Wiktionary:Tea room/2010/June

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June 2010

a couple of

English Wiktionary seems to dislike a unit that cannot be clearly categorized, like this. A couple of as a determiner in American English means two or three, or some, not necessarily two. I have created a page on French Wiktionary (a couple of), and I'd like to know whether it is allowed here or not. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 09:41, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Clearly belongs under couple, and it's already there: couple#Usage notes.-- 12:33, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I had already noticed the explanation. But it seems that couple can mean more than two only in a couple of. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 12:49, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
That ambiguity is in the use of "couple", I think. I am skeptical about the value of the entry vs. a usage note at "couple". BTW, I think RHU, which says this is always more than two, is wrong, whereas Wordnet, which says more than one, is correct. People say "couple" to suggest only two, but use the ambiguity to avoid lying outright if they "had a few" or "took a couple of extra minutes". One can't say a "pair of beers", "pair of minutes", etc. DCDuring TALK 14:24, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
BTW, see Category:English non-constituents for examples of other grammatically analogous terms. We would probably call this a phrase, even though it isn't one. We use the Phrase header as a residual category for multi-word entries not readily classed under another header. We have quite a few grammatical categories for multiword entries. And see this bgc search for why this might be best considered not a set phrase or a determiner.
As we rely on consensus in the academic community for our grammatical categories, it is nice when academics actually agree. There is some disagreement in this area between Cambrdge Grammar of the English Language and Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. DCDuring TALK 14:41, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Re "it seems that couple can mean more than two only in a couple of": Not quite correct. See e.g. google books:"a couple things" and "had a couple and".​—msh210 15:10, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with​—msh210 16:35, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
All right. But if you say two couples, it means four, I think. It must be singlular to mean more than one, am I right? - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 16:56, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
When applied to humans or other creatures with similar mating behavior, it refers to a cohabiting or dating pair. That is the only context in which the plural occurs in my experience. In that sense, couple is singular.
"A couple of beers is/are too many if you are driving." It works either way. DCDuring TALK 17:35, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
The formula is a something of, in fact you can replace the 'something' with thousands of possible nouns. So I agree with and msh210. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:58, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I am not talking about simple phrases like a pair of or a cup of... As I have written somewhere else, there are phrases not so clear for non-native speakers. Just see WordReference.com - a couple of and you'll find several questions about a couple of. Anyway I won't push it any further. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:28, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

a plurality of

Same as above. This phrase is very common in patents, and there are equivalents in other languages (fr: une pluralité de, ja: 複数の, ko: 복수의). You don't say just lines but almost always say a plurality of lines in patent claims. I think it is worth creating an entry. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 09:41, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Surely you just need to make sure the sense you are talking about exists at plurality. a plurality of is not a meaningful and discrete unit. ---> Tooironic 15:55, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't "plurality" in "the plurality among" (96 raw bgc hits [1]) mean exactly the same as it does in "a plurality of"? If so, that supports Tooironic's assertion. Thryduulf (talk) 16:20, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
No. Well, I don't know about patents, but in general the plurality among means "the highest number of voters among" whereas a plurality of means "more than one of". We have this sense s.v. plurality with the definition line "Many", which is terrible. But I agree with Tooironic.​—msh210 16:33, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Okay, then where do you define a plurality of as a patent legalese word found also in other languages? In plurality as an expression? Plurality itself is not legalese; a plurality of is. I'd like to have a separate translation table for the latter if possible. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 16:56, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
The results at http://google.com/patents?q=plurality seem to be using it in the "more than one/many" sense, which is not legalese. What does "a plurality of" mean in patents if not this? (If a word is used in patents a lot, but with the general meaning, then it could get a usage note, but not a separate definition.)​—msh210 18:25, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
In patents, you always use it if an introduced feature is plural, where a simple plural form would suffice in ordinary English. You wouldn't write so if you don't know that.
  • The fluid ejection module includes a substrate having a plurality of fluid paths, a plurality of actuators, and a plurality of conductive traces, each actuator configured to cause a fluid to be ejected from a nozzle of an associated fluid path. ([2])
  • A cellular communication system has a plurality of cells and a plurality of channels. ([3])
  • Said switching fabric comprises a plurality of input ports and a plurality of output ports, and a plurality of switch elements (SE1-SE5) which are arranged in multiple stages and connected with each other into a switching fabric. ([4])
  • A laminated piezoelectric transducer includes a laminated structure of a plurality of ceramic layers and a plurality of internal electrodes, and a plurality of external electrodes provided on the surface of the laminated structure and connected electrically with the internal electrodes. ([5])
  • A device for recording financial transactions, comprising a control system, a display and an input system, the input system comprising a plurality of function inputs, a plurality of account selection inputs, a plurality of category selection inputs and a plurality of numerical data inputs. ([6])
In ordinary English, a plurality of can be just omitted. And how do you explain translations of this particular phrase, like une pluralité de, una pluralidad de, mehrere, etc.? Maybe we can have a separate translation table in plurality… - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 03:21, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
The reason the a plurality of construction is used in patents is that if one just said widgets and the patent drawings or description showed a design with three widgets the patent would only be enforceable on a three-widget design. By saying a plurality of widgets the inventor is indicating a claim to all designs with an unspecified number of widgets. The meaning in this context is therefore "an unspecified number of". SpinningSpark 11:55, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Yep. We patent folk are nuts for "a plurality of" foo instead of something more reasonable like "several". Occasionally you will see "a multiplicity of" foo, too. bd2412 T 01:17, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Drawings are there only to help you understand claims, and they don't limit claims. The reason why you use a plurality of is that it is not clear whether several includes two or not. It is not clear either whether a simple plural includes one or not. Anyway, my question was whether it is worth making a separate article for a plurality of, and it seems to me everything is judged as a sum of parts here… - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:40, 17 June 2010 (UTC)



Multiple issues:

  1. Cleanser has the definition "Something that cleanses, such as a detergent", but the translation table just says "See detergent". Is it "such as a detergent", or is it a perfect synonym?
  2. Cleaner has the definition "A cleaning detergent". Is this correct? (Is it redundant?)
  3. In my own experience (in 21st-century America), a substance to clean your skin (which is not a soap) is marketed as a cleanser, never as a cleaner, and a substance to clean your home is marketed as a cleaner, never as a cleanser. If this matches others' experience, we (I) can add it as a usage note; does it?

​—msh210 16:28, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

The first half of your point three (re a substance to clean your skin) matches my experience in the UK, but substances to clean your home use both, although "cleaner" is more common. Thryduulf (talk) 17:04, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

ergative, ergative verb, ergative case

Definitions are somewhat circular, and in fact fail to define in any meaningful way imo. Is there any way to simplify the language? - Amgine/talk 22:42, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

I attempted to give a very generic meaning so that the specifics can be dealt with in ergative verb and ergative case. Do you think "ergative language" or "ergative alignment" would be a useful term? Circeus 20:53, 3 June 2010 (UTC)


An anon has recently added "A conceptual device that allows one to take sides on a question. (as in Occam's razor)". This seems reasonable, but the OED does not have such a meaning. Does anyone have a clue to a possible definition in this case? SemperBlotto 12:27, 2 June 2010 (UTC)


Shouldn't we split up the senses here - "member of an alien race" as Noun and "language" as Proper noun? ---> Tooironic 23:46, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Yep. Equinox 23:48, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
The first sense is between common and proper nouns: pl. the Klingons (a people), pl. Klingons (this people, or some members of it), attr. a Klingon warrior, sing. a Klingon (one member). I think properness is a grammatical or semantic quality that depends on context or usage, and not a lexical quality, which may be why professional dictionaries don't label “proper noun.” As long as we're discussing it, we might consider settling how to deal with this conventionally, since other nationality entries are done in different ways. There are also nouns where the plural serves as collective, singular, and adjective, like Chinese.
According to the Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992:813), “There is, however, no clear demarcation between proper and common nouns . . . Nationality nouns (Americans, a New Zealander, the Japanese) lie on the borderline between proper and common nouns. Michael Z. 2010-06-03 05:51 z
IMO "Proper noun" is about as useful as the old "Transitive verb"-type headings. POS distinctions are problematic enough without adding unnecessary complications. Getting rid of it would be quite a challenge, though. -- Visviva 22:01, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Transitive verb is a much more mutable item, since many transitive verbs have intransitive senses with little change evident in the grammar, and most of that not being part of the verb phrase itself but in the presence or absence of objects. For both sorts of verbs, the grammar is thus largely the same. For proper versus common noun, there is a fundamental and very important distinction. A proper noun has a functional grammar equivalent to that of a noun phrase rather than to that of a common noun, which makes an enormous difference. A proper noun can be the subject of a sentence (or an object of a verb or preposition) without any adjectives, articles (or other determiners), whereas a common noun requires them.
There is also a difference in what the "plural" means for a common or proper noun. A proper noun does not have a plural in any usual sense, but can have a plural form in which the implied singular necessarily has a different meaning than the proper noun would have had. So "Jesus heald the sick" and "There were three Jesuses at the party" have inherently different meanings of "Jesus" automatically. This is not true for common nouns, where the singular and plural could simply refer to one or more than one member of the same class of objects.
There is also a huge difference in what the noun itself means (whether it is a specific object or member of a class of objects), and this sort of distinction severely affects how the definition is written. Such a difference in definition never appears when dealing with the definition of verbs, for which the transitive and intransitive senses will have practically the same definition when both a transitive and intransitive sense exist.
BTW, Mzajac, the OCEL there is discussing collective nouns, and not simply the distinction between common and proper nouns. That muddies the waters significantly. --EncycloPetey 02:03, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
All true, but none of that is universal. There are proper nouns that take articles, and common nouns that don't. Pretty much every common or proper noun can be used in the converse manner, but forcing editors to separate these usages out under their own headings encourages the creation of silly definitions. And many nationality names have a single lexeme wherein the distinction between common, proper, and collective noun senses is blurred (e.g., the Inuit are a resilient people, Inuit eat seal blubber, Inuit came and went during the day, an Inuit spoke up, and usages where the distinction between these is indeterminate). The property of being proper is not lexical but grammatical, being determined by usage and context, and often not determined at all. Anyone know if professional dictionaries ever labelled nouns thus? Michael Z. 2010-06-06 19:16 z
RE: "property of being proper is not lexical but grammatical". This is 100% incorrect, as every philosopher on the matter since John Locke has pointed out. There is a fundamental underlying difference in type, and not merely a difference in grammar. Grammar is the outward show of that difference, not the substance of it. Your other arguments, being predicated on a faulty assumption, are thus invalid, and your point about grammar being variable is not supportive of any position; it is merely a fact of language.
To answer your question about "professional dictionaries", the AHD usually does not give a part of speech at all for proper nouns, but is inconsistent in the way proper nouns are labelled. Lewis & Short do not identify nouns as such, but rely on the reader to identify them based on the "inflection line" they provide. The Diccionario of the RAE omits proper nouns for the most part, and for nouns does not identify the part of speech; it assumes that the reader will know that an entry marked with gender is a noun. Larousse's Spanish-English dictionary marks proper nouns with n pr. So there is a wide variety in how major dictionaries deal with the issue. --EncycloPetey 19:26, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I guess I don't understand. When we have “more Smiths arrived at the family picnic every hour,” what is the nature of the fundamental underlying difference in type between the proper noun Smith and a common noun? (And why do you refer to philosophers about this and not linguists?)
So anyway, why do you think so many dictionaries don't indicate proper nouns consistently or, it seems, mainly not at all? OED and AHD refer to names as names, but don't actually seem to include proper nouns as lexical entries, except, for example, in attributive or compounded usage; AHD's proper-noun entries appear to be purely encyclopedic. The international Oxford dictionaries based on the COD use only noun. M–W mainly uses noun (also biographical name, geographical name for encyclopedic entries), and RH uses only nounMichael Z. 2010-06-10 21:44 z
If you don't understand, then I suggest you start by reading John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and John Stuart Mills' A System of Logic. The reason I go to philosophy is that's where underlying and fundamental distinctions in human categories are investigated. Very few linguists have given much thought to the underlying issues; they tend to focus only on the outward grammatical distinction. I also have a massive (OED volume sized) Ph.D. thesis I acquired that treats the issue in detail by Anna Pilatova, but if philosophy is not an area you're familiar with, it will be very difficult reading.
I've tried to explain in brief terms the difference, but it doesn't seem to be getting through. In the most simple (simplistic) terms, a proper noun is a label used to indicate a specific and particular item, often a unique item. When a proper noun names a collection, it refers to the entire collection, and membership in that collection is not based upon any characteristics, but is inherent in the objects themselves and often arbitrary. A common noun is a label used to indicate a member of a group, where membership in the group is based upon shared observable characteristics expressed in a definition attached to the label. Membership is thus not inherent, but defined. There are some specific instances in English grammar where the boundary between the two can be blurry, but not in the majority of situations.
When you speculate about why dictionaries do not include proper nouns, consider that (originally) the OED did not include the word African at all, not even as an adjective or common noun. It was only when the editors got to American, and realized it had many senses that would need to be covered, that they reconsidered the inclusion of the word African. Why didn't they include African from the outset? It was derived from a proper noun and probably therefore considered "encyclopedic". --EncycloPetey 01:06, 17 June 2010 (UTC)


Poke terminology for two cards to make a winning hand consecutively on the turn and river. Issues are

  1. How do you spell it? Runner-runner or runner runner
  2. What part of speech?
  3. What definition?
Mglovesfun (talk) 13:50, 3 June 2010 (UTC)


The word intergalactic is currently defined as "occurring between galaxies". I suspect this word is also regularly used in English to describe (rather erroneously, given its etymology) occurrences in just one galaxy, such as in an intergalactic trip from Earth to Mars. --Daniel. 01:28, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

If it can be attested, then yes, though it would warrant a "proscribed" tag as most educated people would proably consider it an error. Likewise, it's not uncommon in British science fiction (at least television and a few movies and books) for "solar system" to be used to mean galaxy, and for "constellation" to mean solar system (in the general sense). --EncycloPetey 01:48, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I suppose the Earth-Mars trip is intragalactic. Seems to be a word. Equinox 16:47, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I have heard "intergalactic" used in "intergalactic headquarters" of [XYZ] Corporation. ~30 news and 30 bgc hits for the collocation. The sense is something like "extravagant", "futuristic", "pretentious". DCDuring TALK 12:03, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

drug store

FYI changed to just an alternate spelling of drugstore - but I merged the content into drugstore. Tea room discussed drug store in Jan 2010. Facts707 17:36, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Were there any citations of "drug store"? IMO they should appear at drug store and not drugstore. DCDuring TALK 12:05, 7 June 2010 (UTC)


Would this be a valid alternative spelling for "analyst"? Or just a common misspelling? PS. btw shouldn't April 2010 posts be archived by now?-- OlEnglish 15:48, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Looks like a confused misconstruction to me. Most Books results are scannos for analysis. Equinox 16:46, 5 June 2010 (UTC)


Is this etymology ("from better") supportable by any references? DCDuring TALK 11:55, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

I wonder if "bad" and بد form persian are from the same origin or not? —This comment was unsigned.
Probably not according to Online Etymological Dictionary. DCDuring TALK 14:12, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

From Jack Sidnell, African American Vernacular English:

English Form + West African Meaning:
bad 'really good'
In West African languages and Caribbean creoles a word meaning 'bad' is often used to mean 'good' or 'alot/intense'. For instance, in Guyanese Creole mi laik am bad, yu noo means 'I like him alot'. Dalby mentions Mandingo (Bambara) a nyinata jaw-ke 'She's very pretty.' (literally 'She is beautiful bad.'); cf. also Krio ( a creole language spoken in West Africa) mi gud baad.

This is very convincing. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 04:41, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I have always understood bad in the sense of "extremely, extremely much, extrememly good" to be merely an internal development from existing senses of the word, as in I need this badly -> I need it bad (very much), or as a reverse euphemism for good (That is a bad man = He is so bad in the orthodox sense that he is good in a youthful sense), and as such does not warrant a separate etymology. I have never come across any dictionary in all my years where bad in its slang sense of "extremely good" was a separate word. Leasnam 19:34, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
It's a separate word. You say bad / worse / worst and bad / badder / baddest. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:36, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
With all respect, I disagree. Because it is a slang usage we see the nonstandard forms badder, baddest, but this does not signify a separate word. Separate usage, surely. List the slang comparative/superlative under a Usage Note. || Can you cite a legitimate source which shows bad (= good) as a separate word? Leasnam 14:43, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
It depends on your definition of words. Currently, Wiktionary lists the verbs fly in general sense (fly / flew / flown) and fly in baseball (fly / flied / flied) separately. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:32, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
That is a deverbal created from the noun 'fly' (= 'fly-ball'), and a new word. 'Bad' = "good" is not a new word because parts of speech are not systematically created from the same parts of speech in English, in this case, new adjectives from existing adjectives. The concept is interesting and I see no reason why such cannot occur, but it is beyond unusual. Leasnam 20:51, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I think there is disagreement among students of AAVE as to the extent of influence from African languages. Sidnell is a published sociolinguist, not directly an AAVE scholar. As the first documented usage in the US is among jazz musicians in the 1920s, it is natural to ascribe its origins along the lines that OnlineEtyDictionary suggests. In the absence of specific evidence, we can only allow for the possibility of jazz musicians possibly being just the first documented transmitters of something that persisted despite the efforts of American slaveowners to eliminate African speech among their slaves. It would be useful to see some evidence of "bad" in this sense in the few creole- and Gullah-speaking black communities of the South. DCDuring TALK 16:03, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
<<English Form + West African Meaning: bad' 'really good'>> Even if such is the case, this would merely represent an influence, at most a calque, of the purported African word, but not an origin. Therefore, it should still roll up under Etymology_1. Leasnam 17:29, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
That is certainly how other dictionaries usually present it. We rarely/never show sense evolution separately. It is certainly not true that the purported West African source influences the mainstream meaning. Not all of the theories are this calque theory. Accordingly it might be better to indicate that the etymology of this sense of bad is unknown and show whatever conjectural theories there may be. We could host the controversy until it is resolved (if ever) with no harm and possibly some benefit to the project. DCDuring TALK 22:15, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
It shows under the Etymology that it derives from better. That can't be right. Leasnam 22:34, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

it's funny because it's true

Does this qualify as a proverb? I find 78 b.g.c. hits, which is rather remarkable. I'm also clueless what to do about the etymology, and would like an opinon on that as well. --EncycloPetey 21:00, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Unsure. Probably a catchphrase, at best. Still, it is quite common, and I can see how a non-native speaker might have difficulty understanding the logical connection between the humour of something and its dependancy on some kind of truthiness. Dunno about the etymology though, sorry. ---> Tooironic 08:08, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
It's a catchphrase used by a character (Mexican?) in the Simpsons or maybe Family Guy (I think - haven't seen either for ages). SemperBlotto 08:21, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I associate it with The Simpsons too. Homer and "Fat Tony" (the gangster) have both said it. Equinox 08:32, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I also associate it with the Simpsons. Before them it had been used, but in a serious way; in The Simpsons it's a kind of joke where the humour relies on the fact that it's over-analysing itself. Ƿidsiþ 09:14, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
    The earliest quote I've found dates from 1972, which easily predates the program. It may have been popularized in The Simpsons, but it didn't originate there. --EncycloPetey 14:27, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

good value

Can someone please add the "literally, good, value" for me? I forgot the template name. Ta. ---> Tooironic 08:04, 8 June 2010 (UTC)


I coined a word. That word is Hypocronance. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hypocronance don't know if that meets your criteria, but I'd thought to offer it up. Martin H. Petry

Hi. We don't include words that have only just been invented. (After all, there are thousands of them, and most of them hardly end up getting used.) See WT:CFI. Equinox 12:30, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

running rich

In the sentence "this engine is running rich" does it need an entry in rich or in running rich (or not at all)? RJFJR 13:53, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd say it should be a sense at rich, as there is no idiomatic meaning for "running rich" compared to "running hot", "running cold", "running well", "running fabulously", etc. Thryduulf (talk) 17:15, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

trick question

It's not really a question that's a trick. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:37, 8 June 2010 (UTC)


...defined as "a light meal". Is that right? or is it only certain light meals, or even snacks? To me — and I may be wrong — a collation is food offered before/after a meeting or the like.​—msh210 21:51, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Well sort of, it's got a strange and interesting history actually. Among the many senses of collation was a reading held in a monastery from the Lives of the Fathers, known in Latin as the Collationes. From there it came to be associated with the light meal which the monks had after the readng, and then eventually to any kind of light meal or snack. But I will update the entry with all this. Ƿidsiþ 08:55, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Thanks much.​—msh210 15:57, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

the feeling is mutual

Does this deserve a Phrasebook entry? It's pretty common I think. ---> Tooironic 00:22, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

While it's a common phrase, it isn't the sort of phrase that (imo) would be useful for the majority of phrasebook users - it's quite an advanced bit of language. "I agree" would be useful in most situations where "the feeling is mutual" would be and in a huge number of other situations as well. Thryduulf (talk) 08:44, 9 June 2010 (UTC)


I was texting one of my ESL students today and I asked him if he wanted to have a lesson on Friday. He said "I'm OK" and I got confused because, to me, that sounds like "No, I'm fine, I don't need a lesson." After clarifying with him, it turns out he did actually want a lesson on Friday - he should have just said "OK". What are these two different usages, and are they reflected in our OK entry? ---> Tooironic 04:54, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

It looks like we're missing an important sense. “I'm OK” uses the adjective meaning “well enough.” But we don't have the interjection (?) used to indicate acceptance or agreement. Michael Z. 2010-06-09 05:36 z
Added. There are probably more to come. Michael Z. 2010-06-09 05:40 z
Did he not mean "that fits my schedule" as in "I'm OK for Friday"? The two contrasting meanings of "I'm OK" are distinguished only by intonation, though in most contexts there would not be a possibility of confusion. Dbfirs 09:24, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

meant to be

I can't believe this merits four senses. I'd say one "&lit" for senses 1, 2 and 3, and perhaps some other idiomatic sense for 4, but it seems to be pretty obvious on the face of it what it means. Equinox 15:52, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

  • I also think there's only one sense, combining 1 and 4, and meaning something like "intended by fate or destiny; predestined". Ƿidsiþ 15:55, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    Predestined to what exactly? This phrase is restricted to several specific meanings and these are listed. Some of them are even missing, e.g. "destined to last". --Ivan Štambuk 16:02, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Your own usage examples provide the "what" in each case: "meant to be together", "meant to be one", "meant to be played with". They don't seem very idiomatic to me. And be alone means exist: if a relationship isn't meant to be, it's not meant to exist; simple as that. Equinox 16:07, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Exactly, I think in cases where be takes an object, the phrase is not idiomatic at all and shouldn't be there. Ƿidsiþ 16:13, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
They illustrate the "what" defined in the corresponding definition lines (except for the SoP sense). I don't see how "meant to be together" can be inferred to mean "destined to be in a successful relationship" from the allegedly generalized sense "intended by fate or destiny; predestined". There is not an infinite number of usage scenarios for such phrases and they have to be listed and exemplified. --Ivan Štambuk 16:29, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
You define "meant to be" as "Destined to meet and be together", but then your usage example says "I guess we were just not meant to be together". So the "together" isn't part of the definition; it's just a particular situation where the phrase could be used. And here's a contrasting example from a 1996 book: "They weren't meant to be apart. They loved each other so much." Equinox 16:37, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
100% right. The only possibly keepable sense (besides {{&lit}}) is 4, and I'm not even sure about that.​—msh210 16:42, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
How exactly is the fact that together is a part of the definition a problem? It can be omitted (I guess we were just not meant to be.). Your example with apart is in a literal sense, covered by the definition 3 "intended to be". --Ivan Štambuk 16:54, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that:
  1. "Meant to be" cannot be shown to be an adjective. See Wiktionary:English adjectives.
  2. Most of the usage examples do not convey any idiomatic sense, but rather simply the past participle of mean (intend) plus "to be".
  3. The British idiomatic usage be meant to (to be obliged to) does not belong at this entry.
Further, "meant to be" in the sense of "destined to be" seems idiomatic now, though it was probably once a metonymy/metaphor for "intended by (the gods/God/fate) to exist/live/persist". It seems to me to be an idiomatic phrase the grammar of which follows its components. It seems only marginally more idiomatic than other variations on the non-idiomatic sense of be meant to "be likely to", "be destined to" based on the metonymy/metaphor. I think we just have to make a decision to draw a line as to what kind of expressions are useful enough to include rather than rely on the metaphysical theory of idioms. If we could do it by rule, that would be preferable to doing each one by democratic or aristocratic whim, but we apparently can't. DCDuring TALK 16:45, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit conflict] Regarding 4: “me and singing” might be described as meant to be, meant to last, meant to come together, or meant for the dumpster, or even, perhaps in a dated fashion, just meant or not meant. It's a single, simple meaning of meant (“intended”, adj).

The whole entry is spurious. It's an SOP phrase compounding meant +‎ to be. I believe I'd RFD it. Michael Z. 2010-06-09 16:49 z

The sense that should correspond to "destined" does not appear in our entry for "mean". Perhaps you could take a run at the wording for that. DCDuring TALK 16:53, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Lemming check: Most dictionaries omit this. McGraw-Hill idioms has it as both "meant to be" and "meant to be something", where "something" is an adjective (or participle or locative or prepositional phrase). DCDuring TALK 16:50, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Can you explain how can the meanings of example sentences be derived by sum-of-parts meanings of mean and to be ? --Ivan Štambuk 17:07, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd also like to see the sense of "mean" that corresponds to the sense of "destined". In particular it would be good to explain who the intender or designer might be in current usage. I have added two sense destined intended to encompass the senses which the entry was created with (each with one citation). DCDuring TALK 23:31, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
  • The only idiomatic use here is sense 1 and 6, which are actually the same thing. The others are just mean + to be. The sense of mean is "intended", ie by some mythical force, destiny, fate, god, or whatever. In no way are they behaving as adjectives! Ƿidsiþ 10:59, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that you can't define it at [[mean]] because it's used only in passive, and in this sense only with to + infinitive (I wonder if the entry would stir so much ruckus if lemmatized it to to be meant). With infinite number of meanings of the overly ambiguous copula to be, it's far from obvious what can meant to be mean in the example sentences listed. You're arguing from an abstract semantic reducibility perspective, by which the most common but clearly disparate meanings must not be separated into definition lines so long as they can be subjectively inferred by the equivocal devices of speech figures. Given that we are no bound by the space limitations of the obsolescent paper dictionaries, I see no reason to inflict upon poor readers such an unnecessary simplification of matter. --Ivan Štambuk 09:29, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Consider some of your example sentences and you will see that mean can be swapped for many other verbs.
I am not a physicist, nor was I meant to be one. -- ...nor was I trained to be one / nor was I raised to be one. Etc. But you cannot say intransitively *it was raised to be or *it was trainined to be.
These are toys, they are meant to be played with. -- ...designed to be played with / built to be played with. But you cannot say *it was designed to be or *it was built to be.
And so on. Only the intransitive uses are idiomatic, ie 1 and 6, and I think they are the same. Ƿidsiþ 09:43, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
But that was my point! They can be "swapped" with other clearly disparate verbs. You cannot infer to train for a profession from any of the meanings of mean + be. The other example sentence with toys is a SoP, and that's how it's marked with the label {{literally}}, and it's included solely for the thoroughness. Clearly we're dealing with several distinct typical usages that can hardly be described as non-idiomatic. Perhaps you're confused with the additional information contained within the examples: one can say only e.g. We were meant to be., or I was meant to be a physicist. And I don't see how the transitivity is relevant at all, because this is not a verb, and all the senses govern the nominative, and not the accusative case. --Ivan Štambuk 10:00, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
But it doesn't mean "to train for a profession". It means "it was never intended in the grand scheme of things that I be...". I do agree that our entry for mean doesn't cover this well, and I will work on that today; however, I don't think these three words are a meaningful unit in sense 2-5, for the reasons given above. Ƿidsiþ 10:10, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
You don't be/become something by profession unless you're trained for it. That act of training can however be observed as something stemming from divine grace, willful pursuit of talent, or whatever, but this is not the case here. When you say I was (not) meant to be X the emphasis is on the fittingness of a man to become X by profession, to "fulfill his destiny". It's like sense 6, but with the fitting parts being man's greatest desire to work as somebody by profession, and the actual type of work he's doing in his daily life. The "grand scheme" and other transcendental causes have long evaporated from the colloquial usage. --Ivan Štambuk 10:32, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
(I see the OED has the following sense of mean, which we need: "Usu[ally] in pass[ive]. To design (a thing) for a definite purpose; to intend or predestine (a person or thing) to have a particular future, fate, nature, or use." It shows a range of uses, not all with "to be".) Ƿidsiþ 10:15, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
OED merges at a single headword hundreds, if not thousands, of what we usually lemmatize as different entries. They're doing it because they're biased by the format of the obsolescent paper dictionaries. As a result, all of the nontrivial entries it contains are pretty much useless, because it takes an eternity to look up a word/meaning, and because their definitions are excessively concise and thus ambiguous. We must not be prejudiced by the centuries-old format of paper dictionaries in the digital age. There is essentially no reason why we should lemmatize at mean the meaning that can only be used as meant + to + infinitive. --Ivan Štambuk 10:38, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the only person who sees them as separate is you. Ƿidsiþ 10:54, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
No, they are different meanings irrespective of the fact that some fail to see them as such. They cannot be easily reconciled within a single definition line without resorting to exceedingly ambiguous and overgeneralized statements. The underlying notion is destined to X, where X cannot be replaced by a singular verb. I don't really see the problem in enumerating separately the most typical Xes (there are surely some more, because be is a very ambiguous verb). --Ivan Štambuk 11:33, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
No. the underlying meaning of meant to be is not destined to X but destined to be. Or do you mean that "meant to X" means "destined to X"? If so, we agree and it follows that it's merely sum of parts. Ƿidsiþ 11:42, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
No, meant to be means "destined to X"; meant to Y is a different thing (though not altogether different). be here takes the meaning of this Y depending on the usage. You can't really swap this be in meant to be with something else. Clearly an idiomatic usage. --Ivan Štambuk 12:02, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
But you can swap "be" with something else. "Man was not meant to meddle in these affairs." "You weren't meant to touch that!" "Weddings were meant to happen on beautiful days like this." You don't even need a verb, you can say, "These words are meant for you alone" etc etc...I could go on. Ƿidsiþ 12:25, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
It can only be swapped in the literal (SoP) sense. None of your examples are relevant to meant to be. This to be is an inherent part of the phrase and cannot be inflected. You're confusing to be/was/were.. meant to be with to be/was/were.. meant. You can't substitute be in the example sentences at [[meant to be]] with some other verbal infinitive without changing the meaning. That is clearly a sign of an idiomatic usage that deserves separate treatment. --Ivan Štambuk 12:40, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Are you serious? You're saying that because using a different verb instead of "be" changes the meaning, the phrase is idiomatic? Of course using a different verb changes the meaning -- that's the whole point of using a different verb. You might as well say that "wanted to eat" is idiomatic, because in the sentence "I wanted to eat my foot by the end of this discussion", changing "eat" for a different verb changes the meaning. In all of your example sentences except for senses 1 and 6, "meant" simply means "supposed, intended, destined" and can be followed by any infinitive verb or any other object without changing that meaning. (It actually means the same thing in 1 and 6, but there the construction is unusual -- not being followed by any object -- and so seems much more idiomatic.) Ƿidsiþ 13:08, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that because you cannot substitute it (the be of meant to be) with a different verbal infinitive, that the adjective (it's not a phrase) is idiomatic. Your analogy with eat is flawed because these meanings of meant to be are context-free, as I've explicated above. You can substitute the eat of your example with consume without changing the meaning (disregarding the change in formal register). meant in the examples listed at [[meant to be]] (except the SoP sense) means nothing by itself; if it did, you could substitute this be with something else, which you can't. It's a fossilized construct. meant implies the notion of predestined to X, with X meaning be; together they convey several clearly distinct typically used meanings which are provided at the definition lines. --Ivan Štambuk 13:50, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I give up. Someone else have a go. Ƿidsiþ 13:51, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Three points:
    1. It would be possible to insert the sense of "to destine" at mean#Verb. AHD, Infoplease, MWOnline, RHU, and WNW do. Learner's dictionaries and other shorter dictionaries don't. With this sense the supposed passive-only argument disappears. It might be useful to show the "destine" subsense as usually passive.
    2. It has not yet been shown to be a true adjective. In all grammatical regards it behaves as a past participle with a complement ("to be" or "to be X" or "to X"). I doubt that this could be shown to be an adjective using any test stronger than occasional use in attributive position. I believe that Ivan has confused use of a past participle after a form of "be" to form a passive with use of an adjective as predicate after a form of "be". The ease of making that confusion is why we need tests like gradability/comparability and use after another copulative verb like "seem" or "become". If this is a simple passive form, it is difficult to see how it differs from many others of similar structure.
    3. AFAICT, the only curious aspect of this is that it is a usage that developed when folks (or among those who) believed that things that happened happened because some being intended them to happen, but that it is passivized to avoid controversy or ridicule aver the identity of the destiner. (BTW, we probably need some of the modern proverbial embodiments of this line of thinking, eg, everything happens for a reason.) DCDuring TALK 15:34, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

OED has 4 verb subsenses (3a–3d), labelled transitive. They are mainly passive, but it does include several active attestations. Sense 3c (“in pass.”), “to be predestined,” has sub-subsenses “with to be” and “without clause. (Sometimes used more or less adjectivally.).” Sense 3d (“In pass., with infinitive clause”), “to be reputed,” also only has attestations with to be. There is also a separate adjective sense of meant (“chiefly poet., esp. in later use”).

I think the verb has a a wide range of shades of meaning, often not perfectly distinguishable, and all definable under mean. Even if we distinguish a sense that's only found in the passive with to be, that still doesn't constitute a separate lexeme (“lexical unit”). The point of our lexeme-based entry organization is so readers can read and compare the senses of a term in one place, instead of having them split up. (This is a rather big problem when we split up a lexeme like aboriginal/Aboriginal or labour/Labour/labor/Labor by minor differences in capitalization or spelling.) Michael Z. 2010-06-12 15:46 z

Prehispanic or prehispanic

What is the correct form: Prehispanic or prehispanic? thanks --Cvmontuy 10:32, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Graduated Slope

My dads an engineer and I've heard him refer to graduated slopes before, I think it means a slope that's either gradual or that's stepped, possibly with the sense it's been artificially made this way. But the entry only defers to graduation which mentions "A marking (i.e. on a container) indicating a measurement". Grade has "A degree or level of something; a position within a scale; a degree of quality" which gives me the sense that it means 'something that has been given a position within a scale or series', and I think I've heard my teacher use it in math, so could it be "(mathematics) a series of numbers which have a constant slope" or outside of math as "ground with a flat surface which slopes upwards or downwards at a consistent rate"? --Illumi the trow 11:29, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Do you suppose there could be any relation to graduated cylinder? RJFJR 13:31, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a slope that's not of a fixed angle, but with a gradually changing one; constantly getting steeper or flatter; having a convex or concave profile. Michael Z. 2010-06-10 16:00 z
I don't know, if you know it means that could you add it to the article? I'm not sure what it means, I'm just trying to figure it out by extrapolating from similar words --Illumi the trow 20:40, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Is it not just a synonym for graded slope? Dbfirs
Maybe in a general sense, but not specifically: grade n. & v., graded adj. have special meaning in civil engineering, landscaping, etc. Graduated also means “arranged by degree, level, rank,” or “arranged in steps.” I (now) think a graduated slope is one that goes from one level to another, from higher to lower, or vice versa. Michael Z. 2010-06-11 15:34 z
All slopes go from one level to another, but I agree that it might mean a stepped slope (with a maximum gradient in the portions between the steps. Dbfirs 08:43, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
No, a slope can be flat, it can go up and down a few times, or it can feature a pit, a pond, a knoll, or a sudden steep cut. Lots of usage examples in GB "graduated slope"Michael Z. 2010-06-15 14:36 z
We will have to agree to differ on that. To me, a zero gradient is a flat, and a non-zero gradient is a slope, but that doesn't help with the meaning of "graduated slope". I see three possible meanings in the usages that you kindly linked. One is the stepped slope we mentioned above, another is a gradual slope (not too steep), and the third is a slope of increasing (or decreasing) gradient (as you suggested). In addition, some usages don't seem to mean anything at all. Have you found a definition anywhere? Dbfirs 21:20, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
... but if all of these senses are included in graduated, then "graduated slope" is just a sum of parts. Dbfirs 21:23, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, if you said “what is the magnitude of the slope between A and B,” and I said “it is flat,” then that would work.
See graduated (4), which follows several major dictionaries, and Citations:graduated. If one could say “the slope was graduated,” or substitute ºgraduated incline,” “graduated hillside,” “graduated rise,” then it is a sense of graduatedMichael Z. 2010-06-16 01:33 z
I'd say "Oh, it's not a slope at all then!" I suppose some people might define a flat as a slope of zero gradient, just like a flat at sea level is a hill of zero height!
I think we agree on graduated. Dbfirs 21:32, 23 June 2010 (UTC)


While looking up this word in Penguin's The Modern English dictionary (published 1989) it turned out that the noun broil in the sense of brawl is neither dated, nor archaic, let alone obsolete. The quotation provided reveals it as a vivid word in 1819 and I suppose it is still part of everyday speech today. What does OED say on this matter? I did not venture to rectify the tag, because I am no native speaker. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 15:02, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

The OED has "obsolete" for most senses, but not for the brawl sense, though the last cited usage is from 1883. Perhaps we should label the usage "archaic" rather than obsolete. I don't think anyone would think of using broil instead of brawl today so it is beyond "dated". Dbfirs 08:06, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I think it is obsolete or now rare. "Archaic" implies that it is still used with archaic effect, which I don't think is the case. If it is ever used now, the effect is not of archaism but of incomprehension. Ƿidsiþ 08:55, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I don't think many would deliberately use it for archaic effect, so I'm happy to stick with obsolete. We still have embroil though. Dbfirs 09:08, 11 June 2010 (UTC)


Are the comparative and superlative forms of the adjective chance chancer and chancest or more chance, most chance? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:08, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd say that the comparative and superlative forms are uncommonly used, but definately chancer and chancest. chancier and chanciest are more common but slightly different in meaning. Note also that chancer has a noun sense. Thryduulf (talk) 09:06, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the adjective has a comparative or a superlative, so I challenge anyone to prove me wrong! Perhaps "more by chance" and "most by chance"? Dbfirs 09:15, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Note that chancer can be an opportunist and chancest can be a verb (older form of "(you) chance", i.e. "thou chancest"). Equinox 18:49, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I would even question whether chance is an adjective at all. Can we classify all usages as attributive use of the noun? Dbfirs 08:39, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I too doubt this is usefully considered as an adjective. See Wiktionary:English adjectives. DCDuring TALK 11:31, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Why has the quotation been removed? What is wrong with it? The usage of chance there was unambiguously adjectival. Why are the forms more chance and most chance given as comparative and superlative? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 13:53, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
As the edit summary indicated, the citation was moved from the adjective section because it does not illustrate a usage that is clearly adjectival. Attestation of adjective use (See Wiktionary:English adjectives.) should actually illustrate that it has use that is not attributive.
I have seen no evidence for chancer and chancest are forms of the putative adjective at all. I would have RfVed chancer#Adjecive and chancest#Adjective had those sections existed. That they didn't exist suggested insufficient work by the contributor. I always find it annoying when a linked purported form-of entry is not consistent with the lemma entry, particularly when a blue link provides erroneous confirmation of a suspect form. DCDuring TALK 14:37, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

on accident

Meaning accidentally. Where is this used? I find some use in this sense (10), mostly in speech, at COCA, perhaps one at BNC. (13 other of the raw hits for "on accident" were not in this sense.) Is it an effort to create a parallel with "on purpose"? Is it an error? In contrast, by accident has a raw count of 1383, almost exclusively in the "accidentally" sense. DCDuring TALK 17:57, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

In the U.S., it's found predominantly among younger speakers; see this study, which concludes that "nationally", i.e. "in all states surveyed" (viz. Michigan, Indiana, California, and Georgia), "on is more prevalent under age 10, both on and by are common between the ages of 10 and 35, and by is overwhelmingly preferred by those over 35." I don't understand why you added the {{UK}} tag, given that the editor who created the entry is American, and you found more usage in COCA than in the BNC. Was that just a bad guess, or do you have other information that you haven't mentioned?     (BTW, hat-tip to Neal at Literal-Minded; it's from this entry of his that I first learned about this study.)   —RuakhTALK 11:31, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. It was my best guess. I knew it wouldn't remain uncorrected if wrong. DCDuring TALK 11:43, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I say "on accident" and I'm 30....my mother always tried to correct me when I said that but it never stuck.


Can somebody confirm that this is the correct English plural of psoas? Equinox 18:48, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

That is the one that I can't find any OneLook reference supporting. I do find support for psoae, psoai, and psoas. ψόαι (psóai) was the plural in grc of ψόα (psóa) (also ψύα (psúa)). I think the order above is the order of preference. psoadicus (having pains in the buttocks) (!) is in Lewis and Short, but neither "psoas" or "psoa". psoadic seems attestable, but more mentioned than used. DCDuring TALK 10:58, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

fruitcake & fruit cake

Shouldn't we just make fruit cake an alternative spelling of fruitcake? Is there any reason we are duplicating definitions here? ---> Tooironic 08:17, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

There might have been no reason to duplicate definitions but, once they are duplicated, I think that there is no reason to unduplicate them. After all, there is at least one advantage for readers: no need for an additional click. The important thing is that both spellings should be mentioned in both pages, so that these pages can be synchronized (if somebody wants to, synchronization is not something critical). Lmaltier 16:47, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Redundancy is harmful. It's a disservice to the reader for them to find and read fruit cake, without having any way to know that they missed important information found in fruitcake. And there's no reason to multiply our maintenance burden and risk entering contradictory information with redundant entries. Whenever possible, such entries should be merged into one lemma, preferably the most common form. Michael Z. 2010-06-12 17:53 z
I'm not surprised by your reaction, but I think that a very simple policy (see KISS principle) should be not to remove any correct and relevant info from any page, except when this removal clearly improves this page. This is already the policy for words such as color/colour, and this policy should be generalized (without forbidding soft redirects, of course). This is not a maintenance burden (nobody has to do anything about it), the contents should be different anyway (citations use a single spelling, and should be included in the page about this spelling) and readers who want to get all the info related to the word would be able to click on the other spelling if they want to. Lmaltier 06:01, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
There are references that show citations for alternative spellings at the spelling they are alternative to, most prominently OED. I think this simply makes our long entries even longer and confuses readers who find an unfamiliar spelling in the entry when they look at citations. As some spellings are differentially distributed by region, time, collocation, we should not be surprised to find differences in sense distribution. I would think that a dictionary of our grandiose ambitions would want to facilitate the display of such distinctions. All of this should mean that we retain full entries once made, but discourage making them until there is some actual difference in content (citations, pronunciation, derived terms, etc.) that cannot be adequately covered by "context" tags. DCDuring TALK 11:47, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
In this case, I would expect that the "open" spelling would rarely, if ever, be used in the "crazy person" sense. I also suspect that this sense and spelling is relatively much more common in the US. DCDuring TALK 11:56, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

The sense of “crazy person” is marked US in some dictionaries. But Americans seem to close the compound more often. CanOD only has the closed spelling, with no regional label. Michael Z. 2010-06-14 14:59 z

fruitcake 281 19
fruit cake 21 59
fruit-cake 1 0

flunkery, flunkey, flummery

Somebody might want to edit/add these words based on John Wells’ blog. H. (talk) 10:16, 12 June 2010 (UTC)


(from the talk page) as a prompt

I think we're missing a sense where "and" is used as an interjection(?) to prompt someone into answering/responding/continuing.

Son: I was, erm, playing with my football in the living room
Father: And?
Son: I, err, kind of, err, hit the vase by the fireplace
Father: And?
Son: It sort of, erm, smashed. Into lots of pieces.
Father: And?
Son: I'm sorry.

I think this is sort of like how well#Interjection (sense 3) is used. Thryduulf (talk) 15:59, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

What makes the above use of and by the Father not a conjunction? It's implication is that there is more to be said/heard.Leasnam 21:50, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, clearly and is coordinating what came before with an expected contribution. It's a coordinator.--Brett 12:09, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Regardless of the part of speech, we don't have this sense defined afaict. Thryduulf (talk) 12:49, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
I've added it.--Brett 13:04, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Cheers. Thryduulf (talk) 14:53, 28 June 2010 (UTC)


There's a thing in French called a scoubidou, a kind of twisty coloured wires type thing, apparently popular in the 80s. Picture here. Anyone know if we have a word for this in English? Ƿidsiþ 16:27, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

From w:Scoubidou: "Scoubidou (Gimp, Scoubi, Scoobie, Boondoggle, or Lanyard) is a plaiting and knotting craft, originally aimed at children.". The article also notes that the first alternative name was also sometimes spelt "gymp". I can't say I've ever heard any of the names (or of the ting itself) personally, but "scoubidou" gets lots of English google hits, so I'd say "scoubidou" is the most common English name as well. Etymologically, it comes from "Scoubidou" the title of a song and, later, the French title of American cartoon "w:Scooby-Doo". Thryduulf (talk) 00:39, 13 June 2010 (UTC)


The "landing stage" sense of this word was marked as archaic. I've additionally marked this as dialectal as there are plenty of modern uses for features on places in the region (particularly Norfolk, but also Lincolnshire and Cleveland), e.g. [7]. There are also plenty of modern uses relating to the features in historical and archaeological contexts (many though explaining the term, including it's etymology), e.g. [8] and occasional ones in apparently contemporary contexts, e.g. [9].

I'm not sure therefore how we should mark the term. I have added some usage notes, but I don't think they paint the full picture as yet. Thryduulf (talk) 00:31, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

get ready

Eligible for inclusion? Sum of parts? Redirect? Has quite a few incoming links. Not found in most dictionaries, but there are some exceptions. I feel like my brain processes this as a single unit, but am having a hard time coming up with any actual case for inclusion. -- Visviva 01:08, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

"get", "make", "do", "take", "have", "put", "set" have lo-o-o-ng entries in most dictionaries to accommodate such expressions. Such entries are not our strong point. Many of these have one-word synonyms (eg, prepare) which differ by register and distribution of senses. If some of those using our entries are targeting learners, they might value such entries. I don't know whether these aren't most useful in an appendix such as Appendix:Collocations of do, have, make, and take or an appendix on the collocations of the verb (or the complement terms). Collocation space?
As to this entry specifically, AHD Idioms has it. RHU has an interjection from horse-racing. DCDuring TALK 12:28, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I would say probably add it. We are not a paper dictionary after all, and it could be idiomatic, right? ---> Tooironic 11:25, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

for one

"I, for one, don't like tomatoes." Does this warrant an entry? ---> Tooironic 11:23, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Check with other lemmings at OneLook. DCDuring TALK 11:23, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, added. ---> Tooironic 01:11, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

"to put one's trousers/pants on one leg at a time"

Does this kind of idiom deserve an entry? ---> Tooironic 13:47, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't think so. It's just a sentence, not a lexical unit or a proverb. Michael Z. 2010-06-14 15:21 z
It seems to mean "be a normal person, not a superman": see [10] (and similar hits). Not sure.​—msh210 16:09, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Added entries at put one's trousers on one leg at a time and put one's pants on one leg at a time. ---> Tooironic 00:57, 19 June 2010 (UTC)


So, we have the entries f**k, sh*t, c*ck and c*nt, to define euphemistic versions of vulgar words in English. Should we also have the entry ****, for the same purpose? It would be easily attestable. --Daniel. 23:31, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

**** isn't a word, it's the absence of one. Michael Z. 2010-06-15 04:27 z
Doesn't seem like a "word" somehow. It can also stand for many four-letter words not in your list (dick, damn, wank...). Equinox 09:13, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
"Any four-letter word" doesn't seem a bad definition either. Unless we expect that every English speaker should inherently know how to decipher an asterisk. --Daniel. 17:05, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Should we then include entries for things like free*? Thryduulf (talk) 18:23, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we should include any of these. If we found three publications that used a black bar to censor the word shit, would we then create an entry ████ defined as “feces?” These are not spellings of words, this is a method of (self-)censorship. Michael Z. 2010-06-15 18:34 z
However, maybe there should be a sense at * covering this. Nadando 19:15, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
The asterisk used this way is a typographical contrivance, not a lexical unit (i.e. word or term). It's not dictionary material. Michael Z. 2010-06-16 01:19 z
Additionally, the asterisk is not universally used for this. Such censorship can involve nearly any punctuation mark. It'd be nice if we had some appendix or something which could explain what's going on and how it works, but it's really not practical to have dictionary entries for all them. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:28, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
The entry * contains at least ten definitions. Their POS is "Symbol", which does not include words or terms. Holy ,,,,! I don't think that nearly any punctuation mark can naturally be used to censor words in English. --Daniel. 01:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Ok, so there are some conventions. But "Holy %$#@" works just as well as "Holy &@^*". The point is there are potentially thousands of different combinations which mean the same thing, and consequently covering them in a dictionary is not feasible. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 02:00, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I think that "%$#@" and "&@^*" are different from "sh*t" and "f——" and such: the latter are bowdlerized uses of specific words, and could be used to coyly transcribe actual utterances, whereas the former are just strings of symbols that conventionally indicate the same sort of things that bowdlerized swear-words do. That may seem like a distinction without a difference, and for most purposes perhaps it is; but when the argument against "%$#@" and "&@^*" and such is that there are potentially thousands of such combinations, then I think we have to consider "sh*t" and "f——" and such separately from those: do they also admit of potentially thousands of such combinations? —RuakhTALK 02:12, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Fair point. However, I do believe I've seen s%#t and the like, though I suppose this could use some investigation. If so, then both forms have a plethora of instantiations. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 02:26, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I suggest the addition to $, #, @ and % of a definition exposing the fact that they are commonly used in English to form random sequences whose result is any bowdlerized word. --Daniel. 02:38, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
This is also an (informal) typographic technique, and not examples of any English words. We are to define words, not to give lessons in spelling, grammar, or typography, or to “define” symbols. Sometimes a symbol like & or @ may serve as a lexical unit, but the CFI doesn't allow every kind of usage of every symbol to be included. File it away in an appendix. Michael Z. 2010-06-16 04:14 z

Use of "only" in grammar

I'm writing a articles for my online magazine, but am just slightly confused by the word only. This is my sentence, please check if grammar is correct:

  • Only the trees were somewhat damaged by last year's storm.
  • The only trees were somewhat damaged by last year's storm.
  • The trees were only somewhat damaged by last year's storm.
  • The trees were somewhat damaged only by last year's storm.
  • The trees were somewhat damaged by last year's only storm.

and another sentence on my site

  • The Chevrolet Cruze is sold here as a sedan only with the 1.8-litre engine.
  • The Chevrolet Cruze is sold here only as a sedan with the 1.8-litre engine.
  • The Chevrolet Cruze is sold here as a sedan with the 1.8-litre engine only.
  • Only The Chevrolet Cruze is sold here as a sedan with the 1.8-litre engine.

The ambiguity confuses me, please help me with this, it's not homework help, but personal help.


The grammar is correct for all of them (although "the" should be lowercase in the final example, and one might quibble over punctuation). Which one is true depends on what meaning you want to convey, and you haven't told us about that. -- Visviva 10:54, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
It's what they mean which I'm not sure about...
See, this is kind of problematic, language-wise. First you need to have something you wish to communicate, then you encode it in words. If you do it the other way around, it'll end in tears, mark my words. :-) So, if you can't express in some fashion what it is that you mean, then it's very difficult for us to tell you which, if any, of the expressions might be correct. For example, where is the Cruze sold? Is it available there in any form other than sedan? With any engine other than 1.8-liter? Is it also available with these options elsewhere? But in any case, Thryduulf has made a noble effort at an answer. -- Visviva 17:38, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Here is an attempt to explain what each of them mean:

  • Only the trees were somewhat damaged by last year's storm.
    • Nothing was damaged by the storm last year except trees, or other things were more and/or less severely damaged by the storm last year, but nothing except trees were "somewhat" damaged. ("only" here means that the sentence applies to nothing except the trees)
  • The only trees were somewhat damaged by last year's storm.
    • There are not many trees (either absolutely or relatively) and all the trees were somewhat damaged by the storm last year. ("only" here means that there is only a (relatively) small number/amount of the subject (the trees))
  • The trees were only somewhat damaged by last year's storm.
    • There was a storm last year that damaged the trees somewhat, but the damage could have been a lot worse. ("only" here means that the noun or verb that follows (in this case "damaged") is not very significant).
  • The trees were somewhat damaged only by last year's storm.
    • There was nothing that caused damage to the trees other than the storm ("only" means that there is no cause except the one listed here)
  • The trees were somewhat damaged by last year's only storm.
    • There was exactly one one storm last year, and this storm damaged the trees.
  • The Chevrolet Cruze is sold here as a sedan only with the 1.8-litre engine.
    • You can not buy a Chevrolet Cruze sedan with any engine except the 1.8-litre one.
  • The Chevrolet Cruze is sold here only as a sedan with the 1.8-litre engine.
    • You can not buy a Chevrolet Cruze except as a sedan that has a 1.8-litre engine or you can not buy a Chevrolet Cruze with a 1.8-litre engine except as a sedan.
  • The Chevrolet Cruze is sold here as a sedan with the 1.8-litre engine only.
    • You can not buy a Chevrolet Cruze except as a sedan that has a 1.8-litre engine
  • Only The Chevrolet Cruze is sold here as a sedan with the 1.8-litre engine.
    • You can not buy any sedan with a 1.8-litre engine except the Chevrolet Cruze.

Does this help? Thryduulf (talk) 16:56, 15 June 2010 (UTC)


(figuratively, followed by an adverb) To cause something to be in the state implied by the adverb by scraping.

This seems to me to be a promising approach for a large class of verbs often used metaphorically, but the wording is not user-friendly. Some OneLook dictionaries have special senses of "scrape" that seem to exist only to cover the use with specific adverbs. Thoughts on the desirability of this? Improved wording? Should there be links to illustrative (or all) specific derived phrasal verbs at the sense line? (BTW, this should have no effect on the includability of any otherwise includable phrasal verbs formed from "scrape".) DCDuring TALK 10:35, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
MWOnline has "to make one's way with difficulty". Is this better? DCDuring TALK 10:41, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Dog hook

Could you describe for me what dog hook is? A lot of zjanks. --Ksanyi 09:21, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

See [11]. ---> Tooironic 22:55, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
See peavy for a picture. DCDuring TALK 00:04, 18 June 2010 (UTC)


We seem to be missing the sense found in "there ain't no one for to give you no pain".​—msh210 17:47, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Are there other examples of for used in that way, as lyrics can often include words solely to fit the meter. Thryduulf (talk) 08:16, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Here are the first three I found on a quick search:
  • "Nor would he permit anyone for to come into his presence at that time." [12]
  • "I should say he will do you an injury if you allow him for to have a chance." [13]
  • "You may force a party, says I to myself, to scrawl the particular words you tell her for to write, but the King of the Cannibals himself couldn't steady a girl's hand contrarywise to her feelings." [14]
​—msh210 17:45, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Hmm, with the exception of [15] which deals with Belfast dialect, all the uses seem to be archaic, lasting longest in the US until the early 20th Century. No wonder it sounds wrong to my modern English ears. I've no idea how to define it, but in every case I see just deleting the "for" leaves standardly grammatical sentence with no apparent change in meaning. Thryduulf (talk) 22:58, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

It occurs in COCA, often in speech. In many cases it seems to be relic of a correction.
  • 1991 April 26, “Returned POW Navy Lieutenant Robert Wetzel”, in CNN_King:
    No, there wasn't any time for- to be scared, really.
Almost all the written usage that is not correction is not in this sense (eg, "for" part of a phrasal verb). What is in this sense are transcriptions of songs, eg, "Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home." I would not exclude this as current US dialect. DCDuring TALK 00:06, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Note: In the particular song you mention, there is debate as to whether the for is actually for or an eye dialect contraction of forth. That is, the chariot is either "coming (in order) to carry me home", or else "coming (forth) to carry me home." --EncycloPetey 19:16, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
@DCDuring: I think the song you mention, assuming it is using it at all (which seems likely to me, given google:"for to see"), is using it in a slightly different sense: there the "for to do" means "in order to do" (that is, it emphasizes that the infinitive is an infinitive of purpose; or rather, it replaces an infinitive of purpose with a preposition of purpose plus an infinitival complement), whereas in msh210's examples, that sense doesn't seem to be present. Msh210's examples remind me a bit of the perfectly ordinary "for one to do", where the "for" basically serves to attach the infinitive's subject to it, except that in all of his examples, the "for" follows the infinitive's subject, which seems to rule that out. So strange. —RuakhTALK 21:45, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd say it's simply the subordinator for (listed incorrectly as preposition sense 10). The double subordinator is obviously dialectally limited.--Brett 02:20, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Maybe so, but then the definition, "Used to introduce a small clause", is too restricted: what's being introduced in the examples above is no clause AFAICT.​—msh210 (talk) 17:15, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Most modern grammars would take to-infinitives to be clauses. See non-finite clause.--Brett 00:47, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

put one's trousers on one leg at a time

Do we want to use {{en-verb}} with such a long expression? I think the inflection line looks hideous. DCDuring TALK 01:29, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

For really long idioms like this, I don't think the usual inflection line is beneficial, but quite the reverse (as you've noted). --EncycloPetey 19:14, 19 June 2010 (UTC)


It is impossible from the definition currently given to determine whether this adverb means "distrustfully", "bashfully", or both. --EncycloPetey 17:23, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

good house

This is a term for which I have started an entry, but am not altogether sure it should be. The context of the quote (on the entry) suggests that it may mean "inn, tavern" or something similar. However, the term is used in the text spoken by a Quaker, whose spoken language elsewhere is archaic even for 1749. This term could also be sum of parts for what it seems. Can anyone shed light on this? --EncycloPetey 19:13, 19 June 2010 (UTC)


The current definition 4 is "A slender object specially designed for use in a specific game or sport, such as skittles or bowling."

This doesn't really tell me anything about what it is. I presume it's meant to refer to one of the pins in ten-pin bowling(?) but could equally refer to the flag in golf (which doesn't seem to be covered by other definitions), the baton in relay racing (afaik not called a pin), a stump in cricket (definitely not referred to as a pin), the pole used in pole vaulting (no idea if this gets called a pin or not), the bat in baseball (ditto), possibly even the gear lever in any vehicle used for motorsport (unlikely to called a pin, but I don't know for sure), or indeed any object that happens to be both slender and designed for use in a sport or game. Thryduulf (talk) 21:40, 19 June 2010 (UTC)


I'm wondering if the sense "nose" really is obsolete. I certainly know it from my childhood, which would make it "dated" at best (I'm 29), or possibly surviving only in dialect? Thryduulf (talk) 12:11, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree, dated but not obsolete. The Westmorland Gazette used the word with this meaning in a report on July 3rd 1902, and I'm sure I've seen it in print in children's books in the 1950s. In 1940, H G Wells used "snitch-rag" to mean handkerchief, and Joanne Rowling must have known the meaning when she wrote "And then the snitch zoomed past Harry's nose". Snitch meaning nose also appears in "The New Geordie Dictionary" [16]. I suggest that we change the context to "dated slang or dialect", or even just "slang". (It actually dates back to about 1700). Dbfirs 19:57, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm finding lots of mentions, but not a lot of uses. Interestingly, it seems the etymology of the sense "an informant", is from the verb "to snitch", which was originally "to nose" meaning "to inform". One durably archived use is [17] but it's a quote and it's not immediately apparent who is being quoted.
Also, there are plenty of mentions of snite one's snitch literally meaning "blow one's nose" but with teh slang meaning "punch (someone) in the face". Thryduulf (talk) 20:51, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Any examples from less than 60 years ago? -- 18:12, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Six citations ranging from 1960 to 2001 added to the entry and the obsolete tag removed. It's not easy finding these as the "informant" meaning is vastly more common. Thryduulf (talk) 19:50, 9 July 2010 (UTC)


El (US) has be entered as a translation for métro - is their such a subway/underground? —Saltmarshαπάντηση 12:41, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia, it's one spelling of the system in Chicago "The 'L' (sometimes called "L", El, EL, or L)" - w:Chigago 'L'. The name is an abbreviation of elevated. Thryduulf (talk) 15:41, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
It's not only Chicago. The elevated lines in New York used to be called "els" too. It does not get capitalized AFAIK except when referring to a specific line or system (and hence not as a pagetitle).​—msh210 (talk) 16:27, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I have removed El from the def some Metros may be overground, generically metros are underground? —Saltmarshαπάντηση 18:41, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't know French, but perhaps the best English translation of French métro would be metro?​—msh210 (talk) 19:14, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
"metro" is one English translation, but certainly British English usage this gets confused with the Tyne and Wear Metro (the only system in Britain to be called a "metro"). There isn't really a single widely used generic term, "mass rapid transit" is about the closest, but that's quite technical - we have so few systems this side of the pond that there isn't often a need to refer to them generically and so the name of the specific system (Underground (London), DLR (London), Subway (Glasgow) and Metro (Newcastle and Sunderland)) Thryduulf (talk) 20:34, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

yell silently

This seems to have passed a rather uninterested RFD, but doesn't it require the creation of "a silent yell" (his mouth opened in ___), "silently yell", and so on? Ditto the forms with scream. The two words do not seem to function as a unit at all, as far as I can see. Equinox 14:48, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

It's not sum of parts but I wouldn't call it idiomatic. It's figurative. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:32, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
The function together as a rhetorical unit, to wit, an oxymoron. We wouldn't want to include all (any ?) oxymorons, IMO. (BTW, Silva Rhetoricae is a great source for examples and definitions of rhetorical devices.) DCDuring TALK 14:46, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Not all oxymorons, no. But this is ok as an oxymoron entry. BTW, Why not any? Category:Oxymorons -- ALGRIF talk 15:19, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
What specific aspects make you consider it okay? What kind of oxymoron would you reject? Equinox 15:25, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Any entry that meets CFI, and happens to be an oxymoron, such as pianoforte or dry ice is fine. Anything that is SoP does not deserve an entry simply because it is an oxymoron expression. e.g. student teacher. -- ALGRIF talk 15:43, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

bum leg

Is this a unit? Can other body parts be "bum"? Equinox 23:17, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

I just deleted it on sight - but restore if erm, there's a reason to. It's perfectly sum of parts if you know this sense of bum. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:22, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Definitely sum of parts; "bum" is an independent adjective and can be applied to any body part (and also non-body parts)...-- 23:36, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Bum knee is about as common, according to Google Books, but after that the application to body parts drops off by an order of magnitude. Still, no different from "bad leg" or "bad knee". On the other hand, "bum calf" turns out to mean an orphan among the young of cattle. bd2412 T 15:05, 24 June 2010 (UTC)


Is this an actual English word? (or if meaning the antonym of secession, just a common misspelling of accession?) -- OlEnglish 13:16, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

The OED has ascesis, but no ascession, and all the Google hits seem to be mis-spellings. Dbfirs 19:50, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

lies, damned lies and statistics

Is this an idiom or just a cliché? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:21, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

I think it is a quote. The term was popularised in the United States by Mark Twain. There is a Wikipedia entry for it: Lies, damned lies, and statistics. --Mortense 17:50, 25 June 2010 (UTC)


"I've been here for, what, six years and never had a pay rise." What is the part of speech for this mid-clause usage (with a distinctively non-questioning tone)? Is it covered by our entry? Equinox 12:04, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

We had a discussion about say. What did we do about it in the end? Mglovesfun (talk) 12:07, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
We declared "say" to be the imperative form of the verb in the comparable usage. To me, parenthetical "what" in the usage under discussion does have the force of a rhetorical question. Both function in ways comparable to some sentence adverbs, but my inclination is to always go for the lowest level of grammatical analysis possible to provide a part of speech. Parentheticals can be any of many grammatical constituents (and possibly non constituents if elliptical). IMO, they are not automatically interjections, as many contributors would classify them. OTOH, some dictionaries call such things interjections, which means that they think users find such a classification helpful. DCDuring TALK 14:58, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Don't confuse the category of the word with how it's used. What is clearly a pronoun here. Consider I've been here for, five, six years now...--Brett 02:09, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Right. But it is standing in for a question such as "(What is it now?)". It would be a pronoun in that question. Almost anything can be the only expressed part of the full form of an ellipsis. With enough of such usage almost anything might turn into something else through "misconstruction". DCDuring TALK 02:40, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I believe it's a question word here.--Brett 12:00, 28 June 2010 (UTC)


A misleading tag claiming usage in the USA only has been added by HiFlyer (talkcontribs) who has not been active for the last 5 years (so it is pointless to try to enquire him). After a quotation has been provided where it is used as a verb by Keats this claim appears to be untenable. Is there any possibility that the tags for the remaining two senses are misleading as well and ought to be removed? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 06:38, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with any of the senses in British English, so instead of removing the (US) tag, it could be that the correct context is (now US) or (obsolete except US) or similar. Looking at bgc the only uses of gull as a verb that I can see are either American or (quotes from) Shakespearean or 19th century literature. Thryduulf (talk) 08:35, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
How about (archaic except US) ? Keats' use of the verb is from 1819, less than 200 years ago (gull an Emperor). Could anyone look up the word in the OED? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 08:42, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Not the OED, but my 1998 Chambers Dictionary has only the one verb sense "to dupe, deceive, cheat, hoax". It uses only the one temporal label "obs(olete)", which it does not apply to this sense (although it does to the noun sense "a hoax"). Thryduulf (talk) 09:27, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
The OED has the obsolete senses "to devour voraciously", "to swallow" etc, and "to deprive of by trickery or deception", "to cheat out of", and "to practise cheating" (all obsolete). The sense "to dupe, cheat, befool, ‘take in’, deceive" is not marked as obsolete, but the latest cite is from 1880. Dbfirs 12:14, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I haven't yet found any sense at COCA other than the "deceive, fool, mislead" sense (which I view as a single sense. Ie, I would merge sense 1 and 2.). All the other senses or syntaxes mentioned don't seem valid to me in current mainstream US English. I think the verb is kept on life-support by gullible. "Gulling" is not found at COCA, but "gulled" is. I haven't separated the possible verb and noun senses of the forms "gull" and "gulls". DCDuring TALK 12:39, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't see it as archaic in Br Eng. Deipnosophista 22:11, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

go off

We appear to be missing a sense here relating to concrete. I don't actually understand what happens when concrete goes off (I just know you need to let it), so I can't write the def myself.

Also, we don't have anything for "go off" meaning "go somewhere else" (e.g. "She went off to research further"). I'm not certain whether this is SOP or not, but if it is we should probably mark it with {{&lit}}. Thryduulf (talk) 09:20, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

I've extended the sense previously restricted to food to include concrete (no, I don't eat concrete!). Isn't the meaning of "go off somewhere" included in the entry for go? (I'm not sure either.) Dbfirs 12:06, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure that is the same sense - when food goes off you can't use it, but you can't use concrete until it has gone off (if I understand correctly). I'm guessing it means more like "set"?
Also, "to move somewhere" is the primary definition of go, think "to go off somewhere" would need to be a definition of off (I've not looked) to be SOP? Thryduulf (talk) 17:38, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I've never heard your "go off" meaning to set. I suppose I was thinking of cement "going off" rather than concrete. I'm still thinking about "going off somewhere". Dbfirs 07:13, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I've found a definition now for concrete going off [18] "The setting time of concrete is the time it takes for the concrete paste to lose its plasticity and begin to harden–or, in the parlance of those on the job, to “go off.” I don't think I've heard this meaning for anything other than concrete though. Thryduulf (talk) 10:55, 26 June 2010 (UTC)


Please someone check the comparative and superlative form of the newly added adjective. As usual, Webster 1913 does not contain this information, so I surmised that it is similar to open. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 11:09, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

I looked through the first hundred b.g.c. hits for "more ope", and only two distinct uses were relevant: [19] and [20]. I also looked through all the b.g.c. hits for "most ope", "further ope", "furthest ope", "farther ope", and "farthest ope", and the first hundred for "opest" and found no relevant uses. I didn't look through the hits for "oper", because it really seemed like a lost cause finding anything among that morass. All told, I think we're pretty safe with "more ope", but "most ope" is iffier. —RuakhTALK 19:06, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

fifth slip

Also, first slip, second slip, third slip and fourth slip

Are these sum of parts? Yes they are specific fielding positions, but there's nothing really idiomatic about the construction of the terms.

I'm honestly not sure about them, hence I've brought them here rather than rfd. Thryduulf (talk) 17:35, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

We are missing that sense of slip. If we should have it, then under which etymology?​—msh210 (talk) 18:12, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Unless I'm missing something we have the fielding position as Ety 3, Noun sense 7. The area of the field is called the slips (noun sense 2). Thryduulf (talk) 20:31, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
So we do. I had assumed it would be under Etym 1 or 2, and stopped looking after I saw it was under neither. Sorry.​—msh210 (talk) 17:10, 28 June 2010 (UTC)


This is missing the sense used in "potted biography", "potted history", etc. I started having a go at writing a definition:

  1. a short summary of a longer work, a précis.
    The website contained a potted history of the company.

However, I don't think that captures the entirety of the sense and it also makes it sound like a noun rather than the adjective it is. Thryduulf (talk) 22:02, 25 June 2010 (UTC)


See citations:porn for lots of cites of "porn" being used to describe things that aren't pornographic ("garden porn", "railway porn", etc). It means lots of, or gratuitous, pictures, videos, or other things (e.g. "timetable porn", although that isn't durably archived) related to whatever someone's hobby or interest is. E.g. "garden porn" is is beautiful gardens, "car porn" is fast/otherwise desirable cars. I don't know how to write this as a concise definition though. Thryduulf (talk) 14:51, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

  • 2004 November 14, Sheryl Van der Leun, “Indecent Exposure; When Did Cookware and Fly-Fishing Go X-Rated?”, in The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., page B.05:
    So there I was, perusing the Perfex salt grinders at my local Williams-Sonoma store, when I overheard an excited thirty-something shopper exclaim breathlessly as she walked by the $1,999 Jura-Capresso Impressa S8 Super Automatic Espresso Coffeemaker, "Oh, this is pure kitchen-porn. Get me out of here."
    All around us, innocent phrases are being corrupted by wanton use of the porn suffix [sic]. Hitherto untainted language is being flagrantly violated, willfully transformed into lusty euphemisms, lending these words an attribution they neither requested nor deserve. It seems some of us cannot express ourselves -- or at least our passions -- without resorting to porn.
    Sigh. Can't we just really, really like something without turning it into a carnal obsession? Can't we keep porn -- and I mean porn-porn, not gadget-porn or vegan-porn (yes, there is such a site) -- where it belongs, behind the green door and away from the innocent objects and activities of everyday life?
The second definition at pornography is a starting point: "The graphic, detailed, often gratuitous depiction of something." Perhaps it needs to be supplemented with the notion that the depiction has the effect (is prepared with the intent) of appealing to human desire in a way analogous to real (sexual) pornography. DCDuring TALK 16:33, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
On a more technical angle, the second definition ("(countable, informal) A pornographic film") implies that we'd say "I'm watching a porn" (or maybe "some porns"). Perhaps there was some confusion about which entry this was under as it seems to me to belong under "porno" but definitely not under "porn", which I have never heard used as a countable noun.
As far as as the "food [etc] porn" thing goes, isn't this just a very understandable extension of the word "porn" to refer to anything that might be intended to elicit desire in viewers?--Person12 08:09, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Regarding your comment about "foot [etc] porn", yes that's clearly the origin of the term, but the meaning is different - you don't get arrested for showing food porn to the vicar's 9 year old daughter. Thryduulf (talk) 09:14, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Is a consequence like that an inherent part of the term's meaning though? Hmmm.--Person12 01:59, 30 June 2010 (UTC)


Do/should we keep entries for scannos? Equinox 19:19, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

No kill the lot. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:33, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Delete I recall that we addressed this explicitly. DCDuring TALK 19:35, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
By their nature, scannos aren't durably archive because when you check the actual text it's gonna be correct. Furthermore Google's scanners will improve and at some point these may disappear completely. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:25, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

bite the hand that feeds you

I think this should be renamed; the lemma is bite the hand that feeds - "you" or "one" is an optional extra. ---> Tooironic 02:40, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

There are very few cases where a specific personal pronoun should be in a headword. OTOH, what you propose would be an ellipsis for bite the hand that feeds one. The convention is (or, at least should be) that "one" in a lemma for a verb (or verb phrase or proverb) indicates that the "one" is the same as the subject of the verb. I hope that both "one" and "you" are search stopwords so that a user who entered "bite the hand that feeds you" would be led to the bite the hand that feeds one entry. DCDuring TALK 11:26, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
So do you or don't you agree we should move it to bite the hand that feeds? I got lost in your reasoning. ---> Tooironic 06:44, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

"pressed/pressed for"

"We were pressed for time." Where do we add the dictionary entry? At press? pressed? pressed for? ---> Tooironic 09:26, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

We don't have preposition-including phrasal adjectives. "For" is part of an optional adjunct prepositional phrase. We sometimes show an obligatory or usual complement structure in a {{context}} tag. We also can provide a usage example with the common complement. That is one of their best uses. DCDuring TALK 11:35, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Err, so do we define at press or pressed then? ---> Tooironic 06:42, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
"I am very pressed for time" => "pressed" is an adjective. The verb "press" also takes an optional prepositional phrase. DCDuring TALK 10:21, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's right, except that for time is a complement PP, not an adjunct.--Brett 11:10, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Touche. Actually perhaps we should define it at pressed for time. There are a few OneLook hits for that wording. It's (probably) fixed. ---> Tooironic 14:36, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
No, pressed for time is SOP. Cf. google books:"very pressed for" -"pressed for time".​—msh210 (talk) 17:09, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Whether anyone determines that the "for time" is a complement or an adjunct has little bearing on whether the phrase meets CFI. I can't detect a change in the meaning of "pressed" (intransitive) with or without the prepositional phrase. But perhaps someone sharpen the contrast for me. It may take an advanced degree to explain the difference, but it should not take an advanced degree to recognize the difference. DCDuring TALK 19:05, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think Brett is saying that [word] + [preposition at the head of [word]'s complement] necessarily meets the CFI. I also don't think he's saying it's an obligatory complement. Some complements are obligatory, but many are optional. Note that a verb's direct object is, almost by definition, a complement, but there are plenty of verbs whose direct objects are optional. —RuakhTALK 19:17, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
No. I think Brett was correcting my use of "adjunct". He would rather I had said optional complement. At first I thought I was simply wrong and that Brett was simply right. CGEL only uses adjunct with respect to clauses. However, the SIL's Linguistic Glossary offers: "An adjunct, broadly defined, is an optional constituent of a construction." From my limited readings on syntax, I had inferred the optional meaning, but not the restriction to clauses, which, it turns out only some (many?) authors follow. Our entry at adjunct seems wrong, BTW. DCDuring TALK 20:04, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Japanese and Korean “adjectives”

Hello. As some of you may know, Japanese and Korean “adjectives” are not adjectives but verbs grammatically. A detailed discussion on the Japanese “adjectives” is found at w:Talk:Japanese grammar/adjectives. For the Korean “adjectives”, you can read [21], [22], etc.

They are traditionally called “adjectives” because they are semantically counterparts of European language adjectives, and they are morphologically different from ordinary verbs.

Japanese Korean
Word Traditional Modern Word Traditional Modern
歩く 動詞
verb 걷다 동사
良い 形容詞
verb 좋다 형용사
積極的 形容動詞語幹
stem of “adjectival verb”
noun 적극적 명사
いろんな 連体詞
adjective 여러 관형사

I'd like to know which we should use, the traditional classifications (as we do now) or the modern ones. The former is compatible with many textbooks and maybe easier to understand, but academically old-fashioned. At least, calling the Korean determiner is simply wrong.


  1. In Japanese, verbs and “adjectives” are different both inflectionally and semantically. In Korean, they are different almost only semantically, and the difference is rather suffixes than inflection itself.
    • (present) 걷다 / 걷지 않다 / 걷기는
    • (relative clause) 걷 / 걷지 않 / 걷기는 하
    • (present) 좋다 / 좋지 않다 / 좋기는 하다
    • (relative clause) 좋은 / 좋지 않은 / 좋기는 한
  2. Chinese also has verbs that are semantically adjectives, such as 清楚. The difference between ordinary verbs and adjective-like verbs is their reduplication forms: 休息 becomes 休息休息 (AB→ABAB) while 清楚 becomes 清清楚楚 (AB→AABB).

- TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:46, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

It's interesting but I don't understand what you're asking. Well, as you know, in Japanese we have 形容詞 (although they have tenses, they are considered "true" adjectives in English) and 形容動詞 (quasi adjective), there are no special headings in Wiktionary for 形容動詞, perhaps we should have? Is your question mainly about Korean? With Japanese -な and -の adjectives make the choice a bit different whether the translation's link should point to 簡単 or to 簡単な, or 紫の or (there may be an entry for one but not the other). Sorry, my Korean is poor to answer your question about Korean but I'm interested to know the rules. --Anatoli 07:35, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
According to modern linguists, 良い and 좋다 are grammatically not adjectives but verbs. My question is whether we should classify them as verbs like modern linguists, or as adjectives just like we do now. Our current position is to follow traditional grammar, but it is not compatible with the latest definition of adjectives. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 08:28, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Who are these modern linguists? Which standardized reference works reflect this consensus? So far you have provided a Wikipedia thread with no clear conclusion, and a couple of journal articles of no obvious authority. We can't afford to be pulled this way and that by every passing academic fad. I don't have Martin for Japanese, but his Reference Grammar of Korean uses "adjective" without embarrassment, while recognizing it as a subcategory of verb:

All transitive verbs are processive, but some of the intransitives are DESCRIPTIVE verbs -- here called ADJECTIVES (adj). The reference is not so broad as suggested by the corresponding English category, which includes not only predicated adjectives but also many attributive terms that are treated as nouns or adnouns in Korean. (p. 216)

Absent a comparably authoritative resource that takes the opposite point of view, it's difficult to see why we would change our practice. -- Visviva 14:04, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

<<::According to modern linguists, 良い and 좋다 are grammatically not adjectives but verbs. My question is whether we should classify them as verbs like modern linguists, or as adjectives just like we do now.>> I would classify the adjective forms as adjectives, and the verb forms (stem + -da, --sorry I do not have Hangul on this machine) as verbs. Reason being, it's not always easy to see the relation between an adjective and a verb. For example, 'deo-un' ("hot") is 'deop-da' when a verb, and you say 'deo-un il' ("hot day") and 'oneuleun deop-da' ("today is hot"). You differentiate verbs from adjectives in English. You should also in Korean. They function as separate parts of speech. Just because adjectives can easily be made into verbs in Korean does not mean that they do not exist alone as adjectives. They exist as both. Leasnam 21:51, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

<<As some of you may know, Japanese and Korean “adjectives” are not adjectives but verbs grammatically>> Yeah, this statement is not exactly true. It is a bit misleading for the reasons I've given. Leasnam 21:58, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
To Visviva: Okay, I'll be more conservative here on Wiktionary. I don't know exactly who is authoritative, but, for example, An introduction to modern Japanese says they are not adjectives but descriptive verbs. What Martin have written is exactly what I have said: the Korean “adjectives” are actually verbs. He compromises the modern classification and the traditional nomenclature. Then, how do we call adnominal adjectives? is definitely not a determiner.
To Leasnam: The “adjective” construction in Japanese and Korean is in fact a relative clause. Compare 시간 (a long time) and 머리 여자 (a woman whose hair is long), and you'll see the two phrases have the same construction. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:32, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I would call the relative clause construction an adjective clause because it ends in the adjective marker '-(n)eun'/'-(n)un' when it precedes the noun. A literal build in English would go something like this: 'A long-hair-hav(ing) woman' = a woman whose hair is long. One can look at it either way: prepositioned adjectives as simple relative clauses, or relative clauses as adjectival phrases. I think to an English speaker, though, it's easier to think of it as an adjective, as that is how adjectives are treated in English. Leasnam 15:21, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
This is becoming a digression but I'm afraid you don't understand the Korean language well. 머리가 긴 여자 is not literally a long-hair-hav(ing) woman. A woman who likes coffee is 커피를 좋아하는 여자, and a person who was born in Seoul is 서울에서 태어난 사람. Compare the three sentences and you'll find no difference in their construction. Anyway, it's okay to call them adjectives for the sake of safe conservatism for readers. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 05:23, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I am a native speaker. Sorry, I could not view the Hangul characters you had typed (remember, on this machine I cannot render Hangul). The 'long-haired having woman' was merely an example of what saying 'A woman whose hair is long' is like to an English speaker. I have since viewed what you have written on a different machine and, yes, it is 'Hair-long woman' (i.e. "a long-haired woman"); and 'Coffee-liking woman' (idem), etc. which illustrates my point perfectly. In the Coffee-liking example, '-neun' is equivalent to English present participle '-ing'. And yes, we are digressing a bit, but that's ok :) Leasnam 20:05, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
A native speaker of what? I'm talking about Korean. Do you insist Korean doesn't have a relative clause? If you think it does, then you don't need the present participle thing. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:32, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Of course I am referring to Korean. I don't know where you're getting the "insistence of no relative clause" from. Not from me. ??. I certain know that it has. Korean uses relative clauses, prepositioned adjectives, and present participles :/ Leasnam 02:58, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
If you are a native Korean speaker, you shouldn't show your level as ko-1 [23]. Relative clauses, adjectives, and participles are different things in English, but in Korean, they are the same. If you choose relative clauses, then you don't need the other two. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 06:09, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I chose not to display my level in Babel because contributing in Korean is not something I can do with my machine, nor is it something I would like to do at the moment as I have other interests I would like to focus on. You probably could technically consolidate adjective and particle with relative clause, but relative clause is not a part of speech to identify a word. Nor do Korean dictionaries show headwords as relative clauses, they follow Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb, etc. So should we. Leasnam 12:21, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


The entry to English "particle" to says that there's a discussion in the tea room, but I can't find any such discussion, nor can I find when the link was added to to. Anyone know anything about this?--Brett 11:57, 28 June 2010 (UTC) Sorry, I found it [here]. Can the RFT notice be removed from the page?--Brett 12:29, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, if there is no non-archived discussion, and you do not want to start a new discussion, then remove the template. See also Wiktionary:Grease pit#Dangling tea-room templates where I propose removing these templates by bot or other automated process. Thryduulf (talk) 12:52, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Removed.--Brett 13:06, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Church of Scientology

I'm a bit alarmed by some of User:Proxima Centauri's recent edits in the area of Scientology, e.g. adding the "vicious and dangerous cult" quotation to Scientology and adding without sources that ex-Scientologist is one who specifically opposes the organisation. Perhaps it is a cult, or whatever, but as a serious dictionary we should not push viewpoints either way when more neutral citations are easily available. Do others agree with removing this stuff? Equinox 17:41, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

I think that where we have a choice between quotes that illustrate the meaning, temporal spread and/or other relevant factors of the definition equally well then we should prefer:
Neutral over non-neutral
Quotes biased towards or against ambiguous subjects over those with less ambiguous subjects
Quotes biased towards or against organisations or long dead people over living or recetly deceased people
in that order of priority. Thryduulf (talk) 18:43, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
I removed the offending citations. It's clear that the author's intention was to vilify the organization, and not to provide typical usage example illustrating the term's meaning. I'd also recommend removing citations from the works of institutionalized religious fiction (Bible, Quran, etc.) and general discriminatory movements (feminism, supremacism etc.) and replacing them with appropriate substitutes, if they can be found (which they sometimes can't, in lots of languages the oldest/only attestations are from religious works). The exceptions are of course terms which are by definition "biased" (vulgar, offensive, derisive..). --Ivan Štambuk 08:36, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Also, it wont always be possible to find citations of religious terms/senses in non-religious works. Thryduulf (talk) 09:27, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
In cases involving controversial topics, and especially those that have proven to be contentious in the recent past like this one, it is a good idea to not add information to such pages, unless properly sourced, and appropriately cited. -- Cirt (talk) 22:15, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

banana oil, bohunkus, botts, 'gram, guffin, hornswoggler, literateuse

Hullo. Proposing seven missing words and ready-made Wodehouse quotations for them:

  1. banana oil (nonsense)
    • 1960: He paused and did another splash of gulping, and I could see that we were about to come to the nub, all that had gone before having been merely what they call pour-parlers. I mean the sort of banana oil that passes between statesmen at conferences conducted in an atmosphere of the utmost cordiality before they tear their whiskers off and get down to cases. (P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter IX)
  2. a bohunkus (a big ass, fig. a dunce or an idiot)
    • 1960: [The butler] joined us with a telegram for Bobbie on a salver. From her mother, I presumed, calling me some name which she had forgotten to insert in previous communications. Or, of course, possibly expressing once more her conviction that I was a guffin, which, I thought, having had time to ponder over it, would be something in the nature of a bohunkus or a hammerhead. (P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter V)
  3. the botts (species of parasitic worms; also the disease of their infecting the intestine of horses an other animals)
    • 1960: “Conditions under Aubrey Upjohn were fairly tough. One's mind reverts particularly to the sausages on Sunday.” “Reggie was very funny about those. He said they were made not from contented pigs but from pigs which had expired, regretted by all, of glanders, the botts and tuberculosis.” (P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter XI)
  4. a 'gram (short for a telegram)
    • 1960: [The butler] joined us with a telegram for Bobbie on a salver. [...] “Oh, thank you, Swordfish,” said Bobbie, taking the ‘gram. (P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter V)
  5. a guffin (a waste)
    • 1960: [The butler] joined us with a telegram for Bobbie on a salver. From her mother, I presumed, calling me some name which she had forgotten to insert in previous communications. Or, of course, possibly expressing once more her conviction that I was a guffin, which, I thought, having had time to ponder over it, would be something in the nature of a bohunkus or a hammerhead. (P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter V)
  6. a hornswoggler (a deceiver, a trickster)
    • 1960: “I shall have to exercise an iron self-restraint to keep me from beaning that pie-faced little hornswoggler Mrs Bertram Wooster, nee Wickham, with the shaker.” “Ought you to call her a pie-faced little hornswoggler?” “Why, can you think of something worse?” he said, with the air of one always open to suggestions. (P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter IX)
  7. a literateuse (feminine of a literateur, a literary writer)
    • 1960: “I finished my chapter a moment ago, so I thought I would stop for a cup of tea,” said this literateuse. “No good overdoing it.” (P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter V)

HTH, 01:00, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

  • hornswoggler would seem to be merely the agent noun of hornswoggle. bd2412 T 02:00, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
  • "The botts" can refer to infection by bots or to the disease (either maggots or worms, especially in horses). I'm undecided as to whether we should add an extra sense to our entry at bot, but botts as a disease certainly deserves an entry since is can be used in the singular. Dbfirs 09:40, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Added literateuse and literateur as alternative spellings of the more common litterateuse and litterateur. Cheers! bd2412 T 00:25, 30 June 2010 (UTC)


There are a bunch of bgc hits, but not enough, I think, to include it if it's a misspelling (of peristalsis). But is it?​—msh210 (talk) 11:04, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Figlio d'un cane

Without going into where I heard the term (okay, it was 15th century Italy, or at least it was set there), I just wondered where I might put this. Is it the medieval form of figlio di puttana? Or might it still have a modern use, but should just be left as a red link on the figlio di puttana article? ArchabacteriaNematoda 19:56, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Just a fully entry if attestable at figlio d'un cane. It doesn't look like Modern Italian with d'un in there. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:23, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

show a clean pair of heels

I've just created the entry for this idiom, but I'm not sure if it's at the right entry title - should it be at just clean pair of heels, as all manner of things can come between the "show" (or any other form of the verb) and the "a clean pair of heels", but as far as I can tell (and certainly every time I've heard it used) show is the only verb used. Also, should it be marked as ambitransitive, as (I think) two of the citations show transitive use and one an intransitive use? Thryduulf (talk) 21:57, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I have only heard it with show, personally. Equinox 22:05, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

poop (vb)

Sense 1 is currently "To break seawater the poop of a vessel".

Are we missing a "with" or perhaps an "over" in there or something, or does that make sense to other people as it stands?--Person12 02:01, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Webster 1913 had:
v. t. (Naut.)
(a) To break over the poop or stern, as a wave.
  • "A sea which he thought was going to poop her." Lord Dufferin.
(b) To strike in the stern, as by collision.
-- DCDuring TALK 02:30, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
That is, it has to be a wave or the seas that is the subject and the ship that possesses the poop deck is the object for sense a. and a ship must be the subject for sense b. DCDuring TALK 02:33, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

old-timer, Oldtimer

As far as I know "old-timer" and perhaps some hyphenation variants only refers to people in real English and never to old cars. "der Oldtimer" is however a German word which covers all kinds of old cars up to at least 1970s models so would therefore cover vintage, veteran, and classic cars in English. I'm sure that just like Handy, plenty of Germans expect their English-inspired word to also be an actual English word with the same sense. I also wouldn't be surprised if it has become some sort of Euro-English word used by non Germans but it's never used by native English speakers and is not in the dictionaries I've checked.

Please chip in if you agree or disagree. — hippietrail 08:32, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm vaguely sure I've seen "oldtimer" (or possibly some other hyphenation) referring to an old car in American English fiction. The story where I'd go and look for it ifI had the time (which I don't atm) isn't durably archived though so it wouldn't be useful as a citation. It's not used in British English in that sense certainly. Thryduulf (talk) 10:33, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

women's rights (and men's rights)

Would these be considered SoP? They have Wikipedia pages, but I guess that doesn't count for much. ---> Tooironic 23:55, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

I think so, surely we just need an good entry for rights. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:22, 1 July 2010 (UTC)