Wiktionary:Tea room/2009/April

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← March 2009 · April 2009 · May 2009 → · (current)



My word is "involuted." Has this been defined yet? If not I would like to make the dictionary entry but I would appreciate anyone's help in writing it up.

involuted exists (now) as the past tense of involute. RJFJR 15:55, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

April fool

Should this have a separate “Exclamation” heading, or leave the note in the noun definition? This entry needs some work today. Michael Z. 2009-04-01 18:51 z

I think you mean "Interjection". --EncycloPetey 03:43, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you.
I've checked a few dictionarie, and not one has this listed as an interjection. But I know I've heard it used that way, and used it myself. Would that be because it's only used in speech? Michael Z. 2009-04-02 03:56 z
Possibly, but I can only ever hearing the interjection as April fools (April Fools?), never in the "singular". --EncycloPetey 05:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)


C# is a programming language (compare C, C++). Is there any mechanism for creating an entry for this? Equinox 22:52, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

The existing entry is at C sharp tho I suppose we could also support C♯ where “♯” is the sharp sign (U+266F) instead of the number sign “#” (U+0023) unless the specification for the name insists on using number sign only. Wouldn't be very user friendly for most people. — Carolina wren discussió 23:34, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Ah, you're right. I thought I'd seen it. However, the language (despite its pronunciation C sharp) is correctly written C# with a hash (or "pound") sign. Equinox 23:39, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Appendix:Unsupported titles. And sign the petition. DAVilla 08:36, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

i heard this word on The Daily Show and the definition doesn't make sense to me

hey- i jsut have a question: they, the daily show: with jon stewart, were talking about sending politicians to Hell and they made a graphic that said: Fiscal Hell. what does that mean? yearly? i know that it's used a lot of times to decribe a yearly budget, but the definition on this website mainly said that it was about law firms and companys. i'm confused, please help.

thanks, H.

What word(s) did you look up? Did you look at fiscal? --EncycloPetey 03:42, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Could it have been a pun on tax haven? (they're called "fiscal heavens" in french) Circeus 22:21, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I thought Fiscal just meant Financial - ergo welcome to "Financial hell" which if course is apt and to the point. As Circueus pointed out it could be a play on "fiscal heavens" although if you had to state that the US is in dire financial straits in two words then "Fiscal Hell" would be a good turn of phrase.

What does this phrase mean?

diva histrionics

Well, based on diva and histrionics, I would assume that it means when a needy, self-important girl throws a hissy fit about something. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 06:53, 2 April 2009 (UTC)


This page cannot be created because it is a "persistent protologism" — but it's not at all. A search on Google Books shows that it is a very old word, even attestable from 1889. Equinox 00:53, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Removed from the list- you should be able to create it now. Nadando 00:56, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks; entry created. Equinox 18:00, 4 April 2009 (UTC)


Can we accept pōhiri as an English word? It's about a Maori greeting ceremony, and all the quotes I could find about it had the ō in it. Or is it just a Maori word? --Jackofclubs 07:48, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Looks kinda like the situation for tió de nadal or the various forms of sushi and maki. You can't readily talk about the thing without importing the name. Possibly at some point if the word stick around and is used often enough the macron will be dropped, as the accent in a propos has been. Circeus 22:18, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Colour of haricot (bean)

I'm confused. We say it's a synonym for kidney bean, but while both WT and WP [1] say kidney bean is red, WP says haricot is white [2]. OED was little help to me with its "A leguminous plant of the genus Phaseolus, especially P. vulgaris, the common Kidney-bean or French-bean: also haricot bean. Applied both to the plant and the beans or seeds. Also haricot blanc, pod, vert." (my bold type) OALD only makes it worse, saying expressly "small white bean". Anybody in the know? --Duncan 11:56, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, baked beans are made from haricot beans (Phaseolus vulgaris, apparently), and they definitely aren't the sort of red kidney bean you'd use in chilli con carne. Equinox 18:03, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I'll answer about French. haricot is a word used in French for several kinds of beans: haricots verts (green bean pods), haricots beurre (yellow bean pods), haricots rouges (red kidney beans), haricots blancs (white beans). Lmaltier 05:53, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I changed the def from kidney bean to common bean [3] - not that it seems to me the best solution, but from what's written above I think it's a lesser evil. --Duncan 12:39, 8 May 2009 (UTC)


Can we verify that the Dutch word "vly" is now an English word ? We have several official vly's here in New york state...

Chambers Dictionary has had vly, vlei, vleis, vlies for at least a decade two decades. Equinox 18:01, 4 April 2009 (UTC)


From January 2009, relisting this in preparation for archiving that month's tea chats.Carolina wren discussió 02:12, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Is dowse a synonym or alternative spelling? Is it transitive or intransitive or both? Wikipedia claims one can also throw a bucket of water over oneself, and that it is always with cold water. H. (talk) 11:16, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

wowser, wowzer

Two rather different things, but both glossed as Aus/NZ. Can they be alternate spellings of each other? Equinox 22:15, 5 April 2009 (UTC)


I'd like to propose an adjustment to our definition of 'comprise'. 'Comprise' (at least every time I've seen or heard it correctly used) has two important nuances which most other dictionaries have missed the opportunity to spell out (usually leaving it up to a couple of inadequate examples to try to get them across). These nuances are:

  • ‘comprise’ functions in the same was as ‘embrace’ (the container comprises its contents)


  • ‘comprise’ implies that the list it refers to is exhaustive (so you are alerted to the fact that the contents comprised by the container are comprehensively listed when you see the word ‘comprise’)

These nuances are the very things that make 'comprise' such a specifically useful word and give it its own integrity, which is threatened by the history of chronic confusion with similar words like 'compose' and 'include'. Wikipedia has a great opportunity here to finally really pin this word down in all its wonderful, specific usefulness. (exciting!) (Please see also Bill Bryson's entry on ‘comprise’ in his book 'Troublesome Words'.)--Tyranny Sue 00:20, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Bear in mind that we are attempting to document the language as it is used — not to lay out a set of rules for what usages are "acceptable", which speakers would ignore at their convenience anyway. Equinox 00:22, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Yup, I totally understand and agree with that. It's really not at all about anyone's idea of 'acceptableness', but about clarifying the specificity & integrity of the word's primary/central meaning.
I have not proposed (and will not propose) any deletion/censorship of other usages. My intention is not about removing other meanings, but about protecting the endangered primary meaning.--Tyranny Sue 00:45, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
In patents, at least, comprise definitely does not mean the list is exhaustive. When you say "A vacuum cleaner comprising a hose, a motor and a switch," you don't mean that the vacuum cleaner has no other parts. Wakablogger 00:26, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely, which is why there should probably be a Usage note about its usage(s) in law (or in patent law).
In non-legal (i.e. general) literature it does seem to imply an exhaustive list.
Are there any other legal-usage-specific nuances? And does/might it vary between branches of law?--Tyranny Sue 01:01, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
So basically, in patent law, they might as well be using 'include'(?) I wonder why they chose/choose to use 'comprise' instead?--Tyranny Sue 02:34, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Black's is not helpful at all, though I'm pretty sure there was recently a case in the United States where a court made a ruling about the scope of comprise. Do you have any citations that clearly show that comprise can be exhaustive, or is it best to say that it could be either, like include? Wakablogger 20:43, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Replied at Talk:comprise as tea room is too crowded :) (Hope that's ok) --Tyranny Sue 14:34, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

In case moving discussion to talk:comprise is not ok, I'm posting here as well. (Sorry, I just find the Tea Room seems so cluttered but if it means the discussion's gonna be ignored otherwise, I'll post here.)
My Pocket OED (1961) has as its first listed meaning, "have or embrace as constituent parts (esp. exhaustive list of such parts)". 'Comprise' & 'comprehend' come from the same Latin root (comprehendere), thus, 'comprehensive' (i.e. exhaustive) list.
(The definition goes on to say "include in scope or contents".)
p.s. I think I need to retract my initial proposed meaning saying that "the container comprises its contents" (I don't know how to do a strike-through here, but would like to use one on that.) Because that example is confusing (and similar to the confused-sounding example, "This box comprises all my possessions", at the entry's page. What a tricky word it can be!)--Tyranny Sue 02:34, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Canadian conjugation of spit and shit?

We've been having a discussion on the spit and shit pages about variations in past tense inflections of these words. As a half-caste American/Australian person, the usages I've been familiar with are 'spat' and 'shat'. I can't imagine a person not from the USA saying 'spit' or 'shit' as past tense, but the one major native English-speaking region I really don't know about is Canada. Could any Canadian Wiktionarians please let me know what you guys say? Many thanks. (This is all just out of curiosity, by the way.)--Tyranny Sue 01:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

A south-east-England perspective (not what you wanted, but perhaps for geographical completeness :)): simple past would probably be shitted or possibly shit; shat sounds strange (I don't think I encountered it until I first used the Internet and started to pick up more American English). I had not heard of shitten as past participle at all until just now, when I glanced at the shit entry. As far as spit goes: I think almost anybody in the UK would use spat; I have spit sounds bizarre to me unless I imagine the American accent. Equinox 01:20, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Excellent, I am actually interested in hearing about anyone's experience with this word. (I think I'm going to have to run a North-America-wide poll to find out the numbers of who uses what. :)
Come to think of it, do you know of any such language-use polls on the web? Maybe Wikipedia should have some? (or does it already?)--Tyranny Sue 01:46, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Let me recommend the use of the BYU online corpora for resolving UK and US differences, especially in inflected forms. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any way of checking on Canadian or other Englishes except using geographically restricted search on Google News. DCDuring TALK 01:49, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
In reply to Equinox, in the north of the UK, both spat and shat would be considered normal, though not exclusively so. Dbfirs 20:28, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

The CanOD is the only publication I know of based on recent Canadian corpus, and it orders its mentions by frequency. It gives the past and past participle as shat, shit, shitted, and spat or spit. I'm sure I've heard all of these used somewhere or other. Michael Z. 2009-04-07 21:01 z

The forms I almost exclusively encounter hereat in north-west Wales are spat and shat (with shitten as the past participle only rarely).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:43, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Cool, so it sounds like there's a general POV problem with the {dated} label that was previously on 'shat' & that's not just my personal POV.--Tyranny Sue 01:10, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

What are the guidelines around 'See also', please?

Sorry, couldn't find it anywhere. I'm wondering what qualifies a term for inclusion under another term's 'See also' listing. Thanks very much.--Tyranny Sue 01:39, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Have a look at Template_talk:also. It's basically for entries on a similar theme (rather than ones that are directly etymologically linked). Uh, that's not the same as a "see also" subheading, is it? Curses. Equinox 01:46, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, the entry I'm curious about is sit. 'See also' appears directly below the entry name. (I'm actually trying to learn why 'shit' is a 'see also' for 'sit'.)--Tyranny Sue 01:52, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay, the thing I erroneously mentioned above was the {{also}} template, which you can use at the top of (say) pin to indicate that PIN (abbreviation) also exists as an entry. The "See also" you are talking about, as far as I know, can be used for anything that's somehow relevant to the current word (without being better suited to some other common heading like Synonyms or Anagrams), e.g. (example from today) cybermoney from cyberbanking. I can't see why shit relates to sit (except that it sounds vaguely the same) so I suspect the above was a joke or troll. Equinox 01:59, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Disagree with (dated) qualifier on shat

"shat (dated) Simple past tense and past participle of shit."

Everyone I've ever known has used 'shat'. And I do (more or less) exist in the present! :)--Tyranny Sue 01:54, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

As I mentioned in the section above about Canadian conjugations, shat is probably rare in the UK. I think it's perfectly current in the US, though. Feel free to remove dated (or indeed anything) if you genuinely believe it's wrong and think you could provide evidence if questioned! WT:BB Equinox 02:03, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I've read about people using shat but have heard it only once or twice. I think this is dialectical. Wakablogger 20:44, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
What dialect were your speakers speaking? Are you sure it's not associated with a particular register, social group, etc., or simply unusual where you are? Michael Z. 2009-04-14 17:38 z

FWIW, shitted sounds strange to me; shat sounds a lot more natural. This definitely isn’t {{dated}}.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:08, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that shat is dated in the UK. Mglovesfun 15:42, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

"cyber" + (word)

I don't know if w:WP:NFT and w:WP:NEO apply here, but it seems that we shouldn't be making up dozens of words by adding cyber to an existing word. Also, I was falsely accused of trolling [4] by the user who made these when I tagged one for deletion because it looked like obvious vandalism. Letsdrinktea 03:12, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Hello. I'm the "user who made these". I think they all meet WT:CFI, and I've been careful to check that enough usages exist according to those rules. Equinox 03:15, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I said you were "trolling" because you modified the entire "delete template" — the one that applies to every entry with delete on it — to say "immediate" instead of "imminent" deletion. How do you justify that? Equinox 03:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Immediate has a more accurate connotation. And please point out where in the criteria for inclusion these are included under Letsdrinktea 03:21, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

No, immediate and imminent have entirely different meanings, as anybody working on a dictionary should be able to tell. As for "where these are included", I think, as the detractor, it is your part to indicate why they are not allowed. Again, look at WT:CFI, and also look at Google Books etc. where you can search academic papers. If you can demonstrate that any of my cyber- terms does not exist, you have a good case for its removal. Equinox 03:27, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Alright folks, let's cool down. First, Letsdrinktea, your use of {{delete}} was probably not appropriate in this case. Entries which are clearly bad faith edits (or in any case, clearly not valid) are really the only targets for this template. For good faith entries (which these clearly are, regardless of whether we want to include them in the long run), rfd or rfv are the appropriate templates. Now, most of these entries are likely to satisfy CFI, as the English language has had a sordid love affair with cyber- as of late. If you think that any of these words do not exist, then you are quite welcome to add {{rfv}}, however I suggest a quick look at Google Books first. The trolling charge was probably not warranted here. As for imminent vs immediate, the difference in meaning is so subtle, that any argument over "correctness" is absurd, but I like the word imminent more, and I see no reason to change it. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 04:00, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the argument is absurd. Immediate means "right now"; if we said that on the RFD template, it would suggest that the article should be deleted at the first possible opportunity, i.e. as soon as an admin saw it. That's terrible. Imminent, on the other hand, just implies that the deletion is forthcoming some time soon (i.e. after potential discussion). Equinox 23:37, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Actually, what applies here is w:Internet-related prefixes. ☺ Uncle G 15:36, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Suggested alteration to (improvement of) meaning 2 of 'flashback'

(Also posted on 'flashback' discussion page) I suggest that

  • Meaning 2 (psychology)

"a vivid mental image of a past trauma, especially one that recurs"

be altered to something more like:

  • "an unintentional, often overwhelming and usually unpleasant mental and/or bodily re-experiencing, after the event, of any number of possible sensory phenomena resulting from and related to an experience of trauma."


'mental image' implies something exclusively visual, whereas flashbacks can range across the whole spectrum of sensory experiences (taste, smell, touch, sound, as well as sight). Also, it implies that the experience takes place in the head, whereas sensations can be experienced in any part of the body.

'vivid' - both the initial trauma(s) and the ensuing flashbacks are, due to their very nature, strongly characterised by confusion and turmoil (that is, if one is traumatised enough to actually have flashbacks). 'Vivid' has a contraindicated & unhelpful (in this context) meaning/implication of 'clarity'.--Tyranny Sue 03:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

That definition is difficult for me to read, and I'm a native speaker used to convoluted dictionary definitions. I think the typical Wiktionary user would find the revised definition too complex to parse. Users for whon English is a second language would probably not understand that version at all. --EncycloPetey 05:14, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with EncycloPetey, we are a general, not a specialist dictionary, but perhaps a usage note indicating the more general meaning in psychology might be useful - what does anyone else think? Dbfirs 07:08, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Word for better recall of an item due to having written it down?

Note: this question previously appeared at Wiktionary talk:Tea room. It was moved here by Ruakh (talkcontribs).

I am looking for the word that describes the aid to memory when an item is written versus remembering without having written the item.

I saw the word in a dictionary several years ago but cannot find it again. I believe it starts with the letters mn.

Any assistance would be appreciated.

Bill Wendell

—This unsigned comment was added by Wawendell (talkcontribs) at 16:44, 6 April 2009 (UTC).

mnemographics? DCDuring TALK 19:58, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

New discussion: the use of "you" to mean "me"

This tea room is too crowded! :) Please see [5]


I'm looking for a musical word to finish the definition of dumka: I have at the moment

A genre of instrumental folk music from Ukraine, with sudden changes in [[foo]]

, and I didn't want to steal the definition from another dictionary "sudden changes from melancholy to exuberance". I'm sure there's a special musical term I need here. Any suggestions? --Jackofclubs 10:46, 7 April 2009 (UTC)--Jackofclubs 10:46, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

None of these seems quite ideal, but mood, atmosphere, spirit? Equinox 20:00, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
You could put the correct musical terms, perhaps. ...changes in tempo from grave to allegro -- ALGRIF talk 12:40, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Requires an expert if it gets this specific: is the mood shift accomplished by changing one or more of tempo, key, phrasing, harmony, etc? It may be that there is no set technique, so the correct definition would be “changing in mood” anyway. Michael Z. 2009-04-12 16:14 z
OK then. How about "...sudden changes in tempo from sad to happy and back again." (I see the entry is still only half complete). -- ALGRIF talk 12:17, 25 April 2009 (UTC)


define spindle -- aircraft, bi cycle & automobiles.

I didn't know the word was commonly used in these contexts ... perhaps hub or spoke? I assume that sense 2 in our entry ("A rod which turns, or on which something turns") would be the meaning. Have you any examples of use? Dbfirs 07:04, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


hello anyone out there heard of the term "to lossack/lozzack around"? it was a word used I recall in my younger days in the Midlands, meaning to laze around, lie around, or lounge around in an extremely relaxed manner...

can't find it on here, though....

There are a very few definitory mentions of lozzack in Google Books: [6] Equinox 20:02, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

'comprise' meaning 'contain'?

Regarding meaning 2 in the comprise entry, does anyone actually use it this way (i.e. as synonymous with 'contain')?

To include, to contain. 
This box comprises all my belongings. 

You wouldn't say "This box includes all my belongings". I have never heard or read of 'comprise' being used to mean 'contain'. (Please reply at the 'contain' section in Talk:comprise. Thanks very much, tea room's too crowded).--Tyranny Sue 15:13, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Hello Tyranny, I don't what you mean by "tea room's too crowded", but it is English Wiktionary's custom to discuss entries in Tea room, not on the talk pages of entries. That way, everyone who monitors Tea room knows there is a discussion on the word and can join in if they want to. Also, this makes it easy to review all past discussions about entries, by looking at the current or archived Tea room. --Dan Polansky 16:31, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I mean that it's harder to find what I'm looking for on the Tea Room. It feels like I have to wade through tons of other stuff before I get to what I'm looking for.--Tyranny Sue 02:13, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
It seems this entry is in need of actual citations. Pingku 16:49, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree. (Also, the close etymological relationship between 'comprise' & 'comprehend', thus 'comprehensive' list - sorry, I should've thought to point that out earlier - should be noted in the first meaning.) --Tyranny Sue 02:13, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Hyphenation Questions

Hi there, I'm German, so I don't know the English hyphenation that well but I found out that it is quite different from the German one in most cases. First one general question: I would find it helpful, if the hyphenation was given in every entry. Is there a special reason, why this is not the case? Or did I just hit the incomplete entries by bad luck? Next I'd like to know the hyphenation of the following (quite complicated) words:

  • distributed
  • synchronization

Thank you for any comments. -- 19:09, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

The reason hyphenation is not often given here is that there are no fixed rules for English hyphenation. Different countries hyphenate English words differently (UK, US, Canada); different dictionaries in the same country sometimes hyphenate the same words differently; and even different professions use different standards of hyphenation as well. --EncycloPetey 05:11, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


This word has the meaning "(transitive) To be close to or in contact with." Although it appears in other dictionaries, with virtually identical wording, I find it highly ambiguous. Is the meaning physical, in which case "in contact with" really need to be reworded differently, or metaphorical, in which case that aspect needs to be made more explicit, by introducing a word such as acquainted. Circeus 04:53, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, physical contact. (I've added the word to the entry to clarify.) There are probably figurative uses, but the main meaning would always be assumed physical unless the context indicated otherwise. Dbfirs 06:59, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


Two English adjective senses; aren't these just attributive use of the noun? Equinox 23:30, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I agree, especially as we have no adjectival sense of weekday. Dbfirs 15:58, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


This is very similar to the Czech form called zápočtový list, but I don't know what to do with this: treat the Czech term as a translation? Create the Czech entry with a precise definition and make a link at P45 (in which case, under what header)? Do something else? I reckon they should be linked in some way. (I think this might also apply eg to currently rfd'd Certificat de travail.) --Duncan 13:41, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Striking, took my own advice. --Duncan 17:45, 20 June 2009 (UTC)


An anon removed the archaic tag from earnt. Is this form still modern English? RJFJR 17:46, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

I would normally write earned, but I would not totally reject earnt as a dialectal form. It doesn't appear in the OED, so it can't be common throughout the UK. Dbfirs 12:16, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd restore the tag while we await more evidence. DCDuring TALK 14:26, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Not in COCA at all. 8 occurrences in BNC vs 1981 for earned. I think entry is OK as is, but wording of usage note could be improved. DCDuring TALK 14:39, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Note this timeline of the publication dates of the first thirty hits yielded by Google Book Search when searching for earnt:

<1860= 1839 1857 |
1860–1879= 1864 1864 |
1880–1899= 1897 1897 1897 |
1900–1919= 1901 1902 1907 1910 1910 1917 |
1920–1939= 1921 1939 |
1940–1959= |
1960–1979= 1962 |
1980–1999= 1985 1986 1989 1994 1996 1996 1997 1998 1999 1999 |
>2000= 2001 2002 2005 2006

With fourteen out of the thirty books having been published since 1985, I think we can safely say that this form is not archaic.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:24, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Were those dates of original publication or of reissue? DCDuring TALK 18:32, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea; I was just going on the years given on the hits page. (Except for the case of this hit, for which G.B.S. gave no year; I got its year (1989) from Amazon.)  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:18, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Only a few of the 1960+ hits were mentions or quotations of earlier works. DCDuring TALK 18:40, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
An opportunity to publicise stem and leaf display!:
Shouldn’t that be “stem-and-leaf display”?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:18, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I didn't remember whether I'd added the alt sp. DCDuring TALK 19:49, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  • 183|9
  • 184|
  • 185|7
  • 186|4,4
  • 187|
  • 188|
  • 189|7,7,7
  • 190|1,2,7
  • 191|0,0,7
  • 192|1
  • 193|9
  • 194|
  • 195|
  • 196|2
  • 197|
  • 198|5,6,9
  • 199|4,6,6,7,8,9,9
  • 200|1,2,5,6
Other variants with wider intervals are possible. One sidelight is the underrepresented period of books which I conjecture are those still in copyright and not authored in electronic media. Some of the identical last digits (1897) might make one wonder whether the same book was included more than once. Anyway: offered as an example. DCDuring TALK 19:01, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I checked out the 1897 hits: turns out that two of them are duplicated ([7] & [8]), whereas the third is not a verbal use at all — The New England Historical and Genealogical Register uses it in an index when talking about a one John Earnt; so, of the three 1897 hits, only one really counts. I imagine that the other annually-contemporary hits probably exhibit the same phænomenon, but since this is just a cursory glance at different usages through time, I can’t really be bothered going to the effort to find out.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:18, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I really wanted to test out the display. I have always been tantalised by it and have found it more informative and provocative than conventional displays - though it is becoming increasingly conventional. Also useful for data collection/compilation.
"archaic" initially had seemed appropriate, but the BNC data had convinced me otherwise. The 3rd edition of Fowler (one of the 1996 hits) seems to suggest that the spelling reflects a current UK pronunciation more common than print might show. DCDuring TALK 19:49, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, leaf and stem is a pretty clear display format, but probably only for small ranges (like the ten yearly increments of decades, above). FWIW, I use earnt consistently as the past participle, whilst my usage varies between earnt and earned in the simple past tense.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:23, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Please see Google News where there are recent examples of earnt in the Daily Mail and The Times. I use it myself. Colonel Warden 10:42, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

rub it in

Is this phrase used exclusively with the pronoun it, or should should the entry rather be rub in to also cover expressions like "don't rub that old story in"? --Duncan 19:10, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

To me, rub in is the lemma of this verb, but rub it in may be by for the most common application. Do we have a rule for this situation? I'd say rub it in should point to the lemma with a form-of template. Michael Z. 2009-04-11 21:34 z
I'm not sure what I would do. The verb rub in has several meanings (e.g. "He rubbed in oil to preserve the wood."), while rub it in has a very specific meaning that I can't recall encountering without "it" in the phrase. I think rub it in might be a Phrasebook entry, but the two entries should certainly point to each other, as Mzajac suggests. --EncycloPetey 23:48, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Rub in has a literal and a figurative meaning (possibly more than one of each), exactly in parallel to rub it in, thought the figurative meaning would probably turn out to be relatively more common in the case of rub it in. I've entered rub in, though on a different whimsy I might RfV both it and rub it in. Actually MWOnline has "rub in" as an entry and RHU has "rub it in" as in idiom under "rub". IOW, some lexicographers think it worthwhile to include, at least one thinking the rub it in variant idiomatic. DCDuring TALK 18:42, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
We can add some real quotations to rub in with examples like “rub it in,” “rub the spice in,” etc. Michael Z. 2009-06-20 20:48 z

new word

drunksting: verb. Texting while drunk.

See Wiktionary:Protologisms. --EncycloPetey 23:46, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


I recently added a section at offer#Etymology 3, which was deleted by an anon. The section was as followed:



  1. (used in combinations from phrasal verbs) agent noun of off
    • 2003, James-Jason Gantt, Losing Summer[9], →ISBN Invalid ISBN, page 146:
      Once you finally discover yourself a dismember-er, a de-limber, a fucking head-cutter-offer, the most simple of tasks — enjoying a long walk outside, seeing a movie, conversing with a stranger in the library — all become prized and over-inflated moments of elation.

I was a bit hesitant to add this initially. But there's other cites: puller-offer and shoe-taker-offer. Apparently this is called agentive nominalisation. Anyway, I can't see any reason why not to include these, but I imagine there's a clearer definition than {{context|used in combinations from phrasal verbs|lang=und}} ''agent noun of '''[[off]]'''''. --Jackofclubs 11:45, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Agree inclusion is rather arguable (AFAIK we don't normally include compounds part not found on their own). But couldn't it be an agent noun from off "to kill"? (getting cites would be a bitch. maybe looking if OED's got anything might help?) Circeus 15:30, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
It seems like something that ought to be included. Were it a suffix we would have it, with hyphen; were it a free-standing word used in hyphenated words, we would have it, without hyphen. Aren't there others like this: -downer, -upper, -offer? DCDuring TALK 19:22, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, no that I think of it I can think of a similar case we include: -incher. Circeus 19:32, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Also -pounder. Maybe that definition should be moved to -upper however. --Jackofclubs 05:48, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

See the similar discussion at Wiktionary:Tea room#upper. This is doubled agentive -er again. The single agentive would be "puller-off", "cutter-off", and so forth — their being the additions of "-er" to "pull off" and "cut off". Uncle G 15:29, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

definition of the word 'bechareh'

I am looking for the definition of 'bechareh'. This word is used in Jhumpa Lahiri's short story A Real Durwan. Is this a Bengali word? Thanks, Jann

I did a Google search on the word and this Tea room page was about the only thing that came up that was English. I did not find it in any of the dictionaries I had on hand ... However, one of the pages also mentioned a variant "Beshara" which when Googled turned out to be a name. Tho on another page "bechareh" seemed to be an interjection. (?!?!?!?) So the short of it is, I'm as stumped as you are ... --Logomaniac 16:17, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Daily papers

I am looking for a word that describes one's daily papers. Things like receipts, grocery lists, report cards etc. The word accoutrement comes to mind, but isn't ideal.BarLo 16:42, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

I doubt there's a word in English, based on my life-long obsession with trying to get organised. I've read many of the books and don't recall any specific terms. "Inbox filler", "incoming", "junk" come to mind. Perhaps the Greeks or Germans have a word for it. DCDuring TALK 16:42, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
'The phrase personal papers probably comes closest to the asked for meaning, but as DC said, it's doubtful there is a single word in English with your desired scope of meaning. — Carolina wren discussió 18:38, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I've heard collectors use the term ephemera, but it has a much wider meaning of course. Dbfirs 08:57, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Filofax? (Remember those?) Or my wife's handbag? Lol. Sorry. Can't think of a one-word answer for you. -- ALGRIF talk 14:31, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Thank you. Ephemera is the word that is used. I am trying to use it to scrapbook personal papers and when I 'google' "personal ephemera" I found this explanation: http://www.scrapjazz.com/topics/Techniques/Pockets/745.php BarLo 16:42, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

paraphernalia might also be what you are looking for. Uncle G 15:23, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

I like that: "Personal Ephemera and Paraphernalia". Another word I came across that may work is minutiae/minutia but it is weaker.BarLo 16:42, 25 April 2009 (UTC)(sorry forgot to sign my earlier posts)

Motorcyle and quad bike

  • motorcycle is defined as: An open-seated motor-powered vehicle with two wheels.
  • quad bike is defined as:an off-road four-wheeled motorcycle used for recreation

I don't know what "open-seated" means and Wiktionary doesn't have a definition for it. I think the distinguishing feature of these vehicles is either (1) not having sides and a roof or (2) not having a carriage body. Can someone help clarify the motorcycle definition and perhaps use that in the quad bike entry as well since it does not seem useful to have to go to the motorcycle entry to find out what a quad bike is. Wakablogger 01:15, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Open vehicle may be a clearer equivalent. I think it's okay to define it with motorcycle, since that's a much more common thing, and therefore incorporates the principal of defining with simpler words – but of course, only if that really defines it.
By the way, I think a defining characteristic of motorcycles is that the wheels are in line. Michael Z. 2009-04-15 19:53 z
Looking around a bit more, I found an enclosed motorcycle at [[10]]. A complete enclosure is not possible as you have to put your feet down to stop, so human-balanced when at a stop seems to be a defining characteristic, though that comes directly from the characteristic of having two wheels.
There are lots of three-wheeled motor vehicles with enclosures, though: [[11]], [[12]], [[13]] and [[14]], for example.
I had no luck in finding quad bikes with enclosures around them, though I think it is easy enough to imagine that people would easily recognize an enclosed quad bike as a quad bike.
I think what all of these vehicles have in common--and something about them seems uniquely different from car-like vehicles--is that there is only one seat in the front position for the driver. A side car is possible for a motorcycle, but that is an accessory and not central to the definition of a motorcycle. Wakablogger 23:53, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
In the Wim Wenders movie Until the End of the World there were two enclosed police motorcycles which had a little outrigger wheel that extended when they slowed down. Very cool. Can't find any video, but they might have been Monotracers.
Anyway, just because there are oddball exceptions like this doesn't mean that you can't define motorcycle as an open vehicle. Most of us would agree that two wheels defines motorcycle, even though a motorized trike is a kind of motorcycle. Any definition will have exceptions. Michael Z. 2009-04-16 01:12 z
Talking of oddball exceptions, the bubble car had versions with only one seat in the front. -- ALGRIF talk 18:27, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
And it seems completely different from a motorcycle. Perhaps the distinguishing characteristic is that with a motorcycle the engine (or engine-mounted body) is straddled. Wakablogger 08:03, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

syntagma, syntagmatic

Definition 2 is circular, depending on “in a syntagmatic relationship,” while syntagmatic is defined as “[o]f or pertaining to a syntagma.” I don't feel qualified to sort this out. Michael Z. 2009-04-15 22:49 z


What do others think of this curious edit by User:Wakablogger. We don't use "Noun 1" and "Noun 2" headers, do we? -- WikiPedant 05:51, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Not usually. I've split this by etymology, as is customary. Ƿidsiþ 05:58, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I was going to do that, but there was no etymology at the time. I much prefer the way it was changed as the verb obviously needs to stay with the noun. Wakablogger 08:02, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
BTW, the underlying issue here for me is that there is no place to go for reference on how to format the parts of an entry. I have probably spent three hours looking through the help files, but finally just gave up. Whenever I need to do something like a dual plural or etymology, I look for a page that has it already set up. Wakablogger 16:56, 16 April 2009 (UTC)


We have no good as an alternative spelling for no-good. I don't think this is correct, and I would "asterisk" any construction like "He is no-good". The hyphen should only appear in attributive usage, hence "this is no good" but "a no-good scoundrel". (Consider how silly "it's no use!" would look with a hyphen.) Incidentally, I got to this entry from nogoodnik, whose examples also violate the above. Am I just lagging behind popular usage or something? Equinox 00:22, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I would go with your instincts as a default. Google isn't good for checking this kind of thing. Try BYU's BNC/COCA site. Worth bookmarking, registering (free). DCDuring TALK 02:05, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree that no-good is not an alternative spelling of "no good", but with the current fashion for omitting hyphens, both "nogood" and "no good" are probably both used as alternatives to the (correctly) hyphenated adjective used attributively. Dbfirs 18:27, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


If you've heard of the UFC you might know this word, but how do you spell it? Kneebar, knee-bar and knee bar all come up in red. Has anyone got a reference for this? Mglovesfun 15:38, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

I find Kneebar just in Wiktionary, the page is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knee_bar#Kneebar, following the word "Leglock" :) --Happyfly 09:33, 23 April 2009 (UTC)


On Talk:fap one non-native speaker of English demanded the removal of the tag vulgar, which I object strongly. I am curious what native English speakers think of that. I stated my reasons here. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 18:04, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Curious. I'm unfamiliar with the term, but its onomatopoeic etymology screams vulgar. Incidentally, I note in the linked discussion page that you appear to conflate "notion" with "term". The notion of masturbation (or, for that matter, shit-eating) may seem vulgar to some, no matter what you term it. Whether or not the term is deemed vulgar, in a linguistic sense, is another question. Pingku 19:21, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I've always felt it to be a more humorous (in a self-mocking way) than an outright vulgar term, personally. Circeus 19:52, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the remark, I rectified it. I was asking about the term. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:29, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm the non-native speaker in question. 'Sup.
First of all I'd like to mention that I didn't demand removal of that tag. What I did was proposing it might be out of place, waiting for other people to give their opinions on the matter, and then deciding to be bold upon not getting any reaction after twelve days. There's no need to get upset about it.
Secondly, what Circeus said. To me too it seems more of a humorous or silly term for the act in question than a particularly vulgar one - although, like I said yonder, any word for such a thing will be somewhat vulgar just by virtue of referring to a taboo. - Fyrius 21:45, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually IRL I'm a non native speaker. I just hardly ever communicate in French over the 'net (to the point where I am quite unfamiliar with French textspeak and Internet neologisms). My tendency would be toward putting it in {{Internet slang}} without a vulgar mark, maybe even with euphemism (cf. vajayjay), as I am dubious it is much represented in the non-netizens. Circeus 22:10, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Please, I implore the native English speaking users to have a say - we muse here, three non-native speakers (without Pingku) about whether this term is vulgar or not, Pingku admitted that he is unfamiliar with the term, I have proposed a theory for distinguishing vulgar/or at least colloquial verging on obscene/ terms from literary terms on Talk:fap and hitherto the comments are scarce. I apologise, if I sound exasperated, this is not the case, just impatient to see the word appraised aright. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 16:36, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm English. You should perhaps start by explaining what you mean by vulgar. This properly means in common use and fap does not seem to be. If you mean impolite or rude, then fap is not especially so - it is too twee and unfamiliar to have much impact. I favour removing vulgar and just describing the word as slang. Colonel Warden 10:34, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
  • As a native English speak, I would categorize the term as "vulgar slang" if the term "vulgar" is understood to mean "coarse, unrefined or crude", not necessarily "obscene or indescent". I would liken the term "fap" to that of "piss". While it is certainly not a term that would be used in any polite company, there is nothing intrinsically offensive about it.
  • Also a native speaker. Although it is relatively low on the hierarchy of vulgar words (and not terribly offensive), I'd still put it there. And in response to the above person, "piss" is definitely vulgar. Just behind cuss words, if you ask me. Putting it in {{Internet slang}} and adding euphemism sounds good. 00:45, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Meaning of advertising-free

Hello everyone, I'm a newbie here. Advertising-free, does it mean "there's not any advertising here", or "to advertise here is cost-free" ?

Sorry I forgot to sign account and time above, it's the first time I post here :) -- Happyfly 8:03, 22 April 2009(UTC)

It should mean "without advertising". It often actually means "without paid advertising", ie, from anyone besides the publisher. To see the outer limits o "advertising-ree", watch US PBS, especially during its fund-raising periods. DCDuring TALK 10:31, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank u DCDuring! Could I say "free advertising" or "advertising for free" if I want to put "to advertise here is cost-free" ? I just want to know when "free" means "without" and when it means "no cost", Thank u! --Happyfly 9:19, 23 April 2009(UTC)
They're both clear, they cannot mean "free of advertisements (none are here)". It is typically "free of" (meaning not applicable, etc..) when followed directly by the verb or noun, when it is followed by a contracted form or a preposition (for) it would mean the latter-- "you can advertise here for free." at least that's my understanding of it. -- 09:33, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
You can say "free advertising" (but not "free of advertising", which means without any). Equinox 00:10, 25 April 2009 (UTC)


Shouldn't this mostly be Middle English and dialect (Scottish English)? The OED's quotations are mostly pre-1500 with a burst in the 19th century (Burns, et al.). The same contributor offered another strangely complete entry or leed. That one seemed even more clearly Middle English. DCDuring TALK 22:35, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I would have put etymology 2 first as the current usage (mainly retained in dialect?), with etymology 1 as obsolete (and confused), but someone might know more than the OED? Dbfirs 22:54, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Both of them well outlasted Middle English, although they're certainly not common any more. Ƿidsiþ 06:28, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Latin word list

http://users.erols.com/whitaker/wordsdoc.htm#Licence - implies it is compatible with Wiktionary's license.

word list can be found here, with definitions: http://users.erols.com/whitaker/dictpage.htm (pretty big) to create all these would take much too long for a human, so it would most likely be done by a bot operator... be sure to review the site for any legal stuff before copying though; for I don't claim to be a law whiz, and I may be mistaking. -- 05:56, 23 April 2009 (UTC)


Is this word standard, or is it more appropriately considered an informal synonym of inedible? Or is there some difference between the two words which I don’t get?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:56, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

"The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable" is an w:Oscar Wilde quote, describing an English country gentleman, on horseback, hunting a fox. Pingku 20:21, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
per COCA: inedible 169; uneatable 3 (2 quotes of Wilde). uneatable seems neither rare (though not common) nor nonstandard. DCDuring TALK 20:41, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
We have an {{uncommon}} tag, but it resolves to category:Rare. Is it possible that, like french immangeable, uneatable means more "exceedingly bad, unbearably foul" rather that the more... physical implications of inedible? I.e. can something be uneatable, yet still edible? Circeus 04:19, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, exactly that sense (in the UK). I was taught the difference at school many years ago. I would have thought that the word was common in the UK. Definitely not rare. Dbfirs 07:03, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Like most synonyms it doesn't have precisely the same meaning. DCDuring TALK 10:33, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

English pronunciation of chorizo

Not sure if this is the right place for this discussion since it may be more about policy than this word.

This word came to English from Spanish. Like all borrowed words its pronunciation has been anlicized to adapt to English phonology. There has been a mini edit war where one editor insists that the peninsular Spanish pronunciation belongs in the English section as well as the Spanish section. As far as I am aware this is as wrong as including the pronunciation of the Latin source word in the Spanish or English sections.

As for the anglicized pronunciation, I thought I had found 3, including one with the peninsular spanish th sound for the letter z retained. Now I can only find 2 pronunciations in established online dictionaries: z sound and s sound for letter z.

  • Firstly, can anybody find references for the 2 pronunciations I have rfv'd?
  • Secondly, is there a policy regarding source language pronunciations of words borrowed into English?
  • Thirdly, would it be a good idea to have a discussion room like "Etymology scriptorium" just to discuss pronunciation issues in any/all languages? I would like to propose the name "Pronunciation auditorium". — hippietrail 08:18, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
  1. I have cited two (or three, depending how strict you want to be) phonologically-naturalised pronunciations using [θ]; the original Spanish pronunciation will be difficult to cite in English (unless we allow citing of sound recordings) because very few sources will go to the necessary lengths to unambiguously specify [o] (rather than [ɒ], [ɔ], [əʊ], or [oʊ]) and [ɾ] (rather than [ɹ], [ɻ], or [r]). Nevertheless, if we’re willing to grant a little of the benefit of the doubt, it should be granted that when a person utters [ʧɔˈɹiθɔ] obsolete or nonstandard characters (ʧ), invalid IPA characters (ʧ), replace ʧ with t͡ʃ, that person is very probably aiming for the original Spanish [ʧoˈɾiθo] obsolete or nonstandard characters (ʧ), invalid IPA characters (ʧ), replace ʧ with t͡ʃ; since at least some of our readers will probably want to know this pronunciation in order to aim towards it, IMO it would therefore be valuable to have that transcription in the English pronunciation section. (This is not absolutely essential, however, because it could always be substituted with: or as in Spanish — which link would direct the user to the desired information instead.)
  2. No policy, but inconsistent convention. In the past, my disagreements with editors opposed to having the source pronunciations listed in the English pronunciation section have been resolved by the italicised note with the link as I exemplified in point 1. At other times, the pronunciation was retained in the English section, as in the case of résumé.
    Correction: I just checked, and the original French pronunciation was removed in this revision.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:43, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
  3. AFAICT, such issues aren’t raised frequently enough, and the creation of a specialised forum for such discussion may restrict the number of active participants therein; hitherto, the Tea Room has sufficed for this purpose.
BTW, IMO, the pronunciation section of chorizo, in its present state, is a bit of a mess. Many of the pronunciations vary only very slightly, and probably do so only because of US–UK phonemic differences. I shall discuss it on the entry’s talk page.
 (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:43, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Spanish pronunciation doesn't belong in an English entry, especially when there is a perfectly serviceable Spanish entry immediately below it. Next, will the English heading include its pronunciation as a loanword in French, Chinese, and Swahili?

Variant pronunciations do belong, including ones that are partly naturalized or imitative of the source language, but only if we can expect them to be in wide use, rather than merely anecdotal. Labelling one Latin-American-Spanish–esque isn't a real restrictive label, and isn't helpful – it sounds like “how I imitate a Latin-American speaker” or something equally fanciful. Can we label them representatively, like “US, among Spanish-speakers”, “UK, among people of Spanish heritage?” Michael Z. 2009-04-24 14:51 z

The labels (Latin-American-Spanish–esque) and (peninsular-Spanish–esque) were intended as slightly tongue-in-cheek, and certainly not permanent; I intend for the section to be revised. All the pronunciations in that section, bar the original peninsular Spanish /ʧoˈɾiθo/ obsolete or nonstandard characters (ʧ), invalid IPA characters (ʧ), replace ʧ with t͡ʃ, are cited in reference works and only occur in English (AFAIK).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:06, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I did take them as such; just saying that I couldn't guess at what they mean or how to improve them. Michael Z. 2009-04-24 15:35 z

I agree that this is a mess.

  • We do not need the Spanish pronunciations. They belong in the Spanish entry. I have commented them out.
  • There are some mismatches between enPR and IPA.
  • The US pronunciations should not be numbered but rather listed on one line, or else it appears that they have some sort of priority, although this probably makes things less readable. — Paul G 11:36, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
The US pronunciation line is now an unreadable mess. This doesn't serve the reader. I think there may be four versions listed in three different transcription systems, but I'm not sure. Either the systems or the pronunciations should be separated by lines, at least. Michael Z. 2009-09-17 12:59 z

I’ve fixed the entry as best I can; since both the Pronunciation and References sections are so big, I’ve consigned them to rel-tables.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:13, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Lest We Forget

is it an idiom? and perhaps worthy of inclusion? it may be regional... -- 03:09, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Certainly worthy of inclusion. (Surprised it's not here already). Widespread long-term use. --Dmol 03:14, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Or capitalized lest we forget, Lest we forget? It is a known set phrase in Commonwealth countries, which may merit inclusion for its cultural significance. But perhaps not for its lexicographical value: I don't think it is idiomatic – it just means lest we forget (for fear that we forget). Can we consider this a proverb? Michael Z. 2009-04-25 03:33 z
Surely not a proverb. Idiomatic, possibly; lest seems to be a dying word. But what about "lest I forget", "lest you forget", etc.? Is it so predominantly we? Equinox 19:04, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Lest we forget, and we will remember them, are used ceremonially at Remembrance Day services. It's kind of like God Save the Queen, so say we all, or amen (but non-religious). Michael Z. 2009-04-25 19:17 z
Hm, okay, but IMO that doesn't merit inclusion in a dictionary. It would be like including famous lines from songs or plays (to be or not to be? happy birthday to you?). Equinox 19:55, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
But lest we forget isn't quoted from a song, &c (although we will remember them is). Like happy birthday, it is a phrase which everyone knows and is used in a certain way at certain occasions, part of the common language of Canadian and certain other social communities.
Hm; in this way it is not SoP: it's literal meaning is “let's hope we don't forget,” but its significant use is not as an imperative phrase. It is an interjection, often used ceremonially as both a call and response. Michael Z. 2009-04-25 21:26 z
What about those chants used by gruff sergeants in the army, where the soldiers-in-training dutifully echo each line? Those are an archetypal "call and response", and perhaps they don't think about the meaning as they say it, but it seems a bit of a leap to suggest that they become a separate entity. Just a thought; I'm not hugely opposed to this entry or anything. Equinox 21:30, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Those are songs or chants. Lest we forget is not, it is not musical, and it is not only used as call-and-response. Michael Z. 2009-04-25 23:01 z
I agree that it does not merit it. lest + it + forget, what extraordinary is there? If I start adding phrases from Orthodox liturgies on feasts, that would not merit it either - in both cases just sum of parts. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:35, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that it has "regional" meaning that is not SoP. We have included lexicographically similar terms. Sieg Heil, for one, which survived RfD, I think. —This unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs) at 21:30, 28 April 2009.
According to Wikipedia lest we forget was 'popularised' by Rudyard Kipling in his poem Recessional. He used it as a refrain, entreating the reader not to forget that God has dominion over the earth (that the fate of the British Empire depends on His whim, and it may not last forever - ahem!). It came to be used after WWI in a more secular way, as a reminder not to forget the fallen - the ultimate and personal cost of war. It also appears on war memorials and gravestones, sometimes as the only text. Pingku 16:21, 1 May 2009 (UTC)


This has been created on the French Wiktionary, which I deleted and then it was later restored. It's fairly disputable, if you to Google Books and search for 'bedwet' but not bedwetter, bedwetters, bedwetting and bedwettings, you get 35 results, which isn't much. Plus I haven't found it in any printed dictionary (yet). Mglovesfun 14:34, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

o I understand that you think the verb "to bedwet" does not exist? If so, I think there is ample evidence that it is used as a verb in fact. Here for instance. -- ALGRIF talk 15:06, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm actually a bit ahead of you, if disallow inflected forms (bedwetter(s), bedwetting(s)), you can get it down to 35 on Google Books. Having said that, I did disallowed bedwets which I shouldn't have done. But I still can't find it in a paper dictionary. Mglovesfun 21:26, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Oddly enough, if you change bedwets to "bedwets" it goes from 450 to 27. So that makes 62 citations so far (but annoyingly, bedwetting is a noun or a verb form, argh). Mglovesfun 21:29, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Mg, The fact that it is not found in the major paper dictionaries is what makes Wikt. such fun. We're way ahead of them!! The citations literally speak for themselves, even if there are only 35! -- ALGRIF talk 18:49, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah I agree, Mglovesfun 09:44, 2 May 2009 (UTC)


I assume there is something wrong with this entry title... Equinox 19:14, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

It's certainly not in order. Pingku 19:43, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
MediaWiki used to allow periods as the last letter in page titles. This was banned with some update, causing the entry to break. -- Prince Kassad 19:48, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
No, we still have entries ending with periods (such as о.). This is a bit more specific; [[о/.]] ends in /., which MediaWiki apparently tries to reduce (in line with Unix and URI conventions). I've moved the entry to о/, since anyway that's where you'll end up if you try to visit [[о/.]]. —RuakhTALK 15:52, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

What is understood when a person is rehired?"

If a person retires from an educational system and goes an finds a job in another educational system is that consider a re-hire? —This unsigned comment was added by Favaward (talkcontribs) at 12:10, 26 April 2009 (UTC).

It depends on the context, but probably not. (If a job application form asks you if you're a candidate for rehire, what they want to know is if they already have records about you; but if a scientific study talks about the rates of laid-off teachers being rehired back into the industry, it just means that they've found a new teaching job, not necessarily with the same employer.) —RuakhTALK 15:37, 26 April 2009 (UTC)


Is there such a term as idiocentricratic? I am a transcriptionist and the doctor is using the word in this way.

Thank you

—This unsigned comment was added by Flipflopdowneast (talkcontribs) at 14:40, 26 April 2009 (UTC).

There does exist the word idiocentric, but if you want to be sure, I think you're best off asking the doctor. —RuakhTALK 15:40, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
You might have heard idiopathic or, more likely, idiosyncratic, both used in medicine. DCDuring TALK 16:10, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Might be an invented portmanteau word, combining idiocentric and idiosyncratic, meaning pertaining to a particular eccentric (or self-centred) individual. Or the doctor might just be confused. :) Pingku 15:17, 30 April 2009 (UTC)


Is the use of the word epidemiology in the citation below covered by our current definition?

Swine flu outbreak an 'international emergency': WHO

Canwest News Service and Reuters April 25, 2009 [15]

WHO said it was too soon to announce travel advisories or to advise drugmakers to switch to producing a new vaccine - to be derived from the new virus - from their traditional production of seasonal influenza vaccines.
"We do not yet have a complete picture of the epidemiology or the risk, including possible spread beyond the currently affected areas," Chan said.

—This unsigned comment was added by RJFJR (talkcontribs) at 17:58, 26 April 2009 (UTC).

This is very common in English, where a word that means roughly "the act of studying foo" metonymizes into also meaning roughly "foo", or "foo as studied by people who study foo". The transition is fairly subtle; "I study biology" might sound like an instance of the former, but if "biology" means "the study of living things", then obviously I don't really mean "I study the study of living things". And even in cases where the transition is really complete, and the word has clearly made the leap to meaning "foo" — as in, "He hoped never again to see that part of her anatomy" — we're still sometimes failing to cover it. It's a problem. :-/   —RuakhTALK 19:16, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
This could also be interpreted a little differently, where foo-ology means not an activity, “the study of foo”, but a thing, “the body of knowledge about foo”. Michael Z. 2009-04-26 20:04 z
Well, I'm pretty sure it does sometimes mean "the study of foo" — otherwise phrases like "practice of biology" wouldn't make much sense — and TBH, your explanation wouldn't really explain RFJFR's quotation above, which describes the epidemiology as not entirely known — but I do think you're on the right track. I suspect it's not possible to reconcile all uses into a single sense — "practice of biology" just doesn't seem compatible with "biology of plants" — but your approach would probably help clarify the central (if not original) meaning, and help provide a coherent explanation of the edge meanings. —RuakhTALK 20:29, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
MWOnline, for example, has two senses, one for the study, another for the underlying phenomena. The wording of the second does not much echo the first. The 1st, "branch of science", could be read as including the body of knowledge and the methods, institutions, and even the people who develop (and apply???) the knowledge. Encarta and WNW, too, but not AHD and RH.
Further, I expect that one could attest a sense or the spread of ideas, adoption of new products or methods based on the "viral spread" metaphor for such things. DCDuring TALK 21:33, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
As expected. See Citations:epidemiology. DCDuring TALK 22:12, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Nice! —RuakhTALK 22:59, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
So, we need, at least:
(1) An entry for the epidemiological body of knowledge about a particular disease/organism; and
(2) An entry for such metaphorical extensions as DCDuring has reported.
A question remains as to whether (1) is still in the medical category. I expect it is. Pingku 17:49, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the 1st stage of the metaphorical extension took place when epidemiologists started studying health-related behavior (eg, nutrition, use of health institutions, compliance, lifestyle) and psychological disorders using some of the same data and methods as for the core subject matter. Genetics is increasingly important as well. The bulk of current usage seems to remain within original sense 1 (diseases/pathogens). A narrowly medical definition covers that and helps make sense of the two kinds of extensions (a. the underlying phenomenon studied and b. anything that an be viewed as a contagion in a broad population (not just the statistical sense of population). DCDuring TALK 18:45, 27 April 2009 (UTC)


I'm not convinced that all the senses of this word derive from the same etymology. The "move very fast with a humming noise" and similar are probably onomatopoeic but what about the "sharp increase" and similar senses?

I don't think that all of the senses are distinct - e.g. "to fly an airplane straight up" seems very specific, especially since the noun sense that most closely resembles it, "a quick ascent" is much wider.

Finally, we appear to be missing (certainly from verb senses) the meaning of zooming in/out on a computer screen. I'm sure this is related to the zoom lens sense, but is it separate or part of the same sense? Similarly zoom in and zoom out do not mention computing. Thryduulf 11:55, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

I've made the additions at zoom in and zoom out. (P.S. Isn't zoom past rather SoP?) Equinox 12:33, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Definitely, but aren't zoom in, into, onto, out, to, toward, away and from, also SoP? Michael Z. 2009-04-27 15:57 z
Yes, I thought that after posting, but zoom in/out do have those specific technical meanings, while zooming past could be literally anything. (A car zooms past a pedestrian; one runner zooms past another; a computer user zooms past the rooftops to see the garden.) Equinox 16:10, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
How are they technical, and does that really qualify them for inclusion? (Also zoom in on.) By the way, “change the focal length” may be too technical, and “focus” is simply incorrect (despite M–W's use). Photographic zooming is progressively changing the field of view from close-up to long shot, or the reverse.
They are simple applications of zoom (v. 5) + in (adv. 1) and zoom + out (adv. 1), so I don't think they are idiomatic. They are common set phrases which should at least be mentioned at zoom, and my gut says they should have entries, but do the guidelines support this? Michael Z. 2009-04-27 20:00 z

Regarding the etymology question, it appears that these are all from one. Going by OED's quotations, it first described a sound and not necessarily motion, but was applied to things like insects' flight. Aeronautical zoom is pilot's slang for a particular manoeuvre, attested during the First World War. The noun and interjection come from the verb. Michael Z. 2009-04-27 21:50 z

I agree with MZ on the etymology.
I don't see the idiomaticity of "zoom"+adverb either, but the common law on inclusion seems to trump the statute (WT:CFI) every time. Or is it more nearly judge-made law? Or law by plebiscite?
Also, our airplane sense may not be accurate. I doubt that WWI aircraft could go vertical except fleetingly, before stalling. DCDuring TALK 00:38, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
If it makes it any easier, OED doesn't include these as either entries or run-ins, only mentions “Freq. const. in (on)” under the camera sense.
For the aeronautical sense, OED refers to a 1917 quotation: “. . . describes the action of an aeroplane which, while flying level, is hauled up abruptly and made to climb for a few moments at a dangerously sharp angle” (1917, Daily Mail 19 July 4/5), and adds the note “In recent use, often not distinguished from sense 1.” Michael Z. 2009-04-28 02:25 z
I'm afraid I would have to disagree with the main points above re zoom in and zoom out as phrasal verbs. The fact is that in and out do not have the meanings interior and exterior given them in general usage. "Zoom in" is not at all like "walk in". The phrase The camera zoomed in does not mean that the camera "goes" or "looks" "in" anywhere. It means the the field of view reduces, as you rightly state above. Hence it is not literal, it is a phrasal verb, which usually takes the preposition on before any direct object. The camera zoomed in on the heroine. Given this, I think you are well out of order with the statement ... "but the ommon law on inclusion seems to trump the statute (WT:CFI) every time. Or is it more nearly judge-made law? Or law by plebiscite?" Zoom in is a phrasal verb that complies with CFI more than some other entries I could easily mention. -- ALGRIF talk 13:09, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
  1. Is my statement wrong or am I well out of order?
  2. I remain of the opinion that our instances of inclusion of phrasal verbs and idioms seem to follow principles that have proven ineffable, or at least uneffed. I would argue that something that purportedly follows wiki principles out to have much clearer explicit statements of its major principles (ELE, CFI}, with most cases covered by simple operational criteria.
  3. The sense of in as in "He moved in for the kill" seems the same as in zoom in. This sense seems not peculiar to these verbs either: "zero" and many verbs of motion use the same sense. I don't know about other uses of the sense out has in zoom out. Neither "zoom in" nor "zoom out" seem to have what could be called a technical meaning beyond the "technical" sense of zoom. DCDuring TALK 15:15, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
in (adv. 1) says “Moving to the interior of a defined space, such as a building or room.” The definition applies perfectly to the in in zoom in, and the given example shouldn't be inferred to mean only entering 3-dimensional spaces.
Even disregarding that, our in (adv., 2 senses) needs improvement. In comparison, OED's in, adv., has 4 general senses, comprising 15 numbered subsenses and about 36 lettered sub-subsenses. Michael Z. 2009-04-28 17:10 z
Even MWOnline has a total of 14 subsenses (6 sub-sub).
The best reason I've heard lately to have verb+preposition entries that at best debatably meet current WT:CFI is that having them would permit us to provide better elaboration of usage of the verb with prepositions without making the verb entry itself overly long. It really is a BP matter, to be followed by a Vote. See related BP discussion. DCDuring TALK 19:59, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
  1. The statement, DC, not you, the statement.
  2. Despite some attempts in BP at getting a consensus opinion on phrasal verbs, it does seem to be a nettle that very few are prepared to grasp. And understandably so. But I still think the basic premises of CFI apply.
  3. Of course in is really a very poor entry here. We have almost unknown words with better entries. I am well aware of the many meanings of in, including the fact that it is not limited to 3 dimensions. But when part of a phrasal verb, the particle will always have a meaning. Example: throw in where in could have the meaning in addition. Or throw out where out could have the meaning separate or eliminate
  4. This is not, IMHO, the best reason, but it is another very strong reason for being inclusionist with phrasal verbs. I see it as counter productive to throw them out with the bathwater, when the entries clearly give helpful information. We seem to bend over backwards to include some of the most dubious entries ever found in a dictionary, simply because someone can find the minimum 3 durably archived quotes. I think the problem with phrasal verbs is that quotes are easy to find, what is difficult is to convince a doubting sector of the Wiktionary community that they are either idiomatic or useful or both. -- ALGRIF talk 15:17, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

much or many clothes

I don't know if plural nouns such as "clothes" are countable or uncountable.

So, what is correct: How much clothes do you need?

                     How many clothes do you need?



I wouldn't say either. "How much clothing do you need?" is what this native speaker would say. Clothing is almost always singular. It is usually uncountable. Clothes is a collective noun used in phrases like "nothing but the clothes on his back". It is always treated as a plural, reflecting its origin as a plural of cloth. DCDuring TALK 21:45, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Clothes is not a collective noun — you can’t say “a clothes of…” anything; it is a plurale tantum. It is grammatical to say “many clothes”, but it sounds strange because clothes encompasses many different articles of clothing, so the referent is very ambiguous.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:15, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
A native speaker of British English would probably say (and write) informally: "How many clothes do you need?", but would write: "How much clothing do you need?", or "How many items of clothing do you need?" in formal writing. —This unsigned comment was added by Dbfirs (talkcontribs) at 22:23, 29 April 2009 (UTC).


Does someone who cares about blogging want to sort out trackback vs. TrackBack? Equinox 00:56, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

1st draft. Need more sleep. Probably won't get much further even with sleep. DCDuring TALK 02:16, 28 April 2009 (UTC)


"drank" is a well-attested past participle for "drink" with literary evidence and modern use, and it is listed in many dictionaries as standard, so I added it to the article.

Sorry, forgot to log in. Yudantaiteki 01:40, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
"He had drank" gets 0 hits at COCA, 1 at BNC, vs 51 and 46, respectively, for "he had drunk". It doesn't seem to merit equal treatment, though it seems to merit inclusion. Rare? Dated? Usage note? DCDuring TALK 02:29, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I would be interested to know which dictionaries list "drank" as a standard past participle? -- ALGRIF talk 14:49, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
MWOnline doesn't mark it, shows it 2nd; WNW marks it "informal". MW1913 had it marked in a way I didn't understand. It didn't appear in Encarta or AHD. RHU nonstandard. DCDuring TALK 16:04, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

web page

Circular definition, referring to page, which in this context means web page. Can someone give it a try? Michael Z. 2009-04-29 15:43 z

Redefined web page by referring to an HTML file. Circeus 16:35, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
A good direction—I hadn't thought of it. But maybe it's too based on the technical workings of web server–browser interaction, and not on what constitutes a page in the reader's actions & perceptions. I'll mull this over further. Thankss. Michael Z. 2009-04-29 17:25 z
It was the best way I could think of to remove the "page" term from the definition. The best way to describe it from an external point of view would go along the lines of "whatever a browser shows in one window", but don't ask me how to formulate a traditional dictionary def on that basis; I wouldn't know where to start. Circeus 19:43, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
But a page doesn't exist in the window, it's only viewed there – a page is a place distinct from others on a site. We usually know when we are reloading a page, going to another page, and coming back to it. On the other hand, a web application may break down the paginess of web pages. Michael Z. 2009-04-29 19:59 z
Then by this analysis ("a place distinct from others on a site"), not only we are back to "page as file" definition that you just characterized as "too based on the technical workings [...]", but we are involving much more technical concepts of "location" (i.e. on a server) which are completely extraneous. Circeus 20:04, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not talking about a place in a computer file system. Even technically, this is not defining, since as you noted many pages are generated on the fly – URLs don't represent a file system, rather a file system is one simple way to store content corresponding to URLs.
I'm talking about a web page as a place you go to on the web. Readers perceive a page as a “there” on a site, not as a series of sectors on a spinning steel disk south of San Francisco. Michael Z. 2009-04-30 00:29 z
My point is, it is virtually impossible to define that "there" without eventually relying either on some sort of (virtual) location (i.e. as a URL which ultimately tends to reflect a file system). Circeus 01:32, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, a URL is an address on the web, and reflects a page's “there” at least as well as a street address or phone number reflects your home's there. Maybe a URL, or more simply web address is a useful point of reference.
As I said, URLs don't reflect a file system, it is the other way around (see TBL's Cool URIs don't change). For all we know, in some years there will be no HTML at all, but URLs will still be exactly the same. Michael Z. 2009-04-30 02:00 z
How about something along the lines of "text and/or graphics arranged as an electronic file that can be viewed by a browser"? BTW, a Web page does not have to be on the Internet; it can be on an intranet as well. Wakablogger 06:56, 30 April 2009 (UTC):
... or even just on one's own hard drive (I use one as my homepage for shortcuts to other web pages and URLs)
How about "A display of text and/or graphics in a browser, generated by electronic files ..."? Dbfirs 07:56, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, or on a disk, etc. And you even can talk about needing to edit some Web pages on a flash drive. Another problem is "display" and "text/graphics" because it could just be a video or audio file. As you get at, it seems safe to say that it has underlying code that is not displayed since the code itself is not referred to as a Web page. Maybe: "media generally including text and/or graphics generated by a browser from an electronic file". I think it's safe to say that any software that can create a Web page from a source file can be classified as a "browser". Wakablogger 09:05, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
If it's not on the Web, I don't think it's a web page. It's an HTML file. If you disagree, please try to find a few quotations supporting this sense in americancorpus.org or Google Books. If it were to be citable, then it may constitute a separate sense, because it is incompatible with a usage like “go to my web page at www.---.”
Regarding web pages on intranets, I wouldn't mind seeing quotations supporting that, either. It may or may not be a exceptional usage or distinct sense.
A video or audio file is clearly not a web page. There are lots of files on the web, that is, linked from web pages and/or retrievable by HTTP, but jpegs, PDFs, MP3s, AVIs, audio or video streams, etc, are not web pages. PDF is an illustrative case. On the surface, a PDF can have a URL and incoming and outgoing links, be viewable in a web browser (with a plugin), incorporate typography, page layout, and graphics, etc. But sharing some attributes with something is not being it. A PDF's definition incorporates accurate print reproduction and embedded fonts, and doesn't require hyperlinking or the Web at all. Michael Z. 2009-04-30 14:56 z
"A video or audio file is clearly not a web page." Again, this demonstrate that starting with HTML file is our best option. I still haven't been able to figure how that is incompatible with "what constitutes a page in the reader's actions & perceptions." The only two perspective I have offered (a web page is something seen in the browser, or is a virtual place you go to with the browser—cf. "visit a web page"), I exposed the problem of, and you soundly rejected them on other bases. So PLEASE come up with something we can talk about! Circeus 16:13, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
There is definitely a connection between "web page" and "HTML file", but an dynamically-generated HTML document is not actually a file per se (the local browser might keep an copy as a file in its cache, but since people on different machines are still viewing the same web page, clearly the page transcends the file). Also, a web page can contain lots of additional content besides just the HTML behind it; it's not a web page unless it's backed by HTML, but anything included by the HTML (such as images, embedded videos, etc.) are all part of the web page. (As Mzajac says, it's complicated by web applications — the bulk of the Gmail interface is backed by a single HTML document, but it's kind of on the edge of "web page". It's also complicated by the fact that sometimes a few interlinked pages together form a "web page", if they're a small and well-defined subset of a larger site; see e.g. google:"my web page is hosted".) —RuakhTALK 17:37, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
"an dynamically-generated HTML document is not actually a file" Yes it is. The browser ultimately receives an HTML file, which you can save and edit just like you could a text or gif file. Whether that file is always the same is not relevant to the definition: there not a single HTML "file" in the strict sense involved in MediaWiki, only php files (a fact obscured by the software URL scheme), yet it is undeniably HTML files that the browser receives! Circeus 17:59, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. The browser receives an HTML document, yes, but not an HTML file. You can then save the HTML document into (or as) a file, and edit that file just like you could a text or gif file. (If the document you receive originates as an HTML file on the server, then I think it's reasonable to say that you've received an HTML file from the server; but technically, that's not exactly what happened. If it didn't originate as a file on the server, then I really don't think you can say you received an HTML file from the server, even if you save the dynamically-generated HTML to a file on your local system.) —RuakhTALK 18:48, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry to be frustrating you, Circeus – I'm thinking and reading, and still formulating my picture.
A web page to this point can't exist without HTML, but that may be a datastream transmitted without any file saved on disk anywhere. One might argue that those are the same thing, but some web pages aren't complete unless they also receive datastreams representing images, javascript, css, and then have the HTML rearranged dynamically by any of the above. I also think there are many people who know exactly what a web page is, but have no concept of HTML, so I'm still trying to formulate a definition that may incorporate the concept but doesn't mention “HTML”.
My working genus of web page is “a hypertext document,” but there's more to it than that. Michael Z. 2009-04-30 19:10 z
  • What about "That part of a website, containing static or dynamic content and normally linked to related others, that may be viewed as a single entity using a web-browser" SemperBlotto 16:23, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I think that's a good start. I might prefer "A part of a website", since "That part of a website" seems to imply that there's only one per site, but overall I think it captures the essence of what a web-page is, while remaining vague in the same general ways that web page is. —RuakhTALK 17:37, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
    • How about a flash file, or an applet? Both of which are potentially encompassed in that definition (they can have content of their own, and can link to other parts of the site or other sites), yet none would be defined as a web page. Circeus 17:59, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

FWIW here's how the relevant WP: page kicks off:

A web page or webpage is a document or resource of information that is suitable for the World Wide Web and can be accessed through a web browser and displayed on a computer screen.
This information is usually in HTML or XHTML format, and may provide navigation to other web pages via hypertext links.

IMO, the "resource of information" part is referring back to the "website" scope of the term. On the most basic level, it includes three factor (italics are my adjustments/inferences):

  1. a document (usually in HTML or a related language)
    As I mention above, whether the document has been dynamically generated is irrelevant: well over 60% of major websites are NOT coded directly in HTML, but generated. This include MediaWiki and any site using a CMS of any sort. Note that only a file involving straight up text data is, AFAIK, normally called a "document" in computing, so that excludes gifs, flash files and applets.
  2. suitable for the WWW
    Later, the intro discusses Intranets in saying a web page is accessed via a web srver, which can be restricted in access.
  3. accessible through a browser
    This excludes most non-html files, which a browser cannot actually interpret on its own.
  4. displayed on a computer screen

Note that this does not technically say "public access", so it does not exclude Intranet, though one might want to add remote access (which is in the next sentence, that I excluded), which would eliminate files kept on a private disk, CD etc. Circeus 18:19, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

We are talking about a "word" and its definition in a general-purpose dictionary, aren't we? MZ was taking a user-oriented approach at the start. The most stable aspect is what faces the ordinary non-programming user. Users probably think of web page mostly as 1. a personal web page and 2. what they see on-screen without clicking, but with scrolling. It would be interesting to see what words are used to name what they see on small-screen devices. IMHO, the "user"-oriented part of the definition could best be inferred (and attested) by looking at use of the term in books, TV, general-circulation newspapers, etc.
IMO, Wiktionary best serves as a path toward encyclopedic content elsewhere. We also might do well to help writers of documentation and instructional material remember what words ordinary users use to discuss their experience. The more "technical" sense(s) we include should be supportive of and consistent with those user-oriented senses, to the greatest extent consistent with the facts. DCDuring TALK 19:12, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Following up: I believe that the scrollable-screen-worth sense is attested at Citations:web page. Similarly, I believe that there are many uses of "a web page" that mean exactly "personal web page". Don't know about small-screen web content yet. DCDuring TALK 20:06, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd go for something like: Any individual document within a web site that is viewable with a web browser. (Using "document" to exclude flash and web apps, "web site" to avoid having to describe internet/intranet, and "web browser" to exclude pdfs and word documents, "individual" to get round having to talk about links and addresses). Though that might need the redefinition of web site which is also currently weak. Conrad.Irwin 19:53, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm thinking a really good definition wouldn't risk circularity by relying on part of a web site, which might be defined as “a collection of web pages,” or on the Web, the WWW being “all web pages collectively.” The other parts are pointing in the right direction, but are they defining? – I view PDFs in my web browser (Safari, which comes with a PDF plugin from the factory), for example. But maybe we shouldn't worry about PDFs: some PDFs have some attributes of web pages, but PDF's basic function involves accurate print reproduction and embedded fonts, and not hyperlinking, so the definition of a web page won't define a PDF at all. Michael Z. 2009-04-30 22:17 z
I'm not convinced that a web-page has to be available on the WWW to be described as such. This would mean that web pages ceased to be so called if their server was down. I don't think this is how people use the term. If I save a web-page on my hard drive, is it no longer a web-page? Dbfirs 08:15, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I think it's a Web page if it's intended for publication on the Web. But is that worthy of note? You might say "I'm writing a book" before it actually exists as a book, when it's still only a wordprocessor document, but that doesn't feel like a dictionary distinction. Equinox 10:02, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
When its server is down then the web page is unreachable. That supports the attribute of (normally) being on the web, rather than contradicting it.
Like I said before, Dbfirs, please show me some quotations to support the use of web page for something that's not on the web. I've browsed through a bit of the americancorpus.org and Google Books results, and I don't see the word being used this way. Michael Z. 2009-05-01 13:27 z
I agree that pages for an intranet are more usually described as intranet pages, but, for example, The Massachusetts Court System has a policy [16] on "Internet and Intranet Web Pages", and Google Answers [17] has a question on "corporate intranet web page", and Microsoft is referring to a page installed locally when they say "Personal Web Server contains a Web page you can use to control security" [18]. We are less likely to find these usages when we search the internet because we are usually restricting our search to the WWW. Dbfirs 14:08, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Oops, I was thinking you meant a web page existing on a local drive, etc.
I've been ignoring the intranet question so far – I think the essential definition needn't address that, since 99% of mentions of web pages don't address that. Perhaps the question of an intranet, sort of another web outside of the Web, is a normal exception for various web things, just as we define a motorcycle as a two-wheeler even though we know there are three-wheeled motorcycles. If that's insufficient, then an additional sense or just a qualifier like “or on an intranet” may be necessary.
Regardless of that, such quotes could be illustrative and useful for the citations page, if they met the CFI requirements of being durably archived. Michael Z. 2009-05-01 15:18 z
Re: "Microsoft is referring to a page installed locally when they say 'Personal Web Server contains a Web page you can use to control security'": That one is interesting. It's a page you load from a Web server, over HTTP; it's just that the server is on the local host, and probably doesn't allow non-local connections. It seems quite reasonable to me. —RuakhTALK 16:36, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
The article is “Setting up an Intranet with Personal Web Server” on MS TechNet: Resources for IT Professionals, first published in the November, 1997 issue of Windows 95 Professional Magazine. Perhaps this is a separate sense restricted to a technical context. Need more citations. Michael Z. 2009-05-03 15:23 z

corpus juris

This word needs a plural- 'corpera juris'? Nadando 01:41, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

corpora and corpuses, I think. Michael Z. 2009-05-02 16:07 z