Wiktionary:Tea room/2010/September

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← August 2010 · September 2010 · October 2010 → · (current)

September 2010


If cum is a preposition, then versus must be as well. It can link multiple items at the same level and join nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and content clauses at least. It can't function as a complement to be or as a predicate adjunct. It doesn't get modified, for example by just.--Brett 00:12, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Do you mean conjunction? Are you saying that versus is only a conjunction and not ever a preposition? If so, I see your point. At COCA I can find some 3- and 4-term expressions that seem to be coordinated by "versus" without any alternative interpretation. Can I really say ???"I set A versus B" as I can say "I set A against B"? I would expect that we would see that in texting and usenet.
I guess we should look to make sure that cum is sometimes used as a preposition and not always as a conjunction.
What do you make of this real quote from COCA: "pitting Sunnis against Alawites against Kurds against Shiites in various cities."? Each noun seems on all fours with the others semantically. But the first noun seems the objective complement of "pitting". Some of the use of "versus" has the same structure. DCDuring TALK 01:14, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I meant conjunction (coordinator). And, yes, I don't think versus is ever a preposition.--Brett 01:33, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I am fairly confident that vs is used as a preposition in texting and usenet. The 400MM word texting corpus that BYU will have this Fall should provided evidence. DCDuring TALK 02:05, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree that versus is normally a coordinator (coordinating conjunction), but I've found, by looking through google books:"and versus", a few usages where only the preposition reading seems to make sense. In this one I think it means roughly "as a function of":
  • 2003, Bozidar Liscic et al., “Non-Lubricating Process Fluids: Steel Quenching Technology”, Chapter 22 of George E. Totten et al. (editors), Fuels and lubricants handbook: technology, properties, performance, and testing,[1] ASTM International, ISBN 978-0-8031-2096-9, page 625:
    The cooling curve at any point within the cross section can be calculated as illustrated in Fig. 60c along with corresponding heat transfer coefficient versus time and versus the surface temperature.
which seems very reasonable to me. In this one it means roughly "opposed by":
  • 2007, Eldon Jay Epp, endnotes for “Are Early New Testament Manuscripts Truly Abundant?”, chapter 6 of David B. Capes et al. (editors), Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children, Baylor University Press, ISBN 9781602580268, page 399:
    (2) In John 18:36—19:7, P90 is supported by ‎א‎ versus B in a sequence of words (18:36); by P66 ‎א‎ B in a similar variant (18:39, and again in 19:3); by ‎א‎ versus B and versus P, i.e., three differing readings (19:1); by P66 ‎א‎ versus B (19:4); by B versus P66 and versus ‎א‎ (18:38); by []
which may or may not be standard usage in the field of manuscript comparison; I really have no idea.
(But many more of the hits at google books:"and versus" are actually for "and/versus", which reinforces the idea that versus has the same POS as and.)
RuakhTALK 12:22, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Determiners as modifiers

English determiners commonly function as modifiers: in AdjPs & AdvPs (the most, not that quickly, all better, etc.), in NPs (both those things, all these years). Mostly we list these as adverbs. Should we move these senses under the determiner headings?--Brett 00:20, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Cambridge and Longmans, some of whose dictionaries have determiner as a PoS, present "that" with multiple PoSes, including both determiner and adverb. I have always assumes that it makes it a little easier for users to retain the traditional categories where possible. DCDuring TALK 01:23, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Determiners as heads in NPs

English determiners commonly stand alone in an NP (e.g., I don't have have any; some is better than none). Mostly we list these as pronouns. They aren't, unless some pronouns can be modified by AdvPs (e.g., I don’t have (very) many.) Should we move these senses under the determiner headings?--Brett 00:26, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

English contractions

We list quite a few English contractions of the type could've where there are actually two words written together. Although some of these are obviously very common, the category is, in principle, limitless. Almost any word can be followed by 's, for example:

  • nouns (the table's too high)
  • prepositions (the place I'm going to's not far)
  • even adverbs (He's finishin' up learnin' to be a dentist and probably's pretty busy.)

Should we list the contraction as just the second part, or should we keep the very common pairings?--Brett 00:45, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

It isn't really a problem. The category is naturally limited by the entries. The examples you give would not satisfy CFI as they are not suitable dictionary entries, and so would never appear in the category. -- ALGRIF talk 12:25, 2 September 2010 (UTC)


Both eyewear and eyeware can be found online, but only the -wear form can be found in any dictionary (including Wiktionary). Is eyeware a misspelling ? Dakdada 20:23, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Either that or a different construction, from -ware (Used to form nouns denoting, collectively, items of a particular kind or for a particular use).​—msh210 (talk) 20:36, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
There doesn't seem to be any semantic difference between eyewear and eyeware as far as I know, they can even be found in the same place with the same meaning. That's why I think it might be a misspelling, but I would need the opinion of "real" Anglophones, since English is not my first language. Dakdada 13:24, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I didn't see any semantic difference in a quick look at COCA, where "eyewear" occurred 129 times to 3 for "eyeware". "Eyewear" seems to be a US coinage before 1925. "Eyeware" doesn't appear until about 1960 and not in significant numbers until the late 1970s. I thought that "eyeware" might be used for optometrist's or ophthalmologist's equipment or special corrective eye gear, but I haven't found evidence. I'll bet that someone has used "eyeware" to mean something related to "software", perhaps software that looks pretty, but doesn't do much else, or software that generates optical illusions or assists in eye-muscle exercises, or software for "eye-care professionals". In other words, "-ware" is a highly productive suffix and might generate (or may have already generated) meanings for "eyeware" that have gaining some acceptance among some users. If such usage were to gain general acceptance, then "eyeware" might be considered by some a misspelling of "eyewear" for the blurring of a useful distinction. DCDuring TALK 14:45, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
first-page estimates "protective eyeware" "protective eyewear" "gabbana eyeware" "gabbana eyewear" "prescription eyeware" "prescription eyewear"
bgc 171 13700 0 8 15 1180
Web 23900 311000 564 223000 5080 166000
some math 23900÷(23900+311000)=
...fwiw.​—msh210 (talk) 15:35, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes. "Eyewear" is strongly preferred in fashion contexts. "Eyeware" occurs relatively more often, but not very often, in technical contexts. "Eyeware" occurs less often also in business contexts, eg, "eyeware retailer". One can also find "earware" referring to earrings, presumably because earrings are metallic hardware. DCDuring TALK 16:08, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Also, "eyeware" may be useful to create company and product names that convey a "high-tech", "performance-not-fashion" image. DCDuring TALK 14:50, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Hello. The oldest clear use I found on Google books is on Nature in 1951. But what do you think of this one :

  • While running on at this rate, he wrote, ' we are watched by ear and eye — ware hawk ! ' Allan Cunningham - 1836

--ArséniureDeGallium 14:25, 3 September 2010 (UTC)


It would seem the translation table retains the sense "true meaning" but I can't see the definition there ... ? ---> Tooironic 11:20, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Removed - out of interest, did we ever have that sense? If so, added by who? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:27, 11 September 2010 (UTC)


I think there are two meanings missing here, but they might fit into existing definitions:

  • "the car clipped the pedestrian" - similar to etymology 2, verb 2, in which case it needs expanding
  • a clip for a gun, e.g. a detachable magazine - this comes from etymology 1, noun 1, but is it different enough to need a separate definition? 16:05, 4 September 2010 (UTC)


Not that there is anything wrong with the entry, but ... Where do we draw the line? Some are so common that the entry is required, e.g. heartless. But otherwise -less covers them all. -- ALGRIF talk 16:51, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

My attitude is that some people (e.g. foreigners) may not know where to split a word, e.g. jobless might be incorrectly interpreted as Jo + bless. I wouldn't add hyphenated forms where the hyphen makes the division clear. Equinox 16:53, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
The sense of diminishing marginal returns from adding certain types of derived-term and inflected-form entries is one I share. In English normal plurals (not p.t.), weak-verb inflected forms, many -ly adverbs, most un- and non- prefixed adjectives have less value than the lemmas that they come from. But we could have a speedy way of adding these from Derived terms analogous to how English plurals are added. For example, redlinked words ending in -less in derived terms could have a green link that, when clicked, triggered a generic noun entry with the appropriate etymology and a starter definition. This approach could work for many productive affixes. This could provide some amusement to new contributors, bulk up our entry count, help some language learners and take less of more experienced users' time by producing properly formatted entries. If we can't get a bot to do it reliably, could we have a template that, when surrounding a word, with the appropriate parameters (lang=, pos=, affix=) and working with other templates, created a green link that, when clicked, generated the entry. This might accelerate adding some of the requested entries, too. Perhaps an AWB-based process could speed the insertion of such templates in Derived terms.
Some users do seem to need some of these. We still have trouble getting contributors to not add adjective sections to nouns for attributive use. I often wonder how many non-contributing users are confused by the absence of adjective sections for such nouns. Does it take 5, 10, 20 instances of not finding an adjective section to infer that there is a pattern and determine what the pattern is? Can we speed that process? DCDuring TALK 18:46, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
In my experience we start to draw the line at any entries with a space, hyphen or apostrophe in. Anything without one of those is considered valid unless unattestable. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:48, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
This applies to English only though, right? Because for example in German, most compounds are written in one word, without spaces or hyphens, even nonce ones. That's why I find it questionable to use spelling as a criterion for inclusion rather than idiomaticity/degree of lexicalization. Longtrend 23:31, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
As Mg pointed out, [2] this current discussion is getting at the same issue. Equinox 23:49, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Not IMO. I think that English speakers treat something in Latin script as a word if it's joined up (i.e., without a space or hyphen (or maybe apostrophe)), so the English dictionary should have those German joined-up compounds (and Hebrew words with prepositions attached to their beginnings, for that matter).​—msh210 (talk) 15:59, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I'd say that court-house is similar to chlorineless - perfectly valid entry, just of almost zero practical use. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:07, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Coney dog

What's a Coney dog? Is it a Coney Island (i.e. a regular hot dog) or is it a Coney Island hot dog (the kind with chili and onions)? Equinox 19:04, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia says the latter. Is it true that Coney Island just means a regular hot dog? —RuakhTALK 23:48, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

what goes around, comes around

What is the justification for the comma in this phrase? "Fish, can swim." Equinox 00:25, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

The phrase "Fish, can swim." might be used in a sci-fi story in which, in a parallel universe, most fish do not swim and any swimming fish (swimfish could be a good word for them) are highly sought after. This phrase could be in an advertisement in a pet magazine, a swimfish for sale a la "Dogs [for sale], can do tricks" --Felonia 10:36, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
Just reflects a slight pause while speaking. Saying that, I don't pause saying this. What Equinox is saying (if I may speculate) is that the comma comes between the subject and the verb. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:05, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it could be interpreted as separating two predicate phrases, each of which contains a verb. --EncycloPetey 23:10, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
Historically, commas were pretty common after complex/heavy subjects. One rather famous example is the text of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which, despite consisting of only a single sentence, manages to use two such commas:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Nowadays such punctuation is mostly considered incorrect (as is the wacky capitalization), but even so, most people seem to write "whatever will be, will be" rather than "whatever will be will be".
RuakhTALK 00:10, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
What a beautiful example you found. You should work on citations more. Ƿidsiþ 09:56, 15 October 2010 (UTC)


It's a verb but is defined like a noun. Equinox 14:01, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

fix0red. Equinox 20:41, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

every waking moment

We have waking, with a quotation that includes the phrase every waking moment, but we don't have a separate entry for that phrase. It seems like a collocation worthy of an entry, right? —Rod (A. Smith) 18:30, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

every waking hour is common too. Equinox 18:33, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Not IMO. See also http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=every+waking+moment.​—msh210 (talk) 18:37, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think so. We have no lemmings to follow. We should perhaps strengthen our entry for waking. DCDuring TALK 19:37, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
But without an entry for every waking moment, we'd fail to show that *"most waking moments", *"no waking moment", *"every sleeping moment", and *"every waking time" are not used. Would you include some non-linked collocations list in the waking entry or something/somewhere else? —Rod (A. Smith) 19:46, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Erm, google:"most waking moments", books; "no waking moment", books. Not nearly as common, of course, but easily attested and easily understood.​—msh210 (talk) 19:57, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Those asterisks are misplaced unless we are to take them as meaning "occurring significantly less commonly than the most common collocation". COCA and the other BYU corpora are well suited for investigating collocations involving common words, BTW.
I didn't realize those other combinations were so used. I guess I stand corrected. —Rod (A. Smith) 21:07, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
We don't have any explicit quantitative criteria for when a common collocation so overwhelms its attestable synonyms or near synonyms as to merit inclusion as if an idiom. If it were ten times more common, would that be enough? 20X? DCDuring TALK 23:18, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
A definition for "waking" is a little hard to word as the entity that is awake/alert/conscious is not what is modified by the adjective. (And it is an adjective.) Please take a look at my attempt while your thoughts about this entry are fresh. DCDuring TALK 20:40, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Looks good IMO.​—msh210 (talk) 20:24, 8 September 2010 (UTC)


Shouldn't we include two senses - the first that applies to things which will not deteriorate quickly and the second that applies to people who have resilience? ---> Tooironic 01:16, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

It needs a sense for people and a sense for materials/structures, but resilience has little do do with deterioration. DCDuring TALK 19:31, 8 September 2010 (UTC)


Questioning the plural spelling. Google "nashos" returns more relevant results than nashoes. I added this as an alternative plural, but would like to propose removing the plural nashoes. It's a coined Australian English term, so it doesn't follow typical rules of English words (cf. garbos). -- 02:49, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done, thanks! I'm actually not sure that we should even have an entry for nashoes; it seems very marginal. If someone listed it at WT:RFV, I'm not at all sure it would pass. —RuakhTALK 18:34, 8 September 2010 (UTC)


I don't see how to clean up this entry. Are there any more like this? -- ALGRIF talk 15:06, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm probably being blind, but — what is the problem? Why does it need clean-up? —RuakhTALK 18:37, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Same reaction. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:29, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Possibly a browser prob. The entry was full of html coding stuff when I last looked. -- ALGRIF talk 16:29, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh, I see. That was presumably caused by this grossly inappropriate edit by CodeCat, which Mglovesfun (talkcontribs) reverted a few minutes after you commented here. That edit broke, among other things, any page that used {{plural of}} without specifying a language. —RuakhTALK 17:00, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

"I love you" in Fang

Hello, does anyone speak Fang in this room? I would like to know how to say "I love you" in this language. Thanks. Pamputt 21:03, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

I've copied the above request to [[WT:TRREQ]]. Please continue discussion there.​—msh210 (talk) 21:06, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Neologisms that are repeatedly invented, yet never catch on (e.g. autoerotophobia)

What do you call it when a word is fated to be invented as a neologism over and over again, but never catches on because there are simply too few people with a need to use it for it to spread?

Specifically, I have in mind "autoerotophobia", which just sprang comically to my mind. Sure enough, there are 8 independent Google hits for it - and most if not all of them seem to be by people who similarly coined the phrase on the spot. Wnt 23:52, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

I doubt there's a word for something so specific. Might I suggest evercoins? Equinox 02:19, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm, I'd have said "ephemerologism". But should it be ephemeralogism? Wnt 04:43, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
In conversations on this wiki, people sometimes refer to "serial nonces" or "serial nonce coinages". DCDuring TALK 11:41, 15 September 2010 (UTC)


Hello, new to Wiktionary, I hope I've come to the right place. I have two questions about the when article. First, are the definitions intended to be possible substitutions in a given sentence? Senses 1-3 work this way, but one can hardly substitute "at a time in the past" for "when" in "It was raining when I came yesterday". More interestingly, I don't think any of the general cases cover the specialized usage in chess writing. A chess author can write things like "The Three Knights Game begins with the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3, when Black can break the symmetry with either 3. ... Bb4 or 3. ... g6." Here "when" seems to be a conjunction meaning "at which point". (The example is fictional, but googling "when white" or "when black" together with "chess" gives a lot of hits.) 09:30, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

No, as with any dictionary, you can't necessarily substitute every definition into a sentence. You should be able to do that with items in the Synonyms sections, for entries that have them. For the chess point: I think it just means "at which time", even though the time is a hypothetical one. Equinox 10:05, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification on the definitions. I would have thought as much, except that it seemed that someone had gone out of his way to make the others interpretable that way. But on to the chess usage now. Yes, indeed, I could easily have said "at which time" instead of "at which point". But neither is included in the article. Sense 1 is "at what time", which is an entirely different sense (that would be translated into German "wann", for instance, which none of the others would). Senses 2-3 have what comes after "when" determining the veracity of what comes before it, but here it is the other way around. And it's not in the past, so sense 4 is not applicable. 10:17, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for drawing our attention to a marginal entry. We are both missing senses ("if"/"considering that" and "whereas"/"although") and the senses we have do not have the best wording. Substitutability is highly desirable in definitions, but I suspect it would be hard to fully achieve with words like "when". I think the natural wording differs according to the tense and aspect of the verbs in main and subordinate clauses. The wording "at, after, or during a time specified by the following clause" provides warning of the problem and covers many of the cases, I think. For words like this, some dictionaries use "functional" definitions which specify how the word is used.
In your excellent example the time is specified by the preceding clause. (The use is not limited to chess. Consider: "The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,") The wording might by something like "at, after, or during a time specified by a preceding clause". "After which", "after which moves", "after which sequence of moves", or the formal or archaic "whereafter" would be synonyms in addition to "at which point" or "at which time". Interestingly, I don't find this in other dictionaries. It strikes me as best considered informal, though it is a natural wording in a narration. DCDuring TALK 12:18, 11 September 2010 (UTC)


Seems very rare indeed. Any objections if I change it to "misspelling"? Equinox 02:17, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

And boneyer I assume. If it's very rare, it should be deleted, right? Mglovesfun (talk) 09:34, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

body temperature

Should we include this? There are plenty of hits on OneLook. ---> Tooironic 12:12, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

I believe so. So I've made an entry, despite it being deleted previously on 10 April 2008 by Sewnmouthsecret. Perhaps the wording was bad on the first attempt. -- ALGRIF talk 13:59, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

hit wicket

There was a very similar debate on WT:RFV#hit the ball twice where I argued that is an adverb, but we never reached a consensus on it, generally for lack of input. Where are all our cricket fans? Mglovesfun (talk) 15:38, 13 September 2010 (UTC)


Does anyone have any insight into which of the seven etymologies of -er helped form this term, supposedly in the 14th century? Are we missing a sense in some vintage of English? DCDuring TALK 20:04, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Well I would guess at etymology 2 because the word is still in use with this meaning where I live. Dbfirs 08:13, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm having trouble buying the etymology common + -er (in any etymology of -er that we have). Partridge offered Old French communier (one who holds something in common) as an influence. I have yet to make sense out of -er#Etymology 2 as ever having been a productive suffix in Modern English. I don't think it is likely to have been one in ME either. The supposed examples "danger" and "butler" were borrowed and altered from Old French AFAICT. This looks like a job for the OED. DCDuring TALK 10:47, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Eric Partridge may well have been correct because the earliest spellings were "comouners" (1325) and "comuneres" (1377). The OED just says "Partly from COMMON n.1 senses 1-2, 5; partly from COMMON v., branches I, III; partly associated with both" where the obsolete verb "to common" comes from "ME. comune-n, comone-n, a. OF. comune-r", and survives as "commune". The derivation from the verb sounds more convincing to me, with the earliest use being "To comun noght wit cursed men" in 1300, but "communier" is lacking an etymology of the French Wiktionnaire. Perhaps we should delete our -er#Etymology 2 and just assume it is part of -er#Etymology 1? Dbfirs 13:51, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Deletion depends on whether and how we want to show suffixes that were never used in a historical English suffixation process, but are useful pedagogically to help folks decode terms. There is now a discussion that bears on the point at WT:BP#"Synchronic" and "diachronic" etymologies. DCDuring TALK 14:29, 18 September 2010 (UTC)


There is no evidence of Meatatarians existing —This comment was unsigned.

Same way with unicorns and fictional and even abstract entities, like redness. The words exist. That's good enough for us. DCDuring TALK 11:20, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
You're right, of course; but then, there are actual real people who have been described as "meatatarians" — see e.g. http://books.google.com/books?id=6LDueuaqsl0C&pg=PA216&dq=meatatarian — which suggests that meatatarian might not always mean what our definition says it does. —RuakhTALK 13:18, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
Should a definition for this kind of term focus on the ideal type "someone who eats/prefers-to-eat only meat" or a more common average of those so labeled? The ideal type of a radio is probably a two-way radio. The common radio is just a receiver. [[radio]] has both and more. DCDuring TALK 15:49, 14 September 2010 (UTC)


I am from Australia and know the word condaluded very well (some thing in depth being made up very incorrectly to mislead others) am I confused or is this a real word my boy friend here in the US has never heard the term???—This comment was unsigned.

It looks like a neologism or a protologism (and a portmanteau word), but if you can find evidence that it has entered the Australian language, then we should have an entry. I've never heard it in the UK. Is it used in the US? Dbfirs 22:27, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
I think you mean convoluted. ---> Tooironic 23:37, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
convoluted definitely could have that shade of meaning. condaluded, according to google, seems to be a common mistake, but probably not common enough to include here. — lexicógrafo | háblame — 00:22, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, probably just a strange recurring error (unless the OP has evidence to the contrary). Dbfirs 08:06, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

one of the only

I think we need an entry for this, as I don't think it can be deduced from any standalone definition of the adjective only. It is usually considered an incorrect form of "one of the few", e.g. [3] [4] (although it crops up in several Wiktionary entries). But I'm not sure what it is. Is it a determiner? 19:13, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

It's usually considered an incorrect form of one of the few? Really? By whom? Would you also not say "We were the only people on the beach", because people is plural?​—msh210 (talk) 19:48, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
We don't usually have entries simply to say that they reflect poor usage. We try to limit ourselves to entries for expressions that users would want to look up to determine their meaning.
Only has as one of its senses "few", which is the best gloss when it modifies a plural noun. DCDuring TALK 00:10, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
I disagree (w/DCDuring). I just looked through the first few pages of google books:"only people", and I couldn't find a single case where it meant "few". Usually it means, well, "only". Msh210's example, "We were the only people on the beach", literally means "we were on the beach, and no other people were on the beach". (There's an implication there — it suggests that the beach could be expected to hold more people, that "we" is a small group to occupy the beach — but that implication can be wrong and I don't think it affects the truth of the statement itself.) Similarly, "I was one of the only people on the beach", taken literally, means "I was a member of the set of people on the beach (N > 1), and aside from members of that set, no other people were on the beach". That is, it literally means "I was on the beach, but was not the only person on the beach". But obviously that's not what's really meant. The word "only", despite having no effect whatsoever on the truth-value of the statement (IMHO), is nonetheless being used to convey something — specifically, to imply that the beach was relatively empty. It's interesting. (That said, I'm not sure whether it's absolutely unique to "only". If I say "X was the last person to arrive" or "X, and a few minutes later Y, were the last two people to arrive", that has a clear meaning, but if I say "X was one of the last people to arrive", it no longer has a specific meaning, does it? I mean, "Twenty people came, including X" implies "X was one of the last twenty people to come", right?) —RuakhTALK 00:59, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
I second Ruakh in disagreeing with DCDuring's statement above. I note that he seems to have had second thoughts reflected in WT:RFD#only and the entry usage examples and the new first sense. I wish he could make up his mind. He seems confused by MWOnline with has "few" as a sense. They must have some cases where the other glosses don't work. But we don't yet. DCDuring TALK 01:53, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Of course language is more subtle than we give it credit: "The retreating troops were the only people on the beach" spoken in respect of Dunkirk, implies that the beech is so full (or so unsafe) that everyone else has been driven away. Again there is a suggestion that others would "normally" be there - but "before disrobing we looked around to ensure we were the only..." merely throws the conditions of being "the only" and "not the only" into contrast. Rich Farmbrough

changing their attitudes

My grandma was talking about working with young bulls and mentioned that they had to "change the attitudes" of some of them. Was that a reference to castration? — lexicógrafo | háblame — 00:54, 15 September 2010 (UTC)


Can we can this a misspelling or nonstandard form of partier? There are 1010 Google Book hits for it, so I didn't rfv it. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:43, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

roll eyes; roll one's eyes

Am surprised we don't include at least one of these. Am also surprised there is little love on OneLook for this common phrase. Am I missing something? ---> Tooironic 00:04, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

RHU has roll one's eyes as a run-in at roll. They seem to be the most inclusive print dictionary for idioms. It is more surprising that AHD and McGraw-Hill Idioms don't have it. OTOH hand it is included as a usage example in MWOnline and Longmans's DCE, the only two others I've looked at so far. We have about 30 senses if we count ergatives as 2. MWOnline has 40. They don't have most of the supposed special-context definitions we have, most of which are unattested and which I wouldn't rely on.
We usually do better with short entries, the more SoP the better. As we miss the verbal "P", we can't very well claim "roll one's eyes" would be a Sum of our "P"s. DCDuring TALK 02:16, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
OK, well I created the entry at roll one's eyes. I think it will be a really useful entry, especially for translations. I have also created a "Body language" category as well. Cheers. ---> Tooironic 22:17, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
The category seems like a good one for images from wikicommons. DCDuring TALK 22:37, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

irregular warfare

Would one of the admins put the idiom irregular warfare back. It was deleted without building a consensus by SemperBlotto. If SB wants to delete it then let him post a deletion +tag to the idiom and build a consensus. I disagree with this editors decision. Thank you. WritersCramp 21:08, 17 September 2010 (UTC)


I think we are missing the sense as in, "put this on the maybe pile." ---> Tooironic 11:54, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Yet another entry full of Websters 1913 senses and wording and incompletely formatted to our standards.
Certainly the sense is readily interpreted as a figurative use of the first sense. But it does seem a bit remote from the idea of a pile of relatively undifferentiated material. I think it is always informal in this sense. DCDuring TALK 14:50, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
OK I've added the additional sense. Let me know what you think. ---> Tooironic 22:27, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Looks good. I moved it above the various obscure Websters 1913 senses, which need context and/or dated tags at least. DCDuring TALK 23:24, 27 September 2010 (UTC)


Should the first sense ("Relating to language or linguistics") be split? In German, the term is translated differently depending on whether it refers to language ("sprachlich") or linguistics ("linguistisch"). Longtrend 18:51, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Why not? It is an ambiguity in the word in English, too, occasionally requiring clarification. DCDuring TALK 23:27, 27 September 2010 (UTC)


"Thoroughly, completely. I will mix up the puzzle pieces. Tear up the contract. He really messed up. Please type up our monthly report." This just feels dubious to me. Is it right? Is that what up means, and is it the same thing in all of these examples? "Typing up" doesn't imply thoroughness to me, but transformation into a better form. Equinox 12:37, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

I think it serves as a kind of general intensifier most of the time in this kind of use. Together with the associated verb it seems to approach making a phrasal verb. But there does seem to be a sense of "upgrade", "improvement" consistent with the Lakoffian metaphor of "up" = "good". In other cases, does it suggest recent or imminent completion of the task/achievement of an implicit goal? (eg "print up" vs "print", "clean up" vs "clean", "drive up" vs "drive") IOW, does it serve as a w:Lexical aspect marker, perhaps a weak one? DCDuring TALK 14:40, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
eat up, drink up, dry up, burn up, fill up, wind up, use up. Possibly also end up and finish up. DCDuring's explanation makes sense to me. —RuakhTALK 01:36, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
This is interesting. "Tear up the contract" (literal or figurative) has a sense of thoroughness or finality to it that "tear the contract" does not. "I will mix up the puzzle pieces" is certainly more thorough, if not final, than "I will mix the puzzle pieces". "Mess up" doesn't have an intransitive counterpart without "up" in my experience. "Please type up our monthly report" implies completion whereas "Please type our monthly report" emphasizes "typing" vs, say, giving an oral report.
I don't think the improvement idea is at all common as distinct from the completion idea. Not one of the top 100 verb + "up" collocations seemed to be about improvement as opposed to completion or thoroughness. Some of the collocations were distinctly phrasal, changing the meaning more than just completion. Some were more literal senses of "up". But even among the literal senses there were cases like "sit" vs "sit up", "stand" vs "stand up", and "hang" vs "hang up" which convey a more definitive "sitting", "standing", or "hanging" by addition of "up". It might be from these literal senses that the "complete" aspect comes and from both that any "improvement" instances come. DCDuring TALK 02:26, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
This is one of the more important implicit meanings of "up" in phrasal (or near phrasal) verb constructions. Good examples are tear vs tear up as already mentioned. cut vs cut up "Cut the paper" gives you a sheet of paper with a cut in it. "Cut up the paper" gives you lots of small pieces. You would not normally say "Oops. I've cut up my finger". Further examples, fill vs fill up, grow vs grow up, write vs write up. I think it is a good idea to have the implicit phrasal meanings for the particles such as "up". It might be an idea to mark them as such in some way. -- ALGRIF talk 13:43, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

But in the case of assault or wear there is little intensity "beaten" and "beaten up" are near synonyms. Rich Farmbrough

turkish bath

Should this be uppercase? See Special:PrefixIndex/Turkish. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:00, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

I think yes. None of the ~30 instances at COCA not in titlese or starting a sentence are in lower case. I wouldn't want to use Groups or a text-message corpus to attest to lack of capitalization, BTW. DCDuring TALK 18:17, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah I should have just gone for it. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:26, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Moved. SemperBlotto 08:19, 21 September 2010 (UTC)


We have a sense "To feature, discuss, or mention", to which I've just added the usex "The magazine covers such diverse topics as politics, news from the world of science, and the economy.". I always understood cover to mean "To discuss throughly; to have good coverage of" rather than merely "To discuss". Am I wrong? Or is the entry wrong? Or, perhaps, neither, and there are two senses.​—msh210 (talk) 18:10, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

I would use it more restrictively, too. OTOH, I have read and heard claims about coverage that apparently meant little more than an unsupported mention of a topic as being included under the coverage of something else. DCDuring TALK 18:22, 20 September 2010 (UTC)


We have the capitalized Quaalude as proper noun and noun. We don't have lower cased quaalude. Should the upper case include noun or should that only be lower case? RJFJR 13:51, 21 September 2010 (UTC)


Two senses advanced as of the noun: 1., (obsolete, with definite article) The aforementioned (thing).  Illustrated by: 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, New York 2001, p. 74: A third argument may be derived from the precedent. 2., The previous version.

  1. How would these be/have been pronounced?
  2. How do we know how these were pronounced?
  3. Are they really noun senses?

-- DCDuring TALK 13:48, 22 September 2010 (UTC)


From a coinage by semiotician w:Mikhail Bakhtin. I can make no sense of what I read at w:Chronotope. Thoughts? Help? DCDuring TALK 15:40, 24 September 2010 (UTC)


(plural only) plural of jug Hmmmm. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:04, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, in the RfVed sense, I've never heard of singular use. DCDuring TALK 19:43, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
jug and jugs contradict each other. Jug says in plural but jugs says you can have a singular. It's at least possible imagine jug in the singular; "her left jug popped out" or something. BTW rft-sense not rfv-sense. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:12, 29 September 2010 (UTC)


This prefix has been recently used to coin words of a very Latinate nature: dyslexia, dystopia, et al. Dictionaries such as Webster's Online call them New Latin. I don't think these particular terms rise to being Translingual as many languages respell them. I don't think that they are Latin. That would suggest we need Latinate affixes and bases need to be English entries. OTOH, we have the vast number of neglected New Latin terms that support taxonomic names that are Translingual and some medical terms that may also be Translingual. There is likely to be some overlap between taxonomic terms and morphemes and those that might arguably belong in English.

Under how many and which of the three possible L2 headers, Translingual, English, and Latin, should dys-, -lexia/lexia, and -topia/topia appear? Our current practice seems to discourage Translingual and neglect Latin. DCDuring TALK 19:41, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Do we have any Translingual affixes? I wouldn't consider these translingual at all; some languages don't use the y so it would be dis-, some languages like Italian don't use the x, plus the French is -lexie not -lexia. I'd be happy to stick to individual languages, even for cases where there are quite a few on one page. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:09, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
  1. Translingual is not pan-lingual.
  2. New Latin terms used in international science and medicine are the principal (sole?) use of these. They often force their way into languages, at least in those special contexts. I don't think that New Latin terms are getting much respect at wikt as really Latin.
-- DCDuring TALK 16:59, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I thought the overall consensus is that it isn't Latin, because you can't make sentences out of it. Obviously we need a bit more evidence than just casual conversation - apparently the New Latin for mouse is Mus musculus, if we Google that, how often is it used in a Latin sentence/context, and how often in other languages? In my experience even non-Latin script languages use New Latin for taxonomic names. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:27, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
If that is the consensus, how do we show the derivation of the Translingual NL. terms? Right now {{etyl}} doesn't autocategorize if "mul" is the second parameter. If we can't come up with a scheme to handle this, why bother covering taxonomic names? MW, wikipecies, WP, and others handle aspects of this much better than we do. Why not shove more of it their way? I don't think we have anyone committed to this area.
This should be another object lesson in having having eyes bigger than our stomach or biting off more than we can chew. Another such object lesson lies in all the L3/4 "Shorthand" headings in English entries in the "a"s. Would having some kind of more explicit "project" organization augmented by recruitment from/integration with WP projects, together with some freedom of action within a realm, help? DCDuring TALK 18:01, 3 October 2010 (UTC)


I need input from a few who might know a thing or two about automobiles. In the sense that the word is displayed as an entry now, it seems to signify a vehicle (e.g. airplane) instead of a car. :| TelCoNaSpVe :| 07:00, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Are you talking about Automobile#German, plural of Automobil#German, or automobile#English?
If English, I think I see what you mean. Are my changes to the entry an improvement? If they are not or do not address your concern(s), please explain or try your own. DCDuring TALK 14:16, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think that it is a definite improvement over the previous version. I had meant that, in the English section, the sense in which it was used before implied that the definition of automobile could be used to describe an airplane, in the same sense that the word vehicle is probably used. Let's see what the others think about it. TeleComNasSprVen 22:06, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

sleep tight

It has hits on OneLook and I would argue it deserves its own entry - does tight, as in "soundly", collocate with other words? ---> Tooironic 13:45, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Doesn't seem to be the same sense as hold tight, stick tight or sit tight (all suggesting closeness). But does it mean "soundly" or rather "snugly", i.e. close/tight to one's bedclothes? Equinox 08:47, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Even if there is a sense at tight (as perhaps there should be), this certainly merits a Phrasebook entry. But Websters 1913 and even 1828 don't record a positive-valence "snug" sense, except for the nautical sense. Is this widespread because it rhymes with "good night"? I wonder if "tight" might even be an alteration of something else. In any event, it seems to merit an entry. Good find. DCDuring TALK 12:26, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
good night
sleep tight
don't let the bed bugs bite
I seem to think that's the rhyme. But all three can stand on their own. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:23, 3 October 2010 (UTC)


I think etymologies 1, 2 and 3 should all be conflated. This is essentially the same thing we're talking about – a letter – which may be considered as such or as an abbreviation, but they do not have different sources. (And I don't even believe Ety 2 – the salient thing about C as a Roman numeral is that it stood for centum; just compare D, M etc.) Ƿidsiþ 20:22, 29 September 2010 (UTC)