Wiktionary:Tea room/2007/May

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



Colourful is defined as an "alternative spelling" of colorful. I don't agree with this, as "colourful" can be used in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Africa and perhaps in other countries too. I think the definition should be on "colourful" as well as "colorful". Is this "alternative spelling" a policy? Pistachio 03:35, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

The relevant policy is a work in progress; see Wiktionary:Alternative spellings. That said, I think (?) that most editors feel that in a given set of alternative spellings, full definitions/translations/etc. should appear at only one, since otherwise it's a lot of work keeping all the pages identical. —RuakhTALK 04:58, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
No, that's not the policy at all. Any contributor can completey fill out the page if he or she feels that it needs to be distinguished. And it would not be appropriate to go in the other direction unless they truly are out of sync. DAVilla 11:45, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
What do you mean by "distinguished"? —RuakhTALK 15:11, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
I believe she means "If the particular spelling has significant use or merit." See color / colour for one example where the full set of translations exists on both pages. Those pages are a bit experimental, but they demonstrate one proposed solution. We normally would want all the translations and information on a single page, particularly when a word has inflected forms (in which case we select a lemma form). However, this is not so easy to do when there are significant spelling diferences according to major geographic regions. If we perefer either color or colour as the "standard", then we introduce POV, which we try to avoid on WikiMedia projects. Thus far, community policy is not settled, which is why Wiktionary:Alternative spellings is still a draft and not policy. --EncycloPetey 16:08, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the help. I have been looking into it, and I think India also uses "colourful", which is a significant amount of people. Perhaps I just feel the wording is a bit misleading, as defining "colourful" as an alternative form of "colorful" implies "colorful" is standard and "colourful" is not (especially since "colorful" is not described as an alternative spelling of "colourful"). Pistachio 00:00, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I have synchronised the entries — and, in the process, found an instance of the word blob in an 1800s publication. — Beobach972 03:17, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Chinese wikipedia came up with an interesting solution which I think is worthy of consideration. Like English, Chinese Mandarin (the language of Chinese wikipedia) is prone to regional variation. For example, there are two different words for computer in Mandarin. One of the words is more commonly used in the PRC; the other word is more common in Taiwan. They came up with some kind of template and tab combination to address the problem. If you click on the Taiwan tab, you see one word; if you click on the PRC tab, you see the other word (see: zh:w:電子計算機, click on the edit tab. The word for edit looks like: 编辑本页). Here is an example of the syntax:
-{zh:電腦; zh-cn:电子计算机(俗称“电脑”,以下简称计算机); zh-tw:電腦; zh-hk:電腦}-
This could be adapted to English wiktionary such that we could set our pages for "en-us" and "en-uk" etc (maybe as a "preferences" setting). Then you would put something like:
  1. One of the three primary -{en-us:colors; en-uk:colours}-, the other two being red and yellow.
If your preferences are set to en-us, you see colors; if set to en-uk, you see colours. I think this could be a great technical solution to our color/colour issue. The only remaining problem is if the word is the title of the entry, in which case you would have to make sure both spellings get sent to the same page, but you see the spelling that is set in your preferences or whatever. Maybe one of the programmers will read this, and take a crack at it :) -- A-cai 11:35, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Angry, Hungry, ___?

Several years ago, I read that there are only three words in the English language that end in -gry. Two of them are angry and hungry. The information was conveyed in the form of a riddle, and the challenge was to find the third example. However, I never did, and it's bugged me all these years. Can anybody help?

This is an urban legend that has arisen from the mistelling of a riddle. I can find full details in a little book on word play that I have at home, if you like, but the short answer is that there is no such third word. --EncycloPetey 16:11, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Take a look at Word Detective explanation of the riddle. --Dijan 16:15, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
OED has aggry, higry pigry, iggry, nangry, podagry and even unangry SemperBlotto 16:46, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
The canonical answer to this is "nugry n. a person who asks what the third word is besides angry and hungry that ends in -gry" ;) Cynewulf 17:13, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Since Wikipedia has a nice article about this riddle, here's the link to it. __meco 06:44, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, in reading that article I must come to the conclusion that people aren't very bright, at all. A puzzle of this kind shall make immediate sense when the solution is revealed, and it is embarassingly obvious that a truckload of Wikipedia editors aren't able to pick out the only one which does in fact make any sense, if one should assume that the riddle in its unpolluted state is in fact ingenious, and not banal. __meco 07:02, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Turn up for the book

A bit of advice please. While editing the verb turn up I considered the noun (apart from trouser turnup) in the phrase "That's a turn up for the book". But:- 1) I can't find any other noun use for "turn up". Any suggestions? 2) Is Wikt the place for an idiomatic phrase like this, which I furthermore believe to be UK use only anyway? Algrif 17:31, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

I too have only heard turn up used as a noun in the expression "That's a turn up for the book(s)." The complete expression would therefore be an appropriate entry as an Idiom. And yes, Wiktionary is the appropriate place for explaning idiomatic expressions. --EncycloPetey 21:44, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
It's usually hyphenated as turn-up. The phrase comes from betting on cards and what the ‘turn-up’ will be (ie which card will be turned up). But it can also be used for anything that's turned-up – you hear people talk about turn-ups on trousers for example. Or at least I do.. Widsith 06:59, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Does that translate to en-us as "pant cuffs"? Or is something else (less obvious) being turned up? --Connel MacKenzie 05:41, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Could you possibly add that 'card turn up' definition to turn up as a noun with an 'also see' link to turn up for the book which I will enter now? Thx in advance. Algrif 11:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

How do I disable the plural form in turn up for the book? Thx Algrif 12:34, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I changed your use of the template to show no plural. But why can't you have more than one "turn ups for the book"? SemperBlotto 12:41, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Hi Thanks. I see you changed it. Plural form? Can't find any examples is why. Furthermore, 'Turn up for the books' means the same thing.Algrif 12:45, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I have in fact found 5 examples for 'turn ups for the book'. All of them are from sporting reports (a journalistic field noted for producing many examples which are not usually found in 'normal usage' !!) But this does seem to indicate that the phrase should not be categorised as 'uncountable noun' either. What's the solution please? Algrif 15:25, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I've added a usage note about the plural, plus some alternative spellings and a quotation. What do you think? -- Beobach972 14:37, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Hi. Looks good to me. I like the quote. Thanks. Algrif 16:45, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

syphilis, الزهرى

الزهرى — I pulled this word from the translations section of syphilis, and I assume it to be the correct Arabic translation for syphilis. (If it isn't, please correct the entry!) Can a fluent speaker of Arabic please provide (a) a transliteration (rough or exact) of the word and (b) any other Arabic terms used to refer to this disease, and their literal meanings (eg, German has Syphilis, but also französische Pocken, which literally means French pox)? — Beobach972 22:33, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

PS- Does this belong here or at Wiktionary:Translation requests? I figured here, since it is a request about a specific word, albeit an Arabic one, and its synonyms. -- Beobach972 14:24, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Not a fluent speaker, but still: az-zúhari. A more common form in spoken Arabic (at least in Israel) is az-záhri. There are regional differences in the exact pronunciation. In Israeli-Palestinian Arabic both a's should be pronounced like the "a" in "man", not like the "a" in "father". Shai 14:32, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
You don’t need the definite article unless it’s used with the word for disease...just Template:ARchar (zúhari) is enough. Arabic also calls it Template:ARchar (máraɖ firánji) (European disease). —Stephen 16:02, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Chagrin as a verb

While looking at chagrin I see it noted as a verb. But the only verbal use I know of involves to be Example: I was chagrined to find that I had not brought enough money with me to buy it.. So to chagrin is not exactly common use. How should these kind of verb forms be entered, please? As usual, thanx in advance for your excellent, educative, and speedy replies. Algrif 20:13, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

It does exist in other parts of speech. But if you're worried about it, you could add a =Usage note= saying that the word is ‘rare except in the passive’, or words to that effect. Widsith 07:48, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

OK Will-do. Thanks. Algrif 09:11, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

History: I find "memoir' missing as a category of historical endeavor. Am I wrong? Is The Education of Henry Adams autobiography, or is it memoir, or does the question propose a distinction without a difference? I'm interested in the thinking of practicing historians.


Is this really pluralia tantum? I can say "My preferences are for chocolate milkshake" or, equally, "My preference is for chocolate milkshake".

Likewise for the computing sense, although there is more of a case for it being pluralia tantum here if this refers to the options considered collectively ("Go to Preferences and change the setting to zero") rather than individually ("He set the third of the program's preferences to zero", or, "He set preference number three of the program to zero"). — Paul G 09:24, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

If "my preferences are for chocolate milkshake" exists, then I'd say that's definitely a plurale tantum. Other such pluralia tantum include waters (=water) and methamphetamines (=methamphetamine). The point is that the word is inherently plural in that use; there's no way to singularize it, because it's already semantically singular but syntactically plural. (That's unless I'm missing something, which I might well be; that's not how I'd say it, and maybe I'm misunderstanding exactly what it's saying.) —RuakhTALK 16:01, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
No, it's not plurale tantum. I can state my preference just as easily as state my preferences. There is no sense I can think of in which the word must be plural and cannot be rephrased for the singular. --EncycloPetey 22:05, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
So you really think that chocolate constitutes more than one preference with regard to milkshakes? DAVilla 22:56, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't follow you. I think chocolate is a single preference. Chocolate, tall, and ice-cold would be preferences. --EncycloPetey 03:19, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
If people are using preferences in reference to a single preference (such as for chocolate as a milkshake flavor), it's presumably because for them, preferences is a plurale tantum in one or more of its senses. (The standard definition of "plurale tantum" as a plural noun with absolutely no singular counterpart is a bit misleading in that every English plural in -s has a singular form, if only in attributive uses such as "pant leg", "scissor kick", etc., but some are nonetheless pluralia tantum. A more accurate definition would be something like, "an uncountable noun that is syntactically plural". If someone's using preferences in reference to a single preference, it's presumably not because preferences is syntactically singular for them, but because it's a syntactically-plural uncountable noun for them in one or more of its senses.) —RuakhTALK 04:42, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
The computing sense is definitely a plurale tantum. I don't know why you've commented it otherwise. If you need to change just one option, an instruction manual will advise you to adjust "your preferences", not "your preference". DAVilla 22:28, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
But that's because it's using the nonspe at that specific spelling. I've been able to find three, exactly three in fact, cific plural (for lack of a better term). There is no logical reason why you couldn't adjust your preference for a particular setting. A manual might tell you to adjust the settings, or to adjust the setting depending on whether it was talking about a particular item or items in general. Just because the plural form shows up more frequently doesn't mean that the singular isn't an option. What's happening is a grammatical feature of using the plural when number isn't known or isn't specified. --EncycloPetey 03:19, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
You're right that it's not a question of frequency, at least not outright. My claim is—was, rather—that "preference" in the singular never appears with this meaning. That is to say, you can "adjust your preference (your selection) for a particular setting", which is not the computing sense, and you can "adjust a setting" or "the settings" collectively, but you cannot "adjust the setting for a particular preference". Oddly enough, the way we've set the system up, the burden of proof is on you to show otherwise, to show that the computing meaning exists for preference at that precise spelling. I've been able to find three, infact exactly three, durably archived examples of this, which would make it "illiterate" in comparison to the simply non-standard scissor and pant, whose more common inflections are universally considered pluralia tantum. I propose that a term is not pluarle tantum unless its singular is generally accepted in the language, but we have no objective criteria yet as to the latter. DAVilla 14:34, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Incidentally, could someone add examples of use at preference? I can't twist my mind around a couple of those. DAVilla 15:25, 4 May 2007 (UTC)


This entry's etymology makes it look like the word was constructed in English from two French words. It seems more likely to me that the word was first constructed in French, that single composed word then being borrowed into English. Cany anybody confirm or deny? — Hippietrail 20:23, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, the word as a whole existed first in French. Widsith 07:38, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Probably, but this is not obvious. The French word is demi-tasse (sometimes demi tasse, but never demitasse), and this word simply means 'half a cup'. The English meaning is different. Lmaltier 07:51, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Wow, good point. I have never noticed that. Although fr.google seems to show it is sometimes used as one word. Widsith 07:54, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I found a few examples in French, but they were written by anglophones... demi-tasse is a French word, not demitasse (do not try to use it in France with its English meaning, you'll be misunderstood). Lmaltier 12:30, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Corrected entry accordingly; now the French entry needs some work. Continuing discussion at RFV. — Paul G 15:34, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

crusher, cutter

In the Chuck Palahniuk novel Survivor it is stated that crusher refers to the larger of a lobster's claws which has molar-like cerrations, while cutter refers to the smaller of a lobster's claws which has incisor-like cerrations. — Hippietrail Hippietrail 21:13, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

jumbo, chicken, cull

In the Chuck Palahniuk novel Survivor it is stated that a jumbo is a large lobster, a chicken is a small lobster, and a cull is a lobster with one claw missing. — Hippietrail 20:58, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Translations for pink

Hello, I was putting in the Kurdish translation for the word pink and noticed the noun and adjective both have the same tranlation: under noun, it is listed as "pale red color". Under adjective, it is listed as "colored/ coloured between red and white". Aren't they both the same? If not, someone should change the description to make the distinction clear.Gbeebani 06:20, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

The difference is that one is a noun (substantive) while the other is an adjective (descriptor). When you say "Pink is my favorite color." you are using the noun definition. When you say "The pink rose is larger than the red one." you are using the adjective definition, --EncycloPetey 03:39, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Alternatively, perhaps what Gbeebani is asking is ‘why isn't the adjective sense "coloured a pale red"?’ (or, ‘why isn't the noun sense "a colour between red and white"?’). Ie, why don't the two definitions match in terms of what colour range they specify? — Beobach972 05:24, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

washing bear

Is washing bear (raccoon) an obsolete or archaic term? --Keene 10:45, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

b.g.c. finds few hits. Those that are relevant are explaining either the German word for raccoon, or Carolus Linnaeus's original binomial-nomenclature term for it (which I assume was a calque from Swedish), except for one Henrik Ibsen translation that's presumably just a poor translation from Swedish.
So, it should probably be RFV'd, and once we have decent cites, we can figure out what label it warrants.
RuakhTALK 15:14, 7 May 2007 (UTC)


The definition number 3 "Within a larger educational institution, an organizational unit, such as a department or institute, which is dedicated to a specific subject area." doesn't match to the translation "a department/institute at a college or university", but I didn't want to delete all those translations for University, what should I do? Thanks.Pistachio 08:54, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

You can change the gloss to "organizational unit of a larger educational intitution" and, if you feel it is necessary, mark all the translations with {{ttbc}} under a Translations to be checked heading. DAVilla 11:49, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

flight attendant

Wiktionary currently defines flight attendant as follows:
flight attendant (plural flight attendants)
  1. (politicaly correct) A gender-neutral member of the airline staff concerned with the comfort of the passengers.
Wiktionary defines politically correct as follows:
politically correct
  1. A term generally used to mock the idea that language that avoids offense can encourage, promote, or establish certain beneficial social outcomes and relationships. This mocking usage often targets certain forms of identity politics, including those based on race, gender, religion, ideology or any other social grouping such as disability.
Wiktionary's current definition of politically correct (see above) does not seem appropriate for the term flight attendant. If anything, flight attendant strikes me as a purely neutral term. Put another way, labelling anything as politically incorrect is potentially problematic, because it requires a subjective judgement of the term (in other words POV, which is counter to wiki philosophy). On the other hand, politically correct may have a broader meaning than what is stated in the Wiktionary entry. In either case, one (or both) of the entries should be adjusted. -- A-cai 11:19, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Flight attendant should be changed. There is no need for the PC comment and it is badly defined anyway. If I ever meet a gender-neutral member of the airline staff I'll let you know what it looks like. The NAME is gender-neutral, not the person.--Dmol 12:22, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

I've rewritten it to:
flight attendant (plural flight attendants)
  1. A member of the crew (staff) of an airplane who is concerned with the comfort and safety of its passengers.
and added a usage note explaining that it's less common than stewardess, but often preferred because it's gender-neutral (though gender-neutral steward also exists).
Is that good?
RuakhTALK 15:05, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Maybe ‘with responsibility for’ rather than ‘who is concerned with’...Widsith 15:42, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Be bold! :-) —RuakhTALK 15:54, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

That is much better now. BTW, it was only when I saw the 'see also' with air hostess that I could remember what we used to call them when I was a kid.--Dmol 16:30, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm glad to have been of help. :-) —RuakhTALK 02:37, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

At the other end of the scale, there are various slang terms of varying degrees of disrespectfulness... I've added those that I'm familiar with. — Paul G 15:29, 17 May 2007 (UTC)


Alright, it seems User:Connel MacKenzie is unhappy with my recent edit to the definition of Aryan (from ‘a term used to refer to neo-Nazis’ to ‘a term used by neo-Nazis to refer to Whites’) and has reverted it. I understand that this word is a politically-charged word. It still sees use in the sense of ‘old Indo-European’ and in reference to India, but in the sense of ‘Caucasian’/‘White’, it's only used by neo-Nazis anymore. It's generally fallen out of use after Hitler 'tainted' it. However, that's exactly the point — it's only used by neo-Nazis anymore. All of those neo-Nazis may wish that the ‘Aryan race’ of which they speak shared their political views, but an Aryan is an Aryan and an African is an African regardless of political persuasion. The consensus reached on the entry talk page was that no-one can find evidence that it is actually used to mean ‘a neo-Nazi’, only plenty of examples of its use by neo-Nazis to refer to the White race or the White community, etc... all of the quotations provided demonstrate its use by neo-Nazi authors, or by authors who let themselves use neo-Nazi terminology in discussing subjects neo-Nazism traditionally discusses, to refer to the ‘White race’.

Now, It seems quite unethical to launch what would in effect be a straw poll on how we ought to define this word — after all, we're supposed to define words based on how they're used, not on any political grounds or our own views, etc — but I can't think of what else to do, since we're obviously looking at the same quotations and coming to very different conclusions. So, let's do that... would other editors please share their (supported, please) views in on what this word means? — Beobach972 21:33, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Take, for example, this quotation, which accompanies the definition ‘white supremacist’ :
  • "One transmission advantage may have been that espousing Aryan-supremacist and overtly Nazi ideology could have been a roundabout way of announcing, ... " — Aaron Lynch, in Robert J. Sternberg, James C. Kaufman, The Evolution of Intelligence, 2001.
Anybody who asserts that this is an example of ‘Aryan’ meaning ‘white supremacist’ is torturing themselves — quite humourously, in my opinion — to avoid the obvious meaning. Aryan-supremacist = White-supremacist, Aryan = White. To anybody who says Aryan = White-supremacist, I must ask: what on Earth is a ‘White-supremacist-supremacist? A person who thinks that White-Supremacists are Supreme? — Beobach972 23:43, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Take, for another example, this quotation, which similarly accompanies the definition ‘white supremacist’ :
  • "The point is not that southern Republicans are edging toward Aryan-supremacist views but that the rhetoric of their campaigns and some of their political ... " — David R. Goldfield, Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South and Southern History, 2002.
I must ask the question again: what on Earth is a ‘White-supremacist-supremacist? A person who thinks that White-Supremacists are Supreme? — Beobach972 01:08, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

w:Aryan#Racial connotations

Wikipedia devotes an entire section of the entry w:Aryan to the term's racial (and racist) connotations:
(posted by Beobach972 21:58, 8 May 2007 (UTC))

Because of ethnolinguistic arguments about connections between peoples and cultural values, "Aryan" peoples were often considered to be distinct from Semitic peoples. By the end of the nineteenth century this usage was so common that "Aryan" was often used as a synonym for "gentile", and this popular usage persisted even after academic authors had ceased to use the term in any other meaning than "Indo-Iranian". Among White supremacists the term still sometimes functions as a synonym for non-Jewish "white person."

The Aryan race was a term used in the early 20th century by European racial theorists who believed strongly in the division of humanity into biologically distinct races with differing characteristics. Such writers believed that the Proto-Indo-Europeans constituted a specific race that had expanded across Europe, Iran and India. This meaning was, and still is, common in theories of racial superiority which were embraced by Nazi Germany. This usage tends to merge the Sanskrit meaning of "noble" or "elevated" with the idea of distinctive behavioral and ancestral ethnicity marked by language distribution. In this interpretation, the Aryan Race is both the highest representative of mankind and the purest descendent of the Proto-Indo-European population.

From the late 19th century, a number of writers had argued that the Proto-Indo-Europeans had originated in Europe. Their opinion was received critically at first, but was widely accepted by the end of the nineteenth century. By 1905 Hermann Hirt in his Die Indogermanen (incidentally consistently using Indogermanen, not Arier to refer to the Indo-Europeans) claimed that the scales had tilted in favour of the hypothesis, in particular claiming the plains of northern Germany as the Urheimat (p. 197) and connecting the "blond type" (p. 192) with the core population of the early, "pure" Indo-Europeans. This argument developed in tandem with Nordicism, the theory that the "Nordic race" of fair-haired north Europeans were innately superior to other peoples. The identification of the Proto-Indo-Europeans with the north German Corded Ware culture bolstered this position. This was first proposed by Gustaf Kossinna in 1902, and gained in currency over the following two decades, until V. Gordon Childe who in his 1926 The Aryans: a study of Indo-European origins concluded that "the Nordics' superiority in physique fitted them to be the vehicles of a superior language" (a belief which he later regretted having expressed).

The idea became a matter of national pride in learned circles of Germany, and was taken up by the Nazis. According to Alfred Rosenberg's ideology the "Aryan-Nordic" (arisch-nordisch) or "Nordic-Atlantean" (nordisch-atlantisch) race was thus a master race, at the top of a racial hierarchy, pitted against a "Jewish-Semitic" (jüdisch-semitisch) race, deemed to be a racial threat to Germany's homogeneous Aryan civilization, thus rationalizing Nazi anti-Semitism. Nazism portrayed their interpretation of an "Aryan race" as the only race capable of, or with an interest in, creating and maintaining culture and civilizations, while other races are merely capable of conversion, or destruction of culture. These arguments derived from late nineteenth century racial hierarchies. Some Nazis were also influenced by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine (1888) where she postulates "Aryans" as the fifth of her "Root Races", dating them to about a million years ago, tracing them to Atlantis, an idea also repeated by Rosenberg, and held as doctrine by the Thule Society. Such theories were used to justify the introduction of the so-called "Aryan laws" by the Nazis, depriving "non-Aryans" of citizenship and employment rights, and prohibiting marriage between Aryans and non-Aryans. Though Mussolini's fascism was not originally characterised by explicit anti-Semitism, he too eventually introduced laws pressed upon him by Hitler, prohibiting mixed-race marriages between "Aryans" and Jews.

Nazi use of the term "Aryan" was wildly inconsistent with the claimed meaning. Roma, of Indian descent and language, were classified non-Aryan, while the Japanese were made honorary Aryans during World War II. In effect, "non-Aryan" ended up very nearly meaning, "insufficiently nationalistic".

Because of historical racist use of Aryan, and especially use of Aryan race in connection with the propaganda of Nazism, the word is sometimes avoided in the West as being tainted, in the same manner as the swastika symbol. In the English language, the word "Aryan" is no longer in technical use to refer to an ethnic group or race, and the popular use of the term to mean "white person" fell out of favour during the 1930s when the obvious obsession of the Nazis with the word became a matter of ridicule in Britain and North America. In the USA, the established and less contentious term "Caucasian" became dominant in official usage. Currently, India and Iran are the only countries to use the word Aryan in a demographic denomination. This usage, however, carries no racist connotations. Aryan is also a common male name in India, Afghanistan, and Iran.

The word Aryan is still used to refer to race within white power and white nationalist circles.

So, the closest you'll get to arguing that ‘Aryan’ means ‘neo-Nazi’ is that Hitler made the Japanese ‘honourary Aryans’ (but the problem with that arguement is that they weren't Nazis) and the statement that ‘In effect, "non-Aryan" ended up very nearly meaning, "insufficiently nationalistic"’. By extension, then, you might argue that ‘Aryan’ must have meant 'sufficiently nationalistic’. Again a problem arises: ‘sufficiently nationalistic’ isn't the same as ‘Nazi’. (Additionally, of course, the racial-political propaganda of the German Nazi party in the years 1936-1945 strikes me as usage in a very specific, narrow field, on which which WT:CFI seems to discourage basing definitions, even if examples of such a usage could be found.)Beobach972 21:58, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you: outside of technical jargon, the term Aryan is today used primarily by white supremacists, and always in reference to non-Semitic white Caucasians or a subset thereof, or to supposed ideal features of such a subset (blond hair, blue eyes, etc.); I've never heard it used to refer to white supremacists, and if I did hear it used thus, I'd take it to be an error (perhaps resulting from confusing over the name of the "Aryan Nations"). —RuakhTALK 08:29, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I followed this discussion with bewilderment on the Talkpage, but never had the energy to get involved; in short though, I totally agree with Beobach. Widsith 09:14, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, but in GenAm, that is absurd. No, that term is not used pejoratively only by white supremacists. And no, your interpretation of "Nazi" has almost nothing to do with the GenAm pejorative term "Nazi". The psychotic removal of the citations after all that discussion can only be viewed as a bad-faith edit. Why are your trying to suggest that such an enormously charged term is not pejorative? The only use of the term that has fallen completely into disuse is the technical definition (perhaps still in use in Europe.) --Connel MacKenzie 14:01, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
And yes, the wild inaccuracies on Wikipedia were considered. While perhaps true only in classroom contexts or Europe, they have nothing to do with how the word is used today. --Connel MacKenzie 14:05, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
So cite it. Widsith 14:32, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I fully understand your comment, Connel, but here goes...
I agree with you that the term — and I assume we're discussing the ‘white’ vs ‘white supremacist’ sense, although my comment applies to all the senses, too — is not used only by white-supremacists. I'm not aware of Kathleen M. Blee, for example, being a white-supremacist (she could be, though, for all I know), yet she uses the white-supremacists' terminology in her discussion of their politics, as that is common practise to introduce readers to said terminology. Then, there is no doubt that its usage by neo-Nazis renders it 'pejorative' in the sense that non-Nazi Caucasians might be offended to be called an Aryan, just as a black American might be offended to be called a nigger by a white, because both terms strongly imply that the speaker is racist. Nobody, as far as I can tell, is thus disputing that the term has pejorative connotations to hearers outside of the neo-Nazi community. — Beobach972 15:32, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
PS- To anybody who thinks that this term means ‘white supremacist’, I say: Wikipedia definitely needs to know that — their article is currently lacking; if it is real, please add that sense to the Wikipedia article. — Beobach972 15:32, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Connel, what removal of citations do you assert was a bad-faith edit – the removal of the two citations that (it was claimed by the entry) referred to ‘white-supremacist-supremacists’? Citations and quotations are supposed to verify and illustrate the usage they are placed by, yet those — because they illustrate and verify the meaning ‘white’, yet were placed by the definition ‘white-supremacist’ — clearly neither verified nor illustrated the sense; in fact, they were incorrect and confusing. — Beobach972 15:32, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry Connel, but I'm with Beobach972 on this one. I've never heard Aryan refer to a white supremacist. I think that Aryan is pejorative, but only indirectly. It is pejorative in that anyone who is not "Aryan" is considered inferior in white supremacist thinking. And it's even further charged because the thinking it represents was largely responsible for the Holocaust. However, I would argue that the word itself is intended as, if anything, a compliment, an approval of whomever it is applied to. And even if I am incorrect, I think that the quotes that were used to cite the "white supremacist" sense were confusing (and more importantly, did not really cite that sense) and so were best removed. Perhaps the term is, in fact, used to mean "white supremacist", but if it is, we need some better quotes to illustrate this sense. Atelaes 18:16, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Complementary? On what planet? --Connel MacKenzie 04:33, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

OK, you Nazi-loving fuckheads, if you'd like to remove the citations, then go ahead and find "better" replacement citations before doing so. Yes, the Wikipedia entry has been overrun by people who wish to dilute the meaning of a basic word. No, Aryan is not a "complement." Yes, it is an enormous flash-point term. Yes, it is used colloquially and euphemistically, and yes, textbooks and Europeans use it to mean something essentially meaningless. That, however, does not change the basic gist of the term. --Connel MacKenzie 04:39, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I am a Jew, and not a self-hating Jew, and can therefore assure you that I'm not a Nazi-loving fuckhead. (Fuckhead, maybe; Nazi-lover, no.) Is it that hard for you to believe that a reasonable person might just genuinely disagree with you? —RuakhTALK 05:30, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Making the completely unverifiable claim that you are Jewish is ingenious. Assuming (for the sake of discussion) it is true, I am doubly baffled. Around the time the Wikipedia nazi-related articles were being blitz-krieged by pro-nazis, I reviewed this entry. The primary sense of the term was poorly worded, with only etymological information given as primary definitions. In my life experience, those etymological "meanings" are completely obsolete. Furthermore, they are irrelevant to the meaning of the term today (presumably in America only?) While the entry is far from perfect now, any "assault" on the primary sense irks me. Likewise, the similar attempts to dilute the definition. As a result, I dug up citations, wading through tons of unpleasant noise. To have those citations randomly removed, along with removing the primary sense, can only be construed as a pro-nazi attempt at watering down a racially charged term.
Quoting Wikipedia is silly at this point. The reliability of information from Wikipedia has been declining over the past couple years, as its popularity has increased, with a smaller and smaller fraction of the entries getting more and more attention. I do not make a habit of visiting Wikipedia anymore; even when reasonable uncontroversial requests are made, fireworks light up. As far as I am concerned, the trolls have won on Wikipedia. So I must admit some bias to your citation of the Wikipedia entry. But it is irrelevant, anyhow. Obviously, that entry is focusing on the historical meaning of the term, not current use. Do I think it is "reasonable" to remove the primary sense of a term and citations supporting it, presumably to support a pro-nazi agenda? No. Do I think that you disagree with me, seemingly at every turn, in good faith? No.
--Connel MacKenzie 06:07, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
(In reference to the discussion here...) Connel, you aren't the "bad guy", and nobody, as far as I can see, has suggested that you are. As you said, you let your tone become a bit offensive, but that's understandable because you feel strongly about the definition of this word. We all agree, or at least I believe that we all agree, on the scholarly and now–all-but-obsolete technical definitions, ‘Indo-Iranian’, etc, that fell out of common usage in the early 20th century; so we're only discussing the current definition. You say that this term is highly charged and has pejorative connotations, and Atelaes, Widsith, and I have all said that we agree with you; the term is offensive and volatile. Indeed, it is very, very offensive, because it implies (as Atelaes puts it eloquently) ‘that anyone who is not "Aryan" is considered inferior in white supremacist thinking. And [...] the thinking it represents was largely responsible for the Holocaust.’ What I fail to understand is how you think that this is an effort to ‘dilute’ the entry or replace it with a ‘pro-Nazi’ definition. The Nazis carried out a massive act of genocide against ‘subhumans’ and ‘inferior races’, against anyone who wasn't Aryan. White-supremacists, hate groups, and neo-Nazis today still argue that the Aryan race is superior. In short, Aryan is a loaded racial term; it's used by neo-Nazis as a synonym for ‘white’; its use strongly implies that the speaker is a Nazi and is of the opinion that non-Aryans are inferior, and, by extension, should be killed – clearly a highly offensive suggestion to be making, from a non-Nazi perspective.
If you assert that the term is a political term, used by somebody as a synonym for ‘Nazi’, you'll need to provide examples of this. The citations in the article all reflected the meaning of ‘white’. — Beobach972 18:21, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I suppose you can't verify with certainty that I'm Jewish, but my username here is ruakh, which — as you can certainly verify — is a romanization of the word for one of the four parts of the soul in Jewish mysticism. (It's also the normal Hebrew word for wind, which is a significant part of why I chose it, but the Jewish mystical element was certainly a plus.) Unless you think I've spent months using a Jewish username here, and years using that same Jewish username on Wikipedia and on LiveJournal, all building up to the moment when I could argue for a certain definition of the word Aryan and use my affected Jewishness to defend myself against an accusation of loving Nazis?
You are mistaken to think that the main sense of the word Aryan is "racist" or "anti-Semite" or anything like that. Certainly the word evokes thoughts of such people, in the same way that the n-word does; we associate words that we don't use with people who do use them. But that's not what the word means; at least, I've never heard of anyone using it that way, and the citations you've provided certainly don't represent any such use (though Beoback972 should probably have moved them to the talk page, or to a "Quotations" section, rather than deleting them outright).
Even if "Aryan" had come to mean "white supremacist", how would it support a pro-Nazi agenda to omit that sense here? (I'm not necessarily saying that it wouldn't, I just don't see how it would.)
I agree that it's rather pointless for a person to cite Wikipedia settle a dispute with someone who doesn't trust him, since said someone couldn't trust that he had edited Wikipedia as well.
We do seem to disagree a lot, but this isn't surprising: you have a strong tendency (which you really need to work on) to assume that your viewpoint is the only correct one, and furthermore, that it's obvious that it's the only correct one. Therefore, when people disagree with you, you tend to attack them (for denying the obvious) rather than giving your reasoning. Since the people who disagree with you do give their reasoning, they're invariably much more convincing than you; so if I'm a third party seeing an argument between you and someone else, they're almost certain to convince me unless I start out already strongly agreeing with your opinion, or unless their arguments are amazingly unsound.
RuakhTALK 18:29, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Connel, I now think I may understand how you're thinking it has the meaning of ‘Nazi’. Tell me if this is the sort of scenario you have in mind or not :
John Doe, a Caucasian, is walking along with his friend Bob Q. Public, a Nigerian. Both of them are normal people who do not like Nazis. Both of them see Richard Roe up ahead. John has met Richard before and John knows that Richard is a neo-Nazi; but Bob has never met Richard and is unaware. Bob, being friendly, thus says to John, ‘Hmm, we ought to go strike up a conversation with that fellow over there’. John warns his friend, ‘Oh, no, you definitely don't want to try to strike up a conversation with him... he's an Aryan’. Since Bob knows that John is not a Nazi, he can figure out, with help from John's tone of voice and context clews, that John must be implying that Richard has used the term to describe himself — and by ‘Aryan’ being a term that is used only by individuals of a neo-Nazi political persuasion, that John must be implying that Richard is of the necessary persuasion to use that term; ie, Richard is – by implication/process of deduction – a neo-Nazi. — Beobach972 18:37, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
For the purpose of discussion, yes. (I wasn't thinking of anything so subtle, nor of anything limited to private conversation like that; more along the lines of newspaper/TV uses. But for the point of discussion, your example scenario should suffice, even though it doesn't really describe the wider use. As a euphemism, it certainly is used to mean nearly any racially-motivated radical extremist.) --Connel MacKenzie 19:06, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Ruakh, excellent job on the rewrite. Connel, while I don't think that most of the quotes you listed on your talk page defend the sense your are trying to defend, I think that this one [1] certainly does. And so I formally concede that your sense is now verified. I think that the current version reflects this, and in a very intelligible manner (again, well done Ruakh). Atelaes 22:26, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

This rewrite by Ruakh is certainly a major improvement. I'm a bit concerned about the ordering, but that truly is a separate issue, best left alone for now. Please don't ever ask me search google on this term again. --Connel MacKenzie 22:57, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Alright, I've made some edits to it beyond Ruakh's; everybody please see what you think. If anybody has any objections to mine, feel free to revert back to Ruakh's version, and we'll discuss them here. I found another citation of the euphemistic sense that User:Connel MacKenzie argued for (a noun citation, to go with the adjectival one Ruakh added), and I'm very glad that we were able to all come together to sort out this and figure out that sense. — Beobach972 23:40, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
PS- I know Mein Kampf is total dross, but it is arguably the most famous usage of the term. But do take the citations out if anybody feels strongly that the ugliness of the ideology outweighs the illustrativeness of the quotations. — Beobach972 23:40, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Blond hair, blue eyes

Please note some recent edits by, and comments. — Beobach972 13:23, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the blonde/blue-eyed comment is worth mentioning; that does seem to be the "normal" colloquial-American misinterpretation of "Nordic." But providing a reference for that is likely to be even more difficult than the last round.
Since I haven't said it anywhere, I'd just like to apologize as sincerely as I can, for my earlier outburst. Specifically, I'd like to apologize publicly to Ruakh and Beobach972. Generally, I'd like to publicly apologize to everyone that has read the above thread. --Connel MacKenzie 15:23, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Apology accepted (by me at least). It's been said that the road to Auschwitz was paved with indifference, and I'm glad of your obvious total lack of such. —RuakhTALK 16:52, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Apology accepted by me as well. We're all only human. — Beobach972 03:21, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

What does it mean by this expression "...leaving things on a high note"?

-- On Wheezier Plot from the Malay Wiktionary

When playing a wind instrument (e.g. a trumpet) hitting a high note is sometimes quite difficult. Many, many pieces end on a high note, presumably because the composer knows that after that, the trumpet player(s) have no chops left. Also, on many brass instruments, the most spectacular sounds tend to be those same high notes. (Sopranos have similar contraints, if I recall correctly.) So, anyhow, saving it all for the big finale tends to be a common theme in classic classical music composition. On the other hand, it sounds pretty lame to toot around in the lower registers, after punching out a nice loud double high E.) --Connel MacKenzie 06:06, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Ermmm..... well... good answer delivered though but actually that is not really what I mean. The reply you gave me here seem to be taken very literally and thus, you almost missed the whole point of my question. That is to say, I am not asking for the musical note or any sort of other musical stuff relating to it. You see, the aforementioned expression above, however, was written in a form of a figure of speech in which I found it from one newspaper article movie review regarding Spiderman 3 where I came across one query sentence and it reads like this: "Will Raimi and his team take up the challenge and strive harder to push the limits, or will he not take the risk and leave things on a high note?". That is truly what I want to know its true and general definition. Nevertheless, thanks for that unlikely so-so response.....anyway.....! -- On Wheezier Plot
Being the Tea Room I assumed we had the entry already, with the definition, and you merely wanted the etymological explanation. --Connel MacKenzie 04:31, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
If you leave things on a high note, you quit while you're ahead; you stop at the point of greatest success. Which, in the case of Spiderman 3, is not really what happened... Widsith 09:16, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Gee, thanks Widsith for your right understanding! Now I get it, much appreciated! :-) -- On Wheezier Plot
Should an entry be created for the phrase? At to leave on a high note, or to leave things on a high note? — Beobach972 15:38, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Maybe just at high note, because you can go out on a high note, end on a high note, etc etc.. Widsith 15:40, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
That is not our convention, at all, for idioms. If the most common form can be determined, the other forms of the idiom should hard-redirect to that one (as it is implausible that the same idiomatic spelling exists in another language, with a different meaning.) In this case, I think both leave on a high note and end on a high note would be the most Wiktionary-ish entry titles. The other forms are normally then listed as synonyms. --Connel MacKenzie 04:31, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Connel, this should be at one of the forms of the idiom (the most common form, if we determine that), and the other forms should redirect. My question, then: should high note redirect? — Beobach972 18:06, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
It can be entered as a redirect for now, with the option of someone entering something more relevant (or specific) later. (E.g., 'it was the high note of his career when...' or some other figurative reference to the idiom.) Note that DAVilla has been discussing this particular topic (referents of idioms) elsewhere, so it may not be resolved at this point. --Connel MacKenzie 15:35, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Cruiser used to describe a horse.

Has anyone heard the term cruiser used to describe a horse that can not turn in a tight circle, and thus is not any good at show jumping. I heard it as a kid, but wonder if it was just something that the owners used. I didn't want to add it as a def unless I was sure.--Dmol 16:05, 9 May 2007 (UTC)


It is meant for praising some one and writing something in that direction.

You are probably thinking of eulogy SemperBlotto 18:59, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I'd imagine that eology would be the study of the dawn. —RuakhTALK 20:22, 10 May 2007 (UTC)


My strong guess is, that with a population of just 2,500 estimated to be using this language, that they do not have a special standard for writing this language that formally requires a special form of n at the end with an underscore. So why the heck do we need it. Looks like pure affectation to me.-- 23:17, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

The place to ask would be the Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas in Mexico, who officially regulates Zapotec. --EncycloPetey 23:21, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't know this language specifically but in Australia most indigenous languages have a standard orthography and none have more than three or four thousand speakers. Many of these languages include letters with diacritical underscores. In Australian languages this mark represents retroflex sounds and it is necessary to use it to distinguish them from the non-retroflex sounds. I don't see why a similar situation couldn't exist for a language of Mexico. I've seen stranger symbols in Mexican languages such as a superscript n. — Hippietrail 20:34, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
Zapotecan phonology distinguishes fortis and lenis consonants, and it is necessary to show it in the writing for a text to be understood. Fortis consonants are marked by underlining, although sometimes doubling may be used instead. —Stephen 20:56, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Forcing capitalisation in Google et al.

Is there any way to force Google or any other search engine to look only for a particular capitalisation, to see which is the more common. An example is in RFV, with quango, Quango, or QUANGO being discussed. Google seems to lump them all together.--Dmol 15:14, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Google won't do case-sensitive searches for me. I've just spent a few minutes looking around some of the most popular search engines. dmoz: looked promising at first. I am delighted to have stumbled across http://www.quango.com/ though, as it does a full-text book search via amazon (perhaps we can reduce our bias towards books.google.com, now?)
In the specific case of "Quango", I was asking the question; I think the RFV itself has been addressed. That is, as an American, I've never heard the term QUANGO nor Quango nor quango before, so I'd just like to know which one is correct/most common in colloquial Australian English. --Connel MacKenzie 16:24, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

fellowship as a verb

Which is a surprise to me but check out some comments on this LanguageHat thread: [2]Hippietrail 19:44, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Jehovah's Witnesses talk about disfellowshipping someone, but I hadn't heard of fellowship as a verb before.Pistachio 20:03, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I have. It's used in some Southern (US) churches. --EncycloPetey 00:30, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I think describing it as ecclesiastic-only would be a mistake. Likewise, Southern. I've often heard it used as a verb in Northern non-ecclesiastic settings (admittedly, with some amount of Protestant representation.) Etymologically, it probably traces back to England (as per languagehat) so I'm not sure there is any justification for calling it specific to Southern Churches. (Of course, you 'did not say that, but left it open-ended.) --Connel MacKenzie 16:38, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

the meaning of my name

My nane is Daethiene Iwas always told that my name is greek Can some one tell me what my name means or were did it come from? —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 15:17, 16 May 2007 (UTC).

It would appear that your name is quite unique. It's certainly possible that it is from Greek, but I'm not pulling up any Greek that resembles it. The closest that I could find are two male names: Δάϊθος (Daïthos), a Spartan who was present at the Peace of Nicias; and Δαθάν (Dathan), a biblical character whose name derives from Hebrew דתן. It is possible that your name might be related to one of these, or it may be pure coincidence. If you're comfortable with it, you could give me your family's country of origin, which might help me to identify the type of orthography changes to look for, which might allow a more accurate Hellenization of the name. Atelaes 21:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

"tuck in" as an offensive expression?

can Tuck in, have a meaning as an offensive expression? If yes, in which context would it be? —This unsigned comment was added by Alexarias (talkcontribs) 16:07, 16 May 2007 (UTC).

Well, generally one would tuck in a child, so I suppose one could use a sentence with that expression to convey that someone is somehow child-like? That could easily offend a person. —RuakhTALK 17:52, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
"I'm sorry you feel I was too harsh on you demanding that you cleared up those budgetary discrepancies all by yourself (devillish smile). Now, should I come over tonight and tuck you in also?" __meco 21:19, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
But remember you can also tuck in to your food. So it could conceivably be used to imply gluttony: ‘Blimey, you're certainly tucking in aren't you?’ Widsith 10:05, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

How about show for

Could this be construed as a proper verb phrase akin to show off (or perhaps go for would be a better analogue)? An example of distinctive application would be 'State has little to show for social service innovation plan' whereas 'Bush Fails to Show for Democrat Debate' would not. __meco 21:13, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

No, that just looks like show + {prep. phrase} to me. --EncycloPetey 23:18, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I think that's definitely idiomatic, but I think the full verb phrase might be "(have|get) [indefinite pronoun] to show for" — "What do we have to show for it?" "We don't have anything to show for it." "They all got something to show for their experience, but not necessarily something useful." —RuakhTALK 01:21, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. You could say "What can you show for your efforts?", "They have only an empty wallet and years of heartache to show for it.", "and "She ended up with a black eye to show for her pains." None one of these constructions fits the limited scope of "(have|get) [indefinite pronoun] to show for." --EncycloPetey 01:56, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Can you say "He showed only a bruised ego for his efforts"? Cynewulf 02:01, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, I guess you're right; so the idiom is "show for" in general, though it seems to be preferred in certain kinds of constructs. —RuakhTALK 02:19, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Maybe the canonical form is "have something to show for something". The two placeholders are unfortunate, but this looks like it would cover all the above examples, except for "What can you show..." which I haven't heard of before. If that does exist, then we also have the (unfortunately even more convoluted) "be able to show something for something". — Paul G 15:20, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Trilingual coincidence

I've known from a tongue twister that попугай means both "parrot" and "scare". While entering the French word effrayer, which means "scare", I found that there's a French word scare, which means "parrotfish". PierreAbbat 06:11, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Umm.... what about the fish? DAVilla 19:49, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Oooh, I've got one. The Polish word pokój means ‘room’, which in French is pièce, which is spelt like the English word piece, which is a homonym of peace, which in Polish is....pokój! Convoluted? Widsith 10:03, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Each railway

I'm brushing up my (Modern) Greek, and am reminded that "each", "every" is κάθε (káthe). This reminds me of the Spanish cada, which as the same meaning. Are they related or cognate at all?

According to the RAE, Spanish cada comes from Latin cata, which comes from Ancient Greek κατά. I suspect that modern Greek κάθε comes from the same Ancient Greek root. --EncycloPetey 15:27, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Another curiosity I have noted is that the Greek for "railway", which is σιδηρόδρομος (sidhiródhromos), translates literally as "iron way". The French and Italian do too (chemin de fer and ferrovia, respectively). Is this (nearly) universal, and are these calques of an English *"iron way" (which doesn't appear in any of the dictionaries onelook links to)? — Paul G 15:15, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Why would they have to be calques of an English word? Why not calques of French or Italian? --EncycloPetey 15:27, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
There is also the Danish jernbane, the German Eisenbahn, the Magyar vasút (vas, iron + út, way), the Portuguese ferrovia (and estrada de ferro), the Russian железная дорога (железо, iron + дорога, way), and the Spanish ferrocarril. — Beobach972 16:23, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Somewhat more interesting to me is the non-Indo-European 철도 (Korean — cheoldo), which is (, cheol) + (, do). — Beobach972 16:32, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Vietnamese has đường sắt (sắt, iron + đường, way), but also, interestingly, đường xe lửa (xe, vehicle + lửa, fire), and đường ray (given by vi:wikt, perhaps short for đường rầy xe lửa, which fr:wikt translates as rails de chemin de fer). — Beobach972 17:19, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
You probably already know this, but for clarity's sake: Magyar is not an Indo-European language, either. By the way, Hebrew (another non-Indo-European language) has Template:wlink (m'silát barzél) "path/track-of iron" as well, though given how many calques Hebrew has from various Romance languages, there's no reason to think that's an independent formation. —RuakhTALK 17:36, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I apologise for being unclear. I didn't specify vasút as terribly interesting because Hungary is geographically close to England, France, Germany, etc. — Beobach972 18:08, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Well railways wouldn't have been called iron ways in English because the earliest railways were made of wood. But by the time the technology was being exported around the world, iron was presumably more common so I'm guessing that other langs would have associated it more obviously with iron... Widsith 17:25, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Alright, I'll ask a different question : is there a major language that does not use road of iron as its word for railway? (Heh, other than English.) — Beobach972 18:08, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's kinda funny that an "iron horse" is a bicycle in Chinese (or maybe that's just Taiwanese?) but that isn't a true counterexample. DAVilla 19:45, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Dutch uses spoorweg "track/footprint" + "way", and Polish uses kolej from a root word meaning "pile". --EncycloPetey 20:09, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

By the way, I intended no cultural bias or imagined supremacy when I suggested that the words are calques of the English would-be phrase "iron way". The "History" section of Wikipedia's article on rail transport suggests (but doesn't specifically state) that iron rails were invented by a British civil engineer. I suppose these would have been exported all over the British Empire, taking the name "iron way". This is all conjecture on my part, however.

I'm posting a question on the talk page of the Wikipedia article to see if anyone knows how these similarities came about. — Paul G 08:45, 18 May 2007 (UTC)


Here's a fun word I discovered while researching license plates: [3]. As far as I can tell it means "made reflective" Scott Ritchie 06:26, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Also note derived forms nonreflectorized and reflectorization Scott Ritchie 06:38, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Scott, if you can provide some citations for them, would you like to make entries for these words? — Paul G 08:52, 18 May 2007 (UTC)


Other languages words for the (English) noun "eliminator" (as in "...widely recognised as the eliminator of smallpox...."). Phonetics will be very helpful. Manga Tak! —This unsigned comment was added by Mariner52 (talkcontribs) 07:37, 18 May 2007 (UTC).

graphics whore

From RFV:

Interesting entry. No b.g.c. hits, but anyhow, this is much more generic than simply graphics, no? Can someone be called a coding whore? Or are the specific uses too limited? Should each have an entry? --Connel MacKenzie 01:00, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

It is specific to gaming, whereas graphics (and even computer graphics) is a much more general topic, so it might be keepable if it passes. DAVilla 22:23, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Now exhaustively cited. DAVilla 17:54, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
While the "gamer" use seems exhaustively cited, this term still doesn't strike me as specific to gaming in any way. Move to Tea Room perhaps? --Connel MacKenzie 18:50, 12 May 2007 (UTC)


Has anyone ever heard of this word being used as a shortened form of gangster? It may be spelled as g or gee, but i havent been able to find any srouces for it online. It is a very prevailant word where I live, in Baltimore.

It is often used in this context as a friendly adress " Hey what up g?"

Has anyone else else heard of this word?

Forgot my signature. Bearingbreaker92 19:00, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

I've heard "What up, G?" (and Google has 49,500 hits for "what up g", which includes variants with lowercase "g", variants with no comma, etc.), but it would be hard to demonstrate that the "G" is actually short for "gangster". —RuakhTALK 20:35, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
That it is the abbreviation of gangster is certainly the etymology (or at least a plausible etymology), although whether it still means that or is simply another (US English) term like hombre/bro/buddy could be debated. — Beobach972 23:00, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
"What up, girl?" or perhaps "What up, Gus?" seem more plausible to my ear (but I haven't spent much time in Baltimore.) That close to Washington, D.C., I'd guess that a sarcastic "What up, G-man?" would be equally probable. --Connel MacKenzie 08:08, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

check,cheque- help needed

I noticed that "check" (banking) had an etymology given from Persian چک (chek), so I split the different meanings according to one etymology from Persian, corresponding with cheque (UK), and another etymology, giving rise to "check" (meaning to verify and so on). Also I thought that a third etymology of "check" (checkmate) is that it comes from Persian (shah maat). However, trying to find the etymology for check (not a cheque), some online sources say that all the senses derive from check (checkmate), which throws into question the etymology of check (cheque, banking) being from Persian چک (chek), and also means that check (banking) and check (other senses) probably all have the same etymology. If so, then what would be the etymology of cheque? Pistachio 16:43, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Here is what OED has to say on the etymology of cheque/check:
From being the name of the counterfoil of an Exchequer or other bill, the purpose of which was to check forgery or alteration, the name appears to have been applied to any bill, note, or draft, having a counterfoil, and thus to its present sense, where a counterfoil (though usual) is not even necessary.
I admit this is Chinese to me, but maybe it will help you :) Shai 00:56, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks ^^ Well, it's a shame, because the idea that "cheque" came from Persian and "check" (verify) had another etymology seemed to fit neatly with "cheque" and "check" having different spellings (in some countries). If "cheque" comes from "exchequer" then I wonder why it's spelled "check" in some places. Does it mean Persian چک is a borrowing, and does "check" (checkmate) come from "shah mat" after all? Pistachio 15:56, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I think the spelling "check" is part of the simplification of the English spelling in US English of various Latinate words, along with "catalog" (Commonwealth English "catalogue"), "maneuver" (Commonwealth English "manoeuvre") and so on. — Paul G 11:03, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree, and I'm suprised to see that "maneuver" isn't "manuver", like manual, manuscript, manufacture, manure, and numerous. Oh well, we USees can dream of a day without Qs and Ys.--Halliburton Shill 12:23, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

No pocket watch anywhere?

I just added an entry for pocket watch (and for pocketwatch). The really surprising thing is that this word is not in the original OED, not in Webster's, not in the American Heritage Dictionary, and not in Random House! Are we the first major dictionary to include this relatively common word? --EncycloPetey 01:11, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Maybe not, though I am surprised it's not more common. My OED mentions pocket watch in the first adjective sense of pocket ("B. adj. Developed from the attributive and appositive use of the noun. 1. a. Adapted or intended to be carried in the pocket, as pocket calculator, pocket flask, pocket watch, etc.") and uses it to define pocket clock ("now chiefly hist. a small timepiece, originally one with a spring-driven movement (being the first type of portable timepiece invented); a pocket watch."), as well as having pocket-watch in a note to watch ("21. a. A small time-piece; orig. one with a spring-driven movement, and of a size to be carried in the pocket; now also freq., a wrist-watch (spring- or battery-driven). The occasional occurrence of the term pocket-watch (see quot. 1705 below) suggests that the word was sometimes applied to spring-driven clocks of larger size. From the beginning of the 17th c. ‘watches’ (from the context clearly pocket watches) are often spoken of as striking."). The last entry comes from the second edition (1989), and the first two come from the Sept. 2006 "draft revision" online, though the 1989 version doesn't appear to have either entries mentioning the term under pocket. Also, I'm not sure if you are counting WordNet as a major dictionary, but: [4]. Dmcdevit·t 05:57, 22 May 2007 (UTC)


There is still a huge amount of work to be done on this very basic word, which has many, many meanings and usages. Please everyone please see if they can add a little bit.--Richardb 12:33, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

The appropriate place to seek help on this is the COW (Collaboration of the week). Add it as an upcoming entry. --EncycloPetey 15:31, 24 May 2007 (UTC)


Is the phrase "Out on lunch" correct? —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:11, 23 May 2007 (UTC).

Do you mean out to lunch? SemperBlotto 21:21, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, "out on lunch [break]" is valid, but much less common than "out to lunch." --Connel MacKenzie 08:03, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

What is the meaming of the word "glaven"?

I think it has something to do with the simpsons. —This unsigned comment was added by Jason ost (talkcontribs) at 21:16, 23 May 2007 (UTC).

It's a nonsense word used by Professor Frink, a minor Simpsons character, when expressing negative emotions. —RuakhTALK 21:27, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm. I'm not sure I ever noticed before, but as a native speaker, when I hear any word ending in "-aven" I make a subliminal association with 'craven.' E.g. a raven (negative,) maven (negative,) graven (negative,) slaven (negative,) tax haven (negative,) unshaven (neutral) and now, I suppose glaven too. --Connel MacKenzie 07:59, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Category:Proto-Germanic language

I need some help in adding relevant parent categories for this category which I created. __meco 07:57, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Um, the "proto" stuff isn't supposed to exist outside of the Appendix: namespace. --Connel MacKenzie 07:59, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of that, still, as I am yet incompetent here this needs to be cleared up in any case. __meco 08:03, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
That would make this a Request for Cleanup. The Tea Room is intended for discussions about meanings, etymologies, synonyms, and such. --EncycloPetey 17:52, 25 May 2007 (UTC)


Present participles as adjectives (and the word approaching)

Discussion moved here from Beer Parlour.

I think I caught a glimpse of a recent discussion touching upon this subject, I cannot remember where though. The dilemma of whether or when present participle words should also be listed with an adjective section resurfaced for me in connection with reading the approaching page. Here the word is even listed in a third POS category: Verbal noun. First, should there be separate entries for the adjectival use of these originally present participles? Second, how should I approach the problem of distinguishing uses between the current adjectival entry which is examplified by the approaching armies and a sense which in Norwegian calls for another term altogether, viz. the approaching summer? I wouldn't know if this distinction even exists in English.

Also, when I work with a term I am often confronted with multiple challenges that belong variously to the Tea Room and the Beer Parlour. Should I split these into multiple entries or present everything related to the same term collectedly, as in this instance? __meco 10:27, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

As to which page: whichever you feel more comfortable with. If you wish to ask about approaching in the Tea Room, and Norwegian distinction of adjectives in the Beer Parlour, that is fine. If anyone has a problem with it, they can split or move the conversations as needed (this is a wiki...)
I do not know of any formal distinction in English between "the approaching armies" and "the approaching summer." Those are both adjective uses that aren't distinct AFAIK in English; as such, one should be described in the ===Adjective=== section, as you have done correctly. To answer you first question: yes, there should be a separate Adjective section when the term is used as an adjective in that form. If you have better ideas on how to approach the distinction, discussion is welcome.
The "Verbal noun" is not a valid heading, and should simply be "Noun." --Connel MacKenzie 17:14, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
If this were the Tea room, I'd feel obliged to point out that the sense of "approaching" in "approaching armies" is quite different from the sense in "approaching summer" (the former describing actual movement of the referent, the other describing only a figurative perception of the referent's movement). This is the Beer parlour, though, so I'd only point that out here if it were to begin a discussion about how precise our distinct senses should be for entries in general, which I'm not prepared to begin. ;-) Rod (A. Smith) 17:24, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, but I don't see anything "figurative" about summer approaching (this is May, after all.) Whether you want it to, or not, summer is approaching. Much like someone in an army's path. The lexical properties of the adjective don't change, based on the temporal nature (or not) of the noun it modifies. --Connel MacKenzie 03:52, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's figurative in that it's taking one view of the passage of time. Personally, I'm more inclined to the opposite view: summer is staying put, and we're approaching it. (In a spatial context, I wouldn't say "A is approaching B" if it's actually B that's moving.) Either view, then, is a metaphorical way of relating time to space. That said, this is less a feature of the word approaching than a general characteristic of how our culture views the passage of time. Different cultures might not allow the summer-is-the-one-moving viewpoint, or even might not allow the summer-is-a-distinct-entity viewpoint (contrast "summer is approaching", suggesting that summer is a distinct thing, and "spring is starting to turn into summer", suggesting that spring and summer are phases of the same thing). English allows all these viewpoints, and what's more, allows all spatial terms to be used temporally within one of its general metaphorical frameworks. (It's particularly flexible in this regard.) —RuakhTALK 05:23, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
What is figurative about the passage of time? (Sorry if it seems like a mundane point, but really, time is inexorable..."time keeps on trippin, trippin, trippin...") While our description of time, in words, is perhaps an abstraction, there is nothing figurative about one second of the day passing. From a technical standpoint, the moment the midnight boundary of June 21st is past, the season has changed, from spring to summer, and yes, as a distinct season ("thing.") That is, both spring and summer certainly are phases of the same thing: seasons.
So, the only possible "metaphorical" sense, is when the prose is used to describe a preception of the season changing. (Whether it is the character's perception, the author's perception, or the reader's perception is immaterial to this discussion, I think.) I imagine translating such a passage to other languages might be tricky, in that the various forms it could take might be conjugated differently (so the translator has to simply pick one, or rephrase it.) I'm sure other languages have some way of conveying the idea, even if in their language the same term changes form to do so.
But even then, I don't see that as a metaphorical use of "approaching." Movement can be physical, temporal or ideological, all of which are measurable, tangible, literal shifts.
Now, if we are to even consider splitting it for translation sake, I wish to point out a couple things. OmegaWiki (formerly UltimateWiktionary, WiktionaryZ, etc.) does take that approach - that no matter what a word means in a language, if it has multiple translations, it is assigned multiple lemmas. Wiktionarys, here on WMF, instead offer each language their own wiki/wikt, so that words can be described in that language in a manner appropriate to that langauge. While the translation difficulties are interesting to an English reader, I feel they should not affect the definitions given: they should be written in English for English readers. Taking that around full circle, I do not see how one can assert that to any English speaker, the adjective "approaching" could have a figurative and a literal meaning. The modification (from the adjective) that happens to the noun does not change whether the noun is physical or not.
I guess this should have moved to the tea room, after all. --Connel MacKenzie 07:34, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Easily remedied. __meco 08:11, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Could we have a section for "Translations notes"? __meco 08:52, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
That sounds like a promising, interesting remedy. Unfortunately, such a question belongs in the beer parlour.  :-) Note the smiley! --Connel MacKenzie 09:40, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Don't you think I noticed the moment that digression had been submitted >:-( meco 13:24, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Spanish truncations

I've seen weno and wapo posted on Spanish Internet fora for bueno and guapo respectively. Is this dropping of a consonant before consonantal "u" just an Internet phenomenon akin to textspeak or leet, or is it more general slang, and therefore something that we should be covering here? — Paul G 11:00, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

As nobody else has answered: I live in Spain and so see and hear it uniquely as a teenage slang term likely to disappear just as quickly as it appeared. Leave it for a couple of years. If it is still being used, then add it. Algrif 13:58, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Usage - make a living

Hey Tea room. What is the correct preposition to use with 'to make a living'? "To make a living from selling art"? "To make a living by selling art"? What's the correct/what sounds the best? --MathiasRav 18:56, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

While "by" might work in some situations, there usually wouldn't be one (for this idiom) at all. "He makes a living selling art." Or perhaps "He makes his living selling art." In the past tense, it would come out as "He made a living selling art" or "He made a living by selling art." Using "from" sounds disjointed, to my ear. --Connel MacKenzie 09:36, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks a lot! I wasn't sure about this at all. --MathiasRav 20:42, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Sicilian Etymology

I'm fairly certain that this belongs here and not in the BP, but I suppose we'll see as (if?) discussion progresses. Something I've been meaning to work on for a while now is a full set of Sicilian days of the week. I've been putting off work because, due to the nature of Sicilian, this task isn't nearly as simple as it may seem. I plan to ask on the Sicilian Wikipedia and/or Wiktionary to confirm, but from what I can tell, there are three different patterns as far as names of days go; for example, Monday can be expressed using these words: lunidìa, luneddì, and luni. As far as I can tell, the first is of Latin origin and the second is influenced by (if not from) Italian. I had always assumed that the final form was simply a truncation of the form of Latin origin. The Sicilian Wikipedia, however, notes that this form is due to Northern Italian migrations near the beginning of the second millennium CE. This Wikipedia, along with the Italian and English, didn't give a satisfactory explanation of what to call the language spoken at the time; I am thus uncertain how to title it in the etymology section. As a result, I have two questions:

  1. Anyone familiar enough with Northern dialects of Italian to give me a list of the days of the week for the purposes of comparison? (scn:wikip suggests "lunes" for Monday, if that's any sort of a start!)
  2. Any ideas on what to do in the etymology line? For luni, I put "Gallo-Italic" for the time being; I would hope, however, to change it in the near future. (Maybe Proto-Gallo-Italic or something ridiculous like that?)

Thanks much and apologies for my ramblings! Medellia 05:30, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Depending on the timing of when that final form is attested, it could even be the result of Norman or Spanish influence, since both cultures had a period of ruling Sicily and portions of southern Italy. I have a friend who specializes in historical "Italian" who might be able to help, and who probably has a fine personal library on the subject, but I don't know whether his knowledge and resources extend so far south. --EncycloPetey 15:23, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Bengali entries

I am new to this site. I find only two entries, that too without any meaning or description, in Bengali. Can I start creating a list of Bengali words with meanings in English, as well as the reverse? I don't find the appropriate links. Can anyone help me?

Responded on User talk:Rrayrray. --EncycloPetey 20:23, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Bengali alphabets

How can I type Bengali characters (alphabets?

R Ray

Replied on User talk:Rrayrray. --Connel MacKenzie 03:55, 29 May 2007 (UTC)


The suffix -trix gets redirected to -rix. We are not supposed to do that sort of thing. Also, all the examples I can find have a "t" before the "rix", so shouldn't the redirect (if any) be the other way round? SemperBlotto 14:09, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

The "t" is part of the Latin participle to which the root is attached, not part of the suffix. Agents of action in Latin are formed from the fourth principal part of the verb, and there is (almost) invariably an ending of -tum on those. So, for instance, the fourth principal part of the verb gubernō "I govern" is gubernatum. To create the word gubernator "one who governs, m", the -um is replaced with -or. To form the feminine, -rix is used instead. So, from a Latin point of view, -rix is the correct suffix. The omnipresent "t" is the result of grammar, not part of the suffix. --EncycloPetey 17:45, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
So, -trix should be English, -rix should be Latin and both should have {{see}} as line one? --Connel MacKenzie 04:00, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, the OED uses -trix as a header, but does so on the explicit assumption that it's a suffix in Latin. Given that nearly all uses are Latin imports, and the rest are modelled on Latin, I think the suffix for both languages should be at -rix. There should be something at -trix to point to -rix, but I don't know what form it should take. I think the reason the OED chose to do it this way is syllable metrics in Latin. I'll have to look at it more carefully, but I think the syllable break would traditionally come before the "t", giving the syllable -trix. Hmm... --EncycloPetey 04:33, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Yep. A stop + liquid breaks the syllable formation rules. Instead of breaking the syllables as gu-ber-nat-rix; the "tr" combination stays together for "gu-ber-na-trix". That explains why the OED chose to use -trix. This makes the issue less clear-cut. Do we consider a suffix to be the added/replaced letters, or the final syllable after the change? --EncycloPetey 04:40, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
This we picks trix and is content with Connel's solution. It's not like we add i and ae to make plurals in English. The 2000 edition of Word Parts Dictionary ↑ISBN has trix and trice as suffixes and and rix as a base, quoting:
  • "-rix- base quarrel (rixation)" (quarrel being the meaning it adds to words)
  • "-trice suf feminine ending (genetrice). NOTE: -trix is now preferred"
  • "-trix suf female agent (executrix)"
--Halliburton Shill 04:52, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

As we have -or and not -tor as the listed masculine agent suffix, then we ought to have -rix and not -trix as the listed feminine agent suffix (as a female aviator is an aviatrix and not an “aviattrix”). However, in the same way that we ought to list -ology as a common coöccurence of the infix -o- with the suffix -logy, then we ought to list -tor and -trix as the most common occurences of -or and -rix (with an explantion of why they occur thus so often). Keep in mind that there is probably an exception to the -trix suffix somewhere (in the same way that the exception genealogy shows that the suffix is -logy and not -ology). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 13:36, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

A similar example is -icide (from -cide); you can see at -icide the approach I've taken with that one. (In that case, however, this approach is only possible because of nouns like germicide, where the etymology is apparently <noun> + -icide. I'm not sure if there are words in -trix where the -t- is clearly part of the suffix.) —RuakhTALK 16:59, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Isn’t that a different case? In the same way that “-ology = -o- + -logy”, “-icide = -i- + -cide” — the vowel is in both cases inserted because of morphemes meeting at consonants, whereas the -t- in -trix is part of the previous morpheme. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 17:11, 2 June 2007 (UTC)


hi i want the some knowldge of IELTSTea room —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 09:01, 30 May 2007.

http://books.google.com/books?q=IELTS&as_brr=0&hl=en --Connel MacKenzie 16:03, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Trade term TTM

Does anyone know what TTM stands for in int'l trade? Thanks a lot. —This unsigned comment was added by Thang (talkcontribs) 05:55, 31 May 2007 (UTC).

In commerce in general, it stands for time to market. I don't know if it has a different sense in international trade specifically. —RuakhTALK 06:49, 31 May 2007 (UTC)