Wiktionary:Tea room/2008/February

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← January 2008 · February 2008 · March 2008 → · (current)


February 2008

Roman a clef

How is this phrase pronounced? It appears to be a style employed by Hugo, among others. Are there well known examples of this style in English writings? —This unsigned comment was added by Kare (talkcontribs) at 03:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC).

In French, it's spelled roman à clef and pronounced /rɔmɑ̃ a kle/ (that's an IPA representation of the pronunciation); I've never heard it in English, but I'd assume it's pronounced roughly "roe-MAHN ah CLAY". As for your second question, you've come to the wrong place: this is a dictionary. You might fare better at our sister project Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. —RuakhTALK 11:55, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Quite often in English the F gets pronounced. There are lots of examples in English literature - On The Road is the first one that jumps out when I look at my bookshelf. Widsith 08:10, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

right of way

google books:"pedestrians always have the right of way" disagrees with our current definition for sense #1, but I don't know quite how to phrase it properly. —RuakhTALK 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

It should say something like "the right of one user of a road, path etc. to temporarily halt the passage of another during his own use of it". (It's used on golf courses as well as the public highway) SemperBlotto 12:39, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Do the air and marine worlds use this term this way also? Does the word "priority" help? DCDuring TALK 14:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
They do; I added an illustrative cite for this. Think the definition is a bit clearer now, but still not quite ideal. -- Visviva 16:02, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
If perhaps not ideal, certainly excellent. DCDuring TALK 16:21, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Since we're having tea here anyway, does anyone have thoughts on whether the sense "land on which a right of way exists" is meaningfully distinct from the sense "area cleared and modified for passage, such as for a railway or canal"? For example, when we read that two people "crept along the subway right-of-way with their weapons drawn," ([1], self-published but never mind that) does this really mean that they crept "along the area on which a subway right of way had been designated"? Or is the roadway/railway/canalway sense distinct? I keep disagreeing with myself on this one, need an outside opinion. :-) -- Visviva 17:05, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Your case involves action in the world outside conference rooms and courtrooms, which warrants a sense. The physical and legal senses overlap, but are distinct, even in the properties referred to. From my knowledge of railroad history, there are numerous cases of "rights-of-way" being obtained (legal sense) (including by outright purchase, option, easement, and all the other means of devise that lawyers have devised) without there being any physical modification or use of it for an actual railroad. In any event there is a transition period and the courts sometimes don't care about the physical modification bit. I wonder whether the two legal senses should be combined into one that includes implicitly all possible means of acquiring sufficient rights. Finally, "The [old] right of way was completely overgrown before the County built the bikepath." illustrates that there may be no remaining "clearance", no remaining legal right of way and still the word could be used, though I wouldn't think we need a sense for that. DCDuring TALK 17:36, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


What are these things called in English? Referrring to the strips of material hanging by the window. shutters?--Keene 13:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

In the U.S., blinds or window blinds, or more specifically, vertical blinds or track blinds. Dunno about usage elsewhere. —RuakhTALK 13:47, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


apheticism - what does it mean? I first ran across it in the article for twit: 'Originally twite, an apheticism of atwite.' When I googled it, there were a few other Wiki pages where it had been used, but I can't find a definition anywhere. I also tried my Oxford Dictionary, but no luck. I would guess it means something like 'a gradual corruption of a word', but does anyone know more? Thanks. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 13:51, 1 February 2008 (UTC).

Presumably it's an erroneous or rare variant of aphesis. —RuakhTALK 14:26, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


ecdysiast (today's WOTD) is currently defined as "An erotic dancer who removes their clothes as a form of entertainment; a stripper. " The problem is that "An...who" is singular but "their" is plural. Should "their" be changed to "his or her" (or is there a better way of recasting this sentence?) RJFJR 13:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

See their (pronoun, sense 2). Is used in singular for a person of unknown gender. Yes it sounds a bit odd, but is standard usage. Robert Ullmann 14:35, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. It's certainly acceptable at many levels of discourse to the extent of barely being noticed. WT's own English seems to me to migrate toward a style that is sometimes almost formal, sometimes academic, or more often comparable to the "better" newspapers and the newsweeklies like Time. What would they do? (hard to research on Google, though) The desire to be brief and avoid diverting people's attention from what they are looking for would argue (weakly) against "his or her". Perhaps we can think of an alternative working in our copious free time. DCDuring TALK 14:56, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
I didn't really like "his or her" but felt we should aspire to ecellence in grammar as well as vocabulary. How about "An erotic dancer who undresses as a form of entertainment; a stripper." That avoids the whole problem (but undresses may introduce slight differences of meaning). RJFJR 17:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Agree that "their" is awful and should be shot on sight; not all usages that merit inclusion are suitable to be followed. I also agree that "his or her" is not ideal, but don't see any alternative... "undresses" by itself leaves the reader in doubt as to who is being undressed. -- Visviva 15:10, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps surpisingly, The Chicago Manual of Style appears to be silent on this issue. --EncycloPetey 05:23, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps we could put the definition under ecdysiasts and make ecdysiast "singular form of ecdysiasts". &;)) DCDuring TALK 16:52, 2 February 2008 (UTC)


Do we have a word for "to remove pips from a fruit"? depip/unpip maybe? --Keene 14:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

For a stone fruit: pit (verb). For others: seed (verb) remove seeds from; a sense we don't have but should. Robert Ullmann 14:29, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The second sense is deseed according to the OED. SemperBlotto 17:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

go, get or come out of tune

Hello, I am a french contributor to the french Wiktionary. I rod in your page out of tune : the violin go out of tune .... I know one can say also to get ... or to come and I would like to know if there is a best practice. A first check on internet did not really help me making up my mind. Could anybody tell me if one form is better than the other ? Thanks in advance, Eric Rogliano

I would always say "it goes out of tune" - Though, possibly things can also "become out of tune". Hope that helps Conrad.Irwin 19:25, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The actual quote he was citing was "Violins go out of tune" (They go out of tune). RJFJR 20:59, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

"The violin is getting/going out of tune" seem OK. "The violin is out of tune". "The violin is coming out of tune" doesn't sound right at all. "The violin is becoming out of tune" also seems OK, but somehow doesn't seem as good, though I can't say why. DCDuring TALK 04:49, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your help ! Eric Rogliano [Talk (on french Wiktionary)] 07 Feb 2008

Nonstandard "i"?

Can anyone post a nonstandard "i"? See User Talk:Language Lover/nonstandard digits to see what I mean. Language Lover 04:31, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

There are some nonstandard "i" characters in the math-related Unicode blocks, but they all have very specific font-requirements and they're in the extended Unicode range (SMP) and have very limited font support. This search finds a lot of them, mostly in the "Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols" block. Mike Dillon 03:37, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Here's another search for the same.msh210 17:45, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


Does the word aphetize exist, at the level necessary for Wiktionary inclusion? I came to the annoying conclusion that it does not, based on b.g.c. hits; however, aphetized certainly does. It appears that it may have an OED entry, however. What would be the optimal way for us to cover this sort of lexicographical singularity? Or are the necessary citations lurking out there somewhere? -- Visviva 08:05, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

No help yet with the cites, but MW3 also has an entry for "aphetize". DCDuring TALK 12:22, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
One cite is available on b.g.c. for "aphetise". DCDuring TALK 12:30, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
All I can see is a dictionary of anagrams and something in German. -- Visviva 01:28, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, thought I saw something more menaingful. My mind must have played a trick on me. wishful thinking DCDuring TALK 01:46, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
The OED does have an entry for aphetize, but its quotations both use the -ed form (one in an ordinary eventive passive construction, and one as a modifier for a following noun, either as a reduced resultative passive, or as a participial adjective). —RuakhTALK 00:26, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmm... well, this is annoying. I mean, this isn't a defective verb in the usual sense; someone could come along and use "aphetizing" in a sentence tomorrow and no one would think twice about it. But because it is so infrequently used, only one form is actually attested. On top of this, it seems that story of this term's entry into the OED might be interesting fodder for a "Dictionary notes" section. So are we better off compromising our principles by having an entry at aphetize (and aphetise), or compromising our comprehensiveness by having none? It's a pity Goedel wasn't a lexicographer... -- Visviva 14:50, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I had a related experience with spectacled. The problem also seems to come up more in the heavily inflected historical languages where there are plenty of unattested forms including the ones usually considered the lemma forms. To a lesser extent the problem even comes up in English for rare plurals, rare comparatives, and, especially, rare superlatives. I would argue for formalizing weaker attestation for inflected forms. Unattested lemma forms are a little tougher, but if past and present participles are attested in English, you would think that should make it much easier to buy off on the infinitive and 3rd p sing. Also, you would think that alternative spellings (UK and US; hyphenated, spaced, and unspaced; u.c. and l.c.) would provide evidence about inflected forms. Unfortunately, none of the generalized rule easings I have in mind would help "aphetize/ise" because there seems to be no use of the infinitive or 3rd p singular or present participle in the convenient media accepted for attestation. That makes it seem more like "spectacled". DCDuring TALK 15:23, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I think spectacled is different; I think it's from the noun spectacles. You can similarly describe someone as long-haired (=“having long hair”), blue-eyed (=“having blue eyes”), and so on. —RuakhTALK 00:14, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but bespectacle, also from the noun, is a fully inflected verb. Anyway, aphetize is not an actual Greek verb derivative. It would seem that it is a back-formation from aphetic which comes from αφητος (aphētos, let loose). DCDuring TALK 00:41, 6 February 2008 (UTC)


give me a word which means a person is interested in a particular field —This unsigned comment was added by Sahaana (talkcontribs).

    • example: "He’s a history buff." (note, I'd take it to imply an ameteur in the field of interest) RJFJR 16:41, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

past of belay

Is the past of belay belaid or belayed? RJFJR 04:30, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

"belayed" "rope" gets 10 times the hits of "belaid" "rope" on b.g.c. DCDuring TALK 11:22, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

cornish pasty

Should this be at Cornish pasty?—msh210 23:04, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

From b.g.c., at best this entry is a much less common alternative spelling. I'd favor moving it and leaving the redirect in place. DCDuring TALK 23:11, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

So moved. Widsith 08:03, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


Is the noun sense of this uncountable? Is the plural vegs or veges? --Keene 12:40, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I always thought it was veggies. -- Visviva 12:42, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
The plural is as in the entry example. Meat and 2 veg. veggies is the plural of veggie BTW. -- Algrif 12:46, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Mutt- adjective or noun

I was wondering, would mutt be an adjective or a noun. Simply stated I think it could be either, for example "Go to bed, mutt" would be a noun, correct? But "I've got a mutt for a dog" would be an adjective.

Help me out here!!!

Those are both nouns. -- Visviva 14:44, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
As our entry for mutt suggests. DCDuring TALK 17:05, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

apple orchard SoP?

Is apple orchard sum-of-parts? (Is it an orchard where you grow apples or apple trees, or is it obvious that that is the same thing?) orchard has a number of links to terms like apple orchard. RJFJR 16:04, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes. It's not idiomatic in the way prime number is said to be, nor in the way fried egg is ssid to be.—msh210 19:13, 7 February 2008 (UTC)



I have just had the word 'Malaysiatic' removed, could anyone explain to me why it has been removed? I am assuming it is because there is only one source for the word & there is a requirement for more than one source over a period of 1 year, is this correct?

(Janebond 09:40, 9 February 2008 (UTC))

Hi. I've left a note concerning this on your talk page. In short, yes, the reason is that the word isn't found in enough printed sources. Atelaes 09:44, 9 February 2008 (UTC)


Does aphidian (member of genus Aphidoidea, like an aphid) meet CFI? RJFJR 00:12, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

google books:aphidian suggests that the noun is usually capitalized as Aphidian, though there are some lowercase noun cites ([2] [3] [4]). It seems that more commonly, the lowercase version is an adjective; I'm not sure whether it's supposed to mean "of, pertaining to, or being an aphid" or "of, pertaining to, or resembling an aphid", or what exactly. (Do I understand your comment correctly as saying that as an adjective it means "like an aphid"? Because in some hits it can mean that, but in most it can't, quite.) —RuakhTALK 00:49, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
(I'm not sure. Looks like both a noun and an adjective. I figured I'd ask before making an entry rather than enter it and immediately send it to rfd.) RJFJR 17:53, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Both a noun and adjective are fine. The OED lists it lowercase - but their only citation uses the Capitalised version (they are not too good at that sort of thing) SemperBlotto 17:57, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Beetroot Red/beetroot red

E162 is a food dye called beetroot red or Beetroot Red. Is it a proper noun that should be listed capitalized Beetroot Red, a common noun beetroot red or should it have entries both capitalized and uncapitalized? RJFJR 17:50, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

  • It is just an ordinary noun, but in the real world it is used both capitalized and uncapitalized. SemperBlotto 08:07, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like that belongs in a usage note. RJFJR 14:18, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

vandal and vandalism

Is Template:en-term a back-formation from Template:en-term, borrowed in turn from Revolutionary French? Or are they both borrowed from the French? Or was "vandal" coined separately, directly from "Vandal"? Rooting around on b.g.c. did not turn up any obvious smoking guns. In any case, I'm fairly sure our etymologies do not tell the whole story; the WP article w:Vandals is currently much more illuminating, but still leaves questions such as this unanswered. -- Visviva 13:13, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

The OED takes it straight from Vandal (A member of a Germanic tribe, which in the fourth and fifth centuries invaded Western Europe, and established settlements in various parts of it, esp. in Gaul and Spain, finally in 428-9 migrating to Northern Africa.); it doesn't even give it a separate entry. In fact, it doesn't even acknowledge that some of its quotations spell it with a lowercase v. :-P —RuakhTALK 01:42, 12 February 2008 (UTC)


This word was added with a ==Lappish== heading. I changed it to ==Lapp==. I have no idea if that is correct, should it be some sort of ==Sami== ? We don't seem to have any words from these languages yet, and no obvious categories or indexes, so it would be good to start how we mean to go on. SemperBlotto 17:03, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm a little concerned that I can't find any backup for this online. I mean, there aren't a lot of online Sami dictionaries, but there are a few, and you'd expect them to have something like this... maybe I'm just missing it? -- Visviva 18:11, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

What is the word?

What is the word that means to be obsessed with sex? -- 01:56, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

A nymphomaniac is a woman who has an abnormal sexual desire. The equivalent to nymphomania in a man is satyriasis. A general term for excessive sexual desire is hypersexual. - [The]DaveRoss 02:07, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
The simple "sex-obsessed" is neutral and fairly common. Circeus 20:13, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
"He's got sex-on-the-brain" is another interesting way to say it. Nympho is short for nymphomaniac and is perhaps the most common name applied to such a person, but usually reserved for a female. For a male, "girl-crazy" might be a euphemism for it if politeness is an issue, but it might need a little emphasis in conversation to get the meaning across. ("He is kinda --girl... crazy-- if ya know what I mean.") -- Thisis0 18:14, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

The Stolen Generation, Proper noun or collective noun?

I'm not sure if my entry, Stolen Generation, (referring to the Australian Aboriginal children taken from their parents in misguided government policies) should be capitalised and considered a proper noun. Media reports seem to be using lower case, as is the newly released official wording of apology. Would it be just a noun, a collective noun perhaps. If both are used, how do we go about linking them. Redirect or references to each other. --Dmol 11:43, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

It is a proper noun. A collective noun could still have a plural, and typically could apply to more than one collection. --EncycloPetey 22:49, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
I just had the pleasure of watching and listening live (via Al-Jazeera) to Kevin Rudd deliver the apology before the 26th Parliament. He used the term "stolen generations" (plural), since it started ~1910 and continued into the 1970s. (!). He did say "stolen generation" once. Since this was in Parliament, it should appear in whatever the Aussie equivalent of Hansard is, and we will have another (and authoritative) print source presently.
(If I may take the liberty of adding a comment: Hon. Kevin Rudd was very impressive. Completely sincere and direct. Not like the cartoons from the U.S. Ahem.) Robert Ullmann 00:46, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that. It sounds as if there is both a "singular" form and a "plural" form in use. I still maintain that context and referent indicate this should be a proper noun, albeit one that can appear with or without the final "s". Note that whether you use the "singular" or "plural", it still refers to the same thing! That is, the plural is more a collective form than a plural form. --EncycloPetey 02:44, 13 February 2008 (UTC)


We don't seem to have an entry for this adjective (or even the noun twentieth century). Is there a reason for this, or has nobody gotten around to these words yet? (I have just added the Italian adjective novecentesco - but am awaiting confirmation from an Italian before adding any more) SemperBlotto 17:14, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

...um... [5] ... you tell me? :-) -- Visviva 17:53, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Well OK - I have now restored 21st century (even though we haven't got 21st yet. SemperBlotto 18:01, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Actually, personally I'm rather sympathetic to your grounds for deletion there ("not dictionary material") ... but then again these do have some interesting quasi-lexicographical things that we can say about them (e.g. the whole 1900-2000 vs. 1901-2001 thing, and I believe some historians have a different way of marking off centuries -- running the 19th from Elba to WWI, for example). So I'd say real centuries are probably sort of OK, in the same way that entries like France are, but something like 35th-century is still not the kind of content we want to have around. -- Visviva 18:09, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Bad singing similes?

I'm looking for a few good existing similes for poor singing to add to chanter comme une casserole. The only thing remotely close I have been able to find so far was to be unable to carry a tune in a bucket. Circeus 20:31, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Witness the multitude of variations when searching Google for "carry a tune if it was" (...strapped to my back; velcroed to my chest; in the back of an SUV; hung on one of his gold medallions...). I guess this outpouring of imagination means the American public is apparently in desperate want for an idiom as good as the French one to fill the void of that lexical sentiment. -- Thisis0 08:05, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Although not always associated with singing, don't give up your day job could apply.--Dmol 20:38, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Sing like a drowning/dying cat? Or words to that extent... people generally seem to compare bad singing with a cat in a bad predicament, anyway. --Keene 00:41, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

A search on "sing like a", excluding various words, reveals "sing like a canary", but this does not of course mean to sing well but rather to inform on a criminal. "Sing like a bird" is sometimes used to mean "sing well", but I'm not sure whether it's idiomatic. Refining the search to "sing like a" +badly -star -canary -bird, I get various similes made up for the nonce, but nothing stands out as the simile to use. I suspect there isn't one, and that the best translations are those already given. — Paul G 21:48, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

"Hey, you should sing solo."   "Really?"   "Yea, so low no one can hear ya!"
"No, but really. You should sing tenor."   "You think so?"   "Yea, ten or eleven miles away!" -- Thisis0 01:24, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

لبن and Arabic and Semitic words for milk

In our English article milk, the only Arabic translation we have is لبن (laban), which I guess is the standard Arabic word. Years ago when in Morocco I remember the word for milk sounding like hlib or hleeb. I know many Moroccan Arabic terms come from Berber languages but I notice that the Maltese word ħalib and even the Hebrew word חָלָב (khaláv) are obvious cognates. Since many Maltese words are from Arabic this makes me which dialects of Arabic they are mostly from and what the etymologies and relationships are between these various words. — hippietrail 08:03, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

A bit of googling has taught me that the word I'm looking for is حليب and that it is interchangeable with لبن in some countries, whereas other countries use only one and the other term may mean yoghurt. It would be nice to get it all sorted out. — hippietrail 08:28, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I can't help with sorting it out except to say that Israel has a dairy product on the market called "leben" which is like a thin yogurt and whose name sounds to my ears like it derives from Arabic (though that's just the way it sounds to my ears and I may be completely wrong).—msh210 22:18, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
You're quite right. (Incidentally, Arabic laban is cognate with Hebrew lavan. It's not hard to see why. :-) —RuakhTALK 03:50, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
One of those interchangeable Arabic words you have cited looks to me like the Arabic word "Labneh" which is a dairy product. In fact, it is also a yogurt. It is a strained yogurt that has a thick texture, much like paste, that is called "Labneh". The name is derived from Arabic. My knowledge is limited except to tell you that my husband is Lebanese and Syrian and both sides of his family ate it all the time. I find it in recipe books from both countries. You can read about it in the Wikipedia project, a free encyclopedia. I like to eat "Labneh" as part of a "Lutmeh" or finger food. I am fairly certain that "Lutmeh" is of Arabic origin but I am very unsure of the spelling. I am positive of its meaning and positive that "Labneh" when smeared on bits of pocket bread is the base to a great "Lutmeh". You just add your choice of honey, grape jelly (my favorite), salsa and a small chunk of avocado (my texas version), just about anything and enjoy. - dbtxexe, July 02, 2008

true love

What do you think of true love? I've been trying to define it almost since my day 1, and figured the day before Valentine's is a good time for it. --Keene 12:52, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

"What do you think of true love? I've been trying to define it almost since my day 1"
1) *dies laughing*
2) Dude, haven't they been trying for the last 1000 and so years? Circeus 13:50, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Should definitely have the noun sense ("I never had but one true love..."), also spelled truelove and true-love. A few choice quotes from through the ages would be nice too. -- Visviva 13:53, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Lol, maybe I was a bit too ambitious with this one. Does anyone have the pope's number, maybe he's got a short version of his encyclical. Maybe he's got a Wiktionary or Wikipedia account? Hey, if I were a pope I'd definitely have an account here. --Keene 18:12, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, fortunately we don't have to define what it really means; we just need to define how it's used. Which ought to be a manageable task even for ordinary mortals like ourselves. -- Visviva 16:55, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't think any definition is going to be correct without ...that is considered... in there somewhere. DAVilla 23:40, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I think the usage of the phrase can be summarized as follows:
(noun context) "True love is a rare and wondrous thing." Implies lasting interpersonal attraction wherein the physical aspects (lust) are complemented by other, more esoteric aspects of attraction and commitment
(verb context) "Yeah, he was true-loving her and sure enough, got into her knickers." Means he falsely claimed to truly love her in a crass ploy to bed her. Oink.

HoggyDog 10:17, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Etymology of "patrimonium"

User:Imz posted the following question at Talk:patrimony#What is the Latin word derived from?:

I wonder whether it is true that Latin patrimonium is derived from Latin pater `father' and Greek nomos `law, custom', as written in the Portuguese Wikipedia -- w:pt:Patrimônio:
A palavra patrimônio contém dois vocábulos: "pater" e "nomos". "Pater" significa, etimologicamente, o chefe de família e, em um sentido mais amplo, os nossos antepassados. Vincula-se, portanto, aos bens, ou heranças por eles deixados e que podem ser de ordem material ou imaterial. "Nomos" significa, em grego, lei, usos e costumes relacionados à origem, tanto de uma família quanto de uma cidade.
The second part looks doubtful.--Imz 22:22, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Rod (A. Smith) 17:19, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

A derivation from pater + -monium, related to testimony, matrimony et al., seems much more plausible. -- Visviva 17:37, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the monium part does not seem to be from Greek, although I will do some investigation to see if Greek perhaps has a cognate suffix. If it were from νόμος, it would be patrinomia, not patrimonia. Atelaes 19:09, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I've determined that the -monium is from -mōnium, a Latin suffix which seems to denote state or condition. I wasn't able to find enough information on the suffix to write an article on it. However, it is certainly not from Greek. Atelaes 23:51, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Latin -monium represents an extended ablaut-variant of the more common Latin ending -men (as in acumen, nomen etc.). The Ancient Greek equivalent is -μα (-ma). They both represent an Indo-European suffix used to form nouns from verbs, the English cognate being the common suffix -ment (although we got it from French). Widsith 10:20, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
In Old English one could still clearly see Germanic cognate of PIE *-men for forming abstract nouns in terms such as lēoman. Also interesting to note is that some nouns ending -mony do originate from Ancient Greek but via Latin -monium/-monia (either directly or analogically), such as ἡγεμονία (hēgemonía) and Ἁρμονία (Harmonía). --Ivan Štambuk 14:28, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

A term for names with a hyphen

What is the best English term for these: Anne-Marie, Jan-Erik, Veli-Matti? German Doppelname, Swedish dubbelnamn, Finnish kaksoisnimi.--Makaokalani 14:17, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Maybe w:Double-barrelled name? --Ivan Štambuk 14:19, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
I think "double-barreled" usually refers to a family name (surname) only.—msh210 20:20, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
The translations above can also refer to surnames, but double-barreled sounds a bit...heavy for given names. Anne-Marie is treated as one name in many languages, she cannot legally sign herself as Anne. I was hoping for something to separate it from a "conjoined names" like English Mary Ann. Does a "hyphenated name" sound sensible to native English speakers, or would it make you think of E-li-za-beth?--Makaokalani 10:54, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, I wouldn't think of a hyphenated version of a one-word name, so it might be good enough. Five syllables seems like a lot for the concept. We do have two-part given names (especially nicknames) that are spoken as if they were hyphenated or even a single word, but are spelled without a hyphen, e.g., "Billy Bob". And we have the long practice of combining two-part names into single names ("Mary Ann(e)" > Marian, Marianne). Therefore, I think "hyphenated" might be best, as it draws attention to the orthography, which would be useful to help an English-speaker (especially, US) to understand a such a name when heard (divide into parts) and to write it (with hyphen). DCDuring TALK 12:58, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Isn't the usual term compound given name or compound first name? Lmaltier 17:04, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
For precision "compound given name" seems to be best, based on the 13 b.g.c. hits, almost all of which refer to what we are discussing. The hits are mostly from librarians books about cataloging (AACR, etc.). "Compound first name" generated none. "Hyphenated name" generates many hits but seems to mostly refer to last names. "Hyphenated given name" generated one hit. DCDuring TALK 17:19, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


I've known this all my life as a misspelling of "incivil" just as dictionary.com & AHD suggest. Yet the Firefox spellchecker indicates the exact opposite, as does MS word. I'll try some timeline comparisons in a moment. Is there anyone here who thinks "uncivil" is valid? If so, please explain why. --Connel MacKenzie 17:16, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I do. Because it's used a lot. I've added cites from British and US newspapers to the page. incivil on the other hand seems to be obsolete, or at least I can't find any mdoern quotes for it. Sorry for jumping the gun by the way, I started editing the page before I realised you'd started this discussion. Widsith 17:21, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
No prob (I saw that, and scratched my head - this is no RFV - clearly both forms see modern use.) [6] vs. [7] looks quite a bit different from [8] vs. [9]. I think dictionary.com has it right, while Encarta is out to lunch. That is both "uncivil" and "uncivility" are general misspellings of "incivil" and "incivility", respectively. Note also that "uncivility" seems to be proscribed much more strongly than "uncivil." --Connel MacKenzie 17:48, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
It also seems more than a little weird that "uncivil" and "uncivility" usages (in the timelines) correspond so closely to the advent of spellcheckers - another case of Microsoft erroneous prescription/broken "autocorrect"? --Connel MacKenzie 17:51, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Erm...those links seem to support the fact that uncivil is much more common than incivil. Most of the links for incivil are either very old or in Spanish. Also consider that uncivil gets 835,000 hits compared to just 74,200 for incivil (most of which seem to be dictionary sites or, again, in Spanish..). Widsith 17:56, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
But you're right about the other bit - when it comes to the nouns, incivility is still v common. Weird.. Widsith 18:02, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Very interesting - the OED supports that interpretation as well. It accepts incivility and uncivil, but calls incivil obsolete and uncivility rare. Unusual cituation, where the noun and adjective have somewhat different forms. Widsith 18:04, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
FWIW, I think the really interesting ones like this, are one of the neatest things about en.wiktionary.org. --Connel MacKenzie 18:12, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Now that's weird. I used the "news.g.c" search to restrict by region & language, but that one didn't paste here correctly. Yes, very weird that "uncivil" only appears on the radar at the same time modern spellcheckers do (presumably after being proscribed for centuries, along with "uncivility.") Let me see if I can at least spell out the steps I did to narrow the searches. (Well, others please toss in your two cents, meanwhile.) --Connel MacKenzie 18:09, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
The Webster's 1913 dictionary (!) lists "incivil" and "uncivility" as obsolete, in deference to "uncivil" and "incivility." But still no explanation, as to why. --Connel MacKenzie 19:53, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps by analogy with unstable and instability? :-) —RuakhTALK 23:50, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

What does "fall off the reservation" mean?

I'm hearing this term used more frequently around the office and I would like to know what it means and where it originated.

What does "fall off the reservation" mean?

To stray from the straight and narrow; to break with the party line. This appears to be a recent corruption of go off the reservation, a term with a fairly long pedigree in American politics. -- Visviva 15:05, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Probably also influenced by fall off the wagon, come to think of it. -- Visviva 16:53, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
But the phrase doen not have much usage in printed works. It is an awkward expression with a clash between the metaphors in the words. The image is of a reservation on a plateau, bounded by steep canyons. It does add the idea of "accident" as opposed to mistaken or careless "stray/wander/roam from/off/away from" or of a "fall from favor". DCDuring TALK 13:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

browned off

An anonymous editor has suggested at Talk:browned off that the term actually means "bored". I don't know anything about it, personally, but figured it warranted tea. —RuakhTALK 05:51, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

The description currently in this entry is correct AFAIK. I would use it to mean annoyed as well as bored, depending the situation. -- Algrif 17:56, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree, it's accurate as far as I have ever heard it.--Dmol 18:19, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Surely you should say it's dated -Paul W

Hidden in plain sight

Is there an adjective meaning "hidden in plain sight" or a verb meaning "to hide in plain sight"? The concept is hardly unfamiliar and it strikes me that there ought to be a word for it. 18:47, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, as you know, we do have a term for it: "hidden in plain sight"; I don't see why it would need a one-word synonym. There are much more common multi-word expressions, like "scrambled eggs". However, there are some other terms with similar meanings, like "right under our noses", "camouflaged", and "incognito"; as you can see, some of them are one-word, some not. —RuakhTALK 19:19, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
overlooked might do nicely. Robert Ullmann 13:36, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Overlooked, IMHO, implies an actual search for (and failure to find) the hidden-in-plain-sight object (pls. see the first half of def. 5). Hidden, on the other hand, in plain sight or not, implies no such search. Not everything hidden is necessarily ever searched for, or even known about by any other than the hider. Something can be hidden and remain so for years, eons etc. with no one looking for it. My sense is that one must be looking for (searching for, seeking, etc.) something in order to overlook it. HoggyDog 10:35, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree; do you think that the Mark Ames quoted at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5442/is_199809/ai_n21429262 was suggesting that people were looking for Pembroke but failing to find it due to its lack of commuter service? I think he was essentially saying that Pembroke's worth was missed, hidden in plain sight as it were, because people only noticed towns with one specific feature that Pembroke lacked. (Googling pulls up tons of hits like this, BTW; I pretty much chose one at random.) —RuakhTALK 13:35, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Transcription help

We have several Scottish Gaelic entries that are copied from the public-domain An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language. It's ascii only so there's some funny typographic conventions, one of which I'm not sure how to represent in unicode. They use "@g" to represent "a curly lower case `g', distinct from an ordinary `g'". It appears in the Etymology section of gràdh transcribing an Early Irish term, uasal for a Gaulish one, and on brìgh from some Indo-European terms. What symbol should we replace it with assuming we don't want to leave "@g"? On gràdh I replaced it with a normal 'g', not sure if that's correct. Thanks --Bequw¢τ 19:37, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

And just to confirm they use "@n" for a "semi-circle like inverted breve above preceding letter (Greek)" which after consulting w:Greek diacritics I transcribed as a circumflex. Seem right? --Bequw¢τ 19:41, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Your best bet for the spelling of words in other languages is to simply drop a {{rfscript|script|Spelling check}} on the page, and have someone who knows the language check it. We now have someone who is able to check the spelling on nearly every language commonly used in PIE etymologies. Often these goofy ASCII schemes don't reliably encode the spellings, even if you learn how to decode them properly. Atelaes 20:25, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. --Bequw¢τ 18:38, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Etymons of dictionaries compiled at the end of 19th century should be regarded as at least a bit suspicious nowadays. I suggest checking first all the cognates (and possible "cognates") against some other Celtic etymological dictionary (like freely avilable Matasović's at IEED project), and dumping all of suspicious content at the talk page. --Ivan Štambuk 21:55, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
The "curly-tailed n" possibly refer to a palatal nasal /ɲ/. Circeus 23:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
The "curly lower case `g" sounds like insular G (ᵹ) which used to be used in Irish linguistics (in otherwise noninsular text) and so is encoded at U+1D79. I'm not at all sure if that's correct in this case, but it's what came to mind. --Wytukaze 01:40, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Wanted words

The words ibreve, pinquid, luridess, and inbort are all on Wiktionary:project-wanted-articles now, but they all appear to me to be errors.

  • ibreve: the HTML code for the letter ĭ (LATIN SMALL LETTER I WITH BREVE, U+012D), and frequently appears in internet searches where the letter ĭ was intended (this might explain why it's on the Gutenberg lists)
  • pinquid: seems to be an error for pinguid "fat, greasy".
  • luridess: seems to be an error for luridness.
  • inbort: appears on the net as an error for import (found reference to "inbort and exbort" in a computer-related discussion) and an error for Swedish inbrott "break-in".

Does anyone have access to a huge English paper dictionary to double-check these? All of these might still be legitimate words (or misspellings/errors worthy of note) – Krun 23:15, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I added the last three, all are from a book which I was reading at the time. None are typos (of mine) and I can provide cites, they may be typos in the book, but I doubt all three are. - [The]DaveRoss 23:32, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
None of them are in MW3. Dave, I actually wouldn't be surprised if all three were typos in the same book, especially if that book was published recently. Some of the recent books I've read in the past few years have included an appalling number of obvious and embarrassing typographical errors. --EncycloPetey 05:28, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
None come up in OED online either. Atelaes 06:22, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and of course intumnescent (probably meant to be intumescent). – Krun 08:21, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, I did find inbort in one book on Google Books; "And the Ass Saw the Angel" by Nick Cave (pub. 2003); the rest of the hits were misscans, mostly from German books. – Krun 08:28, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I think it'd be ok to remove these words from the wanted articles, even if it might bring the wrath of TDR upon us. Atelaes 08:44, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
The claim I made about them not being typos is mostly because of the vocabulary of the book, there was at least one word per page which I scratched my head over, and there was a fair amount of dialect related spellings which I tried to avoid adding here. I'll skim through the book this evening and add quotations to add context and we can see what comes of it. - [The]DaveRoss 21:57, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Nbsp falls in the same group as the first. How likely is a person to run across these? It's an international standard, but are they something we'd want just because of that? DAVilla 23:27, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I would recommend making a Medical wikitionary project

Medical dictionary would be great to have as free open source dictionary. I think it is a valid project if anyone is up for the challenge. I also think there should be a way to only search specific dictionaries - like only search the medical wikitionary.

You can look at Category:Medicine as a start, but we don't have any way to limit searches to a particular part of the category tree. I think this would actually be a generally useful addition to the MediaWiki software and I think it would be reasonably straightforward to implement. Mike Dillon 05:17, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

an army of frogs

Today's Metro claims that the collective noun for frogs is an army. Does anyone have any evidence of this? It is not in Appendix:Animals, nor is this sense of "army" given in Wiktionary or in the OED. Is it one of those words like "a sleuth of bears" and "a murder of crows" that is not found only in lists of such words and is not used by zoologists? The animals appendix has "froggery", which is given in the OED but means "frogs collectively" rather than "a ground of frogs". — Paul G 21:40, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

OED's "Ask the Experts" does make this claim (link to page about collective nouns for groups of animals), but the full text OED doesn't list it at 'army', 'army of frogs' or 'frog'. OED does have 'froggery' as An assemblage of frogs, frogs collectively, and some citations for said definition. - [The]DaveRoss 21:53, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
The 200+ raw b.g.c. hits for "army-of-frogs" suggests some basis for this. It seems to be based on versions of the Exodus story. But in many of those tellings there are other "armies", such as of locusts. There alsi seems to be some Roman letters that refer to the frogs that someone hears in the country as an "army". It seems a little bit more linguistically authentic than the Victorian coinages like a "crash of rhinoceroses". DCDuring TALK 23:06, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Anglo- or anglo- related terms

The Anglo- and/or anglo- page(s) would greatly benefit from a large list of related terms that start with either "Anglo-" or "anglo-". For example, if I am looking for a legal term that means influenced by English law and the historic development of English law (as opposed to Napoleonic Code or Germanic law or Roman law, etc.). I don't think the word is anglospheric, nor anglocentric, etc., but I'm unsure what the word is, even though I have previously run into it in legal and social science journal articles. Does anyone else think a related terms section to Anglo- might be helpful, or know how to find a list we could appropriate? N2e 01:29, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

If you go to the main page and click on the relevant letter (in this case either capital or lower case "A") then you can fill in the "Display pages with prefix:" box with "Anglo" and click "go". But if you want to start an appendix, go ahead. -- Algrif 17:34, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Some prefixes already have such lists (these will be derived terms, by the way - related terms in Wiktionary would be words like "Angle" and "English", which don't come from "Anglo-" but are still etymologically connected to it); for examples, see chloro-, which has a pretty comprehensive list for terms derived from the chemical sense, and mega-, which is not as thorough and could do with clean-up, actually. However, they take time to compile and enter, and clearly no one has had a go at Anglo- yet. To compile a list, I'd advise browsing a few large dictionaries, and doing a search on "anglo*" in onelook. Not everything listed there is good to go into Wiktionary, however - each result will need to be assessed against our criteria for inclusion. — Paul G 21:44, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Tuples for 20 and 1,000

What are the words (adjectives and nouns), similar to centuple or octuple, to describe something 20 and 1,000 times as large? (vigecuplo and millecuplo in Italian) SemperBlotto 09:42, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I think vigintuple exists for 20x. Not exactly common though. Widsith 09:56, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Twentyfold (also hyphenated: twenty-fold) and thousandfold exist. —RuakhTALK 13:01, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
See also -fold. RJFJR 14:10, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
FYI, the general term for these appears to be "multiplicative adjective", at least in the grammars I have that specifically mention them. --EncycloPetey 02:40, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Word for zoo info thingy

Does anyone know a proper word for the standalone information stands that reside in front of zoo and museum exhibits, giving relevant, encyclopedic, or interesting information about the subject? They are usually strongly built with durable plastic and bolts, and the flat surface bearing the information is usually tilted for view not unlike a music stand. They are also found on nature trails, at historical landmarks, and around tourist-heavy places like Lake Tahoe. I feel like there is some erudite word for these info-bearers, but all of my usual Google powers are apparently useless on this one. Anyone know a stuffy word for the plastic version of a museum docent? -- Thisis0 18:02, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

You don't mean kiosk or information display. There is some word that I've heard teacher's use about these things. I don't think there are vendors who sell them. They might appear in some manual for governmental parks service personnel. DCDuring TALK 19:14, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I would call them "interpretive signs" [10]. -- Visviva 13:13, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Wow. good work. If anyone has another esoteric word for these, please slap it down. -- Thisis0 17:06, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Visitor's information board. (??) (How prosaic can U get? :-)) -- Algrif 17:28, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Visviva. "Interpretive sign" is the teacher's phrase I was looking for. DCDuring TALK 18:49, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, he done good with that. Google powers aplenty! Maybe there's a French or other foreign borrowed word tossed around for these. -- Thisis0 19:37, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Though "information display" is adequate to convey the idea of the physical structure, I wonder whether there isn't a word or shorter (4-5 syllables) phrase that describes the physical types of these sign structure: those on posts, those with a roof, etc. DCDuring TALK 20:46, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I swear there has to be a borrowed word, something like "dossier" or "paquebot" or something. If there was anywhere to throw up this flag, it's here. If there is no such word, it was a fun wild goose chase anyway. -- Thisis0 04:02, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
As a French speaker, I can tell you the name is actually something similar, namely "panneau d'interprétation" (lit. "interpretation panels") Circeus 04:20, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Also interpretive panel, or didactic panel, collectively interpretive signage. A sign in the lobby or between exhibits is an example of wayfinding (way-finding) signage.

The smaller sign next to a painting in a gallery is usually called a label, and the text on it is label copy. Not quite the same thing, but there is some overlap. —Michael Z. 01:15, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

I've always known the originally described objects as "information boards" or "information panels", although if one of them contains a map it is a "map board" and never a "map panel". Thryduulf 01:33, 26 March 2008 (UTC)


We don't have the sense used in the phrase "satellite office". I'm not sure of the definition, or even of the part of speech.—msh210 18:17, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

now we do. -- Thisis0 20:12, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks!—msh210 21:14, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Good question. It's sort of a development of sense 3, and is usually found as an attribute use, but not always (you can't use "satellite" for "satellite office", but you can for "satellite country"). Circeus 19:08, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, consarnit, I'm not quite done with this 'un, I reckon. The entry currently has an "Adjective" PoS header, which lists what is actually attributive use of the noun in constructs like "satellite TV". In truth, this thread started with a wish to define a similar attributive use ("satellite office"). Neither of these are in fact adjectives. The author of this thread was confused as to part-of-speech because of this phenomenon, being a noun masquerading in adjective territory. This topic has been touched on recently here and here. There is continual confusion about this, even outside of Wiktionary. There seems to be consensus here that these are not adjectives at all, but noun adjuncts, forming a compund noun phrase, however, uncertainty remains as to how to address individual entries. At satellite, I was about to decisively expunge the entire Adjective section, but noticed the translation section and thought I would come here for comment first. In truth, the differences in the translations for the "Adjective" section actually reinforce the concept that this is not an adjective. Particularly the Swedish and Japanese are merely "attributive forms" (i think) and would form larger one-word noun phrases. Anyway, any thoughts on how to handle this and other noun adjuncts currently listed as Adjectives? -- Thisis0 00:54, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I have long felt that we need to loosen the straitjacket a little. POS needs to accomodate the nouns and participals that masquerade as adjectives. What POS to use, though? "Attributive adjective" comes to mind. Any better ideas? (I'm sure there are!) Why! We could even end up with a nice category section full of these words. :-) -- Algrif 17:21, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I think the thing is, that most if not all nouns can and will be used in an attributive sense. I feel it's been determined (and is obvious) that we don't need to mention all of them in this way. However, those with "clearly widespread" attributive use, to the degree of "satellite TV", "chicken soup", "dairy cow", etc. might bear mention in this regard. It is these several that currently have Adjective sections that comprise the question here. The problem is, where to draw the line for "common attributive use bordering on adjective". CFI won't cut it, because it would be easy to find three good cites of most any noun used in an attributive function. Any thoughts on how do define the criteria for such a mention, whatever the eventual format? -- Thisis0 19:32, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
At the very least, those that are spelled differently when used attributively need their own entries. I'm thinking specifically of those that have spaces normally but hyphens when used attributively.—msh210 21:02, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
This is already done, see for example back-alley and back alley. -- Visviva 01:26, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
A templated usage note, perhaps with a link to an Appendix on attributive use of nouns, might be the best thing. Since, as noted by Thisis0, this is applicable to almost all nouns, the usage note could be placed in any entry where it would add value. This would free us from having to decide which nouns are "attributive enough" to merit a full Adjective section. -- Visviva 01:26, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Cool. I'm in. What would it say?...
  • The noun PAGENAME is frequently used with an attributive function in constructs like {{{1}}}, if:{{{2}}} and {{{3}}}. While appearing to function as an adjective, this is instead referred to as a noun adjunct, which does not function exactly the same way as an adjective. See Appendix:Attributive Nouns." -- Thisis0 03:54, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Couldn't this be stated more succinctly as {{context|usually|attributive}}? DAVilla 23:28, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Cause who the heck knows what that means. Current widespread confusion remains intact. -- Thisis0 00:07, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
But since this is a regular feature of almost all English nouns, why does this particular property of nouns deserve a special templated Usage note? Would we mention any of the myriad other properties of nouns in this template? Why not just reserve it to an Appendix:English nouns with a section on attributive use? --EncycloPetey 09:41, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Mostly because it is a perennial source of confusion, much more so than most other noun properties; also, unless a standard link to Appendix:English nouns were somehow inserted into every English noun entry, it is unlikely that casual users/editors would even be aware that such a section existed. -- Visviva 05:05, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be useful to link all words to their respective grammar pages, but that would require a drastic change in Wiktionary format, and so it should be discussed as a wide scale change on the Beer Parlour, not in the Tea Room entry for this page. This entry should be formatted as current policy dictates, and not with a template implying some unique property of this word, which is in fact common to most English nouns. Perhaps it should also be mentioned that (at least at current), we are a dictionary, not a grammar. This is not to say that incorporating features of a grammar into Wiktionary would be a bad thing (admittedly, we already a have a sparse sprinkling of such elements), simply that the current state things is us being a dictionary. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 05:35, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
I find this simply baffling. Do we not have ====Usage notes==== sections precisely in order to provide users with information on confusing or poorly-understood aspects of word usage? Is the project not currently awash in evidence that the attributive use of nouns is confusing and poorly understood, not only for casual contributors but even for experienced editors? Why would adding a templated usage note (to entries where Adjective sections have been inappropriately added or proposed) require a special discussion? If it needs to be done, let's do it. Or is there some way in which this could actually cause harm? -- Visviva 05:52, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I will make the concession that such a template would be better than an incorrect adjective sense. My main point, however, is that, if most English nouns can participate in such a usage, then it is misleading to only put the template on certain nouns and not others, as this would imply that these particular words can use this construction and not others. The point is consistency. Usage notes should be used to give information which is specific to a word. Information which applies to most words of a given class should be put in some sort of grammar, be that an appendix or whatever. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 06:34, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
In the rough templated text I wrote, the red-linked noun adjunct page, as well as the Appendix:Attributive nouns (or whatever the name) would explicitly and clearly state that such is a common feature of all nouns, and that certain nouns (in the category) are used rather commonly in an attributive function. Does this allay your fear of blatantly giving the users information? -- Thisis0 06:59, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Re: "if most English nouns can participate in such a usage, then it is misleading to only put the template on certain nouns and not others, as this would imply that these particular words can use this construction and not others": I agree. I think the solution is for the template itself to make this clear: "Like most English nouns, this noun is frequently used attributively, in such constructions as …". —RuakhTALK 13:21, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, having the template itself state that this is a normal property of nouns is an excellent idea. However, I maintain my position that such information is not appropriate. Ultimately, it is not simply a matter of whether information is good or accurate or not. It is also a matter of relevance, feasibility, and appropriateness. I don't think it feasible to put all good and useful information about a word on every entry. We should thus restrict ourselves to sticking with dictionary information which is specific to a word. That said, I will not hinder the implementation of this template, but I'd like to be on record saying I think this a bad idea, in the long term. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 18:51, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
This is not, as you have characterized it, just another bit of useful information about a word, but rather this is an attempt to clarify what is basically another 'part of speech' for words that use this function very commonly (chicken soup, car park, satellite radio). This is not, as you characterize it, a bit of trivia, but rather a fix for many entries that currently have erroneous Adjective sections at this very moment. This is indeed dictionary material, for it is an attempt to explain this unique "part of speech" that hovers between noun and adjective, but is barely either. I would also submit that many 'Usage notes' sections across this project have much more trivial, but relevant, information than we propose here. This information, though, is indeed not as trivial in the slightest. An effort to communicate this information is also gilded by the current confusion surrounding this issue in the language community. -- Thisis0 19:49, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
My point is not that the information is trivial, as I don't believe it to be. My point is that we have a limited scope of the type of information we include in entries (which is necessary). While Wiktionary is not paper, and we are not limited in space like conventional dictionaries, bogging down entries with information will lead to difficult to read entries. There are all sorts of information which applies to most/all nouns which we currently do not include (such as what a definite/indefinite article does, where a noun fits into sentence, etc.). This is all important information, and there is much about English nouns that even English speakers get confused about, however, I don't think it a good idea to include all of that in every noun entry. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 20:19, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
I feel this has also been mischaracterized in this thread as a grammar issue. The other pieces of information you mention are indeed grammar topics "(such as what a definite/indefinite article does, where a noun fits into sentence, etc.)", because they have to do with how you use the word in direct relation with other types of words and larger syntax rules. True, it's a fine line, but this information is relevant to deciphering the actual 'part of speech' of a word, directly affecting the way it is defined. You can't ignore that this very information is already in many many entries, albeit falsely (as Adjective sections). This proposal purports not to add, but properly convey information already presented. It should be used wherever useful, and removed where excessive. Fearing an imaginary slippery slope of cruft that will "bog down entries" is also no reason to hesitate in taking action. -- Thisis0 22:15, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Again, I will say that the use of this template is distinctly better than a false adjective sense of a word. However, in my opinion, the best action would be to simply remove the sections altogether, and write a bit in Appendix:English grammar/Nouns about how nouns can be used attributively, and then refer the writer of the adjective section (as well as anyone who complains of the removal) to that. However, I'm not going to stop you from putting in the template, if for no other reason than the simple fact that I'm not going to bluify Appendix:English grammar/Nouns#Attributive use. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:54, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
In my formative years on Wiktionary (uhh... several months ago...) I was taught pointedly that we do not ignore information. In your desired plan, the original contributor who started this thread would have been told "Sorry, we don't list that type of definition. Please go look at some hidden appedix to try and make sense of your confusion." -- Thisis0 00:41, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I guess you're right. People have all kinds of mistaken notions about grammar and parts of speech, and loading tons of grammar info into every single entry probably isn't going to help with that. This case we can actually handle pretty decently already, by including attributive-use example sentences, listing fixed-expression compounds (if any) as derived terms, and so on. —RuakhTALK 03:27, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Why is it that we can't have situation specific warnings for contributors? Something like a warning that pops up when they would try to enter an adjective PoS under the same etymology as a noun. If a non-contributing user doesn't see an adjective PoS, do we think that they wouldn't look at the noun senses for meanings ? Also why is it that we can't we have some grammar links in the PoS headers (no additional screen space required!!!) ? Is it really going to make our entries read better if we have two (or three) usage examples for every sense of our nouns ? DCDuring TALK 04:12, 26 February 2008 (UTC)


What is the spelling of the word pronounced ˈamə ("ahma"), meaning "I will"? See for example google:"i'ma run", "imma run", and "i'm a run". (But maybe there's some other spelling that has more results than those. And of course those results are not all for this sense.)—msh210 18:28, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Not knowing exactly how it would be spelled... I am pretty sure it is a contraction of a contraction, and rather than meaning I will it means I am going to. Construction (or demolition) going something along the lines of I'm going to -> I'm gonna -> I'm'a, with the last being a guess at how it should be made, maybe. - [The]DaveRoss 21:33, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
are you talking about what it means or how it arose? Any but the most subtle and contingent distinction in meaning between I will and I am going to would be of interest to me!
--User:Jerzy·t 04:23, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
Strong gut feeling that "I'ma" is best; no evidence, but the other alternatives just seem wrong, or rather unnatural. I had always assumed the origin was from "I'm a-gonna," but have no evidence for that either. -- Visviva 16:18, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Google Books supports I'ma. DAVilla 23:31, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Google Books supports lots of things.—msh210 18:33, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
And note that some of the Google results for I'ma are actually I'm a.—msh210 19:02, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Interesting, and probably demands more attention to historical dialect studies (if you're up for w:WP:OR), to see the earlier steps. I remember, in the Indianapolis ghetto, being mystified by both the utterance "You fin go home?" and about the first 2 responses to my "I don't understand what you mean." The more standard English version is "Are you fixing to go home?"
But FWIW in the meantime, i feel like i've heard, in songs, "I'm a-gonna" and "I'm a-walkin'". These remind me more of "all a-flutter", "ashore" (and "asea"?), and "astir" (does that have to be "all astir"?), than of truncations of "gonna".
On the other hand, it seems to me that one hazard here is of ruling out hidden redundancies like "orchard" (where each syllable has taken its own path from the PIE root that also gave us "horticulture"). I guess the French "ne ... pas" is a frank redundancy (a double negative in standard usage that denies the old saw that a double negative is a positive), and i think you have to be open to the possibility that "I'm a-gonna" intensifies either the futurity or the determination of "gonna", by prefixing "gonna" with an "a-" that (if the speaker only knew the etymology) represents nothing more or less than the tone of futurity and/or determination of "gonna", but has shorted "gonna" to its last syllable.
--User:Jerzy·t 04:23, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, the "a-verbing" construction has been around for a very long time, and this seems likely to be derived from it in some way. Note that "a gwine to [verb]" appears in depictions (caricatures?) of AAVE at least as far back as Uncle Tom's Cabin [11]. Drop the gwine to/gonna from that construction, and you have the present form.
-- Visviva 04:39, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure why the public-radio discussion of "Woody Guthrie - Live Wire" put me onto his song "Mail Myself to You", but in any case it's at least a cautionary tale re research on this. My own memory -- surely based mainly (i.e. maybe i heard i live when he appeared live with Arlo and and César Chávez) on the Seegar recording of it on the album We Shall Overcome -- has, as with the version on the #10 G-hit from
about 620 for "mail myself to you" a-gonna.
"I'm a-gonna" repeating at every opportunity, and also uses "off-a" and "outa". But per
about 11,900 for "mail myself to you" -"a-gonna"
"a-gonna"-free transcriptions seem to outnumber them 20:1. So beware of reporting bias twd suppression of the non-standard English.
--User:Jerzy·t 16:34, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Spanish template needed

contravenir (and some other verbs) are trying to use a conjugation template from Spanish wiktionary. Someone needs to copy it across, and translate it as needed. SemperBlotto 15:23, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I've fixed that one. Our template is called Template:es-conj-ir (venir). We used to have a template called Template:es:-ir(venir) (now a redirect to {{es-conj-ir (venir)}}), but it was confusing because it requires a leading colon or a leading "Template:" to not be treated as an attempt at interwiki transclusion (like the one you found). The problem is, there isn't any way to search for the places using the old template without a prefix that I know of, so if you find them please either fix them or point them out. Mike Dillon 16:51, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Not happy with bustle with

Anybody wanna have a go at improving my definition for this word? I'm really not too fine with it, but I can't figure how to word it. Circeus 18:04, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Would you have a usage example in mind? DCDuring TALK 18:16, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
*quick collect*
"Weekends bustle with snowmobile tours."
" College Library and Bascom Hill may seem quiet and serene, but the University of Wisconsin-Madison will soon bustle with summer activities."
"Tech Campuses Bustle With Recruiters"
"On the beach in front of the Hotel del Coronado, tide pools bustle with activity."
"Streets and stores bustle with eager optimists"
"Its too-narrow sidewalks bustle with a symbiotic swirl of scholarship and street

savvy [...]"

The object is most frequently "activity" or peoples, or variations thereof. I need to add "teem" as a gloss, too. Circeus 18:27, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
"Enliven" seems a bit too positive. "Teem with" implies objects, esp. spawn, a bit more than activities. "To be filled with the sight and sound of activity."??? DCDuring TALK 18:59, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
"Teem with" actually has a very similar meaning (although, unlike "bustle", it can be used of entirely inanimate things, it is not its most common use). While Bustle has a generally positive meaning, "teem" is more neutral, which doesn't prevent using it in the definition.
  • "Antarctic icebergs teem with diverse life"
  • "On Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life"
  • "Cities teem with homeless, vulnerable people."
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll consider my options on the way home.Circeus 19:15, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure why we have this entry. Isn't this just bustle with?—msh210 20:58, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
To "bustle with" is the ergative form. Bustle ("To move busily and energetically.") is applied to people, "bustle with" is applied to places.
Not quite. With is a preposition. It doesn't form any part of a verb form. It's true, that bustle needs an ergative sense listed here, as Dictionary.com's second definition:
1. to move or act with a great show of energy (often fol. by about): He bustled about cooking breakfast.
2. to abound or teem with something; display an abundance of something; teem (often fol. by with): The office bustled with people and activity.
That should cover any attempts at bustle with, and it's gone via sum-of-parts. -- Thisis0 04:19, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
and... done. -- Thisis0 04:50, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
The content given at "bustle" is an improvement on "bustle with". As the latter does not meet WT:CFI, I have deleted it. — Paul G 22:03, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I have restored the entry pending completion of the discussion. RfD is available. DCDuring TALK 22:32, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I fail to see which Criterion this fails. It is no different from any other transitive phrasal verb. the only reason why many phrasal verbs are run-in entries in traditional dictionary is space. If bustle has the meaning "teem with" or "abound in" only with the preposition "with" (that probably fails CFI), it can't really be listed at bustle. But then I'm not familiar with how we are supposed to deal with phrasal verbs. Circeus 00:49, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't know, it's pretty iffy. In the really clear-cut phrasal verbs, the particle comes after unstressed personal pronouns ("speed it up", "cut it out", "see him off", etc.); such verbs almost certainly warrant their own entries. At the other extreme, we have examples like "blame … on", "blame … for", etc., where there's a clear direct object and a clear object-of-preposition, so we can't analyze the preposition as being part of a phrasal verb. With in-between examples like "bustle with" and "think of" ("X thinks of Y" = "Y occurs to X"), I think it's a judgment call. (Personally, I'd oppose an entry for "think of", at least; I'm not sure about "bustle with"). —RuakhTALK 01:51, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not so sure that this is a case of ergative verbal usage. Ergative verbs replace the passive voice form making the the supposed subject into a real subject. E.g. The car was driven very fast. becomes The car drove very fast. The first sentence, we can add the real agent using by or with (depending the sense) The car was driven very fast by a young man. But in the ergative form this is not possible. Following this line of reason, I would disagree with the thought that The market bustled with many people is the same as Many people bustled the market. The temptation is to consider that the with introduces the agent in the same way as in a passive voice construction. All in all, I would say that bustle with is a phrasal verb similar to abound with, and that it is not ergative. -- Algrif 19:09, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Is "clothes" countable?

Some doubts about countable and uncountable. As fas as I see "clothes" is countable, so I should say "How many clothes...?" instead of "How much clothes...?", but it is hard to see this word as countable as I can't count two clothes, three clothes, four clothes ... I say some clothes, or even a piece of clothes (when I don't say a jacket, a sweater ...)

We would probably say the clothes is "plurale tantum" meaning that the plural form covers both singular and plural usage. I wouldn't use "clothes" in either of the question forms; I would say "How much clothing did you bring?" But that's just me. DCDuring TALK 23:49, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Thank you, but some "plurale tantum" are clearly countable, like "trousers": I can say "a nice pair of trousers" or "I've bought two trousers today", but it's impossible with "clothes"

Nah, I think it's accepted for plural to be "two pairs of trousers" (or "two pair of trousers"); same with "pants" and "glasses". -- Thisis0 00:58, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
"Trousers" is not a good analogy here, since it's the pairs that are counted, not the trousers. Clothes never follows a word like pairs. The word clothes behaves more like a mass noun, like sand or clay, except that it is plurale tantum. This is the result of its etymology, since clothes was originally a plural of cloth. The use of singular cloth for clothing (e.g. "I like the cut of his cloth.") has become archaic, reserved for period novels and the like. --EncycloPetey 05:14, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, appreciated. But remember, I was addressing the contributor's own mistaken assertion about "trousers", not myself applying any analogy toward usage of "clothes". -- Thisis0 05:40, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
My comments were also addressed to the original question. Sorry if it came off otherwise. --EncycloPetey 02:34, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps not 'pairs', but one can have a "set of clothes" or "pile of clothes" and, i think, "piles of clothes". -- Thisis0 07:46, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
But set and pile apply to multiple kinds of nouns. The noun card forms a regular plural cards, and you can have a "set of cards", "pile of cards", or "piles of cards". The noun scissors is plurale tantum (but not mass), but you can still have a "set of scissors", "pile of scissors", or "piles of scissors". The noun sand is a mass noun; the "plural" sands implies mulitple kinds of sand, and although you can't have a "set of sand", you can have a "pile of sand" or "piles of sand". So, the word pile doesn't really tell us anything. The word set is more informative, but as we've both noted clothes is plural so an analogy with normal "singular" mass nouns isn't fully appropriate. --EncycloPetey 09:38, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Which might be why "sets of clothes" feels wierd, deferring to "sets of clothing". Would you say "sets of clothes"? or any plural "X of clothes"? -- Thisis0 16:19, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Sure. I would say "baskets of clothes", "lots of clothes", "boxes of clothes", etc. I think the preference for clothes or clothing is regional. --EncycloPetey 22:59, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
So how do you distinguish between trousers, which can be counted (“three trousers”) and clothes or pants, which cannot? (For the sake of argument, forget that “three clothes” is the archaic usage, and that “three pants” is an emerging usage.) Clothes and pants are not mass nouns because they take a plural verb (“clothes are” but “water is”). They're more like a "mass plurale tantum" or something, an unusual case like cattle and police. DAVilla 23:57, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Merry Widow

Capitalized? (Also exists as merry widow.) RJFJR 00:44, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

merry widow has an etymology saying it was once a trademarked name. That may explain the caps. RJFJR 00:47, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

bullock or ox?

I'm new here, so I hope I'm doing it right!!

Is there any difference between a bullock and an ox? From descriptions I've read, they seem to be the same thing. A castrated bull used as a draft animal!

If these are the same, where do both words come from?

—This unsigned comment was added by Jeanetteb1 (talkcontribs) at 02:24, 23 February 2008 (UTC).

There's no difference now, but there used to be. bullock means literally "little bull" (-ock is a fairly common diminutive suffix, also found in words like paddock, bollock etc) and it originally meant a young bull or calf. But that special sense disappeared very early. Widsith 16:46, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


Is there another word for the calm gentle sound of a stream flowing? splashing and splishing doesn't quite do it. There must be a poetic term, I'm thinking "Lo, when I hear the docile tones of the splashing of the water my mind feeleth pure like a newborn blossom. or something like that. --Keene 11:26, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

One might speak of a babbling brook. -- Visviva 14:08, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

European Union: Noun or Proper Noun?

It says here that it's a noun, but I always thought it was a proper noun since it's always capitalised, but most importantly, is almost always preceded by the article "the".

The United Nations is classified as a proper noun, so I'm wondering why the European Union is not. Is it an error or did I forget something about the classification of proper nouns?

—This unsigned comment was added by AndyPandy (talkcontribs) at 12:49, 23 February 2008 (UTC).

It's a proper noun, yes. I'll fix the entry. —RuakhTALK 14:13, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Okay, great! I was going to do it, but I would have rather gotten the consensus version first. Dictionary.com labels it as a "noun" so that confused me. Also, sorry, I forgot to sign my previous comment! AndyPandy 15:41, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Dictionary.com doesn't appear to draw this distinction; it also labels Europe as a “noun”,[12] and I think we can agree that that one is a very clear-cut proper noun. (That said, Dictionary.com isn't wrong; proper nouns are nouns, just not common nouns. But at Wiktionary, we have our own idiosyncrasies, one of which being that we use “noun” to mean “common noun”.) —RuakhTALK 16:07, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

"an angel passes"

Is this phrase, used when this a moment of awkward silence (especially unexpected), still current in English? My friend insist that I should remove it from a text I've written because she's never heard it. I meant to translate the still very current French "Un ange passe", which is translated so according to my French-English dictionary. In any case, if you have a better suggestion... —This unsigned comment was added by Circeus (talkcontribs) at 01:36, 24 February 2008 (UTC).

I'd never heard it, but it does get a wee bit of mention-y support on Google Books. Overall, I'd recommend you get a better dictionary. :-P —RuakhTALK 01:53, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Un ange passe. The title of a Phillipe Garrel film of 1975. Literally 'an angel passes by', also used idiomatically to signify a meaningful silence, 'a pregnant pause'. (Translator's note) It appears you aren't the only one who has ever used it this way, tell your friend to stuff it :) Incidently I see it almost exclusively with 'by'. - [The]DaveRoss 01:58, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
I decided to expand on it and squeeze some humor out of it. Circeus 02:58, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. Despite the fashion in "angels" in the last 20 years in the US, the expression is not very common here. In print it appears in translations of fiction from Catholic countries. There is a book that uses the phrase as an example of a problem in translation. It would seem that it needs to be explained a bit. DCDuring TALK 16:29, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I've never heard the phrase in English. I'd just translate it as "an awkward pause", or maybe find a modern equivalent like "tumbleweed moment"... Widsith 16:40, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


pithy lists the comparative as more pithy. Should it be adjusted to include pithier (and pithiest)? RJFJR 01:56, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Although a significant amount of google hits (especially for pithier) are dictionary stuff, there are more than enough book and scholar hits (oddly few comparatives at all in news, though) to justify it. Circeus 03:02, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Surely, if both forms exist and are in use, then this fact should be reflected in the entry, regardless of one being more common than the other. -- Algrif 20:10, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


I think the lowercase jacuzzi has become a generic term for hot tubs. I suggest moving Jacuzzi to jacuzzi. --Keene 11:29, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I actually thought it was lower case for all uses. Jacuzzi should be the etymolgy only.--Dmol 11:47, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Done, but now I wonder if I actually made a mistake: looking through the first hundred b.g.c. hits, I find that the great majority are capitalized; and all 7 b.g.c. hits for "jacuzzied" are capitalized. jacuzzi should definitely have its own entry, but I think it's as an alternative spelling of Jacuzzi. —RuakhTALK 15:27, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
It seems that publications from organizations with attorneys on staff tend to retain the capitals even though ordinary speakers and writers do not capitalize the word. Our attestation process is necessarily biased toward the sources that have attorneys. Does this merit some generic usage note or something like a link to a WP article about trademark genericization ? DCDuring TALK 16:15, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Translation of Italian merceologia

Is there an English word for the branch of Economics that studies commodities? SemperBlotto 16:21, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Mercantilism is the closest word in English of which I can think. The words "mercantile" and "commodity" are related; Chicago Mercantile Exchange deals with commodities trading, mercantilism was an economic philosophy that held forth gold/silver (commodities) reserves as important. Charliearcuri 20:43, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Merriam Webster's "Open dictionary"

Anybody saw this? Basically, it's their urban dictionary, but although it does get some genuine aditon, 90% is just people throwing in random portmanteaus and stuff (e.g. "swellow", "ediot", "belaborate"). wrong forum, reposted to Beer Parlor Circeus 16:35, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Initialisms, using the dot or not.

Should we make separate entries for initialism, based on having or not having full stops (periods) after the letters. The example I'm interested in is GRI, which has twice been split out as GRI and G.R.I. I don't think there should be different entries, as it would effectivly double the number of initialisms, (IRA and I.R.A. / UDI and U.D.I. etc). Both are in use, but surely we should stick to only one system. Any comments please.--Dmol 19:20, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

(as the one splitting it out) unlike IRA etc the overprint is exactly "G.R.I.", its only written form. "GRI" for the overprint is wrong. Partly this difference is because the entry is explicitly describing a specific printed form. (note: the other entries in Category:Overprints have spaces in their titles that I don't think are correct in most or all cases.) Robert Ullmann 17:46, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
But my point is should we (the Witionary community) differentiate, or should we always leave out the full stops, for the very reason you stated. I think we should have a standard form, regardless of how it appears elsewhere.--Dmol 21:33, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
I have heard people rant against dots, and against every other sort of punctuation, but in practice I have seen both the dotted and undotted versions, and I think it's worth revisiting.
We should differentiate when there is need to. If Mr. is used exclusively in one part of the world and Mr exclusively in others then we need to differentiate. How it appears elsewhere is more important than any standard we could try to apply. If U.S. is right and US is not then we should go with the former. If JPEG is right and J.P.E.G. is not then we should go with the correct term.
That said, not eveything has a correct form, and most need not be differentiated. If either the dotted or undotted versions are acceptable, then use the standard that's been pushed, IRA instead of I.R.A. with a final stop or I.R.A without. The others are alternative spellings, somewhat regional and in some cases dated, and not really worth the individual attention. DAVilla 21:59, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

cartilege common misspelling of cartilage

I made a typo (or spello) before that leads to a question: Does cartilege rise to the level of a common misspelling of cartilage? RJFJR 23:59, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, imo, based on bgc. I've added it.—msh210 17:58, 25 February 2008 (UTC)


Any idea what this is, or whether we should have it s.v. it, It, or gin-and-It?—msh210 17:35, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

  • It means Italian - i.e. vermouth type of muck. SemperBlotto 17:38, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes - and it doesn't exist in isolation, only as gin and It/gin-and-It. Widsith 17:48, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

  • I've added gin and it - seems to be the most popular form - feel free to expand. SemperBlotto 17:51, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, gentlemen. Striking this section.—msh210 19:10, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

like water

Should we have an entry for like water along the lines of what I've put at User:Msh210/like water (which feel free to edit), or is that an encyclopedic property of water rather than a definition of the sum of parts? (Frankly, I'm tending toward the latter, but am unsure.)—msh210 18:07, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm all for it if you promise to document every vanilla metaphor that's ever been used three or more times. One entry is like water for chocolate, a million are like an ocean of knowledge. DAVilla 22:21, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure whether you're being sarcastic, DAVilla. Do you think this, and all such phrases, should exist, or not?—msh210 19:10, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
User:Msh210/like water looks good to me. Being consumed abundantly is not really an obvious or inherent property of water, if it is a property of water at all. I think this would fit just fine in Category:English similes. -- Visviva 06:47, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Italian phrase entries should redirect to existing contraction entry?

Suggestion from a newbie: I believe the as-yet-unwritten Italian "così che" entry (for example) should simply redirect to the existing Italian "cosìcche" entry. The existing "così detto" entry should redirect to the existing "cosiddetto" (or vice versa) so there's only 1 entry to maintain in each case. Charliearcuri 20:57, 26 February 2008 (UTC) wrong forum, reposted to Beer Parlor Charliearcuri 21:11, 26 February 2008 (UTC)


I seem to recall hearing the Atlantic Ocean referred to as "the Soup", but am having diffculty devising a good search string that will confirm this (or its negation). Does anyone know of this usage (or have an idea for a search string)?—msh210 22:55, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Don't think so. I've not heard "Soup" used that way on either side of the pond. ("soup" generally meaning water, yes; "the bout tipped and he landed in the soup"; though more commonly "drink" in that case) If you google "across the pond", you get 2.3M with most seeming to be the sense desired, but "across the soup" yields 400K, with none in that sense. "other side of the pond" gets 220K, "other side of the soup" gets 10. One of those 10 is relevant, but seems to refer to the Pacific ocean as "the Soup" ... Robert Ullmann 17:36, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Parametric downconversion (PDC)

I'm trying to understand a project description involving non-classical light and cannot find a definition of the term above. Anyone have suggestions—This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Have you seen wikipedia:Spontaneous parametric down conversion?—msh210 23:09, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Musical notes.

C, D, E, F, G, A, B. Translingual? Can someone help me put together a model definition? Maybe we can use a template to keep them consistent (I'd also like to put in the flats and sharps)? Cheers! bd2412 T 03:34, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Not entirely translingual. In much of Europe (including the Russian accordion player I, as an American, learned from while in Germany as a youth), the note "B" is called "H", with "B" explicitly referring to B♭. See w:B (musical note)#In_most of continental Europe. -- Thisis0 08:24, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Not entirely universal, sure, but nonetheless translingual (occurring across multiple languages)... At least I assume so. Determining exactly which languages use which terms would be very instructive, and probably great fodder for an Appendix as well. -- Visviva 14:42, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
And in Italian they are do, re, mi etc (and the equivalent of "B flat minor" etc is on one of my Italian lists of things to do sometime). SemperBlotto 08:30, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Ok, that's food for thought. Perhaps they should be defined by reference to the standard Hertz tones. Here's our definition at A:
  1. A tone three fifths above C in the cycle of fifths; the sixth tone of the C major scale; the reference tone that occurs at exactly 440 Hz.
Seems workable. bd2412 T 09:50, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Not sure if that is one sense or two (or three). If a musician or singer warming up says "gimme an A," is that the same sense of "A" as when an acoustician notes "the tone was 442 Hz, or just above A"? -- Visviva 14:47, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Could be two senses - one referencing the place on the scale, the other referencing the "official" tone in Hertz according to whatever august body sets such things. bd2412 T 15:04, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Note that 440 Hz is just one specific value that A can have; it can also differ from that by a power of two (220 Hz being one full octave below A 440, 880 Hz being one full octave above, etc.). And while you can compute exact frequency values for all the notes by assuming a logarithmic scale, historically not all tuning systems have done that. In fact, even temperament is a fairly recent innovation. So while for A it makes sense to mention 440 Hz because the name "A" is often used specifically to mean "A 440" (it's a standard frequency, commonly used in tuning instruments and whatnot), that isn't an approach we can take for most pitch names, and even for A it's no substitute for the rest of the definition. —RuakhTALK 02:46, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Then how about just "A tone three fifths above C in the cycle of fifths; the sixth tone of the C major scale."? bd2412 T 02:25, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Or, more generically, "A tone _____ fifths above C in the cycle of fifths; the _____ tone of the C major scale." bd2412 T 02:26, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Not just Italian, most of Romance. There are also note-naming systems in classical Indian and Byzantine musics. Circeus 11:45, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Although there are two other standard scales I know of in the region: the Gregorian and Istrian scales. --EncycloPetey 03:12, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

The definition of A as being exactly 440 Hz is the modern one. In the Baroque period it was 415 for a while and there have been other standards and yes these other pitches are in use again amongst musicians interested in music from the various time periods.. And no, the notation is not very translingual. In Dutch the symbol is lower case and e.g. B flat is bes. In German it would be B. Jcwf 04:43, 2 March 2008 (UTC)


Copied from Wiktionary:Feedback

The distinction made between the two definitions is POV

Wiktionary is not Wikipedia. Those are different ways people use the word. DCDuring TALK 02:48, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
One thing that's instructive here is to look at the translations, which are not the same word in all languages. Mike Dillon 03:31, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
No, the anon is right; when translations need further subdivision they should have it, but we don't assign new meanings to English words because of other languages (that would be limitless.) I think this one should move to the Tea Room. --Connel MacKenzie 09:09, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I am skeptical that the two senses can be merged. Consider for example the Google Books hits for "premonition in a dream" ([13]) ... I'm fairly sure that the authors did not intend to say that someone "had a strong intuition" in a dream, but rather that [added: in at least some cases] someone actually had a vision of a possible future event. -- Visviva 14:34, 28 February 2008 (UTC)


I changed this from being an uncountable noun (which it obviously isn't) to invariant, however, I am not sure if this is correct. __meco 21:21, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I think it's both invariant and uncountable. I mean, it's used both ways.—msh210 21:30, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Further to previous comment: One good thing to do is check to see whether google books shows any hits for the form you are considering. In this case, I would be that we will find articles comparing types of radar or discussing radar installations. Both of these, and possibly other senses are likely to be called "radars". Often the wording of the definition does not encompass the full range of uses of the singular and therefore misses the likely plurals.
This search shows some 2660 raw hits of radars in the plural, three books with the word "radars" in the title. DCDuring TALK 21:32, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
With the compexity of this word's varying inflexion patterns I am at a loss how this should be dealt with in the article. __meco 07:54, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I've put "radar" as plural in RfV so that we can get some citations that would enable us to determine context for that plural. My search on Google books for "two-radar" has yielded two snippets in the first 150, but one seems to be a scanno. It may be a UK spelling. Most of the hits for "two-radar" are for attributive use of "radar" with "sites", "systems", and so forth. DCDuring TALK 11:14, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Alternative word for nonprofit or not-for-profit

Hi, I've heard the word (sounds like) 'ameliomonsary' used to describ the university. Is this a real word mening nonprofit? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 23:51, 28 February 2008 (UTC).

  • May I be the first to say... wow. -- Visviva 10:09, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    An etymology for that one would be quite useful. Anyone? bd2412 T 02:24, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
    Excellent - thanks! bd2412 T 15:54, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
So that's where Spanish limosna comes from. Is there an English noun from the same root, by any chance? -- Algrif 16:00, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
According to [14] the Spanish and Portuguese equivalents have the same etymology. The OED has the adjective also listed as an obsolete noun. SemperBlotto 16:09, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

a question for those in the know. would "media resistance skills" warrent its own entry?

"media resistance skills" - a term from - http://www.physorg.com/news123515086.html - would "media resistance skills" warrent its own entry? on another note, might it be appropriate to archive this page a bit more often? --Remi 01:39, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

It seems a bit encyclopedic and does not seem to me to be an idiom or a set phrase (like "set phrase"!!!). Interesting concept, though. See Wiktionary's criteria for inclusion. DCDuring TALK 19:48, 1 March 2008 (UTC)