Wiktionary:Tea room/2009/July

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July 2009


Please, can other Francophones lend eyes to the entry ressortir. It is a thorny word, and maybe needs to be checked for fluency and readability. --Rising Sun 13:38, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

In French, senses 1 and 2 are the same, despite the different possible translations in English (come or go). The action is exactly the same in both cases. These senses should be merged. Lmaltier 16:41, 3 July 2009 (UTC)


OK I have a question. There's this pizza called the 'pizza Borromea'. So I've looked up Borromeo and wikipedia states it comes from Buonromei/Borromei. I guessed the 'romei' was meant as plural, which lead me to this 'romeo'. Wikipedia also said that romeo means 'pilgrim to Rome'. Is it correct to think this way? Does anyone know? I don't speak Italian very well (yet), but they give this link on wp: [www.borromeo.it]. The links are at the bottom of that homepage. Anyway, perhaps if I know more I can do more searching on how the name was used for a pizza. Early google searches only try to sell me the pizza :( User:Mallerd (Zeg et es meisje) 11:53, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

See Borromeo, but I don't know anything about pizzas. Shouldn't you ask in the Tea Room? --Makaokalani 13:44, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
It's a fairly simple pizza with just cheese and ham as topping to the normal ingredients. If the name has anything to do with the saint Carlo Borromeo I would be surprised. Probably invented by a restaurant on one of the Borromean Islands in Lago Maggiore. SemperBlotto 17:05, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

The pizza tastes good :) like you said I just wanted to know if/how the name was linked to a Borromean person. So, they hadn't much to do with it themselves. Thanks

your ass

Not yours personally, you understand. Does anyone agree that this should be moved to one's ass, to allow for the other possessive pronouns? "I kicked his ass out before I got the money." Equinox 09:27, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

one's arse sounds good (sorry not to recognise the alternative spelling, but mine objection does not concern the regional varieties, but the possessive pronoun), but how would you define it given the fact that your ass is defined as you? one sounds ambiguous... anyone sounds generalised... How can the issue be resolved? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 10:37, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. Perhaps something like "oneself; the person referred to" (i.e. by the pronoun alone). Equinox 13:36, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
I'd expect to find that any animal (especially one having an ass or at least an ass end) couldn't be referred to by "ass" in some context ("My dog just wouldn't walk, so I had to drag his ass home." "That thing can really move its ass. Look at the flagella go."). I would think that use should reside just at "ass". That entry also betrays a speciesist bias in that the closest sense is oneself. I think the sense there ought to be "Person; body."
But, I think "your ass" (and not the other forms???) can be used idiomatically as the equivalent to something like "bullshit" or "the hell you will". DCDuring TALK 14:50, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

overflow pool

I can't describe this in English. It is a swimming pool, and on the edge of the pool it can flood, and the water goes into another pool around the swimming pool. An online definition is "a pool where the water level in the pool is the same as the top of the decking. Around the pool perimeter is a channel or notch that the water drains into creating a visual masterpiece. It looks like a big mirror lying on the ground. Very upscale! "[1] There are pictures of a piscine à débordement here, and overflow pool here, but I'm not convinced, that the French one is identical to the English one. --Rising Sun 10:47, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

  • A striking feature of such pools is called in English (sometimes in quotes) an "infinite edge". Because the edge is not obviously infinite, it might be worth an entry. I don't know whether all "overflow pools" have "infinite edges" or whether all "infinite edges" are associated with "overflow pools". Sometimes that feature gives such pools the name "infinite-edge pool", but that might not meet WT:CFI in English as a unit. DCDuring TALK 11:29, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Is this the same as an infinity pool? Ƿidsiþ 04:59, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
    • No. See below. Uncle G 05:12, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The German is Überlaufpool. Rising Sun and DCDuring, you are conflating overflow channel pools and infinity pools Uncle G 05:12, 6 July 2009 (UTC)


In addition to a general-purpose literary comparison to the writings of Charles Dickens, many commentators (political and social) have something specific in mind about the writings of Charles Dickens when they make this comparison. Several other dictionaries now list a qualifier or specification rather than only saying that Dickensian is "like Dickens." I could list the many versions of these more specific definitions now being used. I tried to introduce this on the talk page, but someone named SemperBlotto simply keeps vandalizing without any explanation. Is the use of "Dickensian" as a reference to some aspect of social injustice that unfamiliar and new? It seems to have gotten a lot of use lately anyway. examples (there are several others but often with exactly the same wording): . i) Dickensian Adjective 1. of Charles Dickens (1812–70), British novelist 2. denoting poverty, distress, and exploitation, as depicted in the novels of Dickens --Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2004, 2006 . ii) Adj. 1. Dickensian - of or like the novels of Charles Dickens (especially with regard to poor social and economic conditions) --Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc. . iii) Definition Dickensian adjective 1 relating or similar to something described in the books of the 19th century British writer, Charles Dickens, especially living or working conditions that are below an acceptable standard: The bathrooms in this hotel are positively Dickensian - no hot water and grime everywhere. 2 written by or in the style of Charles Dickens --(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary) . iv) Dickensian /dikenzin/ • adjective reminiscent of the novels of Charles Dickens (1812-1870), especially in terms of the urban poverty that they portray. --Compact Oxford English Dictionary . v) Dickensian Dick·en·si·an [ di kénzee ən ] adjective Definition: 1. of Charles Dickens: relating to the 19th-century British novelist Charles Dickens 2. reminiscent of poverty-stricken Victorian Britain: typical or reminiscent of the harsh poverty-stricken living conditions described in the works of Dickens 3. jolly and genial: jolly and cordial, like some of the scenes and characters featured in the novels of Dickens 4. full of twists and amazing coincidences: full of twists and remarkable coincidences, like the plots of some of the novels of Dickens an episode too Dickensian for most modern audiences to swallow --ENCARTA .

Definitions from other dictionaries are not, in and of themselves, support for additional senses of a word. Wiktionary has attestation criteria given in WT:CFI; we much prefer to see a quote demonstrating usage in a published context, not a mention/explanation of the word in a dictionary. (See w:Use–mention distinction.) I also note that some of the dictionaries you cite indicate only a single sense, not two. More importantly, the definition you keep adding is wrong. You are giving the definition of a noun, but claiming it is an adjective. --EncycloPetey 19:43, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
The actions of SemperBlotto were mischaracterized, AFAICT. Talk:Dickensian was not reverted. The definition of "Dickensian" worded as a noun was. A definition that fails to recognize the basics of grammar is hard to credit.
In my opinion the best way to proceed is to put some citations on Citations:Dickensian illustrating the usage, preferably from print sources, which shouldn't be hard. Or one could review the usage at COCA and BNC to see which ones are common enough to be worth showing. Encarta seems to have done some work in support of its four definitions, finding evidence in support of three specific additional senses, all of which are truly subsenses of the first sense. DCDuring TALK 20:21, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
I've re-added the second sense and attempted to cite it. It seems to me that the first sense could almost cover any citation for the second ("pertaining to Dickens' writings", i.e. sharing some characteristic of them, which poor social conditions are), but I'll leave the rest of you to decide on that. Equinox 20:30, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Of the first 10 of the 118 citations at COCA:
Poverty-stricken or otherwise associated with poverty (3)
Odd (2) about unusual and/or underworldy characters
Strict, harsh (1)
High-handed (1)
Old-fashioned (1)
Melodramatic (1)
Having incredible plot twists. (1)
This diversity suggests that usage needs further research. It would be worth getting this right. DCDuring TALK 20:39, 3 July 2009 (UTC)


Thank you for the constructive feedback. It is so much better to hear the issues rather than see mysterious, unexplained reverts. In order to help out, I have found these examples:

A meat company has been branded Dickensian after forcing its employees to clock-off every time they want to go to the toilet. - - - http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USL2629804320080627 Fri Jun 27, 2008

Leaning against piracy fits in with China's desire to cast off its image of a country where exploited workers toil for a pittance in Dickensian factories that turn the air and water black with the pollution they discharge. - - - http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USPEK32802920080915 Mon Sep 15, 2008

GM Bankruptcy–A Dickensian Tale - - - http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2009/05/29/deals-of-the-day-gm-bankruptcy-a-dickensian-tale/ May 29, 2009

The bill he wrote placed mothers and their children behind credit card companies in the line for a bankrupt ex-husband's paycheck, for example, which is positively Dickensian. Expected to sail through the House and onto the president's desk in the next few weeks, the bill turns the federal government into a guardian angel of an industry gone mad, placing no significant restriction on soaring interest rates and proliferating fees. - - - http://www.buzzflash.com/whitehurst/05/03/whi05001.html March 16, 2005

America’s unions, which Wal-Mart despises, have a long history of anti-communism, and today’s AFL-CIO is the staunchest defender on the American political scene of democratic rights in communist nations such as China. For that matter, unions affiliated with reformed or post-communist parties outside of the few remaining communist states have gotten nowhere with Wal-Mart either. Only in China, with its inimitable blend of Dickensian capitalism and authoritarian communism, has Wal-Mart found a union to its liking. The leaders of genuine workers’ movements in China don’t end up running the All-China Federation. They’re to be found in prison, in exile, or in hiding. - - - http://walmartwatch.com/blog/archives/wal_mart_to_increase_employee_wages_by_8 July 16, 2008

It brings together an intriguing cast of characters, each apparently in his or her own world but - as gradually becomes clear - ultimately intricately related. The anti-hero, John Veals, is a shadily successful and boundlessly ambitious Dickensian figure who is trading billions and other characters include a teenage Muslim fanatic, a Polish footballer, a female tube driver, a literary critic, a care worker and a chutney tycoon. As the story builds to its climax, Faulks pulls together powerful ideas about family, money, religion, and the way we live now. - - - http://commanderbond.net/article/6319 June 21, 2009

Adidas attacked for Asian 'sweatshops' MEPs told of Dickensian conditions in Indonesia. Indonesian factory workers producing clothes for the German sportswear giant Adidas are subject to forced overtime, physical abuse and poverty-line wages, the European parliament heard yesterday. - - - http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/112300-02.htm November 23, 2000

Jg og 2 21:08, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

*koumpounophobia etymology

I couldn’t post this in the Etymology Scriptorium, since this term is protologistic (at least as this spelling), and so doesn’t have an entry and adjoining talk page. *Koumpounophobia supposedly means “fear of buttons”; can anyone guess at its etymology? Perhaps this nonce word is attestable if written according to a different transliteration scheme.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 02:48, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

κουμπούνω (koumpono) + phobia. Equinox 21:31, 4 July 2009 (UTC)


Hi everyone, I couldn't think of any better place to post this - so to all WikiAmericans, happy Independence Day and happy 233rd (I think I counted right) b'day to the good old U.S. of A. (And to y'all Brits and Canadians and wherever else Wiktionarians live - bear with us, and hope you have a good day too!!!!)  ; ) Logomaniac 16:04, 4 July 2009 (UTC)



A user has added a second etymology in the Spanish section, but I'm not convinced it is a separate etymology. I think this is merely archaic use of the same form of haber. --EncycloPetey 14:52, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

The DRAE says that this he is from Arabic,[2] and that haber is from Latin.[3] Do we have any reason to doubt that? —RuakhTALK 15:28, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

absolute and relative

These have certain narrow senses in computing that relate to resource identifiers. Using the Windows file system as an example, c:\Documents\blah.txt is an "absolute" path, because it specifies the location completely (drive and all) while Media\tada.wav is a "relative" path (it is partial and must be appended to some external starting-point). The same goes for URIshttp://mydomain.com/pages/index.html is absolute while checkout.php is relative — and certain other concepts. I was going to add this, but then I thought it might be covered by sense 2 ("complete in itself"). Opinions? Equinox 23:23, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I think these are already covered, and not so specific to computing. Consider: mathematics has absolute maxima and relative maxima (or minima). --EncycloPetey 23:28, 6 July 2009 (UTC)


Are there any languages that do not have any homographs? —This comment was unsigned.

I don't think Loglan/Lojban has any. It was designed to be unambiguous. Equinox 01:18, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

in order for

This is a fairly common collocation in the US appearing some 1300 times in COCA. Astonishingly it did not appear once in BNC. OTOH it appears in Google News from UK sources, including the BBC. A contributor objected to a usage example including it at in order#Adverb. Is there some kind of UK/US difference?

It seems a little awkward to me in some sentences. Can someone characterize where its use is appropriate and where not? DCDuring TALK 14:38, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

  • It's not awkward. It's a simple difference between implied subjects of the dependent non-finite clause:
    • DCDuring edited the article in order to improve it. — DCDuring improved it.
    • DCDuring edited the article in order for Equinox to be happier. — Equinox was happier.
  • Also note the use of "that" for finite clauses, where the subordinate verb is, by convention, in the subjunctive:
    • DCDuring edited the article in order that Equinox might breathe a sigh of happiness.
  • Fowler observes that sometimes the indicative is used rather than the subjunctive. He calls this a solecism, and observes that it results from analogy to "so that":
    • DCDuring edited the article in order that Equinox breathes a sigh of happiness.
  • Note that, as Follett observes, "in order to" used to be used without a subordinate verb at all, although this usage is now considered an archaism. The "to" in this case is definitely not part of an infinitive, because there's no subordinate verb, or the subordinate verb is a gerund. I'm not giving Follett's examples, because they have no sources, but some others that are easily found:
    • 1856: In order to the effectual surrender of an original lease, it was formerly necessary that any under-lease thereout granted should be also rendered up.
      A Digest of the Questions Asked at the Final Examination of Articled Clerks, Richard Hallilay, pp. 255
    • 1833: Nothing remained to be done, in order to the perfecting of his work on earth, or to the forming of a perfect ground for man's acceptance with God.
      Horæ homileticæ, or Discourses, in the form of skeletons upon the whole Scriptures., Charles Simeon, Jean Claude, Thomas Hartwell Horne, pp. 190
    • 1812: There remained only some circumstances to adjust, in order to the entire completion of the treaty
      The history of England, from the invasion of Julius Cæsar to the revolution in 1688, David Hume, pp. 170
    • 1863: Any such trespass, in order to the committing of any offence punishable with death or with transportation for life is punishable by Sections 449 and 450.
      The Indian Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), Walter Morgan, Arthur George Macpherson, pp. 406
    • 1842: God sees it to be suitable that we should, in order to our justification, repent, and be reconciled to himself, and believe on his Son.
      The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Jonathan Edwards, Tryon Edwards, pp. 265
  • Uncle G 14:20, 10 July 2009 (UTC)


The entry had been deleted. Attestation questions:

  • Durably archived: are the blogs of the NYTimes and other newspapers deemed durably archived?
  • Independence: are two citations by the same author (arguably the same subject matter, if not the same thread) independent?

Does this need to go to BP? DCDuring TALK 20:15, 7 July 2009 (UTC)


The etymology of this is now entered as {{prefix|naso|gastirc}}. I'd think it should be {{compound|naso|gastic}}, on the ground that "naso-" is not a prefix. Yet, naso- is entered as a prefix. I take prefix to be something like a preposition attached before a stem, while "naso-", "rhino-" and the like are based on standalone nouns, which makes them non-prefixes. Am I right?

Judging from W:English_prefixes#Neo-classical, I am wrong, as it lists "astro-", "demo-", "electro-", "Anglo-" as prefixes. --Dan Polansky 09:47, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

From looking at Category:English prefixes, I am wrong. Yet the definition of compound says "a lexeme that consists of more than one stem". How do I tell a stem from such a prefix as "astro-"? --Dan Polansky 09:51, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Basically, if the first element can be used alone, then the word is what we call a "compound" (eg machinegun, postman), whereas if it is only ever found in compounds then it's a prefix (which you could argue also forms compound words of a special kind). Generally in English we just stack nouns together to form compounds, but when using Latin/Greek roots then we use special combining forms which appear as prefixes and suffixes. So like....you can say coprophagous (prefix copro- + suffix -phagous) in a neo-classical stylee, or you can say shiteating which is a more native compound. Why this example is the first coming to mind I have no idea. Ƿidsiþ 10:41, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
    Thanks for the explanation. I gather that "nasogastric" is not a compound. --Dan Polansky 10:10, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
    Later: What I find confusing is that, in Czech, what I think would be compounds are formed by modifying the constituent words, so that they look like "nasogastric" and "coprophagous"; examples include "mrakodrap", built from mrak -> "mrako" + "drápat" -> "drap", or "vodovod", built from voda -> "vodo" + vést -> "vod"; other examples include "větroplach" = vítr -> větro + plašit -> plach and "kamenolom" = "kámen" -> kameno + lámat -> lom. So a question is still how this works for other languages than English, and whether a multilingual framework for what constitues a compound can be created. --Dan Polansky 15:17, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

man of parts

This recently transwikied entry connects this term with pickup artist. Most usages and the idiom dictionaries that I can find suggest someone of diverse talents, of wit, of diverse learning. Is there any place one would find citations supporting the sense given. It is possible that the term was applied in that connection because of the pun on "parts". It is easy to imagine it so in the 17th and 18th centuries. DCDuring TALK 16:15, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I've just removed that rubbish from w:man of parts. I cannot find anything to support it, and it appears to be tripe being invented directly in Wikipedia. Someone was abusing Wikipedia to attempt to frame an old concept in a novel "seduction community" form. Uncle G 15:48, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

时间 ("time")

Can someone take a look at my example sentences for 时间 and help me put them under the definitions? I find it hard to define each example as demonstrating "the inevitable passing of events", "a quantity of availability in time" or "a measurement of a quantity of time". It's all a little confusing... Tooironic 04:09, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

what do I know

What is the right PoS for this? I have a lot of trouble finding a home for such things in our Borgesian L3 header structure.

Grammatically, it is a sentence, but that is not a valid L3 header. The sole L3 header that clearly and necessarily includes sentences is "proverb". We also have the categories such as Category:English rhetorical questions which suggest that sentences belong here.

Of the possible relevant legal PoS/L3 headers:

  • phrase trivializes the meaning of phrase to the most general sense into which any multi-word would fall.
  • interjection doesn't accurately characterize even the usage example given.
  • idiom, because it must be idiomatic to have met WT:CFI? We treat "idiomatic" as a sense-level concept. In this case, most occurrences of the collocation are not in the idiomatic sense. Also, which of the meanings of idiom is supposed to apply?

As you must or should realize, this is not an isolated example. DCDuring TALK 11:03, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

It's not an interjection because it can appear as "But then, what do I know?", which isn't really possible for an interjection. I don't think it works well as an idiom either. This seems to me to be one of those rare cases where "Phrase" is the best label, even though that too has problems. --EncycloPetey 14:22, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Of our existing headers that seems best. But clearly it is a sentence. The original set of L3 headers did not contemplate there being a significant number of headwords that were full sentences except for proverbs. I'm thinking that it might be useful now to count the full-sentence entries we already have. All proverbs are supposed to be full sentences, AFAICT, though there are many instances where the proverb is invoked by a memorable phrase from it whole proverb. I think I will add a category "English sentences" for entries that are not proverbs or rhetorical questions for purposes of tallying.
Entries with Phrase and Idiom L3 headers seem like clean up lists to me. I wonder how many phrases could not be assigned to better grammatical categories, nouns, verbs, and prepositions being the easiest to identify and simplest to modify. Those that cannot merit reexamination as to their validity as entries, IMO. DCDuring TALK 15:04, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
But the catch is that not all of these sentence entries are always used as sentences. The one under discussion (what do I know) can appear as part of a sentence rather than as a complete sentence in its own right. --EncycloPetey 15:14, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
This headword would not pose a problem in that regard, AFAICT. BTW, it also falls into Category:English rhetorical questions.
Having multiple PoSs is a characteristic of many headwords.
On a trial basis for our lexicographic purposes, I think we would have to say that a sentence included any multiword headword that could stand as a sentence and could not be confused with one of the traditional parts of speech. Thus "go"! "present arms"! would not be sentences (for hidden category purposes) because they could be interpreted as the lemmas of verbs. For our purposes a "sentence" would need to be something that served a useful purpose of categorizing things not handled very well by the existing PoS headings and categories. DCDuring TALK 11:58, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

about face

Interjection. This is the imperative form of about face#Verb. Many verbs have imperatives that are used similarly, although not as memorably. It certainly deserves special mention, in the definition, usage examples, or usage notes for the verb. Am I missing something about this and similar terms? DCDuring TALK 16:26, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

  • "Company! To the right! Abaahhhht — face!"

    I agree. A, similar, but not identical, command component is "about turn!". (Strictly speaking: Turns are performed on the march. Facings are performed whilst stationary.) This classification seems to be based upon an erroneous assumption that everything ending with an exclamation mark is an interjection. This is one more data point to add to what has been observed before: things marked as interjections often are not. It takes more than an exclamation mark or a word sentence to make something an interjection.

    It's perhaps worth noting, by the way, when you fix this up that these are components of the actual command, not the full command. The proper drill command is either "left about turn/face!" or "right about turn/face!" (or, as above, some extended form of the same), for the obvious reason that everyone is supposed to turn/face in the same way. Uncle G 13:43, 10 July 2009 (UTC)


Can the request for cleanup be removed from hidebound? The discussion in requests for cleanup is gone. -- dougher 03:46, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

It shouldn't be removed until the original problem is fixed, IMO. I've tried to neaten up the definition a bit but am not sure what the original problem was - the reason whoever put it there in the first place. Could somebody check it and/or make sure that the tag can be taken off ? L☺g☺maniac chat? 14:41, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I've added the IPA as well as an additional def (with quote). The only thing I see left to do is split the translations tables, but there's only one translation given, so I have removed the tag. --EncycloPetey 20:15, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Ya know, we should do that to every article ... it'd look a lot better around here!  :D but anyhow, I'm not sure that that's a specifically UK pronunciation, or if it is, I say it that way too (and I'm a full-blooded American!) and (tho I don't hear people usually say it) so do most of my acquaintances. Could the "UK" tag be taken off the pronunciation or is there another way that the rest of us Americans are supposed to say it? L☺g☺maniac chat? 20:43, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Help with unidentifible word

My father-in-law often used a word describing very tasty food as 'lariping' (unsure of spelling). He pronounced it 'lair-a-pin'. I have never been able to find a similar foreign language word that might have been the origin of his use of the word.

Has anyone ever heard of such word or a related word in another language?

"Larruping" is very probably the word you're looking for. W3 gives the definition as in a way or of a kind to beat others; of notable quality or size; very and an example (I thought this was funny!) larruping good baked ham ... It comes from the participle of larrup. L☺g☺maniac chat? 19:54, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
We have it at larrupping. We need the one-p form as well. They are roughly equal at b.g.c. DCDuring TALK 20:37, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Done, with some other tidying there. Equinox 21:01, 10 July 2009 (UTC)


Somebody wrote to me in an e-mail "well my 21st went well i got pissed as and lasted till 4am" (pissed here meaning drunk). I wonder whether we should have a note about this occasional informal use of as as a sort of cut-off euphemism for as Hell, as fuck, etc. When I've heard it said aloud, there is a distinct stress on the word as. Equinox 20:29, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Reminded me of end of. Though the euphemistic motive makes what you've got very general. DCDuring TALK 20:42, 10 July 2009 (UTC)



萬歲 (traditional, Pinyin wànsuì, simplified 万岁)

  1. (Intermediate Mandarin) long live ...
  2. His/Your majesty

correct?--User:史凡 (歡迎光臨!請也用skype: sven0921為我RSI !) 05:43, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

It's correct.--Dingar 00:55, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

ta--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 05:49, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

take it easy

This is presented as a verb, interjection, and phrase. I propose that all senses be merged into verb. This is prototypical of a good number of unnecessary or erroneous uses of Interjection and Phrase L3/PoS headers. DCDuring TALK 12:05, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Agreed! - at least for removing the "interjection" sense (and even if it's not removed, can we come up with a less ridiculous example sentence? I can't imagine it ever being used in that context, unless the person being spoken to was a billionaire!). The definition under "Phrase" here seems to have a meaning separate from the other two PsOS given, (although personally I've never heard it used that way) so it might still stay separate (I don't really care. :)
Thinking about it, though, I'd like to ask - since, in your words, this is one of "a good number of unnecessary or erroneous uses of Interjection and Phrase L3/PoS headers", what is the dividing line between "correct" and "incorrect" usage of these headers, especially "phrase"? What is meant by the headers ===Interjection=== and ===Phrase===, and is that explained anywhere, or should it be? Clarification would be greatly appreciated, probably to the whole community if not just me. :) L☺g☺maniac chat? 21:38, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
I am trying to stimulate discussion in this area, but before it can go to the WT:BP, I would like to talk about some cases. But see Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Entries mislabeled as interjections. This is not an interjection because it is a full sentence and not used as an expression of emotion. It is a phrase, but that is relatively uninformative.
I would argue that the use in the imperative/hortative/precative sense should be
  1. presented as a non-gloss definition of the verb
  2. marked as an idiom and a phrasebook entry and
  3. perhaps also be in usage notes.
But I am not sure whether that gives enough emphasis to that kind of usage. DCDuring TALK 00:00, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  • merged into verb based on lack of negative response. Reversion accepted with equanimity. DCDuring TALK 23:14, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

fancy pants

fancy pants, fancy-pants, fancypants: the space or hyphen is supposed to make the difference between a circus ringmaster and an overdressed person. Sounds unlikely. Equinox 14:52, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Looking at COCA, as you might expect, fancy-pants is always an adjective and is the most common form. fancy pants is sometimes a noun, more often a proper noun and occasionally is used attributively. fancypants is uncommon. The relatively few onelook dictionaries that have this don't have fancypants, even as a redirect and show both of the others as adjectives. Of course, nothing about circus ringmasters comes up. Nor do the accessible slang dictionaries have that sense. They do show it as a noun, 'often used attributively'.
  1. main entry at fancy pants as noun, with a true noun use showing verb with most common number and an attributive use.
  2. Hyphenated form shown as adjective alternative formtrue adjective and alt form of noun.
  3. Solid form as noun alternative form.
  4. RfV "circus ringmaster" sense. DCDuring TALK 18:00, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

on a hiding to nothing

Used as an adverb, an adjective? Does anyone have familiarity with this UK? term derived from horse racing? Is the "on" essential? DCDuring TALK 20:55, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

  • There's an explanation here. The 1986 Partridge dictionary of catch phrases (ISBN 9780415059169) has the whole phrase. The 8th edition Partridge dictionary of slang (ISBN 9780415291897) lists it as hiding to nothing with a "see" at on a hiding to nothing. Interestingly, Google Books turns up some early usages that are "a good hiding to nothing", including several 1904 usages: The tipster is always between two fires and on " a good hiding to nothing." If his selections win, the bookmakers execrate him; if he be wrong, […]. Barry Norman uses "on a good hiding to nothing" in his autobiography. Uncle G 17:27, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I think we do better with just the noun phrase as headword, and the full phrase as usage example and, perhaps, redirect, our equivalent of the Partridge 8th presentation. It seems to work better with search and offer the user a better sense of the range of uses: as a predicate, modified by an adjective, etc. DCDuring TALK 19:20, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Looking for new entry forms

Gentlemen; I am a great believer, user and supporter of the philosophy and concept of all the "Wikis". Unfortunately I am not sufficiently computer savy, (and don't want to muck things up for anyone) to contribute. Perhaps if there were a simpler "fill in the blanks" type of form, I, as well as others like me might be able to help more. I am a native Spanish speaking person who is also fluent in French, Italian, German and Russian. My degrees are in Music and Science. I ran across an entry in Spanish, in which the word 'capitulo' was listed as a verb tense, (it requires an accent on the "ó" to make it correct in the past tense, 1st person singular; it is also a NOUN: meaning "chapter". However I don't know how to make suggestions on this matter except as I am doing.

Hoping that I have not offended gravely anyone for my computer illiteracy,

I remain, sincerely yours William J. del Valle-Font —This unsigned comment was added by Wildefon (talkcontribs) at 17:34, 11 July 2009.

capituló. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Stiff drink

I tried in vain to find out what a "stiff drink" is. Can anyone explain the expesssion. Thanks, Byrial 11:23, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

One containing alcohol in a high proportion.​—msh210 23:32, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
stiff drink should probably have its own entry, for this very reason. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
We didn't have the appropriate sense two days ago. We do now, with "stiff drink" among the usage examples. DCDuring TALK 14:58, 14 July 2009 (UTC)


Men wearing coathardies.

This is a French word for some kind of mediaeval clothing. It's described as "A short over-garment worn by both sexes from the 14th-16th centuries". I don't suppose anyone has any idea what we'd call it in English? Ƿidsiþ 15:49, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

  • coat-hardy is sometimes used. Equinox 15:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Interesting, never heard of it. Thank you! Ƿidsiþ 15:57, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
      • I've added an English entry at cotehardie, which is the spelling I'm used to seeing, and have placed a picture at right. --EncycloPetey 04:22, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Ellis Peters used "cotte" in the Brother Cadfael books. The English Wikipedia uses cotte, also. Uncle G 15:24, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
    • 1979, Ellis Peters, One corpse too many: a medieval whodunnit‎, pages 92:
      'First things first,' said Cadfael briskly. 'Help him out of cotte and shirt, and start unwinding the bandage until it sticks — as it will, my friend, […]

sight word

Is a sight word a word that, when you learn to read it, you do so by recognizing its whole rather than by puzzling through it, or is it a word that you can read by recognizing its whole rather than by puzzling through it? (To clarify the difference: Let's say when I learned to read foo I did so by puzzling through it, but now I recognize it on sight. Is it a sight word for me?)​—msh210 17:00, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Incidentally, we lack puzzle through and the relevant sense of puzzle, but I'm not sure which is appropriate to add.​—msh210 17:00, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Looking at usage, the term seems to have its meaning relative to a language learner, their stage of reading skill development, and the language-teaching methodology preferences of an observer or teacher. The only onelook dictionary that defines doesn't try to generalize it beyond the context "learning theory" and explicitly refers to "child" in the definition. The focus seems to be on the strategy for reading or teaching reading at an early stage of skill development. DCDuring TALK 18:06, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, but even if it refers only to children the question holds: If a child learns a word not by memorizing what it looks like but by puzzling through it, but, after reading it tens of times, can recognize it on sight, has it become a sight word, or is a sight word only a word that was learned by recognizing its whole?​—msh210 18:15, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
The term seems to be used in reference to the process of learning, not the state of the learned thing after the learner has advanced. In the wild, there is not much reason to refer to such words that way once the process is done. Even if readers "puzzle through" new words, it is implausible that they would brag about how it had become a "sight word". I would think that the use of the term "sight word" would automatically remind a reader taught using that language of the kind of words he was taught that way, not all the words he now recognized by sight.
OTOH, we could probably find enough to (minimally) attest either sense. DCDuring TALK 19:44, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Hm, good idea, thanks, I didn't think of trying to find attestation. (Curious, that.) Now I have, and google books:"becomes a sight word" has 33 hits, q.v. — not a lot, of course, but enough to warrant a sense, I think. And if you're sure about the other sense, DCDuring, then that makes two. (I'm not sure how to search for the other sense, or I'd try. Anyone?)​—msh210 19:58, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Just looking at COCA gives a shot at what the most common uses are, at least if there are more than, say, 5 hits (in different works) for the most common sense. DCDuring TALK 20:06, 13 July 2009 (UTC)


The etymology section currently says:

(verb) Derived from the Middle English noun form before the first millennium.

Shouldn't that say "before the end of the first millennium? I didn't realize that Middle English even existed before the first millenium. --EncycloPetey 04:07, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

By most definitions, Middle English didn't exist before the end of the first millennium, either. It's usually defined (slightly arbitrarily) as starting with the Norman conquest in 1066. —RuakhTALK 14:23, 14 July 2009 (UTC)


Culinary word: "to cover in a sauce". However, I'm not sure which etymology fits, so I can't add it.

  • 2006, Wayne Gisslen, Mary Ellen Griffin, Professional Cooking for Canadian Chefs‎
    Vanilla ice cream topped with a poached or canned pear half, napped with chocolate sauce, and garnished with toasted sliced almonds.

Equinox 12:44, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Ha, none of them, it's a different word altogether. Now added. Ƿidsiþ 14:09, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Striking. Equinox 14:46, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

rfv<worth aWT entry?

so newbies canfind it2,aoth--史凡/ʂɚ˨˩fan˧˥/shi3fan2 (歡迎光臨/Welcome! 請也用/Please also use skype: sven0921為我/since I suffer RSI!) 13:40, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

We have WT:RfV and WT:RFV. Entering "wt:rfv" leads to the actual shortcuts in the pop-down menu for the search box. Isn't that enough? If it isn't we might have a more general accessibility issue. DCDuring TALK 13:57, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

ididnt thinkof searchin'w/the"WT:"i/front,no,n'i sumhow 4got the abbr's meanin' thismorning[EVEn irealize its averycommon'n'essential1-itjust needed remind/freshing :/],n'also wonderd whether its used outside ofWT-its notal self-explanatory2a non-comp specialist,uno-tx4replyin'n providin'the links tho:)--史凡/ʂɚ˨˩fan˧˥/shi3fan2 (歡迎光臨/Welcome! 請也用/Please also use skype: sven0921為我/since I suffer RSI!) 17:52, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
We use the WT to distinguish shortcuts from our regular content in the search box. I don't know whether there is anything else that can be done at the wikt level. At some point it becomes a matter for Wikimedia Foundation and for Mediawiki, which controls the core software. Our influence there seems modest. DCDuring TALK 19:04, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

bullseye, bull's eye

w:Darts has an image of a dartboard with bull's eye on it. We have bullseye for that meaning, but NOT bull's eye, which has a totally different meaning. Surely these two are pretty interchangeable, if not completely so. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

learning difficulties

Needs and entry. Yes it's difficulties to do with learning, but it has a specific context, i.e. children or adults that have a recognised condition where they need learning support. If I have difficulty learning to juggle five balls, that's not a "learning difficulty" (the singular is rare, anyway). Mglovesfun (talk) 14:06, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Would make it under my "misnomer principle" (misnomers are more likely to get entries). This might be a euphemistic UK term that corresponds to learning disabilities, which is more common in US and seems less euphemistic and more SoP to me. In any event we should also have these as definitions of LD. DCDuring TALK 14:41, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
We would do WP and users a favor if we could sort out the regional (UK/US, for starters) differences in referents and the historical (late 20th century mostly) shift in terms and referents. DCDuring TALK 14:54, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

bring back into the fold

Though I didn't know what the word "fold" meant, exactly (I thought it meant "herd"), I've never had trouble interpreting all the verb phrases using "into the fold", "in the fold", "within the fold", "to the fold". "Fold" is arguably obsolete or archaic. What is the best way to handle this?

  1. delete all multiwords using this etymology of "fold".
  2. keep and add all and only attestable verb phrases (verb lemma + prepositional phrases using "fold")
  3. keep and add all and only attestable prepositional phrases using "fold"
  4. keep and add all of both verb and prepositional phrases using "fold" that are attestable.

I think it is the use of the word "fold" in the Bible that made this intelligible to me. It seems unreasonably ethnocentric to, in effect, limit the utility of Wiktionary by effectively requiring that cultural information. If that is true, then option 1 is out. DCDuring TALK 21:14, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

#1 sounds good. We're not requiring the cultural knowledge: the user can look it up s.v. "fold".​—msh210 21:20, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
D'oh. RfD it is then. DCDuring TALK 22:18, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Item at WT:RFD#bring back into the fold. DCDuring TALK 01:42, 16 July 2009 (UTC)


myLongman dict only has2nd spelin,wichseems lesfavord i/WT-'dperhaps a usagenote bemade'boutsay distribution/frequency?,lil confusin2menow as is..:/--史凡 ( 請也用/Please also use skype: sven0921為我/since I suffer RSI!) 20:52, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

I frequently interchange the two spellings, but would tend to use the 2nd one if given a choice... It seems - at least from what I have noticed - the two are about equal in modern usage... dunno what should be done here. Just my 2-cents... L☺g☺maniac chat? 17:17, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

far be it from me

39 out of 55 uses at COCA of "far be it from" are followed by "me". The rest are varied, mostly pronouns. I think we need an entry at far be it from to capture searches that include other pronouns that might be typed in. If we need that, shouldn't this one be a redirect to the shorter, slightly more general phrase, if we have it at all? DCDuring TALK 01:35, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I think it’s a good idiom to have, but I would redirect it to far be it. —Stephen 04:13, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
    • That might be best. It would give a good result from a search perspective even without a redirect. And far be it is a "verb" phrase, as would be "far be it from X", but not "far be it from". DCDuring TALK 04:32, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Note also that for following "far be it" is a usage that goes back into the early 19th century, and that was employed by Jane Austen. Uncle G 17:03, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Older than that, even: b.g.c. pulls up an example from 1703 (http://books.google.com/books?id=Sf1TImE7aN0C&pg=PA443&dq=%22far+be+it+for+me%22). All told, “far be it from me to [] ” seems to be somewhat older, and at one point to have been many, many times more common than “far be it for me to [] ”, whereas today it seems to be only a few times more common. (Given that they're pronounced almost identically, and that they both make logical sense with the intended meaning — “let [] -ing be distant from me” vs. “let my [] -ing be distant” — it's not surprising that they would coexist.) —RuakhTALK 02:23, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
          • I recommend putting that latter explanation in a usage note. It will be useful to readers, and there do exist assertions elsewhere that "for" is incorrect here.

            Moreover the usage note already here could better explain the grammar of the following phrase if it simply noted that the "it" is a pronoun whose antecedent (as it were) is the noun phrase folowing. So the following noun phrase can be an infinite clause (e.g. "far be it from X to VERB Z") or a subordinate finite clause introduced by "that" (e.g. "far be it from X that Y VERB Z").

            I also think that we're making a good argument for far be it as the article, since these are just the ordinary prepositional uses of "from" and "for". Uncle G 14:12, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I gave far be it a shot, but didn't add the above, not that there's anything wrong with that note. Feel free to treat it as if it were under the GFDL license. I'm going to add redirects to far be it, from the most common collocations. DCDuring TALK 14:50, 18 July 2009 (UTC)


Do we really need to say that is "A Hangul syllabic block made up of ㅈ and ㅜ"? That's like saying 'bit' is a syllable made up of the letters b, i and t. If we allow this, then there's no reason not to include syllables that probably are not words, like , of which there are probably lots. —Internoob (Talk|Cont.) 04:39, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

FYI, that is being generated by {{ko-defn-hangul}}, which is being used in many other articles. Bendono 05:05, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, this has been discussed, and you're not the only one who feels that way. The major contrary arguments were (1) that this is has a Unicode codepoint, so apparently the Unicode Consortium thinks (legitimately or otherwise) that it's a specific character (or that it's worth having round-trip compatibility with some other standard whose authors thought it was a specific character), and (2) that most text interfaces won't allow a user to split up 주 and see what its components are. (Argument #2 applies also to your reductio, while argument #1 does not.) —RuakhTALK 02:10, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, it was the community's refusal to delete meaningless Hangul syllables that led to the creation of {{ko-defn-hangul}} (by me, who would much rather have deleted the cussed useless things). I'm still not sure what to do with these, though I think recent events have at least slightly bolstered the case for ==Translingual==, which has the benefit of separating the meaningless "definition" from any useful information. -- Visviva 05:05, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

Sears Tower

acceptable for the wiki or no? --KnotsLanding 23:31, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

  • By a straightforward interpretation of our official policy and guidelines on this (See WT:CFI and linked pages.), probably not. But others may be able to explain the current state of opinion better than I know how to. You could make a minimal entry and see what happens. DCDuring TALK 00:09, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I'd say not. It's not used attributively. Sears, a proper noun, needs writing, though. Uncle G 14:15, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Have a look at my collection in Citations:Empire State Building—I'd call that marginally justifying the inclusion of Empire State Building. Some references are not exactly attributive usage, but they similarly depend on the reader understanding what an Empire State Building is. Maybe you can do the same for Sears TowerMichael Z. 2009-07-26 19:57 z

a great deal

I need help with the etymology and grammar of this and to make sure that the usage examples are clear exemplars of the parts of speech. It seems to be both adverb and noun. DCDuring TALK 20:33, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Well at any rate, I can tell you there's something wrong with the headword under the Noun header, which I feel incompetent to fix ... And I'm not exactly sure about the current usage examples - I tried substituting other adverbs there and they didn't work which is what we do in class to make sure something's right ... (But when it comes to semi-advanced grammar, I have really no idea what I'm talking about so you don't necessarily have to take my advice ... :) L☺g☺maniac chat? 21:04, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Here's what Samuel Kirkham had to say in his English Grammar in Familiar Lectures in 1835 (pp. 85):

    Expressions like these, none at all, a great deal, a few days ago, long since. at length, in vain, in general, in particular, when they are used to denote the manner or time of the action of verbs or participles, are generally called adverbial phrases.

    You'll find this same explanation given in grammar books today. (Rosemary Allen's All about grammar, published in 2007, explains it on page 57.)

    There are a lot of subtle niceties here, too. a great deal isn't exactly interchangeable with "much": There are "much better" and "a great deal better", but the analogue to "very much" is "a very great deal". Similarly, whilst "much" can be a adjective as in "much wealth" and "much consternation", "a great deal" requires a preposition: "a great deal of wealth", not "a great deal wealth", and "a great deal of consternation".

    Also note the existence of a good deal.

    I leave you with a particularly apt quotation:

  1. 1874, Alexander Bain, A Companion to the Higher English Grammar, pages 132:
    A great deal could be said on the making up of the Adverbial phrase ; but in principle there is nothing new.
  • Uncle G 14:47, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
a great deal is a noun phrase, and not an adverb. Deal, the head of the phrase, is a quantificational noun, similar to number, lot, heap, load, rest, etc., but limited to the singular. The adjectives good and great function as attributive modifiers, though the choice of modifiers in the phrase is somewhat restricted, and even required, making it idiomatic. Of course, the determinative a functions as a determiner in the NP.
The entire NP has a number of functions, many of which are quite typical of NPs. The following are those that I can think of:
  • subject/object (e.g., a great deal depends on..., we learned a great deal)
  • quantification, both partitive (e.g., a great deal of the time) and non partitive (e.g., a great deal of time)
  • modifier
    • in determiner phrases, mainly with more (e.g., a great deal more work)
    • in adjective phrases, mainly with comparatives (e.g., a great deal worse)
  • adjunct in clauses (e.g., That bothered me a great deal.)
As I said, these are not particularly unusual functions for NPs. Consider:
  • subject/object (obvious)
  • quantification, both partitive (e.g., a large part of the time) and non partitive (e.g., a big chunk of time)
  • modifier
    • in determiner phrases, mainly with more (e.g., a dozen more people)
    • in adjective phrases, mainly with comparatives (e.g., two degrees cooler)
  • adjunct in clauses (e.g., We dragged it two miles.)
I hope that helps.--Brett 17:50, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • It certainly gives DCDuring a choice between what Wiktionary editors say and what grammarians in books say. ☺ Note that C. T. Onions calls your "adjunct in clauses" an "adverb equivalent", an "accusative of time/distance/&c.". He even gives "a great deal bigger" as one example. See page 12 of his Modern English syntax. Since this was 1971 and he was once SOED editor, it would be interesting to see what the SOED says now. The Compact OED distinguishes between noun and adverb for this phrase, giving one meaning for each (although not marking them with a part of speech more specific than "phrase").

    And in case it wasn't clear, the aptness in the quotation above was that the phrase was being used as a noun, in a sentence about adverbial phrases. Uncle G 18:41, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I agree with Brett's analysis; I see it as a noun phrase and not an adverb. The example sentence for adverb, He has a great deal less than me, is like saying He has five dollars less than me. It doesn't mean "five dollars" is an adverb. I guess you could argue this noun phrase has come to function adverbally but it seems strange to me. Ƿidsiþ 08:43, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
    • The point that you're missing is that, conventionally (In case you missed it, the abovementioned grammars are from 1835 and 2007.), it can function as both a noun and an adverb. Go back and read what Kirkham said again, in particular the qualification. Then look at He used to work down the mine a great deal. and Widsith might not have looked at other sentences, outside of what is in the article, a great deal.. In both cases, "a great deal" is modifying the sense of the main verb itself: "work a great deal" and "have looked a great deal". You cannot substitute a noun there and have it make the same sort of sense. Consider He used to work down the mine five dollars., for example.

      Now, grammarians conventionally have a part of speech for things that modify verbs … Uncle G 11:54, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

      I'll ignore the sarcasm and just suggest we use some different example sentences in that case. Ƿidsiþ 13:23, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
    • The problem with this traditional type of analysis is that it conflates functions and categories. For example, in the sentence Working more quickly will not solve your problems, working more quickly is traditionally said to be a gerund, a verb functioning as a noun. But if the sentence were computers will not solve all your problems, only a fool would say computers is a noun functioning as a noun. Most people would say it is functioning as the subject of the sentence. Therefore, in the first sentence, we should say that working more quickly is a verb phrase functioning not as a noun but as a subject. Noun is a category. Subject is a function. Dictionaries are in the business of identifying categories, not functions. No dictionary lists a word as being a subject, modifier, etc. That is the job of a grammar.--Brett 15:57, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
But, would one be a fool to call "personal computer" a noun? or "out to lunch" an adjective and adverb?
We need to present to users in terms they "understand" while conveying an adequate amount of the best contemporary grammatical information. If our best alternative to "noun" and adv/adj for the above is "phrase" or "idiom", couldn't we help out translators and users a bit with the bit of grammar implicit in the traditional categories? If the reigning analyses of the unconsciously applied rules of deep grammar don't fit the terms users consciously use, then we need to make decisions about how we simplistically map from those more sophisticated terms to the users' familiar categories. Perhaps soon the contemporary linguists' terms will gain more acceptance. :::There would be nothing finer than to have grammatical analysis to support our headings decisions. But it probably shouldn't confront the more casual users that have almost pushed wiktionary.org nearly to 1000th among web sites, already exceeding 1% of WP's daily reach. DCDuring TALK 16:48, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand what you're getting at with personal computer. It is a noun (or more specifically a noun phrase). I would call out to lunch a preposition(al phrase). It does exactly what you'd expect any run-of-the-mill preposition(al phrase) to do. Why call it anything else?--Brett 17:13, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I provided two instances just make sure that I understood you. We do not have a PoS header for Prepositional phrase. We show out to lunch as an adjective. It perhaps needs to be shown as an adverb in one sense. DCDuring TALK 18:58, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I both agree with Brett's analysis and wonder how to map it to the grammatical categories that might be acceptable to, say, a normal user. I think we need to communicate the most basic of grammatical information in their language. Accordingly, could someone distinguish this from a lot or "an awful lot" or correct that entry appropriately?
    Specifically, in uses such as "care a lot", "care an awful lot", and "care a great deal" and other uses with verbs like "vary", "change", "matters", "help". DCDuring TALK 14:14, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me that you simply mark it as a noun (or noun phrase). For example, under the entry for kitchen we have only Noun. There's nothing saying that it can function as a modifier (or "adjective", e.g., kitchen table) even though it does so about 20% of the time it's used and over 70 times per million words in fiction. Admittedly, lexis runs into grammar. (Almost?) all nouns can function as modifiers in NPs, but it's a small subset of nouns that function as modifiers in VPs or AdjPs. When something is unusual enough, it becomes noteworthy in a dictionary. But I think the best way to do this is to be consistent in identifying the category (none of this x functions as an adverb), but then to demonstrate the unusual functions through examples.--Brett 17:07, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Your analysis and a visit to COCA convinced me that matter#Verb must be transitive since it takes so many nouns as objects with "a", to wit: whit, pin, fraction, fart, crap, tit, jot, lot, whisker, ton. Consulting other dictionaries at OneLook, I have not yet found one that displays it is a transitive verb. For a benighted user following the old ways, this might seem to raise a consistency question. Faced with that inconsistency, they might:
  1. look to us for an explanation (which we don't have),
  2. sign up for a grammar course, or
  3. find a dictionary that doesn't confront them with the problem. (Among the Onelook references, only Wordnet shows "a great deal" as an adverb.)
Which leads me to ask: Why don't we have Appendices on some of the functions that traditional parts of speech may serve that seemingly drag headwords across categories? (BTW, MWOnline actually calls "Noun", "Verb", et al Functions.) DCDuring TALK 18:58, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I take it you're not actually so convinced, but that you're channeling the thoughts of a very intelligent and observant, traditional grammarian. The fact that traditional analysis has neither identified matter as transitive nor a great deal as an adjective simply shows up the failings of the traditional system. These are not fools working on these dictionaries, but a bad system can blind you to a lot. The other thing this tells you is that virtually nobody outside somebody working on a dictionary makes these kinds of connections.
In case you actually are convinced that matter is transitive, I can assure you that it isn't. The nouns you've identified as objects are actually modifiers. Try taking It doesn't matter a whit and putting it in the passive. If matter were transitive, you would end up with A whit isn't mattered (by it), which is obviously nonsense.
Again, what we have is simply a noun phrase. Noun phrases can modify stuff. That's life.--Brett 19:49, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

As far as appendices go, how about something like this for modifier?--Brett 20:43, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Oh, how nice of you to offer. But I wouldn't want to impose. I was also thinking of some of the subjects of Language notes in Longmans's DCE, like linguistic politeness. DCDuring TALK 20:51, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

After edit conflict:

I just see some gaps that need filling between the terminology of contemporary grammarian/linguists and users. What I am increasingly convinced is that Wiktionary needs to help both:
  1. enthusiastic contributors who may not have the best education to be lexicographers (Who could I be talking about?) and
  2. users who are looking for some reconciliation among the various things they have learned and are learning about usage.
I am most sincerely interested in the mapping between the traditional PoS categories or functions (as MWOnline insists on calling them) and more contemporary concepts as reflected in the best grammars of the past 25 years (ie including Quirk if only to prevent copyvio). Appendices aimed at serious users (but not linguists) on the functions performed by the traditional PoSs would be a great resource for addressing both needs. Simple ones would be a start. DCDuring TALK 20:51, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I think my problem with leaving the analysis at "noun phrase" is that "noun phrase" is both obvious (from the entry for "deal") and semantically unhelpful (How does the definition of "deal" apply?). It is useful to attempt to sort out some of the semantic differences by having recourse to the functions of the phrase. It is, after all, not really necessary to have an entry for the common SoP noun sense of "a very attractive bargain". It is the more grammatical functions of the phrase that are troublesome. This is approaching being a set phrase: the substitution of synonyms yields terms that seem awkward and occur with much lower frequency. I have trouble extracting insight from the CGEL analysis. DCDuring TALK 02:08, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

doesn't one

I don't think that a lexical approach to the grammar of do is likely to be successful. Does this entry have a role. Do we need an appendix on do? DCDuring TALK 21:14, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Do we? ☺

    This isn't a "phrase", as the part of speech says. It's a sentence. (It's also the "tag" in a tag question.) And it's a straightforward example of turning the affirmative sentence "One does." into the interrogative sentence "Does one?", applying negation of the polarity of the question to get "Does not one?" and then applying contraction.

    My comment at Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/Archives/2006/02#does one? and similar entries would have been that the non-L1 speaker isn't educated by learning specific sentences. There are general grammatical rules at work, on the formation of interrogatives and on contraction, and a large number of sentences (as evident from this article) to which they apply. I'm with what Semper said at Wiktionary:Tea room/2006#doesn't one? and Paul G said at the deletion discussion. Uncle G 15:06, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

    I hadn't searched out prior discussions, but suspected that there might be some, so thanks for the links. I wouldn't want to merely suggest deletion without having some more constructive ideas about how to offer the content either in the entry or implicit in having the entry.
    I have been adding the hidden category Category:English sentences to entries that have Phrase, Idiom, or Interjection headers and/or categories. In addition to Proverbs, we have hundreds of entries that are or can be (think imperative forms) sentences. (Also, Category:English subordinate clauses for entries that include a subordinating conjunction or similar and Category:English pro-sentences, also hidden.) These are in contemplation of some kind of consideration of those three PoS headers and the PoS/grammatical categories.
    Perhaps learners might be mystified by phrases they read and try to look them up. I have little idea what users type into the search box, beyond this list, which suggests that phrases in general are not often looked up. We might need some additional interface to help users find phrasal content, though I suspect what users would seek would be a very skewed subset of our content (like proverbs, invective, workplace jargon, and pickup lines).
    A step in the direction of more useful grammar content would be appendices on
    1. individual words with complex uses like some modal and auxiliary verbs and some determiners and
    2. classes of words with shared properties too long for usage notes.
    Grammatical topics that are not keyed to individual words (or categories ?) seem unlikely to gain much use in a dictionary, but have a logical home at Wikipedia. DCDuring TALK 16:05, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Some more "conjunctions"

I don't believe in subordinating conjunctions, preferring to classify them generally as prepositions, so I'm loath to make the changes, but the following words seem to fit the traditional "subordinating conjunction" bill but are not marked as such:

--Brett 19:42, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Take a break and grin your way through this ... :)

Hi everyone, I just came across Wiktionary:Bad jokes and other deleted nonsense which seriously, if you can read through this without breaking into gales of laughter, nothing is EVER going to tickle you ... So all you Wiktionary peoples, take a 5-10 minute break from editing and read through it. I promise it's worth it ... Another note FWIW: I will be away for the next week - maybe on wi-fi long enough to check my watchlist but certainly not to do anything, for whatever that's worth so see y'all in a while... L☺g☺maniac chat? 21:51, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

on account of

I added a conjunction here after coming across it in two different books over the past several months (The Braindead Megaphone, by George Saunders, and A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson), but it seems "off" to me. Does anyone know if this is a regionalism, or what? —RuakhTALK 17:28, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Generally speaking, of doesn't take clausal complements, though this construction is familiar to me. Here are some more examples. These seem to be exclusively from fiction and movies. I don't find any examples in the BNC, and it does seem rather American to my sensibilities, for whatever they're worth.--Brett 20:47, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Yeah, well spotted. I've heard that a lot... I would tag it (US, colloquial). Ƿidsiþ 07:42, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Heh, not the resolution I was expecting: by "regionalism" I had meant not U.S.! But who am I to argue with corpora? —RuakhTALK 18:06, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
      • A regionalism employed by a U.S. author is likely to be a U.S. regionalism. It's not a Bryson solecism, either. I've just found a usage by Craig Womack — another U.S. author. Uncle G 11:39, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
        • N.B. Bryson isn't exactly a U.S. author. There may be Americanisms in his writing, but there are definitely Britishisms in it, too. —RuakhTALK 20:06, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


"A beta fish." Is this a mistake for betta? The Books matches for beta fish seem to be mostly about the idea of alpha/beta males. Equinox 21:12, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Ah, the return of B. splendens. Regrettably, a b.g.c. search for "betta siamese fish" gets only a third more raw hits than for "beta siamese fish". A number of the latter are actually references to the Greek letter beta in scientific use, but much more than half are referring to [[Betta]] [[splendens]]. It does look like the kind of unstoppable "misconstrual" that leads to so many oddities in the language. If we called it an alternative spelling and had an etymology that showed it as {{eye dialect}} or something we could be prescriptively descriptive. DCDuring TALK 21:11, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Looks to me that beta, beta splendens, and beta fish could be easily attested in print. I'm happy to drescriptively label it a common misspelling (or non-standard for lexicographers with delicate sensibilities). Michael Z. 2009-07-26 19:48 z
Hmmm. Putting it under a separate ety is inviting someone to reinsert it in the wrong ety and takes up space, making entry more complex. Not putting in a separate ety is somewhat misleading and amateurish. What to do? DCDuring TALK 21:01, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Every multiple etymology invites someone to reduplicate a headword—we'll deal with that. And we're not going to run out of space... Michael Z. 2009-07-27 03:06 z
Dealing with the duplicate senses is labor-intensive. Anything we could do to reduce them at little cost to other desiderata would be helpful not just for this entry.
We have no limit on space, except for what fits on one screen. A separate ety for a single sense adds a minimum of two lines to the ToC and about 5 extra lines to the entry. One my screen/font size combo, that's 15-20% of the available vertical space. It matters to entry usability. DCDuring TALK 03:31, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

even as we speak

Move to as we speak? Delete? Equinox 23:10, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Let it be. I'm not sure about your side of the pond, but this is definitely a set phrase over here, often expressed with a deliberately exaggerated or mildly comic intonation. -- WikiPedant 23:17, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

A bail in a pail?

The entry for pail says

A vessel of wood or tin, etc., usually cylindrical and having a bail -- used esp. for carrying liquids, as water or milk, etc.; a bucket.

But what is a bail? The definition there says it's a bucket:

A bucket or scoop used for removing water from a boat etc.

I don't know what a bail is, and the graphic appears to be a bucket to me. Wakablogger 01:14, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

It means the handle of the pail in this case, but we don't seem to have that sense. RJFJR 19:48, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
It has a separate etymology for this sense (from Middle English beyl or Old Norse beygla). Should I add it? We certainly need to adjust the definition of pail to mention "handle" rather than "bail" because of the ambiguity. I'll do that. Dbfirs 19:46, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
... (later) ... I've added a separate etymology with the senses that probably come from the Old Norse root. The hinged bar sense could be from the hoop restraint, or from the French root, or even from both. Is it possible that the words pail (Anglo-Norman) and bail come from a common ancient root? (I haven't investigated this.) Dbfirs 08:19, 29 July 2009 (UTC)


There are much more places with that name (see the Wikipedia), maybe we can just make a generic definition like “a common placename, most famously represented by [the London suburb]”, or mention that some other places are named after this suburb (which is what I guess explains the places in the US). And also that it can be a car, not only the company. H. (talk) 09:30, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

If there are several places with the same name, the sense of the word is not the same: they all are towns, but not the same town. This fact has some linguistic consequences, e.g. associated demonyms may be different (French places often share the same name, but not the same demonym: see fr:Beaulieu for a rather extreme example). Let's stick to principles: one sense = one definition line. Lmaltier 09:57, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. Then this just turns out as a request for completing the entry. H. (talk) 10:02, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
So should we add: a suburb of North Shore City, New Zealand; a town in Alberta, Canada; a town in New Jersey, USA; a suburb of Dunedin, New Zealand; an inner city area of Liverpool, UK; a car made by the Vauxhall company; ...... but where do we stop? Dbfirs 19:37, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I run into this problem sometimes - like with St. Cloud, which is usually used to mean the one in central Minnesota but there are other places with this name, so when I created this entry I just left it at "any of several cities with this name" ... should this approach be used here? I don't know anything about any of these places or the car or the company... I like the sort of thing that Hamaryns first proposed - "the name of several places, most famously the London suburb" to change it a little, perhaps? I'll leave it to you guys .... L☺g☺maniac chat? 20:12, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

make for

This seems to be includable as a phrasal verb. I think that it is a bad idea to include any non-phrasal uses as senses, even though they would have some value as contrastives. The difficulty is that many senses of make#Verb can combine with many senses of for#Preposition. I have inserted a Usage note here and would like views on its adequacy. I am wondering whether all phrasal verbs should have a similar usagenote. DCDuring TALK 14:34, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Beautiful.​—msh210 16:38, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Excellent. I know this was something you had noticed. I was thinking along the lines of a template for use in Usage notes that would insert boilerplate text, the cat phrasal verb, perhaps a link to an appendix or to Wiktionary:Phrasal verbs. It might be a simple enough template that even I could do it. I'd love to hear from Algrif on this, though having it a template would make change easy even if he didn't like it. DCDuring TALK 17:23, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Looks good to me too. As for adding a similar usage note to other phrasal verbs, I'm inclined, at least for now, to see individual editors use their own judgment on a case-by-case basis. There might well be cases where such a note will not be appropriate, but my brain will hurt if I start fretting over examples. -- WikiPedant 18:48, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I certainly don't think a bot should do it. A template could be prepared and used where the case seemed clearcut. Doing a number of simple cases would make it possible to do more complex ones. And there's the Tea Room. DCDuring TALK 19:15, 23 July 2009 (UTC)


Should this have a capital? And then also Euclidean? Same goes for Boolean, I see those terms being written with small caps all the time. Are there rules for this or should we simply create soft redirects? H. (talk) 09:41, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

a/k/a, f/k/a

Ought these to be initialisms rather than prepositions? (Incidentally, I've never seen them written with slashes like this.) Equinox 22:35, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

puerile - quotations run wild

The quotations are smothering the rest of the entry. -- dougher 02:54, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Move the worst to Citations:puerile. You get to choose. DCDuring TALK 03:44, 25 July 2009 (UTC)



"For instance" is normally written out in full, and few would understand the abbreviation "f.i.". The abbreviation "e.g." is normally used instead, and is almost universally understood by native speakers of English. Dbfirs 19:27, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

ah,fi[butisno dutch,:/] mightbe i/dutch[wherebothr understood byme atleast+the nativ bv.:)]then,ta!!:D--史凡/Sven - Pl also let me use voice-MSN/skype 2clarify as I suffer RSI and so cannot type very well! 05:07, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

hospitality and flourishing

Can someone check out the talk pages for these two pages? I've tried to raise some discussion about their pages but nothing has come of it. Tooironic 07:59, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

See Talk:flourish. DCDuring TALK 12:38, 26 July 2009 (UTC)


The "Usage notes" seem mostly etymological — and don't seem to jibe with the "Etymology" §§. Anyone up for some secondary research? —RuakhTALK 14:16, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Never mind, I've tracked down some references. The second etymology section was apparently wrong. —RuakhTALK 15:17, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh, but if anyone has any way to track down the Atlantic Monthly bit mentioned in the references, it would probably be nice to include that. —RuakhTALK 15:23, 15 November 2009 (UTC)


'dbe derived terms?:

   *  hypernym

[edit] Related terms

   * hypernymic
   * hypernymous
   * hypernymy

in cmn-entrys>as per my topic-header..--史凡/Sven - Pl also use voice-MSN/skype as I suffer RSI and so cannot type very well! 17:20, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

That is an example of a common misclassification per WT:ELE. English related terms are usually cognates. English-language etymons are supposed to be in the etymology section. English derived terms are compounds, multi-word entries, and prefixed and suffixed terms. There may be some exceptions to these rules of thumb. DCDuring TALK 17:44, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

ichangd~declension>ok?--史凡/Sven - Pl also use voice-MSN/skype as I suffer RSI and so cannot type very well! 18:08, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Not OK. I understand the motivation to have a wikilink to hypernym, but WT:ELE does not allow them in headings. I suppose that we expect users to figure out the meaning. It is clearly a bit off-putting to almost all "imbecilic" new users. Nobody has had a better name for the heading or actually a better set of names for all of the semantic relations "nyms". If you think "hyponym" is bad, get a load of these puppies: "holonym", "meronym", and "troponym". DCDuring TALK 18:36, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

lol-k+ta+madeder.t-s of'em;)--史凡/Sven - Pl also use voice-MSN/skype as I suffer RSI and so cannot type very well! 04:39, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


Here's a word with interesting pronunciation variations.

I just corrected our entry to how I thought it should be, then Stephen added an American pronunciation. So I looked it up in a few dictionaries.

Some put primary stress on the first syllable. Some put in on the second. Webster's Third New International seems to put secondary stress on the first syllable and mark the second syllable as varying between primary and secondary stress if I'm reading it right.

So how do other contributors pronounce it? I would've thought it definitely had at least more stress on the second syllable that most words ending in -y: "goaty" and "goatee" would not be pronounced identically.

hippietrail 10:35, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I’ve never heard it pronounced any way other than /ˌgoʊˈtiː/ (with secondary stress on the first syllable). If someone should say /ˈgoʊt.i/ to me, I would understand it as goaty, a little goat. —Stephen 11:42, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Likewise. It's definitely stressed on the second syllable in the UK, and isn't homophonous with goaty. Ƿidsiþ 11:46, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
My story is exactly the way Stephen put it ^... accented on the first syllable would make it a different word in my ears. Definitely non-homophonous with goaty. L☺g☺maniac chat? 20:20, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
The Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary indicates primary stress on the second syllable for for the UK and the US. They indicate no secondary stress at all. --EncycloPetey 13:11, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
  • My OED (British) and my three unabridged Collins (British) all place primary stress on the second syllable and none at all on the first. But my unabridged Larousse (European? uses British spellings) places primary stress on the first syllable and non on the last.
  • I don't have an Australian dictionary nearby but for me there is stress on both syllables. I'm not good at secondary stress but to me it's either secondary stress on the first syllable and primary stress on the second, or quite possible full stress on both syllables. In any case the last syllable no matter how much stress is on it is always pronounced full [iː] and never [i] as final /iː/ is usually reduced to.
  • To me it has a pretty unique stress pattern more like two words than one. — hippietrail 15:09, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
    I've just checked more closely and the Larousse actually gives the odd /ˈɡɘʊtiː/ whereas the dictionary always gives /-ɪ/ for unstressed final -y and does not employ the secondary stress mark. Very interesting. — hippietrail 15:21, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Are you sure your Larousse isn't using the stress mark AFTER the stressed syllable (some weird dicts have pronunciation schemes which do this and it's incredibly confusing). Ƿidsiþ 15:30, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes I compared with some other entries to see how they worked their pronunciations. In any case in this example they have the stress mark as the very first character so it could only apply to the first syllable (-: — hippietrail 08:28, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Etymology of Cassandra

Does anyone know the etymology of this Ancient Greek name? A lot of sources say "helper of men", and andrós could be man, but what's the first syllable all about? I found a dictionary of Ancient Greek that had helper but none of the suggestions began with a K-sound. Equinox 19:15, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

The beginning part is supposedly from καίνυμι(kaínumi, I excell, surpass), but I'm not entirely convinced by this etymology. If we include this ety in our entry, I think it should be in reserved tones. You might get more useful feedback by posting to the ES. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 19:35, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


It's given as an obsolete English word with various uses as a word of negation, but the dictionaries I normally access don't list it at all, not even my Webster's Second. That leads me to suspect this word is actually Middle English, not obsolete Modern English. The OED likely can settle the question, but I'd need to pop down to the library to access that, so I'm hoping someone who can do so more easily than me can settle whether this is obsolete Modern English or Middle English. — Carolina wren discussió 15:04, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I am mostly responsible for this, and I am known for my dislike of Middle English sections....but in this case I think I am well justified, the adverb survived well into the 17th century, and as a conjunction it was still being used in Victorian poetry. But I will look for some cites to add to the entry. Ƿidsiþ 15:28, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  • All of the citations from some edition of the OED are available at BYU. (It is well worth looking at all of the corpora there.) They confirm abundant use of ne in Early Modern English and some use thereafter. DCDuring TALK 15:38, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  • (Have added some Byron and Coleridge quotes. Ƿidsiþ 16:20, 29 July 2009 (UTC))

Withdrawing the objection to labeling it as obsolete English, but absent any evidence of even poetical usage on my side of the pond, I'm strongly tempted to add a UK label to the entries. — Carolina wren discussió 17:26, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

If it had non-literary use in the UK in the 17th and 18th century, wouldn't it have been used in the US then? We don't have good corpora to make that fine a distinction. DCDuring TALK 19:35, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Closing discussion, as it seems that all salient points have been addressed. — Carolina wren discussió 14:54, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Bisaya <=> Visayan

Hi, these two definitions link to each other and it's a mess, no information really given ... can someone who knows (or has the time to figure out) about this please straighten it out? Thanks!! :) L☺g☺maniac chat? 16:43, 29 July 2009 (UTC) P.S. ... should I have put this in RFC?

One term is not English and should not be used in defining an English term. Anyone can clean up/add/rough-verify the English language portions using the WP article, external links, and our usual attestation sources, especially google books. DCDuring TALK 19:40, 29 July 2009 (UTC)


ipa>ithink itswrong[movd from talkp.>here]--史凡/Sven - Pl also let me use voice-MSN/skype 2clarify as I suffer RSI and so cannot type very well! 05:19, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Yes check.svg Done. Angr 11:02, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

wrench-format q

isyahoo-quote/ref inserted rite?'ddatebe mentiond?--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 21:29, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Best is to look at documentation for {{quote-news}}, {{quote-book}}, {{quote-newsgroup}}, {{quote-journal}}. The first is probably most applicable. My technique is to copy the heading and text, often from google listing alone and insert the parameter tags (author=, etc). It is still 50 keystrokes or more. Perhaps you could reduce it with some more cut and paste. DCDuring TALK 21:57, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

not a sausage

Is it worth recording every attestable instance of phrases like this where many things can be substituted for "sausage"? I take it this is common in the UK. DCDuring TALK 23:59, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

It is common in the UK, yes. Equinox 20:23, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
This is a fairly common expression in Australia too, meaning "none at all" or "nothing at all". — hippietrail 01:13, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I've never heard it here in the midwestern U.S., however, that may or may not mean it isn't common. L☺g☺maniac chat? 19:24, 2 August 2009 (UTC)


"Usage notes

Although demonyms are capitalized in English, they are common nouns, not proper nouns." >wrongi/abov entry?[imconfusdnow'bout comon><proper..--史凡>voice-MSN/skypeme!RSI>typin=hard! 17:29, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

One way to distinguish them is that common nouns name members of a class of objects. An apple is any of a very large number of red fruits with certain defining charatceristics that allow you to identify the apple as a part of the class of apples in general. A proper noun names a specific and usually unique object, regardless of characteristics. So Paris is Paris and was Paris even before the Eiffel Tower was built, before the Revolution, before French monarchs or the modern French language. There is nothing except its location that is specific to that city throughout its history, so it has no defining characteristics, and it is not part of a class of similar objects. There are other cities bearing the name Paris, but not becuase they belong to a group of similar objects. Paris is the name of the city.
In English grammars, the distinction usually made is between capitalization and non-capitalized forms, but that breaks down when you realize that some common nouns are capitalized (like Englishman, which describes a group of objects) and some proper nouns are not capitalized (like the universe), and some words don't fit neatly into either category because they are abstractions rather than physical objects. Additionally, other languages also have common and proper nouns, but German capitalizes all of its nouns, while Spanish doesn't capitalize all of its proper nouns. --EncycloPetey 20:55, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

do something with mirrors

The definitions seem off. "To insinuate one has performed a magic or optical trick", "To jokingly pretend that one did something"... this pretence or insinuation is not in itself the meaning of "do it with mirrors", even though the term may be used jokingly where no mirror was really involved. Equinox 20:19, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I'd bet on to do something with mirrors being back-formed from done with mirrors in the idiomatic sense. OED cites show done with mirrors 1930 and the sole other form only in 1991. COCA shows the "done" form as being as common as all other forms of "do" combined. The form we have seems to mean "to trick someone into thinking one has done something". Related is "blue smoke and mirrors". I am familiar with both in the context of financial chicanery. The definition given seems to miss the way it is used figuratively, which is the way it appears in COCA and OED. OTOH the metaphorical use seems to have been set up by use by G K. Chesterton (1915?), John Galsworthy (1922), and ee cummings (1927) in works that use stage effects as metaphors generally. Since cheap mirrors came only after 1860, I doubt that we can go too much farther back. DCDuring TALK 03:41, 1 August 2009 (UTC)