Wiktionary:Tea room/2010/December

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← November 2010 · December 2010 · January 2011 → · (current)

December 2010

inner sanctum

Is inner sanctum more than just sum-of-parts? RJFJR 21:18, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't think so. For one thing only about half of the occurrences at COCA of "sanctum(s)" are with "inner". We certainly need to have a citation or usage example at [[sanctum]] that contains the common collocation, though. DCDuring TALK 23:17, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
I think it definitely is. It's a common phrase with frequently non-literal meaning. Ƿidsiþ 09:23, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
What is it supposed to mean if it is?​—msh210 (talk) 17:36, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

the lady doth protest too much

Take a look at this new entry I made. Is the etymology and definition accurate? Also, can someone make sure the etymology links to some kind of Shakespearean derivation category? Ta. ---> Tooironic 13:25, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

The more general form seems to be doth protest too much, or perhaps even protest too much. The form with the lady does warrant special mention, though, in that it's sometimes used even when not speaking of a lady. I'm not sure if that special mention should take the form of a usage note, or its own entry, or what. —RuakhTALK 13:31, 2 December 2010 (UTC)


At the moment, we define uses such as "illogical (read: stupid) answers" as adverbial. I would have parsed it as a verb: "illogical (you should read: stupid) answers". Merriam-Webster parse it as a verb, too; they have a verb sense "to use as a substitute for or in preference to another word or phrase in a particular passage, text, or version (read hurry for harry) — often used to introduce a clarifying substitute for a euphemistic or misleading word or phrase (a friendly, read nosy, coworker)". Dictionary.com lists two senses: "to adopt or give as a reading in a particular passage: For “one thousand” another version reads “ten thousand.”" and "to substitute or replace (a particular word or phrase) in a written text, usually to correct an error: Read “cavalry” for “calvary.”". Our adverb sense was added in this edit, not long after the relevant verb sense, "Used to introduce a corrected version of a piece of text." Does anyone feel that this is truly an adverb, or can I integrate it into our verb section? — Beobach 19:27, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

An IP raised this issue on the talk page two months ago. — Beobach 19:27, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
See also [[Wiktionary:Tea room/2009/November#read]].​—msh210 (talk) 19:32, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd parse it as the imperative: "(you, O reader, read: stupid). So yes, verbal.--Prosfilaes 20:16, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
Definitely a verb. Ƿidsiþ 09:21, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
For this to be considered to have been converted into an adverb wouldn't we need usage instances that cannot be parsed as verbal usage? That this can be analysed as either a past participle (in an ellipsis) or an imperative, with different pronunciations may already have cut this usage loose from its moorings. The near-synonymous constructions I can think of seem to be mostly adverbial, eg, ("better", "rather", "alternatively", "more accurately", "really"). OTOH my imagination fails me in producing collocations likely to show use other than as a verb. What kind of an adverb would this be? DCDuring TALK 13:11, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Note that there are also some near-synonymous constructions that are verbs, for example: the diplomat said ‘maybe’ (meaning: ‘no’). — Beobach 21:41, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Please note and improve upon my changes to the entry. — Beobach 21:41, 3 December 2010 (UTC)


To quote from a durable medium that apparently raises some hackles as a cite:

      With her police training, she
      certainly knew better than to
      turn her back on a criminal...
      This was a large, powerful
      man with a knife.
      If it had been a quaggy woman
      like you, I'm sure she would
      have acted differently.
      ("Quaggy"!? Why you...!)

(Copied from http://www.gamefaqs.com/ds/939065-phoenix-wright-ace-attorney-trials-and/faqs/50922 : from the game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations.) We don't have an appropriate definition for quaggy; Dictionary.com does, as "soft or flabby". "May she turn quaggy Fat"[1] appears in a 1720 book of poems by Allan Ramsey, and the Lancet[2] (1860) offers "The swelling was not fluctuating, but soft and quaggy." and "but it is soft and quaggy, as though filled with a semi-fluid material", which makes the definition "soft" less then helpful (though it could be careless writing.)--Prosfilaes 05:37, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't see any problems with using a computer game as a cite. It is still a durably archived written source. —CodeCat 11:02, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm not really sure I believe that. This DS game is on a little chip with an unknown life span. The hardware to play the game is proprietary, and sooner or later will wear out, and Nintendo won't support it indefinitely. By 2030, I bet it will be virtually impossible to play the game, unless you have hardware that's been preserved and not used. The only place where the game will be available will be illegal ROM dumps, and I think "google for it and you'll find a site that has it and is currently up" is not exactly how we want to have something "durably archived".--Prosfilaes 23:41, 6 December 2010 (UTC)


Is it correct to use principal to mean a partner or owner of a business? e.g.: "He's a principal at Dunne and Raye." RJFJR 19:44, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

It is in widespread use in that sense in the US. DCDuring TALK 23:26, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, perfectly correct. Ƿidsiþ 10:20, 7 December 2010 (UTC)


This is called a preposition. It looks like an abbreviation of a phrase that is not a constituent. I think of abbreviations like this (especially pronounced as an initialism) as retaining the grammar of the abbreviendum. DCDuring TALK 23:24, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't see how this can ever be a preposition. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:45, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Genau. Adverb (conjunctive), yes. Preposition, no. Leasnam 22:25, 6 December 2010 (UTC)


the following discussion was moved here by Mglovesfun (talk) 08:56, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Hello I'm going to reopen the subject on orient vs orientate. Orientate is commonly used in UK English but there is a discussion on the premise that orientation is a backformation of orientate in the US: "Sometimes there is a forward-formation (Note: That is an example of a back-formation from "back-formation.") and then a back-formation: The verb "orient" produced the noun "orientation" that produced the verb "orientate" as a back-formation that means the same thing as "orient" and is now considered acceptable in British English (though it is still considered a mistake in American English)."

It seems to me that orient is a US neologism derived from the original British English word 'orientate' which is derived from the italian 'orientare' (which came from the the original Latin word for orient oriens and its infinite verb form of orientation. When only the present participle verb form of orientation in Italian is oriento and english has no variations for it, it is then natural to use the latin language derived infinite to differentiate from its source noun oriens the original word the verb is derived from. As there is no conjugation in English of this verb (I orientate, you orientate, they orientate...) how else could you differentiate "where the earth meets the sky" or "the (far) east" from orientate if it was orient. Lastly orient yourself doesn't meant "look east" that is the main reason orientate may be considered a back-formation because orient is a noun and orientate is a verb. 08:18, 10 December 2010 (UTC) 09:02, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

  • You're wrong. Orient is attested more than a hundred years before orientate, and by British writers. Furthermore it's not from Italian, but from French, which was using the word orienter for hundreds of years before that. Ƿidsiþ 09:55, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Whether the origins are wrong the rest stands.*I have a quote comment from someone who has the same opinion Ƿidsiþ. "As y It strikes me that this story could equally be seen as a distasteful case of verbing nouns. If “orient” came first as a noun (meaning “east”), then what if some purists of the time found its use as a verb distasteful? Perhaps they ranted “Orient isn’t a verb! You mean orientate!”" 08:57, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
The meanings are marginally different (I think) here in the UK, though they are often used interchangeably. Orient as a verb was first recorded in 1728, pre-dating "orientate" by 120 years. The latter is probably a back-formation from "orientation". Dbfirs 09:28, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I will try to clarify my point despite my getting the origins somewhat wrong and not believing in the back-formation. When I was corrected on the origins I said that the rest stands. With that I mean:

A back-formation occurred in UK English because people stated to use 'orient' as a verb (no capital letter) and then decades later changed it with the addition of the intransitive suffix to 'orientate' and American English speakers will no doubt feel this is not the original way to use the word because Americans use the original form still. The problem is in French orienter means orientate (or orient) and 'Orient' means Orient, not orient. So if the matter of discussion is to be faithful to the past (of how some nouns were used interchangeably with verbs) or how they should have been used and were changed through the years to match their use from the original French and for example and in the exactly same way in Spanish orientar and Italian orientare. In French Italian and Spanish, there are clear distinctions between the noun and the verb from the very start. 09:36, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Wiktionary is not prescriptive, so it just records how words are actually used. Dbfirs 10:32, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

oracy and orate

The form of the words oracy and orate are similar to literacy and literate. Could orate, then, be given an adjective definition of "being able to speak and understand spoken language"? --PaparazziPulse 04:52, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

guinea pig

"A person who volunteers for an experiment…"

I don't think guinea pigs have to be volunteers! I suggest something along the lines of An experimental subject human or otherwise.Saltmarshαπάντηση 15:55, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Good catch. How about "A living experimental subject"? DCDuring TALK 18:33, 11 December 2010 (UTC)


I have just rewritten the definition of "jail" to make it non-synonymous with "prison". I followed Webster 1913, and checked with modern dictionaries. My understanding is that there is a nice or subtle distinction between "jail" and "prison". Possibly, "jail" is also used less formally in the broader sense of "prison", which would require an addition of another sense to "jail". Corrections and extensions of "jail" are welcome. --Dan Polansky 11:53, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Jail sounds nicer and as such it can be used to imply a less severe institution, nevertheless both words are synonymous. 08:40, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
The anon's comment fits my own understanding as well, whatever the more formal differences. DCDuring TALK 10:21, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
As I understand (IANAL), Stateside, a jail is a holding area for people who are arrested and awaiting trial, while prison is a place guilty people are sentenced to. But outside of official writings, the latter is often called jail too, including on the news.​—msh210 (talk) 16:20, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
  • 2010 November 30, “Welcome to Australia, land of bloated rogues”, in Sydney Morning Herald:
    Rather than serving 150 years in jail (he will be 222 by the time he is released), Madoff could have spent his dotage living off his ill-gotten gains, smiling blithely from the pages of celebrity gossip mags and dreaming up an even bigger scheme had he shifted Down Under.
Apparently Australians use jail inclusively. DCDuring TALK 16:48, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
  • 2010‎, Simon Duke, “CITY FOCUS: HSBC being sued over Bernie Madoff's massive Ponzi scandal”, in Daily Mail:
    According to Picard's 165-page complaint, HSBC had 'unsurpassed' levels of insight into how the huckster - now serving a 150-year jail sentence - ran his fraudulent empire.
Apparently UK newsmen too. DCDuring TALK 16:52, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
I suspected something of the sort. I would expect to have two senses of "jail", then: one broader, including prison, another narrower and more formal, along the lines mentioned by msh210. The broader sense could be tagged informal, or, alternatively, the narrower sense could be tagged formal or legal. The broader sense of "jail" is now confirmed by native speakers and verified. The existence of the narrower sense can be estimated from the use of the phrase "in a jail or prison" and from this and this find in Google books.
If you agree, I could add the broader sense, or anyone else can do it. I do not know which of the senses should be listed first. The broader sense could read "A place for the confinement of persons suspected of or sentenced for a crime, whether for a minor offense or a severe crime." The definition that I have replaced is this: "A prison; a place of detention; a place where a person convicted or suspected of a crime is detained." --Dan Polansky 17:21, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

I think there is a difference between US and Australian English here. (Don't know quite enough about UK to comment.) In the US, "jail" is generally reserved for institutions run at city or county level, which only take prisoners with shorter sentences or those charged with less serious crimes. "Prison" gets used for institutions at State or Federal level. However, in Australia, "jail" (or more traditionally "gaol") and "prison" are interchangable, for in Australia only the state and federal governments run such institutions (or run police forces, for that matter). Australian "jail"/"gaol"/"prison" is where both sentenced and remand prisoners are kept, albeit in separate wings. In the US sense, I understand, "jail" is both a place for holding remand prisoners, for holding sentenced prisoners; but also at least in some places, a place to temporarily hold people under arrest by the police. But in Australia, although police stations have such cells, we wouldn't normally call them "jails" -- they are lockups or watchhouses, where one is held immediately after being arrested, but can expect to soon be either released or else transferred to prison. I think in the US, at least sometimes, the police take arrestees directly to "jail" -- hence expressions such as "spent a night in jail" (which is also used in Australia I think, although most people here would realise its technically incorrect at least in the Australian context.) That's my two cents anyway. --SJK 08:28, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Just to make clear the US usage distribution, "years" (vs "months", "weeks", "days") collocates within 4 words of "prison" about three and a half times as often as it does with "jail". But "jail" collocates frequently with "years", so there is a great amount of non-specific use of "jail". DCDuring TALK 13:30, 6 March 2011 (UTC)


I'm guessing the adjective should be mrked as {{perjorative}} but how current is it - obsolete? dated? Thryduulf (talk) 13:22, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Also, what does it mean? The current "definition" is a usage note.​—msh210 (talk) 16:22, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Attributive use of the noun. There has been a socio-economic class distinction made between "lace-curtain" and "shanty" Irish. I don't see that this makes a new sense of either, but others seem to have a different sense of the role of Wiktionary - or any dictionary. But no one seems to object to pommy bastard as an entry, which I "advocated" as a joke.
Is the use of the term "poor", as in "poor person", "pejorative" rather than being, say, "adverse" (not even that in some religions, for some people)? DCDuring TALK 17:00, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Note, it's spelt pejorative; I believe we have perjorative as a common misspelling. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:11, 15 December 2010 (UTC)


"(intransitive) To practice an ability. She trained seven hours a day to prepare for the Olympics." and "(intransitive) To improve one's fitness. I trained with weights all winter." Are these really distinct senses? Isn't the second guy just practising the ability of lifting weights, with improved fitness as a side-effect? Equinox 23:51, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

The second guy isn't practising lifting weights; he knows how to lift weights. He's lifting weights in order to increase upper body strength.--Prosfilaes 03:42, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Prosfilaes. "Training" with weights does not mean practicing or bettering one's skill.​—msh210 (talk) 05:14, 15 December 2010 (UTC)



  1. A design associated with a government or governmental office.
  2. Something which will be visibly damaged if a covering or container is opened, and which may or may not bear an official design. (See the Wikipedia article)

#1 is clearly wrong, as not only governments can have seals. You have a royal seal for a start. #2 just seems a bit awkward to me. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:32, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

I reworded both senses. Also, I have added the old stamp-and-sealing wax senses, which serve to unify the divergent senses. I have also reworded other senses to make it clear that the word is always countable (possible exception: in set phrase: under seal). I think there is also a sense redundant to sense 2 above. DCDuring TALK 13:52, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
I would also like to challenge sense #7: "Confirmation or an indication of confirmation." The example reads: "Her clothes always had her mom's seal of approval". At least in this example the word "seal" alone does not indicate confirmation, but the phrase "seal of approval". --Hekaheka 09:00, 6 January 2011 (UTC)


I don't like the definition given: A very direct or quick path or trip. I'm sure there's an apiarian definition lacking too. --Mat200 12:25, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

The definition sums up the usage that I've heard. Do bees use beelines? I know that bumblebees don't - I watch them wandering apparently at random! I guess that the expression derives from the direct line taken by honey bees from their hive to a good food-source. Dbfirs 10:19, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Beelining offers the apiarian aspect. It is the sport of using the beelines of bees to detect their nests [3]. The bumblebees you see moving at random may be exhibiting optimal foraging via a stochastic algorithm [4], but most species will fly straight back the the nest once they are full of nectar (and or pollen). It seems reasonable to link the two definitions. SemanticMantis 02:16, 26 February 2011 (UTC)


Can I request a definition adding to gristle to fit the line:

    • When you're chewing on life's gristle
      Don't grumble, give a whistle
      And this'll help things turn out for the best...

thanks--Mat200 12:07, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

It's there: "Cartilage, especially when present in meat." I think it's less than optimal though; I copied "Cartilage, esp. when found as tough, inedible tissue in meat" from wherever Google gets its definitions, and I think that grabs the essence of what's missing in ours.--Prosfilaes 19:38, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
An older version of the page said "The tough, chewy part of meat or flesh." Our current definition is more precise and inclusive, but a lot of people have encountered gristle who would not be helped by our definition. I know I wouldn't if I didn't already know what gristle was. And unlike most of our species definitions, where Wikipedia will clarify what our definition lacks, Wikipedia here gives the same definition we do and links to an entirely unhelpful w:cartilage. --Prosfilaes 19:48, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
I've taken a stab at one, but it can definitely use improvement.​—msh210 (talk) 19:45, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's anything more than metaphor, and that the issue with the core meaning will stand even if it's added.--Prosfilaes 19:53, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
I like msh210's (we have very similar usernames BTW - I hope this doesn't pose a problem) definition. When I was taking my own stab at defining it I was going towards "figuratively, something hard to swallow" but I didn't like the inclusion of "swallow" in the definition. --Mat200 22:58, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

civil rights

Anyone else find this extremely US-centric? Who would have thought that civil rights exist outside America? ^^ ---> Tooironic 21:44, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

The issue is whether the term is used in a NISoP way outside the US (where the term is related to the US constitution). I am under the general impression that "human rights" is the preferred concept and term outside the US (all countries can reference the w:Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Also, civil rights is importantly a historical term in the US. I also don't think it is limited to a legal context. Some empirical research would help understanding how usage is distributed. DCDuring TALK 22:16, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
"Human rights" is more common in the EU, but the UK does talk about "civil rights" in a similar way to Americans. We have probably just borrowed the American usage. [5][6] Dbfirs 11:19, 17 December 2010 (UTC)


Can't this also mean "got a", e.g. "I gotta brand new car."? ---> Tooironic 01:14, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

It can and sometimes does, so perhaps should be documented. However, there's not much to be gained by this "contraction," unless you want to interpret "I got a" as "I've got a." (And then why no go all the way to "I have a"?) Maybe it's just one form influencing the other, along with a perception that "I got a" is already informal. Pingku 04:13, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Added another definition, with lyrics from a contemporary pop song. --Mat200 09:18, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I find that citation problematic. If it were not spelled that way in the name of the song, if it were just an audio transcription, I would argue that it just shows that "got to" can be pronounced /ɡɑɾə/. As it is, I'd still be much happier with a citation of text, even if it's just a book with the lyrics in it. So:

instead?--Prosfilaes 00:10, 19 December 2010 (UTC)


I've recently added the following definition to trod, which is interesting as it appears a past tense has evovled into a present tense. Are there other examples of such practice, and does this phenomenon have a name?: --Mat200 11:10, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

  1. To walk heavily or laboriously; plod; tread
    • 1813, The Parliamentary history of England from the earliest period to the year 1803
      Sir ; to me the noble lord seems to trod close in the foot-steps of his fellow-labourers in the ministerial vineyard, and u crow over us with the same reason
    • 1833, Timothy Flint, The history and geography of the Mississippi Valley
      It renders the paths, and the banks of the bayous in that region almost impassable in autumn, until the cattle have trodded it down.
    • 1866, Fanny Fisher, Ainsworth's heir
      They bore him to his chamber, where he lay all pale and tearless, like some broken reed, Some helpless shrub, all crushed and trodded down
    • 1895, Uchimura Kanzo, The Diary of a Japanese Convert
      Yet alas! I see around me the trodding of the same old paths, each trying to excel the other how to ape the good old ministers who were "very much liked by their parishioners."
    • Feb 1962, American Motorcyclist Page 16
      Land of mystery and enchantment, continent of contrast and extremes, where adventure awaits those who dare to defy convention and choose to trod the unfamiliar path.
    • 2007 December 23, Matt Weiland, “Walker in the City”, in New York Times[8]:
      Happily, he writes the way he walks: at a vigorous lope, both attentive to the varied soils of the ground he trods and curious about the dust and dandelions over the next hill.
    • 2009 March 18, Sonia Day, “Nip that gardening zeal in the bud”, in Toronto Starliving/Gardening and landscaping/article/604047:
      And avoid trodding on the inevitably wet soil around the base of the shrubs as you work.
Fell? Mglovesfun (talk) 14:58, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I think this kind of phenomenon mostly happens in English to verbs with irregular (strong) conjugation, especially those not in high-frequency use. I haven't found a name used for it. It comes from a kind of reanalysis, I suppose. DCDuring TALK 16:11, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Might this particular example be just a portmanteau word (of tread and plod) rather than a (mistaken) use of the past tense of tread as present? Dbfirs 10:15, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Quoth is sometimes used in this way. — lexicógrafa | háblame — 19:51, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
... but we don't see quothed and quothing ( or do we?) Dbfirs 18:36, 27 December 2010 (UTC)


This definition I just added:

  1. (poker, only in attributive use) Relating to the nuts, the best possible hand on a given board.

It's really attributive use of the noun nuts, which gets back-formed into nut because plurals forms are rarely used in attributive use. Noun feels more instinctive for a PoS, but it can't be used as a true noun. On a further note, I think that "nuts" can be used as a singular noun, such as "the nuts is the best possible hand" instead of "the nuts are the best possible hand". Mglovesfun (talk) 13:49, 18 December 2010 (UTC)


A mobile phone can be put "on vibrate"[9]. Does this make "vibrate" a noun? Equinox 00:05, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

I've taken a stab at a definition.​—msh210 (talk) 20:36, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
I have a TV remote control that has a button "AD-SKIP", another "PAUSE"; my microwave "DEFROST"; etc. I would claim widespread use for at least "PAUSE" and "DEFROST". Do we really want these? Almost all of such uses are used because, especially in context, their meaning is transparent. One could also argue that the use you cite above is not a use of vibrate, but of "vibrate", a mention of vibrate. DCDuring TALK 20:39, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
A verb used as a noun because, especially in context, its meaning is transparent should be listed by us as a noun, no? I agree with you that "put it on vibrate" 'should' be "put it on 'vibrate'" (and we then wouldn't include it), but de facto there are hits for it unquoted. "Put it on pause" is interpretable as the standard noun pause, not the setting, but there is no such noun for vibrate. Defrost is like vibrate in that last respect: is it used the same way ("put the microwave on defrost")? Perhaps we should have a sense there, too.​—msh210 (talk) 20:50, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Or, maybe, on vibrate is a term and vibrate is not a noun??​—msh210 (talk) 18:19, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
It looks to me to be just a sense of on. "Set phasers on 'stun'." "I put the car on cruise control". "The pilot put the plane on automatic pilot, nodded to the copilot, and went for coffee." Perhaps, "I've got three callers on hold for you." and "Let me put you on speaker.". (Should we think of the noun following on as ""stun"" or "stun"?)
I don't know about others, but I find the ability of humans to convert words to other parts of speech and to stretch core meanings, taking advantage of context, to be much more interesting than attempts at exhaustive listings of demonstrations of such abilities. Both the coding and decoding aspects are amazing and widespread, nearly universal among native speakers. DCDuring TALK 19:34, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't find a OneLook dictionary with this sense of "on". The closest is "in a state of", illustrated by "on fire", "on the run". That would require that each "control setting" label would need to have a definition something like "a control state so labeled". It would seem way more economical and more in line with the flexible use of this sense of "on" to add a sense. That way we could accommodate all future device-control labels, as English speakers would, having lexicalized this sense of "on". DCDuring TALK 20:08, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good AFAICT. By all means delete the sense of vibrate I've added, too.​—msh210 (talk) 20:31, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Golf Amnesia

Golf Amnesia- Willfully ignoring (forgetting) the correct application of the rules of golf to enhance one's score. Deliberately noting a lower number of strokes played on a hole.


How would one go about adding pronunciations to this entry? It is Latin, but in English song, especially the phrase in excelsis Deo, it has many different pronunciations (/ɛks.tʃɛl.sis/, /ɛks.sɛl.sis/, /ɛg.ʃɛl.sis/ invalid IPA characters (////g), replace g with ɡ are a few) which I would guess are/were probably not used in actual Latin. — lexicógrafa | háblame — 19:48, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

I would call them "New Latin" ;-}. I don't see how a native English speaker's singing a Latin hymn makes the hymn English. DCDuring TALK 20:23, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
I would list them in a Usage Note, if at all. A native English speaker singing a Latin hymn may not make the hymn English, but it doesn't make the pronunciations meaningfully Latin, either. However, if I were being thorough, I would include every pronunciation that is used in a large enough body of Latin speakers, even if that body speaks a heavily English-accented Latin that Cicero would find incomprehensible. (To do that for an entire Latin dictionary would probably take a lifetime, provided you had enough assistants, so it's not something I ever expect to see here, but for the ideal.)--Prosfilaes 01:47, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

predicative case

Created with a very specific Volapuk definition. Could someone who knows more about grammar than me clean it up? Nadando 21:58, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Glancing at Google Books, I'm not sure there is a non-SoP definition for the term; it doesn't seem to be a standard term of linguistics, instead being one reinvented every time a need to talk about a case that was predicative came up. I've tagged it for RfV, because one thing that didn't turn up at all was any Volapük usage.--Prosfilaes 05:22, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

in respect of

Is this correct English? Supposedly it would be synonymous with with respect to. __meco 23:36, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Not used in US colloquially or in newspapers. Almost all usage at COCA is by UK speakers or in academic works. DCDuring TALK 23:49, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
I gather from your response then that it can be used. __meco 10:12, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I would use "with respect to" in formal English, even here in the UK, but "in respect of" is very commonly used on British government websites, so it is a matter of is used and only prescriptivist pedants would deny it an entry. (and we would ban all these "respect" usages!) The expression is also used in Canada Dbfirs 17:56, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
Some of the COCA usage was in interviews of Tony Blair and other UK governmentals (their direct speech). Is it particularly bureaucratic, governmental, or legal in the UK? DCDuring TALK 20:55, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I would have guessed that it was "Civil Service Speak", but, on consulting the OED, I see that I would have been wrong, and was wrong in my opinion above. "With respect to" dates from 1605 (at least), but "in respect of" (meaning "as regards, as relates to; with reference to") has earlier usage (possibly from 1425: " Þer ben oþere repercussiues þe whiche be not verreilye stiptik in respecte of þes oþer aforeseid, as arrage, mercurial, malowes, violet, colde water"), and was used by Tyndale in 1530 ("The axe doth nothing in respect of the hand that heweth, save receive"). The OED shows regular citations up to 2001. The legal usage (meaning "in view of, by reason of, because of a fact, circumstance, etc.; on account of") was also used by Tyndale, and cites span the centuries up to 1994. Who can deny a Wiktionary entry to an expression with such a history? (I still don't really like it, and I would tend to add a definite article (in the respect of), but I will have to admit to unfounded prejudice!) Dbfirs 10:37, 28 December 2010 (UTC)


You might find this entertaining. I wrote the following questions and received this response.

Just curious...upon entering Wiktionary, I received the following response. Wiktionary does not have a dictionary entry for this term. When will Wiktionary be recognized as a word by Wiktionary?

Response: I am afraid that the Wikimedia Foundation is not able to help you with this request. As an organization that relies entirely on volunteer work, Wikimedia doesn't have the resources to research questions unrelated to its projects.

However, on Wiktionary, there is a page called the Tea Room, where various volunteers try to answer questions about words such as yours: <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Tea_room>. Instructions for using the Tea Room are on this page.

Though there is no guarantee that they can provide an answer, they are often able. Please be specific in your question so that others can better assist you. Good luck in finding the answer to your question! —This comment was unsigned.

Amusing response, but here is the talk page: Talk:Wiktionary. —AugPi (t) 05:31, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

set up

Can't this also mean "set someone up", e.g. to matchmake? ---> Tooironic 02:28, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

It looks like it.
2010, Marlvis (Butch) Kennedy, Studs – I remember Ronnie still tried to set me up with friends of his girlfriends.
2005, Pam Grout, Girlfriend getaways: you go girl! and I'll go, too — Normally I wouldn't try to set you up with a girlfriend who makes macaroni-and-cheese waffles.
Pingku 04:17, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
From the sense to entrap, perhaps we also want to "fit someone up". Pingku 06:45, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

make love, not war

I think this should be re-worded - it is more than just a "hippie phrase" as the entry implies - it has a wider usage. Hell, it may even be considered a modern-day proverb. ---> Tooironic 12:14, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

May be a useful defining precedent for what constitutes a proverb vs a catchphrase, how old a proverb should be, etc. DCDuring TALK 15:22, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

thesaurus-like request

I'm hoping the language mavens of Wiktionary can help me out. I'm looking for an inspiring word that essentially means productivity, a word I find too reminiscent of a Sam the Eagle-type attitude. I'd basically like a one-word synonym for "fulfilled potential". Any thoughts? -- Cyan

toss around

Sense, "To offer for suggestion". I don't know what this means. Doesn't toss around mean "To suggest to a group of people"?​—msh210 (talk) 19:16, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't think it has any meaning of "suggestion" at all. It just means to "throw around", as one might toss around a ball, but it is used metaphorically of ideas, where one might invite suggestions to be "tossed around". I think the definition should read "To discuss in an open way". One could then toss in suggestions to toss around. Dbfirs 23:33, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

is that so

Why can't I see it being linked to Category:English questions? ---> Tooironic 09:27, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

I originally hid that and similar categories because registered users could choose to see them, I wasn't sure that such categories would be accepted widely, and I was not sure that ordinary users would benefit from them to an extent that warranted the bottom-of-the-page clutter. If the category is useful, it is very easy to unhide the category. This particular question seems marginal for inclusion, except with some phrasebook rationale, should someone choose to put such together. DCDuring TALK 13:14, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Tupperware party

Looks a lot like Tupperware + party to me. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:00, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Not a political party then? Or did they throw loads of tupperware into the sea? —Pingku 21:13, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd be interested to see how this compares to Ann Summers party (in linguistic terms I mean) where the idea is the same. German translation would obviously be ok provide it's attested, for the French I'm also doubtful. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:17, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
The French translation is OK, but I assume that you were not doubtful about it. Lmaltier 21:35, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I meant it is just réunion X, where X is any noun, including proper nouns, within reason. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:49, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't think there is a normal sense of party that includes this amount of selling as its main focus. By the misnomer principle (A "Tupperware party" is not really a "party".) this seems idiomatic. DCDuring TALK 21:53, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I suppose I'm proposing the opposite (well, the alternative) that there is a sense of party, such as Ann Summers party, lingerie party. I'd say the onus is on me to support that with evidence. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:07, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I am not as familiar with all of those. It would not be a surprise that such commercial parties have proliferated after the enormous success of Tupperware and that party should have picked up an extended sense as a result. DCDuring TALK 00:59, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
There's some Google Book support for those. Also sex toy party which I first heard of in France (no jokes please). But Tupperware party is massively more popular in terms of Google Book results. Mglovesfun (talk) 01:08, 28 December 2010 (UTC)


i was reading the archive of the web-comic, "Questionable Content", to help me understand why it enthralls my workmate. i came across the word, webcest, and i didn't understand it. i followed my usual modus operandi and checked for it on Wikipedia, which only had a few old discussions on its deletion, but it had a link to search Wiktionary. Unfortunately, Wiktionary also only had a few old discussions on its deletion. i prefer my definitions more censored but a Google check led to Urban Dictionary, which showed me connotations i'd not imagined from a sum-of-parts analysis. Now that it's over half a decade old, is it still purely a neologism? Warmest Regards, :)—thecurran Speak your mind my past 08:51, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

It doesn't seem to have been used in published books or on Usenet, so I doubt it belongs. Equinox 13:26, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Do we define characters that do not appear to have any meaning beyond their fictional universes? ---> Tooironic 12:39, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

No (WT:FICTION). IMO we would be speedy deleting these apart from they've been created by an admin. Hence my vote (which failed) a few months ago. In an odd sort of way, you have to admire Daniel. (talkcontribs)'s ability to ignore everyone around him. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:59, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I think there is a word for that. Perhaps he is doing it for some greater good, which the benighted among us fail to see. DCDuring TALK 15:51, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I believe that the mere creation of these three entries doesn't invoke the image that I am ignoring anyone. --Daniel. 07:05, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
You would have been wrong to speedy delete. They have now all been cited. DAVilla 10:38, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I am not sure that we would not find that one or more of these particular ones are used outside the w:A Christmas Carol universe. What with the removal of the attributive-use-standard we have little guidance on how to find something inclusion worthy on that basis.
OTOH, now that we are going back to first principles, the attributive-use citations that supported inclusion of some proper nouns can now be more properly applied to the adjective sense of such terms. In such usage the term attributively characterizes the noun it modifies as having certain characteristics of the individual (fictional or not) named by the associated proper noun. As an example, see Donald Duck#Adjective, where the citations previously offered in support of the proper noun actually support only a definition of an adjective use relating to the voice of the character. I would be perfectly happy to characterize such use as attributive use of the proper noun and include a reference to the wikipedia article in the etymology, unless there is true adjective use under Wiktionary:English adjectives. DCDuring TALK 16:08, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm mute

This has a pronunciation given; I'd think it has no pronunciation at all. Moreover, is it common enough to be in the phrasebook? ("Phrasebook entries are very common expressions that are considered useful to non-native speakers", say the CFI, and though I think we can interpret "speakers" as "writers on pads of paper" for present purposes, how common an expression is this?)​—msh210 (talk) 07:50, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

I could use this in reporting speech to a mute person, I suppose. It is an appropriately lame entry for out ever-so-lame phrasebook. DCDuring TALK 18:08, 2 January 2011 (UTC)


There's a couple of easy definitions missing here to fit these examples: "I'll slot you in at 8:00" or "slot the coin into something". --Downunder 20:29, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

  • I've added a verb section to the second etymology. I'm not sure if some of the entries in the first etymology section also need to be moved to the second. SemperBlotto 08:52, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I see what you mean, I think. In Ety 1, noun, senses 3 & 4 seem to belong in Ety 2. Also, verb, sense 2. DCDuring TALK 17:58, 2 January 2011 (UTC)