Wiktionary:Tea room/2008/May

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May 2008


This word was previously marked with a {{UK}} template on the inflection line. I've removed this and added a {{UK}} template to each of the definition lines, as this is what I expect it was trying to signify, but thought it prudent to see if any/all senses are not UK specific. Thryduulf 02:49, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

I removed the tag from 1 & 2, because those meanings would be the meanings understood here, but I do not believe the term is used much in the US in any of its senses. How widely used is it in the UK? DCDuring TALK 08:58, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

1 and 2 are in widespread use, 3 is used but not as much in my experience. Sense 4 is marked as archaic and that seems appropriate. Thryduulf 10:06, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Of the first 100 hits at google news (current), about 60% are non-US. That seems high. I am not sure how to note quantitative differences effectively. The tags seem inappropriate when it is not a meaning difference or extreme difference in frequency. Usage notes if nothing else comes to mind? DCDuring TALK 10:34, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Context templates could be used, perhaps {{rare|except|UK}} or {{rare|_|in|_|US}}, although the latter would categorise in both category:Rare and Category:US, both of which would be misleading at best. Perhaps usage notes are the way to go? Thryduulf 11:54, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
"rare except UK" isn't bad. Hard-coded contexts (using italbrac) and explicit categories would also work, but usage notes allow a bit more nuance, which seems warranted for this case. DCDuring TALK 14:29, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Except that, judging in part from the fact that the citation given for sense 1 is from Canberra, this is not so much rare-except-UK as common-except-US or common-except-NA (at least in some senses). -- Visviva 15:00, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I think we should have context labels like {{rare in US}}. Is there any reason we shouldn't? -- Visviva 15:00, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I have no further ideas about how to determine the facts of the matter. Is there a good free source of word frequency data for US? I erred above: I also believe that the word is not "rare". It is just relatively less frequently used in US. DCDuring TALK 15:13, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, the BYU corpus [1] gives 165 hits for "feckless." These include hits from eminently American publications such as Newsweek and The New Yorker. So unless closer examination shows the specific articles to have been written by non-US natives, I guess this isn't really terribly rare in American English. That's about 1 occurrence per 2.2 million words of running text; by way of comparison, the BNC has 69 hits, or about 1 occurrence per 1.4 million words of running text. Probably not a significant difference (though I'm too lazy to do an actual significance test). Haven't looked into which senses are best represented in the respective corpora. -- Visviva 16:10, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Agreed that we do not have a "clinically significant" difference (confounding statistical significance and amount of the difference) between US and UK, assuming that the corpera actually reflect country of origin. Given all the more extreme problems with our entries (outright error, contradiction, etc.), modest differences between US and UK in relative frequencies by senses probably don't merit much further attention, especially compared to {{jump}} - unless you'd like to, of course. DCDuring TALK 21:31, 1 May 2008 (UTC)


Did some work on this in response to WT:FEED#paradox.

  • Is the Pirates of Penzance quote correctly filed, or is it too ambiguous for use here? Are senses 2 and 3 actually distinct?
  • Is this a viable format for usage notes?
  • Any thoughts on the implementation of {{jump}}? This is still experimental, please undo if it's too noisy. -- Visviva 07:03, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
We would really need quite a few entries done this way to have a valid test of {{jump}}. This entry is short enough that it might not show off the method to best advantage. Something like head#Noun is better in that regard, IMO. It seems fairly time-consuming to configure an entry in such a way. Is it? DCDuring TALK 09:15, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Re need to test in more/longer entries: Yep, just thought I'd ask since I had some other questions about the entry anyway. Being cautious with {{jump}} until the layout issues have been sorted out more satisfactorily (subscripts and floating tables have been on my mind). -- Visviva 13:02, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Re "is it?": Somewhat. Actually the primary headache is syncing all the sections (so that the translations section, for example, links to synonyms and usage notes if it should, and doesn't if it shouldn't). Hope to get that bot script written this weekend, at least partially; if the heavy lifting can be done by bot, this will be much more workable. -- Visviva 14:56, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
A test on perhaps 50 or 100 entries would be good. The feedback from our regulars seems a bit tentative. We can probably get used to it. CM anticipated maintenance problems with syncing, which certainly seems a valid concern, resolvable only with long-term tests. Is the bot aimed at maintenance or at entry creation (or both)? If {{jump}} is deployed initially only for really large PoSs, that would be very common words that don't seem to be that fascinating a target for vandals or even contributors. It would be nice to have a list of entries grouped by the number of senses in their most polysemic PoS, excluding the ones with fewer than, say, 4. Where and when do you want to have broader discussion of {{jump}} ? DCDuring TALK 15:30, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Anywhere, anytime.  :-) But if it's up to me, probably in another week or so after I (and any others with an interest) have tested it in a few more entries, some bot code has been drafted, and I've done a bit more work on the JS/CSS tweaks needed for optimal rendering. In the meantime, feedback is welcome at Template talk:jump. -- Visviva 16:22, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

{{jump}} - wow. Didn't know about this. Possibilities are v exciting....should citations be linked that way too?? Widsith 09:42, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

The template doesn't currently support linking to a Quotations subsection or Citations page, but easily could (though I am skeptical that this is a good idea for most entries). -- Visviva 13:02, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • One more question: is the obsolete sense added (currently #6, I moved it down) distinct from #2? I don't see the difference, but an example might help. -- Visviva 16:22, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
As a fallibilist, I have a great deal of trouble accepting the possibility of sense 2 inasmuch as it depends on the actual truth of the paradoxical statement and the falsity of common sense. I find 6, which depends only on the clash between common sense and the paradoxical statement much more congenial. OTOH, my experience tells me that folks are often very sure they can determine the truth and falsity of common sense and what they believe, so 2 might well be more common. I would have thought that overconfidence in one's ability to know truth would have been relatively constant over time. Perhaps 6 should be {{rare}}. DCDuring TALK 21:42, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, even if it may not be True, surely you can accept that the speaker considers it to be true at the time of speaking. -- Visviva 01:04, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Both the example sentences from #2 appear to belong to #3. So #2 could be the same as #6, in which case it should be marked obsolete. This is the way the word was originally used in English - so a paradox in this obsolete sense would be for example the fact that non-oxygenated human blood is dark red. That is, it's true, even though many people think it's blue. This is the sense in which Hamlet uses it (Act III, scene 1) when he says: "the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof." (ie people used not to believe it, but now they do). When you consider similar statements like "a koala bear is not a bear", you can see how that sense evolved into the idea of something which is self-contradictory. Widsith 00:01, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Huh... the Reagan quote doesn't seem self-contradictory to me, at least not in the same way as "I'm 5 years old and 21 years old" is. But I did actually have them the other way around at first ... I'm thinking now that in common use, among non-logicians, there is no substantial distinction between 2 and 3; whether something is self-contradictory or simply counterintuitive isn't a distinction that people spend a lot of time on.
I've reworded sense 6 somewhat in light of your helpful explication; think the distinction between common sense and general belief is key here. -- Visviva 01:04, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I've rewritten 2 and 3 to clarify what seems (to me, anyway) to be distinct about them. Feedback sought. (I tried merging at first, but had a difficult time coming up with a definition that accounted smoothly for all the examples.) -- Visviva 15:36, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

In this quotation, should the fourth line be repeated? - stevo How quaint the ways of Paradox! / At common sense she gaily mocks! / Though counting in the usual way years twenty-one I've been alive, / Yet reck'ning by my natal day, / Yet reck'ning by my natal day, / I am a little boy of five!

'Fraid so. [2] However, there is probably a better quotation; that was just the first one that came to mind. -- Visviva 02:17, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
The second line is not repeated in the libretto copy I have, and there is a comma and line break before "Years". I'll check the DVD recording I've got... --EncycloPetey 02:36, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
The DVD recording repeats the line, and I can't imagine it being given just once with the accompanying music. The line is indeed repeated. --EncycloPetey 02:43, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Calibre and caliber

Calibre has an alternative spelling of caliber with a US tag, but is this a hard and fast rule. I noticed calibre used in a US published novel, but it was old (mid thirties). Did it change over time, or does it vary with publishers.--Dmol 15:29, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

It's more of a suggestion than a rule, really. It's not as if a reader wouldn't understand the word spelled other-sideanly. "Calibre" might convey something non-US to a US reader, which might contribute to the atmospherics of a work. If I were writing a Western I wouldn't use "calibre". DCDuring TALK 15:39, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I think calibre would be clear, but considered a mistake in any current US work, or at the very least distracting to the reader by drawing attention to an unaccustomed spelling. To a US audience this would only convey that a work was written with British or Canadian spelling, not anything about the setting or characters (except perhaps if it was a direct quote of a written letter or signage). Michael Z. 2008-05-01 16:15 Z


I am having trouble with this. It formerly said that it was a collective noun. That seemed clearly wrong. It might be viewed as a demonym, I suppose. Ignoring the archaic, obsolete, and rare senses, "police" can refer to either one or more police organizations or to members of the police force. In addition, in non-standard usage it can refer to a single policeman ("He was stopped by a police for no reason.").

There are four usage patterns:

  • Standard; sense: organization; single referent; verb: plural
  • Standard; sense: organization; plural referent; verb: plural
  • Standard; sense: member of police force; plural referent; verb: plural
  • Nonstandard; sense: member of police force; singular referent; verb: singular

Is the way it is now presented in the entry correct? How could it be better presented? DCDuring TALK 20:21, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

I've never heard "a police" or "three police" (sense 2)—is this a regionalism? Currently, sense 3 looks like the same thing to me, although I think it would be correct if qualified as "plural only". I can see "three of the police", meaning the organization or a plural-only noun (I don't think collective is the right term—what do you call a mass noun for people?). Michael Z. 2008-05-01 21:51 Z
At a substantive level, the third pattern is debatable as to whether it is standard. I think it is standard in the US. The fourth seems to me to be nonstandard in the US. I know that it is used in the US. It might be common in AAVE or perhaps it is nonstandard in AAVE. It is in DARE, but I haven't looked it up there. MW3 declares police to be plural in all senses, which makes pattern 4 nonstandard for them. Once we have the substance settled we can go on to the troubling presentation questions. DCDuring TALK 22:06, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
In my experience in the UK "police" is always plural, "policeman" ("policemen"), "policewoman" ("policewomen"), "police officer" ("police officers"), "police constable" ("police constables") and "police force" ("police forces") are all standard singulars with distinct plural forms (although some/all are probably SOP). "police <rank>" (e.g. "police sergent") and the standard plural forms are all also possible and standard although less common (generally I think the higher the rank the less common it is, and I don't think I've heard "police chief constable").
Slang and other informal terms, e.g. "copper" ("coppers"), bobby ("bobbies"), etc, also have singular and plural forms (although I don't know whether the singular "peeler" is/was ever used?), so there are plenty of words to choose from such that a singular "police" isn't required. Thryduulf 22:27, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
NOAD supports #3 in a subsense: "members of a police force: there are fewer women police than men."
By the way, it also adds a separate sense for police in some specified domain, as opposed to a government's civil force, including the figurative use, with the examples transit police and fashion police. CanOD makes these two senses, adding the respective examples military police and language police. Michael Z. 2008-05-01 22:33 Z
I don't know how different the sense for specialized police forces is, but in a complete dictionary it should be there. More definitely the figurative "fashion police" sense has become common and ought to be entered. They will inherit the standard plural characteristics of the most basic sense of police I think. I look forward to more opinions on both substance and the presentation of this. DCDuring TALK 00:25, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Some of the specialist and figurative polices considered as a whole can take "a police" in a comparative context, e.g. "They're acting as if they're a fashion police.", but "Does he think he's the thought police or something?". "Does he think he's a thought police?" is possible but to me it feels like "police" is still being treated as plural even though he is the entirety of the police force, in the same way that a single person can be a company. If there were more than just the one person, especially if the person in question wasn't the only significant person in the group, then it would be far more normal (imho) to phrase it like "Does he think he's a thought policeman?".
Referring to multiple police forces is odd too, e.g. I wouldn't say "The British and American polices held a joint conference", but I might say "The polices of Britain and America held a joint conference" but "police" in either formulation seems fine. Thryduulf 01:03, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I guess you're not a fan of The Wire. "I'm a murder police. I work murders." It does sound rather nonstandard to my Midwestern ears, but I'm not sure how folks elsewhere in the country would hear it. -- Visviva 01:14, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
In my head I can hear folks from the other side of town here, saying "a police", but not likely "polices". DCDuring TALK 01:23, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd taken it on faith that "polices" is not a valid standard plural and is not the plural of the purportedly nonstandard singular "police" (though I wouldn't swear to this last). It would be virtually impossible to use Google to attest to "polices" as a plural because of the fairly common scanno for "policies", the 3rd person present singular verb form, and French text that Google labels as English. DCDuring TALK 01:23, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Spanish and Korean translations to be checked

One of the errors that AutoFormat is newly flagging up is {{ttbc}} entries in the main translations tables. The vast majority of the ones I've been sorting are Spanish and Korean translations, leading me to wonder if there are just one or two editors who don't understand about the {{ttbc}} template? I haven't got time to check whether this is the case or not, but if it is then we would save ourselves a lot of hassle by just educating these users. Thryduulf 14:13, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Probably. Since you've done such an efficient job of cleaning up Category:Entries with translation table format problems, though (huzzah!), it's hard to check. Links? -- Visviva 14:48, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry I should have done this earlier, but articles include back, hot dog, you and missionary. Thryduulf 22:34, 2 May 2008 (UTC)


I don't think that either illuminate or illustrious are examples of the prefix il-. - dougher 01:31, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. I've removed them. —RuakhTALK 04:30, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Hold on. Are we limiting ourselves to prefixes and suffixes that are or have been productive in English? "Il-" could also the variant of in- meaning, more or less, "in". It was productive in (post-classical ?) Latin and possibly French. I suppose that "in-" in this sense is no longer modified into "il-" before a stem beginning with an "l". DCDuring TALK 17:58, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I do not believe in limiting ourselves to affixes that are productive in English, though I suspect that other editors (such as Atelaes) do believe in doing that. However, in this case it doesn't seem to be an issue, since while I think the great majority of il- words inherited the prefix from Latin or French, the OED gives a few examples that it claims are original with English (viz illogical, illoyal, and a few nonces). —RuakhTALK 04:05, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
The productivity of il- seems limited to the meaning "not".
  1. in- (in) + lay = inlay.
  2. in- (not) + liquid = illiquid.
I think those are the patterns. DCDuring TALK 08:40, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh! Sorry, I misunderstood your previous comment. Yes, I think you're right. —RuakhTALK 15:13, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Because I don't have the linguistic vocabulary, I should always include one or more examples of what I'm trying to get at. DCDuring TALK 16:47, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

ouster usage note

The word ouster has a usage note but I'm unclear which sense it refers to (or both). RJFJR 12:50, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

The parenthetical comment suggests that it must apply to both senses. —RuakhTALK 13:55, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

climb again

On a previous discussion page I discussed some alternate past and past participles of climb but I didn't have much verification beyond google. I've since looked in the Dictionary of American Regional English, which lists no less than 18 variants for the p. and pp.: clum, clumb, clumbed, clim, klim, climmed, clomb, clombe, clome, clomed, clomben, clam, clamb, clambed, clamded, clammed, cloom, cloomb, and climb. Some of these are clearly nothing more than spelling variations of the same form. DARE gives print citations for a number of these. There seems to be some inconsistency in recording obsolete or dialectical variations in conjugation -- the drink article, for instance, does not mention the past participle "drank" despite having both literary authority and current usage, but this perhaps an oversight rather than deliberate exclusion. Even so, climb has an extraordinary number of alternate forms, and I'm not sure which should be included and which should not (even after reading the guidelines), since these are largely dialectical forms, and some of them obsolete. Yudantaiteki 17:20, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

If you have the specific information, include them labelled as {{dialectal}} or {{obsolete}}. (Use {{qualifier}} for items in lists.) Michael Z. 2008-05-03 17:29 z

For the record, climb used to be a strong verb having regular simple past clam(b), past participle clum(b)en (see OE climban). This survives only marginally in some dialects (and Scots clim), and was replaced in southern English by weak inflexions. But in the 15th-16th centuries, some Elizabethan poets (especially Spenser) started borrowing a load of archaic forms from Chaucer (clomb, clombe) which were actually just graphical variants but which they wrongly pronounced with a long O-sound. So these o-forms became relatively common in later poetry and literary writing. Widsith 08:56, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Brownies, Girl Guides etc

I cam across the entries for brownie and Brownie, and wondered if the second one (meaning a junior Girl Guide/Scout) should be capitalized, since it actually derived from one of the meanings of the uncapitalized word.

Same question really regarding Girl Guide, Girl Scout --Richardb 22:42, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

I think they should be capitalised. Conrad.Irwin 17:28, 5 May 2008 (UTC)


I came across an interesting noun use of the word frank I hadn't heard before, from William F. Buckley, Jr.. Frankly, I wasn't surprised, as he is known for use of uncommon words. :-P

"This isn't to say that the [Iraq] war is wrong, or that history will judge it to be wrong. But it is absolutely to say that conservatism implies a certain submission to reality; and this war has an unrealistic frank and is being conscripted by events." [3]

Is this just a metaphorical extension of the noun sense "postage mark indicating free passage", or is it another necessary sense? Has anyone heard frank used this way, more generally as something like "permission to proceed; mandate"? Or on second thought, does his use of the word here mean something more like "reality; state; outlook" -- Thisis0 19:09, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Hazarding a guess: "frank" in the sense of "exemption from the usual charge by reason of the position/authority of the sender"; "conscripted" in the sense of "limited", "circumscribed". See various senses of the verb "frank" (not necessarily in Wiktionary) that emphasize the idea of exemption. From the context, he might be saying that the notion that the states of the Middle East would become democratic as a result of our intervention (the "frank") was unrealistic and, possibly, that the war cannot be prosecuted to a succesful conclusion because of political factors limiting public support (the "conscription"). He may not have wanted to be more, er, direct in criticism. DCDuring TALK 19:48, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Wow, now that you pointed it out, the extended use of 'conscripted' is also ultra-oblique and esoteric. Honestly at this point I have no idea how he is using those two words (frank and conscripted). Any people who get this? -- Thisis0 20:02, 4 May 2008 (UTC)


Is this for a suffix or the proper name? miranda 20:43, 4 May 2008 (UTC)


Combine the snooker and soccer senses (three in all)?—This unsigned comment was added by Msh210 (talkcontribs).

I think that with the addition of a {{snooker}} context label the existing soccer sense definition would function perfectly. Thryduulf 21:13, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Done. Thanks.—msh210 21:12, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

television station

television channel

There is a sense missing from each of these. I can't word it correctly, so have not added it, but it's the same sense for both words (i.e., they're complete synonyms, as far as I can tell). It is some local thing -- the station/channel in New York is not the one in Chicago (unlike the current definition of television channel) -- and comprises all the broadcast over a specific frequency in a specific area. Any takers?—msh210 20:17, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

You're referring to the broadcaster, an organization which broadcasts locally over the channel, yes? Michael Z. 2008-05-06 00:07 z
I'm not sure. When someone says "What channel are you watching?" I can answer "Channel 4", "KMOV", or "PBS". In some sense these are, respectively, a frequency, a broadcaster, and a network. But really what I mean is "the flow of information that is transmitted over the frequency known as channel 4", "the flow of information that is transmitted by the broadcaster KMOV", and "the flow of information that is transmitted by the local affiliate of the PBS network". That's different from a frequency or a broadcaster or a network. Isn't it?—msh210 19:01, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, maybe. But you are identifying that flow by naming its frequency, the organization broadcasting it, or the network it is associated with. An analogy is "what are you reading?" The response can be "Shakespeare", "Twelfth Night", "Act III", "page 37", "this sentence", or "the word 'took'". They all refer to written matter, but they are identifying or indexing it by what the dictionary would consider an author, a play, a section, a page, a fragment of text, or a word.
All of the definitions in tv channel and tv station ultimately refer to television channel sense 1, which ends with "... used for transmitting television." That "transmitted television" is the flow of audio-visual information. When you refer to a specific channel, then it represents that particular flow. Michael Z. 2008-05-07 21:06 z
What you say about "Shakespeare" seems reasonable and correct: saying "I'm reading Shakespeare" does not add a sense to Shakespeare, and saying "I'm watching this channel" does not add a sense to channel (or televsion channel). Thanks for the clarification.—msh210 21:09, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Hee, hee. Our entry Shakespeare does have "his works" as a separate sense.—msh210 21:11, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I've added some senses to both. Please have a look. Michael Z. 2008-05-06 01:11 z


Can a native speaker of English please have a look at the usage notes I added and rephrase them a bit better? Thanks! H. (talk) 11:55, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Please take a look at my attempt. DCDuring TALK 16:26, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Nice, thanks. H. (talk) 15:48, 17 June 2008 (UTC)


I'm sure that somebody must already have made this point, but I feel that the use of the spelling 'craic' in the context of a text in English should be regarded as inadmissible. It gives the impression that the word is a recent, and not-quite-naturalized, borrowing from Irish, whereas almost the reverse is the case. I'm fairly certain that the use of the spelling 'craic' only began after the introduction of 'crack' cocaine: up until sometime in the 1980s it was normal for posters for bars, or festivals such as Lisdoonvarna, to list 'crack' as one of the factors that might induce the public into going along. Presumably they changed the spelling so that they would not be thought to be purveying cocaine: but this is ludicrous, pusillanimous and wrongheaded. A public place of entertainment is not going to deal in cocaine, and certainly isn't going to mention the fact in its publicity. All speakers of English are entirely used to polysemy, and 'crack' is well able to support a variety of meanings without the need to resort to tinkering with its spelling. As a reductio ad absurdum, visitors to (e.g.) Lynch's Bar expect to find there a public place of purveyance of alcoholic and other beverages, rather than an elongated piece of metal, an accumulation of sand, an impediment, an organization of lawyers, a piece of gymnastic equipment, or any of the many other things which 'bar' might connote. So, in the case of this word, 'crack' (in English) it must be. —This unsigned comment was added by Kip VanDoorn (talkcontribs).

Wiktionary describes actual usage, it doesn't prescribe it (i.e. it is descriptive not prescriptive). As craic is used as an English word we include it as such - it is hardly the only load word naturalised into English that doesn't conform to the orthographic rules of native words. Off the top of my head there is Hawaii, ski, eisteddfod, Qatari, chav, etc. By the same token it also has an entry at crack, describing it's use with that spelling. Thryduulf 15:55, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

My point is precisely that it's not a loanword from Irish into English - indeed, quite the opposite. Spelling it 'craic' gives that (misleading) impression. I'm not trying to prescribe usage here; merely opining that, in an English-language context, 'craic' is a misspelling of a word which ought to be spelt 'crack'. Or do you not even accept that misspellings exist? (Kip VanDoorn)

I do accept that misspellings exist, what I don't accept is that "craic" is one (although see also my final paragraph).
The word crack is of Scotts origin, and saw limited regional borrowing into the English of the north of England and (lowland) Scotland. Then the Scots word was borrowed into Irish Gaelic as craic, with spelling altered to fit that language's orthography. The Irish Gaelic word has since been borrowed into Irish English, without altering the spelling, and it's use is gradually expanding outside of Ireland.
Thus the word has been borrowed into English twice, once direct from Scots with the spelling "crack", and once via Irish Gaelic with the spelling craic. This means there are two words meaning the same thing in English with craic being the more widespread. craic would be a misspelling in Scots, and would be a misspelling of the northern England and (lowland) Scotland dialectual English language term. However crack would be a misspelling in Irish Gaelic and of the Irish English dialect term. Thryduulf 10:37, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

What's needed here are some dated citations. I'm convinced, on the basis of my own memory, that 'craic' was, as I've already said, introduced relatively recently (1985 or so?), and only as a reaction to the arrival of 'crack' cocaine. The word 'crack', in the same sense and with the latter spelling, was general in all parts of Ireland for decades (at least) before that. It is not, therefore, a loanword from an Irish word 'craic', and to use the latter spelling (other than in the context of an utterance in Irish) is disingenuous or misinformed. If speakers outside Ireland use the spelling 'craic', it's doubtless because they think it's a native Irish word, which it is not; ergo, it's based on misinformation, and that, in my baook, makes it a misspelling also. (Kip VanDoorn)

As a person living in Ireland I can verify the word is in everyday usage by English speakers.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_(craic) for proof. And the spelling of the word as "crack" by Irish people almost doesn't exist. It is on posters as "craic", people use it in txt-messaging, etc., it is even used in English short stories without italics. I, personally, amn't a big fan of it, but wether or not we like the spelling of this word doesn't affect the fact that the this spelling exists very commonly and thus deserves an entry. 19:56, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


I was looking for the word epicaricacy, only to find it had been deleted. I'd like to put in a definition for the word, my workup is here: User:Evrik/epicaricacy. I have contacted a number of users, who have contributed something to the write-up.

I'd like to go ahead and post the word. It cannot be done because it is listed on Wiktionary:Protected titles/Persistent protologisms. I found the archived deletion discussion. I have contacted the admin who has deleted the page 2x in the past - but he has refused calling the word "a nonsense term incorrectly used."

As you can see by my work-up, the word has references, citations and usages. This is a real word. It has a number of g-hits, and some very real references. I think its problem is that it is {{rare}}. I believe that the word is being held to a higher standard because its previous write-ups may not have been well-written. If you look at the deletion discussion, it was rather short and brief. The word is used, has print references and I'd like to see it be added to Wiktionary. Thanks. Evrik 14:59, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

This seems to be on the edge of meeting WT:CFI. In its earlier spelling it might warrant inclusion on the well-known work rule (Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy). It has 2 usenet citations of debatable quality. It has a citation in a book on words that is in the nature of a usage example. It was used in an academic working paper. I don't think it has yet made it, but it is not nonsense. DCDuring TALK 15:20, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I personally think we should have it. But it does NOT appear in Burton - he uses the Greek term, in Greek characters. Widsith 15:22, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
  • As of right now, we have epikairekakia, which may or not be English. I don't see any opposition to allowing the word to be posted. Evrik 17:06, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to have good enough citations to actually meet CFI. There are a few other words that more clearly warrant inclusion. See wiktionary:Requested entries:English for other ways of spending your free time.
My grounds for entering epikairekakia were that it was cited in a well-known work. It appears that what was in the original was the Greek spelling, so the rationale might only apply to the Greek spelling. DCDuring TALK 17:17, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Good enough citations? It's referenced here:
    • 1737, Bailey, Nathan, Universal Etymological English Dictionary[4], London:
    • 1751, Bailey, Nathan, Dictionarium Britannicum, London:
    • 1955, Shipley, Joseph T., Dictionary of Early English, Philosophical Library, ISBN 13: 978-0806529264 Invalid ISBN:
    • 1955, Novobatzky, Peter; Shea , Ammon, Depraved and Insulting English, Harvest Books, ISBN 13: 978-0156011495 Invalid ISBN:
Those, plus the current citations should b good enough for inclusion. Evrik 17:36, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

They are not good enough for citation. As has been mentioned more than once, all of the secondary sources are mentions. Please see WT:CFI and w:Use-mention distinction. DCDuring TALK 17:53, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

  • I've recreated it, on the grounds that a Usage note may be the best way to deal with all this fuss. The printed sources are certainly poor, but it does crop up on the net now and again, mainly from people saying "what a strange word". I've just noted that there is little evidence of real usage, and moved the citations to the Citations: namespace. Widsith 17:58, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Although I don't believe for a moment that this is a real CFI-meeting word, I can live with this solution. -- Visviva 09:47, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
At least Wiktionary will be on the top of some search results pages. DCDuring TALK 18:34, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Thanks all. Evrik 15:01, 6 May 2008 (UTC)


What language is this word? Should it be in Wiktionary? I have lost perspective on this. It is a romanization of ἐπιχαιρεκακία (epikhairekakía), apparently coined by Burton in the 16th century. The word was written in Greek characters in his book Anatomy of Melancholy. The transliteration appears in subsequent editions and in one other work, AFAIK. It is, of course, connected to epicaricacy. Although we have probably ceased adhering to our published rules in regards to this little complex of entries and may need to revisit some aspects of attestation, the language question ought to be readily resolvable. If this and one or both of the associated entries ought to be deleted, that would be fine. DCDuring TALK 16:21, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

  • I think it's a transliteration of the Greek. It is fine as it is. At worst, it should be redirected to epicaricacy. Evrik 16:36, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't believe it meets CFI, and I don't see why we should keep it. A redirect to epicaricacy is clearly inappropriate; a redirect to ἐπιχαιρεκακία would be less bad, but still not ideal. A redlink would be perfect. —RuakhTALK 16:45, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree. While it seems possible that this word is making an entry into the common vernacular, it has certainly not done so yet. Also, I'm finding no indication that ἐπιχαιρεκακία is an Ancient Greek word. If Burton coined it in the 16th century, then it would be.......Greek? Is this work important enough to push its nonce words through CFI? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 17:16, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Simple question first: What do we do with transliterations? I know this has come up before. What is our practice? Is it case-by-case? Are there enough similarities of cases for language-specific guidelines? Are there any principles? DCDuring TALK 17:45, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
As far as I understand it, we do not do transliterations. We make exceptions for Mandarin, and we make exceptions for transliterations used in famous works (which is how EP managed to get lepadotomacho..... through last time. If Burton used real characters, then the transliteration is out, I have to imagine. Oh, and I simply will not tolerate that monstrosity (ἐπιχαιρεκακία) labeled as Ancient Greek; make it Greek if you must, but not Ancient Greek. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 18:07, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
If we do not do transliterations, then there would not seem to be sufficient grounds for keeping this. I will RfV it forthwith. DCDuring TALK 18:43, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Is there also no warrant for including "epichairekakia". This is a different transliteration (the one used by Liddell Scott Jones, on Perseus) which gets 49 hits on b.g.c. It would seem reasonable that a reader of a book on Aristotle be able to look up the word. Incidentally, Perseus/LSJ gives three references in Classical Greek for the word. I haven't checked the Greek spelling yet. They give: A. joy over one's neighbour's misfortune, spite, malignity, Arist.EN1107a10, Ph.2.394, Plu.2.91b, etc. at [5] DCDuring TALK 19:05, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh yes, there it is. I don't know how I missed it. My sincerest apologies. I'll expand it later today. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 19:12, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
  • This should be deleted. As for what language the word is as used by Burton, it's Ancient Greek. In the same way that people kept using Latin after it had really died out, some pretentious writers have always done the same with AGreek, and there are few writers more pretentious (or more awesome) than Burton. Widsith 19:11, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
  • It probably should be deleted, but I wonder how someone will find our Greek entries if they cannot use Latin characters. We can't have all the possible transliterations, but we could have one, at least for lemmas in the Ancient Greek. DCDuring TALK 20:10, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I have the strongest of reservations about wikified transliterations. I think that, in general, such a thing is not feasible, as there are numerous possible methods of romanization (and the one we're using here is not among the "standard" methods). Secondly, I think it simply adds a whole lot of not terribly useful stuff. More and more people are gaining the abilities to input grc characters (my new Vista OS comes preinstalled with a polytonic keyboard and fonts). And for those who lack such abilities (or might know the general spelling but not, say, the accentuation), indeces and categories serve as useful methods of finding the right words (it's what I use when I'm trying to find a word I've made, but since forgotten the exact spelling). -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:13, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
If nobody wants to do it, then it won't happen. Not having some system just seems to be another way of losing users. OTOH, we have so many much more effective ways of alienating much larger groups of users, we wouldn't have to take this challenge on for quite a while, if ever. Let them use Vista or schadenfreude! DCDuring TALK 23:06, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we're underserving anyone by not having these entries. Nobody's arguing that we remove transliterations from non-Roman entries (most have them, all should). As long as we have transliterations/romanizations in the actual entry, the entry will show up in search results just fine. On the other hand, if we have an empty shell "romanization of" entry, that just creates more noise in search results and makes the real entry with real information harder to find. -- Visviva 11:21, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I doubt that we disagree on this at all. It wasn't the entry I was defending. As I said above: "It should probably be deleted". My concern is that our Greek entries will not reach some users because they do not have Vista (or do not know how to use Vista) to enter Greek characters. The Perseus System handles the problem by support multiple schemes for transliteration and character encoding. I would certainly favor that, but, until we have that capability, I would think it desirable that we have at least one Roman transliteration for each Ancient Greek entry. I realize that our properly done Ancient Greek entries have such transliterations, but many are not properly done. We need to be explicit about which transliteration scheme we prefer. Where would a user find the transliteration schemes that we prefer and whatever other ones we have used? DCDuring TALK 14:41, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Ancient_Greek_Romanization_and_Pronunciation. Widsith 14:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry that I'm not expressing my view of the problem well. There are vast numbers of Appendices that contain useful information. They are not part of the default search settings so they are of no value in helping new users find what they want. All the things that are available to adepts are wonderful. The problems have been faced and dealt with. Unfortunately many of them have not been dealt with from the persepctive of our more casual users. I am concerned because the activity level doesn't seem to be growing. We have vast amounts of work to do, wonderful technology to reach volunteers, but don't seem to be doing as well as the OED did in recruiting volunteer contributors. I'll take this general concern to the BP. DCDuring TALK 15:15, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
IMO, not being privy to Wiktionary's internal procedures shouldn't prevent users from finding the entry they need. I think the better solution is to have each entry include all romanizations of the term according to standard systems. This is the approach I have argued for in Korean entries, for example, where a well-formed entry should include romanizations in the 3 1/2 systems in reasonably common use, while only actually using one system. For the same reason, I think (without much hope in the short term) that our grc entries should include all of the transliteration schemes supported by Perseus, and any others that can be shown to be in widespread modern use. However, they probably shouldn't include ad hoc transliterations such as epikairekia appears to be; I'm afraid there's just not much hope for such cases. -- Visviva 15:58, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
That would seem to be highly amenable to a bot. Do we have a standard location for transliterations (or should that be Romanizations?)? They would seem a prime candidate to be concealed beneath a show/hide "rel bar", displayed by default. DCDuring TALK 18:34, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
It would be bottable in many cases; bottability will of course vary based on the writing system and the romanizations supported.
In WT:AK we have taken the general approach of putting them under a show/hide bar (hidden by default) in the Pronunciation section, since they do provide useful information for someone trying to pronounce the word. See Template:ko-pron. I'd be the first to concede that this is less than optimal, though. Listing them in an "Alternative forms" section might be more sensible, though it would add visual clutter. -- Visviva 12:00, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
At "Alternative forms" under a show/hide bar seems appealing to me. I hate to use precious first-screen real estate for material of marginal use to many, but the bar is a real help. Wouldn't it be nice if it were automatically expanded if the user came via a search for a transliterated form. Would redirects be a better solution?


¿cynegetic is used as the adjetive of the noun cynegetics? --Cvmontuy 21:03, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Both from Ancient Greek. DCDuring TALK 23:32, 6 May 2008 (UTC)


"the mails". I have inserted the noun sense into this entry as US, meaning the postal delivery system. Is it really just US? Does it refer to more than the system. The etymology (not yet present) refers to "bags". Is "the mails" short for "the mail bags"? DCDuring TALK 21:33, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

It's not just the system, but also the actual mail that passes through the system. I don't see any reason to infer a "bags"; there are plenty of nouns that double as uncountable and as definite pluralia tantum, such as water/the waters, steppe/the steppes (I think?), Heaven/the Heavens, and forest/the forests. (None of those is a perfect example, since in each case a normal countable use is available as well, but hopefully you see what I'm trying to say.) Unless there's a reputable source that asserts an implied "bags", I think it makes more sense to assume that the word used to be more regularly countable than it is now, and its singular and plural forms simply both fossilized into slightly different frames. —RuakhTALK 23:32, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

active duty

This needs a better definition. A person serving in the military is not "an active duty," as the definition would imply. Perhaps "active duty" is the military service itself, and one can only be be "on active duty"? That makes more sense to me. Dmcdevit·t 04:51, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I took a crack at it, but I imagine it could still use some work. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 05:00, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

month of

The entry characterizes this as "redundant prefix". I feel it must be like other expressions with "of". "time of day" is the one that comes to mind, but there must be others. How can we make this better? DCDuring TALK 11:42, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

At least on first blush, this seems rather unusual; we don't (even in poetry) say things like "the day of Wednesday" or "the time of morning," and even "the season of spring" sounds rather odd. There are other chrononymic pleonasms ("springtime", "Christmas Day"), but I can't think of any of this particular form.
Following on to our recent discussion, I wonder if this might best be treated as a phrasal template, "the month of X." -- Visviva 11:56, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, "time of" is different: you can't say "around the time of 3:30". However, there are other such stock pleonasms, such as "in color" ("the house is green in color"), "town of" ("he comes from the town of Solon, near Cleveland"), etc. The line between stock pleonasm and potential disambiguation is tricky, though; "He's six foot" is perfectly clear, as is "What time is it? —Three"; but "he's two foot" and "it's so dark out for being three" are IMHO both fairly confusing without the "tall" and "o'clock" ("o'clock" = "of the clock"). And I'm not sure we can really include all these; in general, English permits "<class> of <member>" to mean "<member>" in quite a range of cases. —RuakhTALK 12:03, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Usage notes at the "main" word, month, (and its analogs) might provide a search target and either an explanation or a link to an explanation. Perhaps also something in of. It performs the same function as an appositive. Just as the sentence "Perhaps also something in of." would have clearer as "Perhaps also something in the entry of.". DCDuring TALK 12:17, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
The key point I would make is that, grammatically, the "of" goes with the following word in this case, not with "month". It doesn't matter whether you say "the month of May" or "the month of coldest winter"; the "of" still is a preposition introducing the following word. This can happen with many other time words, such as "the year of Our Lord", "the year of the rat", "the Day of Atonement", "the hour of midnight", "the week of Passover", etc. The only difference is in the specifics of which words may serve as object to the preposition without sounding stilted. I think this would be better handled as a Usage note. I suspect that the reason month's names are used this way is that, etymologically, the names of months were adjectives in Latin. --EncycloPetey 13:28, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I tend to focus on user search logic rather than underlying structure. We need to enable a user to find what he needs. It is good if we don't have needless proliferation of entrries. Even excessive redirects can be a problem, especially where a putative redirect is also a real entry. I think we are trying to use grammatical rules (not intended normatively) to shape our entry structure in a way consistent with search.
A discussion at "of" seems useful, if only to regular users. Unfortunately, "of" is extremely unlikely to be used as a search term. Which fact, I think, forces us to consider alternatives to a sense line or usage note at "of".
Similarly, I like grammatical formulae for my own personal use and amusement. But, it is certainly unlikely that a normal user is going to find something entered as a grammatical formula whatever notation we use (somebody/something/one, X/Y/Z, ellipsis, N/NP/V/VP).
If all this is so, then we are forced to determine how to use ordinary entries to help users. I intensely dislike using Appendices a repositories for first-instance search targets, but believe that they may be underused as targets of links in our entries. A link from month (and from other terms) to an appropriate Appendix (or WP article?) on the grammatical structure would be very good.
We can do some good by simple incorporating "month of May" in usage examples, certainly at month and possibly at of. DCDuring TALK 14:08, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


I've just added the transporter bridge sense to this entry but I'm not certain that senses 2 and 4-6 are all independent of each other. Thryduulf 18:48, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I would say that they are subsenses of a hanging cab for transporting people or cargo. Michael Z. 2008-05-08 19:19 z
I've reworked it now to have three senses, with one of them having four sub-senses. Thryduulf 15:09, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Subsenses! Looks good. Michael Z. 2008-05-10 16:56 z

key pal

Does this word mean "a friend who communicates with us by email & messenger"? I'm not sure :-S. --Cumeo89 14:25, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes: an Internet pen pal. I've also seen e-pal and ePal. 14:01, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Looking for a word

Hi i am looking for a word that ends with gry. I got hungry and angry. Is there another one?

See wikipedia:-gry Kappa 13:55, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Or Category:English words ending in "-gry". sewnmouthsecret 16:55, 29 May 2008 (UTC)


waivered says it is the past of waiver, but waiver does not have a verb sense. --Panda10 18:52, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

This looks like an error for wavered, although there is an adjectival sense for this word as well. --EncycloPetey 18:56, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for correcting it. --Panda10 18:59, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
If it's an error then it seems to be a common one. Should it be kept and marked as such.--Dmol 19:02, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
It really wouldn't surprise me if waiver was used as a verb. We might mark it as non-standard, but .... DCDuring TALK 19:17, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not in Webster's. It's possible, but it would be a recent development so we'd want citations. --EncycloPetey 19:32, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
There might be usage of "waivered" and "waivering" relating to signing of waiver documents, but it seems rare in writing. Less rare is punning between "waver" and "waiver" in sports article headlines. I don't think either warrants a real sense entry. I'll put a note in the talk page. DCDuring TALK 20:01, 11 May 2008 (UTC)


Two things regarding this word, the first is that noun definition 2 (toy kites) could really do with reworking as its so complex as to be impenetrable.

Secondly, I think we're missing a verb sense. In a story I'm reading is the passage "She dipped, and used the hook to lift the manhole cover in the street up. She looked at the doorman. "If you're still there when I come back, I'll kill you," she told him levelly, then kited the several hundred pounds in his direction, knowing she'd come up short." This doesn't seem to fit with either of the verb definitions we have, but I don't know what it means well enough in order to define it myself. Thryduulf 11:14, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

I've split the flying-object sense (since "kite" as used in normal speech doesn't include things pulled through any medium other than air), and took a stab the cast/toss sense (currently at verb #3), which is how I would read that example. Think we are probably still missing a sense or two. -- Visviva 12:32, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
You've done a huge amount of work on this, and the article is orders of magnitude more comprehensive and understandable than it was. Thank you. Thryduulf 21:53, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
All that praise'll go to his head. DCDuring TALK 23:53, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

dynamical vs dynamic

My first thought on hearing the word dynamical was that it was wrong and should be dynamic, but dynamical has 7 megagoogles. However, our definition of dynamical is basically the single word dynamic. (Both are adjectives). Is there a distinction to be made between these two words? RJFJR 19:47, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

My hypothesis: dynamical more UK, dynamic more US. Might go back to Webster. DCDuring TALK 19:50, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Dynamic is the headword in MW3 (US-oriented), dynamical is "also". Dynamcial not listed in Longmans's DCE, which tends to be more UK orientated, but is also less comprehensive, being a learner's dictionary. DCDuring TALK 19:55, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Dynamic outnumbers dynamical almost 3:1 on b.g.c. DCDuring TALK 19:58, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Canadian Oxford has main headword "dynamic", with the 2 of 6 senses listed as "also dynamical": the one in physics (with two subsenses), and the one "concerning dynamics".

Perhaps dynamic simply means energetic, while dynamical implies the higher-level sense of "relating to dynamics". Michael Z. 2008-05-12 20:30 z

For simplicity's sake, I think dynamic is the correct word for a number of meanings. As an adjective, dynamic means strongly interactive (from dynamo; works in many contexts), or as a noun, dynamic refers to a generalized state of a method of interacting. (Dynamical is fine, but to me it sounds like calque from colloquial slang of pseudo-intellectuals.) -VitaminN

To beggar belief

Is this an idiom? A quick googling shows there's probably also a phrase named beggar's belief. __meco 06:51, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Yes - with the meaning of beggar "to exhaust the resources of; to outdo". "To beggar description" is also known. SemperBlotto 08:26, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
    • And more likely beggar's belief is just a typo for beggars belief (with beggar as a verb): "He said he came straight from work, but given the two-hour interval, this beggars belief." - Jmabel 18:06, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

standing joke

running joke

running gag

Standing joke is defined as An unkind laughing matter amongst a group of people, about something customary. Does it need to be unkind? And the other two terms are defined as referring to jokes on TV only; I thought they're synonyms of standing joke. Thoughts?—msh210 19:00, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree with both of your thoughts. I'd not noticed that "standing joke" and "running joke" were synonymous before, but they seem to be. b.g.c. has "standing" slightly more common than running. "Standing gag" is much less common (1:20) than "running gag", however, with only 27 raw b.g.c. hits. DCDuring TALK 20:35, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


The sense of a ladder in tights, stockings, etc is completely missing. While it is probably covered as a noun by the second sense, there is also a verb sense (and an adjective sense at laddered that we need), these would probably justify a (sub)sense of the noun. I would just add all these, but I can't come up with any decent definition.

Additionally, an American on a completely unrelated forum gave the impression that it isn't used in Leftpondia? Thryduulf 00:58, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

I can't speak for all of Leftpondia, but I for one don't know of such a sense. Is it like a run (in a sense that we're currently missing)? —RuakhTALK 01:49, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
It would certainly seem to be like a run, but it must be a bit different, because it seems to refer to materials other than nylon. I wonder whether the term ladder has carried over in the UK to nylon stockings whose "runs" don't look like ladders. As I understand it more-expensive nylon stockings were slow to penetrate the UK market in the shortage-ridden years after WWII, so the term ladder may have hung on longer there. This might be a question to ask a woman who was 20 or older in 1955. DCDuring TALK 02:11, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I've added the noun and verb sense - my misses says it doesn't happen much these days. SemperBlotto 07:18, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

SV on roadside markers.

What does SV mean on small roadside markers in Ireland. Not sure if used elsewhere. (As I haven't been elsewhere for a while) But they are very common, set into a concrete post or embossed on a wall. They look official, like something the council put up.--Dmol 20:17, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't know, but if you ask at http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/forum/ then I can virtually guarantee a knowledgeable person will reply. Thryduulf 22:11, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
It means "stop valve". Robert Ullmann 17:04, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Do you know if it is used in other places.--Dmol 17:14, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Every country/area seems to have it own systems and signage; see w:Fire hydrant#Signage for others (it doesn't mention SV). Robert Ullmann 17:35, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Is a stop valve a light that limits how frequently a car can enter an arterial road to space them out a limit congestion? RJFJR 14:27, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
(you being silly?) w:Stop valve, in this case what the fire service needs to find in a hurry to attach hoses to. Also the shutoff if there is a break in the main or in one service. Robert Ullmann 14:33, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I read by really fast and saw the link to signage but didn't read fire hydrant before that. I've never seen this term used before. (fire hydrant, shutoff those I've seen). —This unsigned comment was added by RJFJR (talkcontribs).
RJFJR, what you are describing is a ramp meter (w:ramp meter). Thryduulf 15:43, 19 May 2008 (UTC)


Biographed? Or biographied? What is the transitive verb for A (writes a biography of) B?

Is there a verb here? Robert Ullmann 16:38, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

"biographize"? Yuck. Robert Ullmann 17:37, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. All three possibilities are best avoided in favour of "wrote a biography of", or similar. Widsith 07:49, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
My favourite along these lines is when a reviewer referred to a book by a politician as an autohagiography ... Robert Ullmann 18:56, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Ah yes, here we are: Kevin Drum linking Megan McArdle, and it was Howell Raines, not a pol. But there are lots of others, autohagiography should meet CFI. Robert Ullmann 19:05, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


Please visit. I want the word to spread. —This unsigned comment was added by Elvian11 (talkcontribs) at 17:25, 16 May 2008.

The entry has been deleted. Wiktionary does not exist to promote protologisms. However, you may enter it at WT:LOP. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:37, 16 May 2008 (UTC)


Does schoolmaster have a verb sense? --Panda10 23:55, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

A quick b.g.c. search found 'had-schoolmastered' with 6 hits, plus plenty for the participles. I don't know about how current it is in all of its forms but it looks like a verb to me. DCDuring TALK 00:05, 17 May 2008 (UTC)


This word seems to have multiple etymologies for the separate senses. I've been trying to track down citations, but the hits from Google Books seem primarily to deal with a given name / nickname (which has no entry) and additional senses not listed on the page that I can't figure out, but which seems to be a US pejorative of African-Americans, akin to coon, or else a word pertaining to Native Americans in some way.

  • 1942 — California Folklore Society, Western Folklore, page 29
    And then the big black booger just stood there on the hearth...
  • 1957 — Vance Randdolph, The Talking Turtle: And Other Ozark Folk Tales, page 74
    From that time on he figured the varmint was a booger dog, that couldn't be killed with poison nohow.
  • 1977 — Reginald & Gladys Laubin, Indian dances of North America: Their Importance to Indian Life, page 234
    Each Booger had a chance to dance solo. His name, or rather the ridiculous name he used while being a Booger, was sung in the song...
  • 1988 — Raymond H. Ring, Telluride Smile: A Henry Dyer Novel
    "Why you lousy booger." He brought out a flint striker and sent wave after wave of sparks into the shavings, which still refused to begin smoking

--EncycloPetey 04:04, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

The OED says this is probably a variant of bugger. Widsith 18:36, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Roman baths

Are these always plural? Should we have entries for both Roman bath and Roman baths or maybe just for therma and/or thermae. Or all four? SemperBlotto 10:39, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Looking at the bgc hits it seems that "Roman bath" and "Roman baths" both get use, although I'd say the latter is more common (note that searches for the former also get hits for "Roman Bath", i.e. relating to the city of Bath). "Roman bath" might also have an obsolete sense meaning a specific type of bath (tub of water for bathing in), but I'm not certain what this is. Thryduulf 11:46, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

The orchestra are? or is?

Hi, it's one of these singular nouns referring to a group of people (like team). Can I say the orchestra are playing? Or should I say the orchestra is playing?

  • Either is heard colloquially. Safest bet is to stick with singular form "is" though. Widsith 18:34, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
    • I think there's also a regional difference here; my U.S.-ian impression is that "is" is strongly preferred, but my understanding (which you seem to be backing up) is that in the U.K. either one is considered fairly O.K. (However, google:"the orchestra is" beats google:"the orchestra are" by a factor of nearly 7, and a higher proportion of its hits seem to have "the orchestra" as the actual subject.) —RuakhTALK 18:40, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
I thought it was a UK/US difference: US preferring "orchestra is", UK preferring "orchestra are" (but I defer to Ruakh's research). Seems like something our entry should convey, in any event. DCDuring TALK 18:43, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Strongly disagree with DCDuring. While it is important information which should be on Wiktionary, it has nothing to do with orchestra specifically, but rather with English grammar in general, and can be applied to any collective noun. It should be in a grammatical appendix. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 18:55, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Which appendix is that? How would this user have found it?
Users don't have compartmentalized questions. They just have questions. I strongly object to excluding information for which we have evidence that users need and expect from Wiktionary. Many dictionaries offer more than Wiktionary about usage at the entry. Learners' dictionaries seem to require that users learn or look up codes. Other dictionaries have notes that are somewhat self-contained, but also have explanatory sections. I would not object to a set of appendices with explanatory notes and a set of links from the entries to which the notes apply or indeed any approach that made the information accessible. DCDuring TALK 20:30, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
What is needed is an Appendix:English collective nouns. Collective nouns are typically considered singular, but may take either a singular or plural verb, depending on context (Oxford Companion the the English Language). I also learned this in school (here in America), so it's not a US/UK distinction. The basic idea is: if the referent of the collective noun is performing an action as a junti, a singular verb is used. However, if the emphasis is on a variety of actions performed the the members of the group, then a plural verb is used. So: "Our orchestra is large" but "The orchestra play together well." Of course, that doesn't mean that in everyday usage this nice rule is actually followed regularly, just as the lie / lay distinction isn't heeded and neither is the me / I distinction. --EncycloPetey 02:26, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree that something like that Appendix might be useful, especially when, as, and if users are willing to spend 15 minutes reading something. The other part of the problem is getting users who might need such an appendix to the right part of the right appendix. Our target users can be assumed to be busy, to have formulated a question in a particular way, and to not necessarily be aware of what we think they really need. If we do not give them the answer on the entry page, how do we get them in one click to the right place to resolve their issues? DCDuring TALK 02:49, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
That's simple. We could add a link in a Usage notes section. Or, we could add a collective noun option to either the {{en-noun}} template or the definition line as {{collective noun}} that links to the appendix. We could even do more than one of these. --EncycloPetey 04:38, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I think that the link needs to be directly adjoining whatever we say about plurals, even if it does not apply to all senses. Once someone has clicked on the link we will have the opportunity to explain. Longmans's DCE has a code for just this class of nouns, "+sing./pl. v", that appears on the first line of the entry for "orchestra". The explanation of the note discusses the difference in UK and US. I don't think it is satisfactory to leave the regional difference to the appendix. Perhaps the link should say "US/UK difference in usage". We may need a "collective noun" tag for sense lines, too. I suppose it might be good for that to be linked to the same appendix for our longer entries where the sense line might not appear on the same screen as the inflection line. DCDuring TALK 12:27, 19 May 2008 (UTC)


What is going on? How is it possibly pronunced /sku:l/ ?? The same thing seems to be on cool. Does "school" rhyme with "rude"? No. So why is it written like this? Nwspel 14:48, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

(do you mean rule? it isn't going to rhyme with "rude") what exactly is supposed to be wrong? (Where are you from BTW?) The /sku:l/ pronunciation seems fine to me. Robert Ullmann 15:04, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I'll try explain this. Wiktionary says that "rude" is pronunced /ru:d/ , that "rule" is pronunced /ru:l/ and that "school" is pronunced /sku:l/. I generally here rule and school using the same vowel as eachother, but I have never come across any dialect that makes them use the same vowel as rude. As far as I am aware, the "rude" article is written with the right vowel - but the school, cool, and rule articles must be wrong. Take the word "rude"; and say it out loud, with exactly the same vowel, and replace the 'd' with 'l', and the result is not the same as "rule". The reason being; they are different vowels. I speak British English btw. Nwspel 15:14, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Ah, but "rude" and "school" have the same vowel in US/GenAm, which is how it is labeled. And "rude" and "rule" differ only in the consonant. So the "dialect" you've never come across is GenAm ... what vowel do you use in school and rule that isn't /u:/? (Mind you, I've never heard any difference in UK/Commonwealth English either.) Robert Ullmann 15:22, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
From what I remember of GA before, it was always the same as the English. Although its hardly going to help my case, I don't actually know what the IPA is for the sound; although it sounds very rounded. Try this: Say the word "stool". It rhymes with "school". Now say "sue" (/su:/). Do not change the vowel, but add 'l' onto the end. It should sound rather uncomfortable, as usually, when followed by an 'l', the vowel tends to "migrate" into the one I am describing, but if you are conscious of what you are doing, you can keep the same vowel. Right, now once you have done that, compare it to the sound in "stool". Stool... Sue(l)... it's not the same. Nwspel 15:34, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) In the UK I've heard "school", "rude" and "rule" all using the /u:/ vowel, but in some Northern accents, I have heard "school" and "rule" as "/sku(:).@l/" and "/ru(:).@l/" with the vowels either side of the syllable break sometimes dipthongised. Possibly this is the difference you are hearing? Thryduulf 15:41, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
No that's not what I mean, and I come from the south, but I do know what you are talking about with relation to Northern English dialects though. Erm... I am really struggling to explain this. Ok I think might know how. Think of the word "ruler" /ru:lɘ/... now take away the schwa in your pronunciation, from the end of the word, (whithout changing the internal vowel), and it gives you /ru:l/ but when you pronunce it out loud (as I have instructed), it does not give the same pronunciation as "rule". Nwspel 15:54, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
It does for me. (But I pronounce the <r>.) (I'm American; for an explanation of my dialect, see my user page.) I've tried searching for this issue in the archives of alt.usage.english on Google Groups, but cannot seem to find anything. (One problem is that the word rule is so common when discussing pronunciations, and school is pretty common when discussin prescriptivism. Of course, other words can be searched for instead of these, but I don't know what you pronounce how, Nwspel. Where are you from, more precisely? One can search for that county or city name....)—msh210 17:45, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I speak a non-Rhotic accent (I don't pronounce the peripheral 'r's). I live in Kent, a county in the south of the UK. But the pronunciations, as far as I am aware, were present in all English. I'll try again. In some "common" accents, some people may pronunce the word "bottle" as "boh-'ww". I know that's far from a helpful representation for you, lol, but hopefully you will understand what I mean. Anyway, that "ww" part is the vowel I am talking about. I was going to compare it to the "w" in "bowl", but now that I look at the article you have, it states the English pronunciation as /bəʊl/ - I don't think anyone pronunces it like that in England. It's more like /bʌʊl/ if anything... but it's not, because that "ʊ" isn't right. /ʊ/ is the sound in "good", and not the same as in the english pronunciation of "bowl". That vowel in "school" is the same as the 'common accent' version of "bottle" that I spoke about, and also as the second vowel in the diphthong in "bowl". I know this isn't a great description, but I'm trying to give the best explanation I can, sorry. Nwspel 18:10, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Since I grew up in Kent I think I have a good idea of what accent you speak – it's called w:Estuary English. The phenomenon you seem to be describing is a fairly common one whereby the back vowel becomes centralized before an /l/. So /skuːl/ gets realized as something like [skʉˑl] or [skəʉl]. But what you have to realise is that this is just an allophone, and our pronunciation is showing phonemes. In other words, although you may say [əʉ], most English-speakers will "hear" this as /uː/ (which is why most of us still hear school and rude as being assonant, including me, and I think I have the same accent as you). Widsith 06:56, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I think for me "rule", in isolation and in many contexts, is two syllables: "ru_e", with the same vowel as in "rude", and "l", with the same syllabic dark "l" as is in "little" or "pebble". Thus for me "rule" + "-er" != "ruler": the former would be three syllables, and the latter is only two. Likewise "rule" + "-ing" != "ruling", and so on. Is this the same thing you mean? … I'm not sure whether that warrants reflection in the pronunciation guide. Other dictionaries, including the AHD and OED, don't bother. —RuakhTALK 23:38, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

one-start and two-start

These two adjectives seem to have a mathematical (topological?) meaning, but because the words themselves are very common I am having difficulty in researching them. I have added the same citation for them in the meantime (see e.g. Citations:two-start). Help from a mathematician would be appreciated. SemperBlotto 09:59, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Looking over the hits for "two-start helix", I thought I was beginning to understand the basic concept, but then I found this and was back in the dark again. -- Visviva 10:46, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
This fairly lucid explanation may be helpful. Anyway, I'm not a mathematician, so that's as far as I go. -- Visviva 11:06, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Judging from this or this it appears to be about the number of interlocking helices, in that a n-start helix would consist of n separate helical curves which twist around the same cylinder. If so, a two-start helix would (in an abstract sense) be the same as double helix, but then as our entry on the latter claims, if this in molecular biology is restricted to the actual DNA helix, well, then another word would have to be used for arbitrary "double helices"... \Mike 13:01, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Re: "a two-start helix would (in an abstract sense) be the same as double helix": I don't think so, no. You're thinking that DNA is a double helix because it has two parallel strands; but I don't think that's what "double helix" means. I think DNA is a double helix because it's a helix (specifically, apparently, a two-start helix) around a center-line that is itself, in turn, a helix. So the whole thing is very twisty. —RuakhTALK 18:50, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I do not agree, mainly based on the first of the links :). There, the figures A and B both depicts a helix which is in itself twisted into a larger helix, but A is specifically called "one-start" (actually "one-start solenoidal") while B is called "two-start", which would fit with my interpretation. According to wp, "supercoiling" seems to denote the very same phenomenon you described. \Mike 19:09, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing with your interpretation of "one-start" and "two-start", only with your interpretation of "double helix". However, w:Double helix suggests that I'm wrong anyway, so I guess it's moot. :-)   —RuakhTALK 21:13, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I've had a go. SemperBlotto 13:48, 20 May 2008 (UTC)


The UK pronunciation is listed as /kəʊld/, but I am pretty sure that most UK dialects don't use a schwa in the first half of the diphthong; instead using something more akin to ʌ, if I am right. Nwspel 21:48, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

In some SE dialects it's more like [ɐ], but [ʌ] seems to be pushing it – perhaps in Essex or Medway(!). But anyway, this is probably quibbling over allophones again – virtually everyone calls the phoneme /əʊ/ and it might seem weird for Wiktionary to be alone in redefining it. But feel free to join the discussion at Wiktionary talk:Pronunciation. Widsith 21:55, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
The schwa is, I believe, the canonical representation of the first half of this diphthong in RP. It isn't necessarily representative of all UK accents, but it's not far off the way I pronounce it (and my accent is a fairly even mix of northern and southern). In contrast I don't hear [ʌʊ] as being at all familiar when I speak it. Thryduulf 22:03, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
RP pronunciation would use ɐ for the first vowel (not sure how you would transcribe the second); so they certainly don't use a schwa, which would be a rather odd sounding vowel to pass over like this. What I am struggling to understand however, is the difference between the sounds of these: ʌ, ɐ... and a... :S Nwspel 22:39, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
RP does NOT use [ɐ], it transcribes this diphthong as /əʊ/, which I agree seems weird when you first encounter it. The differences between the sounds you mention are not very big -- remember that IPA is to a greater or lesser extent a continuum, and the symbols are only really defined in relation to each other. But basically, [ʌ] is the sound in hut, but (it is not common in other European languages, and developed late in English...it wasn't part of Shakespeare's speech for example). [ɐ] is not usual in English dialects but might be part of some diphthongs....it's similar to schwa, and if you speak German it's the -er sound at the end of words like Wasser ("water"). [a] is a more open sound than the other two – it's the sound in UK-English man, bad, and in French la, and in Spanish casa etc etc. (In the US, and in received pronunciation, this sound is a more close [æ]). Widsith 09:06, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Ok that makes sense. But which diphthongs would use ɐ then? Nwspel 09:11, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Hang on... "a" isn't the IPA for the UK pronunciation of "man" O_o Nwspel 22:34, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
That depends where you look. The OED have certainly adopted it. Widsith 22:02, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
What's the one used in Estuary English? Nwspel 07:44, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
[a]. Widsith 07:47, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Is this conversation done? I have another one started below and would like the link. Please remove #Pronunciation to retain the link. DCDuring TALK 21:58, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Synonyms and antonyms

If A is a synonym of B and B is a synonym of C is A always synonym of C?

Likewise, with antonyms, if A is an antonym of B and B an antonym of C, is A always a synonym of C?

-- 22:43, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

No, not always. An exception to that rule is when A is only a synonym or antonym of one particular sense of B, while a different sense of B is a synonym or antonym of C, e.g. {A: circular, B: round, C: shot (small metal balls used as ammunition) }. For antonyms, another type of exception is found in sets like {A: mother, B: father, C: son }, wherein the nature of the "opposite" between A and B is different from that between B and C. Rod (A. Smith) 23:22, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Because synonymy is not strict equality, in your scenario A would not always be a synonym of C.
A: circular; B: oval; C: cigar-shaped. A ~ B, B ~ C. A not ~ C. (Unless you take a very narrow definition of circular.)
With antonyms it is even less likely that A would be synonymous with C, unless your definition of antonym is so strict as to be of no value in normal living. Antonyms of circular would be? "non-circular"? "triangular" (least smooth angular equilateral plane figure) ? "square"? "angular"? "one-dimensional"? "zero-dimensional"? "Lorenzian" (chaotic infinite-perimeter finite-area figure) ?DCDuring TALK 23:25, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for that answer. I did mean to say assuming the sense of the word did not change. Anyway, I can see now that either way the statments will not necessarily hold -- 23:36, 20 May 2008 (UTC)


OK, Wiktionary already contains this word(shortcut to Matilda), but the meaning i am looking for is, the name of the bendy line key on your keyboard, & more specifically the plural of this character.

Sorry if I have put this in the wrong place but I am new to putting enteries on this site.


Rob Kirman Synnex UK

That would be tilde. —Stephen 12:38, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
google:spanish tilda gets a lot of hits — almost as many as spanish tilde, actually — so I've added a misspelling sense to tilda#English. —RuakhTALK 23:26, 21 May 2008 (UTC)


There is a missing verb sense, but I'm not certain which etymology it belongs under (or if it's a third), "go spare"/"went spare" meaning go/went crazy, become/became very angry. "goes spare" does get some use in this meaning, but nowhere near as much as go/went. I'm not sure that it is used in the present tense though, as all the bgc hits (at leas the first 20) for "going spare" are for a completely different sense (e.g. "there's some bacon going spare if you want any"). Thryduulf 22:41, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

That's not a verb, but a modifier of some sort, IMHO probably an adjective. OTOH, if it's really only used with the verb go, then it should be at go spare, not at spare. —RuakhTALK 23:28, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

what is the meaning of

please, could anyone tell me what is the meaning of "Banner cum signboard"

It means a banner with a signboard. The word cum is Latin. —Stephen 00:52, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree. In English, “<noun X> cum <noun Y>” usually means something that's both <noun X> and <noun Y>. —RuakhTALK 01:28, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Right. Someone is talking about a banner which is also serving as a signboard—a more graceful expression of "banner-slash-signboard". Sometimes the usage is ironic: for example, they may be implying that people have ruined their nice banner by writing on it, thus making a signboard out of it. Michael Z. 2008-05-22 02:29 z
In that case it would generally mean that what was once a banner is now being used as a signboard. Though cum is literally and/with, in that case it is being used to denote a prior and current status.


"Trivia is" or "trivia are"? I believe that the first is accepted and may be preferred in the US. What about elsewhere? Does it need to be researched? DCDuring TALK 20:42, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Never heard trivia are, either here in the UK or Ireland, or when I lived in Australia. It even sound jarring.--Dmol 22:00, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

(after edit conflict) I have heard "tivia are", but it sounds somewhat odd, and I would always use "trivia is" myself. Thryduulf 22:04, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
My ear agrees with your ears. MW Usage said in 1994 that their evidence had the forms roughly equal. I can still find plenty of cites from this millennium for "trivia are", though it is a little tedious so pick the relevant cases from the other collocations to get comparable counts or the two forms. I would base the usage note on current authorities plus our consensus. DCDuring TALK 23:27, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Even the OED (who are often slow to accept new usages) is happy with both singular and plural for trivia. Dbfirs 20:31, 20 June 2011 (UTC)


There's been a three-way slo-mo revert war going on here, between Connel (who wants it marked a misspelling), Teh Rote (who wants it marked as the primary spelling, but is willing to compromise and accept marking it as an alternative spelling), and me (who/I don't care very much between "alternative spelling" and "misspelling", but thought misguidedly that I could get the two of them to compromise on a neutral wording). Hopefully community discussion and the light of day will help sort this out. :-)   —RuakhTALK 22:38, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

While I could live with alternative spelling, I would prefer misspelling. Those three s's make my insides hurt. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't remember ever reading about a blanket prohibition of triples before reading about it here. However, Fowler (2nd edition, in the entry -s-, -ss-, -sss-) says this:
“For the question whether such words as mis-shapen and mis-spelt should be hyphenated see MIS-, where it is recommended that they should be written as one word. But three s’s are felt to be too many to sort themselves out without help; mistress-ship and Inverness-shire are always so written.”
So, the label misspelling appears to belong, probably mitigated by a usage note explaining who exactly proscribes triple letters. Rod (A. Smith) 23:38, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I'll look it up in MW Usage tonight or tomorrow. Based on frequency of tripled vowels (freeest and weeest) and tripled consonants (willless) vs. the alternatives, it seems that the hyphenators are definitely winning with consonants, trouncing both the triplers and the doublers and the doublers are in the lead for vowels over the triplers with the hyphenators behind, but my efforts are merely exhausting, not exhaustive. No clear trend over time.
IMHO, the important thing is to have any entry for all forms a user might look up. Whether we nudge or shove users toward the more accepted choice is not as important. DCDuring TALK 23:54, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

O.K., so there's definitely some support (though not necessarily consensus yet) for marking it a "misspelling", which raises the issue that {{misspelling of}} includes the word common. I think we can all agree that whatever goddessship may be, it's not a common misspelling. So, should we create a new template for uncommon misspellings, and clarify in the documentation that it's not to be used lightly? Or should {{misspelling of}} take a nocommon=1 parameter, à la (the admittedly much-maligned) nocap=1 and nodot=1, again with clarifying documentation? —RuakhTALK 00:28, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

The meaning of "common" is not at all clear for this. Because "goddess-ship" is itself not common, any misspelling is likely to be much less common. There is some combination of absolute frequency and frequency relative to the "correct" spelling that makes something "common" in a Wiktionary Glossary sense. This need not correspond to the ordinary meaning of the word common.
We probably serve our users if we have entries for misspellings that someone might make, even if they are not "common". For example, I have argued that "freeest" may not be very common, but is a very plausible mistake, resulting from application of a basic rule for constructing superlatives, unmodified by the rare pseudo-rule against triple consecutive identical letters or a less clear principle of avoiding visual confusion. This seems to be almost the same case, as is willless/will-less.
I do not know where to draw the line between "misspelling worth including in Wiktionary" and "mispelling not worth including in Wiktionary". I'd like to think that there is some nice software that handles misspellings and typos, but it is unlikely it will get to these cases until after the end of the next decade. DCDuring TALK 02:45, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Based on Google web hits, it is actually much more common than goddess-ship. Some of those 200,000-some hits are dictionaries and weird-word sites, but the vast majority seem to be real.
  • Of course, the situation is reversed in print, with a raw 607 b.g.c. for goddess-ship vs. 35 for goddessship. I'm not sure if 5% is enough to count as "common."
  • But note that the goddess-ship print numbers are inflated by a) random collocations of "goddess/goddess's" and "ship" (about 10%?), and b) 19th-century works that have been reprinted umpteen times (filtering "Byron" alone drops the count by about 100).
  • IMS the correct b.g.c. percentage is probably closer to 10%, which seems like enough for "common" to me. -- Visviva 04:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Re: "Based on Google web hits, it is actually much more common than goddess-ship.": You'd think that, but they're actually about tied: 217 for "goddessship" and 214 for "goddess-ship". (You can see this by adding, say, &start=500 into the URIs.) However, neither number is terribly meaningful; you say that the vast majority of hits for "goddessship" seem to be real, but my impression (from looking at random pages of ten hits and counting the real ones) is that only about 20–30% are, and for "goddess-ship" only about 30–40% seem to be in the right sense. Regardless, this isn't common enough to be a common misspelling; I don't think "common by comparison" counts, because by that measure, we'd accept misspellings of words that just barely scrape by RFV. —RuakhTALK 12:09, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Ah, thanks, I was led astray by the 199,000 hits (which apparently is a baldfaced lie on Google's part; even with filtering off it only gives 574).
So because goddess-ship is uncommon, it cannot have a common misspelling? That seems odd, and is not how I had understood our current practice (i.e., that either a significant proportion or a significant absolute magnitude were enough to merit a {{misspelling of}}). I guess I had always understood "common" to be relative in this context. -- Visviva 12:19, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I’d say it’s relative. Goddess-ship is an uncommon word, but it is possible that it is frequently misspelt as "goddessship". Therefore, "goddessship" is a common misspelling, relatively speaking. —Stephen 12:30, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
No matter what else we did we would need to make sure that a misspelling at least would meet RfV. But a standard that was as complicated as RfV seems silly for this. Would a raw b.g.c. count of 10 be enough? Relative frequency is important. I think Visviva's 10% standard should include many important misspellings. Would 20% be a good automatic threshold? DCDuring TALK 12:53, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Just to let everyone know, I'm now against it being marked as the primary spelling, I'm pretty such that via the Google books results that the other two are more popular. However, that doesn't make the sss version a misspelling, much less a common one, so I'm entirely pro-alternative. As stated on the talk page of the entry in question, I'm fine with both "alternative" and "mis" being marked, as long as the usage notes give an adequate explanation of the controversy surrounding the triple-lettered words. Teh Rote 17:06, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I looked in a few usage and grammar books, but not MW Usage. None of them stated a simple prohibition against triple letters. There are discussions the use of hyphens to help the reader decode an unusual word by breaking in into more understandable pieces. will-less and goddess-ship would fit under that in most contexts. I am still looking for something about no-three-vowels (weeest, freeest). In those and similar cases, prevailing practice prefers weest and freest rather than free-est or wee-est, AFIACT. weest and freest just look like Dutch to me. DCDuring TALK 17:17, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The superlative suffix is used to changing, as in big-ger big-gest, fleet-er fleet-est, spare-r spare-st, funny-ier funny-iest, while -hood and -ship are not. Michael Z. 2008-05-23 19:52 z
Just as a notation, my unabridged copy of Webster's includes the unhyphenated hostessship. This may imply that triplets are, in fact, allowed. Teh Rote 01:18, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

The proscription of triplets is quite absurd, just look at zzz. Even if the rule is modified to exclude "obvious" exceptions like that, it's still just a grammatical rule, an attempt to model the language and nothing more. Written English is what English writers write... Language Lover 01:31, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

I just created an entry for sooo which is supported by bgc and is obviously not a misspelling because it's obviously done intentionally. Language Lover 01:38, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

honey point

What is it? What he mean? See here: http://lh3.ggpht.com/bspcn.com/SDL9_ipiPtI/AAAAAAAACmw/xXbCwaiP3O8/s800/thankyouforsayingyes.jpg Vitall 01:28, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Presumably he means "the point when a couple starts calling each other 'honey'". —RuakhTALK 02:35, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


This gets a lot of googles, but is it a common misspelling or an alternative spelling, or just a mistake? RJFJR 03:25, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I think it's a common misspelling. google books:raquetball does better than many real words. —RuakhTALK 12:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Also valid as {{obsolete spelling of}} (this was the usual 18-19th century spelling). Widsith 07:43, 24 May 2008 (UTC)


is this a real word? -- 14:30, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Apparently so; see dogpile (just created). May have an additional, more specific sense in football. -- Visviva 15:02, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

deep blue sea

I think this needs context tags and/or usage notes to explains what it conveys, but I can't think how to express it. Anyone care to help? :-) —RuakhTALK 16:46, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

  • My feeling is that it refers to sea out of sight of land, and therefore hazardous. I'm not convinced that it is a proper noun though. SemperBlotto 16:55, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
    • You're right, it's not. At least, for me it is, but a b.g.c. search pulls up plenty of non-count common-noun uses, and it's probably simplest to just treat it as that. —RuakhTALK 03:33, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
      • Could you provide sample quotations? I'm still skeptical both ways. It seems to name a specific unique entity, but isn't obviously a proper noun either. It could go either way depending on how it's used. --EncycloPetey 04:34, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
      • Well, for me it's a weak proper noun — always definite, always marked with "the", always referring to a specific unique entity — but google books:"expanse of deep blue sea", for example, gets tons of hits. —RuakhTALK 15:06, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
        • Couldn't you say "wide expanse of Mars", "wide exapanse of Canada", or "wide expanse of Asia"? You're just putting the noun as the object of a prepositional phrase beginning with "of", and then using the phrase adjectivally to modify "expanse". It doesn't address the issue of whether or not it's a proper noun, since both common and proper nouns can function equally well in that construction. --EncycloPetey 15:55, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
          • Those are strong (the-less) proper nouns. You can't say *"expanse of Alps"; rather, you have to say "expanse of the Alps". It's possible that the writers who write "expanse of deep blue sea" are using "deep blue sea" as a strong proper noun rather than as a non-count noun, but that seems unlikely to me. (The only test I can think of is "much" vs. "much of" — "much water" but not *"much of water", vs. "much of Mars" but not *"much Mars" — but neither google:"much of deep blue sea" nor google:"much deep blue sea", nor their b.g.c. counterparts, pulls up any relevant hits.) —RuakhTALK 16:17, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Know the meaning of a word, but can remeber the word!

Similar in meaning to SOLICE, and ends with the "-ic" suffix like THERAPEUTIC. The word I'm looking for is more suited for describing the help, actions, or events that one receives or experiences when trying to cope with tragedies. For example, when trying to deal with the death of a loved one. "Speaking to other survivors of the crash was _____-ic."

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

cathartic? (I take it you meant solace) __meco 01:38, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Not "-ic", but comforting and consoling are adjective synonyms. Michael Z. 2008-05-25 02:43 z

Cathartic! Yes. Thank you.

to ever enough

"The human being is far too backward to ever enough waving of placards." If this is correct English, there is an idiom hidden here, I believe, but I am unable extricate it. __meco 01:35, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

I wouldn't bet on it being correct English, especially because it is apparently from an interview transcript. It doesn't sound like good English to me, FWIW. DCDuring TALK 01:50, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I shortened the source sentence a bit. Perhaps I shouldn't have, so here's the unabridged version: "The human being, you see, is far too impotent, far too weak, far too backward, to ever enough waving of placards, and if he is trying to do this in the political arena, he is just wasting his time." __meco 01:53, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I would say there is probably a verb (have? do?) missing between "ever" and "enough." However, enough does occur very rarely as a verb (meaning to have done with, to say "enough!" to). One would really need to check the original recording. -- Visviva 04:34, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, this is the source text in its entirety. __meco 11:47, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I expect it's just an error, along with the many others in the interview. --EncycloPetey 15:51, 25 May 2008 (UTC)


A blogger who asserts to be an experienced professional writer is being censured for using its' in the possessive meaning, but retorts that he is being correct in using this manner of spelling. Is he right? The comment and response follows an interview on this page. __meco 11:50, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

He's wrong.. Michael Z. 2008-05-25 14:34 z
It's actually used there in multiple senses (roughly "of/pertaining to/belonging to it"; ="it is"; ="it has"), and in no case is it correct. its' is correct only in the sense of roughly "of/pertaining to/belonging to an implied thing that pertains or belongs to it", but (1) that sense is unidiomatic (since its is very rare in the sense of roughly "an implied thing that pertains or belongs to it" — it's not like mine, which is very common in its corresponding sense), and (2) that's not the sense being used anywhere in the interview so far as I can tell. —RuakhTALK 15:03, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Boy, I wish I could get a look at Mr. Papers' seekrit style manuals. Michael Z. 2008-05-25 15:10 z
LOL. I see that "experienced professional writer" is this sense means that some publisher decided they could make money off his ideas and published something he wrote. Did you read the interview? It's about Atlantis and "suppressed history". My favorite line is when the author warns the reader that, "We have left the question of evil in the hands of theologians and scientists for too long." I wasn't aware that evil was a scientific issue. XO I expect the author was using its' to exercise his freedom against the repressive norms of society, as its use was probably suppressed by the same ones who suppressed knowledge of Atlantis. --EncycloPetey 15:49, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
To each his own, I guess. But I can't find any concrete evidence that Mr. Papers has had any involvement with publishers. Michael Z. 2008-05-25 16:27 z
You know, something tells me he has his tongue in his cheek, and is laughing at us because we didn't get it. Michael Z. 2008-05-25 16:54 z

Completely off topic, but what does EncycloPetey mean by "XO" when he wrote "I wasn't aware that evil was a scientific issue. XO I expect the author was using its' to exercise his freedom against the repressive norms of society..."? We don't currently have an entry for XO, should we? Thryduulf 18:10, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

It's a kind of smiley; I think it's supposed to be someone with their eyes scrunched up and their mouth open. (Somehow I can't picture EP actually doing that, but hey...!) Widsith 19:46, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

rangefinding range-finding range finding

Google conflates all three forms rangefinding range-finding range finding but together they get a quarter million hits. I'm just not sure which forms should be entered. RJFJR 20:48, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Rangefinder is the only form of the related term in NOAD and CanOD, and I would assume that most of the kids are writing the more streamlined rangefinding these days. Michael Z. 2008-05-25 22:22 z

Roman candle/roman candle

Is the R in Roman candle still capitalized? RJFJR 21:23, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

It is in NOAD. Michael Z. 2008-05-25 22:19 z

roman, roman font = Western European?

Regarding the third sense in these entries ("Supporting or using a Western European character set."), I thought Roman = Latin alphabet. This would not be restricted to computer character sets specifically, and not categorically to Western European languages (I believe there are non-European languages which can be represented with only ASCII— maybe Hawaiian).

There is also the w:Mac OS Roman character set, or MacRoman, but this is not called romanMichael Z. 2008-05-25 22:48 z

Britannia on coins

             What year was Britannia turned to face right?
             I know it was sometime in George iv reign


Ovine needs to have both (more, most) comparable and not comparable specified in the en-adj template but I don't find any way to do this in the adj template help page. Can someone tell me how to do this and also please add it the the adj template help page? - dougher 18:31, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

I will attempt to use the existing custom capability. But you have identified a problem that may recur because we have pushed comparability down to the sense level. I would think that we would want this to behave in a way analogous to the en-noun behaves when there are both uncountable and countable senses. DCDuring TALK 18:55, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I tried and failed. Perhaps a better template trickster than I can make the existing template work. This one didn't even let me put (also not comparable) on the inflection line in the most direct way. I inserted {{comparable}} at the appropriate sense as a partial solution. DCDuring TALK 19:05, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it's fine the way it is: each part is self-contained and self-explanatory. Probably better than it would be with an ambiguous "comp. and not comp." in the inflexion line.
But can something not pertain to sheep more than another thing? Michael Z. 2008-05-26 19:23 z
I personally like it the way it is also, namely with the forms in the inflection line and "not comparable" on the sense. I'm not sure, though, that it's user-friendly.—msh210 19:35, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
What might make it more user-friendly? An appendix with some explanation of the comparability and gradabiilty of adjectives and adverbs? Change inflection line or sense line template wording? A usage note? Custom wording at the inflection? Or at the sense line? DCDuring TALK 20:23, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I think what you and the OP suggested sounds good: make it like {{en-noun|s|-}}.—msh210 21:44, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


could someone help me track down the origin of this phrase. How far back does it go and what was the original context in which it was used. I know what it means, but the phrase had to be new at one point and wondered if anyone had the history of this phrases

Google Book Search isn't very good with dates, and anyway isn't a very complete index, but is still useful for such questions. Using it, the earliest quotation I can get a clear date for is 1723, by which point the term already seemed to have its modern meaning:
  • 1723, Sir Richard Blackmore, A True and Impartial History of the Conspiracy Against the Perſon and Government of King William III, Of Glorious Memory, In the Year 1695,[7] James Knapton, page 61,
    The King knows he is the common Father of the Country, and, as ſuch, is to conſult, procure and advance the Good of his People, that is, their Good in general, with regard to their Affairs Abroad, as well as thoſe at Home, and reſpecting Time to come, as well as the preſent, and this he has been hitherto, and is ſtill doing, notwithſtanding the Cenſures of ſome, that are partial, narrow-minded, and of ſhort Sight.
RuakhTALK 02:39, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The Online Etymology Dictionary puts the first attested use in 1625. DCDuring TALK 03:31, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
That use is in Ben Jonson's The Staple of News, available online here: "A narrow-minded Man! My Thoughts do dwell / All in a Lane, or Line indeed: No Turning, / Nor scarce Obliquity in them." This was performed in 1625, but the OED conservatively dates this quote to 1631, the date of actual publication. -- Visviva 12:05, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Interesting -- for first attested use of the hyphenated compound term "narrow-minded". However, it would also be interesting to further address the original question and find when and where this particular metaphor was first expounded. Perhaps older cites proclaiming someone "of narrow mind" or something. I'd love to know who first put this metaphor into our language. Chaucer? The Greeks? The Chinese? -- Thisis0 18:55, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it was orginally a deliberate play on the opposite "broad-minded", which seems to be rather earlier. Widsith 19:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Hedge doctor

A sense of hedge meaning self-proclaimed or unauthorized exists in the terms hedge doctor, hedge knight, and hedge wizard.

Should this sense be added as an adjective to the entry for hedge, or should the terms be listed separately?

Aw crap, and all this time I thought hedgehogs were real hogs. Michael Z. 2008-05-27 07:38 z
Both, I would say, just as we would do for shadetree and shadetree mechanic... but please note that "hedge" is still a noun here. You can be a hedge doctor, but you cannot say "that doctor is very hedge." -- Visviva 12:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I've added a third sense to hedge, trying to pin this down. Some examples would be nice.. Widsith 12:21, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

fear of volcanoes -- volcanophobia?

nearly all phobias are derived from the greek, I'm told, but as volcano is the greek does that mean we're stuck with the boring volcanophobia? It has been suggested that magmountaphobia be used, as it is a mix of a few aspects of the fear. I have a serious phobia of volcanoes, so much so in fact that I have refused trips to japan, I'd really appreciate knowing the correct term for the phobia. —This comment was unsigned. I moved this section from the top of the page

http://phobialist.com/ doesn't seem to have one for volcanoes, so I think you may have to stick to "fear of volcanoes" or use your own invention. Vulcanophobia sounds nicer to my ears, after the Romon god Vulcan, though you might get away with calling it Hephaestophobia, after the Greek god responsible for volcanoes, or pyr-ora-phobia that would be fire-mountain-fear. Whatever you like really, make it up :). See Appendix:Invented phobias for why it really doesn't matter. Conrad.Irwin 00:53, 28 May 2008 (UTC)


An anon user recently swapped the "noun" and "verb" pronunciations, but I've come to realize that I've only ever heard the stress on the first syllable in the US. Is the second syllable only stressed in British contexts? And if so, is this done for the noun or the verb? --EncycloPetey 01:32, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I (UK) stress the second syllable of the verb. Conrad.Irwin 01:40, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Likewise. Noun and verb are distinguished in pronunciation, in the UK at least. Widsith 09:18, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
When it is used (as I only stress the first syllable, and I'm from the UK), it is only ever used on the verb. Bilky asko 13:22, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Like you, I (US) stress the first syllable of both. —RuakhTALK 02:29, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
As do I (US, born 1978). But see a thread on this topic.—msh210 16:50, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Should amphidexterous be added to the Wikionary ?

My children have challenged me on my use of the word amphidexterous.

This is a word I have known most my life, used most comonly to describe those that are both right and left handed. a proper definition of this word would likely be a little more broad concidering amphi = a prefex meaning both sides or both ends and deterous as it is already defined in several dictionaries.

when my children questioned me about this word I told them to look it up. This is when it was brought to my attention that it was not included in any of the dictionaries they tried.

After double-checking myself I checked here on Wikipedia where I was further disipointed not to have my word varified. As a last resort I googled to find a handfull of results, but nothing from a ligitimently recognized word definition source.

Does anyone in the tearoom agree that the word amphidexterous is a word that should be recognized? If so can it be given a place and difined in the Wikipedia Wiktionary ? —This unsigned comment was added by Robinonthewing (talkcontribs).


Should we split up two senses? (of a person) Free from falsehood in his statement. and (of a statement) Free from falsehood. We currently have what seems to be only the latter (plus a "with good manners" sense). Or are they the same meaning?—msh210 16:40, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Incidentally, the Simple English Wiktionary has two senses: right (as in "the correct hand position", to use their example) and "free from error". But in my opinion those coincide.—msh210 16:42, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I would say there is just one sense that appllies either to a person or statement, and not an additional one. But, it does not mean "free from falsehood", which is truthful; it means "free of error". The two senses currently given for the adjective look correct to me. --EncycloPetey 17:28, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with msh210 that the of-a-person and of-a-statement senses are distinct; for one thing, the of-a-person sense admits of a few different frames, such as "correct about <topic>" and "correct that <statement>", whereas the of-a-statement sense does not. —RuakhTALK 21:26, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
What about: "The organizers' statement is correct that the stadium was full, but misrepresents the number of attendees." Or: "Her statement is correct about the severity of the problem, but that does not mean the problem cannot be corrected." I don't see the distinction that you seem to. --EncycloPetey 17:34, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, those sound wrong to me. For the first I'd have to say something like, " [] correct in that the stadium [] ", and for the second, something like " [] correct — the problem is severe — but [] ". However, I should clarify that the of-a-person sense as I described it doesn't apply just to people, but also to utterances, books, and so on: anyone or anything that makes statements. Since there is one sense of "statement" that means something like "utterance" and that itself makes statements — "the Senator issued a three-page statement, containing such statements as [] " — I'd consider your examples theoretically possible, even though they sound really wrong to me. (For a clear example: would you ever say that "X ∧ Y is correct that X, but ~Y"? Or "P(X) ∧ Q(Y) is correct about X, but not about Y"?) —RuakhTALK 20:32, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Even if you're right that what Ruakhsaid about frames is incorrect, I still think they are different senses. One is "true, without error", and the other is "stating something correct/true/without error". To say that a statement is correct means that it is without error. If you ask me whether Paris is the capital of France and I say "You are correct", I do not mean that you are without error. Surely you've got error in you somewhere.  ;-)  I mean that you have stated something that is without error. Are those not two different senses, then?—msh210 18:38, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
The context is a separate issue, I think. A person can be correct when he says something, even though he is not always correct. Likewise, a statement can be correct depending on whether it is made in April, or to a conservative, or before the market crash, or at high tea. Perhaps correctness is always subjective. My head will start to hurt soon.
Consider: "the spy was correct to lie to the customs officer, so he could enter the country." So the spy's lie was also correct, at least from his point of view. But it did not have some universal quality of correctness which applies to statements and not people. Michael Z. 2008-05-29 21:07 z
I agree. The usual sentence constructions make them seem different, but a person, their statement, or their action can be correct about a point of fact or propriety.
But there might be some subsenses on a coarser scale.
  1. Appropriate (the correct amount of flour).
  2. Factually right (1).
  3. Showing good judgement (it turned out to be correct not to execute the accused).
  4. Polite, or showing good taste (2).
 Michael Z. 2008-05-29 18:25 z
"It turned out to be correct not to execute the accused" sounds awful to me (USA); I don't think I know that third sense. Is it common?—msh210 18:38, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
"Sparing the accused was correct," if you prefer, or "the magistrate was correct in handing down a strong sentence." Free from error in judgement, rather than error in fact. Sounds pretty common to me. Michael Z. 2008-05-29 19:07 z
Those sound bad to me, too. Maybe it's used in Canada and not the USA? Any other USans recognize this use?—msh210 19:14, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
To me they sound fine, but not with the meaning Mzajac is saying they have; to me they mean "procedurally correct" (so in the absence of any context, I'd interpret first example as meaning roughly, "It's good that they didn't execute the accused, because it turned out they weren't allowed to at that point"). —RuakhTALK 20:32, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Right, me too.—msh210 18:01, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
NOAD has a subsense "not mistaken in one's opinion or judgment; right : the government was correct to follow a course of defeating inflation.Michael Z. 2008-05-29 21:07 z

go Dutch

Does sense 1 of go Dutch still retain its capital D? The two citations on the page don't show this (one is all upper case and the other is all lower). Is this still considered as relating to the Dutch or is it now so separate that it should be go dutch? RJFJR 13:59, 30 May 2008 (UTC)


I need to leave to my betters to determine any error in senses 5 & 6 (the last two) of this entry. They seem to be for nouns, but there may be some simple transformation that would convert them into appropriate definitions for a determiner, or I may not understand determiners at all. DCDuring TALK 18:27, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I believe the fifth one is, although it is worded oddly. A determiner can function as if it were a noun/pronoun. The last one (6) may be a noun from a different Etymology. Widsith might know, but it doesn't sound like the determiner to me. --EncycloPetey 21:44, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
How is this supposed to help someone? It needs at least one usage example. DCDuring TALK 23:36, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 5 and 6 were nouns, I have moved them. It also works as a noun in the phrase in several, but I'm not sure if that's a different sense or one of the existing ones. Widsith 09:05, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

abbrev. transf.

There are two uses of the abbrev. "transf." found when doing a search. What is it an abbrev for? RJFJR 20:30, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

The OED uses it to mean “transferred sense”,[8] and our give way is almost identical to the OED Online's. (I don't know if it was a copyvio, or if it's from a now–public-domain older version of it.) The OED Online does not use transf. in defining spaug, however. —RuakhTALK 15:21, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Update: I've deleted give way, as it was by a known copyright violator here and at Wikipedia. So, we need to start it fresh. —RuakhTALK 15:24, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

trade mark

is trade mark a valid alternate spelling of trademark or is it a misspelling (and if so is it common)? RJFJR 03:04, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

14.8M raw google ... google:trade mark -trademark. Note the trick: trade mark -trademark will get you the two word forms, while trademark -trade -mark will get you one word forms. Robert Ullmann 11:25, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Er, surely you mean google:"trade mark" -trademark? That gets 671k for me (which still seems more than enough to be common). -- Visviva 11:38, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


I've just looked up jerry-built after finding it in James Joyce's "Ulysses" (1918), having thought it came from the Second World War. The entry here seems to imply that it came from the First World War. However, I've also found the word in "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists", Robert Tressell, 1910 and "The Three Clerks", Anthony Trollope, 1857, and a reference to its origins as a building company in Liverpool at http://books.google.com.au/books?id=lZpv_5a7sNUC&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=Jerry+Bros.+of+Liverpool&source=web&ots=NDQPAvVJwo&sig=fVUGLjij-cYDQ2xdiyZr38ACDcY&hl=en

I'm not sure how to correct the current entry, but it seems to be misleading.

No one really knows where it came from - the Scouse builders story is unconfirmed. But if you've really found it in The Three Clerks, you should let the OED know, as their earliest citation is currently from 1869. Widsith 08:58, 31 May 2008 (UTC)


Anyone have thoughts about what is presumably an adjective sense of this word, which sense we do not currently have in wiktionary, though it is represented in the pronunciation section. Something like "surpassing any previously recorded achievement or performance of its kind", for "The record turnout of voters" and "A record year for gas prices". I put it here because we've recently explored the issue of nouns masquerading as adjectives and other attributive use, and I wanted y'all's thoughts on whether it's made the full crossover to adjective. It's certainly not comparable (more, most record), but it doesn't seem quite the same as other noun adjuncts that have been recently discussed (amazon, satellite, dairy). Ok... go. -- Thisis0 20:14, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

It feels more like a noun to me, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be a proper adjective. It looks as though the meaning of "a record turnout of voters" is "a turnout of voters that is a record." That sort of meaning is typical of attributive noun use: "an elephant hide" means "a hide that comes from an elephant"; "a computer terminal" is "a terminal belonging to a computer". You can't usually do that sort of grammatical juggling with a true adjective; any juggling leaves you with an adjective: "a big box" means "a box that is big" and "a lonely mountain" is "a mountain that seems lonely". The juggling requires use of a clause wiuth a copula rather than a mainstream verb, but does not permit the phrase following the copula to take an article. It's a bit of a borderline case, but it looks more like a noun to me. --EncycloPetey 20:30, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
It looks like attributive only, no comparative, and not readily modified by an adverb ("very" is my favorite).
Of course, the problem remains that our users may not look at the noun for the meanings. I still like the notion of an adjective PoS section that directs users to the noun for meanings, but I didn't think anyone agreed with that. I'd be perfectly happy if WT:PREFS allowed anyone who wanted to turn that off in their view. My concern is not for active contributors, experienced users, or even sophisticated new users; it is for naive new users. DCDuring TALK 20:40, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
The OED call this "attrib., passing into adj.", which seems a good way of describing these emerging phenomena. I have to admit, I think of it as a noun. Widsith 07:12, 1 June 2008 (UTC)