Wiktionary:Tea room/2011/January

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January 2011


The Usage notes say: The sense "to become" is now only used in certain set phrases and expressions; see fall#Derived terms below.

I don't believe this. I have identified some 70+ adjectives (or participles) (eg, "harmless", "vacant", "mute") that complement this at COCA. Is there a way of looking at this that makes sense out of the usage note? DCDuring TALK 17:36, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

illegal alien

This expression and illegal immigrant, undocumented alien, and undocumented immigrant are the focus of what might be called a "political correctness" controversy. (See this link to article on campaign against use of illegal alien.) Is such a terminological controversy evidence of some or all of the terms being "set phrases" or "idioms"? Is the evidence conclusive or merely suggestive, needing confirmation by other evidence? DCDuring TALK 16:27, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

I can't speak for US usage, but illegal alien seems ok in that nobody seems to user the word 'alien' for 'foreign born person' outside of this phrase. Illegal immigrant would be much harder to justify. Mglovesfun (talk) 02:35, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I think that "alien" has a legally derived definition that is used without "illegal", though not so commonly as "illegal alien" in the demonology of US political rhetoric. DCDuring TALK 04:20, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
It may not see much modern use, but looking at alien -"illegal alien" and limiting it to 19th century shows pages and pages of examples-e.g. "The destitute alien in Great Britain". Even now, "How would Jesus vote?" (2008) says "Abrahams descendants were resident aliens in Egypt." (Interestingly enough, many of the 21st century books that use it in this sense and aren't quoting earlier documents are religious works.) I find 53 pages of hits for «alien -"illegal alien" foreigner» for the 21st century, and only maybe half of them were dictionaries or quoting older texts.--Prosfilaes 04:25, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
What, if anything, makes the collocations idiomatic or otherwise dictionary-worthy? We have taken terms with legal definitions to be idiomatic. I think we sometimes accept terms that seem to have no justification other than being euphemisms. Are politically correct terms to be considered euphemisms? Are euphemisms per se to be included? DCDuring TALK 13:03, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
The only time I see "alien" (as an adjective) to mean "not native-born" is in the Bible. Per Prosfilaes, could be considered idiomatic because that sense of alien is obsolete, apart from in "illegal alien". I can't say the same for illegal immigrant - looks curiously like an immigrant that's illegal to me. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:06, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I interpreted what I found to be show that alien had enough currency that illegal alien was not idiomatic. The biblical verse I looked saw had alien, but in the New American Standard (published 1970), not the King James Version. And it's in a number of books, including "Almost all aliens: immigration, race, and colonialism in American history" (2007)--which says that it's a fine legal term, but it carries a prejudice of illegitimacy and dehumanization.See the full quote. It's a might bit old-sounding, but it hasn't escaped modern use yet. And there's a published argument that whatever you can say about "illegal alien" as to prejudicial can be said about alien.--Prosfilaes 19:48, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

die in the ass

Where is this expression used? I have seen some mentions of it that suggest it is Australian. I am not familiar with it in the US. DCDuring TALK 17:01, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Also, based on two two use examples, there might only be one definition. Seems that when a computer 'dies in the ass' and a plan does the same thing, it's the same definition. Something like "to fail, to break down". Mglovesfun (talk) 16:47, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
It does seem real. I don't see a difference, but it helps to hear it in the wild. DCDuring TALK 17:42, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

morning star

Is this a proper noun? It certainly identifies a specific entity, which we include under the name Venus. I have made an entry at Morning Star for a proper noun (actually a proper name).

The same logic must apply to evening star. DCDuring TALK 00:16, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Hesperus and Phosphorus are proper nouns. Is your problem that w:Hesperus is Phosphorus? (I think perhaps there should be an entry Hesperus is Phosphorus. Would that be in Phrasebook? Probably only of interest of philosophers.) Pingku 12:30, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
"the morning star" refers to the same thing as "the Morning Star", just as "the evening star" has the same referent as "the Evening star". Capitalization is not sufficient to characterize a term as a proper noun. Is it necessary? I think both Evening Star and Morning Star are proper names (which we have under the Proper noun heading). I'm not sure that the philosophical discussion has definitive implications for answering these questions, though it seems to have a bearing on whether the members of the synonym group for the morning star and synonyms for the members of the synonym group for the evening star. DCDuring TALK 13:16, 4 January 2011 (UTC)


The entry rococo should really be a proper noun, therefore capitalized and under a separate entry, but then does the adjective get capitalized too? Google results give a variety of results. The same can be said for another entry I'm doing; Galant, Galente, galant style/Galant Style, style galant (French pronunciation), gallant style. Do I just list them all? It's also hard to define whether they are synonyms or related terms; wikipedia says "The Galante Style was the equivalent of Rococo in music history" even though we use the term Rococo in music as well meaning the same thing as far as I'm aware. —JakeybeanTALK 03:08, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

The person who created the entry seems to suspect you are right. Though, capitalized nouns aren't all proper nouns. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:45, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
It's under the same bracket as other Western art movements like Renaissance and Baroque, yet so is neoclassicism, impressionism and avant-garde which are seldom capitalized. Rococo is possibly from the same root as Baroque (Portuguese 'barroco'), so does it not make more sense to capitalize it à la Baroque?. I can't think of any reasons why some Western art movements would be capitalized (except of course eponyms like Caravaggisti), others not so, and a few ambigously capitalized like Rococo. —JakeybeanTALK 17:16, 4 January 2011 (UTC)


Can anybody tell me why advesperate was deleted in April 2010? I'm working through the English requested entries and this is one of them. It may be obsolete but it appears in this dictionary, in context here, used jocularly here, and used in an adjectival sense here. —JakeybeanTALK 06:18, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

It was written in something that to me looks like Arabic script. As it contained no directly usable content, it was deleted so that a proper entry could replace it. \Mike 10:51, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it passes CFI, but we should probably have it at Appendix:English dictionary-only terms. Ƿidsiþ 10:58, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
Good idea. I've added it to the Appendix, hopefully correctly, and created a Citations page. I'll remove it from Requested entries. —JakeybeanTALK 16:59, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Pronunciation: Eyes vs. ice

According to Wiktionary, "eyes" = /aɪz/ and "ice" = /aɪs/. But I'm not convinced.

First, I don't think "eyes" is always said with a z - an s sometimes seems more descriptive - but more interestingly, I don't think that the vowel is the same. Compare "eyestrain" (no pronunciation given) to "Iceland" (allegedly /aɪs/ again).

I'm not very familiar with phonetics, but I suspect "ice" is something more like /ʌɪs/ - a definite "uh" at the beginning rather than an "ah". Wnt 14:20, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

FWIW, I always transcribe both sounds with /ʌɪ/ for UK English, as does the OED now. However, I don't hear any qualitative different between the diphthongs in "eyes" and "ice" (maybe a slight length difference?). Ƿidsiþ 14:41, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
Eyestrain is eye +‎ strain not eyes +‎ train! Mglovesfun (talk) 14:43, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I pronounce eye (and eyes and eyestrain) with ɑj (which many people write ɑɪ) and ice with aj (). I make the same distinction between .com and calm. But that's me.​—msh210 (talk) 15:46, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't know the right IPA symbols, but for me, too, "ice" starts with a noticeably shorter and higher / more close vowel (and maybe a bit more front?). I have the same difference between "white" and "wide"/"why", "life" and "live"/"lie", "ripe" and "vibe"/"rye"/"vie", and so on — and it's the only difference I have between "whiter" and "wider" in normal speech. I'm sure it's the same phenomenon as causes a similar effect in "latter" vs. "ladder". —RuakhTALK 16:37, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, whiter and wider are a minimal pair for me, too.​—msh210 (talk) 20:00, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm not managing to find very much on this, either on Wikipedia, on Google, or on Google Books. A few scattered unreferenced comments on Wikipedia seem relevant — [[w:Canadian raising#Geographic distribution]] is informative, if true (and would explain why I've only ever noticed Canadians' raising of the MOUTH vowel, if I myself have share their raising of the PRICE vowel), and [[w:Intervocalic alveolar flapping]] discusses distinctions preserved only in preceding vowels (including "writing" vs. "riding"). In books, the second full paragraph of this page seems somewhat relevant, though it only mentions length (of vowels and also of sonorants), not quality. On the Web, this forum post is by someone who Canadian-raises only the PRICE vowel, not the MOUTH vowel, and many of their interesting exceptional words match my own pattern. And that forum post points to [[w:Talk:Canadian raising]], where a lot of commenters elaborate on the many American regions that have some form of Canadian raising in the PRICE vowel. So all told, I think I have Canadian raising. (But I still love America, I swear! I'll try harder!) —RuakhTALK 21:55, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
O.K., I found a helpful b.g.c. hit: http://books.google.com/books?id=Dptsvykgk3IC&pg=PA359&dq=Canadian-raising. That book is definitely talking about this, and definitely considers it Canadian raising, and definitely considers it to be non-phonemic. (I don't know how it would account for e.g. "spider" vs. "spied 'er", but I think the "no original research" principle means we shouldn't declare our own phonemes.) —RuakhTALK 03:26, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
I have to agree that the Canadian raising seems to hit the nail on the head. I think that throughout the northeastern U.S., "out and about in a boat" does not sound like a rhyme, either. Wnt 07:13, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

New consonant in English?

This is most noticeable in the word Neanderthal, where some people adroitly split the difference between "t" and "θ", but I noticed the same thing cropping up in fantasy names in a video game recently: the use of a heavily aspirated "t" (almost resembling an "s") rather than a true "th". Is this a real trend or just a random delusion? ;) Wnt 14:27, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

whole hog

Not sure what to do, so I brought the entry here. The adjective looks wrong (it even uses {{en-adv}}). I s'pose the adverb and the noun are ok, the adverb should be uncomparable, and the noun should be a singulare tantum ("the whole hog"). Obviously I could make all these changes myself, but I'm not confident that my analysis is right. How would you use 'whole hog' as an adjective? Mglovesfun (talk) 16:53, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Some of the usages in this bgc search seem clearly adjectival. This groups search suggests both adverb and adjective can be comparable. DCDuring TALK 23:31, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
You seem to be correct. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:17, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

sarcoptic mange

This is shown as a proper noun. measles and Kaposi's sarcoma are shown as common nouns. Is there a rationale for differential treatment? I think most dictionaries don't trouble themselves with this distinction, focusing on the more practical matter of capitalization. Does any one have any suggestions for this categorization decision or is the distinction not worth maintaining? DCDuring TALK 23:17, 4 January 2011 (UTC)


Err.. I don't think we include the meaning as in, "The dog humped my leg." Nor do we have an entry for dry hump. ---> Tooironic 21:30, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Isn't the dog effectively having sex with your leg? Though, perhaps the meaning has moved on a bit since that one. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:29, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Another entry needing to be brought up to date due to missing figurative extensions not fully inferrable from existing senses by someone without good command of English. DCDuring TALK 12:47, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I've added something at dry-hump, which may be too wordy. --Mat200 15:34, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Not to mention leg hump (noun and verb). DCDuring TALK 15:29, 15 January 2011 (UTC)


Is the sense given and exemplified in the entry the same as the sense exemplified at [[citations:whats]]? —This unsigned comment was added by Msh210 (talkcontribs). 05:01, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

It looks the same to me, which suggests that the corresponding noun PoS at what is missing. One can find "the what", "the whats", "a what", "some whats", and "many whats" at bgc, where those collocations seem to be constituents. That seems to support the idea that some writers use "what" as a noun. This would merit some attestation effort as, MWOnline, for example, doesn't have it as a PoS. In some cases what appears in quotes, which makes the usage less compelling as attestation. DCDuring TALK 12:28, 6 January 2011 (UTC)


I think we are missing a sense, as in, "This spicy soup really has a kick in it." ---> Tooironic 09:45, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree - also the adjective looks very wrong. Kick-drum hardly seems like adjectival use, just a compound of kick +‎ drum. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:31, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Our entry for kick seems much too literal, probably insufficiently updated from Websters 1913. I think there are many figurative extensions missing. I'd like to help, but I'm too busy working on eponymous noun entries. One must prioritize. DCDuring TALK 12:36, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I've added the sense as {{rfdef}}, with three quotes. Perhaps someone can fill in a deifnition. It's more general than spicy foods (as the quotes show).​—msh210 (talk) 16:51, 6 January 2011 (UTC)


I found a book called 'Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales". The first tale of which was called 'The Milk White Doo'. A 'doo' appears, from the context, to be a spirit or something. I was wondering if someone knows more? Lionfish0 20:57, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

I think it might mean dove (judging by the illustration) Lionfish0 20:57, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Doo is indeed the Scots word for dove. Now added. Ƿidsiþ 21:09, 8 January 2011 (UTC)


I'm confused - there should be a second sense which covers cliches in film, art, etc, not just turns of phrase. There's a translation table for it but no definition line. ---> Tooironic 10:43, 7 January 2011 (UTC)


I think this can also mean "fat person". ---> Tooironic 22:05, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Indeed it can. I've now added a sense "(figuratively) Something, or someone, that is very large", but if you want to add an additional sense for the specific meaning "fat person", I think that could be justified. I think the generic "very large" sense nearly always comes in the form "a whale of a ____", but when the meaning is "fat person", it can stand on its own. —RuakhTALK 23:54, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
In gambling a "whale" is a big bettor (loser). See these bgc hits. DCDuring TALK 00:56, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't say loser, except in that any casino gambler is a loser in the long run. The Baccarat Battle Book talks about how a whale with a little good luck can crush a casino, ending with "that explains why the whales can cause so much damage to a casino's bottom line. Of course the opposite is true as well."--Prosfilaes 02:42, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Why do the casinos comp them free meals, rooms, plane trips, etc.? The don't treat big-betting card counters very well AFAIK. DCDuring TALK 03:08, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I didn't say they don't usually loose a lot of money. I just don't think it's part of the definition of the word. There's no card counters dropping money in the vicinity of the classic whale. (One of the books I glanced at mentioned a casino forcing a hundred-millionaire to move to another table at the request of a whale.) And I think you can say that about any gambler; casinos pay huge amounts of money to get the average gambler in the casino and offer generous rewards programs, but even when they win, they're still gamblers.--Prosfilaes 03:46, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps because, according to the law of large numbers, the casino's chances of coming out ahead become more certain the longer a punter stays. (Unless he/she is using a system that changes the balance, in which case presumably they are deemed to be counting.) [Hmm. I seem to be answering a rhetorical question.] Pingku 04:43, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I've added the gambling sense, but I'm concerned the term might refer only to the very richest and most flamboyant of such gamblers. Any thoughts? Pingku 10:50, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

nothing to sneeze at

What PoS is this? It says noun but the definition reads like an adjective. Should we recreate this at sneeze at? ---> Tooironic 22:37, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

An adequate definition would be something like "something not to be undervalued". The general construction can be active or passive: "[negative] [pronoun] to sneeze at/be sneezed at". The pronoun could be one/thing/someone/something. It may be that at one time "to sneeze at" was used more generally. That's the way it seems from COCA Historical. The OED might help. Webster 1913, among others, has "not to be sneezed at" as a run-in at "sneeze". Some OneLook dictionaries have not to be sneezed at. In both positive and negative form it seems to date to c. 1800, according to World Wide Words. Some sources conjecture about a semantic link to turn up one's nose at, another common idiom or idiomatic construction. DCDuring TALK 23:12, 9 January 2011 (UTC)


The entry is only "Translingual" with two, really three, senses: River in Africa, Italian surname, Italian physicist. Do we want to treat such senses as Translingual? I assume not as we then wouldn't have translations/transliterations. But they are obviously Translingual. What is the logic of this? Which pronciples or slogans apply? Is it the tail-wags-dog logic of the "need" for translations? Almost all proper noun entries have the same basic qualification for Translingual treatment. DCDuring TALK 11:34, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

I would make the river ==English== and the surname ==Italian==, and add new languages only if they have something new to say, a pronunciation, etymology etc. We don't treat place names and personal names as translingual. --Makaokalani 17:38, 14 January 2011 (UTC)


Current sense 1 has "(archaic) The surviving member of a married couple after one or the other has died; a widow or widower"
I've never seen it applied to a widower. Etymonline says it only means "widow". I also did a search at google books and didn't see any male relicts. --Person12 11:42, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

  • I've only ever seen it (in wills) to mean widow. But the OED has the more general meaning marked as rare. SemperBlotto 11:47, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Century defines it is "...a survivor./Specifically a widow or widower, especially a widow." DCDuring TALK 15:14, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Since Etymonline gives only a date for the widow sense, I'd like to separate the widow & widower sense into two, if that's ok with everyone.--Person12 09:36, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Different pronunciations of "offensive"

I think that I and some other people in the U.S. usually pronounce "offensive" adjective meanings 2 and 3 differently than the other meanings - OFfensive rather than ofFENsive. This distinguishes, for example, its non-pejorative use in sports and military applications from various tedious controversies about what people say or write. Is this a general trend? Does it mean that the word is actually two words? Wnt 15:23, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Now that I think about it, Americans do usually speak of the football position "OFFensive lineman" and "DEffensive lineman." An ofFENsive lineman sounds one who is offensive for some reason. —Stephen (Talk) 23:44, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
So what should be done to improve the entry? Wnt 04:50, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Okay now?​—msh210 (talk) 06:29, 13 January 2011 (UTC)


Can someone confirm this Romanian translation at invadable? It's not in Google. Equinox 21:54, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

I speedied it with the summary "just doesn't exist". Mglovesfun (talk) 18:19, 13 January 2011 (UTC)


These definitions are quite substandard, I'm sure we can do better. --Mat200 14:30, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

As a native speaker, you might be among the best to take a crack at it. Definition-writing and -revising are not easy, at least to a high standard, but they are some of the best contributions native speakers can make. DCDuring TALK 14:58, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
OK, I won't be lazy. I took a stab at adding some more. It's an improvement. --Mat200 15:27, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

X out of the Y

I think I'm overlooking something concerning my new entries fly out of the traps, race out of the traps, storm out of the blocks. --Downunder 23:09, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

A snowclone? --Downunder 19:28, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
As to the entries they are obviously metaphorical. The entries for fly and race have the metaphorical senses among their definitions. I don't think trap and block have such metaphorical meaning in other collocations, which might make each of these idiomatic. With such a small set it might not warrant additional treatment as a construction (or snowclone). Having entries, when justified, makes the terms much easier for users to find. DCDuring TALK 20:08, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

one step ahead

Is this a preposition? one step ahead of certainly is--Downunder 23:21, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Use it in a sentence. All I can think of is a line in a song, where it is an adverb. As for "one step ahead of", that isn’t a preposition; the preposition is ahead of and "one step" is a measure. —Stephen (Talk) 23:32, 11 January 2011 (UTC)


In Goossen's Diné Bizaad, this term is shown as two separate words: béégashii (cow) and yáázh (small). As such, would béégashii yáázh still merit inclusion as an entry term? -- Eiríkr Útlendi | Tala við mig 00:27, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

As additional data points, the only Google hits for béégashiiyáázh are here on the English Wiktionary. béégashii yáázh gets a hit in a Spanish-Navajo dictionary and another in a Polish-Navajo dictionary. Meanwhile, béégashii yázhí (with yázhí = yázh "small" + nominalizer) gets hits over on the Navajo Wikipedia page w:nv:Béégashii. -- Eiríkr Útlendi | Tala við mig 07:33, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

I think that béégashii yáázh is the better spelling. I would just move it, leaving béégashiiyáázh as a redirect. I think I would just consider béégashii yázhí to be SoP. —Stephen (Talk) 08:26, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you Stephen -- but what's SoP? -- Eiríkr Útlendi | Tala við mig 08:39, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
"Sum-of-parts", i.e. potentially ineligible for inclusion. Ƿidsiþ 09:33, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

eagle breed

  • 1844, William Henry Blaauw, The Barons' War, page 32:
    Neither Edward I. or Edward III., were born of "the great and good;" nor were the dove-like Edward II., Richard II., or Henry VI., true to the eagle breed of their fathers.
  • 1907, Ian Maclaren, Graham of Claverhouse, page 220:
    Their private life had not always run smoothly, for if in one way they were well mated, because both were of the eagle breed, in another way they were ill-suited, because they were so like.
  • 1915, Seymour Deming, The Pillar of Fire, page 219:
    Have you [] leapt overboard to be swept along on the stream of your age — the age that shall liberate the worker — in company with the other strong swimmers, to shout gaily back to all the valiant outlaws of the past, and gaily forward to all the eagle-breed of the future?
  • also 1998, Margaret Ziolkowski, Literary Exorcisms of Stalinism: Russian writers and the Soviet past, page 114:
    Soviet aviators were linked to Stalin through ponderous zoological symbolism. "Flyers are proud falcons, raised lovingly, solicitously by Comrade Stalin," declared Politburo member Lazar' Kaganovich, and in military schools, the students sang: "We are children of Stalin/ An Eagle breed."

I believe, either eagle has a meaning as an attributive noun or eagle breed has a meaning. What is it? - -sche 08:02, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

It looks like a not-too-common metaphorical use of eagle to mean something like noble (1915) or predatory/aggressive (1844, 1907), or both (1998). I suspect it is just formal or literary. I expect that the metaphor is by no means limited to English. Thus it belongs to the natural kind "eagle" and not to the word "eagle". I'm betting it is covered at w:Eagle under an "In culture" heading.
It is not covered at the WP article, though the etymology of "eagle" is. DCDuring TALK 11:25, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The use of breed is unexceptional. Thus "eagle breed" does not seem idiomatic. DCDuring TALK 11:22, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
There is some usage of "eagle nature", mostly about the same attributes. One can also find other metaphorical use of eagle with respect to vision (eg, "eagle gaze"). I don't think this use warrants a separate sense of "eagle".
If we do add meanings at eagle, there are many other literary and dated metaphors, especially about animals and plants, that need to be added. DCDuring TALK 11:48, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Is the heraldry aspect relevant to this discussion? According to s:The Grammar of Heraldry/Chapter 4, the eagle has supremacy amongst birds. It doesn't go into explanations, but the predatory aspect is mentioned. Pingku 15:20, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
I think the sequence is just 'literal eagle' => 'metaphorical eagle' => 'heraldic eagle' => Modern English "eagle". But some languages predate heraldry. I think causality can be assumed to bypass heraldry. Heraldry seems more like an alternative (graphical) language, translingual in scope. I think the literature of heraldry makes explicit the metaphorical meanings. DCDuring TALK 17:46, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I've never heard ‘eagle breed’, but it just seems like a metaphorical use of breed to me. Compare bulldog breed, as some nationalistic Brits like to refer to themselves. Ƿidsiþ 21:22, 17 January 2011 (UTC)


I've heard this used in Australia - or at least I think it's the same word - to mean that kind of strong water pump/spray that is used to remove dirt, etc, from buildings. Am I on the right path? ---> Tooironic 06:37, 14 January 2011 (UTC)


I just added the alternate form 井守 on the page for イモリ. Does anyone know if this rendering is purely 当て字, or if it gives us the derivation of the term? -- Eiríkr Útlendi | Tala við mig 18:40, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Just realized this should go on the Etymology Scriptorium (WT:ES) page -- any admin types, feel free to delete this. -- Apologies for the confusion, Eiríkr Útlendi | Tala við mig 21:26, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Bahá'í Faith

This shouldn't be a redirect AFAIK. ---> Tooironic 21:52, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Bahá'í is pretty unclear - from what language is it? Perhaps Sanskrit, I don't know. Also in Category:Bahá'í Faith and indeed this redirect, why is Faith capitalized? Is it a set phrase like New York Times, where the 'Times' is capitalized by convention? Mglovesfun (talk) 15:21, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
w:Bahá'í Faith says "It is derived from the Arabic Bahá’, meaning 'glory' or 'splendour'". It also says "The term "Bahaism" (or "Baha'ism") has been used in the past, but the correct name of the religion is Bahá'í Faith." so I guess Faith is part of a set phrase. This might be worth a usage note, but I'd need to do more research than just Wikipedia.--Prosfilaes 00:31, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
google books:"in the Bahá'í Faith" (chosen so as to get snippets that are in sentences, rather than in titles) turns up a few instances of the Bahá'í faith with lowercase <f>, but a few dozen instances of the Bahá'í Faith with uppercase <F>, so I think the latter should have the main entry. BTW, The New York Times is not so much a "set phrase" as it is a title or proper noun. The general rule in English is that all major words in titles and proper nouns are capitalized — hence "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", "Oxford University", etc. — even words that in other circumstances may be used as common nouns in reference to the same entity ("this kingdom", "this university", etc.). —RuakhTALK 01:40, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

of all

I poked together a definition for of all to suit the structure "it was the party of all parties", "this will be the match of all matches", but it is quite lame. It made me think of where to house phrases such as "it was the party to end all parties". --Downunder 20:31, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Adverb? Really? Equinox 00:44, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
It isn't really a phrase, either, though we would label as one because we have no better PoS header. It is grammatically a non-constituent. See Category:English non-constituents. DCDuring TALK 02:06, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that of all is a very typical prepositional phrase consisting of the preposition of functioning as its head and the determinative all functioning as a head of the complement. Why would you say it's a non-constituent?--Brett 16:09, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Because Downunder (talkcontribs)'s example is {of {all parties}}, not {{of all} parties}. —RuakhTALK 16:13, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
I see. Sorry for my lack of attention.--Brett 16:31, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Downunder, you are confronting the snowclone/construction problem. "[Noun] of all [Noun]s" and "[Noun] to end all [Noun]s" (and others such as "all [Noun1] and no [Noun2]"). The expressions are mostly grammatical and there is usually no single expression that would make a good representative entry and many, many nouns that can fit in the slots. Appendices might house them, but how would a user find them? DCDuring TALK 02:01, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
To be a snowclone it has to be copied from the pattern of a famous saying, otherwise it's just a really common (but non-idiomatic) construction. Perhaps an Appendix:Common constructions is in order? — lexicógrafa | háblame — 02:16, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Your distinction is accurate, but the two classes of items share common characteristics in terms of searchability and the likely notation to present them. "Construction" is a hypernym of "snowclone". All (almost all ?) of the most relevant discussion in various threads mentions "snowclones"; only some mentions "construction"; and "construction" turns up in more marginally relevant and irrelevant threads. I will continue to mention both in any possibly relevant thread to facilitate finding the threads. As a practical matter, "snowclones" have a better PR agency than "constructions". And some constructions already have multiple exemplars that are already entries. Some basic constructions also have accepted names with a grammatical/syntactic flavor, which fits within the kind of grammatical/syntactic categories that we have had.
The Appendix idea would be a good focal point. My inclination is more toward the individual appendices. I do not yet have a good intuition about the format that would do us some good. And the search problem is central to making such appendices useful to users. DCDuring TALK 15:53, 16 January 2011 (UTC)


We really need the adjective sense here - I would add it myself but I'm not sure how it should be written. ---> Tooironic 07:34, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

sex proverbs

Does anyone know any proverbs related to sex? Stuff like wrap it before you tap it would be appreciated. There's one in particular I'm looking for which means something like ['scuse my English] "don't fuck her until she's started menstruating". --Downunder 22:23, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Don't drag to bed while the rag is red. Equinox 22:56, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
The closest I've heard is If there's grass on the field, play ball.. —RuakhTALK 23:02, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
If it's a hole it's a goal, if it's a hole, it's a goal. Can't see how these could ever be sum of parts. One of them should redirect to the other. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:57, 20 January 2011 (UTC)


I think we are missing the unpredictable usage of "the menopause", "the plague", "the" + a number of old afflictions I can't think of right now... or should we instead put notes at the respective entries? ---> Tooironic 22:49, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Maybe you're right. But looking for sex proverbs is a far more fun thing to do. --Downunder 22:54, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
The mumps, the measles, etc. I don't think this is a sense we are missing, because it doesn't have a definition distinct from normal "the", does it? It's more of a usage convention, in the way that we say "love to fly" but "adore flying". Equinox 22:18, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
CGEL has a page-and-a-half-long section 8.4 "Restricted non-referential uses of the articles" in "Nouns and noun phrases". Illnesses are one of six classes of "'fixed expressions' containing the definite article". But only a very few require "the": "the plague". In most other cases "the" is more or less optional (common with "flu", "DTs", "shakes"; rarer with "rheumatism", mostly to give a folksy or dated flavor). I think this is a usage-note item with each of the diseases for which "the" or "a" is optional or mandatory. Most diseases with modern names are (normally) non-count, so the uncountability indication should cover the corresponding usage question.
Further, one of my favorite bits of blues lyrics is: "I've got the misery and the backache, baby / and my feet hurt me when I walk." Maybe it's prosody that's forcing "the", but I suspect not. DCDuring TALK 23:08, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

talk through one's hat

We have two distinct senses (each with a citation). I believe only the first sense is needed and covers both citations. Do others agree? Equinox 22:54, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree. I think the second sense may have been added because the first half of the first def ("To speak lacking expertise, authority, or knowledge") seems wrong: if I lack expertise or authority, then anything I say is talking through my hat? I think trimming that part, leaving the whole def as "To speak without knowledge; to invent or fabricate facts", would be an improvement. —RuakhTALK 23:06, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Ruakh's recommendation. I'm not sure that the second citation actually supports the sense of bluffing, rather than simply speaking with an an unwarranted appearance of authority, which is only sometimes actual bluffing, may not be intentional, and is (or should be) included in the first sense. RHU has "to speak without knowing the facts; make unsupported or incorrect statements". MW has "to voice irrational, illogical, or erroneous ideas". Neither mentions intent, which seems essential for a sense of "bluff". DCDuring TALK 23:20, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Chambers: "to talk wildly or nonsensically." Equinox 23:21, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

olde tyme

Is glossed as specific to ballroom dancing. This seems incredible. Equinox 23:57, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

  • No, it's a breed of bulldog. SemperBlotto 08:26, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
See w:Olde tyme (dab page). Pingku 00:35, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

take the game to

This entry isn't so good. Let me churn it over. Or I can nudge the wooden spoon to another. So to speak. --Downunder 23:44, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

To me this looks more like an instance of a construction rather than a true idiom. To "take the X to" would allow at least "battle", "struggle", "debate", "fight", "argument", "campaign", "war", "argument", "conflict". DCDuring TALK 01:48, 20 January 2011 (UTC)


The definitions keep me puzzled. How does one speak through the nose? -- Prince Kassad 00:08, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

One of the definitions should be "(phonetics) to turn (a sound) nasal" or some such. —Internoob (DiscCont) 00:19, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

English words which use diacritics

I was wondering, are there any original, valid English words, that are not loanwords, which make use of any sort of diacritics? Or even any characters which are not amongst the standard English alphabet?

Also, does there exist on Wiktionary a category containing words that use letters with diacritics (any language)? Something like w:en:Category:Redirects from titles with diacritics.

Thanks. Apologies if this is the wrong forum for the second question. -- OlEnglish (Talk) 02:13, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

We have Category:English spellings by character, but I'm not sure if that was what you were looking for.
Some people write words like reënter or coöperation with diaereses. Also, in animé, the accent was not there in the Japanese. —Internoob (DiscCont) 03:18, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that is useful, thank you.
Curious how these can be valid English words since they don't use the standard English alphabet. Would they exist in any other printed dictionary? And if so, placed where? ǀXam for example, I'm guessing would be either at the very beginning or the very end. -- OlEnglish (Talk) 22:48, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Diaeresis, circumflex, acute and grave accents, all over vowels, and the cedilla under the c have long been used to write words in English, and naturally appear in dictionaries. In English, most characters that are basically another character with something funny are sorted where they would go without the addition. Generally I know that the Oxford English Dictionary has some words with the click letters in them; IIRC, they are sorted without them. IIRC. I know of one math dictionary that puts all the words starting with Greek letters at the start.--Prosfilaes 06:51, 22 January 2011 (UTC)


Sense: "preposition" Near; not far from; -- determining approximately time, size, quantity.

I think of this sense as adverbial, usually modifying numbers. It is optional in all the uses in this sense that I can think of: "We have (about) two million entries." "He joined (about) a year ago." Am I missing something? Some dictionaries call this an adverb; some call it a preposition. Some call it both. Older Websters have both. MWOnline only has the adverb. Does it have this grammatical role when used with ordinals? "This is (about) the tenth time he's called today." In the (dated) usage example, "He went out about the third hour," "about" cannot be dropped and can be replaced with other prepositions such as "at", "near", "around", but also adverbs such as "approximately", though a bit awkwardly. DCDuring TALK 12:53, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
The term ADVERBIAL is unfortunate. It's traditionally used to discuss a function, but the function hints at a category: ADVERB. Though we can have NPs, PPs,and even present participial clauses can fulfill this function, the term leads to confusion.
As far as I know, about is always a preposition. But then I believe in intransitive prepositions, so I'm not sure how much good my opinion is here.--Brett 22:29, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
I sympathize with your view and CGEL's, but I don't see that we can follow it without confusing or even losing users, even contributors. DCDuring TALK 23:55, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Old French and Anglo-Norman entries with tremas

I was thinking of moving all the forms with tremas like fisicïen to trema-less forms, in this case fisicien. AFAICT the trema is optional and seem to signify and syllabic break; for example veü is two syllables, to distinguish from veu. So my best guess is that the 'textbook' IPA for fisicïen is /fi.si.si.ɛ̃n/. I don't think we benefit from having two forms of the same words. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:38, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Were the words written that way in the original documents? Or is this just a standardised modern orthography similar to what is used for Old Norse? Also, c before front vowels was still pronounced [ts] in Old French as far as I know. —CodeCat 11:46, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't see why we shouldn't support the orthography that the language is printed in. Virtually all of our users are going to be students looking the books, not scholars looking at the original manuscripts.--Prosfilaes 04:38, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

If two spellings were in use, there is no reason to exclude one of these spellings. Lmaltier 11:55, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

According to my University of Leeds lecturer, who teaches Old/Middle French up to PHD level "You do sometimes find tremas ie umlauts but not often." So we can't rule out that there were tremas in the original texts. So... I should probably withdraw this as an active idea. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:59, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
The letter c seems to be pronounced [s] before an e. Evidence in Rutebeuf shows things like encemble (ensemble) and baces (basses). Mglovesfun (talk) 23:18, 26 January 2011 (UTC)


I need help on this. My instinct would be to define it as "to kill (particularly casually, from a position of trust)", but I was unsure about that enough to look it up. (Maybe a video gaming sense?) I was looking at recent b.g.c hits; I didn't find much to support my definition exactly (maybe "Do anything else and your own side will scrag you."), but the current sense "to choke" seems to lack the lethality of most of the current usages (like "But they'll scrag you for it, you know, if you do. They scrag anyone who speaks to me."). "To hang on a gallows, or to strangle or garotte", our first definition, seems to fit some of the definitions better, and the dictionaries like it, but it's hard to tell anything more specific then "kill" from most of the usages. "in the eyes of the unthinking reactionaries who'd undoubtedly carry out his orders to scrag you without turning a hair."" is from a David Weber space sci-fi."Snorin' on my back, I'll still have one eye open on you, Mac, and both fists ready to scrag you if you play any of your monkey tricks." is one that's not apparently lethal, but it's fists, not hands, so choking seems out. ""Nah, the Taffies'll scrag you in a scrum," said Piper, a keen sportsman, "but they're not the poisoning sort."" seems good for a more narrow definition, though it's not clear what; "I shall be able to come over and scrag you for snoring, one of these fine nights." is pretty clear on choking; "Mind, it's the sort of place you go whoring with a buddy so that her pimp don't scrag you" sounds a lot like garotting or strangling, but not hanging. Should we subsume choking under strangle, and assume that anything that's not clear under the "To hang, etc." definition? I still don't know what to do with that fists quote. Does "to choke" need an rfv?

As a side note, The lore and language of schoolchildren says "To scrag is a more gentle way of way of having a kind of hurtful revenge. You pull his hair and take his tie off and that sort of thing." That doesn't seem to be attestable under CFI with what I was looking at.--Prosfilaes 17:43, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

From my own childhood (many years ago), that last meaning seems to be more or less correct. It always used to refer to some sort of threat, never fully explained. The OED has the sense "To treat (someone) roughly, to manhandle." SemperBlotto 17:58, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Google groups has a glossary with "Scragged: Any attack which reduces its target to a red (or yellow, or green) smear on the nearest surface." and a cite (clear in its meaning, if ugly in its writing) "Tonite I was playing on open w/ some guy, and i got scragged, when i went back for my corpse, i managed to pick up most of my stuff, like the 16 bottles of potions, and some stuff got stuck on the floor i.e. my decent sword."--Prosfilaes 19:16, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I've added all the senses I got here, so unless someone else wants to discuss it, I'm considering it closed.--Prosfilaes 19:30, 2 February 2011 (UTC)


As far as I know this can also mean "horny" or "aroused", especially when referring to women. Has anyone else heard that usage before? ---> Tooironic 00:01, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Oh lots and lots but only referring to a woman as it refers to vaginal fluids. A female equivalent of hard. Mglovesfun (talk) 00:02, 24 January 2011 (UTC)


This seems to be rarer than "thou must" judging by a Google Books search, so maybe it should be marked {{rare}} or have a usage note to that effect? I'd do it myself, but I don't feel comfortable going by a Google search alone. What does everyone think? —Internoob (DiscCont) 02:11, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

The question for me is if in the era when thou was actually used in normal speech (which I know wasn't as late as 1611, making real hard to Google), if the correct or normal use was "mustest". A usage note noting how it was used, and that it's very rare in modern writing, even relative to thou, would be nice, though I'd go so far as to write and link an essay on "thou" and "-est" forms in modern and early modern English, if I felt competent to do so. An historical syntax of the English language by Fredericus Theodorus Visser marks a 1450 usage of this with [sic], so I'm guessing it wasn't common even in Middle English.--Prosfilaes 07:13, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

work up a head of steam

Move to head of steam? Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary has lemma at head of steam, for example. --Downunder 23:20, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

At COCA only 3 of the 28 instances of "head of steam" are with forms of "work up". In such a modern corpus very few of the 28 instances are literal. "Head of steam" appears in NPs as subject, object of preposition, as well as object of verbs. Therefore, yes, IMHO, more clearly than most such moves. The conservative, cautious approach is to tag it with {{move}} and wait a decent interval. DCDuring TALK 00:19, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
See Wiktionary:Requests_for_moves,_mergers_and_splits#work_up_a_head_of_steam. DCDuring TALK 00:59, 28 January 2011 (UTC)


Is listed as a Dutch word. Can this be right? Equinox 22:06, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

No, Verbo (talkcontribs) messed up, which is what he did best before he got blocked. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:20, 26 January 2011 (UTC)


Can this word also mean "only just"? My Chinese Oxford Dictionary gives the example: "Scarcely had she finished when the door opened." ---> Tooironic 23:15, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Sure can. That example sentence is perfect English in my dialect. Is that not the "Almost not at all; by a small margin" sense, though? She had almost not finished when the door opened.​—msh210 (talk) 23:20, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
MWOnline has "only just" and "by a small margin" in the same subsense. I find "only just" both more natural in use and less desirable as a definition than the two defs in our sense line. DCDuring TALK 00:54, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

strike out

One of my friends claims this also means "to go off on your own" in AmE, is it true? ---> Tooironic 01:46, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Almost, but not quite. One can "struck out 'for the territories'", "strike out across the mountains", OR "strike out on one's own", strike out toward the mountains", "strike out to make his fortune". It is a lot like a comparable sense of "set out". HTH. DCDuring TALK 03:11, 28 January 2011 (UTC)


Where did this massive quote come from:

Suburbanites infamously ostracize those outside of their social and neighborhood circles. They ostracize the divorced and the poor, and they are often mean-spirited gossips. They are infamous for slutting up teenage daughters with immodest clothing and the acceptance of trashy role models, and they are infamous for cheerleader training, which includes the lessons of social ostracism. Many suburbanites belong to community-based country clubs, which, via consensus, define further ostracism rules.

It's spread all over Google. Copyright vio? ---> Tooironic 23:36, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

I suspect the original source is [1] Equinox 00:13, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I found an earlier-dated web page by the same Nancy Levant, now at the entry.
It wouldn't be a copyvio if it were properly attributed. It would be even clearer if it were limited to the sentences that actually had the verb "ostracize". It doesn't meet our "durably archived" standard for attestation, not that such a word needs much attestation in its main meaning. DCDuring TALK 00:18, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Not really that massive, we could remove a few sentences per the "right to short quotation" rule. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:40, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

come again

First definition is a verb. Well I suppose that's ok, but it's imperative only right? The second etymology and definition just seems to be Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see come,‎ again.. I think that should be deleted as a 'useless used literally' definition. The other one needs at least a bit of work. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:37, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Isn't it just an interjection? It's only ever used as such nowadays in any case. —CodeCat 13:43, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
re:CodeCat: What is the emotion that the purported interjection expresses? It can be heard an imperative sentence or a question in usage.
re:MG: As with greetings and farewells (including those in Category:English greetings and Category:English farewells), there is a large element of idiomaticity in these. At the very least they are core content for any self-respecting phrasebook. DCDuring TALK 16:21, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
See also Category:English discourse markers. DCDuring TALK 16:40, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, here's one non-imperative use:
  • 2010, S. M. Martins, The Secret Quest (Google eBook), iUniverse, →ISBN, page 30:
    “Okay, you Sarah,” he swallowed “are the lonely cancer in the sun.” She shot him a slightly alarmed look, like he was a nutcase.
    “Sorry, could you come again please?” She responded.
Clearly no proofreader was involved in the production of that book, but even so. ;-)
And for that matter, there are some cases where it is an imperative, but with "please", which makes it hard to interpret it as an interjection:
  • 1965, Roger Zelazny, This Immortal, Ace Books (1966), page 30:
    “. . . What,” George Emmet was asking, “do you think of that?” I stared at him. He hadn’t been there a second ago. He had come up suddenly and perched himself on the wide wing of my chair. “Come again, please. I was dozing.”
RuakhTALK 18:04, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't think that come#Verb has this "say again" sense in any other collocation. One cannot make the same claim for the synonymous "say again". DCDuring TALK 19:46, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


In the inflection section, "pirate"? Um...? —Internoob (DiscCont) 22:42, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Thar be a problem, matey. Not easily undone. That be 3 full months after w:Talk Like a Pirate Day. DCDuring TALK 23:45, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh, my gosh, that is awesome and hilarious! Or rather, it was awesome and hilarious. Party pooper that I am, I've cleaned up that table. (I actually think the section could do with a rewrite — the current structure would make sense for a highly inflected language, but isn't a terribly useful way to present be's eight forms — but at least it's a bit better now.) —RuakhTALK 01:49, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
w:Talk Like a Pirate Day be a good wiktionary appendix. Even better be it to document more of the stage/acting language conventions (eg, pirates, Romans, Tudor kings, Native Americans, Africans, Mexicans, Scotsmen, cowboys, etc).DCDuring TALK 02:23, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Everyone on the Internet needs to stop talking about pirates, ninjas, and zombies. It was funny for two weeks in 1997. Equinox 17:00, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Arrrgh, I disagree, matey. --Romanb 17:07, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I think that we should add back the thou forms. They don't hurt anything, and they make the page a more useful reference. —Internoob (DiscCont) 05:48, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
The problem — well, a problem — is that they weren't "the" thou forms, they were just the most stereotypically thou-itized "thou" forms. If we go by b.g.c. hits in the date range 1500–1600 — not a huge sample, admittedly, but infinitely huger than the sample of citations our table was based on ;-) — we find that wert was a much more common past-indicative than wast, that were also alternated somewhat with wert, especially in the past-subjunctive, that be was a much more common present-subjunctive than beest, and so on. And of course, in current usage, thou conjugations are generally a total mess, with pseudo-archaizing speakers often confusing the thou forms with the archaic -eth forms, though in my experience they do usually get "thou art" right, so that's something.
Another problem is that if we include "thou wast" and "thou wert" then we're hardly justified in excluding the much commoner "we was". A lot of this stuff can (and should) be explained in prose comments, but they're not fit for a conjugation table.
RuakhTALK 18:04, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
A conjugation table specifically for real Early Modern Modern English strikes me as very useful for English speakers.--Prosfilaes 18:53, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
More useful than a prose explanation? I don't know enough about the subject to say anything meaningful about past-indicative "thou wast" vs. "thou wert" vs. "thou were" (except that they all existed), but I hope that someone can give us something more useful than just a "wast/wert/were" cell in a conjugation table. —RuakhTALK 21:42, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
To the extent that conjugation tables are useful, I think it would be useful here, probably alongside prose explanation. I think waiting for someone is letting the best defeat the good; since no one is jumping at the chance, go ahead and add what you know and hopefully it will inspire someone who knows more to clarify and expand.--Prosfilaes 18:51, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

The German Wiktionary has a conjugation table de:be (Konjugation) which includes present and past tense passive imperatives: "be been! have been been!" Are such forms really used in English? Google Books Search results include misscans of grammar books, but also [2] [3]. - -sche 03:25, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

A form of be can't precede been in any situation (because it's not a stand-alone adjective). Also, I'm confident that the perfect imperative does not exist. You can't tell someone in the present to have been something in the past! I would fix that table if I could figure out how. Ultimateria 03:44, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
The same template that creates de:be (Konjugation) creates the other English verbs, for example de:melt (Konjugation) and de:dive (Konjugation). I'll show the other editors this discussion and ask to change the template, if we figure out how it should be changed. The form of melt listed as the "past imperative" is "have been melted", which is a real phrase, even though not an imperative as claimed. What should that form be renamed? The template possibly needs a switch so the form won't show on be. (Also intransitive verbs don't have that form, right?) - -sche 04:20, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure if an imperative perfect exists in English — even the most hypothetically plausible examples, like "Please have sent it to him by the end of the day", strike me as awkward at best. (Normal usage would be simply "Please send it [] ".) Aside from that, another problem with listing an imperative "have been melted" is that either we interpret "melted" as a participial adjective, in which case the construction has no business being in the conjugation table for the verb "melt", or else we interpret "be melted" as the true passive voice of the causative verb "melt" (as in "I'm melting the ice"), in which case it's unsuited to the imperative even in a non-perfect aspect. —RuakhTALK 17:30, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I think I have found a verb that is only intransitive: somnambulate. "Have been somnambulated" is nonsensical, showing that intransitive verbs cannot have the forms "be _", "have been _". However, could a transitive verb have a passive imperative? I think I have found examples. A wizard could look at an architect's plans for a city and command the plans "be built!" A mean general could tell his soldiers "be killed!" A general could wait to hear the fate of his soldiers and think meanly "please have been killed, please let them have been killed" or nicely "please have been saved"? - -sche 21:26, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

pall mall

I listened to a radio show[4] where this expression was used (by a literate speaker) as an edjective, apparently in the sense headlong. Is this right? __meco 11:27, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure that this spelling ever has the same meaning as (or any etymological connection to) pell-mell, which does have the meaning like "headlong" or "helter skelter". In some dialects they are homophones. DCDuring TALK 13:34, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Would like to add a new word that I have created on facebook and was asked to add to Wikepedia

Maureen L. Sledd (me Yesterday, I was talking with a close friend & while we were talking I came up with a new word, one that I would like to share with all of you. The word is heartfriend. Def.: a friend who knows your heart along with your brain & still chooses to be your friend; a friend who will let you talk, talk, talk & is ok when you dominate the conversation but knows that you will listen to whatever she needs to share with you

I'm afraid we're not the place either to add new words we have created on Facebook (or any other place, for that matter). Try urbandictionary, they're designed for that sort of thing (and are very good at it). --Romanb 15:28, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
heartfriend/heart friend/heart-friend would be attestable, though the definition would be less wordy than that above. DCDuring TALK 18:04, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

look who's talking

and you can talk. Both these entries are a little blabbery. I'd appreciate a tweak from a wordsmith. --Romanb 16:49, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Canadarian: Wot?

I see Wiktionary has an entry for the word 'Canadarian', meaning (yes) a person from Canada. The quotes provided all seem to come from Usenet conversations. I am new to Wiktionary, and so may be wrong, but is it really the place of Wiktionary to provide a platform for people who want to invent new words on the basis of someone once having used them in some slang and text-ese infested flaming session on a message board? (Btw, here's my new word: texteseian - entry to follow shortly (not)) 13:22, 31 January 2011 (UTC) (1812ahill on en.wikipedia)

It's not a platform for those who want to invent new words on the basis of someone's once having used them. It's a platform for those who want to record existence of words, which existence is determined on the basis of people's having used them. Note the two differences from your assumption: (1) We find citations and determine that the word has been invented, rather than find citations and invent the word. (2) We don't generally include words on the basis of just one citation. (Yes, I know, one sense of Canadarian has currently only one citation. If you doubt it meets our criteria for inclusion, by all means request verification of it.)​—msh210 (talk) 18:44, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
I've added rare and colloquial tags.--Prosfilaes 18:43, 31 January 2011 (UTC)