Wiktionary:Tea room/2010/March

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← February 2010 · March 2010 · April 2010 → · (current)

March 2010

New England

This section has been archived to Talk:New England.

hom (ordering multiple languages?)

Just wondering if there is any ordering rationale/policy/guideline/etiquette when adding another language to a page when 2 or more other languages are already there.
In the case of hom, Korean & Old French were already there, I added the Middle English. I decided to go with alphabetical for now, but if that's wrong please let me know. (And if there's any kind of guideline about this anywhere please direct me to it). Thanks. --TyrS 01:16, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Alphabetical ordering is correct, you don't need to worry about it too much, User:AutoFormat will fix things like that for you. (it's probably mentioned in WT:ELE somwhere) Conrad.Irwin 02:22, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Not worry about ordering?! ME?! (heh heh)
Thanks.--TyrS 03:42, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

gender senses 2 & 3 (NB not ordering-related)

This section has been archived to Talk:gender.

two ball lonnen

please could someone tell me why the name "Two Ball Lonnen"? It is a street/road in newcastle, there is also "Silver Lonnen", the silver a reference perhaps to a stream, and from a distance looked silver! —This comment was unsigned.

  • My best guess is that "Lonnen" comes from the word loaning - an old Northern and Scottish word for a right of way. SemperBlotto 08:33, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
    • But best go to the Newcastle central library and find either "What's in a name-?: some Newcastle street names explained‎", or "The street names of old Newcastle‎". SemperBlotto 09:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
  • SB is on the money -- it's a northern form of loaning. But that doesn't mean "right of way", it means "lane". The old phrase for right of way was free loaning. Ƿidsiþ 17:16, 3 March 2010 (UTC)


This section has been archived to Talk:scientocracy.



This section has been archived to Talk:mechanical and Talk:technical.


This section has been archived to Talk:sevenpence.

" 's " usage notes

Proposed overhaul of Usage notes section of plural/Biblical/classical possessive punctuation. If interested, please go there. Thanks very much.--TyrS 00:27, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Please check out Appendix:Special uses of possessives in English before expending more energy. -- ALGRIF talk 17:34, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

abbreviation of I had

Just been trying to do an 11yr olds homework and one of the questions is shorten 'I had' using an apostrophe, well I can't work it out, can anyone help me please?

I'd is what you are looking for, "I'd have gone to the bar, but I'd a lot to do" (I would have..., but I had...). Conrad.Irwin 21:10, 4 March 2010 (UTC)


This is a quote from "Thank you for arguing" by Jay Heinrichs. (He's talking about finding a book that changed his life)

"Years ago I was wandering through Dartmouth College's Library for no particular reason, flipping through books at random, and in a dim corner of the stacks I found a large section on rhetoric, the art of persuasion. A dusty, maroon-red volume attributed to Adams sat at eye level. I flipped it open and it felt like an indoor Coronado. Here lay treasure." [italics mine]

I can't find the word Coronado. Is it a mistake? (I thought it might be one of the legendary cities of gold in Central America, but the closest I can find is as the name of a Spanish explorer and of several towns.)

It's not a mistake. It's a reference to Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, the Spanish explorer and conquistador. --EncycloPetey 04:51, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Would saying "an indoor El-Dorado" be the same sort of intent? RJFJR 15:23, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

this is it

Should we have this entry? We do have that is it. ---> Tooironic 12:05, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Looks worthy of an entry - meaning voila. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 18:31, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Not voici ? SemperBlotto 11:21, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
No, we don't say voici in English. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 12:16, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
No. So we have voila in English (not normally "voici") with the meaning of "there / here it is!" But it doesn't seem to be a rationale for adding the proposed entry. "this is it" is not an equivalent of "that's it", either. -- ALGRIF talk 11:03, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Glagolitic and Glagolitic alphabet

I think the content about the noun should be merged into a single page (the most used one, probably Glagolitic alphabet, but I need the confirmation of someone else). Now they don't accord with each other and having the translations section in both pages is quite odd and disorganized... Pharamp 11:16, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia would merge them, of course, but I don't see any reason to merge these pages here, as they are not the same word. But soft redirects might be used (e.g. for translations?) Lmaltier 17:33, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Isn't Glag. alphabet sum-of-parts, or nearly so? I'd say put the main entry at Glag., as it forms Glagolitic alphabet, Glagolitic writing, etc. Michael Z. 2010-03-06 17:57 z
For Lmaltier: yes, I meant the content, not the pages, with soft redirects. We just need to chose the main entry. Then, I'll try to edit them as I've thought, and you will revert me if something isn't okay :) Pharamp 18:02, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I noticed that we have this situation:
It's quite incredible we don't have any pages for these scripts, maybe I'm missing something O_O do we have them? Anyway the situation is extremely disorganized and also Category:Alphabets is really confused. Is the Tea Room the best place to discuss about all this? Any proposal? I'm ready for doing any changes to these pages after a decision. Bye for now. Pharamp 19:47, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Latin, Greek, Armenian, etc. are adjectives denoting the language that a script is or originally was used to write. But Glagolitic and Cyrillic are names of the scripts themselves. The Greek, and Greek writing probably refer to a language, while the Glagolitic and Glagolitic writing can only refer to the script. Michael Z. 2010-03-08 01:19 z
I really would like to reformat these entries, but what is the best way for you? Pharamp 12:47, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I think the compounds may be sum-of-parts. The Greek alphabet is the alphabet (n.) for Greek (adj. 1), &c. A list of an alphabet's letters doesn't define it – there may several contemporaneous and dozens of historical variations – and such a list rightly belongs in Wikipedia. So I suggest concentrating on the adjective entries Cyrillic and GlagoliticMichael Z. 2010-03-09 00:12 z
Done on Glagolitic and Glagolitic alphabet. Please everyone check! Pharamp 15:09, 9 March 2010 (UTC)


This section has been archived to Talk:friend.

praliner, pralinage

there is a funny extention of the word praline > praliner = coat in caramel = coat in something brown => coat [roots of plants to be replanted] in mud enriched in manure.

I am somehow sure that English people, gods of efficient gardening, also have a word for it. Can someone help?

--Diligent 07:10, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Maybe to manure or a phrasal verb manure up? I found some hits for manure up, but it doesn't seem to be the same as praliner --Rising Sun talk? contributions 12:51, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
I then sowed some green manure on a couple of the beds we manured up last week. We then just had to harvest our goods. [1]
Hubby earthed up the potatoes, manured up the squash bed, dug over the brassicas bed, swore a lot when he discovered the slugs have had half the contents[2]

ouests et al.

I deleted the French plurals of the compass points as they're theoretically invariable. I'm having doubts now, if common enough they would make good nonstandard forms. See also oranges#French, which is supposed to be invariable as an adjective but is also in widespread use. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:33, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Word classification

Apologies in advance for no doubt the use of incorrect terminology. How would one classify a word that translated as "who's there?" Is it an interjection? --Roisterer 04:31, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

If it is a single word, I'd guess it to be a pronoun. I suggest that you provide the language and the word to allow for someone more knowledgeable than I to provide a better determination of the appropriate part of speech. DCDuring TALK 11:09, 8 March 2010 (UTC)


This section has been archived to Talk:skirt.

who cares

This section has been archived to Talk:who cares.


Heads up: I have added a sense to "outdated" where other dictionaries have only one sense. I have added "up-to-date" and "modern" as antonyms. I don't think versions of documents can be antiquated or old-fashioned, but they can still be outdated, hence two senses. I feel slightly unsure. --Dan Polansky 13:09, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Sounds right.​—msh210 19:50, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

LatLng or GLatLng

I'm not sure if this (they) deserves an entry. Is it (are they) simply limited to Google mapping language? -- ALGRIF talk 10:48, 10 March 2010 (UTC)


Why is Caaba considered the primary or correct spelling of Kaaba (according to the authors of the Kaaba article)? See also w:Kaaba-- 14:47, 10 March 2010 (UTC)


Does the various uses of this word really merit three etymologies? I think one suffices. There is some interest in the sense evolution. Does the adverb use require a separate etymology to explain that it is a shortening of "if you please"? Excess headers waste vertical screen space and make the entry more complicated than it need be. DCDuring TALK 23:53, 10 March 2010 (UTC)


This section has been archived to Talk:aptotic.


This section has been archived to Talk:steam.


This section has been archived to Talk:strikingthrough.


Is prejudgmental/prejudgemental a mistake for prejudiced in colloquial speech? RJFJR 14:41, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Apparently it is used that way; whether it's a mistake I can't say.​—msh210 16:47, 15 March 2010 (UTC)


I'd like to create a Chinese entry for this word but someone has put a Japanese redirect on there. Can someone knowledgeable in Japanese please turn it into an actual entry? Cheers. ---> Tooironic 01:16, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Done Bendono 17:08, 16 March 2010 (UTC)


Do we have anyone who knows PIE? Special:Contributions/ need review.​—msh210 16:25, 16 March 2010 (UTC)


This section has been archived to Talk:扐 and Talk:朸.


I have removed verb forms from "consecrate" in this edit. Feel free to object and revert me. --Dan Polansky 07:59, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Oh you're definitely right. Funny that sometimes we allow them for Latin verbs. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:52, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I think the difference is that this is the plain form of this verb, and those senses represent standard uses of English verbs' plain forms. Heck, even for the preterite and past participle, which often differ in English, we just combine them when they're the same (see {{past of}}). But for a word like put or cost, where the preterite and past participle are identical to the plain form, I do think it makes sense to include a {{past of}} sense at the main entry, just as we frequently do with Latin entries. (Not that I usually bother to, myself.) —RuakhTALK 21:08, 18 March 2010 (UTC)


This section has been archived to Talk:nugget.


This section has been archived to Talk:with and Talk:what's with.

in that

This section has been archived to Talk:in that.


This section has been archived to Talk:ascribe.


This section has been moved to Talk:pol.

one and one's

Is this an interjection? Equinox 18:50, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

With a complement? I guess so, but am not so well-versed in what's considered an interjection. if not, then Noun, I guess, as it is technically (including the complement) a NP. Shouldn't the pagename be someone and someone's or someone and his or someone and someone's something or someone and his something?​—msh210 19:02, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Rename to X's and Y's. Not just kidding, just move to RFD or delete directly as this can't possibly pass, can it? Mglovesfun (talk) 23:00, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I think it would. See Wiktionary:Beer parlour archive/2008/April#Gaps_in_entry_titles..​—msh210 17:28, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
This is clear evidence that we are just doing this to amuse ourselves, not to help anyone. How would anyone find this? At the very least we would need some kind of pragmatics access points so someone could find this. An English phrasebook I picked up has the following classes of first-level headings in its "Topic and Situation Index": Basic Social Encounters, Conversational Encounters Polite Encounters, Impolite Encounters, Visits, Miscellaneous Expressions, Personal Matters, Family Matters, Money Matters, Food and Drink, Health, Employment, Shopping, Service Encounters, Telephones, Travel and Transportation, Lodging. Emergencies.
The expression is not used any more than any other construction as an interjection. Should we have entries for you something and that something where something can be from some set of terms like "freak", "bastard", "monster", "ass", "shrew", etc? It all might be somewhat useful for, say, the autistic who find it hard to pick this kind of thing up from normal social encounters. DCDuring TALK 15:09, 23 March 2010 (UTC)


Consider: "He is the very model of a modern major-general." Our closest sense is "A praiseworthy example to be copied". Though the entry refers the user to a WS page on which archetype is offered as a synonym, none of the senses given actually has that meaning. The construction be the model of is in the Cambridge Dictionary of Idioms, which apparently has many entries beginning with be, which type of entry we scorn.

  1. One could say of Hitler that he is the very "model" of a sociopath. Therefore, there is at least one sense in which "praiseworthy" should be absent, presumably the "archetype" sense.
  2. Do we want to rely on the entry for of to carry this meaning? Is this not the kind of thing for which we would want some information about the construction to be part of the entry for model?
-- DCDuring TALK 22:46, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Do the usages "He is the model of decorum" and "He is a model of decorum" really fall under the missing "archetype" sense? Can "model of decorum" in this sense ever appear anywhere except after a copulative sense of a verb (behave, act, seem, become, be, look, sound)? IOW, should we have an entry for be the model of? DCDuring TALK 23:05, 18 March 2010 (UTC)


Hey guys, I was wondering if the sense at readily covers "readily available" i.e. with this quote (picked at random):

With readily available computer power and appropriate nonlinear least squares analysis software, ...

The existing sense implies it can't be used in reference to inanimate (or intangible) objects (how can computer power even be unwilling?). I don't think this definition is adequate. 02:10, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Added, thanks.​—msh210 17:33, 19 March 2010 (UTC)


Many terms in Category:Astronomy should probably be better in Category:Cosmology - but we don't seem to have such a category or even a template. I haven't really got the time this year to attempt the task of creating them and then populating them - would anyone else like to have a go? SemperBlotto 09:45, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

While we're about it, there are a large number of entries there that are capitalised. I think most of them are incorrect. eg Local Bubble. Problem is, I'm not 100% certain about most of them to move them. -- ALGRIF talk 13:58, 19 March 2010 (UTC)


Is there a workd for a person who is on the receiving end of an apology? The perosn doing the apologising is the apologist who is the "apologee"!

  • The one making the apology is normally the apologiser, although apologist is not wrong, it is usually used with another, more formal sense. (Sense 2 in the entry). I cannot think of any word for one who receives an apology, other than words like "victim" in specific contexts. -- ALGRIF talk 14:06, 19 March 2010 (UTC)


In the US, the technical legal term power of attorney is roughly synonymous with attorney-in-fact (which may also be true in the UK or elsewhere, but I don't know). In this usage, can we validly place on the Etymology section of attorney-in-fact that "fact" in its archaic sense meant "deed" or "action," thus attorney-in-fact means, "attorney for an action" or "attorney for an act"? Is this generally the correct etymology?-- 18:12, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I'd always thought so. Clicking on fact in the inflection line should take the user (eg, you!) to fact#Noun. Perusal of the entry should lead to the sense you refer to. DCDuring TALK 19:15, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Makes sense, but since we try to create etymology sections, perhaps we can but that brief content in the actual entry...--达伟 19:25, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm moving this to the Scriptorium--达伟 19:30, 19 March 2010 (UTC)


According to the talk page and the history, this is German, not Portuguese. --Daniel. 12:05, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

It is German. Comer See = Lake Como. In Portuguese, they just say "de Como". —Stephen 03:30, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

talk about

Badly needed her[sic]. I might have a go at in one's book per Msh210. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:45, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Hunh? DCDuring TALK 15:39, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

ASL dictionary

Hello wiktionary. I came across this very nice online dictionary of American Sign Language ([3]). idk if you do ASL here but just wanted to share the link. thanks,


What does thrust line means in the construction? Thank you for your help. A translator. --Ksanyi 20:50, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Try Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Neutral axis#Arches on Wikipedia.Wikipedia for a clue. I'd just be guessing. It comes up a lot in aircraft design as well. DCDuring TALK 22:47, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

that's what I call

Seems to represent more than the sum of its parts, but what should the entry name be? that's what someone calls? Mglovesfun (talk) 23:05, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

If it is idiomatic and if non-constituents are really good entries, the section title would be the entry. I don't think this occurs in an arguably idiomatic sense except in the first person, almost always singular. I look forward to the idiomatic definition. DCDuring TALK 00:00, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Similar phrases in the possibly idiomatic sense are:
  1. that's a, usually "now, that's a"
  2. that's one, as in "that's one spicy meatball."
  3. that's what I call a.
Related is now that's what I'm talking about. The last is a currently catchphrase of waning popularity in the US. The other's don't seem very idiomatic despite their popularity. DCDuring TALK 00:08, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

as for

"As for me, I don't like broccoli." Does this deserve its own entry? ---> Tooironic 00:32, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Sure. totally entry-worthy, with synonyms regarding, in regard. Well, almost synonyms--Rising Sun talk? contributions 21:31, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
It deserves a good entry. But, as for the choice of venue to put in for a requested entry, it should be at WT:REE. DCDuring TALK 23:16, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
OK, added. Cheers. ---> Tooironic 00:08, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Respective yours

Is this a misapplicaiton of respectfully yours or is there a standard greeting which goes like that? See this video at time 53:58. I also did a Google search which did yiled a few similar results. __meco 15:49, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Aging ex-Air Force pilots may not be the best source of standard English. DCDuring TALK 23:23, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Henny Penny, Foxy Loxy

Dictionary-worthy? Also, Chicken Little has a supposed figurative sense while Chicken Licken does not. Equinox 21:44, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

The one figurative sense is the only includable term, per CFI. Chicken Licken is just cited as the character's name; send it to RFV, and see if anyone finds it to be used like a Chicken Little. Send the rest right to RFD. Michael Z. 2010-03-24 22:09 z

Sumo category

Category:Sumo has bothered me for a while. I don't believe that many of these terms are actually attestable in English; they appear rarely or never in Google Books and tend to be italicised. I suspect they were added as a batch at some point without research. Equinox 21:49, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Review and mass RFV? If they are used in sumo enthusiasts' magazines, even in italics, then they would qualify for inclusion. On the other hand, e.g., the sumo sense of taiko seems completely redundant, and not specific to taiko (like labelling organ as a hockey term because the instruments are played in arenas). Michael Z. 2010-03-24 22:13 z
The history of these is: Some years ago . . . the prize for one of our earliest competitions was for me to enter words about the winner's chosen subject. I can't remember who chose sumo. I entered words (that seemed to be English - i.e were written in the Latin script) that I found in either [4] or [5] (I think). SemperBlotto 22:15, 24 March 2010 (UTC)


This discussion has been archived to Talk:times.


This entry illustrates a way of presenting a normative definition provided by an international standard-setting body without corrupting the purity of our descriptive approach. The entry contains support for neither the normative nor the prescriptive definition. I cannot find two independent sources that agree on the meaning.

Is the presentation adequate? Should such entries be immediately RfVed? Given the difficulty of citation of a wordy precise definition of a specialist word such as this, should we give any weight to the definitions provided in print glossaries? DCDuring TALK 12:08, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

I think it's good enough. Your problem might originate in that taxonomy (and its practical consequence, nomenclature, to which basionym is more correctly related) is in fact not a unified field. Animal and plant taxonomy (and unicellular and virus) are completely separate field (because they are subfield of zoology, botany etc.) and often uses subtly paratype, or completely different (valid name) definitions of terms. Luckily, "basionym" is botany only (though I can't look up the ICZN to check what they use). Circeus 02:36, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

animal fancy

This section has been archived to Talk:animal fancy, Talk:fancy, Talk:dog fancy, and Talk:cat fancy.

separable phrasal verbs

Does this website make space for seperable and inseparable phrasal verbs? --Forhundred 02:30, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

See Category:English phrasal verbs When making an entry, I sometimes like to put a succinct usage note about the normal placing of pronouns, if the verb is separable. -- ALGRIF talk 19:56, 27 March 2010 (UTC) See example at blow up. -- ALGRIF talk 19:58, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Schrödinger's cat

Shouldn't this be a proper noun? I mean, we're talking about the Schrödinger's cat, aren't we, not just any old thought experiment? ---> Tooironic 08:54, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

By that criterion, how would you label quantum mechanics, since it is a specific and particular field, and not just any area of study? As with Schödinger's cat, this is an abstract noun, and abstract nouns don't behave in the same way as concrete nouns. Or, to answer your question more directly, consider this quote:
  • 2004, Colin Bruce, Schrödinger's Rabbits: The Many Worlds of Quantum‎, page 83
    To see how, let us consider a nested system of Schrödinger's cats.
As you can see, the term applies to any subject in a similar experiment, and not to a specific thought experiment. --EncycloPetey 14:07, 30 March 2010 (UTC)


Proper-noun sense: "An abandoned city in northern Ukraine, known as being the site of a nuclear accident." The proper-noun sense doesn't meet the nation-or-secondary-area (state, province, etc.) rule, nor would it currently meet any population-based criteria. Should all places that were ever inhabited be included?

The common noun sense "A major nuclear-energy accident" seems accurate. It would seem wise to make sure that any version of CFI accommodates such a sense. DCDuring TALK 13:20, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

The synonym of my childhood was Three Mile Island (cf. w:). It seems to have lost some currency over the years. I sometimes wonder if a usage like “another Chernobyl,” “Watergate,” or “Vietnam” is really a word with an independent meaning, or just the attributive use of an event's proper name. “Waterloo” has stood the test of time, but we could probably identify a thousand others that haven't. Michael Z. 2010-03-27 15:56 z
In answer to the question "Should all places that were ever inhabited be included?" - probably not. But if anyone goes to the trouble of creating a decent entry, then it should not be removed. SemperBlotto 15:59, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Of course someone could put in to mass-load gazetteer-type entries. DCDuring TALK 18:51, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It's not places that should be included, it's words. All words should be included, whatever they mean. And Chernobyl is a very useful page (see translations). Lmaltier 16:07, 27 March 2010 (UTC}
LM: That seems to deftly duck the question as to which senses are to be included. We seem to have an emerging consensus on inclusion but not on the senses to be included. The approach taken with respect to personal name words seems to have some traction for toponyms as well. The open issues (clearly related), AFAICT, are:
  1. whether "New York" and the "Green Mountains" are to be treated like "George Washington"
  2. whether "New York" is to be defined as a specific bounded political jurisdiction or whether it gets a vacuous definition such as "An English place name."
The non-encyclopedic toponymic word approach is my favorite for the now. I believe that such terms as "Green Mountains" should be simply excluded or be represented by {{only in|Wikipedia}} unless they have entered the lexicon as common nouns. Would you care to express a view? DCDuring TALK 18:51, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I already expressed my view: these words should be addressed the same way as all other words, i.e. their meaning should be explained in a definition. When the word has several senses, there should be several definitions. Lmaltier 20:49, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Are you a member of the diplomatic corps? Are you running for office? Would that mean a separate sense for every Springfield that anyone cares to enter? I don't recall your ever having addressed that squarely. DCDuring TALK 22:29, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
No. No. Yes, every Springfield that anyone cares to enter. It's not like entering any particular cat as a definition for the word cat, any particular table as a definition for the word table, or any particular Jim as a definition for the word Jim: Springfield is not a generic name, this word is a proper noun, and there is a well-defined set of places named Springfield. Lmaltier 22:52, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It is not any better defined than the set of people named Lionheart or Higginbothom. We can never be sure that we know of every single Springfield that's existed. Place names don't only live in prescriptive legal definition, but also in history and folklore. They change. The dictionary shouldn't blur the distinction between things and their names. Entering specific Springfields, St. John'ses, Chinatowns, Broadways, or Mains (Main Streets) in the dictionary is exactly like entering specific Jims. Michael Z. 2010-03-28 15:57 z
I mean that the word Jim does exist independently of any person. It's one of possible first names, it's what I call a generic word, not a real proper noun. On the other hand, Springfield, as a word, has been created (several times) for a specific place. Lmaltier 16:46, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Either toponyms, surnames, or forenames can be coined or inherited, they can be borrowed or calqued from different languages. The name Paris was clearly not coined independently for all 20 or so Parises that we know of – like Jim and Pericles, it exists independently of any person. These properties do not differentiate any of these classes of names. Also, in all three kinds of names, the referents are an open set, potentially infinite, not fixed. Michael Z. 2010-03-28 19:35 z
We don't understand each other. If parents call their son Jim, they don't create the name for him, they only choose a name from existing, available, first names. When people founding a town want to choose a name, they always create this name, they always have to create a word: sometimes they are inspired by topography, or by some famous people, or by another town, or by anything else. Whatever their inspiration, it must be considered as an etymology. I don't see how it can be compared to first names. Lmaltier 20:10, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I understand you fine; but I don't agree with you. Cousin Jim might be named after a weird uncle, after being conceived on James Bay, or just on a whim. Likewise, Paris, Texas, could be named after the French capital, Paris, Yukon Territory, could be named likewise by its francophone postmaster, and Paris, Ontario, could be named because it had a gypsum deposit just like the city that plaster of Paris is named after. Paris and Jim are both existing, available names.
Conversely, Farrah Fawcett's parents coined her given name. What special quality here differentiates all place names from all people's names? Nothing. Michael Z. 2010-03-28 20:49 z
So they coined a new first name, they extended the set of available first names, just as you might coin a new noun, applicable to all objects of the kind. But the name identifying her as an individual is Farrah Fawcett (two words: first name + surname), it's not Farrah only, it's very different. Lmaltier 21:12, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
The Parisians coined a new place name, they extended the set of available place names, applicable to all objects of the kind. But the name identifying it as a specific place is Paris, France (two words: toponym + locale), it's not Paris only, it's very the same. See, whether I say Farrah or Paris, you have no idea whether I mean Fawcett-Majors, or the one in Ontario. A name has meaning in context, so John identifies one as an individual in some contexts, while in others it's necessary to say John Smith, in others John Smith III, or John Smith of Lower Bumfuck, or whatever. Just like if I say Paris, you can't necessarily know whether I mean France, Texas, or the Yukon. We've discussed this stuff a half dozen times already. I am giving up now. Michael Z. 2010-03-29 05:04 z

The question at hand is how to distinguish a common-noun sense. To me, the proper-noun citation “a Chernobyl meltdown” looks identical to the common-noun citation “a Chernobyl catastrophe.”

I can see three kinds of usage of such proper names as Waterloo, Chernobyl, Vietnam, Watergate:

  1. As an ordinary reference to the original village in Belgium, city in Ukraine, country in southeast Asia, or hotel in Washington D.C.
  2. Transferring the name to a significant event: a battle, nuclear disaster, war, or political scandal. The Battle of Waterloo becomes Waterloo by apostrophe, Chernobyl accident > Chernobyl, Vietnam War > Vietnam, Watergate scandal > Watergate.
  3. The name becomes eponymous for any event of this type, through figurative use: “he would meet his Waterloo.” Figurative use is a speaker's or writer's tool; it depends on context and, in this case, on the reader's knowledge of a specific event, and it doesn't necessarily signal the creation of a new sense of a word in the language. Only when the word has universal meaning, completely independent of knowledge of the prototypical event, does it become independent.

It's hard to judge when this happens, because everyone recognizes most of these famous events or places. It also helps to gauge this if the word spawns other etymologies, as in Watergater, or Watergating. FYI: the OED includes Watergate and Waterloo, and their derivatives in-line, but not Chernobyl or Vietnam. Michael Z. 2010-03-28 15:34 z

Re Lmaltier individual. Sure we can include linguistic information about any word, such as a pronunciation or an etymology, but in some cases it wouldn't include a definition! You can't define Bristol or Glasgow. You can describe them (good for Wikipedia) but not define them (us). Mglovesfun (talk) 20:15, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
We can define the word Glasgow, i.e. explain what the word mean, it's very different from describing the town. We describe the word, Wikipedia describes the town. Lmaltier 21:12, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
We can use functional definitions: Smith, “a surname”; Glasgow, “a toponym”. In fact, a full definition of toponym or toponymic (n.) is “a descriptive place name, usually from a topographic feature; a place name used for a person or thing,” so we could define Churchill as “a toponym used as a place-name and surname”. Michael Z. 2010-04-14 16:16 z

decision-makers in associations and public service

Is there an English term which would mean persons who are elected into various positions of decision making power in public service and associations in general? I mean e.g.:

  • members of board and subcommittees in an association
  • members of municipal council and boards

Terms trustee and position of thrust seem to have a legal definition which is too narrow for this purpose. The Finnish term is luottamushenkilö, and I would like to find an English term that would fit with this definition:

  1. A person who is elected to serve as a member of a council, board, subcommittee or other decision-making organ in a municipality, association, foundation etc.

--Hekaheka 09:38, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

In French, it would be élu (i.e. elected person). I don't know any simple word in English with this meaning. Lmaltier 11:01, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Perhaps a chair, depending on the context? ---> Tooironic 07:43, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • ... or "elected member", though this is sometimes reserved for MPs in the UK. Dbfirs 07:55, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I can't think of a hypernym in common use in the US shared by representative (elected official in a political context (including certain NGOs)) and board member (appointed or elected member of a governing board of an NGO or non-legislative governmental body). The term representative is commonly used to refer to those who "represent" a part of the total electorate, with the term "at large" used to distinguish the case where one or more representatives are elected by the entire electorate of a jurisdiction. I think labor unions have "locals" that elect representatives to national, state (and regional?) bodies. Some other other national NGOs have a similar structure. Thus the term "representative" commonly applies to such "electees" (not a common word). "At large" representation, as in my City Council, typically denies minorities any voice, unless there is a more-complicated-than-usual voting scheme. DCDuring TALK 11:58, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
    • I can't think of a single word in British usage that fits that definition - what you'd call someone depends on the body they've been elected to. For example MP (member of parliament), trustee, councillor, board(-)member, committee(-)member, parliamentarian (although depending on the context this does not necessarily mean an elected member), assembly(-)member, etc. I suspect the closest to adding it as a definition would be to make it a specialised meaning of sense 1 at member. The problem is that some times the normal usage is for "member" to follow the name of the body (e.g. "assembly member"), and in other cases the "member" comes first (e.g. "member of parliament"). Thryduulf 11:11, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Yeah I can only think of vaguer words in English -- representative, or (even vaguer) official. Ƿidsiþ 11:39, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Atlas Shrugged

What exactly does "Shrugged" mean? The translation to Dutch is "raise ones shoulders", which means the gesture "I don't know/I don't care". I believe that the title means that by raising the shoulders "Atlas" (the productive people) not only say "I don't care anymore" but also stop their productive work and actually let the world fall. This is a much more violent act than just the "I don't care"-sense. Is it logical for native English speakers that if you'd carry the world you'd let it fall just by shrugging? For example: "the 4-year old was on his shoulders to see the clowns, but then he shrugged". Would that mean he let the child fall or would it be an appropriate answer to someone asking "do you know why the clowns wear red hats"? In Dutch the meaning (of "raising ones shoulders") would be that the child (or world) would be lifted a little for a few inches for a few seconds, not more. I would like to know if a literal translation to Dutch of "Atlas Shrugged" would be strong enough to imply what the writer meant. (apart from the fact that there is not a single word for shrugging in Dutch). Joepnl 01:29, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

  • No. It's from an exchange in the novel: a character asks what advice someone would give the mythological Atlas (who carried the heavens on his shoulders). The reply is: "Shrug". So yes -- a literal translation is what you want. Ƿidsiþ 11:37, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I know what's in the book. Still I have a problem with it because a literal translation to Dutch of "to shrug" would mean "don't care about the heavens you're carrying" and I think what Rand meant is: "throw those heavens away". So what I'm asking is: does "shrug" imply "getting rid of something on your back" or is it just "don't care about it and leave on your back" Joepnl 00:37, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I would find it likely to have something to do with shrug off, however this entry is incomplete and doesn't encompass the relevant definition. Merriam-Webster has the meanings I am thinking of[6]. __meco 07:55, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Based only on Ƿidsiþ's comments, I think this will be hard to translate. I say this because I read the reply "shrug" as a punning reference to both "I don't know" (i.e. a verbal representation of the action of shruging one's shoulders) and referencing what would happen if one shrugged their shoulders while carrying the heaven's on their shoulders - literally and figuratively they would "shrug off" the heavens. Does that make sense? Thryduulf 20:39, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, to me at least it does :). Thank you all btw. I didn't know about "shrugging off", the title makes much more sense now. The only translation in Dutch I know of means "Atlas on strike" but it misses the "I don't know/whatever" meaning. May be "Atlas gives up" or something like that would imply both and be a better title but it would also sound like the most boring book ever which Atlas Shrugged definitely isn't. "on strike" is both action and stopping work. Glad I'm not a translator :)Joepnl 00:43, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
The idea isn't so much about giving up, as about "shaking off" the heavens (one of the themes of the book is rejection of religion). In some languages they render the title as "Atlas revolts" or "The rebellion of Atlas". Ƿidsiþ 08:11, 1 April 2010 (UTC)


The definition of the adjective is currently "The noun used attributively.". I admit to being rusty on these things, but I didn't think we included simple attributive uses of nouns as separately defined adjectives? If we do, or if this has an independent adjectival sense I think it needs a better definition than currently. Thryduulf 10:54, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

As I see it, the most effective tests for true adjectivity are whether the term is used modified by "too" or "very" and whether it can be used after "become" or "seem". If it fails both it wouldn't seem right to treat it as an adjective. (Sometimes other copulas are worth trying, but "be" requires a little care.) See Wiktionary:English adjectives.
I suppose we might conceivably allow an adjective PoS entry for attributive use of a noun if there was something really distinctive about it, but I can't think of a specific illustrative case.
This term doesn't seem to me likely to meet the tests or have anything distinctive. DCDuring TALK 11:54, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
I think this is "unofficial policy", but good policy nonetheless. Since it's not claiming to be an adjective, I say we just remove it post hast. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:38, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
It isn't "policy" that we call things by their right names, but we try to anyway, within the names allowed in WT:ELE, which is policy, at least in the common-law sense. DCDuring TALK 13:12, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
It can be modified by "too," or "very," in the same way as pregnant. Either you are or you aren't, but a 40 week pregnant woman is more pregnant than a ten week pregnant woman, and an expat American in Sri Lanka is more so than one in Canada. However, it sounds terrible in a connecting sentence, as in, "He became expat." ~ heyzeuss 13:33, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Glad you mentioned this. The question is not whether it "logically" should or seems to me that it should, but whether we can find some usage (preferably from a durably archived source s it could be used for attestation). The usual sources are Google Books, News, and Scholar, Usenet, COCA, and BNC.
At COCA and BNC: nada.
At google books:
  • 2004, Peter Hutchison, Central America and Mexico‎, page 921:
    closed Wed, Canadian owned, very expat atmosphere
  • 2008, Susan Bearder, Going Native in Alicante‎, page 155:
    Almería and the Costa de La Luz are not really developed enough and the Costa del Sol is too expensive and too expat.
At google news:
  • 2008 March 14, “Expat on the job”, in Hindu Business Line:
    It's a very expat life that you lead in China as a westerner, all by yourself, even in the office where you don't have lunch with other people.
Didn't bother with scholar. Usenet may have some but would have too sort through many misleading hits. IOW, to my surprise, it seems citable as an adjective, though barely. DCDuring TALK 15:41, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
An American is just as much expat (expatriate ≈ ex patria, “out of his fatherland”) in Canada as in Timbuktu. It's normally an absolute state (although in English we can easily compare the un-comparable, as in “very pregnant”).
But the first two citations above attest not the attributive noun, but an adjective meaning “of or relating to expats,” an abbreviation of expatriate#AdjectiveMichael Z. 2010-03-30 17:12 z
Exactly. That would seem to be the definition. DCDuring TALK 23:05, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Christian soldier

Hi group, would you support an entry for the idiom Christian soldier? WritersCramp 21:25, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

If Christian soldier is more than Christian soldier, then yes. Onward Chrisitian soldiers! --Rising Sun talk? contributions 20:51, 31 March 2010 (UTC)


Quoting from a work on chivalry:

Fionn's requirements for a "good champion."
Prowess, Justice, Courage, Defense, Honesty, Humility, Nobility, Loyalty, Largesse (Generosity), Faith, Courtesy, and Franchise.

Which of our definitions of franchise applies here? I'm thinking that it may signify some official license to act in some capacity granted or bestowed by a figure of authority, however, since all the others are virtues, or abilities, I would rather think that it falls into that category. __meco 23:36, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

I have added the following sense, taken from MW 1913: Magnanimity; generosity; liberality; frankness; nobility. As Honesty (~frankness), Nobility and Largesse (~Generosity with tangible things) are explicitly included, perhaps "generosity of spirit" is what the author intended. DCDuring TALK 23:49, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't think so. Largesse would most likely also include generosity not only in regards to material possessions. I'm thinking perhaps franchise could mean sense of self-worth, one's own importance as seen from an independent, neutral, spiritually lofty vantage point, i.e. not inflated ego. Perhaps the realization of noblesse oblige? Although I do realize that this understanding may seem to overlap with nobility, I would care to argue that it merely dovetails into it. My argument is that nobility would connote being of the purest substance and the best quality, whereas the realization that one is such may lead one to arrogance and haughtiness unless an independent quality is present, one of being able see oneself as a tool not in the service of the mundane but in the service of something more complete and encompassing, perhaps something associated with piety or responsibility. Perhaps destiny is also relevant to this quality? __meco 00:32, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Then there seems to be no unduplicated sense from among the Webster's 1913 senses. We would need some evidence from texts contemporaneous and/or in the same context as the one given above. When did "Fionn" write? Did we write in English? (If not, when was the translation done?) DCDuring TALK 12:10, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
The list of virtues is derived from two sources, an anonymous 12th-13th century French poem "The Ordination of Knighthood" and Ramon Llull's 13th century "Book of the Order of Chivalry". I found this in a forum post on a white supremacist website called Stormfront. It's unclear to me from reading the post the circumstances of the translations, but both works were originally written in French (Llull possibly Catalan, but the English translation is most likely taken from a French edition). __meco 13:53, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's the modern sense of justice either, our definition of justise could be better, too. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:59, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • DCD is right, by my reading. Franchise used to mean a kind of noble-mindedness and I think that is what is intended. Ƿidsiþ 14:01, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Could you elaborate on that opinion? __meco 15:23, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Er...OK. There are many examples of "franchise" being used to mean "nobility, generosity of spirit". But there are no examples of it being used to mean "sense of self-worth, one's own importance as seen from an independent, neutral, spiritually lofty vantage point" as you put it -- unless this is an isolated example. More to the point, the established meaning fits and makes sense. Ƿidsiþ 15:33, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
With the latest quotation provided by DCDuring below, I don't believe my suggestion was much off target. __meco 16:11, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, I wouldn't go that far -- but yes, the def below certainly shows some leakage from the "freedom" meaning (which is what the word originally meant). We just need to gather a load of citations and see how it looks then. Ƿidsiþ 08:09, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Fionn? Isn't that a Gaelic name? Is Fionn the supposed author, a speaker in the text, or the name of someone posting on the forum ? DCDuring TALK 15:18, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Read the source of the forum post which I provided. There is also discussion of an Irish text there, "Teagasc an Riogh" (Instructions for a King) from the Ossianic or Fenian Cycle, but I didn't gather my quoted text was taken from that. __meco 15:23, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
[Robert] shows it as meaning "liberty", "privilege", and "nobility of spirit" in the 12th and 13th century French. DCDuring TALK 15:27, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Another definition:
  • 2005, Maurice Keen, Chivalry‎, page 249:
    ... his courage and his generosity, his loyalty to his plighted word, his independent spirit (what the old chivalrous authors had called his franchise)
-- DCDuring TALK 15:41, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Then I think I was pretty close on the mark with what I suggested above. __meco 16:11, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Robert provides a fairly reliable indication of what it meant in French then. It is a good bet that the early use in ME or ModE would be close. If more enough recent English writers have a different reading of those texts or more recent ones, then there might have been some kind of sense evolution in among such writers. Some might uncharitably call it error. In any event we still have neither lexicographic authority nor usage citations for the sense you suggest. (Isn't Keen's a mention?) DCDuring TALK 16:25, 31 March 2010 (UTC)