Wiktionary:Tea room/2007/October

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← September 2007 · October 2007 · November 2007 → · (current)

October 2007

Pls. translate to namibian language.

spam removed --EncycloPetey 14:04, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The official language of Namibia is English, so there's no need for translation. For more information please see the Wikipedia article about Namibia. -- Visviva 11:49, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
We've had several similar requests recently, all announcing the person "respresents country X". Either this is a homework project students are failing to do on their own, or else this is an attempt to get our help translating spam. --EncycloPetey 14:05, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
It hardly seems like a likely kind of spam... Can't say I'd noticed the others, but assumed it was related to a Model UN activity of some kind. -- Visviva 14:23, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
It looks to me like the opening like from one of the most common spam messages on the internet: "Hello, I represent government X and want to send you money..." --EncycloPetey 01:05, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
But that's not what it said; it identified its author as a fifth-grader representing Namibia. It seemed like patent nonsense to me, until Visviva offered a plausible explanation (the Model-UN one). —RuakhTALK 03:05, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

get off

Redundant third sense? Also, is the fourth sense transitive or not? (Note incidentally that it has the HTML comment "move to 'get off on'?".)

  1. To move from being on (something) to not being on it.
    Get off your chair and help me.
  2. [A second sense, not relevent.]
  3. To disembark from (something).
    You get off the train at the third stop.
  4. (slang) To excite; to give pleasure to
    I don't get off on champagne.

msh210 19:11, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The fourth sense is actually backward; it's the object that excites or gives pleasure to the subject. Its transitivity is not really an issue, because we don't want to have separate "transitive verb" and "intransitive verb" sections; our goal should be to merge those properly, rather than to figure out what should go in each. —RuakhTALK 19:54, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't think the third sense is redundant; to "get off the table" is not the same as "get off the train". Sense three can only be used with mass forms of public transportation -- you can get off (or get on) the bus, the train, or the subway, but you can't get off a taxi, a car, or a truck. If I were to hear someone shout, "Get off the car!" I would assume someone is standing on top of their car and is being asked to come down. But if I hear someone shout, "Get off the bus!" I would assume someone is riding within the bus and being asked to vacate or disembark.
However, I think that the first and the second sense in the entry (see the entry) are synonymous. --EncycloPetey 01:12, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I think the third is redundant because "on" is used for a bus; so "to move from being on (something) to not being on it" (the first sense) includes the third sense.—msh210 19:37, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
But when you get on a surfboard, you are climbing on top of it. When you get on a bus, you are climbing inside of it. You are therefore moving from the inside to the outside, and not moving from being on/atop it to off. The words get on and get off have separate senses that apply only to the use of mass transit. --EncycloPetey 03:05, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
When you get on a bus, you're climbing inside of it, correct. And after you've done so, you're said to be on the bus. So the meaning "to move from being on (something) to not being on it" (the first sense of get off) includes the bus meaning: when you get off a bus, you're moving from being on the bus to not being on the bus. This seems so obvious to me that I wonder if I'm being unclear.—msh210 16:46, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Otoh, the second and first senses aren't redundant (imo): the second is transitive while the first is not.—msh210 19:37, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
No, the first sense is reflexive, not intransitive. The only reason it doesn't currently look that way in the examples is that they're both imperative constructions. Rephrase it as "He got off the chair." or "She got off her ass." and you can see they're reflexive, not intransitive. Both examples can insert the understood pronoun "himself/herself" as the object. --EncycloPetey 03:10, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. Semantically speaking, intransitive got is synonymous with transitive got + a reflexive pronoun; but I don't see how that makes intransitive got reflexive. —RuakhTALK 03:45, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
Well the Oxford Companion to the English Language seems to agree with me. They define reflexive as a "verb, pronoun, or construction that works on identity of reference between two grammatical units, chiefly the subject and object.", and they note that "intransitive verbs do not have objects." A reflexive verb therefore cannot be intransitive, because its object is the subject of the sentence. The CGEL has a novel interpretation of trans./intrans. (big surprose); they call this situation an "unexpressed reflexive object" in a Type III trans-intrans pair. --EncycloPetey 05:18, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand your comment, as your quotes from the Oxford Companion exactly match my own understanding (that "He got himself off the chair" has a reflexive verb, and "He got off the chair" has an intransitive one). —RuakhTALK 16:04, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I would call the second example reflexive as well, with an understood/unexpressed object. My understanding is that an intransitive verb is one where there is no object, not simply where it wasn't expressed explicitly. So "The child washed the dog" is transitive; "The child washed (himself)." is reflexive, whether or not the reflexive pronoun is expressed; but "The child slept." is intransitive and must be so because there is no object, nor is one even possible. --EncycloPetey 16:18, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
But of course, sleep does take one sort of object; consider "slept the sleep of", which gets 33.5kGhits of which all seem to be in the relevant sense. (This is called a Cognate object.) By your line of argument, one might as well say that sleep is actually a transitive verb with the implied object "a sleep". And, would you consider "I shaved" to be reflexive? If not, how is it different; and if so, how did you decide that the implied object is "myself" rather than "my beard" or "my face"? —RuakhTALK 17:28, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
And that's why the CGEL has a totally different take on trans./intrans. They have a whole densly packed section on just this issue waiting for your eager perusal! --EncycloPetey 03:32, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
CGEL's tendency to use terminology in a nonstandard way is fraught with peril. Their claim that "noun possessives don't exist" is one example of how they discredit themselves as a serious reference; that direct conflict with Wiktionary terminology is a source of never-ending aggravation. Reflexive verbs in Wiktionary terminology refer to transitive verbs with a reflexive pronoun only. So, if the object of that transitive verb can be either a reflexive pronoun or another object, we don't call it a "reflexive verb" as that would be a silly distinction. The only time it is a relevant distinction, is when the object cannot be some other object. "She perjured herself" is very different from "She shaved her legs" or even "She shaved." --Connel MacKenzie 16:26, 4 October 2007 (UTC)


The first two definitions and synonyms given for trapezium and those for trapezoid, as well as w:Trapezoid, Mathworld, and Math OpenRef indicate that the terms have exactly swapped meaning on opposite sides of the pond! The most authoritative reference in it all seems to be “Bronshtein, I. N. and Semendyayev, K. A. Handbook of Mathematics, 3rd ed. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1997, p. 174”. It would be great if somebody could dictly quote that reference in our entry since it's such a remarkable difference. I added a usage note to each, but perhaps it should be more clearly explained. Rod (A. Smith) 00:21, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Both meanings have been used in England. The sense of a quadrilateral having only one pair of parallel sides is said by the OED to have been restriction introduced by Proclus, whoever he is, and they add "The specific sense in Eng. in 17th and 18th c., and again the prevalent one in recent use." For the other sense, where no sides are parallel, they comment, "The usual sense in England from c1800 to c1875. Now rare. This sense is the one that is standard in the U.S., but in practice quadrilateral is used rather than trapezium. This is the trapezoid of Proclus". There is also a general Euclidean sense, of any irregular quadrilateral which is not a parallelogram. Widsith 10:00, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

thomes hobbes

who was thomes hobbes

Is there some reason youre asking this question on a dictionary web site? You ought to try an encyclopedia. --EncycloPetey 14:09, 2 October 2007 (UTC)


This entry says English language; is this correct? sewnmouthsecret 19:42, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

It looks like Finnish to me. There is probably a similar Anglicised version. SemperBlotto 11:11, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe Finnish includes the letter ð. It looks more like Old Norse to me. --EncycloPetey 13:21, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
That would be correct; see the referenced 'pedia article. Robert Ullmann 13:31, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

swaths vs. swathes

As far as I knew, swaths was a misspelling of swathes. Indeed, the first page of b.g.c. search results for "swathes" lists more plurals of swath than swathe. Is swathes the only correct plural for both swath and swathe? More misleading, is that swaths now does seem to be (mis)used a lot. Looking at news.g.c. suggests that "swath/swathe/swaths/swathes" is confused consistently around the world, not immediately tied to any specific region. --Connel MacKenzie 21:40, 3 October 2007 (UTC)


I was looking up the word hernia in a medical dictionary and found this entry

Hernia: Protusion of a loop or knuckle of an organ or some tissue through an abnormal opening.

(I added it to the talk page for knuckle as a citation). What does knuckle mean in this case? RJFJR 02:25, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

My understanding is that knuckle is the rounded end of any bone that forms a protrusion when a joint is bent. Presumably here an organ could mean a bone. SemperBlotto 11:08, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Maybe a generalization of the bone sense to non-bone organs. So that would mean any part that protrudes the way my knuckles stick out. RJFJR 13:22, 4 October 2007 (UTC)


I've started a citations page for notwithstanding, but am having doubts about the part of speech for some of the quotations from Shakespeare. Does anyone think that one or more of the quotes in misplaced? (Out of courtesy, please delay any transfer of citations between sections for at least a few days, lest later contributors to the discussion become confused by the discussion as a result.) --EncycloPetey 04:45, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

dead as a doorknob or dead as a doornail

I believe the redirect should be reversed. All the research I have managed so far seems to indicate that doornail is by far and away more common than doorknob. For instance Google hits show 117,000 / 823. Similar results elsewhere. Algrif 17:04, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

A bit more research shows dead as a doornail dates back to at least 1350 The Vision of Piers Plowman. It also appears in Shakespeare’s Henry IV. So seems also to pre-date doorknob. Algrif 17:10, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

  • How odd - I've only ever heard of the doorknob version. SemperBlotto#
    I've heard both, as well as "dead as a dodo" and "dead as a Dalek" (though with considerably less frequency). --EncycloPetey 00:03, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Stranger and stranger, I've heard 'dead as a dodo' 75%
'Dead as a doornail' 20%
'dead as a doorknob' 5%
(all approx) 13:48, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

I had always heard "dumb as a doorknob" and "dead as a doornail", but quick web searches don't really support that distinction. Rod (A. Smith) 18:34, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Could I, at least, remove the hard redirect and put a definition plus a "Related terms" or "See also" heading pointing to dead as a doorknob, or something? Whatsay? Algrif 11:58, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Despite the changes that have been made, I still believe that for both statistical and etymological date reasons, this entry should be dead as a doornail directing to the other possibilities. If not, then the decision flies in the face of the excellent reasoning used for other entries in Wikt, where stats and dates have had the overriding power for reaching consensus. Algrif 12:30, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Damn right. I support the “primary entry” being “housed” at dead as a doornail.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:23, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Dead as doornail as primary, based in quantitative evidence. It also fits my experience in US. The others have been much rarer in my experience. Is there a UK or Commonwealth vs. US difference in relative frequency ? DCDuring 15:53, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Not as far as I’m aware; in order of frequency in my experience:
  1. dead as a doornail
  2. dead as a dodo
  3. dead as a doorknob
 (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:17, 30 October 2007 (UTC)


Why was this word deleted with no useful explanation?

It was in the headline requested word list and is a not uncommon word in biology and botany. A google book search shows over 700 entries and it appears in both MW and OED.

Even if the person who deleted it had some cogent reason for doing so, surely it would have been common courtesy to actually fill in the log to show why s/he was deleting a perfectly valid word. 17:44, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Why, you could have inquired directly on my talk page, no? You wish a public spectacle instead? I shall try very hard to AGF anyhow. Your term appears in other dictionaries, but not with that meaning. It is easier to restart an entry, when nonsense is not in the way. If the b.g.c. hits, do any match your meaning? In general, when a term has a common, or widely understood meaning, we enter that first. A definition such as yours might merit a full WT:RFV review; in my opinion, not. --Connel MacKenzie 17:57, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately I can't find any way of looking at what I actually entered (although since Visviva seems to have found some wording from the entry it is presumably possible). I checked that the word exists in OED2 and MW online. I then checked the meanings listed in OED2, one of which was new to me.
Doing some further research MW gives: "giving passage to a current that flows inward" whereas OED2 gives: "Running in; penetrating into the interior; falling within (a period)." Whilst my entry (from memory) certainly needed some wording added it was not (again, from memory) fundamentally wrong and could have easily been corrected. 09:14, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
It would indeed be common courtesy to explain the reason for deletion. While we're on the subject, I would have to say that use of the snide "explanation of deletion" auto-summary is one of the most egregiously rude behaviors on Wiktionary. The speedy deletion of this entry was clearly inappropriate; on the other hand, it seems that the sense added had nothing to do with biology or botany. Further, the phrase "incurrent to" scores no relevant hits on Google Books. -- Visviva 18:05, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Looking closer, yes, the speedy deletion was wrong. My apologies. --Connel MacKenzie 18:10, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
The "explanation of deletion", apart from anything else, promises more than it delivers. When you select it, expecting to find out why an entry has gone, all you get is a list of every possible reason an entry might have been deleted. In most cases (e.g. "john doe is gay"), it's quite obvious but occasionally it isn't and that leaves editors unsure of what they did wrong, and, I'm sure, puts newcomers off contributing in the future. For example, "so much" had been sitting at the beginning of the requested entries for some time before I decided to risk putting in the effort to try and describe the term in a way that would be useful to a non English speaker knowing that some high-handed admin might well come along two minutes later and decide the entry was unnecessary (it's survived so far) and summarily delete it.
I see that VisVisa has now struck out his objection to "explanation of deletion". Whilst I'd agree that it isn't snide, and is not rude per se, it is unhelpful and is effectively rude when a entry that has been made in good faith (which should not be hard to differentiate from wanton stupidity) has been deleted. Surely it would not be too much to expect people to use preselectables of such things as 'nonsense/incorrect definition/sum of parts/encyclopaedic/vandalism'. 10:58, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

street smarts/streetwise/street-smart

Touching an etymology, I found we're missing an entry for the original form street smarts. But spot-checking other dictionaries, it is reported backwards, with "streetwise" (the most recent of all three forms) somehow being used in the 60s? Should these go through RFV? I am pretty sure the "intentionally incorrect" form "street smarts" caught on only because it was intentionally incorrect; the others followed later (late 80s.) Anyone know a good way to find (adequate?) supporting evidence in some tricky way I've overlooked? --Connel MacKenzie 04:22, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Hrm. NYT archives have "street smarts" first in 1972, "street-smart" in 1971, and "streetwise" in 1968. <shrug> Still seems backwards to me, but b.g.c. can't seem to antedate any of those (omitting errors of date reported vs. date actually published, that is.) --Connel MacKenzie 04:40, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure why you are saying "street smarts" is intentionally incorrect. From personal experience (I haven't made any dictionary check), "Smarts" is a plural only noun indicating wisdom or intelligence, and having "street smarts" means having elements of wisdom or intelligence relating to "the street", i.e. being streetwise. "Streetwise", OTOH, is obviously an adjective. In England, certainly, the term streetwise was common well before "street smarts", which is quite rare here, but I couldn't give you any dates. Possibly the two terms crossed the Atlantic in opposite directions? 09:54, 7 October 2007 (UTC)


I've just added a second definition, but I suspect the entry needs to be tidied / reorganised so that it looks "standard" (whatever that is in these kind of cases ;-)) Algrif 16:08, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Luckily they have slightly different etymologies; I'll amend the page. Widsith 16:09, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Many thanks. Excellent work! Algrif 16:16, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Appalachian capitalized?

Should the word Appalachian be capitalized? RJFJR 16:18, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I'd say so, yes. —RuakhTALK 21:24, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

what's loyalty


The definition at loyalty seems to say it very well. Is there something in particular you feel is missing or unclear? RJFJR 17:30, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


Sense 2: Seinfeld character. Does this belong there? Also, it's listed under the ==German== heading. If we keep th current sense 2 should it be moved? RJFJR 17:37, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

There aren't any umlauts in the Seinfeld character's name, so I would delete the sense. sewnmouthsecret 21:27, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
I've removed it based on that argument. Thank you. RJFJR 01:22, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

up against

IMHO I think this should be moved to be up against as a phrasal verb. Algrif 17:52, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

what of go up against then? Separate entry? --Connel MacKenzie 20:46, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes. Along with run up against, rub up against and all the other phrasal verbs that have yet to be added. (There are well over 3,000 in most phrasal verb dictionaries). Algrif 22:44, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
I think these can all be handled with up against as a compound preposition (there are a few in English). Particularly so, since as the uses above show that it appears in conjunction with many different verbs. I don't see this as a case of a phrasal verb. --EncycloPetey 01:58, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
It's going to make life impossible. What about stand up against? I'll keep looking for more. Up against, while not as common as some other double particles, is a well recognised phrasal verb combination. By allowing up against and trying to include all the phrasal verb definitions there, you will 1) be making it impossible for users to find the entries, 2) losing the correct classification in the category list, and 3) opening the door to out against, up for, in for, and a huge etc. of double particle entries. A phrasal verb is a phrasal verb, and should be entered correctly as such. What, in heaven's name, is up against? It says in the entry preposition. As far as I am aware, there is no POS called preposition that consists of two other prepositions / adverbs joined in this way. Algrif 11:02, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Heavens above!! Some of them are already there!!! This is a bad joke or what??? Algrif 11:02, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
There are compound prepositions composed of more than one word. They are recognized by the CGEL, the Oxford Companion to the English Language, and the Chicago Manual of Style as prepositions, and each of those works discusses them. So if you weren't aware of this before, please be aware of it now. I didn't make this up, I looked it up. If you wish to disagree with three major reference works, please provide a thorough reasoning. --EncycloPetey 13:18, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I do not intend to dispute reference works. (Edit added later:- in between is a good example of what you are saying.). But, if a proposition IS a preposition, then it will not be limited to 4 or 5 verbs. It should be useable in any situation. So up against means "Facing; challenging, or opposing." does it? So if a tree grows up against the garden wall, it is challenging or opposing it. Please. This is NOT the "meaning" of up against. It is, on the other hand, the meaning of be up against. As any good dictionary will show (except of course this one!) Algrif 13:28, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I added
  1. In contact with, abutting.
    If the tree grows up against the garden wall either the tree will be crowded and stunted or the wall will be pushed out.
RJFJR 14:07, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
It would be nice if every preposition could indeed be used with any verb in any situation, but that doesn't actually happen. You can "walk into the room", "shout into the room" and "saunter into the room", but you can't "eat into the room", "think into the room", or "categorize into the room". Prepositions only work in certain circumstances, so it's not reasonable to expect that a preposition will be useable in just any situation. On the other hand, I do agree with the added definition of up against, and I do agree with the underlying general principle you give that a preposition can be distinguished from a component of a phrasal verb if the verb can change without altering the basic meaning of the putative preposition. A second test is to ask whether the potential preposition has a complement; and a third test is to ask whether the potential prepositional phrase answers a typical adverbial question or can be replaced by an adverb. --EncycloPetey 01:29, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
A real improvement, IMO. If general opinion is that this is a two word preposition then that definition works as a preposition of position that can be used with most relevant verbs and nouns.
I still don't understand how an idiomatic tag can be placed with a preposition, though, in the first entry. It is only idiomatic when placed with about ½dozen verbs, and the meaning differs somewhat with each one. Which is why I still maintain that the first definition is incorrect and should be under be up against. I will be adding some phrasal verbs shortly, and will leave it up to anyone who cares to do so, to RFV them. Algrif 15:25, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Or RFD them, more suitably.  ;-) I think if we can have entries for off and get off, we should be able to have entries for up against and go up against (etc. etc.), provided a reasonable showing of idiomaticity. -- Visviva 15:35, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, RFD is what I meant to put. I do think it is important to distinguish between The chair is up against the table from I'm up against the committee. Wouldn't you agree? Even slightly? Algrif 15:46, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree that there is idiomaticity, and that we should make the distinction. However, I would put that information on the entry for up against rather than the combination. Note, however, that the majority of prepositional uses are in some way idiomatic, so I'd be hesitant to mark it as "idiomatic" without a lot of thought. --EncycloPetey 01:29, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

pommy bastard

I'm not sure that this is a plain, old sum of its parts pommy and bastard, so didn't RFD it, but it seems to be. Does anyone know?—msh210 22:04, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

It's not really sum of parts since there are no parallel terms I can think of such as British bastard, yanky bastard, kiwi bastard, aussie bastard, etc. It's pretty subtle though and I wouldn't want to be the one to define it. — Hippietrail 01:05, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
"Yankee bastard(s)" does actually get a fair number of Google hits (though not so many as "pommy bastard(s)"). —RuakhTALK 01:08, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
Of course straightforward phrases with no special meaning often get many Google hits ("red car", "and the" etc). So while a phrase getting no hits could rule out its existence, it is not enough on its own to say that it does exist as a special meaning. As a native speaker of Australian English I can say "pommy bastard" has a life of its own and "yankee bastard" does not. Maybe it does in the southern US but I wouldn't know. — Hippietrail 01:14, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I think the Yank equivalent of "pommy bastard" is actually "damn Yankee". (A Yank myself, however, I might not be the one to decide.) —RuakhTALK 01:39, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
As an Englishman I've always known pommy bastard as a friendly, if not particularly respectful term used by Austrailians usually used in a jocular sense. Thus the definition given (which is pure SOP) seems wrong. Moglex 15:12, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


According to http://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=he&oldid=3113636, the second person singular (familiar) positive imperative of haber is . According to es:haber, he is a common erroneous form and the correct form is habe or habé. Which is right? Rod (A. Smith) 06:50, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

The RAE Diccionario de Dudas says:- "En cuanto al imperativo, las formas heredadas del latín son habe y habed, aunque carecen de uso en la actualidad, pues este verbo, al haber sido desplazado con sentido posesivo por tener, no se conjuga hoy en imperativo." That is one point of view. I must admit that having lived in Spain for many years now, I don't think I've ever heard or read an imperative of haber. So generally speaking, I would tend to agree with the RAE on this one. Algrif 11:58, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for looking that up, Algrif. I edited haber and its conjugation table accordingly. Rod (A. Smith) 22:38, 12 October 2007 (UTC)


Being today's WOTD it caught my attention. Why is this described as a weedy plant? True, in the middle of a well tended lawn, it is a weed. But then so is grass a weedy plant in the middle of a well tended dandelion bed in a herbal garden. It is an authentic herbal diuretic. (French piss en lit). Algrif 12:09, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Because it grows rapidly and spreads invasively. It grows opportunistically in cracks of sidewalks and in disturbed areas. If we had a decent entry for weedy, then it would make more sense because we would have the botanical defiinition. --EncycloPetey 13:46, 12 October 2007 (UTC)


We define postpartum as "postnatal", but it seems to me that postpartum means "after giving birth" while postnatal means "after being born". Granted, this implies a bit of pragmatic overlap, since mother and child are still typically viewed as a unit in the period right after birth, but I think the definitions are a bit different. However, other dictionaries don't seem to really differentiate between the two, so maybe I've just invented a distinction for myself that doesn't actually exist? —RuakhTALK 18:37, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

I think you have. The etymological distinction is not very big anyway, and in practice the two words are identical, bar a few connotational differences. Widsith 10:06, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
See also post-partum, which is set up slightly different. Anyone know the meaning of L. partum? I thought postpartum meant "after seperation". RJFJR 12:52, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Judging from b.g.c, postnatal is used as the more general term, meaning simply "after birth." Thus one can find references to "postnatal depression," etc., where the term is clearly used to refer to the mother's experience. On the other hand, "postpartum" seems to be used exclusively in reference to the mother. -- Visviva 12:57, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
What Visviva says is also my personal experience. As to Latin partum, it's the singular accusative of partus, for wich I will tidy up the entry. In short the root of natal means "being born", while the root of partum means "giving birth". --EncycloPetey 16:28, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Harry Potter translations

Did we ever decide if we can have modern foreign words that are translations of invented words from Harry Potter and the like - I was about to add dissennatore (the translation of dementor). SemperBlotto 09:23, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

How many indiependant sources can you find? If it is only used in translations of the Harry Potter books (the individual books not being indepedent of each other) then we don't need it since it is clear from context in the book (usually because someone is point at it and describing it). Which doesn't answer your question of if it was decided, rather it is just part of deciding. RJFJR 13:02, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Only if we allow the source words, I imagine; it appears that heretofore no entry has been created for dementor or Dementor (is that possible?), so the question may be unresolved. Given the impressive body of secondary and peripheral treatments which the Potterverse has already spawned, I would say these have to be included -- and if the English words are included, it would be absurd to exclude their translations. However, this may be a question which still has to be banged out at RFD. (The policy-neutral option would be to put the entry at Appendix:Fictional characters/dissennatore).-- Visviva 13:05, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Consider the first sentence of Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion#General rule: “A term should be included if it’s likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means”; unless there are examples of the use of these words where they have not been thitherto defined and the meanings of which are not clear from the contexts, then noöne will come here “want[ing] to know what [they] mean”. In such situations, I don’t think these coinages warrant entries.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:36, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
There are two ways of interpreting that statement: that the Potterverse has not become part of the contemporary discourse, or that there is no-one left on Earth who is not already familiar with these terms. I'm not sure which is more bizarre (probably the first), but I don't see how sentences such as this: 'The joy is sucked out of the game for them as if by Dementors' [1] -- can be considered clear from context. -- Visviva 09:23, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps I was unclear. What I meant is: noöne would need to look up “dementor” here if the thing which they’re reading is discussing Harry Potter et cetera. The link you provided shows the word’s use outside of such context, and therefore supports our inclusion of “dementor(s)”.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:17, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

right interjection

This page still does not have the header Interjection. I would put it there myself, but which etymology. There is some discussion on Talk:right, but no entry. There are at least two interjection uses that I can think of. (maybe more). Can somebody who knows put this "right"? Algrif 13:11, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Both uses (assuming I'm thinking of the same two that you are) go under Etymology 1. The interjection comes from the same root as the adjective/noun, not from the Old English verb/adverb. --EncycloPetey 16:23, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I've put the entry in the right place now. Algrif 13:41, 22 October 2007 (UTC)


I saw this word in an article about the rate of change of the form of verbs in this week's "Nature". I can't find a definition, so have made a guess. Please improve, if you know any better. SemperBlotto 16:38, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Could you include the quote you saw? --EncycloPetey 16:42, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
I shall have to revisit my local library - Monday at the earliest (no hits on the website - they don't include the text of research articles). (A "news" item about the article is here [2] but it doesn't include the word. SemperBlotto 16:50, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Are you sure about that? That "news" item lists two articles as references, and unless I'm missing something, neither uses the word glossogenetic anywhere in its full text, nor in any figures or tables. (I didn't look through the "supplemental information", as none of it looked likely to contain the word, and anyway supplemental information doesn't appear in the hard-copy journal.) That said, one does use the word phylogenetic a bunch of times; perhaps that's what you're thinking of? —RuakhTALK 18:11, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
We'll just have to wait till Monday. SemperBlotto 18:12, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Oh, here, I found the article you're presumably thinking of; it's actually not a journal article, per se, but rather another "news" article. (Visviva's cited our article now, anyway, so I guess it doesn't much matter.) —RuakhTALK 18:31, 14 October 2007 (UTC)


I just finished talking on the phone to an Australian client who used the phrase "Not a drum, mate" meaning "It's no problem." Is this a common usage in Australia? Algrif 14:15, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

well mannered and well-mannered

I believe well mannered and well-mannered should be merged correctly(imho) in the hyphenated form. Algrif 16:57, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Done. DAVilla 04:17, 19 October 2007 (UTC)


There is a redirect here; I'd like to go and just put a definition in its place with an alternate spelling of generalisation. Would that be alright? sewnmouthsecret 15:23, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

I see Ruakh's taken care of it, but, for the future, yes, that's fine.—msh210 17:48, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! sewnmouthsecret 17:49, 17 October 2007 (UTC)


I don't believe that this is a back-formation as claimed (rather than a borrowing of Yiddish איד (w:yi:), pronounced "yid", which means "Jew"). I also don't know why it was moved from capital to lowercase.—msh210 19:36, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, authorities disagree with you. I think early uses of the word tend to be among those who were unlikely to know any Yiddish words - although they would know the word Yiddish itself. Widsith 12:21, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Oh, good, thanks. What about the capitalization part of my question?—msh210 19:47, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

man boob and moob

User 81.151.103 has defined these terms as gynecomastia with a link to the Wikipedia article. Firstly, should a definiton be a definition? (Could it be See Also instead?) Secondly, should it be there in the first place, and if so, should it be a Wikipedia link? sewnmouthsecret 21:03, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

I reformatted the entry man boob, the definition is now a wiktionary link instead of a wikipedia link. RJFJR 15:03, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't get it — what's the difference between definitions 1 and 2? —RuakhTALK 16:17, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
My point exactly. sewnmouthsecret 16:22, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
OK, I merged the senses. RJFJR 16:43, 18 October 2007 (UTC)


I've a general copyright question here.

Looking at yawp, it calls out as its reference Webster's 1913.

Oddly, the original entry looked something like that. Now, it bears a stunning resemblance to dictionary.com's entry.

To me, is seems like this should simply be deleted, then the original version(s) selectively restored. What do other people think about this one? Isn't this far too similar to the copyright protected version? (With the addition of a bizarre "example.")

And isn't it obsolete anyhow? Only used in (archaic) reference to Walt Whitman, right?

--Connel MacKenzie 21:56, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

"Loud or coarse talk" is the definition that matches the most closely. It looks like SB introduced that with some others, so we can trust him on it. A slight modification may be sufficient if you're worried. The history can be defended as coincidence, unless SB also feels uneasy about the similarity. DAVilla 04:48, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Kossa Regal

does anyone know what Kossa Regal means? I'm thinking it might just be a made-up name. —This comment was unsigned.

Where did you encounter it? —RuakhTALK 23:40, 18 October 2007 (UTC)


Would anyone be against me placing the references in the talk page? All of those references are unsightly. sewnmouthsecret 21:02, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I'd be. The references should appear in any article-content mirror, even the ones that don't copy discussion pages. —RuakhTALK 23:36, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I have changed the section to Dictionary notes. You can move them to Citations:SUFFERANCE if they're really needed. Personally I'm not sure that the links are necessary but I won't challenge it. DAVilla 04:27, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Since I have one against, I'll leave it alone. This is why I like to ask first. sewnmouthsecret 13:58, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, if the references aren't really references, and aren't needed, I've no objection to simply removing them; but it's not helpful to put references (real or otherwise) on the talk-page. —RuakhTALK 15:34, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
I'd rather have a different header than "References" for these sorts of external links to other dictionaries, but one does not seem to be available at WT:ELE. In any event, WT:ELE#References clearly upholds the inclusion of links to other dictionaries under the "References" header. And, like the author of the standard at WT:ELE, I believe it is very important for Wiktionary's credibility that we support the content of our entries, especially the entries for relatively uncommon terms. I have changed the header back from "Dictionary notes" (which is not a WT standard header) to "References" and have added the subheader "Dictionaries". -- WikiPedant 22:56, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
References sections should house lists of authorities which are used to back up specific assertions in the entry, whereas Dictionary notes should just state whether a given dictionary lists a term, or (re alternative spellings) in what order, perhaps linking thereto, and so forth.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 11:49, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Then maybe it would be better as a list? Or just delete them all. Or just mention MW "and many modern dictionaries", although it would be much more interesting to state when it was first attested, or where it isn't found. DAVilla 19:42, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
AFAICS, Dictionary notes sections exist to make Wiktionary seem more reliable — someone can come along, see the entry for sufferance, and think “Oh; it’s listed in nine ‘proper’ dictionaries … it’s probably kosher, then”. What the section’s called is pretty irrelevant; whereas “notes” is not ideal, I reckon it should still have “dictionary” in it somewhere. I’ve added a rel-table this entry’s Dictionary notes section — is that an acceptable solution?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:49, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
"Dictionary notes" is gaining pretty wide acceptance here; using such a header helps to make it clear that these are not references, and are not sufficient in themselves to support the content of the entry. -- Visviva 10:03, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, note that the "level 4" headers mentioned in WT:ELE are not an exhaustive list; there is no policy list of L4 headers (yet). Dictionary notes has been used for a while, as have Scientific names and a few others, without having their formal status specified. Robert Ullmann 10:18, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree that "References" is not an entirely satisfactory header, but "Dictionary Notes" doesn't strike me as an improvement, since these are not notes at all, just external links to relevant, supportive definitions. -- WikiPedant 13:24, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, in such cases I don't see any reason we should include the section at all. The only reason to include dictionary notes is when there is something interesting to say about how other dictionaries have treated a term; we should state explicitly what makes those particular dictionaries' treatment interesting. (e.g. "* The Classic Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue defines this as 'a leper with a speckled tongue,' but this usage is not attested elsewhere.") Otherwise whatever relevance or support we intend these links to provide will remain obscure. -- Visviva 13:09, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

English translation of Tamil valaikappu

what is the english name for the tamil word valaikappu? —This unsigned comment was added by Calayeganesh (talkcontribs) at 13:57, 22 October 2007 (UTC).

வளைகாப்ப, "wearing bangles". We don’t really have a word for it, so you could call it the bangle ceremony. —Stephen 15:04, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

bearing fruit

bearing fruit. I would have thought that this should be a verb entry to bear fruit. Opinions? Algrif 17:43, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, moved.RuakhTALK 18:36, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

wide stance

Someone apparently thinks this entry is intended to be a joke, but it's very much a real term that has entered widespread usage. Chris Matthews used it as recently as last week. It has been used as a metaphor for conservative views on sexuality. And let's not forget the AP story of course. The anchor at NPR stated he's used the phrase himself. There are some questions as to whether it will stick, but if series of tubes gets to have its own entry, the news agencies seem to agree that this does too. —This comment was unsigned.

Our objection is not that it is a joke, but that it is a protologism. After a year or two, if it survives and has appeared in print, it would be welcome here. SemperBlotto 22:09, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Apparently theres been a bit of a fuss over this one. I created the series of tubes and Infobahn pages, and I was about to create this one... but it's been protected. I'm still new to wiktionary or I'd weigh in further, but FWIW, I concur with the above statement. At the same time I can see why you'd object to such a recent coinage so all I can say is watch the term closely because it seems to be sticking (so far). Monak 20:30, 26 October 2007 (UTC)


Midas needs discussion of the term's figurative uses, either as their own senses, or as a usage note. It's a tricky one, because the figurative uses go both ways; in the legend, Midas' condition is seen as a bad thing — a rose that's dwarfed by its thorn, if you will — and some allusions retain this quality, but then, the phrase "the Midas touch" is generally a positive one, suggesting e.g. business success. —RuakhTALK 21:09, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Fire contained 0-100%

What above actually means? I'd like to understand what means if fire has contained 10% ? Ten % of what? All replys are appreciated. Thanks, JayKay

Ten percent of the fire. It is a contraction of "the fire has been 10% contained"; the kind of shorthand often used on the radio. Robert Ullmann 12:34, 29 October 2007 (UTC)


The definition should be at particulates. This is not, as far as I am aware, ever used as a singular. The singular would be particle. See wikipedia for more info. Opinions? Algrif 11:19, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

??? What about "The antidote was administered in the form of a particulate." --EncycloPetey 13:13, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
My brain is probably particulating. lol. Algrif 13:25, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


I was going to just redirect this to flat feet, but I saw it was an entry made by SemperBlotto. So I'm asking first. Algrif 17:58, 25 October 2007 (UTC) Although, of course flatfeet is the plural of flatfoot. But the medical condition is two separate words. Algrif 18:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

What do the word laissezlesbontenpsrouler means

I need to know what do laissezlesbontenpsrouler means for my 5 grader

Let the good time roll. DCDuring 01:22, 26 October 2007 (UTC) Laissez les bons te*M*ps rouler. I missed the misspelling. DCDuring 01:34, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

For what it's worth, we now have laissez les bons temps rouler. Rod (A. Smith) 05:09, 26 October 2007 (UTC)


Can anyone translate the followinwords into malay for me 'Home is where you are' any help would be grately appreciated.


Could some one please tell me the deffinitoin of Atheroslerosis? I know it has to do with the cardiovascular system if that helps any —This comment was unsigned.

atherosclerosis is the correct spelling. --Connel MacKenzie 20:22, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

WTF (translations)

Shouldn't the translations of an abbreviation (etc) also be abbreviations (rather than translations of the full text)? SemperBlotto 18:51, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I suppose it depends on whether you would actually translate the abbreviation with another abbreviation or not. Usually I would have thought that's the case. Widsith 09:08, 30 October 2007 (UTC)


I would like to add "big stinky" to synonyms for the word "fart". Any problems?


The "Dumbing" of America

I'm not familiar with this literature. Does it say that "mass media", "the administration", "advertisers", and "textbook publishers" are making Americans stupid or treating Americans as if they were stupid (or both). I know they don't mean the "silencing of America". DCDuring 00:51, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

It says they're treating Americans as stupid, which in turn makes Americans stupid(er). --EncycloPetey 02:00, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
There's yet another sense of dumbing down something's intellectual content, I realized. You can dumb somebody by dumbing the material they read and also dumb a person by telling others how dumb that person is, apparently. I am dumbfounded, but not struck dumb. I'm not sure about how common these are, but I've found examples of each, I think. DCDuring 15:12, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Adjectives with numerical definitions.

I was wondering what 'material' meant, if anything, in the very common use in accounting (SEC filings and the like), as in "not likely to have a material adverse effect on the financial condition, results of operations or cash flows of the Company". In pharmacology, there are numerical definitions: "The United States has no regulatory definition that explicitly delineates events as common, infrequent, or rare based on their frequency of occurrence; the Council of International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) III/V working groups have recommended the following standard categories of frequency: common (frequent): > 1/100 and < 1/10 (> 1 and < 10 percent); uncommon (infrequent): > 1/1,000 and < 1/100 (> 0.1 percent and < 1 percent); rare: > 1/10,000 and < 1/,1000 (> 0.01 and < 0.1 percent) (CIOMS, 1999)." -http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10882&page=126 Similarly, I think 'couple' often means two or more; a few is generally three or more. So, I'm here wondering if any of these terms are well enough defined to have a numerical representation (or several) in their definitions. I found none. It seems most such terms just don't have a consensus definition: http://www.unc.edu/~uwolt2/cepor/v2n1.htm#focus (unfortunately, the paper mentioned is $100) -Elvey , 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Help me decide what is the definition of Guthix on runescape?

I have had people say Guthix is a mercenary, or he is the best god ever or..I personally think that he is truly the god of balance, But I need enough people to say this is so so I may help publsh his definition in Wiktionary. Thank you. By the way, My username is Cat Lover657 just was thinking u might want to msg me for further info giving. Thank you again.

This isn't material of the sort you'd find in Wiktionary. (see WT:CFI) --EncycloPetey 13:11, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Anyhow, what makes you think that “enough people [saying] this” (or any other thing), would make it correct? That’s a logical fallacy — an argumentum ad numerum.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:21, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually semantics is the one area where an argumentum an numerum is perfectly valid, since words derive their "meanings" precisely from the way in which they are commonly interpreted/understood. Widsith 07:42, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
That depends on whether you take an entirely descriptivist stance, and on your ignoring internal word structures (as in rune- -scape).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:35, 31 October 2007 (UTC)


Also known as is correct. What I question is why this is not at aka which is by far the most common way of using this abbreviation or intialism. [[3]] for example. I think the redirect is misleading. Algrif 12:16, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I've seen, and use, a/k/a, fwiw.—msh210 16:59, 31 October 2007 (UTC)


I am considering how best to enter to-be. We have mother-to-be, which is fine. But on the other hand it is possible to put quite a large selection of nouns-to-be. Ideas? Opinions? Algrif 18:20, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I've put something up at -to-be, but I'm not sure how intelligible it would be to someone not already familiar with the term. Improvements are (as always) more than welcome. —RuakhTALK 20:58, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Looks good to me. Thanks. Algrif 13:30, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

What do you call this letter: ì

What is the name for this letter, 'ì', an i with a little accent grave over it (I think that's what the French call it)? Used in Scottish Gaelic. e.g. pìobaireachd. RJFJR 01:52, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

It's called an i with a grave accent, if you believe w:Scottish Gaelic#Vowels. :-)   —RuakhTALK 02:40, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
For Gaelic, I've heard it called "I-fada", though I'm uncertain how "fada" shoud be spelled for this particular sense. "Long-I" would be the translation if the "fada" spelling is correct. --EncycloPetey 13:07, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Oz Linux

The third definition at Oz is for a version of Linux. It has a link to WP, but WP deleted its article (per Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Oz Linux). The third sense is a name, wasn't there a discussion on whether we kept sense like that? What was the decision? RJFJR 13:27, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Deleted. Totally spam. —RuakhTALK 18:36, 31 October 2007 (UTC)


In the pronunciation section of alveolar, there are entries for Schoolbook Phonetics and Last Resort Phonetics. We're not using these are we? At least, not according to WT:PRON --Keene 14:04, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Incidentally, there are other pages using these --Keene 14:09, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Last Resort Phonetics should only be used when someone is trying to add a crude pronunciation to a page that has no pronunciation yet, and only by a person who does not know any of the other systems. "Schoolbook Phonetics" has been modified here to {{enPR}}, because "Schoolbook Phonetics" is not a standard system, and varies between schoolbooks and dictionaries that use it. It can be used, but should be enclosed in the {{enPR}} template. --EncycloPetey 02:50, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Piss in someone's pocket

In my travels in the 80s in Oz, I heard this expression once or twice. It was explained to me that it had to do with whispering in someone's ear, which put the male urinary apparatus in the appropriate relation to another male's pants pocket. When I looked for quotes I found some, but they seemed to be about the pisser flattering the pissee. Does anyone have any first-hand knowledge of this? Has anyone already done research on it? I will see what on-line sources say. DCDuring 14:27, 31 October 2007 (UTC) Various dictionaries say: "To flatter someone", "To ingratiate yourself with someone", "To be friendly with someone". Usage often doesn't seem to always follow this, with some meanings more like "tell someone something that will upset them" or "piss on them". Also seems to be used in UK. Anyone? DCDuring 14:36, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

---well,have a look on this sentence,"He is of the habit to piss in everyone's pocket due to his honest friendly nature".This is how it is usually used.I think such friendly nature will not allow to be a matter of trouble for someone.So it is mainly used in meaning of "To be friendly with someone" as you also mentioned.--Etymologist 18:07, 11 November 2007 (UTC)