Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/December

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← November 2012 · December 2012 · January 2013 → · (current)

December 2012


The adverb section of latest currently has the usex: Complete the xyz task latest by today 5:00PM

Is that even grammatical? - -sche (discuss) 21:41, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

It is certainly used. I interpret it as a clipping of at the latest. DCDuring TALK 22:41, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that it is simply the superlative of late#Adverb.
Also, latest#Noun looks like another interpretation of fused-head constructions of adjectives as nouns. I don't see that any new sense is added. I wonder if the plural exists and which determiners can modify it. DCDuring TALK 22:49, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
A few OneLook idiom dictionaries (ie, lemmings) have at the latest. DCDuring TALK 22:54, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Is it used? I'm asking about the adverb, bare "latest" without "at the". I'm having trouble finding examples on Google Books; everything that turns up is "at the latest" or the result of the OCR mistakenly joining to columns, but it may be that my unfamiliarity with the usage means I don't know how to search for it. - -sche (discuss) 22:52, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
The noun does exist in the plural. I believe that the usage examples do not instantiate noun usage, but rather fused-head usage of the adjective as nominal. DCDuring TALK 23:16, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not asking about the noun, nor about "at the latest". I'm asking (now on RFV) if "latest", by itself, is used adverbally in the way the usex uses it or in any other way. - -sche (discuss) 23:29, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
As I said above, I think latest#Adverb is short for at the latest and have amended the entry to reflect that. I was trying to determine whether at the latest needs to be presented as an idiom. MWOnline does not, instead have a fairly specific sense of latest#Noun.
I really can't help it if an answer to your question has further related implications. DCDuring TALK 01:21, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

broad (Moby Dick)

Good day! Forging ahead fitfully through Melville's work, the following use of the "broad" heaved in sight: "It was a short, cold Christmas; and as the short northern day merged into night, we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry ocean, whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor. " Does it mean "open, uncovered, unprotected" here? --CopperKettle (talk) 09:22, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Another quote: "And, as for me, if, by any possibility, there be any as yet undiscovered prime thing in me; if I shall ever deserve any real repute in that small but high hushed world which I might not be unreasonably ambitious of; " -- does the "hushed" here equal "thatched" (judging by the sense)? Thank you in advance. --CopperKettle (talk) 13:06, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Hushed almost certainly means "silent" or "silenced".
I don't have certainty to offer for broad. It seems nautical, related to broadside, perhaps sideways to the wind? He is one of the first literary authors to write in American or USian. DCDuring TALK 16:35, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! Hard to traverse through his prose unbarnacled with the boatspeak. (0: --CopperKettle (talk) 17:50, 2 December 2012 (UTC)


This is classified as vulgar. Is that true? The words compounded are hardly vulgar to begin with, are they? And I highly doubt that this term would be subject to censorships. --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:08, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Probably just rude. DAVilla 15:26, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't it need a pejorative label instead of vulgar? DCDuring TALK 16:15, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps offensive? DCDuring TALK 16:18, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Definitely not offensive but pejorative is fine. --WikiTiki89 19:07, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
To me, it's far closer to vulgarity than to pejorativity. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:31, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I'd definitely feel this to be offensive if it was mine being referred to. If one's body parts are referred to pejoratively, isn't that offensive? In contrast to a pejorative reference to one's partner, car, house, clothing, etc. DCDuring TALK 01:42, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Just slang to my ear. Mildly vulgar in the sense that it refers to a bodily function, though not one that is taboo. Any imputations of gluttony, etc., would be subject to context, though I imagine it fits better with an insult than a compliment. It may seem offensive for that latter reason. — Pingkudimmi 08:41, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
It's no more vulgar or offensive than words like unintelligent or annoying. --WikiTiki89 10:13, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Compare piehole at Wordnik with mouth at Wordnik and dumb-ass at Wordnik with inintelligent at Wordnik. For the stronger terms, it is hard to find an instance of usage that is not intended to be abusive of the reader or someone the reader supports or someone toward whom the reader has the same negative attitude as the writer. For the more neutral ones there is a range of usage. In the case of piehole we can be reasonably shore that the rhyme/echo of asshole is part of the charm of the expression. DCDuring TALK 22:14, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
I'd sooner compare it to dumb than dumbass. Dumbass is clearly vulgar, while dumb is exactly what I think piehole is. --WikiTiki89 20:14, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
IMO it is vulgar because it's crude and somewhat "graphic" (image of mouth as a hole). Conversely, the word unintelligent is quite formal. Equinox 19:52, 4 December 2012 (UTC)


The Latin translation given for hullabaloo is baloo, which I highly doubt is accurate. Can anyone confirm or deny this? It also makes me wonder how many other entries out there have bogus Latin translations. --WikiTiki89 11:54, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Obviously bogus; I've removed it. I haven't come across other bogus Latin translations, but then again, I tend not to look for them. This, that and the other (talk) 10:23, 9 December 2012 (UTC)


Does anyone else find the usage notes here a bit strange? At the very least, I think it should be made clear that "I graduated college" is distinctly American in usage. The notes also claim that both “I graduated [from] Indiana University last year” and “Indiana University graduated me last year” are equally acceptable, without making it clear how bizarre the latter sentence sounds. Can we address these issues? ---> Tooironic (talk) 21:19, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

If indeed the "I graduated college" usage is American, then it can obviously be so marked. The transitive usage with the institution as the subject has its place: "The college graduated him as soon as he was no longer eligible to play under NCAA rules." DCDuring TALK 22:38, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
In NZ we can say both "I graduated university" and "I graduated high school" - the only reason "I graduated from college" sounds weird to my ears is because we don't use the word "college" in that way. "Indiana University graduated me" does sound odd, but "Indiana University graduated five hundred students last year" (Or more? Or less? I don't know whether Indiana University is large or small) sounds significantly less odd (again, to my ear). For what little all that is worth. I also like the irony in " some speakers consider... “I graduated college” as ... uneducated" Furius (talk) 06:01, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
More. Indiana University Bloomington currently has over 32,000 undergraduates and over 9,500 graduate students, so it probably graduates around 10,000 students a year. —Angr 08:36, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

never change a running system

The usage note says that "The phrase has also been picked up and used by German speakers." From google books:"never change a running system", the phrase seems to be used more often by German speakers than by English speakers. When I see the phrase in English text there, it often turns out the author has a German sounding name. In any case, the number of German written works containing the phrase is conspicous. Could we capture this better than what the current usage note says? Should perhaps a dedidated German entry be created with the same title? Does this perhaps sound foreign or unusual to native English speakers?

For interest, here is a Google Ngram View for never change a running system,if it ain’t broke, in which "never change a running system" has so low a frequency that it is not found; Google uses the threshold of 40 hits or something of the sort to include an ngram in its database. --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:31, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

I've never even heard this. I usually hear if it ain't broke, don't fix it or don't mess with success. --WikiTiki89 20:35, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I considered sending this to RFV, but then this would probably be attested using non-native English durably archived quotations. --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:39, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I (an Ohioan) had never heard this, either. —RuakhTALK 21:10, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
THat sounds more like something ("running system") you'd hear in computer than a general aphorism... Circeus (talk) 16:53, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
I live in Germany and even I have never heard "never change a running system". There are other English expressions that seem to be used only by Germans, though, like no risk, no fun, for which actual English speakers say nothing ventured, nothing gained. —Angr 08:39, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

hola, olà, olá, & ola

I am fairly confident that these romance interjections were borrowed from French holà. English hello is said to be from holla, which is also from this Frenchism. Are there any objections? --Æ&Œ (talk) 12:26, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

see btw. the eyes

Good evening. I need a help with one quote, please. Here it is:

    • 1880, Robert Louis Stevenson, Letters vol. I, chapter 4
      Are you coming over again to see me some day soon? I keep returning, and now hand over fist, from the realms of Hades: I saw that gentleman between the eyes, and fear him less after each visit.

- is there some idiom in the "saw that gentleman between the eyes" part? If not, maybe he meant to write "eye to eye"? --CopperKettle (talk) 12:42, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with such an idiom. I think he meant what he wrote but you could interpret it as "eye to eye". What is interesting is that he perhaps intended to make a point about not making eye contact while confronting/staring down "that gentleman". I also find I need to interpret "hand over fist". Is that a metaphorical climb up a metaphorical rope from a metaphorical Hades?
Talk about the lost art of letter-writing! DCDuring TALK 13:09, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Oh, the hand over fist is the reason why I've struck upon this letter - it's an evolution of hand over hand; if popular phraseology books are any guide, it had came to mean "rapidly (making money chiefly)" by the time Robert Louis was in his swaddling clothes, so he probably means (and hopes) that he is getting better fast. --CopperKettle (talk) 13:18, 5 December 2012 (UTC) Oh, and thanks for the answer! --CopperKettle (talk) 13:29, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
In the "making money" usage, one's hands are metaphorically moving horizontally, grabbing money first with one hand, then, while pulling one in the money, reaching for the next with the other hand. Hades being traditionally below, climbing seems appropriate. His word and phrase selection suggests to me the realm of conceptual metaphor more than the realm of lexical definition. DCDuring TALK 14:00, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not a natural speaker, so I guess you're right; I was thinking that the "and now" was a kind of shortening for "and now, at last" or "now, at this time (i.e. iteration, for he was in and out of disease for years, acc. to Wikipedia)" thus pointing more to the "rapid" meaning rather than the "hands-on" one. (0: --CopperKettle (talk) 16:52, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't sure that I was right. Rereading it for the fourth time, I'm even less sure. Anyway, we've covered enough of the bases. DCDuring TALK 17:41, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I take it to be a vivid way of saying that he had seen him up close (cf. "the whites of their eyes"), i.e., that he had come very near death. By the way, I take "and now hand over fist" to mean "and now more and more often"; in other words, I read him as saying that his periods of deathly illness have become more frequent. (N.B. I am not certain of either of these interpretations.) —RuakhTALK 18:44, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Great! I didn't occur to me to read this as "and now more and more often" - this reading is corroborated by the "after each visit", pointing at repeatability. --CopperKettle (talk) 15:25, 10 December 2012 (UTC)


Wiktionary defines splatterdash as "uproar", based on the 1013 edition of Webster.

In The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau — Complete by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, this phrase appears: He wore... a pair of splatterdashes so large that he could have put both legs into either of them... (taken from the Gutenberg Project html version on page 76)

This excerpt suggests a very different usage of the word.

It is sense 2, = spatterdashes. Equinox 14:30, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
There seems to be some sort of mixup here between spatterdashes and splatterdashes, since splatterdash definition #2 points to a plural of spatterdashes (no l). --WikiTiki89 14:33, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
I think the 1013 edition of Webster's had but a single entry, to wit: anachronism. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:03, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Clearly he meant 1913. --WikiTiki89 01:07, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

English phrases equivalent to the French phrase : "le tout sécuritaire"

Hi, everyone. Have you a phrase like this one. "le tout sécuritaire" (litteraly "the securitarian whole") its a French phrase which include (and often denounce) all the laws, measures, behaviours create in order "to protect us". Like video protection, CCTV, cops increasements in the city, etc. How to translate that in english, please ? V!v£ l@ Rosière /Whisper…/ 11:29, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

nanny state and surveillance society are the closest I can think of. Neither is exactly right for your phrase. Equinox 14:33, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much, it's perfect. I looked for something like that, I'll remember nanny state for sure, cause it's a funny phrase. V!v£ l@ Rosière /Whisper…/ 21:48, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Bon soir! A notion of "tutelary state" comes to my mind. --CopperKettle (talk) 15:45, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

It is spelled either tout-sécuritaire ou tout sécuritaire. In any case, le is not a part of the term. Lmaltier (talk) 21:55, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

There's state apparatus and the apparatus of state.--KTo288 (talk) 18:01, 13 February 2013 (UTC)


I thought this word was also sometimes used to mean clichéd, which isn't currently covered by the definitions in the Adjective section. Am I mistaken? - dcljr (talk) 19:29, 6 December 2012 (UTC)


Is it appropriate for me to create these entries?: like bald is a hair color, like abstinence is a sex position? Pass a Method (talk) 21:59, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

I encounter like bald is a hair colour very frequently. To be honest they look like live metaphors to me, and some users are against having entries for those so I dunno. — Ungoliant (Falai)


Map of US highlighting Hawaii

Two things:

  1. The image is a very useless way of indicating where Hawaii is located.
  2. Has anyone ever heard the pronunciation /hə.ˈwɑː.jə/?

--WikiTiki89 00:45, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Wikicommons probably has something better at Commons-logo.svg Hawaii on Wikimedia Commons.Wikimedia Commons .
I've heard it, I think. I'd characterize it as dated. But I don't think we need to include every such pronunciation at all. OTOH our evidence standards for pronunciations are non-existent. DCDuring TALK 00:56, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
In this case, marking it as (US, dated) seems lke the best way to go. My pronunciation of Hawaiʻi ranges greatly based on who I'm talking to, from h‌əˈwaɪ.ji to hɑwaˈiʔi (I find the actual Hawaiian pronunciation to feel a little unnatural to me, but that's mainly because I'm bad at glottal stops). In any case, I don't really think that either of those pronunciations are common or representative enough to merit presence on the page. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:10, 7 December 2012 (UTC)


The following two senses seem to be similar enough to be merged:

  • "vain and egotistic"
  • "having an excessively favorable opinion of one's abilities, appearance, etc."

Dictionaries from conceited at OneLook Dictionary Search seem to agree; while some dictionaries do have more than one sense, the other senses are very distinct, such as Webster 1913's "3. Curiously contrived or designed; fanciful. [Obs.]".

I would probably drop the first sense and leave the second one. What do you think? Is this for WT:RFM? Or for {{rfd-redundant}}? --Dan Polansky (talk) 15:33, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

They are redundant. The second definition is better. The terms in the other definition would look nice as synonyms.
BTW, "arrogant" is not a synonym. Arrogance is a behavior, conceit is a mental state. Conceit might be inferred from arrogant behavior, but arrogance could be feigned or a characteristic defense mechanism, etc. They often go together, but not necessarily. DCDuring TALK 16:36, 8 December 2012 (UTC)


The Italian word deculminazione means "the reduction in height of mountains with the passage of time". The obvious English translation would be deculmination, but this doesn't seem to exist. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 18:28, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

There wasn't anything I could find at w:Category:Geological processes. But the Italian word doesn't specify any particular process(es). English may have only reduced elevation. DCDuring TALK 19:05, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
There's subsidence, though that might imply the whole mountain becoming lower, not just the peak. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:10, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Or "elevation loss". —Stephen (Talk) 06:31, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

come off the boil

Good evening. Came across the "come off the boil" - is that an idiom fledged enough to be included? Actually first I've blundered upon the "..but as prices start to come off and as the rest of the world find alternative sources.." and, as no suitable meaning was listed in the come off, I've googled a bit and winkled out somehow the "off the boil" ending. --CopperKettle (talk) 15:36, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

It would not occur to me that "come off" there was short for "come off the boil", particularly. 20:35, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! Maybe I'd been mistaken in that. --CopperKettle (talk) 23:54, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

COLAtards / colatards

This word was suggested for yesterdays Countdown competition, but we can't figure out a meaning.

Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 08:30, 11 December 2012 (UTC) (on behalf of Metaknowledge)

It is a derogatory term (i.e. "retards") for participants in the comp.os.linux.advocacy (COLA) newsgroup. Equinox 09:46, 11 December 2012 (UTC)


I thought of this for the Christmas competition a couple days back and found that it seems to be citeable on Usenet, but I have no idea what it means (something to do with Lienux, apparently). Does anyone know? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:26, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Derogatory slang for somebody on the comp.os.linux.advocacy newsgroup. Equinox 21:38, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Had a felling you'd know. Mind creating it, and checking Lienux, too? (These are on the edge of inclusion, but I don't think we can disallow them.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:47, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

on water

As used here, is "on water" idiomatic? I think so, since it seems to be a technical term meaning "as an emulsion in" rather than "on, over, above, atop" as usual ("leaves floating on water"). - -sche (discuss) 22:59, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

I think it is an ordinary meaning of "on", just at a different scale: a molecular one. I may be wrong but I think "on" is used for reactions that take place using a catalyst, eg "reaction rate on platinum/catalyst". DCDuring TALK 23:37, 11 December 2012 (UTC)


Does it also mean "antiviral drug"? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:06, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

No, I don’t think so. You may rarely hear "antivirus drug" (it doesn’t sound right to me), but an antiviral drug would not be called an antivirus. An antiviral drug can be called an antiviral, though. —Stephen (Talk) 06:26, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

my, your = pronouns ?

I don't see how these words can be considered as pronouns and not as possessive adjectives... mine, yours are pronouns, though. --Fsojic (talk) 01:34, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, my and your are possessive adjectives. They are not pronouns. —Stephen (Talk) 06:35, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
They can be referred to as "possessive pronouns" or "possessive adjectives". --WikiTiki89 07:57, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
But why call "pronoun" something that is not a pronoun? And it doesn't seem confusing to me alone: Talk:my, Talk:your... --Fsojic (talk) 10:18, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Because it is simply the possessive (or genitive) form of a pronoun. --WikiTiki89 10:39, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Etymologically (in Old English or Proto-Germanic), maybe, but not in modern English. Lmaltier (talk) 21:50, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
No they are still considered to be by many. Also, calling them adjectives is also wrong since they are not adjectives but determiners. Words like my are still seen as more or less the equivalent of I +‎ -'s, and you probably wouldn't call Jack's an adjective. --WikiTiki89 22:08, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
But determiners behave a lot like adjectives, too. I think that these sorts of function words are where the artificial nature of grammatical categories start to manifest - the grammatical terms are approximations of language, which the language itself is not necessarily aware of. Furius (talk) 22:28, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Compare the following examples: Jane's mother and her mother. Jane is a noun (more specifically, a proper noun, but that's irrelevant). Jane's is the possessive form of Jane and even though Jane's functions as a determiner, Jane is still a noun. She is a pronoun (standing for Jane). Her is the possessive form of she and even though her functions as a determiner and is a stand-in for the possessive form of Jane, a noun. There is a similar situation with gerunds: are they nouns or verbs? Grammatically, function as nouns, but semantically, they are still verbs. Participles are even more confusing, is eaten a verb or an adjective in The food was eaten yesterday.? You can look at it either way. In the end, "possessive pronoun" is just a name and they really are determiners, which is what our POS headers should say (in fact, until you pointed it out, I thought we did call them determiners). Basically the way I see it is a "possessive pronoun" is a type of determiner that is derived from a pronoun and what makes it a determiner is that it is "possessive", so "possessive adjective" or "possessive determiner" is redundant. --WikiTiki89 23:06, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
At OneLook, one can find my categorized as pronoun (RHU, CambDictAmerEng), adjective (MWO, WNW, AHD, Wordsmyth), and determiner (MacM, CompactOED, Collins, CambAdvLearners). **IOW, those dictionaries that use determiner as a word class apply it to my.**
Longmans DCE probably started the trend of including determiners as a word class and we have in the last couple of years decided to follow the trend, though doing so may confuse some of our users. DCDuring TALK 23:08, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Just to note: "my", "your", "our" were historically adjectives distinct from the genitive form of the pronoun (*mīnaz, *izweraz, *unseraz), while "his", "her" and "their" are historically genitives. The former were declined to match the noun (as do French mon, ma, mes), the latter were invariable. This distinction eventually fell apart as the English declension system disappeared, but in other languages (Dutch, German) the process happened the other way, adding declensional endings to the original genitives. —CodeCat 00:39, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Well I see no evidence on Wiktionary of the distinction surviving anywhere past Proto-Germanic (other than Gothic). Perhaps you can link me to some entries from later languages? --WikiTiki89 01:00, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
But it did survive in all the older languages. Gothic, Old English, Old High German and Old Norse all maintained the distinction, and modern Icelandic and Swedish still have it. —CodeCat 01:17, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps you can link me to some entries? Especially, Old English. All I can find is mīn, which is given as the genitive at and has no declension table, leading me to believe there was no distinction. --WikiTiki89 01:24, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
We don't seem to have any entries, but mīn really did decline as an adjective as there were declined forms like mīnes, mīne, mīnum etc. The same for þīn, sīn, ūser/ūre, ēower, while his, hire and hira/hiera/heora did not inflect. Swedish has mīn (common) and mitt (neuter), mina (plural), while the third person possessive is uninflected hans (his). This is the Proto-Germanic situation preserved intact and in fact the Indo-European situation too, as the same situation is found also in Latin (meus inflects, but eius and illius do not), Old Church Slavonic etc... They all have one piece in common: the first- and second-person possessives, in singular, dual and plural all decline, as does the reflexive possessive (Germanic *sīnaz, Latin suus) while the third-person forms are genitives of the various third-person pronouns and do not inflect. —CodeCat 01:34, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Here is an example from the lord's prayer in Old English: and forgyf ūs ūre gyltas[accusative plural], swā swā wē forgyfað ūrum gyltendum[dative plural].CodeCat 01:41, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Ok, fair enough. Another question: where did the "s" in "hers" come from then? --WikiTiki89 01:50, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

keep it simple, stupid

Good afternoon,

in this expression, is "stupid" an attribute of "it" as simple is, or is it addressed to the collocutor? --Fsojic (talk) 13:30, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Addressed to the collocutor. Equinox 14:20, 13 December 2012 (UTC)


Can someone check the Hawaiian pronunciation? Based on w:Hawaiian alphabet, it seems there shouldn't be a diphthong at the end. --WikiTiki89 14:45, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

There isn’t. Fixed. —Stephen (Talk) 15:01, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Kerry Packered

I disagree that my entry Kerry Packered (= knackered) was deleted on the grounds of "Creative invention or protologism". It's been around for at least 10 or 15 years, there are several hundred Google hits, and it is no different from cream crackered or go Pete Tong or Ayrton Senna or probably numerous other entries. I request that it is reinstated. 20:30, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

I've restored it. It does seem to just barely meet our criteria for inclusion, having 2-4 Usenet hits for this capitalisation and several for the lowercase form. - -sche (discuss) 21:05, 16 December 2012 (UTC)


Hello there, I speak German as mother tongue.

There is a word in German called fachen (see Duden), but without prefix it has no meaning (there are the words called an- and entfachen).

How can I add that word to the entry fachen? regards --Bigbossfarin (talk) 00:12, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

If it hasn't been used at all in the history of modern German (everything later than Middle High German) and has no meaning by itself anymore, then I don't think there should be an entry at all. —CodeCat 00:28, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

kung fu

Does the word kung fu can be pronounced /ˌkʊŋ ˈfuː/ ? Fête (talk) 12:15, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Not in American English. American English is only /ˈkəŋ ˈfuː/. —Stephen (Talk) 12:54, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
@Stephen: No, Americans often say /kʌŋˈfuː/. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:33, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Isn't /ə/ just what some dictionaries (such as Webster's) use for /ʌ/? --WikiTiki89 23:01, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I personally hear a difference. Many systems, like Romic (a precursor to IPA), do not distinguish the two. However, the vowels in Asche and lush sound quite distinguishable to me. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:13, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, optionally in British English (kung rhymes with German jung, and the OED puts this pronunciation first). Does our entry need regional tags? Dbfirs 22:28, 17 December 2012 (UTC)


Can you record the pronunciation of the word caisse with a Quebec accent please ? Fête (talk) 17:11, 17 December 2012 (UTC)


Does the word forest can be pronounced /ˈfɔɹɛst/ ? Fête (talk) 22:40, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

I pronounce it with a short "o", but I've heard it pronounced as you suggest. Dictionaries seem to insist on the "i" ending (after forīs?), but "ɛst" is also commonly heard. I'm not sure what people consider the "proper" pronunciation. (I see that you've added this variant to the entry.) Dbfirs 22:52, 17 December 2012 (UTC)


Does the word welcome can be pronounced /ˈwɛlkʌm/ ? Fête (talk) 23:50, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

FYI, the grammatically correct way to say that would be "Can the word welcome be pronounced /ˈwɛlkʌm/?" - -sche (discuss) 00:22, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
The second vowel is normally shortened because the stress is on the first syllable. Your pronunciation sounds more like "well come" than "welcome", so it would sound slightly odd, but not seriously wrong to most people. Dbfirs 19:54, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
When the word is a sentence by itself I think ˈwɛlkʌm sounds pretty much right.​—msh210 (talk) 17:55, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
It probably sounds more natural in American accents. Dbfirs 21:46, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the distinction is phonemic though. It is true that (maybe only in American English?) /ə/ is often realized as [ʌ]. But this has nothing to do with welcome deriving from come, which has /ʌ/. --WikiTiki89 21:52, 19 December 2012 (UTC)


Can the word ticket be pronounced /ˈtɪkɛt/ ? Fête (talk) 00:44, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

The two vowels are normally the same, but one occasionally hears the "spelling pronunciation". It's not usual, but it would probably not be considered particularly odd, or even noticed as different by many people. Dbfirs 20:02, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
In English? No, to me that sounds very odd. I can't say it without putting the stress on the second syllable. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:29, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
I can say it with the stress remaining on the first syllable, but I would do so only if I were explaining the spelling. I agree that it would sound a bit odd in normal conversation, and should not be added as an alternative in our entry. I'll have to listen more carefully to the Yorkshire cricket commentaries to hear if they ever say "/ˈwɪkɛt/". The dialectal /ˈtɪkət/ is much more common, but it doesn't deserve an entry. Dbfirs 22:17, 18 December 2012 (UTC)


Can the word portrait be pronounced /ˈpɔɹtɹeɪt/ ? Fête (talk) 23:46, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that's a UK variant for those who pronounce the first "r" but without a trill. The pronunciation /ˈpɔːtɹeɪt/ is much more common, as in the entry because it's easier to say. Dbfirs 09:10, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

rule of law

Anyone else find the definition given here too narrow? Compare our definition ("The doctrine that no individual is above the law and that everyone must answer to it.") with Wikipedia's: "a legal maxim whereby governmental decisions are made by applying known legal principles." ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:49, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Sounds like two different definitions: one saying (roughly) government must obey the law, and the other (roughly) that people must. (I.e., not a question of narrowness but of difference in scope.) I don't know which is correct. (Perhaps both are.)​—msh210 (talk) 17:54, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
OK. I'll add the Wikipedia definition as a separate sense then. Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:02, 26 December 2012 (UTC)


Can you turn up the volume of the file File:Zh-ruǎn-alt.ogg please ? Fête (talk) 21:34, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

I think you’re better off asking at Commons. — Ungoliant (Falai) 21:39, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Fixed.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:55, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Where is the Wikimedia Commons Tea room ? Fête (talk) 22:19, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Can you turn up the volume of the file File:Fr-Normandie-Marseille.ogg ? Fête (talk) 23:10, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Is there a way to standardize at an adequate level the volume of all the pronunciation files we link to? I have found perhaps 10% to be inadequate in this regard. In addition there seem to be even more that are indistinct. I have not had such problems at competitive online dictionaries. DCDuring TALK 23:44, 19 December 2012 (UTC)


"A person's country of origin and/or homeplace; homeland." How is that sense used? Is it used in such a way that it's distinct from "a country or region"? - -sche (discuss) 23:48, 19 December 2012 (UTC)


In this edit, an IP from Saint Louis added /ɛkˈspɛʃli/ as a Midwestern US pronunciation of the word. Midwesterners: is that right? - -sche (discuss) 04:16, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Regardless of whether it is correct, do we really want to include every dialectal pronunciation? We could end up with dozens, or even hundreds for some words. Dbfirs 11:28, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Another namespace for pronunciations? It would enable us to do more in that area without clogging up the landing screen and pushing definitions far down the page. I really don't understand why anyone primarily interested in English would bother with Wiktionary for basic words when there is so little useful information on the landing screen. DCDuring TALK 11:42, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
I don’t see why not. The more the merrier. — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:51, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
If an entry has more than a certain number of pronunciations, they can be collapsed into a table like at [[pecan]] and [[háček]]. But I think it would be detrimental and highly POV to entirely exclude certain accents. There are more people with a Midwestern accent (10 million people live in Chicagoland alone) than use RP (I see the number "3% of the population by the 1970s" thrown around: that's <2 million) or have a New Zealand accent (New Zealand is an independent, majority-English-speaking, dictionary-producing nation of 4 million people) combined. - -sche (discuss) 20:20, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
I doubt that this is the dominant pernunciation there. The actual number of speakers may be more like the number of kiwis. The underlying problem is attestation of any of pronunciations not identical to those in published works, ie, dictionaries. DCDuring TALK 21:46, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I don't think /ɛkˈspɛʃli/ is the Midwestern pronunciation—and if no-one comments soon thinking that it is, I'll remove it. I am opposing the suggestion that Midwestern or other dialectal pronunciations should be categorically excluded, not supporting /ɛkˈspɛʃli/. - -sche (discuss) 23:59, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't proposing that we exclude any common pronunciation, but I would recommend that we restrict our list to General American and General British (or "BBC English" ― I agree that "RP" is an anachronism) with possibly other regions where there is a significant difference, because we would need lots of extra IPA symbols to include every variation, and IPA is already difficult enough for most readers. We mentally adjust the meaning of the vowel symbols to our own dialect. I would be surprised if many Midwesterners consider /ɛkˈspɛʃli/ to be a correct pronunciation. Is the "intrusive k" as common in American English as the "intrusive r" is in British English? Dbfirs 14:13, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
The pronunciation with /k/ is probably common throughout the U.S., not just in the Midwest, but I suspect it is {{proscribed}} or {{nonstandard}} everywhere. We should tag it as such. —Angr 15:40, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not from the Midwest, but my mother was from Iowa, and I've never heard of that pronunciation. I really doubt this is common or widespread, but I have no way to check. I believe Ruakh is the only one of our regulars who's from anywhere near the Midwest, though not that close to Saint Louis. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:04, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
It is not too hard to find the spelling expecially in edited works and in reported speech, where it is sometimes pointedly referred to as in error. DCDuring TALK 16:07, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
Here's a book specifically advising against the pronunciation with /k/. Rather than having the /k/ pronunciation listed at [[especially]], it could be listed as the pronunciation of the proscribed/nonstandard spelling [[expecially]] (see [1], [2] for some appearances in print). —Angr 16:11, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I had forgotten that eye dialect spellings are attestable evidence of the existence and nature of deviant pronunciations. They may be exaggerated, but they are certainly suggestive. DCDuring TALK 17:17, 21 December 2012 (UTC)


Why the word fête is pronounced "fight" in Quebec French ? Fête (talk) 18:41, 20 December 2012 (UTC)


Can you turn up the volume of the file File:Fr-Normandie-badminton.ogg please ? Fête (talk) 13:41, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, we don't have control over the speakers attached to your computer. —Angr 15:45, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

for a soldier

Which sense of "for" is used in "Johnny has gone for a soldier"? Does it mean Johnny went to war instead of a soldier? Or that Johnny went to war "for to be" a soldier? - -sche (discuss) 22:17, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Certainly not "instead of". More like "to achieve (a goal/purpose)".
Pete Seeger wrote Where Have All the Flowers Gone, which contains the similar line:
Where have all the husbands gone? Gone for soldiers every one.
I assume prosodic considerations shaped the sentences. I wouldn't expect to hear the construction in ordinary modern English. DCDuring TALK 00:01, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure its "to be a solder" - compare "for a sailor"(Alfred Perceval Graves, "The sailor girl"):
And first he sent letters, and then he sent none,
And three times into prison I dreamt he was thrown;
So I shore my long tresses, and stained my face brown,
And went for a sailor from Limerick town.

--CopperKettle (talk) 00:11, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

But "for to be a soldier" is not to be found in Google Books. As the examples have some Irish flavor, it may be specific to Irish English. DCDuring TALK 00:21, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
We had an example of a well-studies Irish English deviation from mainstream English in the use of a preposition in the case of after. DCDuring TALK 00:27, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Dissemble (a quote)

A quote from Melville:

  1. 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 41

Now, in his heart, Ahab had some glimpse of this, namely; all my means are sane, my motive and my object mad. Yet without power to kill, or change, or shun the fact; he likewise knew that to mankind he did now long dissemble; in some sort, did still.

Does this fit to the 3rd meaning of dissemble, namely, " (intransitive) To falsely hide one's opinions or feelings." ? I'm baffled a bit by the phrase; especially by the "in some sort, did still". CopperKettle (talk) 00:05, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
My reading: "In some way, he still did dissemble." DCDuring TALK 00:30, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! To me the clause "he did now long dissemble" seemed already to comprise the meaning of "did still"; I gotta read some grammar books, maybe. (0: --CopperKettle (talk) 00:41, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that contemporary grammar or a dictionary will help with these subtle difficulties, rather than persistence in reading widely. I interpreted "he did now long dissemble" as "he had already dissembled for a long time." (perfect aspect) The whole is slightly different from "He had been dissembling for a long time." in that there seems to be in Ahab's mind a lesser kind of dissembling now than in the more distant past.
But my interpretation is not based strictly on grammar, but on my assumption that I can, without doing violence to Melville's intent, rewrite the prose in modern English (my idiolect thereof) based on the structure of the event stream and what the words cannot mean almost as much as what they could have meant to him. DCDuring TALK 02:36, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, DCDuring! And merry Xmas! --CopperKettle (talk) 08:09, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

kaj in Serbo-Croatian

How is kaj declined in the Kajkavian dialects? Also, is it a cognate of koj and ki? —CodeCat 21:19, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

I'd say it's declined same as šta but I'm not sure so I will make no guesses. Try asking user:Fejstkajkafski, they seem to speak Kajkavian. --biblbroksдискашн 22:00, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
N kaj, G česa, D čem/čemu, A kaj, L (pri/u) čem, I čim. Genitive also has čega in some places. Yes, it's cognate to koj and ki (although I'm not sure if they all stem from the reflex with the same ending particle). kajkavski (talk) 23:20, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Ok, thank you. The original form in Proto-Slavic was *kъjь, kaja, koje (a compound of two particles which both declined separately), and in Old Church Slavonic it is found as кꙑи (kyi); presumably kaj and ki are the direct descendants of that, while koj comes from the other case-forms. Could you add a table to the entry like the one at što/šta? And of you know, one for ča too? —CodeCat 23:31, 23 December 2012 (UTC)


I doubt that this is always applied to males, just usually so. --Æ&Œ (talk) 21:57, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

  • For me the senses of "person" and "unpleasant person" are definitely only applied to males. "bastard daughter" gets a lot of hits for the sense of "illegitimate". Siuenti (talk) 23:47, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Actually there are close to no hits on Google Books for "she is a real bastard", "she is a complete bastard" and "she is such a bastard". There are plenty of hits for "she is a bastard" but they seem only to refer to the illegitimate sense. ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:00, 26 December 2012 (UTC)


Hello, any German language experts out there. I've been wondering about the etymology of this peculiar word, and the prefix aus- is linked to it. Does it involve the word März? --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 02:32, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Hello! I am a native German speaker, but do not have any idea. But a good tip is to look at [DUDEN], where you can read that its etymology is unresolved and may come from März, as at this time, weak and unapt sheeps were removed from the flock. --Sae1962 (talk) 09:57, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Kluge's Etymological Dictionary mentions that as the most likely etymology too, but also suggests the possibility of its being derived from Martin because of some agricultural event happening around St. Martin's Day (November 11). —Angr 11:01, 23 December 2012 (UTC)


Sae1962, I'm also wondering about the etymology of this word, apart from the suffix wieder-. Got any idea about the verb that's prefixed, maybe gutmachen? --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 11:41, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Probably. At least it exists separately: see duden.de and canoo.net. Longtrend (talk) 12:33, 23 December 2012 (UTC)


I was considering entering Shraft. Irish use of English - for instance here - meaning Shrovetide. Not sure how to enter an Irish use of English word though. Help please? -- ALGRIF talk 12:57, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Use {{Ireland}}. That will categorize it in Category:Irish English. —Angr 13:52, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Many thanks -- ALGRIF talk 14:15, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

gay marriage, marriage equality

Following User talk:-sche#Paper, I thought I'd solicit broader input on three questions:

  1. A headline like "Minnesota group to push for gay marriage" usually means the group is pushing for same-sex couples to be allowed to marry, not that they're (literally) pushing for gay couples to take the plunge and get married. What figure of speech is this? Just elision?
  2. Should it be noted in the entry ([[gay marriage]])? My initial feeling is that it shouldn't be, as I expect it's a general phenomenon and many terms can be used that way.
  3. From another angle, there are a number of instances of "marriage equality" which basically mean "the union of two people of the same sex"—for example "Sarah Palin [] supported the 1998 Alaska constitutional amendment banning marriage equality". It's possible to interpret "marriage equality" there as "acceptance of both gay and straight unions", but it's very odd—I don't think anyone spoke of apartheid-era South Africa "banning racial equality" rather than "discriminating against blacks". Consequently, it seems figurative enough to include. Do you agree? - -sche (discuss) 06:50, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Some cites:

  • "Polikoff suggests through numerous examples that the marriage equality movement “positions the gay rights movement on the wrong side of the culture war over acceptable family structures." An Argument For Same-Sex Marriage, Emily R. Gill - 2012
  • "The law affecting gay and lesbian families in those states would be where it was before marriage equality became a priority" Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law - Page 97, Nancy D. Polikoff, Michael Bronski - 2008
  • "Despite the variety of neutral to negative messages circulating around Asian Americans and marriage equality, there is a large and powerful contingent dedicated to ensuring the right to marry freely for all." Encyclopedia of Asian American Issues Today - Volume 1 - Page 938 Pass a Method (talk) 11:46, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
  1. I seems like metonymy for "public policies permitting or more favorable to gay marriage", which still leaves a lot to one's understanding of the question.
  2. Newspaper, especially tabloid, headlines are notorious for their terseness, often using rather strained metonymy to simultaneously fit content into small space and lure potential readers or newspaper buyers. Consider "Total fire ban remains in place". (Context available at Google News.) I don't think we should have an entry for "fire ban" or "total fire ban".
  3. I agree that the "marriage equality" case is less transparent, but so is "fire ban", so I'm not at all sure that it really would merit inclusion. OTOH, we seem to bend the rules in areas of topical interest to our contributors, such as certain matters of public policy.
-- DCDuring TALK 11:58, 24 December 2012 (UTC)


"Matzos" is listed on -os as if it were derived from that Hebraic suffix—as if it were "matzo" minus "-o" plus "-os". Isn't it easier to interpret it as "matzo" plus the usual English "-s"? Is there a way to tell the difference, such as pronunciation? The definition of "-os" says it's used on words ending in "-a", anyway, not "-o"... - -sche (discuss) 16:30, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Also, why aren't "-as" and "-ahs" fully wikilinked on [[-os]]? If they're attested suffixes, they should be linked as [[-as]] and [[-ahs]], right? Are they attested? - -sche (discuss) 16:30, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
-os, -oth et alia aren't actually suffixes in English. They're suffixes in Hebrew (and arguably Yiddish), but they're never appended (except humorously, but not in a CFI-attestability sort of way) to nouns that didn't already have that pluralization back in Hebrew. Put another way, halachoth is not halachah + -oth but taken wholesale from Hebrew halakhót. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:37, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I agree with you, and if you RFD them I'll vote for deletion. But compare [[-x]]. - -sche (discuss) 16:56, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Same thing. Done. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:13, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Re "why create -oth?": because past discussions have, IIRC, had mixed results, and I figure we should either have both suffixes or neither suffix, but not only one of the pair. - -sche (discuss) 17:24, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Re: "Is there a way to tell the difference, such as pronunciation?": Absolutely. The Yiddish-derived ending ends in /s/, whereas the native English ending is /z/ after a vowel. I think I've heard both pronunciations used with "matzos" (though I'm not sure; IME "matzo" is usually treated as uncountable in spoken English, à la "bread", so while I see the plural form "matzos" all the time on boxes of matzah, I don't hear it very often; and also, it's generally impossible to tell whether someone is saying matzah and matzahs or matzo and matzos unless they use /s/ or use a spelling pronunciation like [mɑtsoʊ(z)]), so I think [[-os#Derived terms]] is fine.   Re: "'-a', anyway, not '-o'": As I understand it, that's the same ending, just filtered through different traditions. I suck at phonetic IPA, but it's pronounced something like [a] in Sephardic tradition, in some Oriental traditions, in Greek/Roman/Christian/English Biblical tradition (as seen in female given names like "Sarah" and "Leah"), and in Modern Israeli Hebrew, and something like [ɔ] in Ashkenazic tradition, in other Oriental traditions, and in Yiddish. (I'm oversimplifying somewhat — there are also differences in stress placement — and also I don't know very much about this stuff, so I'm probably accidentally oversimplifying due to ignorance. But that's the general idea.) Although the two sets of traditions often get romanized differently, they've never resulted in this being viewed as two distinct endings; "matzo" and "matzah" are perceived as two spellings of the same word, not as two words with the same meaning. (And suddenly I wonder: How come no one ever seems to write "Hanukko"?) —RuakhTALK 00:17, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, I think it's somewhat nonstandard to use it countably, and it terminates with /z/ when it is used thus. In Yiddish, the final vowel of Hebraic feminine nouns, singular or plural, is usually [‌ə] invalid IPA characters (‌). Oh, and re Hanukko: they do. I could cite Chanuko, and possibly some other -o forms. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:14, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Re: "I think it's somewhat nonstandard to use it countably": I could hardly disagree more. See google:"matzos" site:manischewitz.com, google:"matzos" site:chabad.org, google:"matzos" site:aish.com. It's almost the opposite of nonstandard — more like "formal" or "written" or "unusually correct". Or at least "less nativized/anglicized/naturalized".   Re: [‌ə] invalid IPA characters (‌): Yeah, that's true (and is also how it's pronounced in English). I should probably have written "/ɔ/" rather than "[ɔ]"? I dunno. —RuakhTALK 02:32, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Alright, I didn't check (obviously). At least in my dialect and experience, it's more common on the boxes than in real people's speech by a long shot. Re [‌ə]: No, I wouldn't say so. Personally, I believe that a broad transcription of Yiddish is usually inaccurate and bad at describing variation, and the variation I've seen in this specific case ranges from [‌ə] to [i] to [ɪ] to [ɑ] (OK, the last two I'm not so sure about, but whatever), which is hardly described by /ɔ/. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:45, 25 December 2012 (UTC)


Does thank you is a sentence ? Fête (talk) 21:22, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

I think so. Our definition is "A grammatically complete series of words consisting of a subject and predicate, even if one or the other is implied, and typically beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full stop." Thank you is grammatically complete and consists of an implied subject ("I") and an expressed predicate ("thank you"). (The rest of the definition, from "and typically" to the end, refers to orthography and has no relevance for grammar.) —Angr 22:14, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
  • By the way, the grammatically correct question is "Is "thank you" a sentence?" --Wikt Twitterer (talk) 17:54, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Help! What's the word for a skinned person?

I have an Edward gorey tarot deck somewhere, full of Gorey-ish words. One card represents a skinned person, and I can't remember the word! Driving me nuts. Anyone? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 19:21, 25 December 2012‎.

You mean skinned as in flayed? — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:47, 25 December 2012 (UTC)


Dear colleagues! I am writing the paper about Russian and English wiktionaries. I need in a high quality Russian entry in the English Wiktionary (as an example) in order to describe the structure of the Wiktionary entry. I selected the Russian entry "нежный".

I added quotes. Please, add the translations (to English) of quotations in this entry.

Other sections of this entry are OK, I hope. The audio file with pronunciation I will add. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 23:19, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

I don’t speak Russian, so I can’t help with that. But if you want our best English entry, check háček. — Ungoliant (Falai) 02:14, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much, háček article is really pretty good. I will try to do my best with the entry "нежный" and will make screenshots of both these entries. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 10:39, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Two other good entries, possibly the best as far as semantic relations (i.e. -onyms headers) and translations go, are [[iron]] and [[water]]. - -sche (discuss) 15:04, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
OK. I found "iron" with the help of this Semantic relations (statistics), and thanks for the "water" link. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 15:44, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
I will work on translating the quotes on нежный. --WikiTiki89 12:12, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done translating! --WikiTiki89 14:43, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! The Wiktionary community is great and very responsive :) -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 15:44, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

court - missing additional verb sense

We are missing the additional verb sense of court as in "court controversy". My Oxford suggests the sense is limited to "risk incurring (misfortune) because of the way one behaves" but a thing, issue or event can court controversy, can't it? ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:57, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

There's also a missing metaphorical sense: to try to get someone's support or favor. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:27, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes check.svg Done and then some, IMHO. DCDuring TALK 01:57, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
    Great job! (It's also impressive how deficient entries for basic words can be.) - -sche (discuss) 23:19, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
    I could see some combining of senses, but they are distinguishable. I don't think that our users come to us for these, though. I also didn't add trans tables because I didn't do synonyms, which might provide a couple of good targets for {{trans-see}} for some senses. DCDuring TALK 02:17, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
    Fantastic job! Thanks a lot. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:09, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

The Mandarin entry's transliterations are tagged "reference needed". Anyone know if they're right or not? - -sche (discuss) 18:51, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

All the online dictionaries I've looked at have only the wu2/wú reading for mandarin. Given the preponderance of ng in the other transliterations, na4/nà is plausible as existing somewhere, but it doesn't look good for Mandarin (I could easily be missing something, though). Chuck Entz (talk) 20:38, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Fixed (AFAICT) by - -sche (discuss) 00:40, 27 December 2012 (UTC)


The, err, four-corner number of this character is disputed... can anyone verify it? - -sche (discuss) 23:54, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Fixed (AFAICT) by - -sche (discuss) 00:40, 27 December 2012 (UTC)


Is our entry correct that "Pouvoir is not used to mean can in the sense of 'to know how to'" and [[savoir]] should be used instead? The line was tagged {{fact}}. - -sche (discuss) 20:15, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

I am not French but that is my understanding, yes. In English you might say "I can (cannot) swim", but in French you would say "je sais nager" (I know how to swim), not "je peux nager" (sth like "I am physically able to swim"? weird sounding?) Equinox 21:25, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
  • That's my understanding too. —Angr 22:09, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
I've removed the {{fact}} tag. - -sche (discuss) 00:02, 27 December 2012 (UTC)


The input of other knowledgeable editors regarding the contentious usage note would be appreciated. See the edit history and talk page for the note's development, removal, reinstatement, and {{fact}}-ification. - -sche (discuss) 23:17, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

The definitions are also unclear and, for maximal clarity, should link to Wikipedia articles. - -sche (discuss) 02:18, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Is this Japanese character's On reading correct? It was tagged {{fact}}. - -sche (discuss) 23:42, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

the reading has been updated by - -sche (discuss) 00:41, 27 December 2012 (UTC)


This is quite obviously a pejorative or derogatory term; I have never seen this used as praise. --Æ&Œ (talk) 19:22, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

There's a difference between never being used as praise and being derogatory. I would classify it as having negative overtones, but not really that derogatory. I've heard people being commended for being stubborn in holding to what they believe is right. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:40, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
It's no more derogatory than it's definition, and so should not be specially marked. Same goes for other words, like rude. --WikiTiki89 19:49, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Being "stubborn" could be praiseworthy when it means "persistent", especially "persistent in the face of opposition". DCDuring TALK 20:23, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

"to flight" ?

Good evening,

Google translate seems to know a verb "to flight". Does it really exist? --Fsojic (talk) 18:22, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes google books:"flighted the ball". Flight as a noun is a common cricket term used for spin bowlers who throw the ball up quite high but still manage to deceive the batsman (well that's a definition of good flight of course, see full toss). You sometimes hear "well-flighted", which is either the noun flight + -ed or from the verb 'to flight', but the existence of "flighted the ball" cannot be explained as noun + -ed. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:33, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
OED also gives the senses to scare frighten, put to flight, to attach feathers or flights to an arrow or dart, and (of wild fowl) to fly in flights. BigDom (tc) 23:24, 28 December 2012 (UTC)


Why is the word cunt considered offensive, but not vulva when they mean technically the same thing? Pass a Method (talk) 23:00, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

English treats technical terminology as less offensive, probably due to the perceived clinical detachment of scientists, though perhaps also because it seems more abstract and less familiar. This runs the gamut from feces and sexual intercourse to terms for all the sexual organs. Just for the fun of it, I've been known to come up with innocuous clinical-sounding versions of well-known vulgar expressions: a prime example is "consolidate one's feces" for get one's shit together. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:55, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
extract the urine is a common one too --Wikt Twitterer (talk) 00:04, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
What does meaning have to do with anything? Offensive words like cunt are offensive because they used offensively. Cunt just as technically means woman.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:03, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
It's a feature of European/Judaeo-Christian-Islamic culture. There are other culture in which there is no offensive/non-offensive version of sexual/excretory terms. Most South American Indian languages have only one term for sex organs, which is considered merely descriptive and non-offensive; speakers are surprised to find out that Westerners do have "offensive" and "non-offensive" versions of those, which to them are as strange as it would be for us to have an offensive and a non-offensive word for "eye" or "nose" or "elbow". An anecdote: a missionary translating religious text into one of these languages felt uncomfortable with the fact that there is only one word for "to have sex" in that language. It is a transitive verb, taking the man as the subject and the woman as the direct object; the best English equivalent in terms of syntactic structure is fuck, but without offensive connotations; but because of this clear structural parallelism, the missionary "felt" that the bad connotations were there (even though they weren't), so he introduced the practice of using another verb to also mean "have sex" -- a verb that had previously been used only to mean something like "to make (something) bad, rotten", "to spoil" (also "to betray"). So he literally introduced the practice of saying "he spoiled her / made her bad, rotten" to mean "he fucked her". The speakers apparently found that funny and, last I heard of it, were actually using this word in this new sense, following the missionary's lead. --Pereru (talk) 00:40, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Just about any dictionary from a century or more ago substitutes Latin euphemisms for taboo English words, such as membrum virile for penis. Technical- or classical-language versions add distance. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:16, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

saarums, izarums

I've done my best to give a good translation to these two Latvian terms and the (one) example of usage I found in an online dictionary, but I'm not happy with the result; I'm not sure it's acceptable English. Would perhaps one of you magical native speakers have a look and tell me if what I wrote makes sense, and how it can be improved? Thanks in advance! --Pereru (talk) 00:47, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Would the definition be furrow? — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:10, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
It's more like saarums is the crest of a furrow and izarums its depression -- if you think of furrows as if they were waves... Would this be acceptable in English? --Pereru (talk) 16:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
See w:Ridge and furrow Chuck Entz (talk) 17:15, 6 January 2013 (UTC)