Wiktionary:Tea room/2011/November

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
This is an archive page that has been kept for historical purposes. The conversations on this page are no longer live.
discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← October 2011 · November 2011 · December 2011 → · (current)

November 2011


Is that "would arush me" at 1:08 in this clip?​—msh210 (talk) 00:03, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

No, it's "were to rush me" in a non-rhotic accent but with intervocalic alveolar flapping. So it's [wɜɾəˈɹʌʃmi], not [wʊɾəˈɹʌʃmi]; admittedly the acoustic difference between them is minute. —Angr 18:52, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Ah! Thanks.​—msh210 (talk) 19:51, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

part of speech

It should be noted that this is both countable and uncountable: one should have an understanding of part of speech (uncountable); the part of speech of this word is "noun" (countable). How to fix the template to reflect this? ---> Tooironic 00:29, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

See diff.​—msh210 (talk) 05:59, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that is uncountable. DCDuring TALK 23:03, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Agree. Would like to see a phrase like "understanding of part of speech" in a real citation. Equinox 23:04, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
[1] ("Lexicographers acknowledge the importance of part of speech by [] ") is one. But the complete sentence is "Lexicographers acknowledge the importance of part of speech by following the principle substitutability." which sounds as though the author is using invisible quotation marks to make nouns into proper nouns ("by following the principle 'substitutability'") ,in which case he may well have meant also "Lexicographers acknowledge the importance of 'part of speech'" along the same lines. So it's not a great citation. There are probably others (I haven't looked much), but it certainly seems rare. I was too hasty in adding a claim of 'uncountable' to the entry, and we should revert, I think, it.​—msh210 (talk) 16:05, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

behavior and behaviour

These entries need to be harmonised - one should be a soft redirect to the other, and all the translations and countable/uncountable information should be keep in only one of the entries. Who can help? I'm out of time right now. ---> Tooironic 00:31, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

We really need a way to redirect both to a common entry. No user wants to be redirected to an incorrect spelling for their variety of English. Dbfirs 22:56, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree. This should be like what Wikipedia does with Jurassic Park (film) vs. Jurassic Park (movie). There may be all kinds of dialects and preferences (we tend to think about UK, US, maybe AU and CA, probably not Trinidad or Jamaican or Irish English) but ideally they should not see an "alternative spelling of". I tend to feel that doing this properly is a low priority and far from where we are now. Equinox 23:01, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I wondered about the possibilities for doing something like this for Japanese as well, where a single word might have several possible renderings that should all have the same page content. The closest way I could think of was to have a common page that would be transcluded into all of the others. The problem I ran into was where to locate that common page. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 15:32, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
We could call the entry behavior/behaviour? Or behavio(u)r? —CodeCat 15:40, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I like behavio(u)r myself (it's shorter and leaves out the potentially political question of which spelling comes first). -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 17:53, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
The parentheses are good also because they don't introduce the possibility of confusion with a subpage. But the common page should be in template space, i.e. Template:behavio(u)r so it's clear that we aren't talking about an individual word spelled behavio(u)r. —Angr 18:48, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
There was a problem with a combined entry at colour/color and centre/center because of other languages, so would the template solution work there for an English section as part of the main entry? I've adjusted Widsith's removal of the definitions from the British and Commonwealth spelling of centre because "Alternative" is misleading. I understand the desire for a single entry, but the spelling with "u" has had a full entry in Wiktionary for seven years and I hate to see it go. The template would avoid an argument, perhaps? Dbfirs 19:46, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
What about if we create colo(u)r, and transclude it on both color and colour? —CodeCat 20:03, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I think that behavio(u)r, parentheses and all, actually meets the CFI! —RuakhTALK 19:51, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Update: I've now created an entry for behavio(u)r. —RuakhTALK 20:34, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, fair entry, but it doesn't solve our problem about behavior/behaviour. I'm still not happy with the deletion of the full entry at centre. Dbfirs 10:46, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't trying to solve any problem about behavior/behaviour, I was trying to reinforce Angr (talkcontribs)'s point that "the common page should be in template space, i.e. Template:behavio(u)r so it's clear that we aren't talking about an individual word spelled behavio(u)r". CodeCat (talkcontribs) seems to be ignoring that point, however. —RuakhTALK 17:59, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Above I spoke in favo(u)r of parentheses rather than a slash, but it occurs to me that some BE/AE spelling differences can't be easily captured with parentheses, such as center/centre or organise/organize (which isn't strictly a BE/AE difference since z also occurs in BE). So maybe Template:center/centre and Template:organise/organize are the way to go. (The words can be arranged in alphabetical order to avoid favo(u)ring one spelling or the other.) As for the current state of [[centre]], I not only dislike that it's been stripped of its content, but also the fact that its context label says (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), listing all the countries of the UK separately while omitting the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, and all other countries of the world (India, Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Belize, Jamaica, etc.) where Commonwealth spellings may be encountered. And listing all of them would mean a great long list of countries the reader has to scan over before getting to the meat of the definition - particularly frustrating when that meat contains no meat at all but merely an indication that one has to look up the American spelling. —Angr 11:21, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I didn't like the partial list of countries, but I hoped that it was going to disappear soon. The OED just uses a comma (e.g. "center, centre"). I don't know much about template space, so don't want to upset experts by experimenting, but I can't see any reason why some such template containing the definitions couldn't be inserted into the separate entries at center and centre. For pairs such as organise/organize, our existing "alternative spelling of" template is fine because the spelling with the "s" is still just an alternative in Britain (though I can see it gradually taking over from the older spelling.) Dbfirs 18:36, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
There is nothing special about template namespace, it is just more pages. The only thing different about it is that when a page is transcluded the wiki engine assumes that the template namespace is meant if no namespace is specified. In short, you are unlikely to break anything by creating these pages. SpinningSpark 12:36, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God

Does this really mean "The rich can afford more immoral behavior than the poor"? I thought it meant "The rich are unlikely to enter Heaven", probably because "The rich are more likely to be immoral". That may be because "The rich can (monetarily) afford more immoral behavior" — but our definition implies that their ability to (monetarily) afford immoral behavior is the point of the saying, whereas I think the point is that they're not likely to (live in such a way that they) make it to heaven. They certainly cannot spiritually afford immoral behavior, from the text's point of view (it will damn them, as it will anyone else). - -sche (discuss) 05:04, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, that is not the meaning as I understood it. Actually it would be very easy for a rich man to get a camel through the eye of a needle. All one needs is a very large liquidiser and a funnel. SpinningSpark 05:51, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
The metaphor, as I know it, is that you have to take off all your possessions from your camel to make it go through a small gate in Jerusalem named "eye of a needle". And the interpretation is that a rich man must abandon his wealth when he dies; the possessions can't go to the other side with him. --Daniel 10:16, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Hey Daniel take a look at this: http://www.biblicalhebrew.com/nt/camelneedle.htm . I agree with the "must abandon wealth" interpretation though. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 13:24, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
From what I heard on the TV show QI, the small gate in Jerusalem story is nonsense; supposedly what Jesus meant was the literal meaning of the words. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:54, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't trust QI as a source. Anyway, there's some debate among actual experts; some think that it's actually supposed to mean that it's easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle (the Aramaic word for camel having been used also to refer to a camel's-hair rope), while others point to similar metaphors elsewhere, using different animals, to suggest that it's quite literal. But regardless of what it meant to its author, the main question is what it means to English-speakers today. The rest is etymology. —RuakhTALK 14:29, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I would think it means that to get to heaven one must renounce false gods (and love only God), and rich men would have a hard time renouncing Mammon (loving money too greatly, and having done so all their lives). — Pingkudimmi 16:17, 31 October 2011 (UTC)


  1. (collective) The people living within a political or geographical boundary
    The population of New Jersey will not stand for this!
  2. The people living in a single place.
    The population of some small towns is numbered in under four digits.

Am I missing something, or are those identical?​—msh210 (talk) 20:16, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

The sense 2 probably means the number of the population in a particular area, not the people themselves. You can replace population with people in the first example above, but you can’t in the following sentence:
  • The population of the US is bigger than that of Japan.
TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:00, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
(蛇足 / tangent): Although the meaning changes, you *can* still say the following, what with the state of public health in the US.  ;-)
  • The people of the US are bigger than those of Japan.
Yes of course, and your example clearly shows the difference of the singular and plural population. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:13, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
So you're saying #2 above is the same as
4. A count of the number of residents within a political or geographical boundary such as a town, a nation or the world
The town’s population is only 243.
then, right?​—msh210 (talk) 00:16, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I think they are the same. Perhaps someone added the sense 4 because the definition of the sense 2 was not clear. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 01:17, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I have deleted the original sense 2 and moved the original sense 4 there. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:03, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Why was this done outside of process? This is the kind of thing RfD is for. DCDuring TALK 03:38, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I thought it was okay because they were the same and there was no objection. If it needed a further discussion, revert my edit. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 03:55, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I think your edit was fine. It's O.K. to start an RFD discussion about merging redundant senses, but I don't think it's essential. —RuakhTALK 18:03, 10 November 2011 (UTC)


"A final examination; a test or examination given at the end of a term or class; the test that concludes a class." Is this word use like this in American English only? In Australia we rarely use it. ---> Tooironic 03:11, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Dunno. But in case you're doubting its existence altogether, let me assure you it's common in American English.​—msh210 (talk) 05:55, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
In American English, it’s a standard term for that test. But more commonly, final exam. Often used in the plural, because during final-exams week, there are finals in virtually every class. —Stephen (Talk) 11:07, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Rare in British English except for degree-level "finals". Dbfirs 11:45, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I would venture that "final" is way more common in spoken American English than "final exam". DCDuring TALK 11:58, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I'll go in with you on that venture. :-)   —RuakhTALK 20:36, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
In that case I'm adding a US context tag. ---> Tooironic 23:41, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Correct word please

Hello. I am French speaking ; so I want to known what is correct : "free entry", "free entrance" or "free access" for the "entry" without payment to an exhibition or a museum. Thank you for yours anwers. --Égoïté 10:07, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

"Free admission." —Stephen (Talk) 11:04, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you very much ! --Égoïté 11:30, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd note that "free entry" and "free entrance" are okay, if not idiomatic. "Free access" would be access without limitation; e.g. "after you pay, you will have free access to the museum."--Prosfilaes 17:05, 3 November 2011 (UTC)


Please see Talk:numen. This contributor is interested in expanding our English definition at numen to include "god or goddess" rather than just "god". For my part I'm not familiar with this word and, while I would have thought that "god" includes both male and female deities, I suppose it's arguable. Thoughts? Equinox 21:06, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree with BabeMN (talkcontribs): if numen is known to have been used in reference to goddesses, then I would definitely write "god or goddess". Bare "god" is sometimes gender-neutral, but it's sometimes specifically male (hence google books:"god or goddess", "gods and goddesses"), so we should disambiguate. —RuakhTALK 00:23, 6 November 2011 (UTC)


Is it more common to say "in modern society" or "in the modern society"? My feeling - and it's backed up by Google Books - is the former sounds more natural and is much more common. A usage note to this effect would be very useful as it is totally unintuitive to non-native-speakers. It is also especially confusing considering that most other "big-concept" nouns like "government", "environment", "Internet", "world", "press", "workforce", "media", etc., almost always use the definite article (or occasionally the plural form). Who is with me? ---> Tooironic 23:39, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

One would say "in the modern society" only when contrasting with an older society, but "in modern government" is also used in the same way as "in modern society" when the nouns are used in an abstract way. Perhaps the ideas of society and government allow greater abstraction than the other nouns. Environment and workforce can also take an indefinite article, but we usually assume that we have only one Internet, world, press and media. I'm struggling to define rules about which of the three options to use in which contexts. Dbfirs 10:38, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I "just" know

What sense of just is being used in "I just know", for example in "I can tell, I just know that it's going down tonight"? Fugyoo 19:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

"Only, simply, merely"? I just know; I haven't learned or proven it. Equinox 19:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Seems to be {{non-gloss definition|An emphatic.}}, a sense we don't yet have.​—msh210 (talk) 16:01, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Equinox; it's not an emphatic. It's saying that I know this despite a lack of information to make that claim.--Prosfilaes 20:35, 7 November 2011 (UTC)


The Spanish and Portuguese words have different etymologies, but they have the same meaning so that seems a bit strange. Which one is it? —CodeCat 23:47, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

http://liveweb.archive.org/http://www.etimo.it/?term=lindo&find=Cerca mentions limpidus (and many others), but not legitimus. I think it's much more likely to have come from limpidus anyway. We should find who added the etymology in Spanish and ask him where he got that. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 14:13, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
It was Strabismus (talkcontribs).​—msh210 (talk) 15:59, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
The legitimus etymology is from DRAE.Matthias Buchmeier 10:30, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

what is a bunny rabbit?

Like, grammatically, it is a word composed of 2 words, where both of the words mean the same thing, and the word composed of both of the words also means the same thing. What's the grammatical name for this? Are there other example of it? motor car is one, I guess. --Rockpilot 23:08, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

And pussy cat and kitty cat. I hope they're not just called reduplications, maybe called extreme reduplications instead, or even better doubling reduplications ('coz then, like, the term doubling reduplication is also a doubling reduplication, which leads to awesomeness in the form of autologicality). --Rockpilot 00:34, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Reduplication is usually at the level of sounds, AFAICT. Rhetoricians might call these examples of parelcon, synonymia, or perissologia. See Silva Rhetoricae. DCDuring TALK 02:07, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Those names suck. I prefer doubling reduplication, or bunny-rabbit word --Rockpilot 09:40, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Not "motor car" since this is just a car(t) with a motor. After 700 years of regular use, "car" came to be used as an abbreviation for the motorised variety, but not exclusively. Dbfirs 09:37, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
motor car is actually a bunny-rabbit word, as motor and car both mean motor car. --Rockpilot 09:40, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but only because both "motor" and "car" are now used as abbreviations for the original correct term "motor car". Not all cars are designed to have motors, and not all motors will fit in a car. This is not the same as the duplication of words for children in your other examples. Dbfirs 10:11, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I would call bunny rabbit a tautological noun used by children. —Stephen (Talk) 22:09, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Other examples would include oak tree. These are very common in Mandarin, helping to reduce ambiguity. Fugyoo 21:20, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Yet, tree does not necessarily mean oak, and oak on its own is ambiguous -- are we talking about the tree? the wood? the color? Context can make this clear, but sometimes an additional word is needed. Meanwhile, a bunny is, in most respects, the same thing as a rabbit, with the main differences having to do with the age appropriateness of word choice and similar social connotations. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 22:40, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

"Avon" means 'river' in Celtic, so the popular "Avon river" means "river river".[2] Does that make "Avon river" a "bunny-rabbit word"? How about "hollow pipe" or "girly girl" or "manly-man" or "rifled rifle" or "buttery smooth"? --DavidCary 03:07, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

FWIW, a pipe can be not hollow, such as when filled with something, be it water or dirt or what have you. Meanwhile, "girly girl" and "manly man" seem to be emphatics more than the kind of doubling seen in bunny rabbit. "Rifled rifle" strikes me as redundant -- a rifle is by its very definition rifled; if it looks like a rifle but the barrel isn't rifled, it's not a rifle, it's a musket. "Buttery smooth" is a bit different, and different again from bunny rabbit, for while butter is certainly smooth provided it's not frozen, smooth on its own does not necessarily call forth connotations of butter.
"Avon river" is the closest analog, but for the problem of different languages, and the simple fact that most English speakers don't know that "avon" means "river". By contrast, English speakers will recognize bunny and rabbit as being essentially the same thing.
(My favorite example of this kind of cross-language redundancy was a three-way of sorts, on a sign in Tokyo labeling a waterway as the Shin Sen Gawa River. In kanji, it was the 新川河, which is already redundant, using the Chinese-derived reading "sen" for 川, which means "river" but is used here as a proper noun, and 河, which means river, but is used here as the placename label. So then in English it's the New River River River. Joy!) -- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 07:23, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The obvious American English example, which I'd forgotten, is pizza pie. DCDuring TALK 15:58, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
But pizza pie isn't tautological any more than oak tree is; a pizza is a kind of pie, and not all pies are pizzas. —Angr 17:00, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
But all pizzas are pizza pies. And, for many (most?) speakers, not all rabbits are bunny rabbits, only young ones. DCDuring TALK 18:57, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
You think? I don't feel any semantic difference between bunny, rabbit, and bunny rabbit at all. Young ones are called kits or kittens. —Angr 19:34, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Or, for those of us who didn't know the technical term, they're baby bunnies or baby rabbits.  :) -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 21:42, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
I would be interesting to see what the actual meaning-in-use of "bunny rabbit" is. It might change the answer to the original question. Similarly, it would be interesting to see how common terms like "kit" or "kitten" are in reference to rabbits. In a typical corpus it would probably depend on the inclusion of a single journal article that used the term. DCDuring TALK 00:19, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
On the frequency of the word kit and kitten in this sense, see Rabbits at bgc. DCDuring TALK 00:33, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Growing up, I heard countable pizza refer to a slice. Fwiw.​—msh210 (talk) 00:38, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Apparently the ambiguity of the term kit/kitten in this sense is such that there is some scholarly usage of kit rabbit/kitten rabbit synonymously with bunny rabbit (young rabbit). DCDuring TALK 00:46, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Again, what is the evidence that bunny rabbit means specifically "young rabbit" rather than "rabbit" (of any age)? That's not what our definition says, it's not what my native-speaker intuition says, it's not what Oxford says. It may have connotations of cuteness, but rabbits (unlike many other animals) remain cute even when fully grown. —Angr 16:51, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
It's not hard to find cites where "bunny" appears to be contrasted with "adult (rabbit)"; for example, see here (and scroll to the next page); google books:"bunnies and adult rabbits" (just two distinct cites, but still); this web-page (N.B. not durably archived); and some of the hits at google books:"bunnies and rabbits". Obviously there are speakers for whom "bunny" means "rabbit", but there are apparently (and attestably) speakers who use it to mean "young rabbit". —RuakhTALK 20:16, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
  • One of the reasons I like Wiktionary: A discussion about bunny rabbits can end up in a discussion about pizzas. And all the while it remains a serious thread. --Rockpilot 15:13, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
    Erm, what are your favourite toppings? I like Hawaiian personally. --Rockpilot 15:13, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
    Fresh powdered West African black rhino horn, but it's getting hard to find. DCDuring TALK 18:22, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
    Bunny rabbit. (kidding!) --Robert.Baruch 00:04, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

piquing and Peking

Random question: are these words homophones? ---> Tooironic 02:15, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

  • To me, the stress is on the first syllable for the first, and the second syllable for the second. SemperBlotto 08:24, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
    Don't forget peaking and peeking. --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:20, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd say piquing, peaking and peeking are homophones; Peking has the stress on the second syllable. Any of the first three words together with Peking is a good example of a purely stress-based minimal pair in English. (Those aren't easy to find because of the English tendency to reduce unstressed vowels to schwa.) —Angr 16:29, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I've more often heard the three verb forms pronounced as /ˈpiːkɪŋ/, and Peking pronounced more as /peːˈkɪŋ/ -- with the difference not just in the stress, but also in the first vowel sound. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 21:46, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


Hi everybody. I just created fr:phoquesse, and I was wondering if sealess could be used to name a female seal (pinniped), like lioness for the lion. Thanks for your help. --ArséniureDeGallium 16:10, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so; I've never heard and can't find any examples of it. Female seals, if not simply called "female seals", are called "cows" (or "seal cows" or "cow seals" if necessary for disambiguation). —Angr 16:18, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
This a pity I can't say a sealess sealess (a female seal in a zoo? :D). Thanks very much for your answer. --ArséniureDeGallium 19:24, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


Following a discussion elsewhere, I've realised that "striked" is seemingly becoming more common, but only in the context of industrial relations. I don't have time now to alter then entry and I don't know how it should be labeled. I wouldn't say it's "non-standard" but it's not the most common. Anyway, some cites: [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11].

Also when looking for those, I found a few uses of "striked" as an adjective describing a type of measure or maybe the term is "striked measure", [12] gives a definition. It seems to be related to wheat and possibly other similar crops only. Thryduulf (talk) 18:34, 17 November 2011 (UTC)


Look at the pronunciation of phew (/ɧu˥˩/). Does this English term really have tone and a sound which exists only in Swedish? Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 00:49, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

It's pronounced identically with few. Equinox 00:51, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Isn't it often pronounced with a bilabial sound? —CodeCat 01:24, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Not in my idiolect, it's not. phew is much more aspirated then few.--Prosfilaes 12:15, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Likewise in mine, where phew is pronounced somewhere between few and shoe, and does have a tone drop. There are a small number of English interjective sounds that have qualities not normally associated with English. This can include unusual IPA characters not present in other words and tonal information. See ugh for another example, where the pronunciation is that given by the Cambridge Pronouncing Dictionary, and with which I agree based on my own idiolect. --EncycloPetey 16:21, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I just noticed this when looking at recent changes and came here to say it might be the bilabial sound ɸ. So, um, hmm. Weigh that as you will.--Prosfilaes 23:28, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Right, I think phew has a bilabial sound; in any case, it's different from whew. - -sche (discuss) 23:38, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Shouldn't our pronunciations represent the English word as it would be read aloud, or spoken in neutral English, rather than the natural noise that it imitates or names, or some specific imitative expression? Consider bang, budda budda, burp, zoom, bark, moo, woohooMichael Z. 2012-01-28 17:57 z

Yes, but "phew" is usually pronounced slightly more expressively than few, even by people who are trying to read in a boring and unexpressive way. Dbfirs 18:36, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
We should represent both the expression (noise) and the pronunciation of the word. - -sche (discuss) 23:38, 20 February 2012 (UTC)


Abbr for Persian. Should this not be at Pers? Equinox 15:44, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Probably Pers. in fact, like Ger. and so on. --Mglovesfun (talk) 14:52, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Adding Latin 3rd conjugation template for verbs with no perfect?

Hi all! I stumbled across the Latin word adlubesco / allubesco, which seems to have no perfect forms (see for example here). There is a template for 3rd conjugation verbs with only one part, and for 3rd conjugation verbs with 3 parts, but none for those with 2 parts.

  1. Is it truly the case that adlubesco has no perfect? I couldn't find any in my random search.
  2. Is there any objection to my creating the 3rd-noperf template?

Thanks! --Robert.Baruch 02:28, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

The Latin inchoative verbs (ensing in -esco) that I've come across have no infinitive form, which is why albesco and similar verbs use the "no234" template. Have you found an inifinitive form for adlubesco? I didn't spot it in the link you provided, though I might have just missed it. --EncycloPetey 05:52, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, the infinitive is given in L&S and Cassell's. It's also mainly in various post-Gutenberg works, e.g. here (1738) and here (1639). There's also the imperfect subjunctive found in Metamorphoses, so there must be an infinitive form to conjugate, right? And I guess I can add allibesco to the alternate forms :( --Robert.Baruch 15:06, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

hell on wheels

The L3 header says Noun, but the definition suggests this is an adjective. Which is true? -- Liliana 20:17, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

I'd definitely call it a noun. It is often used as a predicate with the meaning given. It could be defined as "Someone or something that is ....". Also sometimes it is used to mean something like "intensely good or successful" of a performance, especially a competitive one. DCDuring TALK 20:36, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

western world

"All of the countries of the world other than those in Asia taken as a whole." Urgh. That is the worst definition I have ever heard. It excludes countries like Israel, but includes all of Africa which many people do not perceive as "western". -- Liliana 21:33, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Jack Nicholson once said about The Terror that it was the only movie he ever acted in that didn't have a plot. When told, director Roger Corman replied that I'm sure it's not the only movie he's acted in without a plot.
Weak humor aside, it didn't impress me either. My real question is whether it's varied over time. I went ahead and added an obsolete sense of the Americas, but I'm wondering both in age of book and subject of book. Pre-Western discovery Australia is surely not part of the Western World, and I suspect that Cold War authors were likely to exclude Eastern Europe and modern authors possibly include Russia to the sea (or certainly at least the entire EU.)--Prosfilaes 22:08, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

cat around

  • To cat around, meaning to seek out sexual companionship. Being a wiktionary n00b, would this be eligible for its own entry? Or does it go under cat? --Robert.Baruch 00:42, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I've added an entry. Equinox 15:21, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

bon viveur

I found the word bon viveur but we don't have it as a headword but it is used in a definition. Is it the same as bon vivant? viveur says in means someone who lives well. The good life? (Is this uncommon? I found the word in the Wikipedia. Should it be changed?). RJFJR 01:15, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

stir fry

Hi. In the sense of "stir fry" as a compound noun, "stir fries" is listed as the only plural form. I came here after seeing an article that used the form "stir frys." This is a bit over my head, but between a google search, by comparison to the "still life" entry, and after reading this article, it seems likely that "stir frys" is probably acceptable. Cheers. Haus 01:23, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

I'd create it, and then see what happens Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 01:26, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Do you also eat "French frys" on your side of the pond? Dbfirs 14:48, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, do you have gang shootouts called "drivebies"? Equinox 14:53, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Good point! Even though "driveby" is often written as a single word, "drivebies" is not attestable (there is just one "drive-bies" in print on bgc). I think we can cite both "stir frys" and "French frys" to satisfy CFI for Wiktionary, though not for some more conservative dictionaries who ignore deviant authors. We ought to indicate, for our users, which plural is more common. Dbfirs 15:12, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Where the thing can be called a fry (like a French fry: "I dropped a fry on the floor") I think it's ungrammatical. Stir-fry, driveby, passer-by etc. seem like different cases. Equinox 15:47, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. When by is actually from the preposition by, it shouldn't ever turn into bies. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 03:09, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, but it probably will within the next fifty years. "Passerbies" already has over 32,000 (mistaken?) hits in Google, including in some dictionaries. Dbfirs 15:02, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

computer language

Should we merge the senses, since #3 comprehends both #1 and #2? Equinox 21:57, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't see any value keeping senses #1 and #2 separate from #3. There is some discussion of the term computer language in the last paragraph of w:Programming_language#Definitions suggesting that it has distinct senses, but these do not correspond to our current #1 and #2.
All the examples in our current #3 are languages that a computer can typically read and act on, but computer language is sometimes used more broadly - see e.g. w:Template:Computer language. I think #3 should also mention specification languages, or something similar. --Avenue 21:50, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd think the third one is legitimate in a more informal sense. For the first senses I would prefer programming or machine language to this term. Other than loosely, the only other way I'd employ it is to refer to messaging protocol.
Actual use, however, tells a different story. "A computer language...allows you to specify a series of commands or operations." "Like any other computer language, [C] is used for writing programs or sets of instructions." DAVilla 03:42, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

-tor in Latin

Wrong suffix: -tor = -or, the letter before being part of the radical of the suffixed noun/verb.

--Diligent 14:23, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Not in the case of arator — this can be interpreted as ara- + -tor (from aro, arare). --MaEr 15:42, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I thought such nouns arose from the third-person singular? In such a case, arator would be arat + -or, and amator would be amat + -or. The cantor example on the -tor page could be analyzed as canit + -or, with the unstressed interstitial -i- disappearing, much as it did in the evolution of magister into the varieties present in modern European languages. Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 03:27, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
From a non-historic point of view, one can re-interprete existing formations in this way. I mean: if speakers of Latin believe that the suffix is -or instead of -tor they will use -or as a suffix. Reanalysing suffixes happens often, not only in Latin.
From a historic point of view, however, there is a suffix -tor. It is inherited from Proto-Indo-European and is also found in Ancient Greek. The vowel between t and r has ablaut, so the suffix may appear in Ancient Greek dotēr (from dh₃-tér) and in Ancient Greek dōtōr (from déh₃-tor). The zero-grade appears in -tro (= -tr-o), as in Latin aratrum (<ara-tr-o-m). According to Jean Haudry, there is an old phonetic variant -tel which appears in Slavic -tel (Russian учитель etc.) --MaEr 09:12, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, you'd need to convince the well-respected scholars who wrote, edited, and revised both the veneable work A Latin Grammar and its successor New Latin Grammar. They disagree with you. They consider -tor to be the suffix, as MaEr has pointed out already. --EncycloPetey 16:42, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Amator = radical of amatus + -or
cantor = radical of cantus + -or
Arator = radical of aratus + -or
It is very systematically based on the past participle's radical:
Actor = radical of actus + -or
Motor = radical of motus + -or
Servitor = radical of servitus + -or
Monitor = radical of monitus + -or
This went on in Roman languages: torear, toreado, toreador.
--Diligent 13:01, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
It looks that way in retrospect, but that's not how it happened historically. The fact that it has been reinterpreted this way is merely an artifice of similarity in the endings. --EncycloPetey 18:14, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
(tosses some gasoline) Moreland and Fleischer in Latin: An Intensive Course have this to say in Unit 11 (my notes in italics, showing that the derivation probably follows regular rules):
"The suffixes -tor (M.), -trix (F.) added to the stem of a verb produce a noun. Each means 'one who.' Thus:
inceptor, -oris incipio -> incip -> inciptor -> inceptor
auditor, -oris audio -> audi -> auditor
scriptor, -oris scribo -> scrib -> scribtor -> scriptor
spectator, -oris spect -> spect -> specttor -> spectator
actor, -oris ago -> ag -> agtor -> actor
liberator, -oris libero -> liber -> libertor -> liberator
amator, -oris and amatrix, amatricis amo -> am -> amtor -> amator
inventor, -oris and inventrix, inventricis invenio -> inveni -> invenitor -> inventor
cantor, -oris and cantrix, cantricis cano -> can -> cantor
victor, -oris and victrix, victricis vinco -> vinc -> vinctor -> victor
petitor, -oris peto -> pet -> pettor -> petitor
"By analogy, there are viator, -oris and viatrix, viatricis (from via, 'way' + -tor or -trix). --Robert.Baruch 15:28, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Many thanks to all for the varied examples! Note that I was not stating an opposing argument, and instead trying to clarify my own understanding, so this wealth of information is certainly welcome.
One minor curiosity that continues to puzzle me is that a number of these are noted as deriving from the perfect passive participle, which would suggest "one who is [verbed]", rather than the active "one who [verbs]". Does anyone know more about that?
And in looking around to learn about the various suffixes used, I found that -or has no etymology given. Is this suffix derived from -tor, or does it arise from the same underlying root as -arius?
-- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 17:55, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
They appear to be derived from the passive participle but they are distinct suffixes that both happen to begin with -t-. They were already distinct in Indo-European: *-tōr (from earlier *-tors) and *-tós. —CodeCat 20:18, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Aha! That makes more sense. This would suggest that the pages stating that the -tor agent nouns derive from the perfect passive (such as actor or quadrator) are incorrect, since it looks now like the perfect passive and the agent noun both amount to the verb stem (radical?) + -tus or -tor respectively. (And since there isn't a -tus entry, I'm adding it to the list of requested Latin terms.) -- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:52, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
An ending like -tus is considered inflectional, not formative. We generally do not have entries for inflectional endings in Latin. --EncycloPetey 18:14, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery

Etymology and definition are fine, but the part of speech doesn't quite fit. Can we do anything about this, e.g. move to "one couldn't organise..." or even "be unable to organise" (which is probably less common) — or should it be marked as a Phrase rather than a Verb? Equinox 15:46, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

But couldn't is a verb. It is, however, a past tense: does the form can't organise... exist? Should that be the main entry?​—msh210 (talk) 04:53, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
The tricky thing is that couldn't is a modal auxiliary Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 04:55, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Compare to [[can't seem]] and [[can't help]].​—msh210 (talk) 05:01, 27 November 2011 (UTC)


Isn't it pronounced "GROW-per"? If so, then why does it link to Rhymes:English:-uːpə(r)? ---> Tooironic 06:57, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

I'd pronounce it group-er, but I'm hardly an expert on fish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM8dJy2a_-Y says "today we're making a special fish, called group-er, some people call it grope-er," [or GROW-per] "I call it grope-you." I don't call this end-all and be-all of the subject, but it's one source that doesn't seem completely ignorant on the matter. (And I'm lazy today.)--Prosfilaes 07:46, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
FWIW, I've always heard it pronounced as group-er, which I thought made sense just because of the way certain fish group together. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:54, 29 November 2011 (UTC)


I think the "rare" plural innuendis is a mistake or scanno. Anyone know different? Equinox 00:42, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

The one citation looks awfully like a typo to me! Mglovesfun (talk) 14:04, 1 December 2011 (UTC)


I think we are missing a sense. There's a slang sense (possibly American, hip-hop or rap) that means "unconcerned" or "not bothered", as in "Shall we go to Restaurant A or Restaurant B?" "I'm easy" ("I don't mind"). Have others encountered this? Should we add a sense? Equinox 22:04, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Possibly just US, but much wider than AAVE, rap, or hip-hop. (My city has sought to be the site of the National Hip Hop Museum, so I'm an expert.) I've always thought of it as short for "easy-going" or "easy to convince" etc. Perhaps it is most commonly just "agreeable". DCDuring TALK 01:25, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
I have added a first attempt at the phrase I'm easy - not sure if I have linked to it from the correct section. SemperBlotto 08:21, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Is the pronoun always I? Mglovesfun (talk) 19:45, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, She's easy would probably be interpreted with a quite different meaning of easy. But we're easy would probably be interpreted with the same meaning as I'm easy. Other pronouns would probably ambiguous. —Angr 17:04, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

briar vs. brier

Is this just a spelling variation, or are these distinct words with different etymologies? Neither has an etyl, and neither references the other, I only happened upon the pair by chance. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 23:55, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Online Etymology Dictionary says that briar and brier are the same word, but that brier itself has two etymologies, both of which happen to be shrubs (one is Germanic, the other Gaulish via French). —CodeCat 00:17, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
The OED agrees, with etymologies: "Old English: West Saxon brǽr" and "French bruyère heath, erroneously identified with brier" (the second root only for the wood, of course). Should we split our senses into separate etymologies? Dbfirs 14:54, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I've been doing so for Japanese, but I'm not sure what the consensus approach is for English entries. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:54, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I would not treat them as alternative forms because there is apparently some etymological difference, but use {{also}} to keep them linked and Synonyms to keep them connected appropriately. DCDuring TALK 17:49, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there is an etymological distinction between brier and briar. Instead, from what I've gathered, briar is an alternative spelling of brier for both etymologies. —CodeCat 18:22, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
... but is there still a difference in the senses (as the OED claims), or has the confusion now become total so that people now use the two spellings interchangeably? When I see the "brier" spelling, I think of a pipe, but is this distinction shared by others? A quick Google search for "brier" + pipe gives over 7 million hits, compared with only 1.5 million for "briar" + pipe, but I don't think this is enough to claim a well-known distinction between the spellings. Many dictionaries now accept "briar" for the pipe-wood, so I'm forced to agree that "briar" has now become an alternative spelling for the formerly distinct word "brier". Perhaps we could just add a usage note explaining the history. Dbfirs 09:00, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
It's not uncommon for a distinction in meaning to be formed between two alternative spellings, like what happened with to and too. If there is any distinction at all I think it may be emerging in a similar way. But the only way to be sure is to look at the historical usage. Did people use the two spellings interchangeably a few hundred years ago? —CodeCat 11:50, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I think the tendency is the other way, in the direction of totally confusing the original meanings so that they are becoming just alternative spellings in modern usage. I'm probably trying to preserve an outdated distinction (as I often do!) Dbfirs 21:44, 4 December 2011 (UTC)