. We'll probably end up deleting the lot. (things like Template:w which does exactly what [[w:link|]] does) Robert Ullmann 11:39, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Keeping things consistent across projects is not an inherently bad idea, nor is arranging that the project tag for an interwiki link is independent of context. (With that said, yes, of course there are additional difficulties in doing this given the different capitalization rules on the different wikis.)
It looks like User:Fabartus was probably a notch or two too bold in trying to inject his improvements here, but it also looks like he's been wp:bitten. —scs 14:17, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

use of complete vs. completed

Which is correct:

I will start treatment when all of her growth is "complete."

I will start treatment when all of her growth is "completed."

In this case I am using complete or completed to mean "done," "over," or "finished."

Either can mean "done" or "finished", so either would be appropriate. - TheDaveRoss 01:46, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
  • I would use "is complete" (to show the status), or "has completed" (to show a change in status). SemperBlotto 11:44, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

"get over with a woman"

Question: Does this phrase exist or is it in my imagination? To get over with her/him, meaning to have success in gaining someone's interest, particularly in terms of starting a romantic relationship, or stimulating interest in oneself from the opposite sex. —This comment was unsigned.

While I can easily see using that phrase with that meaning in conversation, I wouldn't think of that as a primary sense at all. To get one over on someone is to dupe them; I can't imagine a way you'd use your phrase without evoking the connotation of "duping" someone. That is, it would still retain more of the primary sense, convoluted by context to a sexual nature, no matter how you said it. --Connel MacKenzie 03:07, 19 September 2006 (UTC)


Speech is a form of symbolism; it is a composite of thought, voice, word, and action; it is a product of the integrated personality; it is used to satifsy our needs, wants, and desires.

That definition has been added by user Radioactive758z: [19]. It looks more like a personal opinion than a dictionary definition. Does it belong in here? --Dart evader 19:37, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

No. Widsith 19:53, 10 September 2006 (UTC)


Please explain this in the simplest term. Give me an example of qualitative to help me understand.

o.k., "having to do with quality or qualities"

example, Qualitative analysis is the branch of chemistry dealing with the determination of the elements or ingredients of which a compound or mixture is composed. (i.e. what qualities it possesses)


I added the original entry for tafferel. I appreciate that someone cleaned up the formatting, which I don't have experience with. This was my first entry. However, hopefully the party in question will read my discussion and fix the entry.

I don't want to get into a tug-of-war, especially with someone who is doubtless more knowledgeable then me in general. However, based on my knowledge at this time, I don't believe the entry is correct. Are we trying to match up with the other online source, i.e. dict.die.net, which has a similiar misapprehension?

This word is a subject all by itself. Check out: http://www.io.com/~dierdorf/ww-38.html which agrees with what I am calling the misapprehension. Supposedly there is a 1913 Webster's dictionary, which is cited by dict.die.net. I'm a big fan of "older is better." But sometimes scholarship improves. See: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=t&p=1 It's possible that taffrail came directly from the Dutch tafereel. But whence tafferel? I will check the OED.

I will have to schedule a trip to the library for that. Meanwhile, I think I'll go check out the work epiphany, and see what kind of condition that definition is in. I have a feeling that will be interesting...


Hey, I just had an epiphany! (Everyone's having 'em nowadays). Maybe the original meaning of the word should be mentioned in the definition? Sorry to have to mention god, but after all, shouldn't we wait a little longer before erasing the meaning of words? (See discussion at that entry)

more on tafferel

Metaphoric Variation. The metaphoric principle works in the development of variant expressions primarily through the process of assimilation. In general, it works to heighten perceived similarities, which may or may not be historically accurate. Thus the metaphoric principle includes all forms of analogy, long recognized as a prime force in linguistic change. It also includes the often-maligned folk etymology, by which users try to make an unusual or singleton form fit into some perceived pattern. Usually the assimilation suggests that the users have forgotten (or never knew) the original sense of the element that is being replaced by the new metaphoric form:

Original Word.............................Evolved To.................By Analogy With

Asparagus                      Sparrowgrass           Sparrow & Grass
Chaise longue“Long chair”      Chaise lounge          Lounge
Chesse meyne “Chess retinue”   Chessmen               Men
Dame-jeanne “Lady Jeanne”      Demijohn               Demi- & John
Ele, eill “Wing of a church”   Aisle                  Isle & Fr. aile “wing”
Formest (form “first” + -est)  Foremost               Fore & Most
Frontispice (Front+i+spice “look”) Frontispiece       Piece
Furrer                         Furrier                ? -ier as in clothier
Gridirne                       Gridiron               Iron
Halier                         Halyard                Yard
Hather, hadder, hether, hedder Heather                Heath
Huysenblase (Du.)              Isinglass              Glass
Igland                         Island                 Isle
Ile                            Isle                   Fr. isle
Mandrage (from mandragora)     Mandrake               Man & drake
Mangrow                        Mangrove               Grove
Mocayare                       Mohair                 Hair
Muscheron, musseroun           Mushroom               ? Mush & room
Musquash                       Muskrat                Musk & rat
Oof, owf                       Woof                   Warp
? Parthian shot                Parting shot           Parting
Pentice                        Penthouse              House
Pikefork, pickfork             Pitchfork              Pitch (as in pitching sheaves
Rakel “Rash, rought”           Rakehell               Rake & hell
Rime                           Rhyme                  Rhythm
RÇs marinus “dew of the sea” (Lat.) Rosemary          Rose & Mary
Shame-fast                     Shamefaced             Face
Swingletree                    Singletree             Doubletree
Taffarel, tafferel             Taffrail               Rail
Tit(e)mose                     Titmouse               Mouse
Up so doun “Up as if down”     Upside down            Side
Waiter                         Watron                 Patron
Welsh rarebit                  Welsh rabbit           Rabbit
Whisk                          Whist “Card game”      Whist “Quiet"

what do you mean by prodigal son

—This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

(Assuming you want to know what prodigal son means) see w:Parable of the Prodigal Son. — Vildricianus 17:09, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
What's to be done with the prodigal son
Fetch him a tall glass of water
But there's none in the cup 'cause he drank it all up
Left for the prodigal daughter
Michelle Shocked ("Cotton-Eyed Joe")


How do we tag such obsolete words? Middle English? Old English? --Ruedanton 00:45, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Just =English=, with an (obsolete) tag on the definition line. Widsith 09:58, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

What's the word (type of child carrier)?

What do you call the sort of child carrier, in a framework, worn on the back like a small rucksack (or sometimes on the front)? (In Italian it is a marsupio) SemperBlotto 08:43, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

They seem to just be called child carriers or baby carriers. The Italian word is awesome. Widsith 10:01, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
See w:Child carrier. Widsith 10:02, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Of course, in Africa, the babies are carried in that position wrapped in a fold of the mother's clothes, so there is no carrier to be given a name. --Enginear 13:11, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Of course, in Africa, there is a name in probably every language for the cloth used to carry a baby (;-) Swahili leso (I just asked a native speaker of Swahili who is sitting on the sofa here in Nairobi ...) Robert Ullmann
...and also I'm told, (near Accra, at least) a name in every local language for that method of carrying the baby, but neither seems to have transferred to English, which was my interpretation of SB's question. Still, many other English speaking African countries yet to report in ;-)
On reflection, are we sure the Italian word refers to back-carriers, rather than just front-carriers which are, after all, like marsupials? I seem to recall that there are also some animals who regularly carry their young on their backs...even though there's no built in milk supply there. --Enginear 18:10, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
In Xhosa it is ibhayi.
I've heard the word papoose used. I think that child carrier etc. is more common though.MGSpiller 18:38, 21 September 2006 (UTC)


There is some page at Wikipedia: w:Ponsenby club. Let me quote: "A ponsenby is a person, similar to a narcissist, who believes they are superior to all others around them (Wiktionary)." What's that supposed to mean? Is that a joke or something? Dart evader 08:36, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Aaargh! Someone has marked it for deletion. What have I done?! I didn't mean to kill it. :-) Dart evader 10:10, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

jaclef tioletta

I remember my father saying this. I know it is not the correct spelling. He can't remember exactly what it means but thinks it has something to do with "dogs blood". Can anyone help?


I need help transcribing the following sentence using IPA

The apricot tree.

I would greatly appricate it if someone would help me, my e-mail is rromero@emuhsd.k12.ca.us

Thanks a million,


Er.. in what accent? In south England, it's roughly [ði ˈeɪpɹɪkɒʔ tɹi]. Widsith 15:42, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
For roughly the same accent, I'd say [ðə ˈeɪpɹɪkɒʔ tɹiː] feels more natural (ignoring aspiration). --Wytukaze 16:29, 18 September 2006 (UTC)


At first glance, the 'you brimstone idiot' sense seems to be an adjective (not a noun, the label it currently bears), similar to 'you bloody idiot'. What does everyone else think? Beobach972 18:09, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

At second glance, many of the quotations use 'brimstone' as an adjective, so I shall add an adjective sense. I'd still like to see what everyone thinks of 'brimstone idiot', though. (It was, for example, decided -- after some debate -- that the word Bermuda in Bermuda government was a noun.) Beobach972 18:17, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

To me it's clearly a noun. Dickens seems to use it as a kind of euphemism for ‘bloody’, ‘damned’ etc. But I would call that attributive use of a noun; certainly it's not an adjective in the Hardy citation. Widsith 09:39, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

eaten and ate

A peer and I recently had a short arguement about eaten and ate. I think I'm wrong the more I think about it but I'd like to clarify and possibly get pointed in the right direction but this argument started from when I said: "I haven't eaten since 7 A.M.!" Which would be more correct in that case? --Age 03:12, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Eaten is the participle, so that would be the correct form when joined with the verb "have". - TheDaveRoss 03:19, 20 September 2006 (UTC)


I have found this in Naomi Novik's "His Majesty's Dragon": "The French captain did not immediately respond; he looked at his men with a miserable expression [...]; still he hesitated, drooped, and finally husked, “Je me rends,” with a look still more wretched."

What was the meaning of "husked" here? Like "squeezed out the words"? --Dart evader 16:20, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

She seems to mean, ‘said in a husky voice’. Widsith 07:01, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, probably so. Is this meaning worth including in the husk article? Dart evader 09:02, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't think so. Good writers can use words in all sorts of creative ways; unless it's been taken up by anyone else it probably won't meet CFI. Widsith 09:19, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
Although, on second thoughts, I see that the sOED includes this sense of the verb, as ‘utter huskily’, so apparently it's got some currency. Looks like we'll need to include it after all – nice to have a good citation for it! Widsith 09:34, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
Hurrah! :-) Dart evader 09:48, 21 September 2006 (UTC)


recently some associates and myself have come to the conclusion that today's persons can niether imply or infer correctly and actually use a mixture of both applications. We have come to call this inflying (infly for singular). We (I) am seriously concidering entering the word and it's application, origination and definition in wikipedia. any other thoughts??

If this is a newly created word (a protologism) then consider listing it at Appendix:List of protologisms. RJFJR 13:20, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Plural of oryx?

Entry says "oryxes", but this wildlife reserve website uses "oryx" for both singular and plural. On the other hand, "oryxes" gets 23,000+ Google hits and 400+ Google books hits. It would, of course, be useless to do either Google search for "oryx" alone, as this is already the singular, but a Google Book search for "oryx are" yields 50+ and "oryx have" gets another 30. bd2412 T 13:24, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Plural can be either oryx or oryxes. So adjusted. SemperBlotto 13:29, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
This goes for a lot of beasts that were hunted. I think it is a British thing. E.g. We are off to hunt lion. or We shot twenty hippo (or zebra or kudu etc.) Oddly one doesn't murder five cow... Andrew massyn 20:48, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Pls help add to def. of word "moodle"


I've had discussions via email with a few other people (of whose identities I have since lost track), wherein we, collectively, have suggested that the word "moodle" (already defined in the Wiktionary in other ways) to [also] should also describe "the action of a fluid flowing isotropically over any available surface(s)," as in the following example: "The Sherwin-Williams advertisement showed paint moodling over the globe." (That familiar ad presents a textbook example of such so-called "moodling.")

Is this usage familiar? I am particularly interested in that I know of no other term that describes this particular action (much less better describes it), and would like to contribute it to the Wikipedia (with credit to the other [now-unrecalled] contributors. I'd be interested in all responses, ideally directly to my email address below. Thank you! Regards, Roger Cloud.

ROGER WILCOX CLOUD Attorney at Law (Calif.) 831-331-7006 roger@rogercloud.com


hmm, I dunno. Are we under an obligation to destroy this message, or is everyone who will ever have access to GFDL data and the public domain the "intended recipient"? I'd hate to incur IRS penalties. Robert Ullmann 20:47, 25 September 2006 (UTC)


Can anyone find any more cites for this word? Perhaps, to hope against hope, a cite outside of the narrow field of the Broome pearling industry? --Ptcamn 19:23, 23 September 2006 (UTC)


If my ears don't mislead me I seem to have heard this quite frequently, lately. I think it means to change one's position on or committment to a cause.Any one else heard it?

sticks and stones

The situation is unrelated to the recent rfv, which passed. The question is if the definition moved to the talk page is idiomatic, in which case it should certainly be included, and on the second hand if that even matters. If everyone agrees that stones and sticks aren't the same thing then I won't open up the question of literal meanings on such pages. DAVilla 06:16, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Wow, why was it moved? There are many examples of idioms where we include the literal explanation first, so that the idiomatic sense can be comprehended. In fact, I was under the impression that that is the form we are generally supposed to use. Even if that has changed (which I very strongly doubt,) the information should be moved to the Etymology section or something, not removed. --Connel MacKenzie 21:11, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
I think that stones and sticks are the same as sticks and stones. That was the reason I removed it. I suppose it could be put in as an etymological definition for the other meaning, but I thought it was so obvious that it wasn't worth adding. Perhaps I was wrong, and if someone wants to add it as the etymology, I have no objections. Andrew massyn 20:39, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

parce (French word)

Can anyone rescue this French stub?

It seems to be used only in the phrase parce que meaning because. Does it have any independent meaning? What is its part of speech? French Wiktionary just has a "see also" entry. I was wondering if it was a contraction of something such as "pourquoi est-ce". Any ideas? SemperBlotto 08:41, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

"parce" has no independent meaning and no part of speech, and yes, it exists only in "parce que".
"parce que", is considered as one word in French (it's the entry that is used in dictionaries). Though, a French beginner might think that it's 2 different words, so it may be interesting to have some link from "parce" to "parce que". Kipmaster 11:31, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it's not really a word at all – parce que was originally a colloquial abbreviation of pour ce que, meaning roughly ‘for that’. Widsith 11:54, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
Except for the meaning "because", it is also used when someone refuses to answer, for example: "Pourquoi tu ne veux pas lui parler ? - Parce que." --Lou 17:47, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
But that would also be ‘because’ in English. “Why don't you want to speak to him?” “Because!” Widsith 17:11, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Welsh word with silent w

Is there a Welsh word with a Silent W

The Welsh ‘w’ is not a semivowel/semiconsonant as it is in English, but a full-fledged vowel. Therefore there are many words where the ‘w’ may have the appearance of being silent. For example, rywbryd (once), pronounced /'rubrɨd/ invalid IPA characters ('), replace ' with ˈ; or meddwl (thinking), pronounced /'mɛðʊl/ invalid IPA characters ('), replace ' with ˈ. —Stephen 14:03, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

en-verb template

The en-verb template does not work appropriately on the code page because it creates links like codeed. I don't know which template is supposed to be uised for verbs ending in 'e'. Can someone fix this, please? RJFJR 15:12, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Done. --Connel MacKenzie 15:15, 28 September 2006 (UTC)


to layout

Is the word layout also a verb? 16@r 19:52, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

I would say that the verb is "lay out", two words, much like "everyday" is (or should be) a single word only if it is acting as an adjective. Others words of this sort are backup and setup. All should eventually have usage notes to that effect. —Dvortygirl 19:56, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Plural of flatus?

What is the plural of flatus? (Latin origin, apparently the 'a' is long). RJFJR 02:14, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

It's a fourth declension noun, so the nominative singular in Latin would be flatus (flātus) and the nominative plural would be flatus (flātūs). --EncycloPetey 02:21, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
In English, however, the plural is apparently simply flatuses. --Ptcamn 02:23, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. The Random House indicates that the only English plural is flatuses. —Stephen 04:49, 5 October 2006 (UTC)


The first definition is listed as "in plural" but I've only heard it as the exact opposite - never, in plural when referring to the suit as a whole. I suspect it may be a regional thing; can someone identify what region(s)/contexts the plural is used? --Connel MacKenzie 19:49, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

It's trumps in London and, I believe, throughout the UK. Interestingly, the OED says of this usage pl. (formerly also in sing.) --Enginear 11:28, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
In South Africa (British English) it is also trumps. I've never heard it in the singular, although when you refer to the trump suit it is in the singular. i.e. Diamonds were declared trumps; the trump suit was diamonds. Andrew massyn 20:29, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. To my ears, "What's trump?" not "What's trumps?"DAVilla 08:50, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Out of curiousity, why isn't the slang "trump" (UK) listed here? I added it but it was removed. CragTek 02:04 01:04, 22 October 2006 (UTC) —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

The North American OED online lists a lot of varieties. It does seem that the UK uses plural, America uses singular and Canada uses both. The links to trump up and no trump (i.e. a bid of "four no trump") seem to be missing, too. --Connel MacKenzie 17:05, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

"Sunday Punch"

Watching a late ('58) 1950's film, I ran across this interesting phrase:

...organized society, that is you the taxpayer, are throwing at the fire your Sunday punch, and it's a pretty good punch...

Does anyone have any idea what "Sunday punch" means specifically, or where it came from? Thanx. 04:45, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

I can only presume the "Sunday" is akin to wearing your Sunday's best (your best clothes) and "punch" is the beverage, the mixed drink you'd ladle out of a punch-bowl. A little more context might help. --Connel MacKenzie 05:24, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I would have agreed with Connel, but I see that the sOED defines Sunday punch as ‘a knockout blow or punch’, and labels it as (US slang). Widsith 10:18, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
The full OED has the same definition, but adds a few quotes, starting with this amazing one from Alfred Runyon in Cosmopolitan in 1929: If you argue with Dave the Dude too much he is apt to reach over and lay his Sunday punch on your snoot. Now, Dave the Dude I can understand as US speak, but I can't quite imagine a gangsta talking about reaching over to lay a punch on your snoot. It's made my day ;-) --Enginear 13:48, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
If that's Alfred Runyon as in Daymon Runyon, then I can definitely see that being said. He wrong stories after stories about that sort of thing. As to context, carefully looking at it myself, I can't pick any up. The movie is here: "http : // www . archive . org / details / ADTWhenE1958" (Keep CAPTCHA from complaining) , and in the Public Domain. I'm not the contributor there who asked about it, I just was confused as well and remembered this nice wiki-page where people had nothing better to do ;). Thanx 05:15, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Wiktionary schmictionary

How would we go about defining "schmictionary" in this case. It is quite popular to change the first letter of a word to "schm" or "chm", when you find something silly. For example - "You should wear a seatbelt" to which someone replies "Seatbelt schmeatbelt". Would it go, if anywhere, at schm-? --Windofir 15:08, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

I see someone has already created that page. Could do with cleanup tho. --Windofir 15:09, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
schm- rewritten from scratch. SemperBlotto 15:20, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Whomp / womp

I was watching the 1971 movie "Shaft" on TV yesterday. At one stage, a character (a white gangster/ member of the mob) says to the private detective: "I am looking for a 'nigger' called Shaft" and Shaft answers "You are looking at him, Whomp." or something similar.

According to Wikidictionary, [womp] means: a) to hit extremely hard b) to completely lack redeeming quality

Are there perhaps alternative meanings closer to the word in the context that it was used in the definition? (unsigned comment added by user:Microduma, moved from talk page)

I can't find anything like what you claim you heard. See the transcript. DAVilla 20:28, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
I couldn't find the line either. I found one alleged quote from the movie, the word is wop, which makes sense. Robert Ullmann 20:56, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

"Czardas" and "csardas"

I'm having a small amount of trouble with the difference between czardas and csardas. Both of these pages seem to have the same definition a traditional Hungarian folk dance, but this leads to some redundancy. Should I redirect one to another, or should I put both under the Hungarian page, but with an English noun template? Aeluros 19:07, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

No, what they should have had (and now do have) is an =Alternative spellings= section which points you to the variant spellings of what is essentially, as you say, the same word. However, we like to have a separate page for each valid spelling, rather than redirects, for a number of reasons. Widsith 19:22, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Aeluros 19:32, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
The letters "cs" are the Hungarian spelling of the ch sound. The letters "cz" are the Polish spelling of the same thing. —Stephen 12:59, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Tea question

I've noticed that my teabags often have the word varietal on them. Does this mean the same thing for tea that it means for wine, i.e., the Tazo "China Green Tips Varietal Green Tea" contains only one type of tea? Thanks! -- Creidieki 21:57, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, see the varietal page. Widsith 07:56, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
How do either of the definitions for the adjective form use the comparative or superlative? RJFJR 13:55, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Most uniquely, perhaps, or maybe more absolutely. ;-) --Enginear 17:27, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm still not convinced that varietal can be used in other than the positive sense. I checked google and found "varietal"= 3,700,000 googles "more varietal"=1,070 googles "most varietal"=288 googles. It seems something is either varietal or not. RJFJR 13:06, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely! Since no one has disagreed with us, I've changed it to incomparable. --Enginear 18:52, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

one foot in front of the other

The phrase may have a literal sense, i.e. "to walk is to move by putting one foot in front of the other". But I guess it may also be used in idiomatic way: "and I certainly cannot give you a single man fit to set one foot in front of another" (that's from Patric O'Brian). What exactly is that idiomatic meaning? Dart evader 17:58, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Figuratively, to start on any large task/path/journey/career, etc. --Connel MacKenzie 18:11, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

No, I think it's fairly literal there – he seems to mean that the men available are actually not fit enough even to walk, i.e. they're injured, exhausted etc. Widsith 18:18, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Though you could prbably argue that put one foot in front of the other is a (fairly common) periphrasis of walk. Widsith 18:20, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm inclined to think that the usage in the example above was still more figurative than literal. The context of the book rather makes me believe that all (presumed) candidates were unworthy to speak of, but not necessarily even unable to walk. Dart evader 18:57, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

what is the meaning of "nosegay"

I am new here, and I am Norwegian. For some days I have tried to transelate the word NOSEGAY. I think this is a word describing flowers hold together in a special way, meant to be given away when dating. I have not been abel to find the Norwegian word because I think this is about traditions not conducted in Norway. Is there anybody that will take time to explain this word to me? Please use different ways of saying the same thing, my English is not exelent. This unsigned comment was left by Trinebakke

Your English is infinitely better than my Norwegian! I don't think that nosegay suggests any special way of holding the flowers together. The OED starts with the definition A bunch of flowers or herbs, esp. ones having a sweet smell; a small bouquet, a posy and suggests an etymology from nose and gay, which at the time of first recorded use (1500) might have implied a bunch which had a sweet or lively smell. --Enginear 18:46, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
The first translation to look for would be for "bouquet", then perhaps "small bouquet". (If you've got a selection of diminutives available to you in Norwegian, try slapping them on your word for "bouquet" until you find one that sounds good, and you'll be halfway to the appropriate connotation for "nosegay".)
Besides that it is small, the other important part of the connotation of "nosegay" (as I understand it) is that the small bouquet is intended to be held in the hand, or passed as a gift, or (especially) pinned to one's clothing. I believe I've also heard the term used for the (perhaps slightly larger) bouquet fastened to the bridle or at the neck of a winning show horse. See also the Wikipedia article.
Usually, I think of a "bouquet" as a larger bunch of flowers, most often put in a vase on a table or mantlepiece. A boutonniere is a single flower, intended to be worn in one's buttonhole or pinned to the lapel. A nosegay is, I think, sort of intermediate between the two. (And then there's corsage. Hmm. Perhaps a nosegay is just a larger corsage?) —scs 13:49, 16 October 2006 (UTC
Addendum: talk to someone who knows about wedding planning in Norway. (Or visit some Norwegian wedding planning or florist's websites.) If there's a specific word for the hand-held bouquet carried by the bride or bridesmaids, that's an excellent candidate for the translation you want. —scs 14:18, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

A nosegay, in the antebellum south (USA) refers to a small bunch of fragrant flowers or herbs, tied in a bundle and held in the hand. The may be put to the nose for the pleasant sensation, or possibly to mask more unpleasant odors in the air. —This unsigned comment was added by Davidcurry (talkcontribs).

Also used in that sense in UK up to WW1 or later. I've improved the definition, using a lot of your words. Thanks. (BTW, deodorants only became readily available in UK in the 1930s. Hence the unpleasant odours.) --Enginear 10:02, 22 February 2007 (UTC)


Previously uploaded pronunciations included pee-seez and pai-siz. Are these correct? And could we categorize these by regional use? DAVilla 20:10, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

The spelling /ˈpaɪ.sis/ Sounds like "pie-seas", and is the pronunciation I normally hear. (Notice the ɪ, which represents a "short" i sound). The one that I deleted (/ˈpee.seez/) would be pronounced "pay-ay-say-ayz", which isn't even remotely correct. I see you've added /ˈpɪsiz/, which would sound like "piss-ease". I've not heard that one before. --EncycloPetey 21:50, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
For the one you deleted, the user who added it doesn't know IPA, clearly, which is why I didn't claim it was IPA above. If you understand that intention, then it's not far from pi-seez (yes, "piss ease"), the one I added, which came out of a dictionary I used to double-check him. But if only one of them is right, who's to say the dictionary is more correct? Just because someone doesn't know IPA doesn't mean they don't know what they're saying. DAVilla 21:58, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I usually hear pie-sees in London. There is also a pronunciation piss-Kay's, ie pronouncing the word as if in Latin. I often absent-mindedly use the latter myself, but I'm not sure it's widespread enough to add as an English usage (particularly as it may not be "correct" English usage). --Enginear 09:47, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

It's "pie-sees", from one of the zodiacs --Jeni neutron 01:21, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

COW 42

Please contribute your English knowledge to this week's Collaboration of the Week!

Cheers! DAVilla 22:23, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

2 lion
3 thrust
Congratulations for kicking this off, on a very H2G2-ish numbered week of the year! --Connel MacKenzie 08:11, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but Friday the 13th it also was, so cloudy the future is. DAVilla 08:29, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Woops, wrong movie. :-P DAVilla 08:32, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Are Sources of misnomers appropriate for Wiktionary

Here's a wikipedia link to the current version of misnomer: [20]. I'm thinking the top 6 bullets are valuable info to understanding the word's meaning, but I'm not sure if they'd qualify to be transferred here. They are meanings of a word, which is why it might. But I'm not sure if they go beyond Wiktionary's purview.

There's an informal discussion on whether to keep the article at w:Talk:Misnomer#Dictionary-Type Article/Possible Delete, and I mentioned I'd ask here. The basic dicdef was already transwikied here a year ago.TransUtopian 17:20, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

If I understand the question correctly, you'd like to add all six subsenses to misnomer, right? I can see the argument being made either way, but usually we try to avoid redundant sub-senses, instead recombining them in the parent sense (or rewording the parent sense to cover all the subsenses.) The practice of wontonly "splitting" definitions makes entering translations much harder, especially for translators.
Wiktionary currently has:
  1. The wrong name or term.
  2. An unsuitable or misleading name (for something).
plus two other dubious, unrelated definitions that should be cleaned up.
Wikipedia has:
  1. A misnomer is the wrong name or term for something; a misleading name, often idiomatic.
    • Some sources of misnomers include
      • A word used in ignorance of the true meaning.
      • An older name being retained as the thing named evolved (e.g., pencil lead, tin can, fixed income markets, mince meat pie, steamroller). This is essentially a metaphorical extension with the older item standing for anything filling its role.
      • A name being based on a similarity in a particular aspect (e.g. asteroids look like stars from Earth, the settled portions of Greenland are greener than the rest)
      • A difference between popular and technical meanings of a term. For example a koala "bear" looks and acts much like bears, but from a zoologist's point of view they are quite distinct. Similarly, fireflies fly, ladybugs look and act like bugs and peanuts look and taste like nuts. The technical sense is often cited as the "correct" sense, but this is a matter of context.
      • An older name being retained even in the face of newer information (e.g., Chinese checkers, Arabic numerals).
      • Ambiguity (e.g., a parkway is generally a road with park-like landscaping, not a place to park).
It is clear to me that the Wiktionary entry (while not exactly incorrect) needs to be reworked, but it is not clear that all six (Wikipedia) subsenses are independent definitions. In either case, the translations entered on our misnomer entry are already ambiguous and need the {{checktrans}} tag applied. (I'll wait for the definition to solidify, before adding that.)
Please note that Wiktionarians tend to address such problems in a more thoughtful manner, while Wikipedia (due to number of editors) tends to assign artificial urgency to this sort of situation. Also, the section title here did not make it clear that you want a review of the entry misnomer, based on the article w:Misnomer. --Connel MacKenzie 15:43, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Hi, Connel. I've been working on this article over on Wikipedia. As far as I'm concerned, the first definition "wrong name or term" is somewhat misleading. The most common usage seems to be to say "X is a misnomer" (or, interestingly, "X is a bit of a misnomer" or even more interestingly "X is somewhat of a misnomer"), to mean "X is not really the right word to use here." Essentially the same sense can be used more pejoratively, for example when decrying a mis-labeling born of cultural imperialism. The key here is not that the name is "wrong" — that's a subjective hornet's nest — but that the speaker is asserting it to be wrong.
Indeed, this seems to be the usual reason that people wanted to go around tagging words in Wiktionary, but this case is subtly different. By trying to call a word a misnomer, as opposed to a particular use of a word, you're asserting that the word itself can't possibly be correct, ever. This is an extremely dodgy assertion. If everyone agrees that "screwdriver" means "vodka and orange juice", and you can go into a bar, order a "screwdriver" and consistenly get vodka and orange juice, then it's not a misnomer, however much someone may want to point out it's not a device used to turn screws (hmm ... shall we claim that the tool actually turns screws as opposed to driving them? Dutch and German, at least, say "screw-turner").
One might want to call a particular sense of a word a misnomer, even though this runs counter to the way words work. I think this is what misnomer-labelers are actually after: There are two senses of the word. I know the "right" one, you use the "wrong" one. A misnomer is a word with two senses, one in common use (the "wrong" one) and one in less common use, or perhaps never widely used at all, but suggested by the form or etymology of the word (the "right" one). This is where the second definition comes from. A misnomer is misleading because its common meaning is out of line with its "true" meaning.
The third meaning (the Wiktionary jargon one) was based on how misnomer-labelers on Wiktionary seemed to be using it. The tag seemed always to be based on some bit of special pleading based on technical knowledge. Yep, Koalas aren't Ursidae. Does it matter? Didn't matter in Australia until it did (e.g., I turned up a modern Australian book on "Koalas", which quoted an older story about "Koala bears"). The particularly amusing case, of course, was the infamous tidal wave, which became incorrect soon after the Boxing Day tidal wave hit, notwithstanding decades of usage to the contrary, nor the arbitrariness of "tsunami", nor even that the scientific community — supposed to be the fount of all correctness — didn't have its story straight either.
But I digress. The fourth definition (myth) is perfectly good. Some folks don't like it, but there's no problem turning up citation after citation.
What the hell. I haven't done anything on Wiktionary in ages. Why don't I just fix the first to defs? -dmh 05:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
11 months away! You've missed quite a bit. Welcome back. --Connel MacKenzie 06:02, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not so sure I'm really back, but thanks for the kind words! -dmh 15:32, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

shin splints

  1. Our definition states this term is plural only whereas various print and online dictionaries I've checked state that it can be used as either a singular or plural noun with the appropriate matching verb.
  2. Our definition states that only the muscles of the shins can be the cause of trouble whereas other dictionaries state the bones can also be the source.
  3. I haven't been able to find translations into any language! I've even looked in unabridged print dictionaries for German and Spanish and Russian. Is there some template we can use to request translations? — Hippietrail 05:27, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
  4. I haven't been able to find any etymology and none of the senses of splint seem immidiately or obviously applicable. Could it be based on a misconception that the bones were splintering?? — Hippietrail 09:24, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Shin splints was first used around 1930, or so it seems. I think splints is derived from splinter/splits. As I understand it, it’s the muscle inflammation that causes the distinctive pain of shin splints, but the underlying cause of the inflammation can be various things, including bone problems. —Stephen 09:46, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Etymology for "pig" (derogatory slang)


What is the etymology for the term pig being used as derogatory slang for a police officer? It seems rather surprising to me, since the other slang definitions for "pig" seem to have to do with gluttony, messiness, etc., which don't seem directly related to police work. Also, in which communities or subcultures would this term be common? Thanks!

-- Creidieki

I'd say it is pretty commonly recognized in the US. I've seen it in pop culture. But I think it may have been more common among the generation of the 60s. RJFJR 13:05, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
It’s been used in this sense for two hundred years. I believe the term originally was a reference to the hefty physique of the average policeman in big U.S. cities such as New York and Chicago in the late 1700s to early 1800s. There was a popular impression that police departments were populated mostly by stocky Scotch-Irishmen with bull necks and chubby red cheeks. —Stephen 21:50, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't suggest that the term is dated though - it still sees very common use. --Connel MacKenzie 19:04, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

A French big red bus

Is there a term used for the position of an adjective in a sentence, in relation to other adjectives? Example: "The big red French bus" is correct, but saying "The French red big bus" or "The red big French bus" or "The big French red bus" or "The red French big bus" are all incorrect. Is there a term like dominant adjective or primary adjective that refers to an adjective that goes before other adjectives? Where can one find out info on the "rules" of adjectives? --LeggyBlondHeron 14:30, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

They go from the most abstract and general to the more specific and concrete:
  • The conceptual seldom-seen big red French double-decker route 47 bus.
But you knew that. Why "LeggyBlondHeron"? It is more interesting than your usual. (I did like "Ruedanton" ;-) Robert Ullmann 15:24, 17 October 2006 (UTC)


Restrictive to individual choice and freedom; authoritarian.

Isn't this definition a misnomer? Other dictionaries define illiberal as ‘narrow-minded’, ‘bigoted’, or ‘vulgar’. Dart evader 18:32, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I think that our def is the way I usually understand the word. The OED, amongst many other definitions, includes "Not generous in respect to the opinions, rights, or liberty of others" which sounds similar, as well as "narrow-minded" and "vulgar". I don't think "bigoted" is correct though. --Enginear 19:06, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Get one's thing on

We don't seem to have any entries that cover the meaning of phrases like "Get your freak on", "Get your war on", etc. Not widespread enough? It's certainly an idiomatic construction. - dcljr 23:07, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Am I too old or too insular? I haven't the least idea what either of those mean. I was about to say that it wasn't a British construction, but then we do have "Get your skates on" and I have been known to use "Get your arse(s) into gear", albeit remembered (or misremembered -- I suspect it was "asses") from "All the President's Men'" which, I am shocked to discover, was 30 years ago. Yes, perhaps I am too old! --Enginear 18:57, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
To get your groove on is certainly American, certainly common enough, but perhaps dated. --Connel MacKenzie 19:01, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
"Get your (my, etc.) freak on" = have sex (and perhaps also to simply be sexy); "Get Your War On" is really just the title of a comic strip, but it's an example of the general construction. It can be used in all different ways... for example, instead of saying you went out drinking last night, you could say "I got my drink on last night"; instead of saying you plan to edit Wiktionary, you could say "I'm gonna get my edit on"; and so forth. Enginear's example of "Get your skates on" is too literal for what I'm talking about. It's almost never a grammatically correct statement like that. - dcljr 21:09, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Upon further reflection, I guess the basic idea is to use a verb (in infinitive form) in the phrase as if it's a noun. That is: "Get one's <verb-as-noun> on." It's hard to see that, though, because most examples use words that can be verbs or nouns. Seen in this light, my first example is using freak in the sense of "to freak someone" (to have sex with someone — a sense not yet in our entry for freak, by the way). In which case, "Get Your War On" isn't even an example... well, okay, I guess war is also a verb, isn't it? <g> Still, I'm pretty sure the "canonical" usage is to interpret the third word as a verb. - dcljr 21:24, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Someone pointed out to me the other day that the very company I work for as a tutor recently tried out the slogan "Get your learn on" (which raised some eyebrows since we also offer English classes, SAT tutoring, etc. — suffice it to say, that slogan didn't last long). Anyway, there's an example of an unambiguous verb being used. Someone else suggested "Get your food on" as an example of an unambiguous noun. I'm not sure I like both of those equally, but... well, whatever. We probably don't really need any entries that are related to this phenomenon. - dcljr 23:42, 30 October 2006 (UTC)


is there a clothing/apparell category in wiktionary? I am searching for "cagoule", from context it appears to be a weather item, though I'm not certain since I found it in a sci-fi novel. ("The Reality Disfunction" by Peter F.Hamilton) quote: "...dressed in fawn shorts and a jade shirt, his lemon.yellow cagoule hanging off the back of his chair."

Just added cagoule. It's a lightweight warterproof parka. (It seems to be a British word). RJFJR 13:15, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
For the record, there is a Category:Clothing and a Category:Fashion, but they didn't contain "cagoule" until now. Dvortygirl 14:55, 18 October 2006 (UTC)


Please help me, I'm at a loss. What terms are there for a person (suppose it's a girl), who is liked, or loved, or admired by someone else (suppose it's a man), but does not yet have an affair with that someone? --Dart evader 19:48, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Maybe some synonym of idol? --Enginear 20:50, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
That would be too far, I presume. Idol implies someone inaccessible, like a movie star. Dart evader 21:15, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
An object of infatuation? --EncycloPetey 21:33, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes. Dart evader 04:44, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
You could (but usually wouldn't, because of de-personification) call her "the object of his desire" or something. If he has a crush on her, it may or may not mean that they are dating. His sweetheart doesn't quite work, either. I'm not sure English has a common word for that - perhaps the term (of what you're asking for) in another language would help narrow it down? --Connel MacKenzie 15:50, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
To say the truth, initially I was just trying to find a proper translation for the Russian ‘симпатия’ (see sense 2). Alas, not a single term that I managed to recall was too accurate. I suppose it would be impossible for an English speaker to say, "Look, there he is going along with his new sympathy", although in Russian such a phrase is quite regular. Dart evader 17:21, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
There's desideratum, but it's not specific to people. You might speak of "that girl he fancies", or "that girl he's interested in." --Jeffqyzt 17:32, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
There's lots of words, although "sympathy" doesn't work there. There he is going along with his new crush, fling, thing, date ... boytoy (;-) Robert Ullmann 23:11, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Collaboration 43

The new collaboration this week is:

earth (talksubpageshistoryeditwatch)
Earth (talksubpageshistoryeditwatch)
wind (talksubpageshistoryeditwatch)
fire (talksubpageshistoryeditwatch)

DAVilla 17:23, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

1 earth
2 wind
3 fire
How did last week's do? Are we making any headway? --Connel MacKenzie 17:27, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Some at least. It's just getting started again after a long absence, so we'll have to wait to see how many more people get involved. --EncycloPetey 21:49, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
If this doesn't work we could always resort to vandalizing entries to bring them attention. It seems to work about as well. Or better yet, I'll make a bot to do that. Only if it gets approval, mind you. ;-) DAVilla 22:05, 24 October 2006 (UTC)


Is "levy" only a word according to taxes? Or can it be used to describe the happening where someone gets something from someone (for example money or character). My dictionary gives synonyms collect, inherit, imburse, encash and recover.

Someone please help me. Quick.

No, it can’t be used to describe the action of someone getting some money from someone else. To levy means to raise or collect money (or troops) by authority and under threat of force. That means that the government can levy taxes, fees, etc., or the city can levy taxes, or the school can levy fees or taxes, or the library can levy fees ... but you cannot levy money from your neighbor, because you do not have such authority over him. From your neighbor, you must instead collect, inherit, recover, demand, etc. money, but not levy. —Stephen 21:37, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

I disagree.

I have frequently seen it used in the context of, for example, "the company would levy a fee of £3.50 for each use of the service".

That’s not disagreeing. A company levying a fee is no different from a school levying a fee or a library levying a fee. The company has the authority to do it and the means to enforce it. —Stephen 21:24, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
It is disagreeing with the response to the specific question. I think the first response is too restrictive, particularly where it says "... by authority and under threat of force ...". A company is only a particular case of a legal entity. If I, as a private individual, occasionally, say, put up an aerial for someone, then I can levy a fee for doing so and if my neighbour uses the service I can levy a fee on him. The point being that you only need to be able to legally demand money for any reason to be able to levy a fee, Moglex 19:55, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely unparsable text block

I've been reading some of w:O. Henry's stuff, and found this in "The Trimmed Lamp", "The Tale of a Tainted Tenner":

A tainted ten certainly does get action on Broadway. I was alimony once, and got folded in a little dogskin purse among a lot of dimes. They were bragging about the busy times there were in Ossining whenever three girls got hold of one of them during the ice cream season. But it's Slow Moving Vehicles Keep to the Right for the little Bok tips when you think of the way we bison plasters refuse to stick to anything during the rush lobster hour.

The first two sentences I can understand easily, the second I'm assuming deals with the dimes(?) and whatever "ice cream season" is, but the last sentence absolutely confuses me, the "little Bok tips" and "rush lobster hour" ?! 16:56, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Ice cream season is what it seems to be: summertime. Bok is slang for dollar, variant of buck. (or, rather, the other way 'round ;-) In Manhattan, anywhere near Grand Central, (e.g. on Broadway), the commuters wolf down oysters, clams, martinis, shrimps, and lobster tails on the way to the train. (Been there, done that!)
  • The slow moving dollar bills have to keep to the right while the businessmen throw around tens (like me) while grabbing their food and drink on the way home.
Of course, O. Henry's version is better ... Robert Ullmann 17:26, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
Sweet! I'd've NEVER gotten that on my own. While I admit O.H has better sound to it, that doesn't do much if its unintelligible. I'll have to ask you next time I run across some of his incomprehensibly dated stuff. Thanx. 04:22, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Cluster Projects

What is a cluster project when used in a new business capacity? —This comment was unsigned.

Could you be a little more specific? A Computer cluster is probably what you're talking about, but your question is a bit too ambiguous to be sure. --Connel MacKenzie 22:30, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Indian/Asian food and ingredients

I have been having a look at the definitions for several Indian dishes and ingredients and have discovered that there are many entries that seem to have come about by a series of 'Chinese whispers'.

I do not claim to be an master Indian chef, but I have been cooking the food for a couple of decades, both in India and the West and have read widely on the topic.

It seems that certain compilers (and I'm mainly talking about compilers of the reference sources quoted) seem to have rushed an entry into their dictionaries without performing any proper research. People who are not conversant with Indian cuisine have then used these sources to form the entries here.

There are thus spurious entries, such as the one for 'curry', which suggests in its first entry that it is a 'mixture of spices' usually counting turmeric.

Now, obviously I cannot say that no one ever uses or has ever used it in that sense, but in forty years I have never seen or heard it so used. It is invariably used to mean a dish that is prepared with a mixture of spices (or the sauce for such a dish).

Several other dishes or ingredients have similarly spurious or inaccurate entries.

I wonder what to do about this. When I tried to correct one, it reverted to the original, inaccurate, version within minutes. Another attempt had the same result although the person doing the reversion did at least add references for his definitions.

There I found the problem, which is that, much as I hate to contradict learned sources such as the OED2, the references were either wrong or inadequate. Moglex 15:29, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

For example, the reference in the OED2, whilst correct, was so short that it did not really impinge on the meaning(s) of the word.

The question is: what to do about these errors. There seems to be little point in re-researching all the words and carefully correcting them if the corrections are destroyed moments later.

On the other hand, introducing a discussion of each word here would lead to a ridiculous amount of verbiage.

  • There are a number of things you can do. One is to always give references to a word whose meaning may be questionable. A respected or widely available Indian cookery book would be fine. Remember also that words are used differently in different parts of the world (that first definition of curry is probably American) and you may not have come across some uses. Please continue to contribute - you might like to look at Appendix:Menus/Indian (British) and see if you can improve it, correct it, and add definitions for the red links. SemperBlotto 13:41, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Continuing with the example of curry, for the moment. I had already checked Webster to see if there was some chance that it was an Americanism, but that does not seem to be the case. I cannot, however, be certain that there is nowhere in the world where they use that meaning. For India, Britain, America, Canada, New Zealand and Austrailia, the current definition is wrong.

So what do I do? If I add the correct definition do I put it before or after the incorrect one? If I add references, how will readers know that the references I added belong to the definition I added? Since there are three senses, and the later two depend or copy the first (I believe incorrect) definition, does that mean that they should be duplicated? Changed?

Sorry to seem so dense, but the variations for editing this entry alone seem endless, and I do not want to spoil someone else's work if correct for their location, nor waste time making changes that are going to be reverted on a whim by some other contributor. —This comment was unsigned.

WTH? The first dozen contributors to the curry page (when that def was added) were all Commonwealth-ers, I haven't seen it edited by an American yet (but I'm not done traversing the history.)
It seems clear to me, that the technical, specific meaning attributed in India is not the common meaning in England nor America, but that first definition seems very reasonable and not at all inaccurate. --Connel MacKenzie 18:03, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I can't comment on the nationality or experience of the first dozen contributors. I didn't actually say anything about them, I only said that I had checked the American definition.
What is more to the point, I have now rechecked the both the OED and Merriam Webster I have also checked the Wikipedia. None of these allow that 'curry' can mean 'spices'. 'curry' is either a dish flavoured with spices or a sauce flavoured with spices. I have discussed curries with hundreds of people from many countries and have not once heard it used in the sense of simply spices.
So on the basis of the three authorities mentioned I submit that the first entry "A mixture of spices, usually including turmeric and coriander, also known as curry powder." is emphatically, wrong. Not based on a technicality but based on the stark fact that that is not the way the word is used, at least with sufficient frequency for the definition to be presenmt in OED2, MW or the Wikipedia. Moglex 19:24, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Please stop calling it "American" when it was entered by Australians and British contributors.
I wasn't 'calling it American'. Earlier, someone suggested that the sense I objected to was an American usage, so I check what I believe to be the primary American dictionary and found that was not the case. I already knew it was not the case in India, Austrailia, New Zealand and the UK. And Eire. Moglex 20:03, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Did any of the references you checked, mention that curry is used synonymously with curry powder? You say that m-w does not list "curry [noun]" as being a synonym? That is demonstrably false. Likewise, for the OED. That is by far, the most common use of the term, no matter what you may wish to prescribe. --Connel MacKenzie 19:32, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I agree that MW does allow Curry Powder as a second possible use for 'curry'. That, then is an American definition, and the second in precedence in that dictionary. The OED On Line makes no such allowance that I can see.

Given that neither of these sources give the synonym "curry powder" precedence, and the wikipedia does not mention it at all, I cannot see how you can claim it is "by far the most common use of the term". Surely the most common use of the term is in the sense of a meal or dish. If you google for "curry food", you have to wade through a lot of gumph, but you will be hard pressed to find the term used as a synonym for 'curry powder' on more than the very odd occasion. Moglex 20:03, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

In the U.S., curry powder is not only the most common use, it is almost the only use. I believe Indian restaurants are very popular in Britain, but in most of the U.S. people have never eaten an Indian dish and we don’t have any idea what sort of food it might be. For us, curry is curry powder. —Stephen 21:35, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
And in Britain the situation is the exact opposite. We have Indian restaurants on every highstreet, and I have never ever heard the word curry to mean curry powder, but only as a general term to mean an Indian dish. SemperBlotto 21:40, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the above does not make a great deal of sense to me. You are saying that an ingredient for a dish, that is only used to make that dish, is better known than the dish itself. Why would anyone know what curry powder was if they didn't know what a curry was? What you say rather implies that Americans somehow know that there is the strange smelling powder called curry but don't know why. If they knew why it existed they wmust know the sense of curry:the dish. It's also rather hard to understand why anyone would ever be talking about curry:the powder unless it was in relation to curry:the dish. So I cannot see how curry:the powder can possibly be, as you say above: "it is almost the only use". Also odd that wikipedia completely omits that usage (at time of writing this) Moglex 08:02, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
In the U.S., we don’t use curry powder to make any Indian dishes. We use it as a pickling spice and we like to put it in barbecue sauces, spicy Mexican chili, and things such as that. It goes well with beef bouillon, lobster potage, baked ham, red sauce for shrimp, sour cream dip, deviled eggs, fried rice, and marinades for fish, poultry, pork, and beef. I have never tasted Indian curry, but I have the impression that it is hot and spicy ... but our curry powder is a very mild, warm, sweet spice, not at all picante, made of cumin, coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, peppercorn, dill, mace, cardamom, and cloves. —Stephen 13:41, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
On the question of how mild/hot curries are, beware that, so I am told, "real" Indian (or Pakistani or Bangladeshi) curries are generally milder than those served in English curry houses (apparently due to macho Englishmen trying to show that they can eat a hotter curry than their friends), and even in England, most curries are much less hot than (English) mexican chilies or BBQ sauces. (And in England, you can also buy several different flavours of curry powder.) --Enginear 13:43, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
When I check the OED online, it certainly is present. I do eat Indian food frequently, at Indian resturants here in America, but yes, the "curry powder" meaning is very much the most common meaning of the word "curry" here. No matter how you slice it, you cannot descriptively call the primary definition inaccurate or "erroneous." You can add a usage note specifying where (and why) such a description would be considered inaccurate. But such a usage note usually takes a few iterations (and references) to get reworded to everyone's "mutual dissatisfaction." --Connel MacKenzie 22:22, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I cannot see where OED online allows that usage (but then again, I managed to miss the same usage in MW - my excuse being that I missed the big bright blue link - so it may well be there).
Apart from that, though, I was taught, many years ago, that dictionaries list usages with the most common first. Simply on that basis, since OED and MW (and indeed by default wikipedia) list "dish or sauce" first, surely wiktionary should have the "dish or sauce" definition first. I accepted from the start that the prime definition given here might well be correct to some English speakers. It's only the fact that it appears out of kilter with the most common usage (from the prime British and American dictioaries and my own experience) that seems incongurous. That was what I meant when I called it inaccurate - I probably exressed myself badly. Moglex 08:02, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily make too much of the order in which definitions are listed in this project. In many cases, the order arises due to historical considerations (i.e. the order in which they were added) more than because any particular ranking is ascribable to them. If you check WT:ELE and WT:CFI, you will see that there is no reference made to "prime" or "primary" definitions, or indeed to any ranking of definitions. Any particular argument as to which definitions are "more common", "more important", or "more correct", are going to necessarily be POV and very likely to differ depending on cultures and geographical regions. That said, it probably makes sense to list very narrow or restricted uses later than a widespread use, but this is not a hard and fast rule. As you can see from the discussion, though, many of the users of this very forum (myself included, having been raised in an area where "curries" (dishes) were unheard of, but "curry" (spice) as an ingredient for e.g. barbecue sauce was quite common) seem to be familiar with the definition listed first on the curry entry's page as the "most common" usage (in their own experience.) For an example of another word with similar regional variations in use, try chilli. To some it primarily means a spice, to others it primarily means a pepper, and to yet others, it primarily means a dish using it as an ingredient. --Jeffqyzt 17:54, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

runners-up vs runner-ups

I think one of these is a group of second place finishers and the other is a group of people who finished near the top but didn't win. Also need a hand determining if runner-up always means second place. (I thought I had this straight, now I'm not sure about my entries). RJFJR 14:58, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

  • IMHO runner-up always means the person in second position. The correct plural is runners-up, the definition of which should simply be {{plural of|runner-up}}. SemperBlotto 15:29, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree that 'the runner-up' is always the person in second place, but 'a runner-up' could come from further down the field. e.g. "The winner will get gold but the runners-up will get silver and bronze". Moglex 15:33, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Usage count: "runner-ups" has 330,000 googles but "runners-up" has 4,330,000 googles. I'm not sure if that makes "runner-ups" common (eiehr common misspelling or common alternative spelling). RJFJR 16:04, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
  • The OED defines runner-up as someone/team who comes 2nd ... but then uses a cite for runner-up list which appears to refer to a list of of people who finished near the top. So we're not the first to be confused. I can't imagine a valid use for runner-ups, so I would say common misspelling. --Enginear 16:13, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
'Runners-up' smells awfully British to me, while 'runner-ups' would be the normal American English construction. --Connel MacKenzie 17:47, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Do Americans refer to 'court marshals' as well? I suppose that's a bit more cut and dried than 'runners-up' but in working out how to say/write it I simply try and work out which bit is plural and here it seems to me to be the runners who ran up after the winner. Moglex 18:02, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I am a US type who uses the "runners-up" in speech...also, runner up doesn't always mean second, sometimes it is the first person who didn't place or medal. I have seen it used this way a number of times. I think I would laugh at anyone who said "runner-ups" :p - [The]DaveRoss 17:50, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
You laugh at m-w.com? How strange. --Connel MacKenzie 17:57, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I frequently laugh at the other dictionaries...but I will agree that I am strange ;) All of the other online dicts and my paper dicts all give "runners-up", I think it may be the hyphen that is the bad construction and not the pluralization. Can't find an etymology anywhere, I will keep looking. - [The]DaveRoss 18:15, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Is it standard in American English to pluralise a composite noun as if it was one word regardless of which word would actualy be plural if they were separate? I wouldn't laugh at someone who said 'runner-ups' but until I saw this discussion I would have thought them illiterate. Moglex 18:06, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
The grammarians and textbooks advocate the "standard" of runners-up, courts martial, or mothers-in-law, but actual practice in America often favors runner-ups, court martials, and mother-in-laws. This saddens me. (sniff) --EncycloPetey 18:18, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I'll try to dig up a reference for you. Signal to noise ratio is pretty low. Conversational American English is a bit different than written English. In American English, composite terms evolve quickly into single words, so I am not surprised that composite terms (that foriegn pedants insist on splitting needlessly,) usually have the plural added to the end. This is particularly true in spoken American English. If you said "mothers-in-law" you'd be corrected. But then, the first few texts I've found seem to indicate that British conventions are supposed to be followed in writing. A quick search on books.google.com clearly shows that such a rule is not followed by American publishers, despite those prescriptive recommendations. --Connel MacKenzie 18:54, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I think court-martials is quite common in UK too, I admit to it in conversation myself; in fact, until you reminded me, I'd forgotten it was "wrong". --Enginear 13:24, 29 October 2006 (UTC)


A person who is half Mexican and half American, raised in BORN AND RAISED in the USA. Due to rac and culture i need insight to their life style and believes. Respectfuly need insight. thanks.


               I for one, see no problem with mixed marriages. What are you trying to say? Are you saying that people who are going                    to marry should consider that, or are you saying that people of different races should not marry, and should keep to their own lands?


"flat" to mean dead batteries?

Is it true that in UK English, flat can mean "dead" (as in batteries or such)? When is this used? -- Creidieki 23:35, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I've seen it in publications for fairly young readers, and it seemed to be a drop-in replacement for "dead". 04:16, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

A flat battery is a used-up battery (normally referring to car batteries). It doesn't mean ‘dead’ in any other sense that I can think of. It's very common, used by people of all ages. Widsith 08:08, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, a battery with no remaining charge is "flat". But if is is rechargeable you can remove its flatness (don't know what the antonym is though!). SemperBlotto 11:28, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Antonyms -> charged, full, juiced up, recharged --Jeffqyzt 13:32, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
It's so much the normal usage in the UK that, a few years ago, when I heard someone ask a shop assistant for a flat battery I did a double take, and only realised later that he was referring to its shape. I don't recall hearing dead battery, except in foreign manuals, etc. 10:01, 29 October 2006 (UTC). Sorry - last post was me - thought I was logged in. --Enginear 13:11, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Wow, this seems to be missing a lot of meanings, in quick comparison to dictionary.com and m-w.com. --Connel MacKenzie 19:10, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

crosstown (US question)

Does a crosstown bus just go East-West but not North-South? And, if so, what do you call a bus going at right angles? SemperBlotto 11:26, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

No, A crosstown bus goes further than one that only makes a local loop, it doesn't specify direction. RJFJR 12:44, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually a crosstown bus is one that doesn't travel downtown. That doesn't contradict the above, but it changes the emphasis. Put them together for the full definition. DAVilla 14:52, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

How many of these uses are U.S. only? DAVilla 14:36, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

I haven't heard any of these senses in London. I can't be certain re the rest of the UK, but all the cites in OED for uses of that type appear to be from the US (and actually they're for cross-town rather than crosstown which isn't listed, a mutation again suggestive of mainly US use). --Enginear 16:23, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't agree with the "avoiding downtown" meaning (unless combined with "express" - "The crosstown express" would might work.) Which of the senses listed are British-only? In the US, a "crosstown bus" is one that crosses town, without specifying direction. I think it may be more common to refer to East-West busses as such, but diagonal and North-South busses can be included as well, especially since very few routes (and streets) are N-S/E-W to begin with. --Connel MacKenzie 19:03, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that this word is never used in the UK. Possibly because our towns are not built on a grid system, but have randomly meandering roads. If it was needed, we would probably use "cross-town". SemperBlotto 19:51, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think most people mean that when they use the word. It is industry jargon in that sense. Maybe it's the first definition that applies to Paul Simon's song then? DAVilla 05:49, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

translation please!

What does Namdubsa (i believe it is in Sumarian) mean?


Sumerian namdubsa means friendship, companionship. —Stephen 13:36, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

twin sysops

I can't help thinking that we ought to have a word to describe two sysops appointed on the same day. It often happens. SemperBlotto 16:12, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Doublets? --Dart evader 18:44, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Twins ... Robert Ullmann 18:48, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Adtwinistrators? Keffy 18:53, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Doppeladmins? Ah, but then what about an administrator's evil twin? :-) --Jeffqyzt 01:33, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Zygops? Joe Webster 07:37, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Tyre kicker

This has the entry: "A person who wastes the time of a salesman though he has no intention of buying", which is one of the senses I'm familiar with.

There is also another; a "tyre-kicker" being someone who professes knowledge that he or she does not posess, coming from the practice of certain people who would knowingly kick the tyres of a car that they (or a friend) was interested in buying in order to give the impression that they could discern something about the state of the vehicle (other, presumably whether or not the tyres were flat). I don't know if cross-ply tyres would yield information as the result of a kick, but I know that garage mechanics often refer to someone who assumes an air of knowledge that they suspect he does not posess as a "tyre kicker". Moglex 20:15, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Collaboration 44

In case you skipped over the top of this page, the new collaboration this week is:

die (talksubpageshistoryeditwatch)
strange (talksubpageshistoryeditwatch)
poison (talksubpageshistoryeditwatch)

--EncycloPetey 23:47, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

1 die
3 poison



Tagged in February, but never listed? (Sorry if it was archived somewhere obscure.) --Connel MacKenzie 18:00, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

It's archaic, as tagged, but was very common. Cites on books.google, even limited to those reprinted since 2000, include Shakespeare (King Lear, Much Ado about Nothing, Comedy of Errors), Twain (Huck Finn) Eliot (Siles Marner, Mill on the Floss), Kipling (Jungle Book),Stevenson (Kidnapped), Defoe (Robinson Crusoe), Alcott (Little Women), Melville (Moby Dick), Stoker (Dracula) and translations of Plato (Republic), Chekhov (Uncle Vanya), Dostoevski (The Possessed, The Idiot). That's CFI X 16, including both US & UK sources. Of course its OK. Why was it ever listed? --Enginear 14:24, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Tagged with 'rft' obviously, because it shouldn't be listed as modern English. Although it was used, it isn't now, in America. (Dmol's comment below suggests it is current elsewhere, though.) So, my question remains, where is this a word? Just Ireland? --Connel MacKenzie 07:48, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
Whoops -- I thought I was in RFV. Sorry. --Enginear 14:12, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

There is still one modern usage, that of a body being 'waked'. It's used in colloquially in Ireland, and possibly elsewhere.--Dmol 00:12, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

OED2+ has only one cite in this usage from the last 100 years: 1974, Dennis Thomas Patrick Sears, The Lark in the Clear Air, McClelland and Stewart (Toronto), republished by Quartet in 1976, so it may be more widespread than Ireland only. I don't recall hearing wake as a verb used recently in this sense in England, but then we're not so hot on the noun usage either. --Enginear 14:12, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

I was wondering about other other places where wakes take place myself. Surely Ireland is not the only place where bodies are put on display during a gathering of family and friends. It is an ancient idea, and must have survived elsewhere. There is also a lot of places around the world with high numbers of Irish people in them, such as Boston and London, where wakes are still part of the culture.--Dmol 16:06, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

It's still done by some English families in England, though personally I haven't been to one since the 1960s. It's just they tend to be described by other euphemistic words (particularly in the verbal sense). --Enginear 18:14, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
The event of a corpse displayed respectfully for relatives to say farewell is described by the noun "wake" which is not used as a verb in the US. But that is beside the point. The topic of discussion here is the verb sense of awakening someone from slumber.
So, back to square one: do others think this is labelled sufficiently? Shouldn't we be warning our readers that if they say (about awakening someone) "I waked him up" they will meet peals of derisive laughter? --Connel MacKenzie 16:32, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, got sidetracked. I think (archaic) should be sufficient. I'm not sure whether (archaic, now non-standard) makes it sound more or less deprecated than a simple (archaic). --Enginear 19:21, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
I was thinking more along the lines of a usage note. --Connel MacKenzie 18:29, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
Furthermore, I don't think "archaic" is sufficient. Did anyone determine for certain that it is, in fact, restricted to Ireland? --Connel MacKenzie 16:22, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

katrina as adj

I heard a soundbite of Senator Kerry using katrina as an adjective, describing the war in Iraq, meaning something like disastrous. I haven't found a transcript on line yet. Add to LOP, add to article or not yet? RJFJR 18:02, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

LOP's might be best - in another year, the general memory of the hurricane will not exist outside of history books. People directly affected will still of course have very strong emotions about the topic, but the word doesn't have a specific meaning regarding a disaster. (Shortly afterwards, I thought it might come to mean gross governmental negligence, but that has not seemed to catch on.) --Connel MacKenzie 20:07, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
IMHO this is also a case of general adjectification of nouns. If you have a specific quote of interest, it would be be very good as a usage note or general citation (US Senator), but otherwise this doesn't seem notable. Robert Ullmann

Basse metrou

looking for info on this - one of Rommel's failed skirmishes in tunisia I believe

That is wikipedia's domain, this is the wiktionary. See w:Tunisia Campaign but I don't think that's right ... "basse metrou" sounds Romanian ... but perhaps Basse-Normandie? See w:Battle of Normandy ? Robert Ullmann 00:47, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

dependant / dependent

I was looking up dependant for the sake of spelling it. However, on the page it says it's an alternative spelling for dependent, and at the bottom of the page it says a common mispelling of dependent. I'm just a little confused if that necessarily means dependant is an actual word or isn't because when you say alternative spelling i assume it can be counted as a correct form of spelling. --Age 21:11, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

I've edited dependant as per m-w.com (in the USA, it is a misspelling only.) --Connel MacKenzie 21:58, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
As it is in Britain. Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:11, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
References, please. The UK clearly allows it as a valid spelling, as per THE PREVIOUS LINE. --Connel MacKenzie 13:21, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Ahh that seems so much more clear! I believe dependant IS a valid spelling for UK. I think he has only edited to say it's invalid for US. --Age 15:18, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

No, that is the opposite of what he said in his edit summary. It is also opposite of the POV edit he made. --Connel MacKenzie 19:27, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, my mistake. I have reverted mine edits, and have edited dependent accordingly. Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 21:55, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Apologized, Apportioned, Apportion

Can anyone say why these redirect to 'apologize' and apportion' respectivesly? Moglex 19:07, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Because that’s how we used to do it. These are old pages, and we only began doing separate entries of noun and verb forms this past summer. —Stephen 19:28, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Correct Spelling of "Similar"

Moved from information:

I don't know why, but every dictionary, even programs like Word, all spell the word Similiar as Similar. Now I don't really have any proof, although I'm sure some people would agree, but the only bit of evidence I have is an English language book which contains a list of the most commonly misspelt words in which one is listed as: "Similiar".

Should we put that it can be spelt either way or have I gone off my rocker? 12:43, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Google lists 237,000,000 hits for similar and 4,990,000 for similiar (about 2% as many). I'd say it's a typo, I don't know if there are enough for it to be a misspelling. But I did change 5 occurrences in wiktionary. RJFJR 15:31, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Yeh under the google definition (which uses answers.com) it's got:


Common misspelling(s) of similar:

similiar simmilar 08:29, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't want to be a pest but have you considered creating a free (and easily created) account? RJFJR 14:09, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I had a wikipedia account which I thought I could use (but I can't), turned out I was using the wrong password anyway. Oh well, done now.
Greglo 10:11, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Cuneiform signs

A new contributer has begun loading Cuneiform signs. See 𒊕 as an example. I presume that these meet out WT:CFI and are very welcome. But should the format of the entries be hammered into something like our other entries for characters and symbols before too many are added? SemperBlotto 17:04, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

yes, could you please 'hammer' them into something acceptable? These are sample entries, I plan to run a bot importing the information in w:list of cuneiform signs later on (note that this list needs cleanup first, do not blindly import from there at this point!). I realize there are no cuneiform Unicode fonts yet, but in the spirit of m:Eventualism, I'm documenting the encoding and working on one at the same time. Also, please don't make the hammering too procrustean: for example, don't separate Sumerian, Akkadian and Hittite into separate sections, these orthographies overlap too much to be considered separate items and should rather be treated as branches of a single 3,000-year continuum. Dbachmann 17:13, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Considering that none of us have a clue about Cuneiform, we would rather you did it for us. See for something that is nicely formatted, and see if it is possible to emulate it (or preferably do better). Cheers. SemperBlotto 17:32, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I'd try to avoid all the h2 sections to arrange information that fits on a single screen. The point of creating the entries is of course so they may be extended manually, but I suppose it will suffice to add a full ToC at that point. Are your concerns related to machine-readable document structure? We might use h5 then, which in monobook renders more or less like simple boldface. Dbachmann 08:33, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Only stumbled across these today. (Disclaimer: I cannot even spell Cuneiform. Nor do I know much about it.) Some comments:
    1. Move template:Cuneiform sign to template:cuneiform sign to follow the lower-case convention of the template namespace here on en.wikt:.
    2. Should only be used within a ==Translingual== section
    3. Should only be used within a ===Symbols=== sub-section
    4. Sumerian and Akkadian should have identifying part of speech headings (e.g. ===Verb===)
    5. Please number the definition lines, by starting them with "#"
  • --Connel MacKenzie 16:44, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

sandman plural

Is the plural of sandman sandmans as the article says or is it sandmen? RJFJR 20:25, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

sandmen...fixing... --Connel MacKenzie 20:28, 7 November 2006 (UTC)


To me this seems only erroneous. Is it valid somewhere in history, or some region? --Connel MacKenzie 20:32, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

It sounds like dialectic pronunciation to me. But it only gets 38,600 googles while weren't get 76,100,000 so I wouldn't call it a common misspelling. RJFJR 20:45, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
It is fairly well attested on Project Gutenberg [21], and a full-text search of the OED online turns up four independent uses between around the year 700 and the year 1829, all of which suggest it is a regional pronunciation. I think this should be listed as a variant spelling, rather than a misspelling. --Dfeuer 19:10, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Edit: these dates are bogus. I misunderstood the listing. --Dfeuer 19:23, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Edit: The quotes from the OED actually range from 1837 to 1903. Sorry for the confusion.
If it has a pronunciation different from weren't, then it is a distinct word, and not just a variant spelling. --Dart evader 19:20, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I've added some quotes to the entry. They sure don't look like misspellings to me. Hope that helps. --Dfeuer 19:54, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't know that one could assert a different lexical meaning of a word based on a different pronunciation alone. Since the term fell out of use over a hundred years ago, it should be listed as {{obsolete}}, right? --Connel MacKenzie 20:50, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't think we have any reason to think the word is obsolete. Folk Tales Every Child Should Know came out in 1913. I don't know any efficient way to learn about more recent usage. --Dfeuer 21:28, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
The Talleyrand Maxim (1920) also uses this spelling. "Joseph Kirkland's Zury as Linguistic Evidence" indicates that this spelling is intended to suggest a particular pronunciation. --Dfeuer 21:40, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I would suggest to define it as "contraction of were not", then tag it as {{temp|rare}} and, perhaps, {{temp|dialectal}}. If we only knew what dialect it belonged to. --Dart evader 22:07, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
No one asserted a different lexical meaning. For that matter, the meaning of weren't is the same as that of were not, but still we do not tag the former as an alternative spelling of the latter. --Dart evader 21:06, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I can think of a British dialect where weren't/worn't is pronounced something like wɑːnt, and I hesitate to guess which of the spellings is most appropriate for that pronunciation. I don't think pronunciation is an infallible guide. In any case, it's irrelevant to our present policy, which is to have entries for every spelling (and every definition within each spelling) which meets our CFI. This spelling has some good cites available for usage as its definition, so meets our current CFI (although possible alterations to CFI are being discussed at Wiktionary:Beer_parlour#ingenuitive_and_the_wholesale_breakdown_of_the_RFV_process and the two following sections). I shall try to add some more cites over the next few days (and to amend the ones already there to match our current style guide Wiktionary:Quotations).
I don't understand your comment about were not. If we had that entry, which we do not yet, we should certainly make some reference to its contraction weren't, and indeed weren't is actually defined as a contraction of were not.
I think worn't is {{archaic}} rather than {{obsolete}}, since I have found it in a 21st century book reporting an old man's speech probably from the 2nd half of the 20th C (see [22]) and it was much used by frequently read authors such as Dickens. --Enginear 22:06, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Certainly it's not obsolete, but do we have any reason to believe it's not in current use? Just because it's not on the web much doesn't mean it's not in recent books. --Dfeuer 04:57, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps I've confused myself regarding the term "obsolete." Universally replaced by the 'proper' contraction "weren't", the archaic-sounding "worn't" is in some regard, obsolete in well-spoken English. I think the usage note starts to describe the phenomenon, but perhaps could say it better? Whatever; the entry is much superior now, to how it started. --Connel MacKenzie 06:07, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
  • The entry now says to see this section of this page, for more information. I don't think WT:TR sections were ever intended to be permenant, were they? As this is moved to talk:worn't, that linkage should be repaired. --Connel MacKenzie 17:08, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

People tell me this word means "wine", but none of them know English well enough to know what wine is. If I tell them I don't like wine they think I don't drink at all. This is so deeply rooted it takes about five minutes of arguing with them to get them to understand that "I don't drink wine" doesn't mean "I don't drink alcohol". (I don't even try with "I don't drink", you can forget about it!) And this applies to everyone here who's learned English as a second language. In my opinion this is a complete mistranslation. I'm told you can use 酒 in Mandarin for any alcoholic beverage, so calling wine 酒 or beer 酒 or a cocktail 酒 is like calling a Coka-Cola or a Pepsi a "soda". It isn't a proper translation, and if I'm correct, then this deserve a six-foot usage note. DAVilla 00:30, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Are you just discovering that this sort of word-for-word "translation" is rarely symmetric? ;-) And yes, your interpretation of the meanings of the words is correct. Anyone who looks up wine and finds "Chinese: " and doesn't follow that link to check the full meaning is in for trouble. But we've already covered that: you want "grape (alcohol drink)" 葡萄酒 (and there it is, in wine! very nice). Robert Ullmann 00:49, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
It is very interesting to consider the difference between a speaker of some Chinese language looking up 酒 here to see what it means in English, and an English speaker looking up 酒 here to see what it means in Chinese. (Read that sentence twice.) Robert Ullmann 01:01, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Isn't "a speaker of some Chinese language" supposed to look up the Chinese (perhaps in the future "some Chinese") Wiktionary, so that they can understand the answer? Or are you suggesting that the differences between some Chinese languages make them mutually unintelligible, and the speakers may use English as a lingua franca in place of the language used in definitions in the Chinese wictionary (by the way, what is the language used there? Mandarin?) --Enginear 09:31, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
There isn't a "supposed to" about it. People can and should use what they want. Consider someone who is fluent in Mandarin, and knows little to no English; they are going to start by using the zh.wikt (Chinese, but kinda-sorta defaulted to Mandarin, there is zh-min-nan, Min Nan, and zh-yue, Cantonese; and I am oversimplifying) to look up words in English, with the interface in Chinese. As they learn enough to use the en.wikt, they will start using it more and more. Ideally, if you are learning English, you want to get to the point where you avoid using your native language wikt (or tranlating dictionary). For example if you are learning from the dead-tree editions, an early objective is to get to the point where you can comfortably use an ordinary dictionary in the desired language; then you are "immersed", and things go much more quickly.
On your other point, I used to work for a manager who spoke Cantonese, with a fellow employee who was from Taiwan, and spoke Taiwanese Mandarin (approximately; I didn't know as much then). They didn't even try to speak "Chinese". Neither was anything like fluent in English, but that was what they used to communicate. She (of Taiwan) came to work one day upset, and told him she had gotten a citation; he congratulated her and she burst into tears ... Robert Ullmann
This isn't a question of approximate symmetry, it's a mistranslation now corrected. DAVilla 12:35, 8 November 2006 (UTC)


The Wiki definition may be incomplete. When I respond to someone's statement saying "That's rich!" I mean to suggest something like "You've got a hide, saying that" or basicially that they have no right to say it. Is this an idiom or is it a variation on the meaning of rich? When I say it am I referring to the food related meaning of the word rich?

In informal language, rich means "highly amusing, ridiculous, or absurd". —Stephen 08:20, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, indirectly you are relating to the food meaning because "that's rich" is a shortening of "that's too rich for my stomach", in other words the user of the phrase finds what he or she's heard to be hard to digest, i.e. hard to accept. Quite a chain of metaphor there. Moglex 09:37, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


What's the general critera for inclusion on suffixes? In this example, -ski is used in two different senses:

  1. w:Faux cyrillic - giving something a 'Russian flavour', and
  2. A sort of friendly diminuitive (brewski, offski).

Of course, it still needs to be in 'widespread use'. I'd bet that most people know about it in the first sense, but what about the second? There are the two examples off the top of my head, brewski and offski, and some less well known ones ('loanski' is used in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_to_the_Future).

However, I'm somewhat hesitant of being bold here, when there's sort of unverified information floating about, for reasons best left unsaid, I think. Any thoughts? --Abednigo 19:20, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

This suffix is a regionalism that I've encountered to about the same degree you have. I'll bet that it was introduced into American English in the Chicago area by Polish immigrants and spread from there. However, I don't have the knowledge or contacts to pursue that guess to verify it. The sites I googled all say that experts aren't sure of the word's origin either. I do know that in Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian the suffix -ski(i) / -ska(ia) is used to form locative surnames, but this information doesn't provide any additional insight. --EncycloPetey 00:31, 15 November 2006 (UTC)


Any idea why this was redirected from the singular to the plural? Andrew massyn 08:28, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Jolog was moved to Jologs (note capitals, which were used then) two years ago, the redirect is still there. Why the entry is under the plural form I don't know. Probably should be moved back to singular, with a standard plural of entry at jologs. But maybe this word is usually plural? Robert Ullmann 09:51, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

On my personal opinion, jologs is not in plural form because it is a negative slang word from the Philippines originated probably from gays which means ugly, poor, and unacceptable. ----Jeni neutron 01:03, 3 June 2007 (UTC)


Is it really a word? Can anyone find a literary citation? Dart evader 19:29, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Only 190 googles. RJFJR 16:49, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
And not in online OED2+, even in the full text. --Enginear 18:15, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Copied to WT:RFV. DAVilla 11:24, 17 December 2006 (UTC) jeni_neutron

By accident vs. In accident

This is a common fight in our family. I say both commonly. Is the correct phrase by accident or in accident, or are they both correct? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

I have commonly seen by accident, but not in accident. Also, I occasionally see on accident. Personally I would say by accident (or accidentally). Pcu123456789 01:24, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
This Texan concurs. DAVilla 17:50, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
I only recall seeing by accident. --Enginear 00:27, 16 November 2006 (UTC)


what are some words with the root credere in it? —This comment was unsigned.

In Latin, discredere, incredere and probably others.
In English, creed, credo, probably all words starting in credi-, discredi- and incredi-, etc, so including credit, credible, discredit, incredible, and many others. --Enginear 00:24, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Does anyone know the origin of the proper name Isambard?

I've been searching for the origins of the proper name Isambard. As in Isambard Kingdom Brunel (famous Victorian era engineer). His family was originally from northern France, but other than his ancestors and children I've never encountered the name.

  • No, but it is very rare. In the 1841 British census there was only 1 person with the given name :- I K Brunel (age 35, civil engineer, in Bath), and nobody with the surname in any British census from 1841 to 1901. Isambard was the middle name of his father Marc Isambard Brunel, so I suspect it may be a French surname or placename. SemperBlotto 08:30, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Found Arabic first name Isam meaning security, pledge. Don't know if that gives some clue. Also found several Isambard's listed on ancestry.com in late 1800's and early 1900's England and Canada. Probably descendents. There is a biography of M.I. Brunel which may give insight to the origin of the name. May be available at library. Pdm 18:54, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Word needed (probably from Arabic)

What do you call those fancy scrolls of interlocking Arabic characters, a good example of which is the logo of Al Jazeera? SemperBlotto 17:12, 15 November 2006 (UTC) Template:wikipediapar

Those are called calligrams, a stylized form of Islamic calligraphy. —Stephen 18:21, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Capitialization in Southeast Asia

I've run across some funny capitalization in the personal ads, dismissed as childplay until I realized there was almost a pattern. Although there is a weak tendency to prefer a single case for words, particularly lowercase, which follows the general internet trend, it seems that occasionally, in titles or highlighted segments, certain letters tend to be written in a specific case, e.g. the tail that marks capital L unambiguously, or the lowercase I even for the first person even among other capitalizations. Most of the samples below use a capital A. My guess is that in handwriting this would be more consistent, whereas the number of As typed in the longer segment below makes capitalizing them all impractical. The most unusual is a double letter using mixed case, particularly when the shape is unchanged, not seen in any of the samples below.

From Singapore:

sAd EnDiNG, SoB SoB

From the Philippines:

saT. and Sun????nakarap sa Computer......mag internet...lang....taz...kung may pAsoK nmn Ako...After nG klase ko...pUnta na sa GYM ang LOLA mo.....praktis na nG TEAKWONDO..un Tlaga ang HobBy ko..hehehehe..un LAng po..Taz Ung Mga fWEnds Ko....nga Papaedit ng pRofilE nila sa Fwendster un lang......hehehehe.........salamat sa pagbabasa ng HOBBIES ko..hehehe ChAo...

I would have to dig up a lot more for anything definitive. I'm not even sure I've convinced myself the "trends" are any better than random. Is this documented anywhere? As I said, it may be more obvious from handwriting. The most common E might look more like a backwards 3 for all we know. DAVilla 18:51, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Taking another look at this, I can dismiss two usernames as systematically alternating case, and internal inconsistencies with A in "HaZEL Ann" and with N and D in "sAd EnDiNG" don't give my theory much credibility. DAVilla 19:13, 16 November 2006 (UTC)


I am brand new to wiktionary and apologize if I'm not doing this correctly. I am looking for the meaning of the word hechs. It is used twice in a short story entitled "Aunt Sally Hillock's Witch Story" which appeared in "A Treasury of American Folklore" edited by B.A. Botkin, 1944. The story itself is copyright 1928. The word is used as follows: "...stabbed the girl in the small of the back, and she died the death of a hechs." AND "...visited him at his hunting shanty in the Little Valley in the form of a hechs." I could not find the word in the dictionaries I searched. Pdm 18:52, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I don’t know the story, but this looks like a variation or misspelling of German Hexe or Dutch heks, which mean witch. In German, the combination "-chs" is pronounced the same as "-x"...in fact, the word for six is sechs (pronounced "sex"). In German and dutch, the word Hexe / heks is very common, and although the dictionary meaning is witch, they are used where we would use the word bitch. For example, "du alte Hexe" (you old bitch). But since your book is a story of witches, this means witch. —Stephen 16:57, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for your response. Fits perfectly. Story is from Pennsylvania and there is great German and Dutch influence there. I have found in reading these old stories that words are often spelled incorrectly (or perhaps an old spelling not in use today) or are written down in the speech patterns of the time or area as in the Uncle Remus Stories. Thanks again.Pdm 18:52, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Have added A witch to our def of hex (I see this is the first definition in OED2, although I'd only heard it before meaning curse. --Enginear 14:06, 18 November 2006 (UTC)


Why is the second definition repeated? More to the point, why does the template used not allow us to add useful information nicely. SemperBlotto 16:19, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

The redundancy has already been removed (someone was experimenting with that conversion, I think.) I don't know of any reasonable restriction to not add additional sentences after a generic template. Just as qualifier templates precede a full definition, the given name template's sentence can precede multiple additional sentences. --Connel MacKenzie 09:20, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Gender Sesitivity ???

What is gender sesitivity ???? —This comment was unsigned.

Misspelling of gender sensitivity? --Enginear 13:57, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Enginear--Jeni neutron 02:45, 3 June 2007 (UTC)


The definition of continent does not match the examples given. I have made a note at Talk:continent. Just mentioning it here in case someone wants to work on it. Nurg 22:57, 18 November 2006 (UTC) I have adjusted the definition. But feel free to do so yourself. (This is a wiki). SemperBlotto 23:04, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Given names repeating definition.

Why are the definitions of so many girl's names repeated. Not just Sarah as mentioned above, I myself have fixed several already but I thought it was just an error on someone's part. At random, I tried another name Jane and it has the same problem. I have not fixed it so that more experience users can see where the problem is. Patricia is the same. Just realised, it is not only female names, it is male as well, John, Dennis (has been fixed). About 3 out of 4 I checked have this problem. Sorry if this is already answered in the other question, but I couldn't figure it out. Thanks.--Dmol 23:28, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

The problem entries that still need reformatting are seem to be listed at Special:Contributions/AnnaKucsma. --Connel MacKenzie 06:53, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
This is the Template:given name problem, also discussed at Wiktionary:Beer_parlour#Template "given name". —scs 20:56, 19 November 2006 (UTC)


That's me again with the O'Brian's Aubreyad. I've found this phrase in Desolation Island: "the deck was priddied". What could he mean by priddied? --Dart evader 10:10, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

It looks to me like an illiterate spelling of "prettied": the deck was prettied up, tidied up, made pretty. —Stephen 18:32, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree --Enginear 18:47, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

French touch

A phrase sometimes used by francophones (touche française) but I don't know if it is also used by anglophones or even if it has a real meaning in English. 16@r 13:07, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

This has quite a few hits - I'm not sure of any specific meaning, beyond "In a French style" with very positive connotations. --Connel MacKenzie 21:01, 20 November 2006 (UTC)


POV rant removed

—This unsigned comment was added by Dbw204 (talkcontribs) at 07:28, November 19, 2006.

Our entry for ethnic is rather bland, as it should be. It doesn't even list ethnic cleansing as a derived term, oddly. Almost as odd as your rant not pinning blame on the media outlets (and the political parties they exist for) that abuse the term. Sorry if it seems like we don't provide a platform for you to spew forth your viewpoint. But your comment above has no lexical value, and will be removed momentarily. --Connel MacKenzie 21:19, 20 November 2006 (UTC)


I don't know how to best use the inflection template to include both "bitterest" and "most bitter". Currently only the latter is included but see http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003794.html and http://www.languagehat.com/archives/002556.php

Also the former gets something like half as many hits again on Google, counter to my expectation. — Hippietrail 19:57, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

The template needs to include a way to do this if it's not already possible. There are a number of two-syllable adjectives in the same situation. DAVilla 22:55, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

initialism v acronym

Whats the difference between an initialism and an acronym? See ASAP for example. Andrew massyn 19:34, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

An acronym, like NATO, can be pronounced as a word. An initialism, like UN, can't. ASAP goes both ways. Jonathan Webley 20:45, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I've been confused as to why MILF is listed with one of each - is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front really pronounced in short as M-I-L-F? In other words, how do we determine which it is? bd2412 T 21:45, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Try here: [23] Kappa 04:29, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

common misspelling?

Does indominable count as a common' msispelling of indomitable? (Common enough to have an entry saying it is a misspelling?) RJFJR 15:36, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Looking at the number of b.g.c. hits, it seems to be a 'valid' alternate spelling, according to our broken WT:CFI. http://books.google.com/books?q=indomitable&as_brr=0&hl=en gives 138,000 while http://books.google.com/books?q=indominable&as_brr=0&hl=en gives 324. --Connel MacKenzie 19:28, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

American English vs. British English?

Newbie question: I noticed entry on lichen seems to give only (I may be misreading this) the American pronunciation of the word. Most Brits seem to pronounce the word with a "soft" ch... as in itch (litchen). Shouldn't both be included? (basalt is another example)

Yes. You can tag it with {{rfap|UK}} as a convenient shorthand to request the British audio file...or provide it yourself if you have a microphone. --Connel MacKenzie 20:46, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Which part of the UK are you talking about. I only recall hearing pronunciation without the t in London, though I agree that the ch is often pronounced as in loch (which should be denoted in pronunciation as x). --Enginear 14:10, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
I have very little experience with British pronunciation, particularly outside of Wiktionary. But for lichen, I've heard the bizarre sounding "lie-chen" 'British' pronunciation, while in the US, it is uniformly "lich-en" (rhymes with 'kitchen'.) I have no idea where in the UK that children's encyclopedia VCR tape came from, but that pronunciation stood out, nearly as extraordinary as aluminium or altimeter. Side-note: We seem to have a perennial shortage of British-English speaking individuals that own microphones. :-) Nudge, nudge. --Connel MacKenzie 16:25, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's the pronunciation I meant, the opposite of what the first poster hears -- I suspect we English liken it to the bizarre lich (aka lyke) meaning corpse. Anyway, we're likin' it :-~ --Enginear 21:12, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
lich, by the way, rhymes with bitch and not bike. Widsith 11:48, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
Uploaded the way I would pronounce it, as a homophone of liken. Regards, —Celestianpower háblame 22:26, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

help me pls

what does laissez passer, nations unies mean ?

laissez passer = let pass or passport
les Nations Unies = United Nations
Saltmarsh 12:10, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Comparable (from Information desk)

Should the page on the word "comparable" be flagged with {{en-adj|-}}. I would normally have thought so, but since the template links back to that page, the text renders as the bizare
comparable (not comparable)
which could be confusing to new users, especially with the emboldening. Smurrayinchester 14:44, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

That is cute! But I think {{en-adj}} is more appropriate than {{en-adj|-}} for that. --Connel MacKenzie 16:13, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, thinking about it, comparable is comparable (a pear is more comparable to an apple than a pig). Smurrayinchester 17:38, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
This word has two pronunciations that may have overlapping meanings, but also have (at least for me) distinct uses: (i) comparable = "similar", and (ii) comparable = "able to be compared", in the "(grammar)" sense, and more generally ("Are apples and oranges even comparable?" — I can't say "comparable here.) I guess both of them are grammatically comparable. CapnPrep 04:30, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
This is, at least partly, a regional difference. In UK we are (or were 30 years ago) taught to use comparable (or comp'rable) for both meanings, and believe comparable to be the (or perhaps a) US pronunciation. OED2+ doesn't mention the latter, and for once it is in step with what I perceive as modern usage in London, ie I don't recall hearing a long-time UK-dweller use anything else. --Enginear 22:09, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

to vast

Advancing through O'Brian's "The Surgeon's Mate", I have encountered vast being used as a verb, obviously meaning to stop: "Vast heaving,’ he called in a voice calculated for a far larger ship"; "Vast drumming,’ roared Mr Hyde, shaking his fist". Is such usage regular? I cannot attest it in any dictionary. --Dart evader 12:41, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm guessing it was a verbal shorthand form of avast (sense 1). —scs 03:33, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
This is a Dutch word meaning firm, solid, hard, strong, stout, tight, fast, stable, fixed, immovable, rigid, constant, permanent, enduring. It is cognate with English fast, Old English fæst, meaning firm. —Stephen 21:07, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, Stephen's right, but in this case as Scs says it's clearly = avast. The apheticism is very common in ‘arr me hearty seadog’ type contexts. (It is in fact from the Dutch - avast < Dutch houd vast ‘hold fast’). Widsith 15:36, 2 December 2006 (UTC)


This is usually considered a misspelling, but m-w.com lists it as a variant. Oddly, their pronunciations are not the same...they use what I thought was the pronunciation for cummerbund given for cumberbund. I am completely confused now. Can someone shed some light here? --Connel MacKenzie 21:59, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Not much. OED2+ doesn't have it, even in a full text search. I remember seeing it in a book once. OED suggests an Anglo-Indian origin for cummerbund, which seems appropriate to the usage I have seen. It suggests the first word was Urdu/Persian kamar, so etymology doesn't support a b. Cumberbund has 2% as many b.g.c hits as cummerbund, so misspelling seems reasonable to me, unless perhaps it's based on an alternative transliteration. --Enginear 21:02, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, before I go messing with it more than I already have, do other Americans agree it is an alternate spelling, and the pronunciation is as if it were spelled "cumberbund" for both? --Connel MacKenzie 17:10, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
I think in Britain they're both pronounced as "cummerbund". Certainly, OED2+ has m not mb in the pronunciation of cummerbund. --Enginear 22:14, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Quest For A Better Definition Of Hispanic/Latino....

(moved from Grease Pit)

Redefining: Terms Latino and Hispanic.

The reason why it is so important to bring about dialogue on this subject is, because of the geo-political and social aspects of how this so-called ethnicity is being used divisively in the media, politics, employment, census, etc.

According to most questionnaires (or applications of all sorts) the term Latino/Hispanic is used interchangeably to specify the race and/or ethnic background of a person. However, upon simple probing of the surface, it is clear that this ambiguity is by design, meant to confuse and separate those who should be together.

Please consider what Webster has as definitions for the subject mentioned terms:

Latino; being of latin origin or decent.

Hispanic; pertaining to Spain or Spaniards…

Why is it so important? Because of questions demographics and geo-political context as these terms relate to population breakdowns, voting blocks, hiring quotas, even media ratings.

Since when did the primary language spoken by a person or a group of persons become indicative of one’s race or ethnic group? Case in point, a Black American that speaks English is not British nor would he be thought of as of English decent. So why then are ALL peoples who have Spanish or for that matter, a Hispanic derivative language, being clumped together into one single group?

The facts do not support the usage of these words as racial and/or ethnic groups when compared to similar and commonly held ideals about what constitutes race or ethnicity. Because of this, I am challenging ALL anthropologist, sociologist, linguist, historians, political scholars, and those formulating word definitions/context to make a rational determination as to the validity of the current and common usages contributed to the terms Hispanic and Latino relative to them being utilized for racial and ethnic grouping.

I am known as an African American. Is that because I speak English or, is it because I was born in America? If an expatriate of an Africa nation, that has English as a primary language, is successful in becoming an American citizen, is he/she then an African American as well? Using that rationale, all Americans (White, Black, Asian, etc.) should be considered as English-Americans… Ask yourself then how is Sammy Sosa a Hispanic or should he be considered an African Dominican, or maybe simply Black? In the groups known as Hispanic/Latino you have; Caucasian, Negroid, Southern/American American Indian, Asian, etc. and these are being jammed together and treated as if it is a valid racial designation. There is just as much racial and ethnic diversity between many of the mentioned groups (from different locales) as there is between a white gentleman from Wales and one from Mississippi or, a person born in Granada and one who was born in Detroit. We must be wiser than the afore mentioned, manipulations would suggest we are. I once read in a murder mystery novel the following, “Who had the opportunity, motive and who stands to profit most…” So, ask yourself who would that be?

Why is this grouping being done in this way? I think to divide and dilute certain groups while helping to maintain and secure the status quo, the established power base of the supposed majorities. If you take this false designation away from the meaning of these terms, how then would the political, social, racial lines be changed? The debate is now open… —This unsigned comment was added by Thesystem1 (talkcontribs).

Note that the task of a dictionary is to describe words as they are used, not as they perhaps should be used. I agree that these words are often used very devisively. We have lots of words that are or can be very ugly in their usage (haji, wop, nigger) and we describe that. (Where is haji? (hadji/hajji) It is an honourific in Arabic, but used as a vicious pejorative in English by the U.S. troops in Iraq.)
I was listening to Nelson Mandela on the radio once in the U.S. and the interviewer referred to him as "African-American"; Mandela interrupted and pointed out that he was not; he is African. Teresa Heinz is from Mozambique, and is now a U.S. citizen living in the U.S.; does that make her an "African-American"? Seems to me it must! Robert Ullmann 13:30, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
There was another case a few years ago where two sports announcers, one British and one American, were commenting on a gold medal performance by a British runner. The British commentator said, "What a fine performance by a black athlete!", and the American "corrected" him with, "You mean African-American."
Clearly, in American English, "African-American" does not mean African-American; it means "black" -- as that's the term it was specifically invented to replace. —scs 18:27, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

one chateau, two chateaux, French châteaux, English chateaus

There's been some discussion at RFV about the "French" spelling of this word and its plural, as used in English. I think I'm going to add a Usage Note to all the pages chateau, château, chateaux, chateaus, and châteaux:

Usage note
As a recent loanword, the French spelling involving the circumflex accent on â, and the French plural involving -eaux, are used in English by many writers and editors who are familiar with the word's French origins. However, as the word becomes more entrenched in English, and as part of the trend away from accented characters, the Anglicized spelling chateau and plural chateaus are also popular. It is difficult to say which forms are more "correct" or "popular" in English, but the trend is almost certainly towards the Anglicized forms. See also a note at Wikipedia on the pluralization of foreign words.

The words "is almost certainly" in the second-to-last sentence are debatable. Other possibilities are "is probably" and "may well be".

Anybody else have any other opinions on these usages or how we should present them?

[Disclosing my POV: I am an American who knows little French. I would unhesitatingly use the -eaux plural, and think that -eaus looks terrible. I'm not sure where I stand on using the circumflex accent or not; I could go either way.]

scs 16:31, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Simply removing the words "almost certainly" would be sufficient, I think. I'm not sure the sentence about "writers and editors who are familiar" captures it quite right. The word is in italics or quotation marks in those cases, very clearly identifying that it is not being used as an English word, but rather as a specific borrowing. (I hope that when citations are added via RFV, that will be much clearer.) --Connel MacKenzie 17:02, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't think we can simply remove the words "almost certainly", because the unqualified statement "the trend is towards the Anglicized forms" would be even more contentious, and arguably also Original Research.
I'm not sure what you mean by "The word is in italics or quotation marks in those cases", because while it sometimes may be, it certainly isn't always. Also I'm afraid I don't share your optimism that citations will make this any clearer -- would the citation "We took a lovely tour of the châteaux of the low country" inform the reader that the source had put the term in italics, or would the reader imagine that we'd added the italics just to highlight the term being cited? —scs 16:22, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I know that Muke, when he used to do the majority of the RFV citations, and I myself, have been very meticulous about being faithful to the original formatting. In the majority of cases, the text is available online via a hyperlink, to allow the reader to doublecheck the scanned image. Calling what I found online when I did a google books search, "original research" misses the point - I'm not researching, I'm finding supporting evidence (facts.) If that's "original research" then all of the WT:RFV process would have to go away, and the majority of citations that we have would be removed by the same rule. --Connel MacKenzie 17:02, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to dis your citations. My point about OR was that the amount of citation-gathering and cross-checking required to support the statement "the trend is towards the Anglicized forms" would, I think, count as original research. —s
I ask that citations be given:
  1. Stating when château entered the English language; and,
  2. To back up the two statements the trend away from accented characters, the Anglicized spelling chateau and plural chateaus are also popular and the trend is almost certainly towards the Anglicized forms.
At the moment, without these references, the usage note seems POV unto me. Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:54, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
A quick look at books.google.com seems to show plenty of cites for all those spellings in 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Once there are "plenty", the way search engines work, coupled with the time-biased corpus currently used by b.g.c., means that number of cites is not a reliable measure of whether the popularity of a word is increasing or decreasing. It is also impracticable to determine after the fact whether a writer or editor was familiar with the origin of a word. Statements like that rely on the skill of the wiki editor. In this case, the original editor provided a 'pedia reference and has also been supported above by an experienced editor. The usage note seems reasonable to me too. May I suggest that you provide evidence why you believe it is incorrect. --Enginear 15:39, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree. What User:Doremítzwr is suggesting is counter to normal rules of English, so citations should be given showing the misuse. --Connel MacKenzie 17:02, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I suspect that citing this issue adequately will be very difficult.
The phrase "the trend is... towards the Anglicized forms" is certainly contentious, and equally difficult to support. Safest, I suppose, would be to not take a stand at all, to say "It is difficult to say which forms are more 'correct' or 'popular' in English" and leave it at that. —scs 16:22, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, you are right - our etymologies and usage notes try to convey how we think a word is used, without saying that it always is or must be. But, to properly let the readers draw their own conclusions, citations are the way to go. Calling it OR is missing the point (we are not Wikipedia) - simply providing citations for each spelling is the only thing to unambiguously support each point of contention.
Normal rules of English generally take the borrowed word, without diacritics, and use Anglicized plural forms.
I was about to ask you to cite your sources for these "rules" you keep mentioning, but never mind -- rules in someone's book they may be, but they're certainly not universally followed. Have you read w:English plural#Irregular plurals from other languages yet? —scs 18:11, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
D'oh! Listed front and center, as a well known irregular. <sigh>. --Connel MacKenzie 18:17, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Chateaux seems to be an exception to the rule, so it really, really needs citations. Conversely, because the French-ish (without diacritics) plural does see common usage, the normal plural chateaus also needs attestation. The extraordinary case of the French spellings (with diacritics) being used in English is, on the face of it, untenable; so those need citations as well. I am beginning to think that my initial RFV of this was the only correct thing to do; moving to the tea room may have distracted more than it helped. In the end, each form needs citations, or we continue to get misplaced accusations of "POV" and "OR." --Connel MacKenzie 17:02, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
A quick look at the OED shows that the accented form is very common in English and has been regularly used without any italics for about 150 years. That's certainly the way I would write it. In fact, the OED don't even recognise the unaccented version! I wouldn't call it an "extraordinary case" either - lots of people still write café and passé and cliché with no italics. Widsith 12:02, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
Even resumé, yes. But with the exception of "é" for ending pronunciation, I disagree. The diacritics are normally dropped, when the word is naturalized into English. Also, my on-line access to the OED (North American version) when searching for châteaux returns 5 out of 8 7 dictionary entries for chateau without the diacritics: The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, The New Oxford American Dictionary, The Australian Oxford Dictionary, The Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd edition revised), The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. The last one (only!) lists château as an alternate spelling. --Connel MacKenzie 00:36, 1 December 2006 (UTC) Edit: 7 dictionaries. "The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English" is listed in "Language Reference"/other. --Connel MacKenzie 00:40, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree. The OED2+ that I see online has about 20 châteaus and 8 chateaus amongst the cites for its headword château. It certainly recognises both. It merely redirects, rather than listing both as headwords, a common trait for variants it deprecates, eg the -ise suffix, presumably for space saving. (Nor does it have chateaux or chateaus as headwords, but a full text search reveals 8 and 3 respectively. (The full text search doesn't seem to handle diacritics.)) --Enginear 22:13, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
What you've found suggests that it is another US/UK issue, as I suspected. --Connel MacKenzie 18:24, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Is the vox populi that the only correct/naturalised pattern of forming plurals in English (aside from the patterns found in mice, women, children, geese, and people) is to add an ‘-s’? Although by far the most common method, I do not believe it to be the only ‘genuinely English’ one. Whilst I concede that patresfamilias, kolkhozy, pulik, putamina, ethe, emalangeni, triumviri, sögur, corgŵn and mujtahidūn are formed with patterns that are certainly not naturalised, the patterns used to form cacti, formulae, corrigenda, and plateaux are (etymologically incorrect plurals like agendae and octopi prove that — these weren’t formed due unto ‘hypercorrection’ — they are simply the result of misapplied, but definitely familiar and naturalised, patterns of plural formation). The patterns of replacing ‘us’ with ‘i’ and adding an ‘x’ unto a terminal ‘-eau’ are two of the earliest ‘irregular’ plural patterns learnt (apart from those of the basic vocabulary, which are nonetheless very strangely pluralised, mentioned above) — it is not at all surprising that chateaux is more common than chateaus. What is somewhat surprising is that the form with a circumflex is more common than the form without; however, this can likely be explained by the fact that it is a term quite specific unto France, which will encourage the retention of specifically French features of spelling, such as the circumflex (which I must concede serves no useful purpose in pronunciatory terms, unlike the cedilla, the acute and grave accents, and the diæresis, which often do, as in façade, café, and naïve). What is certain is that adding an ‘-s’ is not the only regular and naturalised way of forming plurals in English. Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 02:34, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

  • In addition, there are the Greek pluralising patterns found in phenomena and stigmata, which are also naturalised (the former more so than the latter). Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 02:19, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I think we spend too much time on some of these hair-splitting distinctions. Finding good citations for questioned or contested usages is certainly important and well worth doing, but mere citations (unless perhaps if there are dozens or hundreds of them) are not in and of themselves going to answer the question of which of two competing forms is more or less popular, or more or less standard, or more or less correct, or more British or more American.

For something like 99% of the words in the English language, there's precisely one widely-accepted spelling, which we can list without qualification, and for which we can uncontentiously and unceremoniously list any "nonstandard" variants or misspellings as such. For a pretty well-known handful of words, fitting a pretty well-understood set of patterns, there is one "UK/British/Commonwealth" spelling and one "US/North American" spelling: colour vs. color, recognise vs. recognize, centre vs. center, labelled vs. labeled. And then there are the goofy exceptions: châteaux vs. chateaux vs. chateaus vs. châteaus, résumé vs. resumé vs. resume. For these I think we should content ourselves with listing the variants that we can't prove wrong, cross-referencing the others, citing them as necessary, and leaving it at that.

For these "hard" cases, trying to do anything more -- trying to characterize one variant or another as more or less standard, perhaps with some regional qualification -- is (I fear) an exercise in futility, smacking of Original Research and sometimes even lapsing into comically unnecessary, micro-scale POV-pushing. If I believe (which I do not) that "any educated person" knows that château is a French loanword such that the French plural châteaux should be used even in English, I can find three durably-archived (and nonitalicized) citations to back me up. If Connel believes (which he does not) that the only correct English spelling is chateaus, he can find three durably-archived citations to back himself up. Etc.

So I'm thinking we should spend less time on these "screw cases", and more time on the other 99% of the language, not all of which we've got coverage for at this aggressive level of scrutiny. —scs 17:31, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Addison-Biermer disease

I would like a description of the above mentioned disease. —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 00:15, 1 December 2006.

It appears to be called "Pernicious anemia" today, and there is a Wikipedia article about it. —scs 00:44, 1 December 2006 (UTC)


Scots Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic

Cross-posted from the Information Desk :

Looking at Wiktionary:Statistics, I see that both Scots Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic have many entries. As Gaelic is not my forte, I must ask -- are those really two different languages? Wikipedia suggests that those are two alternative names for the same language... should they be combined? Beobach972 03:08, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, Scots Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic are the same thing. In American English, Scots Gaelic is the preferred term. I don’t know who uses the other term, perhaps the Britons or Scots. —Stephen 20:56, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
In the UK, we normally just say Gaelic. However, the Wikipedia article uses Scottish Gaelic, so perhaps we should follow suit. Using the term Scots could cause confusion with the Germanic language of that name. Widsith 15:31, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
ISO 639 calls it Scots Gaelic (code gla). Our entry at Scottish Gaelic refers to code glc, which is Hiberno-Scottish Gaelic (extinct) ... Robert Ullmann 12:44, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh... so do you think we ought to have a native Scots Gaelic speaker check and see if the entries labelled 'Scottish Gaelic' are actually Scots Gaelic, and if they are, change the header, and if they aren't, change the header (to Hiberno-Scottish Gaelic)? Beobach972 01:22, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
This has now been corrected (by an anonymous editor), so that "Scottish/Scots Gaelic" are both linked to ISO gla. As for the standardization of the headers of SG entries, I would prefer "Scottish Gaelic", for the reason mentioned by Widsith above. In my experience, this is the preferred practice among Celtic scholars (both sides of the Atlantic). All of my grammars and dictionaries refer to "Scottish Gaelic" and never to "Scots Gaelic" (except the older texts published in Scotland itself, where everyone just says "Gaelic"). CapnPrep 03:16, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

deep file

What is the exact meaning of the term? What kind of person can be called 'a deep file'? --Dart evader 08:36, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

  • I don't know. Give us an example of how you have seen it used. SemperBlotto 08:53, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
file is a pretty old-fashioned word for ‘guy’ or ‘fellow’, so a ‘deep file’ could just be a ‘mysterious bloke’ or ‘dark horse’ or something along those lines. It sounds a bit like something out of PG Wodehouse. Widsith 08:57, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


  • they were gratified to see that from a pleasing red Jack's face had already turned purple from keeping pace with the Admiral. But Jack was a tolerably deep file: he loosened his collar and asked questions about the guns... — this one comes from "The Ionian Mission" by you-know-who.
  • Boone laughed, and observed that he thought it best not to die just at that particular time, whereupon Gorman laughed, too, and said he was about right, and that it would be as well to delay both events in the meantime; after saying which, he took his leave in better humour than usual, for Gorman was what men of his own stamp termed a “deep file”. He saw into futurity—so he thought—a considerable way farther than most men, and in the future of his own imagination he saw such a pleasant picture that his amiable spirit was quite cheered by it. — this one from "Fighting the Flames" by R.M. Ballantyne.
  • “No,” replied Blunt; “but he’s a deep file is Davis, and could throw a sharper man than Garvie off the scent.” — from "The Iron Horse" by R.M. Ballantyne.

--Dart evader 09:05, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

More or less as I said above. But the sense seems to be usually ‘fellow with hidden depths or resources’, or something of that sort. Widsith 09:15, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the OED has very many definitions of "file", amoong which is - slang. An artful, cunning, or shrewd person. Also, a man, ‘fellow’, ‘cove’. (and "deep" in the sense of having hidden talents) SemperBlotto 17:36, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I've just added that sense to file, Etym 3. Widsith 17:41, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Bangalored, proper verb?

There is an entry for Bangalored (to have work outsourced to Bangalore India or India in general, it has citations but I didn't really check them). The article is capitalized. If it is still related to the city of Bangalore then it needs to be capitalized. But this is a VERB, so does it need to be capitalized? If so would that make this a proper verb? (Entry was nominated for WOTD which is how I found it). RJFJR 01:40, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

No, just a verb, but the past participle form. Should probably be moved to Bangalore. DAVilla 17:26, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

"ITCHBAY" Special License Plate

I saw a car with the license plate "ITCHBAY". I would like to know the meaning. I couldn't locate the owner but the person with me suggested that it was Pidgon English for "Bitch". Does anyone know if this could be right? Thanks. —This comment was unsigned.

Pig Latin: Move the first letter to the end and add "ay"...yup, sounds right to me. --Connel MacKenzie 06:09, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Can someone add a definition for "punch out" or "punchout?"

I have heard remodelers talk about "punch out"--which seems to be the last stage of a remodel when the whole project is checked for flaws and those flaws are corrected. But is there a more precise definition in the trade, or are there specific steps or techniques to perform a "punch out?"


I've heard of a "punch list" of tasks that have to be done before the job is considered completed. I'm not sure if there is an actually piece of paper and a hole punch and they go around, check if it is done and punch a hole next to each done item. RJFJR 14:08, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
The term (that I've heard) is indeed punch list. Today, at least, it has nothing to do with any actual punching (holes or otherwise). I've asked builders where the term comes form, and none of them know. —scs 15:33, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I haven't heard it in the UK construction industry (but nor have I heard punch list, except used by one US-owned company). Punching out is of course a stage of production of many, eg die-cast or sheet metal or plastic products, so it would cause a wry smile among, say, automobile manufacturers being remodeled, but the context suggests connection with a punch list. --Enginear 22:52, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Word that means

I'm looking for a word that would describe someone; someone who actively tries to be unique whilst stigmatising those that aren't (or whom he or she personally determines as not being unique).

I was close to using 'pretentious,' but I thought there was a more precise word out there. Thanks! 2L84ME 20:37, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Like an elitist? Clerical note: move to WT:ID. --Connel MacKenzie 20:38, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Maybe also iconoclastic. Or just affected. And then there are constructions that evoke the same sort of thing, like "art girl all dressed in black". —scs 22:57, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
conceited perhaps? __meco 10:10, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

How about plastic? or fake? --Jeni neutron 02:52, 3 June 2007 (UTC)


Could seafront be used as an adjective mean on the beach? Similar to beachfront? RJFJR 15:03, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Like seashore? Wait, is seafront really a word? Perhaps a specific meaning in construction/architecture? --Connel MacKenzie 22:17, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
It's in general British usage. In Britain, we rarely use beachfront; almost always seafront (or as OED2+ prefers, sea-front). It most commonly refers to townscape rather than natural features, similar I believe to the Jamaican front line. As an adjective, there are tens of b.g.c. hits for seafront location and a dozen for seafront house, and the first ten of the >7k b.g.c. hits for seafront include seafront architecture, seafront pedestrian boardwalk and seafront avenue. --Enginear 22:36, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Again, this is really just an attributive noun. Widsith 11:37, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

I made an entry for sea-front saying it is an alternative spelling of seafront (but I'm not sure that isn the best way to handle it). It should say something about British usage. RJFJR 19:33, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

go fever

Should go fever be tagged with {{slang}}? (And the def might stand improvement). RJFJR 20:26, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


Hi. Does Any one have information on Illinois famous land marks?

Please try that request at our sister project, Wikipedia. --Connel MacKenzie 22:39, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "van Gogh"

What is the correct way to pronounce the name of the artist Vincent van Gogh. I know we are all told that the correct form is van Go, but I heard an artist interviewed and he claimed that is only an American way of saying it. I thought that was a bit odd, but names do vary around the world. I was brought up saying van Goff, but that might not be right either. --Dmol 23:24, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

The final consonant is pronounced exactly like the ch in Bach or Scottish loch. In fact, in Dutch, I believe the first G of Gogh is the same, so they pronounce it as /vɑn xɔx/. I think van goff is fine; van go sounds weird to me, but it's the usual pronunciation in the States. Widsith 11:36, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that only Americans pronouce it Van Go. In England it is usually pronounced Van Goff, as the correct Dutch pronunciation is rather difficult. SemperBlotto 12:04, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Dutch v is half-voiced, meaning that it sounds halfway between English f and v, and the a is a bit darker than what one would expect in English. The closest in English is the word fawn, which sounds pretty much like Dutch van, as long as you clip the vowel (like the British) instead of dragging it out (like we Americans do). In any case, Van Gogh lived in France for much of his career, so it probably wasn't pronunced the Dutch way much of the time. --EncycloPetey 03:06, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
In America, (/væn ˈgoʊ/ invalid IPA characters (g), replace g with ɡ) seems to be the standard pronunciation, but in the UK, it's "van goff" (/væn ˈgɒf/ invalid IPA characters (g), replace g with ɡ). I remember asking a Dutch person once, and he said it was something like "fon choch" (roughly /fɒn ˈxɔx/), where "ch" is the sound in "loch". But that is the Dutch pronunciation, not the English one.
Funny how in the US, people are often unaware of how things are outside the country, but in the UK, we have a very good idea of how things are in the US. Ask most Britons how Americans say "van Gogh" and they will know that they say "van go". I think it's because we get so much imported TV from the US. But I digress.
We don't have an article for van Gogh (is the "van" capitalised?). Maybe we should, in the transferred sense of "a painting by van Gogh", just as we should probably have Rembrandt, Rubens, and so on for all the major artists. This passes CFI as it an attributive use of a proper noun. — Paul G 16:56, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Another "educated" UK pronunciation, an embarrassingly poor attempt at copying the Dutch, is /væn ˈgɒx/ invalid IPA characters (g), replace g with ɡ. --Enginear 18:35, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I put it at Van Gogh -- usage seems to be mixed on capitalization. I must have overlooked this conversation when I created it. Cynewulf 23:40, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Etymology of coffee and قهوة

Please see Talk:قهوةHippietrail 02:23, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

house poor

I tried to add "house poor" today as an adjective. Is this the appropriate place for this term? This unsigned comment was added by User:Dhill.

I have added an entry for this term at the link above. If you believe you can improve it, please do. Dvortygirl 23:39, 8 December 2006 (UTC)


The definiton claims that this suffix is used to convert a noun into an adjective, but the example given is amnesia ==> amnesiac, where both words are nouns. Likewise, hemophilia / hemophiliac; necrophilia / necrophiliac. It seems there's another definition out there of condition ==> sufferer. Can anyone dredge up etymology and specifics on this use? --EncycloPetey 03:09, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

par exemple (French) - abbreviation?

Is there an abbreviation for the French term "par exemple"? -- 19:51, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, they usually put par ex. Widsith 07:41, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

backhoe etymology

I have a theory about the etymology of the word backhoe that I haven't been able to verify. Backhoes are relatively new, and what they replaced were the old steam shovels. Now, if you look at a picture of a steam shovel (or this one and its story, or this cute one, or this classic one), you can see that the digging bucket faces up, and that the machine digs by lifting up and away. A backhoe, on the other hand, digs by pulling down and back towards the machine. The fact that you don't see steam shovels -- or anything else with that same, old up-and-away action -- any more makes me suspect that the pull-down-and-towards action has been found to be much more effective. (But it had to await the development of modern hydraulics, because a cable-hauled backhoe wouldn't work nearly as well.)

Anyway, I suspect that the word back in the name backhoe was chosen specifically because of the back-towards-the-machine action, which was backwards from the way steam shovels worked. Can anyone confirm this? (Our definition does use the words "drawn backwards" in passing, but I'm looking for something etymologically definitive.) —scs 02:59, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Is the hoe part on the back of the machine as opposed to the front? RJFJR 14:12, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
On many of them, yes. But I'm pretty sure that's a false etymology (or back etymology, if you'll pardon the pun...) —scs 16:23, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Don't they usually always have a bulldozer plow/scoop/shovel on the front, for the lifting "up and away" aspects of their work?
In the U.S., in sense 2, yes. But the point is that the term "backhoe" can also be used (à la sense 1) to refer to any back-facing digging bucket on the end of an articulated arm. If you do a google images search on "backhoe" you'll find mostly pictures of what you and I think of as backhoes (i.e. sense 2 again), but also plenty of pictures of other excavators using the same jointed-arm-and-bucket geometry (e.g. here, here and here). —scs 01:40, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't see any problem with you entering that etymology, with the word "Possibly" at the beginning. As better information is found later, it can be added/cited. --Connel MacKenzie 19:29, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Um, the same pieces of equipment is often called a frontloader/backhoe ... and I doubt someone would call the hoe a backhoe because it is drawn towards the user: any ordinary garden hoe is drawn backwards. Robert Ullmann 19:39, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
It seems that two major manufacturers, [24] and [25], only use backhoe of machines that have loaders on the front, which seems to support Robert's view.
While this is peripheral to the discussion, the "magic" of a modern excavator, allowing high productivity, lies in its additional "wrist" articulation which allows the bucket to stay upright after the cut, when the "arm" is being stretched out to drop the spoil in a pile at arm's length. This would have, theoretically, been equally possible with cables and/or steam cylinders. (And it is actually less important for a machine with a loader at the front, which will often slew to drop the load in front of the loader, than with a standalone excavator.)
However, prolonged use of steam or hydraulic cylinders/pistons in a dirty environment, even with modern seals and lubrication, requires frequent replacement of parts. To keep productivity, the replacement should be quick. That implies a stock of "identical" parts, rather than parts which need to be adapted to fit, eg by reaming the cylinder bore to match a new piston. Production of parts to such accurate tolerances was first done in gun manufacture by Colt, later sewing machine manufacture by Singer, but was really only applied to larger machines in the 20th century (perhaps first by Ford) and probably only reached machines the size of a steam shovel in about 1940.
Also, a modern excavator relies on the form of fingertip control, developed over many years, which makes it feasible for one man (not two as for a big steam shovel -- one controlling the crane and forward motion, and the other controling the bucket) to control the whole operation in a relatively intuitive fashion. So I suspect the early steam shovels were designed for rugged simplicity, eliminating a wrist action that would have caused unnecessary repair downtime, and which would have increased the difficulty of controlling the machine. --Enginear 20:14, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Your points are well-taken. Clearly there are plenty of people using sense 2, for which the backhoe part is indeed always at the back of the machine.
I still have to wonder, though, why there are no modern, hydraulically-actuated, diesel-instead-of-steam-powered steam shovels? (And in fact, there is at least one class of excavator that still uses an up-and-away motion; see w:Bucket-wheel excavator.)
My real question was about the original etymology of the term, not any of its modern usages, and it's clear I'm going to have to make a trip to an actual library if I'm to have any hope of answering that. —scs 01:39, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Re your 2nd para, the answer is the converse of my last sentence. Now the reliability/replacement issue is solved, the more complex but functionally superior "down & towards" action predominates. But there are still some special purpose machines which use "up & away" action, and both bulldozers and those amazing highway-building diggers that scoop earth into their bellies as they move forward, could be described as developments of the "up and away" shovel action with vastly increased mobility. --Enginear 13:27, 14 December 2006 (UTC)


See Talk:earnt. --Connel MacKenzie 10:26, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Please note the point I have added to that talk page: there being many Google hits for a spelling does not, in itself, make the spelling correct. — Paul G 09:12, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
Please note that I, too, have added to that talk page: there being a lack of "authorities" for a particular spelling does not, in isolation, make the spelling INcorrect (merely non-standard). 17:14, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

eolian, aeolian and æolian

Do we really need three separate definitions and translations? Shouldn't we have just one (any one) and two "alternative spellings of"? Or should we have a color/colour-style shared template? SemperBlotto

Offhand, I don't think that the primary spelling aeolian is disputed, so the other two should (I think) point to it via {{alternative spelling of}}. --Connel MacKenzie 04:42, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Though I would use æolian and ligatural spellings wheresoever, clearly the most sensible primary spelling in e/ae/æ and e/oe/œ disputes should be ae and oe, respectively. Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 05:35, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't think a one-size-fits-all approach is feasible. For the individual case encyclopedia / encyclopaedia / encyclopædia, the non-ligature, non-ligatural spelling is by far the most common, but since it does have some regional dispute surrounding it, each of the three entries needs a separate explanation, with only the translation sections being held in common. Waitasec...why aren't the translation sections common for them? Are they translated differently?
For eolian/aeolian, a quick web search shows a clear preference. For encyclopedia/encyclopaedia, a quick web search also shows a clear preference. In both cases, the numbers from major search engines seem to match the opinions of the majority of contributors here. But it is conceivable that different search engines will yeild different results in some cases, so obviously a lot of flexibility would be needed in any such guideline. --Connel MacKenzie 06:11, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Taxonomic names

How should entries for scientific names such as Sciurus be handled? Unabridged dictionaries generally include entries for genus names and higher taxa such as:

Sciurus n. [L. sciurus, from Gr. skiouros] a genus of squirrels, typical of the Sciuridæ.

Treated as a "language" of their own? Treated as English, despite being a part of every other language that uses taxonomic notation? Left to Wikipedia to worry about? 04:36, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I think a good example is Amoebozoa. Is this what you are looking for? --Connel MacKenzie 04:39, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
I second the nomination. —scs 06:20, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
We've usually labelled them as ==Translingual== for the "language". See Cygnus for an example that also exists both as a scientific name and as an English word. --EncycloPetey 23:21, 14 December 2006 (UTC)


Please see discussion at Talk:believe. --Connel MacKenzie 04:38, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Regarding merging the senses, the only one I would question is the one currently broken out as intransitive. I would suggest that, in a religious context, "believe" might have an extended sense beyond the simple question of boolean acceptance of a particular theological proposition. Think of the term believer (our current def is bare-bones.) This term is frequently used as a categorization, antonymous with heathen, heretic, etc. In short, to "believe" can also mean "to belong" (to a religious sect.) --Jeffqyzt 14:50, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

The first two definitions might be merged. Each concerns the acceptance of or trust in a thing; the first accepts the messenger as truthful while the second accepts the message as true. I'm not sure that this is a true difference of use. However, the third definition is quite different, since it concerns confidence of prediction. In the example sentence for the third definition, one could substitute the word predict, think, or expect. None of these words could work in the sense used in the first two definitions. I believe we have at least three distinct definitions here. --EncycloPetey 23:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

  • If possible, please make comments on that talk page, instead of here. --Connel MacKenzie 16:49, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I put my comments in both places, of course :) --EncycloPetey 23:21, 15 December 2006 (UTC)


Well again I am new to this.. but I read the criteria and I thought slang words were viable entries. This word is all over the place and on TV sitcoms/etc. If this isn't the right place for slang words, I suppose that is fine.

But that aside, I am a little disappointed in what appears to be the standard process for an admin denying/deleting an entry. If I add a word and an admin does not find it belongs here (I am guessing this is what happened?)- isn't there any notification back to me or anything?

I would want to know what criteria it failed to meet so that I will not make the same mistake again. Or worse, if I add a word and later don't see it I easily might think I meant to add it and didn't - go in and add it again. I definitely don't want the admins to think I am re-adding just to anger them.

Please help!

Dhill 22:49, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

  • It is a relatively new word (what we call a protologism). We don't accept them until they become more widely used. You need to supply some references to where you have seen it in print. SemperBlotto 22:57, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
  • The place to look for the inclusion criteria is WT:CFI, which spells out our general principles for accepting an entry. --EncycloPetey 23:09, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Dhill, that is an excellent suggestion. However, the admins here are currently struggling with the existing demands on their precious volunteer time...adding another task to that for every deleted entry is not likely to be widely accepted. --Connel MacKenzie 19:52, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

"boy" as an antonym

Both the woman and man pages list boy as an antonym, and neither lists girl. Any suggestions on what to do to make it make more sense?? 22:55, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

How about deleting boy? Jimp 23:16, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Please be more specific. 23:19, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Given that an antonym is "A word which has the opposite meaning to another, although not necessarily in all its senses." is boy an antonym of man, of woman or even girl? It just doesn't feel opposite enough for me. But, hay, that's just me. If the man page lists boy, then the woman page should list girl. Similarly, if the woman page lists boy, then the man page should list girl. So, as I see it, we have four options which are as follow.
1A) Delete boy from both the man and woman page.
1B) Replace boy with girl on the woman page.
2A) Replace boy with girl on the man page.
2B) Add girl to both the man and woman page.
These options obviously would be based on the following premises.
1) Boy is not an antonym of woman (nor girl of man)
2) Boy is an antonym of woman (and girl of man)
A) Boy is not an antonym of man (nor girl of woman)
B) Boy is an antonym of man (and girl of woman)
Of these four premises, it's 1 and A with which I agree, however I agree with 1 more strongly than A. So I'd prefer option 1B over 2A. Jimp 23:49, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
How did this get so convoluted? Obviously these antonyms should be listed:
  1. For the entry man: woman, boy
  2. For the entry woman: man, girl
  3. For the entry boy: girl, man
  4. For the entry girl: boy, woman
I'd guess that anything else listed as an antonym on those entries is simply erroneous. --Connel MacKenzie 19:07, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
Heh heh, this is a thorny issue. What are the antonyms of "aunt"? "Nephew" and "niece", or "uncle"? It depends what you are opposing: the sex or the relationship. When I was at primary school and was asked to give the antonym of "right leg", I said "left arm".
So do we oppose the sex or the age? Good question, and a moot point. I think Connel's suggestion is a good one, provided we qualify the antonyms so that it doesn't make it look like "woman" and "boy" are synonyms of each other. Something like: "woman (opposing in sex), boy (opposing in age)", although there are probably better labels that could be used. — Paul G 09:05, 17 December 2006 (UTC)