Wiktionary:Tea room/2007/March

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← February 2007 · March 2007 · April 2007 → · (current)



I was wondering if anyone could help me find the roots in the words Cardinal in the context of 'Cardinal Embrace'. I ask because I am reading a play called "Arcadia" by Tom Stoppard and shortly after the play begins one of the character's asks what "Cardinal Embrace" is and another character replies with "Cardinal Embrace is the practice of throwing one's arms around a side of beef." and further concludes to "... a shoulder of mutton, a haunch of venison well hugged, an embrace of grouse... caro, carnis[Author's emphasis]; feminine; flesh." I have a feeling that Stoppard was trying to explain this in a sense that a parent would to a child? I am just wondering if there are any root words that come from that phrase. Thanks for any input! -- 18:31, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

It's not cardinal embrace, but rather carnal embrace. —RuakhTALK 20:59, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh! Sorry for the mistake! I feel foolish... -- 23:23, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

No worries, we all mis-hear things sometimes. :-) —RuakhTALK 00:03, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

second definition of sale

I'm a little confused by what the second definition of sale means. I've added a request for example to it, because that might make it clearer. Alternatively, maybe someone can add a slightly more illuminating definition? Looking at the translations, it looks like the French translation is in the sense of 'a good deal' or 'a sales agreement', which is not what I understand from the definition.

AggyLlama 00:37, 4 March 2007 (UTC)


I just re-tried to add a fake history of Fuck. I'm in no way trying to say that this is a real history, matter of fact, I say that it is undoubtedly fake. But it remains a suggested history. I think it should be allowed to be put in the article. here's what I wanted to add: A history suggested for the word that is undoubtedly false is that the word came from the hundreds years war between France and Britain. The idea is that fifty to sixty years into the war the British developed the U bow, to operate this one would simply take the middle finger and pluck back on the string to launch the arrow. The French hated these bows, because they were accurate and covered a great distance. So, whenever the French would capture a British solider, they would cut off his middle finger in case he were to find means of escape. And the amputated solider would run around saying "I can't pluck me U!" Then one day the British bow men surrounded a large portion of the French. They all held up their middle finger in a form of mockery of the French and said "I can still pluck me U!". Then they proceeded to slaughter the French. Then, thanks to American destruction of language, we get "fuck you" . Now, is this all true? Who gives a FUCK! it's funny! Help me out guys, we need some comedy on this site.Ianhrrngtn 07:31, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

If you're looking for humour, an online dictionary is a bad place to be. Here, we try and be as dry and unimaginative as possible. We're aiming for clarity, not entertainment. We do have WT:BJAODN, but that's about all the humour you're going to find here. Sorry, but that story has no place on the fuck entry. Atelaes 07:37, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
That particular folk history concerning the origin of the word fuck is actually a very, very old story. It was around by the time of Shakespeare at least, and is probably much older. If you think the history should be added, find a citable source. Holinshead's Chronicles might contain the story (and it's fairly easy to find since it was one of Shakespeare's principal sources for his Histories). --EncycloPetey 04:00, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
It would make more sense if it was yew, instead of "U." --Joe Webster 04:37, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

'Fuck' is an anglosized form of 'phuc' as in 'ph' (skin chemistry) + 'uc'. It is slang which denotes unnatural intercourse of any kind. beadtot4.234.30.45 01:57, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Appendix:Words that may be spelled with a ligature

Cleaned up from transwiki, if anyone is interested in this sort of thing, and knows more about the subject than I (and can therefore correct any glaring errors or omissions). Cheers! bd2412 T 11:03, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Maybe that should be changed into an Appendix:English ligatures, with there being a Category:English words with ligatures (to be applied only to the with-ligature versions, and only to lemmata)? —RuakhTALK 21:06, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
There is a Category:English words spelled with diacritics or ligatures (which I have proposed to divide into two categories according to those types). I think the idea of the lengthy title (cut down a bit from the Transwiki title, "List of words that may be spelled with a ligature") is that these are words that can be spelled this way, but are not required to be spelled this way. Of course, the same could be said in the intro as well. bd2412 T 19:19, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
But that doesn't really change anything, as English doesn't have any words that must be spelled with ligatures. British folk happily respell æ and œ as ae and oe, and Americans happily respell both as e (or, in some cases, as ae and oe). —RuakhTALK 21:22, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
That is a good point. I suppose some errant visitor might nonetheless think that a particularly esoteric word requires a ligature, but that can be cleared up in the intro to the Appendix. Still, if the name is Appendix:English ligatures, I might think it was just a discussion of the ligatures themselves as opposed to an index of words that contain them, so maybe it should be Appendix:English words containing ligatures or Appendix English ligature words. bd2412 T 19:47, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, my thought was that it be converted to an appendix about the ligatures more generally, explaining what kinds of words can use them (with a number of examples), and so on, since if we have a Category:English words with ligatures, there doesn't seem to be much point to a straight-up list of them. (?) —RuakhTALK 03:22, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, I have to say, I do like what the appendix does with them. Also, we will ultimately expand this beyond English words, won't we? bd2412 T 03:44, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Other languages that borrow terms from other languages, where the characters aren't in thier alphabet? They'd each have their own appendix (if that phenomenon exists outside of English.) On another note, I think we do a disservice to our readers suggesting that any spelling using letters other then A-Z and a-z is English. Borrowings are borrowings, and should always be in italics, despite evidence of misuse. --Connel MacKenzie 15:59, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
I disagree with your last two sentences. Naïveté, encyclopædia, fœtus, façade, and coöperate are all English, and of them, only naïveté can one even be considered for loanword italics. Further, of those, only coöperate is an unusual spelling; the diacriticked or ligated versions are all common spellings (though encyclopædia and fœtus are both decidedly British). —RuakhTALK 16:34, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


I’m doing some cleanup on pwn. I have some trouble with the second comment: ‘pwn can also mean purely ownage- to beat someone or something on a game by a wide margin. Pwn is what they would say after the opponent is defeated’. I am doubting whether I should catalogue this as a noun, with synonym ownage, or as an Interjection, with the remark ‘exclamated when an opponent is defeated. And should ‘to beat someone on a game by a wide margin’ be a second definition point, or just on the same line with the first one? H. (talk) 16:38, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I’ve had a shot at it, but please compare with the history and comment. H. (talk) 16:43, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Those are clearly not distinct senses. --Connel MacKenzie 16:48, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
What do you mean by ‘those’? The two verb senses? Probably not. But if it is used as a synonym for ownage, then it is also something else than a verb. H. (talk) 12:29, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Preposition to use with originate

Hi everyone,

What is the correct preposition to use with originate? I thought it was 'from', but it seemed wrong when I wrote it. The page on originate doesn't have examples, either.

--MathiasRav 19:15, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I think originate from, while perhaps a bit redundant, is nonetheless perfectly correct. For places or times, it's also common to use a static preposition like in or at ("This originated in Kansas." "The rumor originated at the school."), and for groups or people or ideas, to use with ("This notion originated with the notion-originators."). —RuakhTALK 21:02, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
I think in and with are the commonest. But on a stylistic point, it's not a great choice at the best of times: much better, usually, just to say started, began or came from. Widsith 09:32, 6 March 2007 (UTC)


I'm looking for a word I've heard before meaning something like "sexy because of nonchalance". I think it's from French, and the closest I can remember is "soicant" or something like that, but I can't find it on Google or anything. Does that ring any bells? Thanks. -- Creidieki 21:10, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Insouciant doesn't necessarily imply sexiness, but other than that it seems to match your description; could it be the word you're thinking of? —RuakhTALK 21:23, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
I think it is! Thank you. -- Creidieki 21:29, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
There's also soignée, which has some of those connotations. Widsith 09:29, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Or if you were thinking of something neuf there is of course soixante-neuf. ;-) --Enginear 14:41, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

name after vs. name for

Would I be correct in saying that name after is more frequent in U.S. English and name for is more frequent in British English? bd2412 T 19:10, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't think so, certainly not enough to be noticed. I've never heard 'name for' here (Ireland) or when I lived in Australia. We always use 'name after'--Dmol 11:38, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
from England: always use 'name after' - and assumed that 'named for' was US. BUT I have just googled "named for" and "named after" for all pages and UK pages which to my surprise gives "named for" at 10% total and 23% in UK (or to put it the otherway "named after" is more common "world wide" at 90% v 76%), but "named for" always sounds wrong to me and i'm thoroughly ENglish. —Saltmarsh 11:33, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I would caution that "named after" can also simply indicate chronological order, i.e. Joe's son was named after he was born. Similar constructions may be possible with "named for", but much less likely, so the numbers may be a bit skewed in that direction. But yeah, I'd agree that "named after" is probably a lot more common, although I think "named for" has something of a more literary ring to it. Perhaps that's why I was thinking it was more common in the UK. bd2412 T 14:48, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the statistics surprise me too. I've never seen or heard named for used in London. --Enginear 19:01, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

I use them both when talking about things like names of trains or pubs, etc. I used "named after" almost exclusively if the name is the same, e.g. The Bees Wing Inn was named after the famous racehorse Bees Wing. but "named for" if they are different, e.g. The ship The Iron Lady was named for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Whether this usage is peculiar to me or generally used by British English speakers I don't know. Thryduulf 11:25, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Same here. —RuakhTALK 15:14, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
My understanding has always been that "named after" is UK, and "named for" is US. SemperBlotto
Well, to sum it up, everyone thinks that "named after" is more prevalent wherever they are, and "named for" is more prevalent somewhere else. Perhaps "named for" just has a foreign sound to everyone - I'll just note that "named after" appears to be more frequently used. bd2412 T 15:37, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

spanish writer

can anyone help me to translate this message into spanish. I just want to say thank you, babe, for the holiday,my nice suntan and everything else that you did, it was great,all my love natasha. P.S, I love you, (just incase you didnt already know that.)

(This has gone to Wiktionary:Translation requests.) Widsith 12:17, 8 March 2007 (UTC)


I made this edit to the definition of review, to note the distinction from the UK usage of revise, but it was reverted. Anyone have any opinion on whether the reversion was correct? --DrGaellon | Talk 03:30, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, the OED recognises review as a synonym as revise, but marks that sense as obsolete. Your example sentence made sense to me though, albeit in a more general sense of "look back over". I've expanded the verb section; have a look and see if you're satisfied; if not, see if you can find any citations to show that the specific sense of "revise" is still in use (perhaps only in the States?). Widsith 09:02, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
I've definitely heard this sense before (to be honest, I thought it was the primary sense of the word). Perhaps it is an Americanism. I'll see if I can't find some cites. Atelaes 09:45, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
That's definitely a major use of the term in the U.S.; and it has a noun use as well (e.g. "exam review"). —RuakhTALK 15:21, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

wanting to disregared a report made.

i have a question about if there are possibilities of a person being able to request or demand that a report filed can be discharged from or can be closed because you dont want to anymore.

Could you specify what you're requesting? I don't quite understand your question. Atelaes 04:11, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

What kind of report have you made or have you been asked/demanded to make? beadtot4.234.30.45 02:00, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


We all know the definition of the word trying, but when some one uses it, what do they really mean? Is it a way out if they don't succeed? For example, "I tried, but just coulcn't."


nationalism is which expresses the cultures ,traditions,customs adhered by some groups or communites. nationalism is very much related to national identity in political terms . nationalist actually formulated the ideologies in ordern to gain and retain hegemony

Word meaning 'Of animals'

Hi, this is a bit random, but i was wondering the other day if there was a word meaning 'of animals'. This has driven me insane for days and i can't find such a word - the nearest i could get is 'natural', which has no synonyms. Could anyone help? —This comment was unsigned.

zoological and animalic are the first two that come to mind (the second is rather archaic). Does that help? Atelaes 21:47, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
One of the senses of bestial is 'of beasts'. -- Beobach972 22:11, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I think the closest are the adjective animal, the prefix zoo-, and the adjective zoic, though the last of these is a bit rare. Zoologic and zoological exist, but the former is a bit rare, and both pertain more to the study of animals than to the animals themselves. Also faunal, faunistic, faunistical, and faunological, though these are all rather rare, and pertain more to the geographic distributions of animals (and to the study of said distributions) than to the animals themselves. Depending what you're going for, animate and bestial might also work. —RuakhTALK 22:20, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Irish tattoo...help!


How would I find Irish/Scottish Gaelic equivalent of this expression "Kick it".

Cheers, Irish Lassie

satanism Satanism

I don't' like this, not at all. The definition is simply telling the reader to find a better reference "... see wikipedia article." The second definition is a little blunt, my main concern, however, is the first. Randy6767 02:13, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

It's concise. Satanism = Satan + ism. bd2412 T 02:19, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
No, it's not. Have you read the article recently? I don't think the definition tells a reader much at all, that is unless he or she chooses to study the term on wikipedia, which should not be necessary, as the definition should tell the basic belief thereof. Randy6767 02:24, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Clarified it some - how about now? bd2412 T 02:29, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Good... But now I think I see a grammar error, I can't quite put my finger on it but it doesn't read well. Can you double check it? Randy6767 21:28, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and the second is fine now, very well done.*Applause* :-). Randy6767 21:31, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I clarified the Anton Levay definition a bit more, and I switched them around - I believe that Satanism as worship-of-Satan is probably the more widely understood, and certainly the older and more intuitive definition. bd2412 T 21:44, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
I added a usage note, and the second still doesn't read well. I'm not so sure about the order (maybe 56% sure your right) but I may want to find other opinions. Randy6767 21:53, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Shouldn't one or both of those senses be at Satanism instead? —RuakhTALK 21:59, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, names of religions are proper nouns. Fixed. bd2412 T 22:15, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
I've rewritten sense one (looked better as sense two I guess) and I added a bit more detail to sense two. Randy6767 20:59, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Undelete narf

Narf was deleted again despite clearly passing CFI. I posted this request on the deleter's (User:Andrew_massyn) talk page. After reviewing his contributions, however, his modus operandi appears to be to drop in every few weeks to delete and archive things with minimal review.

Actually, all sysops are supposed to periodically review the list of previous failures, and delete them with prejudice if re-entered without citations. --Connel MacKenzie 04:44, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • The deletion log.
  • The archive explanation is "a corruption of a corruption", which only applied to one sense, and without citing where it states that such justifies a deletion of a sense, much less an entire article, per RFVfailed when the term otherwise clearly passes WT:CFI.--Halliburton Shill 19:49, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
In fairness, Enginear raised a number of issues with the article that weren't resolved. And I don't think that any durably archived, independent cites were given for the Pinky sense. You may want to search for some more appropriate cites and work on the definition, as I don't know if any admins are going to be convinced to undelete the entry (and calling one of the admins sloppy and careless isn't the best start). I know I'm not. Sorry. Atelaes 20:49, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

I would be tempted to say "That's what we pay Andrew to do", except of course that, like the rest of us, he is a volunteer. I too have had a word I championed (tiddly-om-pom-pom) thrown out by him, but I would much rather have that happen from time to time, than do myself the "dishwashing" task of sorting out the RFV page once a month, which he has agreed to do. I am satisfied that Andrew reads the discussions, indeed sometimes researches further himself, and makes considered decisions which have majority support.
In this particular case (see the old RFV section at [1]) there were probably enough clear cites (four IMO) for the "corruption of a corruption" ("a narf" = "an 'arf" = "a half") to pass normal WT:CFI, but, pending some way of separating them out to avoid mirrors and forks adding countless google hits to "non-standard" words, such corruptions are only included if they are "common misspellings" (see WT:CFI#Misspellings, common misspellings and variant spellings). (I dislike this too, and hope that we find a way to include them sooner rather than later.) There were no cites supporting the other noun meaning (one used "narf-narf" and another used "narfer narf" in this sense, but none used "narf"). For the "non-corruption" Interjection meanings, you stated that two cites referred to one, and one to another, and there were none for the third, so there were insufficient cites for any of them to pass CFI.
So IMO none of the senses of narf met CFI, and Andrew was therefore right to delete it. You might also find some of my recent comments at the end of WT:RFV#beardo relevant. Had the cites been interspersed between the definitions, the above analysis would have been obvious. Don't take it personally. It's just that we have not seen any evidence that the word meets CFI, and some of us who live in London feel we have a better grasp of local usage than someone who describes cockney as "a heavy Brit accent". --Enginear 21:48, 21 March 2007 (UTC)


From 1995 to present, for the Pinky interjection sense, all of which I've already cited either in the RFV or in the entry:

Some citations I may or may not have added as I can't see the deleted entry:

Addendum, and feel free to add your own, including the "corruptions":

So, that last one looks like it might meet the "durably archived" requirement. But a quick glance at the rest suggests otherwise. --Connel MacKenzie 04:40, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

It seems the understanding of WT:CFI and "durably archived" references is lacking. See WT:CFI#Attestation, only 1 of which need apply, but for which narf clearly has 3 of 4:

  1. Clearly widespread use: see the bullets below.
  2. Usage in well-known work: already referenced above, an award-winning cartoon that ran 4 years and has DVDs available. Maybe you prefer books; you can read about it in the 66 Books that reference it.
  3. Refereed academic journal: no, but it does appear in a university new word database linked to below.
  4. Usage in permanently recorded media, conveying meaning: IMDB quote and youtube video links above already. Yes, they span the 4 years the cartoon ran, included in the cartoon theme song on every show and a special short dedicated to it (see the youtube links), and of course, the DVDs available at an Amazon near you finishes off the perm media requirement. Unless you prefer VHS, which is also available.

--Halliburton Shill 19:38, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Please take a moment to look at your "citations."
  1. Straight web hits from a search engine are meaningless (sometimes, but not often, suggestive.)
  2. Web pages are not citations. All the IMDB "hits" are not usable here.
  3. Mailing lists are not durably archived.
That leaves one usenet citation, that doesn't seem to support the definition given. --Connel MacKenzie 09:47, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
What definition are you talking about? Please take a moment to read and review citations, not just "look" and glance at them. There is a university word database citation. Was Rice University around before the Internet? Maybe you could educate us on that with a citation of your chosing. There is usage in a well-known fictional work that is durably archived on DVD, VHS, and books about it (available for your easy reference via Amazon and google books, both linked to). As a tiny reminder, IMDB and Apache software have both been around longer than any wiki. And if you followed the bonus "narf narf" and clicked groups, you'd find 2,130 usenet hits, going back as far as 1995 and including all dates in between. Above, long before this group of citations, I provided you with 9 individual usenet citations. What is the specific problem? Write it.--Halliburton Shill 17:39, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
It would help it you provided 3 specific citations supporting a particular sense, and formatted for entry into the page. That would help more than "here's a bunch of links; you go figure it out." The burden of documenting a word falls on the people who champion its inclusion, not on the people who reject its inclusion. --EncycloPetey 17:59, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
That doesn't seem to be holding dush and numerous wikiwords back. Since you were thoughful enough to provide a specific request, here's 3 plus 1, at least 2 of which already linked to that were not part of "a bunch":
  • 1995-1998: Pinky and the Brain theme, Pinky and the Brain
    They'll overthrow the Earth. They're Pinky, they're Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain - narf!
  • 1995: Pavlov's Mice, Pinky and the Brain
    Egad, Brain, I could watch you do that dance all day. (laugh) Narf!
  • 2005: Cameron Kaiser, Worlda/UX System Count, usenet: comp.unix.aux
    Surprisingly, I don't run Linux on my Macs. I much prefer BSD, but I don't want to start a Linux vs BSD war here because BSD would win. *narf narf narf*
  • 1995: Narf other, The Rice University Neologisms Database,
    "Brain where have you NARF been?" -Expleted by Pinky from “Pinky and the Brain, on Fri Sep 1, 1995. Funny word used to exemplify the stupidity of a character.

--Halliburton Shill 19:29, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. Unfortunately, we can't actually use all of those quotations, because we require three independent uses; three of your quotations are mutually dependent, all coming from Pinky and the Brain. (You might claim that your last quotation comes not from Pinky and the Brain, but from the Rice University Neologisms Database, but the problem with that is that we require uses, not mentions — see w:Use-mention distinction — and said database is clearly mentioning and defining the term, not using it.) Additionally, there's the (admittedly less serious) problem that none of your cites is clearly conveying any meaning so far as I can tell. It seems that Pinky uses the term as his personal catchphrase, and insofar as a viewer interprets that as indicating his stupidity, that inference seems to me to be based on other knowledge of the character. If Pinky's salient characteristic were empathy for other characters, and he said "narf" in a corresponding tone of voice, we'd take it to be a nonsense-word exemplifying a character's proclivity for empathy. And I really don't see what the Usenet cite is trying to say with its use of the word. (Maybe I'm just missing something — I did like that show when it was on, but don't remember it very well any more — but if so, I think you need to explain what.) —RuakhTALK 06:51, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, independent sources are very important. Wouldn't want to be marching off to war on a single, unverified source:--Halliburton Shill 18:16, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
  • 1996: alt.callahans, usenet
    >>Lovely term! I seem to recall "Narf! Narf!" as a phrase indicating
    >>laughter in some comic strip - if so, do you know which one?
    >Well, Pinky (of "Pinky and the Brain," which you may not be able to see in
    >the UK) often uses it to punctuate his sentences.
  • 2003: Slashdot, IBM's OS/2 Strategy for 2003
    ... the same old "Why do this, when Linux does blah blah blah and Windows does narf narf narf" arguments come up.
  • 2005: Donn Cortez, Man Burns Tonight →ISBN, p. 242
    "Like their wings had caught on fire from sheer velocity..." "--and we both scream NARF! at the end of the song, and at the same moment we see this little pink light ... And I say, hey, ritual magic doesn't have to be serious, and he says, good, 'cause we're a looong way from Serious...."

Ahhh, the joy of renarfing history through narfy eyes. Yet another 10-year sampling of narf usage:--Halliburton Shill 23:34, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

  • 1997, XREPORT: Story, usenet: aus.tv.x-files
    Robin: Poigt! That was Narfy $teve, do it again!
    $teve: Robin, never reproduce.
    Robin: Re-produce? I can't even Produce!
  • 2000, Farm Subsidies, usenet: rec.arts.sf.written
    Yeah ... that's kind of weird. It's weirder when you get all those Britishers on the groups narfing about how brilliant and far-sighted their high gas taxes are, and how foolish we Americans are to organize our society on the assumption that cheap auto transport will continue to be available.
  • 2000, I'm back... and I'm pissed off!, usenet: rec.games.computer.ultima.dragons
    Well, I'd say `You too.`, but things seem to be pretty cool at your end. So I'll say "NARFY FOOM!" instead, and leave it at that.  ;)
  • 2007, Walking to the Metaverse, Second Life Herald
    Of course there's the noir narf-narf sensibility indicated by a screensaver blown up from somebody's laptop on the wall that shows a scene from an old Herald story about bloodied, hacked-up snuffed out furry whores courtesy of W-hat.

"topspin "

On looking up the word "topspin" I saw a chart with "Comparative" and "Superlative". The sentence example that followed used the words-- crosser and then crossest. what they should reflect is "more cross" and 'most cross". Please revise.


Where is this chart? There is no entry for topspin. --EncycloPetey 15:15, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Precisely. He's referring to table of buttons for creating new entries on the special search page. But crosser and more cross are probably both correct. DAVilla 18:45, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

My linguistics prof said that a word of only one morpheme (no matter how many syllables) can be made comparative with the addition of -er, and superlative with the addition of -est. (e.g.cross, crosser, crossest or early, earlier, earliest) Words of more than one morpheme need the addition of "more/most" (e.g. more inbred, most inbred) Jane Elderfield

I think your linguistics prof must not have thought much about it; words with the morphemes -y and -ly often take -er and -est (cloudier, friendlier, etc.), and the morpheme un- doesn't generally affect the taking of -er and -est. Also, I don't think reverent and incommunicado have multiple morphemes (though I could be convinced otherwise), and neither reverenter nor incommunicadoer seems plausible to me. —RuakhTALK 16:39, 13 July 2007 (UTC)


We define a koan as a riddle, but the article on Koan in Wikipedia specifically states that "a koan is not a riddle or a puzzle." There is a lengthy foot note justifying the statement. I'm no student of Zen, and cannot make a good judgement on this point. Ben 01:12, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, we define it as a riddle with no solution, which is a little different. By the way, if any Zen master thinks cutting off my finger is the best way to teach, I'm afraid I'd have to enlighten him. What an asshole, and he gets away with it because it's "religious"? What self-delusional nonsense! DAVilla 18:57, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

each other

each other is a pronoun, right? --Keene 23:17, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes. --EncycloPetey 00:52, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Category:Pig Latin

Why is there an entire category for pig latin? Did I miss something? Randy6767 00:42, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

It's apparently for words that enter English from Pig Latin; this strikes me as quite reasonable, especially if we're expecting more Porculatinisms to meet CFI for English. Why, is there a problem? —RuakhTALK 01:30, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I can understand adding pig latin words that are commonly used in english language (ie. ixnay, uckfay, etc) but any word of any language can be made into pig latin. But even if we only add commonly used pig latin words its seems that they don't need their own category, surely there is a more broad category the pig latin words will fit into. Randy6767 00:02, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Very interesting idea you have put in my head, by saying "any word of any language can be made into pig latin" :-) If it's really possible, it would take some non-obvious clarification. For example Japanese has the "tsu" sound, and has many words starting therewith, but lacks the "tsay" sound. So I'm not sure how that would be handled. This is very fascinating, thank you!!! :D Language Lover 00:34, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I can't imagine any additional words coming in that way. Pig Latin itself is not very popular anymore. bd2412 T 00:19, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It's still possible, though. Anyway, the category is still awesome, because people can look at, say, amscray, and then from there be lead to seeing the other entries.  :-) I'm sure this category will light up many readers' days!!! :D Language Lover 00:34, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, but there only three words, pig latin isn't very popular. I hardly see the point in this category.Randy6767 01:18, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

agree a sense

I think that there is another sense of agree beyond the ones listed in the entry. See, for example, this BBC article: A timetable for elections to find a new leader when Tony Blair quits is expected to be agreed next week by Labour's National Executive Committee; or this one: Czech parties agree a coalition. How should this sense be defined -- similar to agree to? -- Beobach972 18:53, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Incidently, the definitions for agree to and agree with (which currently reside at agree) should be moved to those pages, right? -- Beobach972 18:53, 27 March 2007 (UTC)


I was wondering whether the Etymology 1 pronunciation of stingy might be /ˈstɪngɪ/ rather than /ˈstɪŋɪ/. Gaston 23:03, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

I'd say it with a velar nasal /ŋ/, and that's how Random House and the OED give it, but I wouldn't find it terribly odd to hear it with a velar nasal plus voiced velar plosive /ŋ.g/, either. Coronal nasal plus voiced velar plosive /ng/ seems impossible, though; as far as I'm aware English always pronounces <n> as a velar nasal /ŋ/ before velar plosives /k/ and /g/, except perhaps across major lexemic boundaries as in chain-gang. (That said, the dictionary.com dictionaries do give versions of syncope with each nasal, so perhaps there are American dialects where that's not the case?) —RuakhTALK 02:59, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Do you mean /ˈstɪnʤɪ/ (or actually /ˈstɪnʤi/)? That's the way I pronounce it. Oh, etymology 1. Well, for sting + -y do you say /ɪngi/ as in "sin Giza" or /ɪŋi/ as in "sing Iza"? DAVilla 10:01, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
"sing Iza", or like sing or fling or ring with a y at the end pronounced like you would bee.--Halliburton Shill 18:12, 28 March 2007 (UTC)


I am asking for help. The ethymology of 'normal' given here as well as in other dictionaries refers this adjective to Latin. Does this mean that there were 2 different borrowings in English - 'norm' and 'normal'? Would that be right to assume that there was no derivation in English from 'norm' to 'normal' (by adding suffix '-al' to the N root)? thank you, NS

Retrieved from "http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Information_desk"

Etymonline shows that norm comes from Latin norma and that normal comes from Latin normalis. When it gives the date 1650 for normal [2] says it meant "being at a right angle." Norm came in 1821 meaning "model" or "standard" via French. So there must have been two borrowings. Is this helpful? Tim w. 02:48, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

aspirational / inspirational

I heard a reference to an aspirational quotation on the radio, seemingly in contrast to an inspirational quotation. I'm not sure what to make of the term aspirational (that which makes us aspire as compared to that which inspires us?) and I'm not sure this sense is in our definition. Was it used correctly? Do we have it in our entry? RJFJR 01:49, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Something aspirational is something we aspire to, i.e. a goal. "I want to be a doctor" is an aspirational quote. "You can acheive anything you set your mind to" is an inspirational quote. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." is both. bd2412 T 02:20, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

thank you very much. NS

Defining the context

Is it correct to use the context of {{baseball}} on ballpark? I would think the meaning of a ballpark as a place where baseball is played could be easily understood outside of the discussion of any sport whatsoever. That is, "ballpark" is generally understood in English, and this meaning is not restricted to people who have specific knowledge of the game. Similarly, I recently removed {{medicine}} from shape: condition of personal health. DAVilla 17:23, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm torn. The (baseball) seems silly, but it doesn't make sense to exclude ballpark from Category:Baseball. I guess the ideal would be to manually include Category:Baseball rather than transclude the template? —RuakhTALK 23:51, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Include (ballpark); there are many different ballgames that might be played in such a setting, but the term only applies to baseball as far as I know. --EncycloPetey 07:57, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with EP. I don't know of any English sporting usage of ballpark (except as a humerous reference to a cricketer's box), and OED2's only sport-related definition is A baseball stadium. --Enginear 15:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
What do you mean by 'Include (ballpark)'? The literal definition now have the following context tag: (sports, baseball). __meco 08:53, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Meaning of Alres in English place name

I am trying to find a plausible meaning for Alres as in Alresford in Essex. To date I have had suggestions that it is a contraction/old form of alders (the trees), is from ael (Norse for eel?) or alr (an awl in several European languages). I don't find any of these terribly convincing.

Alresford is on a tidal creek and has a long history of navigation. Alres could come from a huge range of possibilities and Alresford was substantially in its present form in the 14th century. Could it have a Norse origin? Any other suggestions?

According to Ekwall's Concise Oxford Dictionary of Place Names, Alresford originated as a place meaning either "Æegel's ford" or "alder ford". There is a recently published series on English place names that might have more recent scholarly information, but otherwise Ekwall is the premeire authority for such matters. It seems the etymological origin is uncertain. --EncycloPetey 07:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
'*Aegel's ford'. / OE pers.n., OE ford - according to A Key to English Place Names SemperBlotto 09:12, 31 March 2007 (UTC)