Wiktionary:Tea room/2009/August

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← July 2009 · August 2009 · September 2009 → · (current)


August 2009


The normal spelling is of course bateau, but I have found a lot of googles for this term. Not in dictionaries like this, but in some older books online. --Rising Sun 13:09, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Could you provide references? I can't find any. Very probably, they are misspellings. Lmaltier 20:43, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Outer Space

The secrets of Outer Space,i keep wanting to find out more. — Scott Bradley Wallace

That's great. Is there some reason you believe this dictionary web site can help you? --EncycloPetey 15:24, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
...you may want to try Wikipedia, it will help you more than Wiktionary can. L☺g☺maniac chat? 12:44, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

word to the wise

An adverb?! I don't think the example given ("have fun, but, word to the wise, don't let your sister take control") demonstrates adverbiality/adverbialness any more than e.g. "Before you go, piece of advice, don't have too much to drink." Equinox 20:04, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Hmm. C.f. by the way. Pingku 20:43, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
How is that analogous? That definitely looks like an adverbial phrase to me. Equinox 20:57, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
As I understand it, the idea is that it is a "w:Sentence adverb". Many expressions set off by punctuation have similar characteristics. The other choice of PoS are not to my taste. It is not an Interjection. I prefer to keep "Idiom" as a context at the sense level so that the L3 header conveys information about how it fits grammatically. "Phrase" is the last resort for mulitword expressions and is the sole location for non-proverbial sentences and for subordinate clauses. "Piece of advice" is also a "sentence adverb", but IMHO wouldn't get an entry because it is SoP, even as a sentence adverb. I think that some (DAVilla ?) have taken the position that any sentence adverb could be included, but I'm not sure how far they would take that. (And why isn't adverbiality an entry? adjectivity is.) DCDuring TALK 21:31, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
It is now. ("I didn't know you had dandruff!" "I don't.") Equinox 22:29, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

such as

Would anyone like to hazard an analysis of the grammar of the uses of this term, or does it remain an unanalyzed idiomatic "Phrase"? DCDuring TALK 20:29, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I started trying to analyse this but got a little out of my depth. Something interesting is that Chambers has as as a pronoun for what corresponds to our sense 3: "Such as have already done their work..." Equinox 21:03, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I wonder how they get to that.
Combinations of words that are sometimes determiners, conjunctions, or particles in phrases with no nouns, verbs, prepositions, or modifiers would give me a headache, except for my giving up early. Some other ones that are not quite as bad give me a headache because my analysis is often highly questionable. I think I know a $150-200 cure: CGEL. DCDuring TALK 21:15, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps part of the problem is that such is not really a pronoun, despite what its entry says. The determinative can function as a fused head in an NP, and I think that's what we've got for sense 3. Senses 1 and 2 seem to be adjectives in comparative constructions (cf., Waterbirds (as) white as a dove are common in the area. I was never in a country (as) dull as that.)--Brett 01:57, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Stick with "Phrase". -- WikiPedant 05:04, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
In sense 3 ("Such as have already done their work may leave.") "such as" seems to me to be exactly like "those who". That is, it is not a unit, it is not a "word". I think it is misleading to treat it in parallel to the other senses. This sense of the collocation seems dated to me as well in US English. Such few dictionaries as include "such as" as an idiom do not include this usage. DCDuring TALK 09:45, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, consider (also dialectal) "Them as can rise, don't, and them as want to, can't." Equinox 21:28, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, those is also a determinative functioning in a fused-head construction in an NP. I would say none of the senses are "words", but if 1 and 2 are to be included as "words", then the only reason I can see for excluding 3 is frequency. The determinative such is typically restricted to legal language.--Brett 21:49, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
For sense 1 "for example": it seems to me that "such as" is a species of written-out punctuation, like its synonym for example in its main idiomatic use and a bit like "quote" and "unquote". In that role it does seem to me to function as a unit to overcome a limitation of the elementary grammar of sentences. Such rationales must be behind the inclusion of this sense in some other dictionaries. It seems to fall in the category of w:discourse connective. We have called "for example" adverbial from its creation here. It might be handy to categorize some of the entries or label senses like this using some more contemporary categories so we can be somewhat consistent in treating them.
For sense 2 "like": it seems to me that it must be exactly as much a preposition as [[like#Preposition]] (which definition seems incomplete). DCDuring TALK 15:05, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
It's best to consider language to be primarily a spoken phenomenon rather than a written one. Calling words a kind of "written-out punctuation" may be an interesting metaphor, but care should be taken that it not be the basis for an argument. I agree that such as is a discourse connective, but discourse analysis is not typically the basis on which headwords are labeled in dictionaries. Tagging such words with a wiktionary category, however, is likely a useful thing to do, but I don't have a strong background in discourse analysis, and wouldn't want to be the one doing such tagging.
Although the meaning is similar to prepositional phrases headed by like, syntactically such as is quite different. For example, at the beginning of a sentences, a like-PP can function as an adjunct, but you couldn't do something similar with such as.
  • Like many young people, at age eighteen I thought I knew it all.
  • *Such as many young people, at age eighteen I thought I knew it all.
--Brett 19:07, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Apparently words sometimes fail some of the tests for the categories to which we assign them.
We seem to find "adverb" acceptable when there is a fig leaf of justification. The sole not-oversized fig-leaves I've found are the parallel to "for example" and the use of "adverb" in other discourse-controlling terms. That such as can operate inside a noun phrase with no verb in sight makes that seem unacceptable (equally for many uses of for example). The parts of traditional grammar vocabulary in ELE seem not a good fit with this. DCDuring TALK 23:07, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


Appears to be capitalised even in English. Equinox 00:05, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

a leopard cannot change its spots

Hi everyone. I've tried my first hand at creating an English (as opposed to Chinese) entry. Please take a look and offer suggestions. Cheers. Tooironic 00:57, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I see we already have leopard_cannot_change_his_spots. Equinox 00:58, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
One of these should be a redirect. -- WikiPedant 05:07, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I suppose technically it should be leopard cannot change its spots - wouldn't "his" be considered sexist? I have no idea. At any rate, can someone deal with the redirecting stuff? (You will also have to merge together the translations on both pages.) I'd do it myself but I don't know the proper coding. Tooironic 08:18, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I’m certain it’s its spots, not his. It should be redirected to a leopard cannot change its spots, because in the case of proverbs, we use the full line including initial articles, just like a quotation. So redirected. —Stephen 08:44, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

suffix or interfix?

I labeled certain -X- affixes as suffixes, and s.o. objected that if it's a suffix, it has to have the form -X. I don't agree, but it does bring up a related issue.

The USAN guidelines for naming monoclonal antibodies uses a template:

[unique "prefix"]-[target "suffix"]-[source "suffix"]-[the mab suffix]

Now—besides the conundrum of whether you can have an affix without any root to affix it to—there's the question as to whether the target and source 'suffixes' are truly suffixes, or interfixes. I believe the double hyphen (-tum-, -o-, etc.) is necessary because a following suffix is mandatory. From my understanding, an 'interfix' occurs between two roots, which is not the case here. There are other cases of strings of suffixes, not all of which may occur in final position, and AFAIK they are still considered prefixes or suffixes. But they would be prefixes or suffixes with a hyphen at either boundary, which is where the objection came in.

There are plenty of similar situations in chemistry, esp. biochemistry, so it may be a good idea to come to a general consensus. kwami 20:33, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

PS. The complete paradigm (as of the pub date of my sources) is at -mab. kwami
My experience with interfixes largely agrees with yours. It is possible for a word to have serial suffixes, but that does not (poof) turn them into interfixes. For purposes of labelling and naming entries, however, we do list suffixes with only a leading hyphen, and not with a following hyphen. On the other hand, I don't recall a previous situation where we've had to concern ourselves with mandatory following suffixes, so that issue certainly warrants a new discussion of how we handle such entries. --EncycloPetey 20:46, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
In the absence of a pre-exisiting term that precisely, wouldn't the simplest be to add our own extended sense to the word "interfix", replacing the restriction to being between roots to being between "roots or other interfixes". Something parallel to this apparently arises in Hungarian and was discussed in the last month. DCDuring TALK 20:50, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
WP also says that interfixes are semantically empty, though I don't know if that's a necessary condition or just the case in European languages. Maybe "affix" would be best for now; I don't know how you could argue that in a string of affixes A-B-C-D, that B and C are either prefixes or suffixes, unless we take A (the unique identifying affix) as the base. kwami 21:16, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
A somewhat similar situation arises with Esperanto, which has inflecting suffixes. When we list them without their part-of-speech inflection, we leave a hyphen, as at -in- and -il-, which cross link to the full forms -ino and -ilo. There are also three "suffixes" which do not have an intrinsic p-o-s inflection, but inherit it from the stem: -et-, -eg-, and -aĉ-. These are considered suffixes (one might argue they an infixes, but sans ref that would be OR), but require the second hyphen, as the following affix is not inherent. kwami 21:23, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Personally I would just use "affix", which I know is slightly vague, but perhaps usefully so. Ƿidsiþ 07:19, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
That's what I switched them all to, until or unless we decide differently. kwami 08:38, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I’ve looked at -mab, and have concluded that these various affixes are interfixes. We define the pertinent sense of interfix as “An empty morph inserted between two morphemes in the process of word formation.”; if we substitute “empty morph” with “affix”, then the definition covers those disease target and source affixes. These seem different because they’re not semantically empty and they only ever concatenate with other affixes; nevertheless, given the mandatory nature of the concatenation with the other affixes, these affixes only ever occur between two other morphemes, which make them interfixes, by definition. USAN probably uses “suffix” in place of “interfix” because the latter term is considerably less common and familiar than the former (for example, the OED does not list interfix) — there is no reason why we ought also to eschew its use.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:15, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I normally oppose using not-widely-recognized terms in Wiktionary, but no one has suggested a good alternative. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the principal users of this class of entries will be "normal" users. —This unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs) at 13:43, 3 August 2009 (UTC).
Actually, they only concatenate with other "interfixes", which is not at all what is meant by that term: Interfixes don't concatenate with each other. kwami 19:21, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Some uses of "interfix" in the lit, where the meaninglessness of the morpheme (sometimes "phoneme") is stressed:

Trask, A dictionary of grammatical terms in linguistics:

"An empty morph occuring between a stem and a meaningful suffix [as in Glinkovskij from Glinka + -skij]

Yearbook of Morphology 1999:

"Throuout this report we employ the term interfix (created by H. Lausberg and Y. Malkiel 1958) which designates a kind of empty (= meaningless) affix .... Further studies have concentrated on derivational morphology, i.e. antesuffixal intefixes .... Interradical interfixes have been usually called "linking morphemes" (...) or "linking phonemes/graphemes" (...) or, in reference to German, "Fugenmorpheme" (...) or "Fugenelemente" ('elements at the seam/joint' ...). Mel'čuk ... defines an interradical interfix (the only class of interfixes he accepts) as "a confix [sc. an affix which neither divides the root nor is itself divided] which precedes a root and follows another root" and he continues: "Thus, an interfix is found only in compound words (composita) and has the function of indicating the combination of two roots to form a compound".

G examples: leben-s-lang "life-long", Beamte-n-tum "civil service". Sp. puebl-ec-ito

For glossing which uses + to mark compounds, you get derm-at+o+logy.

Catalan: an interfix "plays a dissimilatory role between repeated suffixes and thus prevents haplology": porc-on-z-ón (aug. of "hog"); another is used to keep stress assignment regular. [Proc. BLS, 1976 vol 2]

compounding "by a link vowel, or interfix"

[note again "link vowel", as "linking phoneme" above, suggesting the authors have trouble accepting these epenthetic bits as morphemes]

The Emergence of the Modern Language Sciences:

"It is Malkiel who initiates (...), within Romance linguistics, a concern with 'empty morphs' as a major theoretical issue. For those 'empty' elements which separate lexical stems from derivational suffixes ..., Malkiel devises the term 'interfixes'. His 1958 article asserts the autonomous status of 'interfixes' as contentless morphemes, against the dogma that morphemes necessarily have well defined functions, ...

But then there's Adam Ussishkin, "Morpheme position", in de Lacy, The Cambridge handbook on phonology, who uses "interfix" for Hebrew "transfix", as gidel vs. gudal

And in German, in Lesson from documented endangered languages,

"the prefixal part of the past participle morpheme ge- -t gets trapped between the preverbal particle and the base, thus becoming an interfix. The morpheme as a whole becomes a discontinuous interfix (or stem transfix). This is an instance of a general mechanism of the transition of a prefix to an interfix, and of a circumfix to a discontinuous interfix."
ex. auf-hör-en → auf-ge-hör-t "stop - stopped"
"If auf_hör is a root, then ge- -t is a root transfix ... and if the latter morpheme only consisted of the prefixal part, this would thereby become an infix. ... the two processes ... the reanalysis of the circumfix ge- -t as a discontinuous interfix, [and] the reanalysis of the latter as a root transfix"

kwami 20:14, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

get into one's stride

This is not in COCA, in contrast to take it in stride/take something in stride. Is it in (widespread?) use elsewhere? DCDuring TALK 00:44, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

  • It's pretty common in the UK. Ƿidsiþ 07:20, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I think I've heard to find one's stride, meaning to get accustomed to doing a job. Michael Z. 2009-08-03 23:21 z

keep someone in the dark

Hi all. I created another English entry. Can you please check and see if it's OK? Tooironic 09:21, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the actual idiom is in the dark, which has both a literal and a figurative sense. "In the dark" occurs with the verbs "be", "leave", "keep". Among OneLook dictionaries MWOnline, AHD, RHU, and Collins have "in the dark". Only Cambridge Dictionary of Idioms has "keep in the dark", presumably because it is much more common than collocations with the the other verbs. :I would have chosen to make this or a pronoun-instantiated version of this a redirect to in the dark or inserted a usage example including same at in the dark. DCDuring TALK 11:08, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, replace it with a hard redirect.​—msh210 13:01, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I've enhanced (IMHO) in the dark with adj PoS and additional usage examples including all three verb collocations mentioned above and translation sections. DCDuring TALK 14:31, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Statue of Liberty

Not the actual statue, but there's a juggling pattern called the Statue of Liberty shower. I assume this would meet CFI. I mean, can anyone tell me what it is just from its name? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:32, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

There are many items of the form "Statue of Liberty X" where "X" is dropped in context. In the context of US football the "Statue of Liberty play" is often referred to as "the Statue of Liberty" (or "the old Statue of Liberty"). Proper nouns that are used attributively usually have a short list of characteristics that they are considered prime exemplars of. In the case of the Statue of Liberty, it may have more to do with the pose than with anything else. I'll bet the "Statue of Liberty shower" has to do with that (I haven't looked at the link and never heard of it before). I noted that a search for "Statue of Liberty shower" comes up empty. DCDuring TALK 13:55, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Google Books search for "statue of liberty" juggling does give a couple of pertinent results on the first page or two. Might be an attestable sense of Statue of LibertyMichael Z. 2009-08-04 15:20 z
I know we sometimes have entries that are decapitations of terms that are arguably SoP. Tell the truth, I've added or defended some myself. I don't know at what point it is just something that flows from the rules of English that one can use a decapitated term, but only in a context where the missing head is readily understood (or intentionally obscured). I am reminded of EP's arguments about common nouns derived from Proper nouns. Of course, if we are going to dispense with extensive lexical treatment of such usage, we need to have an Appendix explaining it for the benefit of both contributors and passive users.
I wonder if these would work if presented on something like a disambiguation page, with "Statue of Liberty (dab)" referring users to wikt or sister project entries for "Statue of Liberty play", "Statue of Liberty shower", "Statue of Liberty pose", (" ...costume", etc). DCDuring TALK 16:08, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
I've just been looking at Burgundy and burgundy. OED says that the name of the region was used attributively, from which comes Burgundy wine. That used elliptically became [B/b]urgundy, the wine. (That in turn was used attributively as a “Burgundy colour”, which gives us burgundy, the colour.)
But it may also be that we are tempted to say “a Statue of Liberty shower” in explanation, or in a general context, while in actual use a juggler might always have said “this is the Statue of Liberty.” Being a descriptive dictionary, we should try to use attestations and corpora to check actual usage. If it is only used by jugglers, then the sense should carry the restrictive label {{context|juggling}}, {{context|circus arts}}, or {{context|performing arts}}Michael Z. 2009-08-04 16:53 z
In the context of a discussion of juggling (and no other ?) you could get away it. Under our attestation practices wouldn't we want to see that the first time the maneuver was mentioned in running text in a source, that it appeared in the elliptical/headless form? I guess, then, from my own experience, that "Statue of Liberty#Noun" should have as a sense "w:Statue of Liberty play". Maybe I'll put that one before the court and see who objects. To check myself I looked at MW's definitions of "white" as a noun. Our [[white#Noun]] seems to be missing a few senses, like "white wine". DCDuring TALK 18:53, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Hm, I see what you mean. But there's ellipsis in conversation, like (I think) “I'll have a glass of the white,” and ellipsis in etymology, like “a glass of burgundy.” Which is which can only be determined reliably by surveying usage. There's not a lot to be found, but I see Statue of Liberty used for the juggling manoeuvre,[1][2] but I don't see Statue of Liberty shower (even though this may or may not be classed as a shower). Michael Z. 2009-08-05 06:22 z
Great, I'll RFV my own article then! lol, Mglovesfun (talk) 08:59, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

white gold

I just wanted to know whats the different between white gold and platinum? —This comment was unsigned.

See white gold and platinum. Equinox 10:06, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


I am eager to contest the tag obsolete, which Zigzig20s (who has not been contributing for a year and a half) left when creating the article. I found two quotations from J. Thomson and A. E. Housman, the last of them being less than 90 years old. The tag obsolete is too strong and how could it possibly be applied to something which was a usual, common English word less than 90 years ago. I suggest replacing it with archaic. What do the native English speakers think thereof? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:17, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good as far as I'm concerned - or maybe rare instead of archaic (because you can still find this word in some poetry or songs or stuff where the "y" on the end of "dreary" doesn't fit) :) L☺g☺maniac chat? 20:00, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I think archaic is better than obsolete. Equinox 23:21, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
19 hits at COCA, all or mostly "literary". That would suggest not obsolete, not uncommon. Possibly archaic, but literary seems more like it. My favorite: "Oh, it's lonesome away from your kindred and all, with a couple of drinks where the wild dingoes call. But there's nothing so lonesome, so dull or so drear as to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer." DCDuring TALK 23:33, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Also current dialectal usage in Northern England, along with dree (adjective). Dbfirs 20:39, 16 August 2009 (UTC)


Do we do numbered isotopes? Should we? Equinox 23:11, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

If forced to guess which one we were most likely to have, I'm sure that you would have guessed U-235. DCDuring TALK 23:21, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the only one I could remember was plutonium 239. I was born when Protect and Survive appeared! Now, as far as I understand it, there's a massive (no pun intended? does that work?) number of attestable isotopes, and their names are constructed entirely formulaically, and the name actually includes the definition (you know what it is from the element+number combo). So I tend to feel like we could do without them. Equinox 23:29, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Category:Isotopes has 76 members. The form that we have is the notation that works as straight text and so might be useful for normal users coming across some terminology in sci-fi or pop science or a basic science text. DCDuring TALK 23:41, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Although I wouldn't normaly want to see entries like this, I can see a reason for having at least some of these. The pronunciation of the high-weight isotopes is specific and unusual. For example, U-238 has the numerical part pronounced as "two thirty-eight" and never as "two hundred thirty eight" which is the normal numeric pronunciation. So, at least for the high-value isotopes, there is an unusual pronunciation to consider. --EncycloPetey 00:21, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
That rule you mention in not specific to the elements as it actually applies more generally when numbers in the hundreds range are used as identifiers. For instance the number part of my address is "three fifty-one" and never "three hundred fifty-one". However, with the hyphenation, I have no problem with inclusion. Certainly the SoP argument can be more strongly made with chemical names such as dihydrogen monoxide and carbon monoxide. — Carolina wren discussió 05:00, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

barrater is mispelled

The correct spelling is baratter (fr:baratter). All flexions sould be fixed too. Regards, Jona 09:59, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Nice catch. —Stephen 22:03, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Meaning of a Russian word

I am trying to find out what the word "вольницей" means. I know it has something to do with freedom, but that's all I can find out. Yahoo translates it as "by freemen" but internet translators are unreliable. Wordgeek 16:16, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

It is the instrumental singular of the collective noun вольница (volʹnica, freemen,” or “filibusters). —Stephen 21:24, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

1sandwich short of apicknick

wedont'v this1??--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 16:16, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

I suppose we could. We seem to not be rushing to include instances of formulas and don't have a good way to present the formulas as formulas. "One X short of a Y" is what I mean by formula, your suggestion being a good instance. A variant is "A few Xes short or a Y". My favorite: "A few vermin short of a plague". Another formula is "Not the X-est Y in the Z" < "Not the sharpest knife in the drawer". DCDuring TALK 17:05, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

bent as a two bob

Entry needs cleanup - however that's not why I'm bringing it here .... :) On the page it has listed as "alternative forms} "bent as a two bob note" and "bent as a two bob watch", and in the inflection line it has "bent as a two bob bit". Which is the most common form of this idiom? (I had never heard of it before I saw it here, so all three of 'em are equal to me). In the entry it says (in invisible text) that "...bob bit" gets 6 G. hits, "...bob note" gets 12 and "...bob watch" gets 5. What do y'all think? L☺g☺maniac chat? 23:16, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

It looks like a formula "X as a two-bob Y", where X ranges over {bent, silly, crazy, etc} and Y ranges over {watch, note, bit, etc.}. Any one of the full adjective phrases seems to be a simile. OED has one citation each for "silly as a two bob note" and "crazy as two bob note". In the US it is "phony/fake as a three-dollar bill".

Incidentally, I've never heard that one either. :) L☺g☺maniac chat? 12:43, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

We have many such simile entries, including almost all the entries in Category:English similes. Some have expressed a view that we shouldn't have them. I don't have any strong feelings one way or the other about keeping similes per se.
The question of such formulas keeps coming up. See above "one sandwich short of a picnic" or "a few X short of a Y".
What about putting every one of this formula that we can find in Appendix:Formula:X as a two bob Y and putting a link to said Appendix at two bob or bob and at at least one of the specific instances that are attestable? DCDuring TALK 01:10, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Google books shows that Partridge's has a few expressions involving "two bob", which is the Australian (& UK?) equivalent of US two-bit as the money denomination most used in colloquial expressions. Maybe we should start with the idiomatic meaning of two bob. DCDuring TALK 01:32, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
An aside: Partridge has it wrong, as far as Australia is concerned, apparently not realising that Australia and the UK decimalised in different ways. Notably, the UK kept the name and value of the "pound", while in Australia the old pound became two dollars. Thus, an old Australian shilling (one-twentieth of a pound) became redeemable for 10 cents, while when the UK later decimalised, their shilling became 5p. In effect, the UK used the pound as the invariant unit, while in Australia conversion was based around the shilling, which became 10 cents. Pingku 17:30, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Back to the point, I believe the term "bob" (in the context of money), has fallen out of use in post-decimalisation Australia. The idiom under discussion is still understood, though, even if people are not quite sure how much a "bob" actually is... Pingku 17:50, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Even if it is wrong and/or dated, we should have it. Also, possibly, nine bob note, three dollar bill, wooden nickel. DCDuring TALK 19:43, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. I'm not saying the idiom is not used or understood, just questioning "bob" as a current term for an item of coinage. And the Partridge "error" was quite minor; it had just got me thinking (always a dangerous thing). Pingku 20:09, 8 August 2009 (UTC)


The 3rd noun sense "a call-out for an emergency services team." is currently marked as British and Australian slang. However certainly for the RNLI in the UK "shout" is the proper term, not slang, and from tv documentaries I gather that it is at least informal (rather than slang) if not standard for the fire brigade and RAF search and rescue teams. I have no idea about its status in Australia, but if it is slang there and not in the UK (as I believe) then how should this be marked? Thryduulf 00:18, 8 August 2009 (UTC)


It seems to me that this entry should be marked as mainly British, or perhaps Anglo-Irish. The root word nought is seldom used on this side of the pond for zero save in set phrases such as set at nought found in the KJV Bible. Can't say I've ever heard the word used and the Google hits indicate mainly British usage with some Irish based on the first few pages of hits where the country of the author could be determined. (Indeed, when I originally came across this entry, I considered sending it RfV, but the Google I did quickly caused me to drop the idea.) — Carolina wren discussió 04:21, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

It's also found in Australian English, not that that has much to do with it whether it's found in US English. -- Kelly Holden 12:48, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Its definitely at least British and Australian... I have more often seen it with the self-consciously ironic spelling of naughties; e.g. [3], [[4]]. But I think there are even some occasional references to the term in US media, e.g. [5], [6], [7] (although that article prefers the longer (and more slangy) name "naughty aughties" --SJK 00:31, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

here you are

"Said when you hand something over to someone or do a favour to them, usually to draw the recipient's attention to the exchange; Equivalent to “thank you” when receiving something."

"Equivalent to "thank you"? I don't think this set phrase is at all a substitute for a "thank you". The attention-drawing function signaled by the word "here" (or "there" in the near-equivalent "there you are") seems to be the primary function. Does anyone believe that other associated aspects of the transaction should be part of this definition: offer? thank you? My own preference would be to strike the "Equivalent ... something." DCDuring TALK 11:07, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I think the intent is, "here you are":handing something over::"thank you":receiving something. They're "equivalent" not in that you can substitute one for the other, but that they play the same role (in different situations). That said, I'm not sure it's a useful point, and even if it is, this is definitely a poor way to express it. —RuakhTALK 02:50, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not going to be able to cite this in print, but around here (south-east England) you often hear "chavs" using this in an inverted sense, meaning "Give it to me", reduced almost to a sound like "ear-yar", e.g. when holding out one's hand for a lighter. Equinox 11:10, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. That goes to the notion that it draws attention to a hand-off principally. All the other associations seem to be context- and body-language-based associations with the exchange: "give it here", "and thanks", etc. DCDuring TALK 12:09, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Another note: here you go exists, meaning the same as there you go and here you are), but perhaps with more immediacy/nearness, as here vs. there. Equinox 20:14, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


I haven't been able to find anything more exact than 'a Turkish currency'- is there an English translation? Nadando 16:39, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Well... not exactly, but yes, but no. :) Anyhow, I found (and had to create the relevant sense of) a word, asper, that probably is semantically related somehow to the Spanish one (except that I can't read ancient Greek, so don't know if the word in the etym section of "aspro" is the same that was anglicized by the time I found it in W3, and it's not the same one in that webpage below . . .). I found it on this page, where you have to scroll all the way down to Asper but it's interesting. Does that help at all or have I only utterly confused myself? (which, honestly, I have) L☺g☺maniac chat? 21:11, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. If by "Turkish" you mean "Greek" and if by "currency" you mean "river", then Aspropotamos is a tributary of the Greek w:Acheloos River. Pingku 21:46, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Ohhhh, I hope Nadando isn't that confused, but seriously, I was for a while . . . that is interesting though. Isn't etymology/roots/words just soooo much fun?! :) L☺g☺maniac chat? 22:16, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Aspro is, of course, the trade name of a particular brand of aspirin marketed in the UK, Australia and New Zealand for the last seventy years, and the word gained common usage (in the 1950s?), sometimes without capitalisation, to refer to any headache tablet. This usage now seems to have died out. Dbfirs 21:02, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Proper grammar question

Which is more grammatically correct?:

"What's new?"


"What news?"

-- OlEnglish 21:30, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

With your first example, the speaker is asking, literally, what is new?
With your second example, the speaker is asking and implies what news (is there)?
Based on that, it's hard to give you an answer, unless that there is something under there somewhere that my newly-13 brain (turned on Thursday) has failed to comprehend. L☺g☺maniac chat? 22:29, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

They are both perfectly fine grammatically. In current speech, "What news?" would seem dated, in my opinion. It is used in fictional dialog where is often seems to add an old-fashioned flavor, unless it is in answer to a question like "Have you heard the news?" "What news?" "What news?" strikes me as a question about "news", whereas "What's new?" is at least sometimes about the person being spoken to. "What's new with you?" DCDuring TALK 22:32, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with DCD completely. "What news?" would also sound strange in my ears (as in "what news (is there)?"), unless the speaker was trying on a (faux-?)medievalism to try to be funny (like what you hear in books) "What's new?" is a lot more familiar. (And I would say, "most of the time" for how often "what's new" is referring to the speaker or his/her personal life.) L☺g☺maniac chat? 22:46, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Another note: I've also heard "what's news" sometimes. L☺g☺maniac chat? 16:51, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Thank you both :) -- OlEnglish 22:32, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Hmm, yeah "what news?" does seem odd to me too but I know (being Irish) that in Ireland "what's news" is (at the very least colloquially) used as a synonym for "what's new". 50 Xylophone Players talk 18:29, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Oops, nvm I missed Logomaniac's comment. >_> 50 Xylophone Players talk 18:31, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
That's OK, it's good to hear from the other side of the pond. L☺g☺maniac chat? 20:10, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

something fierce

something awful

something good

something bad

something terrible

Both of these are colloquial/dialectal adverb phrases. But many adjectives can fit in the slot after something: "bad" and "terrible" come to mind. This suggests that a sense is missing at something#Adverb or the single sense there should be reworded. Is there some other analysis of this possible? Or should be just insert all the attestable "something X" entries? DCDuring TALK 02:02, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

BTW the valence of the adjective could be positive, I think: "He was beating up on him something good." DCDuring TALK 02:05, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Here's my tentative analysis: The first part is about those "adjectives". Some adverbs are "bare" or "flat" adverbs (e.g., he ran fast.) They are taken from the adjectives without adding the usual -ly. I think fierce, awful, good, etc. are actually non-standard adverbs (e.g. he's real nice).
The second part is like this: something is a compound determinative. Like some other determinatives, it is functioning as a modifier in an AdvP (e.g., I don't take him that seriously. He's acting a little differently.) In standard dialects, some doesn't do this, but it does in some regional dialects (e.g., She's some better thi day.), and it does, even in standard dialects, in other fused words like somewhat (e.g., You may feel somewhat differently). In fact, in previous centuries, somewhat and something were basically synonymous.
I'm quite confident with the first part, but less so with the second. The CGEL has a note on p 424 calling something a degree adverb: "In non-standard English something extends into this degree adverb territory: !I loved her something rotten. 'terribly, greatly'."--Brett 13:37, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Interesting, too, that some of the instances are with adverbs taking a valence opposite the standard English valence. The grammatical analysis gives me a bit more confidence in framing the lexicographic issues. The issues are:
  1. What to do with the instances of the construction. Keep, redirect, delete?
  2. What to call "something" in its use in this regional/non-standard construction: Adverb or Determiner. The combined construction entries are labeled as Adverbs.
I don't think we have been very consistent in providing "Adverb" PoS sections for "bare adverbs". (residual prescriptivism, I think.)
A mostly unrelated issue is that attesting this is really time-consuming. I cheated by finding quotes of "somethin' X". It would be nice to know how general this construction is, ie, over what type of modifier semantics can X range? All of our cases with the exception of "fierce" seem to be on the good/bad scale albeit sometimes reversed from standard. Maybe a two-step process: use "somethin'" to find X's and then check "something X" in corpora. It is possible that "something X" is less common in this construction than "somethin' X". DCDuring TALK 14:51, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I'd say redirect the entries to something. Probably adverb is the best category for this use of something.--Brett 19:48, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree with your "bare adverb" explanation. It seems that "something <adjective>" is functioning as a degree adverb. You could never say, *"This smells something awfully." —RuakhTALK 15:14, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, I agree thatI wouldn't say that, but that's because I'm a speaker of standard American English. Current use of something in this sense is a holdover from earlier English when flat adverbs were much more common. At that time, people did say something awfully. Consider the following quotes (from the OED):
1588 GREENE Pandosto (1843) 27 She began to simper something sweetely. 1611 SHAKES. Wint. T. IV. iv. 825 Being something gently consider'd, Ile bring you where he is aboord. 1707 Curios. in Husb. & Gard. 21 What he calls a Courtier he uses something roughly. 1713 BERKELEY Hylas & Phil. I, The inferences sound something oddly. 1822 SCOTT Nigel xvii, ‘I said Grahame, sir, not Grime,’ said Nigel, something shortly. 1859 DICKENS Christmas Stories, Haunted House i, ‘O!’ said I, something snappishly. 1898 G. B. SHAW You never can Tell in Plays Pleasant 211 Gentleman: Did you howl? The Young Lady: Oh, something awful. 1909 A. WOOLLCOTT Let. 24 Sept. (1944) 20 She gads around something fierce, as your friend Bert would say. 1915 J. WEBSTER Dear Enemy 300 When he was drunk..he smashed the furniture something awful. 1932 R. LEHMANN Invitation to Waltz I. iii. 58 Her husband drinks something shocking. 1963 W. H. MISSILDINE Your Inner Child of Past xv. 221, I was taken into the assembly hall. And beat up something terrible. 1978 D. CLARK Libertines ii. 41 ‘I'll put a plaster on that cut for you.’.. ‘Thanks, doctor... It does sting something chronic.’
--Brett 19:41, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


I notice this just got deleted as a bad redirect. However it's good in Scrabble, so I figure it must be an alternative spelling or another meaning. I'll try and add it back with a citation (or two) later on. Mglovesfun (talk) 08:55, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Chambers has "(without cap) a Christmas carol". Equinox 13:01, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
  • As does the OED, although they prefer noel as the lemma form. Ƿidsiþ 13:12, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Fossilized forms

I am looking for an English phrase to describe the etymology of words that originally were inflected/derived forms, but now the suffixes are a fixed part of the word, the word is a different part of speech and can be inflected. For example, éjjel (at night) was originally éj + -vel, the instrumental case of éj, but now it's an independent word that can be further inflected (éjjelente - every night). Possible variants: fossilized form, fossilized inflected form, fixed form? --Panda10 13:00, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Do you speak English?

I was wondering about the Japanese phrase for “Do you speak English?”. With my very limited knowledge of Japanese, I came up with the very literal 貴方は英語を話しますか。 (anatawa eigo[w]o hanashimasuka.); this was dissimilar from what my friend had been taught, viz. 英語が出来ますか。 (eigoga dekimasuka.). What is the difference here? Is my noob’s literal translation correct at all? Thanks in advance.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:09, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Japanese would typically drop the subject when it is clear from context, so get rid of 貴方は. Next, if you think the person is likely to speak English, then your remaining question would be fine. On the other hand, if you're merely inquiring about the person's ability, then the 'dekiru' question would be better. Alternatively, 'hanasEmasuka' or 'shaberEmasuka' would also work. --Brett 01:58, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Word Misspelt


I am not so pleased to see words like "uncompleted" in an official letter or conversation.
Is "uncompleted" an Adjective.
Does it hold a proper meaning.
Please advise me if you can!!!!!!!!

—This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 12:44, 10 August 2009 (UTC).

Yes, it's an adjective, with a proper meaning. See uncompleted. —RuakhTALK 12:58, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
"Uncompleted" might have a slightly different meaning than "incomplete", emphasizing the process rather than the result. That raises the possibility of who might be responsible for the state of incompleteness.
Consider the following usage statistics from COCA:
Positive outcome: "complete": 35,022; "completed": 18,218; responsibility/state: 52%
Negative outcome
State: "incomplete": 2,803; + "not complete": 463 + "uncomplete": 2 = 3,268
Responsibility: "incompleted": 2 + "not completed": 199 + "uncompleted": 79 = 280
Responsibility/state: 9%
Could this be an empirical demonstration of the proverb "success has many fathers, failure is an orphan" or of widespread linguistic politeness?
Also this seems to illustrate "rose-colored glasses" with the ratio of completion/incompletion (13/1) far exceeding that in my experience. DCDuring TALK 15:31, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


According to ODS the English word lew is dialectal, but Webster considers it obsolete, therefore I did not add any tag whatsoever. Any native speaker, in whose dialect this word is common? Could you verify the gradation forms as well, since I added them at the example of new? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:05, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I am a native (American, FWIW) speaker, and no, I have never heard of this word (and still do not know what it means as i don't want to take the time to open the article (my browser/computer are soooo slooooow)) ... (few seconds later) I just looked it up in Webster's Third, my be-all and end-all dictionary resource (though I'm learning how incomplete it is) and it labels the term as now dialect Britain. L☺g☺maniac chat? 20:30, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
"Lew warm" is common in (older) dialect of Northern England, but I have never heard the comparative or superlative used. Dbfirs 21:09, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
I added the appropriate template for Northern England English. You are free to erase the comparative and superlative forms - I added them on the model of few and new, perchance in vain, if it is never used. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 18:45, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I've never heard lewer or lewest, and I can't find any usages, but they probably existed in the past. If I mark them as obsolete, someone is sure to find some citations! Dbfirs 18:21, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Missing E numbers

Wiktionary includes almost all E numbers but I have identified the ones I think we are missing.

missing E numbers

John Cross 22:17, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

I'd worked on improving some of these with {{pedia}} links and improved internal wiktionary links, without any useful knowledge of chemistry or food and drug manufacture. They can all be brought to a reasonably high uniform formatting standard. DCDuring TALK 18:17, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

bust a move

Is this an idiomatic phrase? Is it a neologism? Does it mean something akin to strike a pose? __meco 17:07, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

No, it's not a neologism by the definition Wiktionary has as it has been regularly used for at least 20 years. It means "to dance". It's from the song of the same name by Young MC who tells of his attempts to find a woman and failing to do so because he can't dance; he isn't able to "bust a move." Strike a pose means something entirely different. Sorry you had to wait 3 years for an answer! Rfc1394 (talk) 12:51, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Public health problem

I hope to get "definition of public health problem" or "what is public health problem" or "how to define public health problem or issue", I have search related websites, but get accurate answer. Could help me? tell me explanation of "public health problem" (which website page?)? Thanks. George. —This comment was unsigned.

See public health + problem. Equinox 15:24, 16 August 2009 (UTC)


There is a discussion over on Wikipedia about the deletion of its entry -logy, some of the editors wanting to keep it, others saying that the information belongs to Wiktionary. Could someone have a look at the article and tell us whether its content would be appropriate here? Thanks for taking the trouble --Anypodetos 08:09, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

I think it would be suitable for Wiktionary but it is a bit long for usage notes, perhaps some of the content belongs in an appendix, it would be good for Wiktionary to have either a list of studies or a list of words ending "logy.John Cross 09:24, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Feel free to use this old version of -logy on WP (as long as the article exists). --Anypodetos 18:03, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I've responded on the VFD page.​—msh210 02:22, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks --Anypodetos 18:03, 17 August 2009 (UTC)


what is the difference between voucher and invoice?

If company A sells a van to company B then Company A will create a sales invoice and send Company B a copy from Company B's point of view the invoice is a purchase invoice. An invoice typically includes:
  • the amount to be paid (before sales taxes)
  • the amount of sales taxes
  • the amount to be paid (after sales taxes)
  • a reference number
  • the date of the sale
  • the name of the seller an the buyer
  • a description of the product or service possibly including a product code
  • payment terms e.g. pay within 30 days or payment on delivery

A voucher can mean a lot of things: A voucher is a bond or token which is worth a certain monetary value an normally has that amount printed on. A voucher may only be spent for specific reasons or on specific goods. Examples include — housing, travel and food vouchers.

The term voucher is also a synonym for receipt, and is often used to refer to receipts used as evidence of, for example, the declaration that a service has been performed or that an expenditure has been made.

A voucher is an accounting document representing an internal indent to make a payment to an external entity, such as a vendor or service provider. A voucher is produced usually after receiving a purchase invoice, after the invoice is successfully matched to a Purchase Order. [8]

I hope that helps. John Cross 09:32, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Collaberation of the Week - attempt to revive

OK, I registered on Wiktionary a while ago and then went away but recently I have come back and got a bit more involved. I think that Wiktionary has massive potential as it is not bound by the limits of being physically printed. I also think the community behind Wiktionary is great. I think we can all agree that there are thousands of missing words to add and new words are being added all the time. I would like to see two things as a sort of new user:

  1. a sense of priority. Which words or appendices do we most need? I accept this is subjective but as a community I think we could set meaningful priorities.
  2. a sense of completeness. Which areas can get to a point where we can say they are complete? as a trivial example we have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

I am hoping we can use WT:COW to try to meet these needs. I have added a few suggestions to the WT:COW page I am not sure these should be priorities but I am hoping people will edit the page an change things around. I think collaborating on a group of words that are related makes more sense than trying to all collaborate for a week on two or three unrelated words.

John Cross 15:06, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

We could think about priorities, but I'm not sure that many editors would change anything to what they do...
Completeness cannot be achieved: new words are created every day, and no dictionary lists all existing words. But completeness might be measured in some cases: for dead languages, maybe, or areas such as taxa in biology.
On fr.wikt, this collaboration of the week exists: this week, it's about dance styles. Lmaltier 20:14, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
I like the idea of having this. (I've got a few categories on my own user page, e.g. minerals — an enormous list — and links to things like wine-tasting terms and organic compounds.) I doubt I'd contribute to the project page itself, i.e. by adding groups of terms, but I could definitely be convinced to research and create some of the missing terms suggested by others. Equinox 21:32, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I would wholeheartedly support doing (and perhaps, organizing) this sort of thing. As soon as there are enough people that are interested in contributing.... Should we bring this up at the Beer Parlour? L☺g☺maniac chat? 19:57, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Have vs. Have got.

Although I may only be a high school student, I am constantly bewildered by the discussion or argument concerning whether or not have or have got is the correct usage. What purpose necessitates the addition of the past tense verb got combined with the present tense of the verb to have? Why would one render this unrequired addition? As I have learned and discovered on my own, the verb to have has a few distinct tenses, each of which not including got in any circumstances.

Present- have or has. Past- had. Present participle- has or have gotten. Pluperfect- had gotten.

As you may have discerned, got was not included with any of these tenses, reiterating the fact.

So might anyone have the solution to my problem? Questions or comments? But please, only authority or experts on the subject. —This comment was unsigned.

  • I was going to answer, but I'm not an authority or an expert. Good luck. DCDuring TALK 20:39, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm not an expert either, so I will just say that the rules vary with region, culture, and time. Dbfirs 20:57, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Not "authority or expert", but both "has" and "have gotten" are correct under their own circunstances which Im to tired to explain right now. and I'm not sure who we have around here for "authority or experts". (SB?!) L☺g☺maniac chat? 15:11, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I like to think of myself as an authority and an expert on every subject, and this being the Internet, there's no one to say different. ;-)
    So, here goes:
    • The past participle of "to get" is "got" in some forms of English, "gotten" in others. (Nowadays, "got" is more typically U.K., "gotten" is more typically U.S., but with exceptions. And, dunno about other regions.) And there are probably forms that use both past participles, either interchangeably or not, but I don't know. (Incidentally, despite this variation with "to get", the past participle of "to forget" seems to be fairly consistently "forgotten". Dunno why.)
    • Additionally, in some forms of English, "to have got" has the meaning "to have". This occurs even in some forms where the past participle of "got" is "gotten"; hence, in my dialect, "you've got a lot of mail today" and "you've gotten a lot of mail today" are both correct, but they mean different things: the former means "you have a lot of mail today", with the present tense of the multiword verb "to have got", whereas the latter means "you've received a lot of mail today", with the present perfect of the verb "to get". Broadly speaking, use of "have got" this way is more common in colloquial registers than in formal ones, but usage varies greatly between different forms of English.
    • The aforementioned usage does not apply equally to all senses of "to have"; in particular, "to have" is used in forming the perfect aspect, but "to have got" is not.
    • In some forms of English, the "have" in "to have got" can be dropped, as in "I gotta [=got to] go", or "I got no problem with that." These usages are not considered standard — especially the second.
    • As may be inferred from the above, there are many speakers who will never say "to have got" in their entire lives, preferring "to have gotten" exclusively for the perfect aspect of "to get", and "to have" exclusively for the other uses.
    Does that answer your questions?
    RuakhTALK 19:14, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Unsure how useful this comment will be. However, the word gotten is very, very rare in British English; you'd probably only hear it in the slightly archaic idiom "ill-gotten gains". On the other hand, "I've got" (I already own, or have just acquired) is very common, where US English might prefer" I have". Equinox 21:25, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

taiwan vs tw-ESE vilages

iLEARNTlatter,butCformer[adj=NOUN,uh]i/engl.media-wotsrite/practice??--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 01:17, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Is not the former just the attributive usage of the noun? I suppose there might be a subtle distinction between Taiwan villages meaning villages in the country, and Taiwanese villages meaning those with a distinctly Taiwanese character, but I don't think this distinction can be consistently maintained. Dbfirs 09:50, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

No (determiner) illustration

No (not any) bricks.

A very long time ago, I had an English professor who thought a good dictionary should contain a little humour, and I appreciate a gag or two as much as the next guy. But does the illustration for no as a determiner (added by User:msh210 on June 23/09) go a smidge too far over the top? Or not? I have mixed feelings. (BTW, doesn't that image look more like a picture of no determiners than of no bricks?) -- WikiPedant 03:19, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

I think it should go. Equinox 20:52, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
That was for the solstice competition. As you say, a bit of a gag. As the guy who added it, I agree: it can go.​—msh210 16:08, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Genius, I love it. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:53, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Me too. I'm moving the picture to nothing. ; ) L☺g☺maniac chat? 18:42, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Usually I say a word should contribute something to an entry, but in this case, I think it's rather appropriate for it to contribute nothing. I'm considering copying it to [[אין]]. :-)   —RuakhTALK 02:41, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Reminds me of one of the classic philosophical questions: How can something come from nothing? Hmmmm. -- WikiPedant 04:46, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

etymology info on secret (Verb) - needs supporting documentation & Latin roots & general editing

Etymology 2
Back-formation from reading secreted as secret + -ed instead of secrete + -ed by influence of the above senses of secret.

Why is "secrete + -ed" implied to be a more correct reading (or a reading more consistent with the original meaning or roots)? I think it needs some supporting documentation and dates.

Usage notes 
This word is not in standard or formal usage, where secrete is used instead.

I disagree with this because it is in standard usage amongst people I know (probably because the 'secret' interpretation/usage makes more sense than the 'secreted' interpretation/usage, based on the accepted meaning of 'secret'). I propose removing this Usage Note.
Also, this usage is hardly ever seen without 'away' after it (i.e. 'secreted away') and I propose to add this as a Usage note.

The only Latin root we mention (for secret; there is none for secrete or secretion) is 'secretum' (a non-existent page) and this differs from what's at etymonline [9], which says:

1378 (n.), 1399 (adj.), from L. secretus "set apart, withdrawn, hidden" originally pp. of secernere "to set apart," from se- "without, apart," 
prop. “on one's own” (from PIE *sed-, from base *s(w)e-; see idiom) + cernere "separate" (see crisis).

I propose to change "secretum" to "secretus" and to add "secretus" as a new entry, and also to add secretion's root (from etymonline), unless anyone objects.--Tyranny Sue 15:35, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Whilst I don't doubt that your pronunciation is common where you live, are you sure that the secreted you hear is not an alternative pronunciation of past participle of the verb secrete? If you are correct then you will probably hear secrets (hides) and secreting with the stress on the first syllable. Dbfirs 11:48, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, no pronunciation is 'common' where I live (or amongst people I know, including my family, and that means various international geographical locations, so it's not necessarily an isolated regional phenomenon) because it's not frequently used in speech, but I've been asking around about how people interpret it when reading. But yes, the stress is definitely on the first syllable. (My theory for this is that since the 2nd verb sense of 'secrete' is effectively obsolete, and has been reabsorbed(?) by 'secret' - in my circles anyway - and the modern meaning of 'secret' fits the purpose perfectly, why would people interpret it as 'secrete', i.e. an involuntary biological process where something goes from a more hidden place to a less hidden one, when 'to hide' - which is what our contemporary use of 'secret' is all about - is what's obviously meant?)--Tyranny Sue 05:28, 23 September 2009 (UTC)


So, which is it? [10] Equinox 20:47, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Both, I think. I tweaked the adverbial defn and added e.g. sentences to help distinguish the adverb from the adjective. -- WikiPedant 21:01, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Oh, wait a minute, you mean is it "twice an hour" or "once every two hours". In the case of bihourly both the Random House Dictionary and the OED say once every two hours, but the OED acknowledges that there are many terms (e.g., biweekly and bimonthly) which can be used with either meaning and the OED recommends using "semi-" instead of "bi-" if one means "twice a ...". -- WikiPedant 21:07, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I think biannual might be our best effort with respect to the two meanings of "bi-". I don't know where there are reliable statistics as to how common the "proscribed" senses might be. As I understand it the ambiuguity goes back to Latin. Bis (twice) is an adverb. Used as a prefix it means two. So "twice an hour" or "two-hourly". From a usage stand point the bi-words seem best avoided unless you want a portion of the readers to miss your meaning. DCDuring TALK 23:46, 17 August 2009 (UTC)


canIPAbechekd pl?--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 10:12, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done :) L☺g☺maniac chat? 16:09, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

ta!!:D--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 09:45, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

take upon

It seems "take upon" would be better located at take upon oneself; what do you think? A form with "himself" is used in the example sentence. For comparison, OneLook:"take upon" and OneLook:"take upon oneself". An aside: The figure that I see behind this idiom is of a person taking a burden such as a bag full of potatoes on his back, thus on himself, as it were; which can easily be a misperception. --Dan Polansky 16:11, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

It seems to me that it would need to be take upon oneself, as you say. As to your reasoning about the idiomaticity, I think it would not be sufficient. Among the many meanings of take and upon are many figurative meanings. A mere combination of figurative senses does not make something an idiom within the meaning of WT:CFI. The meaning is figuratively taking the "burden/weight of responsibility" "on/upon one's shoulders". We often seem to use arguments other than true idiomaticity to support including such terms.
In this case only RHU includes the term as an idiom.
It is interesting that "take it upon oneself to/take it upon oneself" is nearly 5 times as common as "take upon oneself". DCDuring TALK 18:52, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

deleted "forearm bones" (sum of parts)

mytake:add.info=ulna+rad.-thoughts any1?--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 10:16, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Discussion on this is at WT:RFD#forearm_bones; please continue discussion there, to keep it together.​—msh210 18:55, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

thatp.soolong,mybrowsernolike..--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 21:34, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


IPApl?--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 18:39, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Next time just add {{rfp}} to the entry.​—msh210 18:49, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

yup,ta!!:)--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 19:11, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

heaven helps those who help themselves

Can someone create an entry for this idiom for me? I have some Chinese translations to add. Cheers. 08:11, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Fantastic! Adding some translations now! :D Tooironic 06:25, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

a sea of faces

Is this idiom allowed its own entry? Or is it considered a sum of parts phrase? 08:16, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

We don't have most metaphors. For "faces", "sea" is probably the most common, but "wall", blur", "crowd", "stream", "montage", "kaleidoscope", "gallery", "kitchen", "range" occur also at one large corpus of American English. Some folks like to include such metaphors, but not me. DCDuring TALK 17:36, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Subject of a biography

What is the word for the subject of a biography - the person being written about? It is biografato in Italian. SemperBlotto 11:09, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

autobiographer; biographee. L☺g☺maniac chat? 15:38, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I think we would just use subject normally ("he's the subject of a new biography by so-and-so"). Not very satisfying, though.-- Visviva 15:51, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, where attestable I think any -ee words will handle this pretty well. 50 Xylophone Players talk 16:42, 21 August 2009 (UTC)


Is this actually a word or just a bastardization of emergency and urgently? I have a bet with my doctor son in law who uses it all the time. Thanks. —This unsigned comment was added by Tenlady (talkcontribs).

It's a word. See emergent. I think in medicine emergent things are even more urgent than urgent things.​—msh210 19:29, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

to nitpick about words

How do I say "to nitpick about words", "to concentrate on minor semantic mistakes while ignoring the substance"? I thought it was something like "talk semantics" but I can't find it. Thanks. --Dan Polansky 15:52, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, an argument over the meanings of words is called a logomachy, whilst a person so engaged could be accused of pettifogging. OTOH, people often say things like “Let’s not discuss semantics.” as an admonishment not to get bogged down in such concerns as the meaning of terminology. Does that answer your quæstion?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:24, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I did not know about logomachy. The term that I was probably looking for was google books:"argue semantics". I thought I had seen an example sentence in Wiktionary, sounding similar to "You are arguing semantics and completely ignoring my point." But I can't find it any more.
I thought "argue semantics" could be well worth entering, but the transitive "argue" with a direct object seems to apply broadly, including to google books:"argue politics". --Dan Polansky 17:05, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
YW. The OED has sub-senses for semantic and semantics defined simply as “In weakened uses.”; two of the supporting quotations for the “weakened use” of semantics are:
  • 1966: N.Y. Post 3 Aug. 6/4
    Sen. Pastore said that everybody was engaged in semantics. ‘It comes down to a very fine point,’ he said, stating the obvious in a nutshell.
  • 1978: Kenneth Hudson, The Jargon of the Professions, page 16
    Almost daily in the press briefing, whenever a newsman raises his hand to ask for clarification of some mealy-mouthed statement: ‘I am not going to debate semantics with you,’ the spokesman replies.
These, I believe, are identical with the sense in which you mean the word/phrase. I conclude that what we need are additional senses added to semantic and semantics.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:28, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

have a seat

I have taken a stab at presenting the non-idiomatic, the truly idiomatic (IMO) directive, and an intermediate sense that might be idiomatic. To me the polite directive is the principal justification for the entry.

  1. Is this not used outside the US?
  2. Is the intermediate sense truly idiomatic or is it just that it is hard to keep track of all the senses of verbs like "have", "take", "do", "get", "put", "sit", "set", "go", "give"?
  3. Is this the best we can do?

Note that no OneLook Dictionary has this and that it is a new entry. DCDuring TALK 16:59, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Common in UK. I'm not sure whether the intermediate sense is an idiom or not. Agree that sense 3 justifies the entry. Dbfirs 09:43, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Swedish and Finnish

I just saw a show where someone spoke a language that, as he explained, originated because people couldn't speak either Swedish or Finnish very well. Therefore they came up with that language which is apparently some sort of mix of the two. His flag was from top to bottom white-blue-yellow. Can anyone tell me where he was from? User:Mallerd (Zeg et es meisje) 11:02, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Old Dutch flag
Well, i know this isn't what you're looking for, but I found an old Dutch flag with the colors in the wrong spots - still looking. L☺g☺maniac chat? 15:08, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
The only Google hits I'm getting are for the flag of the Marshall islands and the flag of Argentina, neither of which is right. still looking ... L☺g☺maniac chat? 15:21, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Hey there, I recieved this response on wikipedia:

:He was referring to Meänkieli which is spoken on the Finnish-Swedish border in the Torne Valley. It's basically a dialect of Finnish with a lot of Swedish influences that has been defined as a separate language because of repressive Swedish policies towards Finnish-speakers during the 20th century.

Peter Isotalo 12:49, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

This page shows their flag. I appreciate your help Mr. Maniac :D User:Mallerd (Zeg et es meisje) 17:12, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Oh, about that Dutch flag. The colours are in the correct place, it's just an old flag based on the colours of Dutch royalty. (Those French changed orange to red) User:Mallerd (Zeg et es meisje) 17:14, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

whynotchangdbak?--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 14:23, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

I think it's because Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, forgot his name, was 'such a good king to us', people did not resent the French colours. Those colours were made official again as a reaction to the NSB. On certain days, orange is flown along with the red, white and blue. User:Mallerd (Zeg et es meisje) 18:26, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually the red was already in use long before our beloved "rabbit-of-Holland". Even in the 17th century both orange and red were used. The latter in part because the red dye did not bleach in sunlight as badly. On the VOC/WIC ships that was important. But yes with the Batave Republic it became official and with Willem I an orange vane was added. As a sign of reconciliation I suppose. It never became official though, until the Dutch nazi party started using the orange again in the thirties.

Jcwf 05:39, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Tornedalians' flag

Here is the flag. Tornedalians are Torne Valley-dwelling Finnish people, who at some point settled west of the gulf to the Swedish side. They have lots of Swedish loanwords. See also: Helsinki slang for a similiar situation, in southern Finland. --Hydrox 01:02, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Left body part

The left kidney is on the right part of the picture.

When speaking of "left kidney", "left hemisphere" or any other body part, is it from the point of view of the owner of the body part or from the point of view of a person who faces the owner? Clearly, with "right hand", it is the former--the owner's right hand is seen by a facing person at the left--but I am for some mysterious reason unsure about other body parts. --Dan Polansky 12:20, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

owner--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 14:29, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I'd vote and bet owner's PoV. DCDuring TALK 15:02, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, as for "stage left", though there have been cases of the wrong kidney being removed. Might this be the reason? Dbfirs 15:55, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the input. I guess the confusion can be seen on the picture that I am just posting. --Dan Polansky 08:06, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this picture is correctly described as "seen from behind", so the caption is wrong. Dbfirs 09:09, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Oops; you're right. I have replaced the picture with a fitting one. --Dan Polansky 08:46, 25 August 2009 (UTC)


Is any one else confused by this entry's definitions? Chaotic, jumbled and muddled are, in my mind, quite different from each other. They also don't tell us if the word refers to people only (emotions) or other things (e.g. according to this entry "a chaotic work of art" could also be expressed as "a confused work of art", even though their meanings are quite different). Lastly, since when did it also mean "embaarrassed"? Tooironic 09:57, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Have you considered posting it to cleanup? L☺g☺maniac chat? 14:00, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

One can be confused by embarrassment, or embarrassed by confusion. I would have removed sense 3 except that it was added by SemperBlotto who usually knows what he is talking about. I wonder what he meant? Dbfirs 00:20, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
I see that we also have the sense recorded at confuse. If it exists, I would regard this as a colloquial, non-standard usage (from confusing two related emotions). Should we mark this sense as colloquial?
... also, I regard chaotic art as confused, jumbled and muddled, but I'm not an art expert! Dbfirs 18:14, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Another sense for jackpot

Wikipedia's language reference desk was discussing an alternate sense for jackpot at W:wikipedia:Reference desk/Language#"jackpot" meaning trouble. Does it meet CFI? RJFJR 20:49, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, indeed. Also another sense, possibly linked. DCDuring TALK 00:15, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step / a single step

Was surprised to find this was not in wiktionary. Why is this? Tooironic 09:29, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

The longer the proverb, the harder to type. There are so many proverbs. Having all of them is such a major effort. It just doesn't seem worth it. DCDuring TALK 11:47, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
...(edit conflict) ... because it is a sentence, not a word, and the meaning is exactly what it says, not idiomatic. Perhaps we could include it for translations. Are there idioms in other languages that mean the same? I would expect just word-for-word direct translations. Dbfirs 11:54, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
The meaning is not precisely what it says: it's a metaphor. I agree it's not idiomatic, though. Once one understands that it's a metaphor, it's SoP.​—msh210 18:32, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
I thought that proverbs are per se idiomatic or just get a free pass. For example, Rome wasn't built in a day uses the building of Rome as a metaphor for any large task. Category:English proverbs is mostly populated with metaphors, I think. I suppose we could try to have more formal criteria for inclusion, but it hasn't been an issue recently. Does anyone really think this shouldn't be included? a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step is my preferred wording but the other seems good too. DCDuring TALK 19:00, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
I didn't say it's not to be included, nor did I mean to imply that. Our practice has been, as you note, DCDuring, to include such. I was only responding to Dbfirs' "the meaning is exactly what it says, not idiomatic". My preferred wording is yours, but citations rule.​—msh210 20:02, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I see what you mean. Do we include all metaphors? There are millions! Dbfirs 21:11, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
We certainly don't include all in fact. I don't know whether there is any express reason why we would exclude any attestable metaphorical use of a common noun. I don't think we would include "the champagne of bottled beers", though we might have the metaphorical sense of champagne as used in that phrase: "anything expensive or luxurious" (as RHU alone among OneLook dictionaries does). The entry for head is a reminder of how much metaphor accounts for the proliferation of senses of many common polysemic words. DCDuring TALK 00:14, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I have created the entry for a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (by Confucius) and added a few translations, please check the English section, add translations, if you can and wish to do it. Anatoli 04:52, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

rote learning

I came across this while cleaning up the "English nouns" category in French - it has three other interwikis, but not here! Is it a bad import or just something I've never heard of. It's an uncountable noun, or so I'm told. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:06, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Only Wordnet (the most semantically inclusive reference) and Steadman's Medical Dictionary (???!!!) among OneLook dictionaries have this. It is not an idiom. It analyzes as attributive use of rote with learning as head. It is equivalent to "learning by rote". "By rote" is in three of the One look idiom dictionaries. COCA shows "rote learning" to be about 10 times more common than "learning by rote" (intransitive), but "learning something by rote" (transitive) is as common as the intransitive. Our searchbox yields "rote" as the top entry for searches for "rote learning" and most forms of "learn by rote", "learned by rote" and "learnt by rote" being the leading exceptions.
I think that strict application of WT:CFI would not lead to including any multi-word term including "rote" to be included. OTOH I see a little benefit from having all of the common collocations redirect to rote and making sure that rote is a high-quality entry. DCDuring TALK 15:40, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
[[rote]] needs some improvement. It misses the adjective (rote is gradable, comparable and can appear as predicate) and gives to much emphasis to "by rote". DCDuring TALK 15:47, 28 August 2009 (UTC)


The Noun def is currently:

(US or when referring to one or more type) Plural form of fish. 

Don't we mean "when referring to more than one type" (or "two or more types")?

At fish we have: ... and when referring to two or more kinds fishes ... so is the "one or more type" from fishes just a typo?

Also I think an example (i.e. use in a sentence) would be extremely helpful for the verb entry (of fishes), which is "Third-person singular simple present indicative form of fish".

Thanks very much.--Tyranny Sue 04:43, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Probably a typo. L☺g☺maniac chat? 13:42, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Fixed.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:25, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Mining Terminology

I was watching somethign on television about mining and was amazed by all the specialized mining terminology. DOes anyone have an idea where we can get a list of words with special mining senses that we might be missing? RJFJR 14:44, 29 August 2009 (UTC)