Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/June

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← May 2012 · June 2012 · July 2012 → · (current)

June 2012


What the best way of dealing with verbs that have identical infinitive forms, but different conjugations? German has quite a few verbs which have both separable and inseparable forms; umgehen for example conjugates as "Ich umgehe" when it means "I bypass" but "Ich gehe um" for "I deal with". übersetzen ("translate" in the inseparable form, "ferry" in the seperable) and umfahren ("drive around and avoid" in the inseparable, "crash into and knock over" in the separable) are the same. At the moment, umgehen simply has two verb headings (which perhaps makes most sense, but isn't very clear), übersetzen divides them by etymologies (which seems wrong to me - both are über- + setzen, it's only the grammar that differs) and umfahren divides them by pronunciation (which kind of makes sense - the stress is different on a separable verb). The German Wiktionary has separate headings of Verb, trennbar and Verb, untrennbar for these cases, but I'm not sure whether this is a system that would work well in the English Wiktionary. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:08, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Using two verb headings is good and clear enough, IMO. Übersetzen could also be divided by pronunciation. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 15:48, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  1. I suspect that [[übersetzen]] has two ===Etymology=== headers to get around the (since deleted) strong language prohibiting use of multiple ===Pronunciation=== headers, as discussed at Wiktionary:Grease_pit#Handling_sense-specific_pronunciations_under_a_single_etyl. The general consensus was that multiple ===Pronunciation=== headers is preferable instead of multiple ===Etymology=== headers for situations like [[umfahren]] or [[übersetzen]], where the etymologies for the different pronunciations are identical.
  2. The [[umfahren]] entry is exceedingly sparse in detail. This might suffice for someone already fluent in German, but for learners, it's impossible to tell what's going on. The [[übersetzen]] entry at least has conjugation tables, which shows the prefix as separable or inseparable.
Some suggestions for clarifying German verbs:
  • How hard would it be to add "separable" / "inseparable" to the German verb header template? That seems like the kind of information that would go on the POS header line.
  • Could we add a link to Appendix:German verbs to the header of the conjugation table template, as we have for some other languages? See the verb conjugation table headers at 躊躇う#Conjugation or hablar#Conjugation for examples.
  • Could someone expand Appendix:German verbs to explain (or at least mention) separable and inseparable prepositional prefixes? Or perhaps just link through to w:German verbs, which appears to be quite complete.
-- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 16:16, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
Dutch has verbs like this too, like voorkomen. Maybe you can make the entry like that? —CodeCat 16:19, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's correct to say that the separable form is voor + komen while the inseparable is voor- and komen. This is possibly a very pedantic point, but I think that grammatically (at least in German; I assume the same is true of Dutch), the separable part of the verb is still considered a prefix. I'm not an expert on either language though, and especially not Dutch. Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:04, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
The reason I would analyse the prefix in that way is because it behaves the same as other unstressed prefixes which do not have a separate equivalent. For example, there is no word 'be' that corresponds to bekomen in the way that voor might correspond to voorkómen. Furthermore, they also have in common that they do not gain ge- in the past participle, although that may be caused by the lack of stress in the existing prefix instead. In any case, there is a real and predictable difference in meaning between the stressed and unstressed prefixes. A word such as omzeilen means 'to go (literally sail) around' when the prefix is not stressed while it means 'to sail into so as to knock over' when it is stressed. And a final point is that I don't think all separable prefixes (which are essentially adverbs that are partially fused to the verb) have an equivalent unstressed variety. For example I don't think there are any verbs beginning with unstressed bij-, in-, op-, tussen-, and no Dutch speaker would be able to predict the meaning of a verb that added any of those prefixes to words. The meanings of newly-formed words with existing unstressed prefixes are often quite readily predictable, on the other hand. So there is quite a significant difference in how the two forms of the adverbs in verbs (stressed/separable or unstressed) act in word formation, and one form may be productive while the other is not or even nonexistent. —CodeCat 22:31, 3 June 2012 (UTC)


I'm having some trouble finding a good definition for this word. The word's meaning is easy to describe, it is a screen to protect against the wind. But it's not a windscreen on a vehicle, that's called voorruit in Dutch. So what is the English term for this? —CodeCat 00:05, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Could it be a windbreak? Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 00:32, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it could be but I've not heard of that word before. And a hedge or fence would not usually be referred to as a 'screen' in neither English nor Dutch. The Dutch word, being a screen, refers specifically to a flat solid object with few or no holes. An example of a 'windscherm' could be a small metal panel attached to a barbecue or stove to keep the wind from blowing out the flame, or a human-sized glass panel that you can stand behind out of the wind. —CodeCat 00:35, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Take a look at this: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Windbreakers_(sheet_of_material)
English: A Windbreaker, or Windbreak or Breeze Blocker, is a sheet of solid material or stiff fabric, supported by posts, poles, and/or cables to protect an outdoor location from the wind.”
Maybe windbreak and windbreaker are missing that sense. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 00:50, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Some of the pictures are actually named 'windscherm' so unless they're misplaced it does seem right. —CodeCat 01:10, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
There's a freakishly large amount of interference between terms here: I might translate this a windscreen, but that's because I use windshield for the car part. It might be reversed for someone outside the US. Windbreak is actually correct, but it's been taken over by the tree subsense. Windbreaker is usually thought of as an article of clothing around here. "Wind block" doesn't have any competing meanings that I know of, but I don't know how much it's actually used for this. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:30, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I found some quotations and added the new sense to windbreak. But you are right about the word being much more commonly used for the first sense. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 01:33, 2 June 2012 (UTC)


It seems that this entry only has a Croatian definition. I suppose the Croatian definition should be moved to the 4 Serbo-Croatian Wiktionaries and replaced here with a Serbo-Croatian entry in English? Saimdusan (talk) 11:27, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Seems we all missed it, anyway, deleted. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:29, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Supernatural collectives?

I guess it could just be all creative invention but...is there any chance any of this could be attestable? Just something I thought I'd throw out there if people are interested in doing some research. 50 Xylophone Players talk 14:35, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Amazing! We do have host of angels (etymology 2), but I doubt many of those can be attested. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 17:09, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, Wondermark is a vaguely surrealist humour webcomic, so I'd imagine most of those are made up. Interestingly, some people do seem have taken up "a lunacy of werewolves" - it's even used in one video game - though I doubt there's enough to get it listed here (yet). Smurrayinchester (talk) 17:38, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Maybe some day! 50 Xylophone Players talk 00:01, 3 June 2012 (UTC)


Three definitions:

  1. To yield to an overpowering force or overwhelming desire.
  2. To give up, or give in.
  3. To die.

I was gonna add "to be beaten, to be defeated". There's a lot of overlap here, I think my definition is another wording of "To yield to an overpowering force or overwhelming desire.", also "To give up, or give in." and "To die." seems to be a specific example of succumbing (that is, giving in or being defeated).

How would anyone else define this, how many definitions? How broad should those definition be? Mglovesfun (talk) 13:46, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

I’d keep the third and add yours. I’m not sure about the second, depending on which senses of give up and give in it’s referring to it could be the same as the first definition. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 16:44, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
It looks to me like 1) a transitive sense of yielding/giving in to something overwhelming or overpowering, 2) an intransitive sense of being beaten/defeated, and 3) "to die", which is really short for "succumb to [whatever the cause of death was]", but which is too idiomatic to be SOP. Anything else is just a variation on one of the three. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:30, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think SoP is the phrase you're looking for, the dying one is perhaps distinct enough from the being defeated/beaten sense that is deserves its own sense. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:31, 4 June 2012 (UTC)


So, this was recently created...Is the definition really correct? Is this dated/obsolete English perhaps? Also Scots, or only Scots? 50 Xylophone Players talk 03:30, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Scots for sure, English unlikely. I'll switch it to Scots, and if anyone disagrees, they can add English with the same def (although be warned, I'll probably rfv the English if you add it). --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:41, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I readded it with quotations. One of them has “Church yaird” so I concluded it must be an obsolete form of yard, and given that all three were ultimately written by Scotsmen, this is probably a Scots influenced spelling. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 04:41, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Nice! Thanks for saving us the trouble of an RFV. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:59, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I would have thought that the modern Scots was just eye-dialect, but the word existed in (Scottish) Middle English with that spelling. Dbfirs 08:42, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Scots <ai> is a fairly normal development of Old English <ea> – compare bairn, from bearn. Ƿidsiþ 08:46, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Oddly, our entry for bairn implies that the Scottish English came directly from Middle English, rather than via Scots. —RuakhTALK 13:35, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that's correct. Bairn is not just Scots, but is still in use in Northern English, though the pronunciation and spelling "barn" is more common in areas with a strong Norse influence. The language called "Scots" is just a relatively modern development of Northern Middle English. Dbfirs 22:06, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, although it tends to be referred to as Middle Scots in Scottish contexts. Ƿidsiþ 11:38, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the border kept moving up and down the island (in influence and allegiance, if not in law)! Dbfirs 08:54, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

-leaks or -ileaks

Has the time arrived yet to add a protologism suffix of -leaks or perhaps -ileaks? Back-formation from wiki + leaks, such as, example, Vatileaks? (similarl to -gate) -- ALGRIF talk 13:45, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Well, I'm sure it's citeable, but we need a few more examples to tell whether it's -leaks or -ileaks. Both wiki and Vatican are "i-stems" for these purposes, so we can't tell whether the i is coming from the suffix or the original word. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:02, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Many blends involve some overlap, e.g. motel < motor hotel. It's fruitless to ask whether the -i- in "Vatileaks" comes from Vatican or Wikileaks; it comes from both. —Angr 07:40, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Use of Occam's razor would suggest that terms without the -i- are from leaks, not -leaks. It is -ileaks that would seem to be a suffix extracted or back-formed from wikileaks, if it is attestable or demonstrably productive. This process of suffix formation is fairly common. We have a number of them at the beginning of Category:English back-formations. (Ruakh, at least, objects to this use of the term back-formation. See WT:TR#Category:English back-formations.). DCDuring TALK 16:21, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Category:English back-formations

A lot of these don't seem like back-formations to me. -zilla, for example, was not derived from Godzilla by removing the well-known prefix God- (actually is, rather than just having characteristics of); -gate was not derived from Watergate by removing the well-known prefix Water- (relating to the Watergate Hotel); and so on. Do I have too narrow a view of what constitutes "back-formation", or does someone else have too broad a view? —RuakhTALK 17:10, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Well, clearly the full words predate what are now productive suffixes whose sense is transparently derived from the full words. I suppose we could call the process blending, but I think the process is now less evocative of the original words than that would imply. Comparing with productive suffixes like -ization or -ation is instructive. The latter two affixes seem to be derived from the entire family of Greco-Latin derived words with such endings, whereas the two in question are clearly derived from single words. The process of extraction of the morphemes seems otherwise quite similar. I would have used {{back-form}} for the -ization and -ation if the template would have accepted "entire family of Greco-Latin derived words ending in [X]".
If there are better terms for this process that are as intelligible to normal users, we should use them instead. DCDuring TALK 17:44, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that most "normal users" have no difficulty understanding terms like "from", "alluding to", "after", "on the model of", and "by analogy with". You know how you want to distinguish words that merely contain a given suffix from words that were formed in ModE by adding the suffix to a specific ModE word, because you don't think the term "suffix" is applicable otherwise? Well, you now have my sympathy, because I want to distinguish terms that were formed by back-formation from terms that were merely formed by taking part of an existing word, because I don't think the term "back-formation" is applicable in the latter case. —RuakhTALK 18:57, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I guess I have my own peculiar broadening of a definition of back-formation, such as MWOnline's: "a word [morpheme] formed by subtraction of a real or supposed affix [morpheme] from an already existing longer word". What is the proper term for the extraction of an affix from am alternative morphological construction of a word? DCDuring TALK 22:22, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I would call things like -zilla and -gate extractions. —Angr 23:18, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
But would anyone else? In context we might get away with it, but I don't think the the term is clear enough to pull its weight in "Category:English extractions". It is even a little confusing as in discussing etymologies of affixes that were, say, "of Germanic extraction". DCDuring TALK 01:37, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
As far as POS is concerned, I'd call -zilla and -gate suffixes, but their etymology is that they were extracted from Godzilla and Watergate. But they aren't back-formations by any means. Just put them in Category:English suffixes. —Angr 07:43, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Cologne and cologne in Persian

Could someone who knows Persian please take a look at the Persian translations of cologne and Cologne? Google Translate suggests that the translation at cologne is really more of an explanation in Persian of what cologne is rather than the Persian word for cologne, and that the translation at Cologne is also an explanation of what cologne is rather than the Persian name for the city in Germany. Thanks —Angr 21:14, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi, the city of Cologne in Persian is called کلن (pronounced Koln) and is derived from Köln, the German word for that city, while cologne is derived from the French term, "Eau de Cologne" and that has the spelling ادکلن (more common) or ادوکلن or rarely اودوکلن, and the romanization of first one is odkolon or odokolon and the second one and third one should be always romanized as "odokolon".--Forudgah (talk) 03:42, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, Fordugah! And thanks Stephen G. Brown for correcting the articles. —Angr 07:31, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

grammar question

Which of these is correct/more common?

Cheers. ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:15, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

The first is correct and widely used (an adverb modifying an adjective). The second is ungrammatical and wrong (an adjective modifying another adjective). The third could work if hyphenated and used as a modifier for a noun: "environment-friendly products" (noun used attributively and combined with an adjective to make a compound adjective). Of course, fewer and fewer people are learning how to use hyphens correctly, so I'm sure "environment friendly products" is common enough. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:20, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I wonder if my suspicion can be confirmed that these are calques of German umweltfreundlich. I first encountered the German word in 1989 and wondered how we would say it in English; at the time, I dismissed "environment-friendly" and "environmentally friendly" as sounding ridiculous in English, but they have since caught on. —Angr 07:30, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
It seems pretty likely - according to Google ngrams, "umweltfreundlich" was coined some time around 1965, and use took off at the end of the 70s. "environmentally friendly" meanwhile starts in the mid 80s and takes off in the 90s. "umweltfreundlich" also appears in a handful of English texts (assuming they aren't misidentified German texts) before "environmentally friendly" was coined. I also found a couple of books from the 1980s that hint that the phrase originated in German (borrowing the word, then giving an English translation) (eg) and, interestingly, a few German guides (1 2) to English from the 80s that claim umweltfreundlich should be translated "ecological" not "environmentally friendly". Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:39, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
It looks like the English texts where umweltfreundlich can be found are (1) dictionaries and language-pedagogy books, (2) misidentified books actually in German, (3) English texts where the term is mentioned but not used. I certainly haven't found any indication that umweltfreundlich has been used in English the way, say, gemütlich is. —Angr 21:47, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
AIUI, environment friendly requires a hyphen according to traditional grammar, i.e. environment-friendly. Equinox 16:24, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
According to traditional rules of orthography, not traditional grammar. Spelling and punctuation aren't part of grammar. —Angr 21:47, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Really? I don't see apostrophes as part of spelling, especially when they indicate a grammatical thing like possession. Equinox 22:11, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Not spelling, orthography, which covers both spelling and punctuation. —Angr 19:57, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
It's true that spelling and punctuation aren't part of grammar, but I think they might well be part of "traditional grammar". —RuakhTALK 22:14, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Looking at Google ngrams shows that environmentally friendly is much more common but environment friendly is well noted and both came into widespread noting in the mid-80s. Nothing wrong grammatically with environment friendly. It can be eathly found here and here ... and more. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 12:17, 23 June 2012 (UTC)


There's a sense missing from this page (or possibly from way to), but the problem is that I haven't got a clue how to define it, or even what part of speech it is (so I can't use {{rfdef}}). Perhaps by analogy with way to go, there's a phrase "way to..." which seems to indicate (generally sarcastically) that the subject has done well in performing a task. Such as:

2001, Joshua Nedelman, The Garden of Eastern, page 36:
Jimmy leaned forward holding his ear, the personification of naïveté, looking as young as a baby with his oh-so-innocent face. “Oh, way to get us busted, Jimmy,” Curt hissed under his breath.
2009, Linda Winfree, Fall in Me, page 165:
Oh, way to start a rumor, Hope. Angel glared the silent statement at her sister.
2012, Nancy Manther, A Charmed Life:
"Oh, way to care about how I feel." His voice took on an exaggerated “Valley Girl” tone.

So, what part of speech is way (or way to) performing here? Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:12, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

  • It's a noun, with a sort of understood "That's the—" preceding it. I believe it developed from [That's the] way to go! It's tricky, but I think you just have to describe it....the definition could be something along the lines of: As the head of an interjectory clause: the perfect means (to do something), chiefly in expressions of ironic congratulation. Ƿidsiþ 11:35, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Relatedly, what about:
"He's hitting 400 for two months? No way!" / "Yes, way."
I've never heard is in any use other than in a contradiction of a previous speaker's emphatic rejection of a proposition. I don't know that it merits its own sense line, let alone a PoS section, but it does seem worth including in a usage example for no way. DCDuring TALK 16:33, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I've heard that as well. I think that it might have been added some time ago and then removed. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:38, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I believe that that sense was popularized by Wayne's World.​—msh210 (talk) 19:28, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I think in Wayne's World the response to "No way!" is just "Way!", whereas DCDuring is referring to the response of "Yes, way", which in my experience is more common. I don't think Wayne's World was the vector for that. —RuakhTALK 19:37, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Before this discussion we had [[no way]] and [[yes way]]. We now also have a sense at [[way]] and a usex that includes yes way at [[no way]]. Is this too much or not enough? DCDuring TALK 00:16, 6 June 2012 (UTC)


"Hail Columbia" includes the lyrics let its altar reach the skies. Are we missing a sense of altar that means "stuff burning on an (other-sense) altar"? Cf. "the altar burned brighter"[1] and similar.​—msh210 (talk) 19:25, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

o dinosaur!

Is this attestable, even by the presumably relaxed standards used for Volapuk? And as a multi-word vocative utterance, isn't it NISoP? "O dinosaur!" could be a vocative utterance in English, for example. Equinox 00:11, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

As I don't know Volapük and we don't have [[o#Volapük]] (nor, indeed, does frwikt, FWIW), I have no way of judging whether it's SOP.​—msh210 (talk) 04:58, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
The real question is whether to first RFD it or RFV it. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:16, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't even know what terms to search for to find Volapük cites (as I might use the in a search to restrict to English), but trying a few I found in our Volapük categories, google books:"o dinosaur" "kinid|kisi|atos" and the same on ggc turn up nothing. (Links to kinid, kisi, atos for your convenience.)​—msh210 (talk) 06:14, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
If it is a declined or conjugated word form, it does not have to be attested. Declension and conjugation tables, such as those for Spanish verbs, include all the forms for each noun or verb whether or not they are all attestable. Almost certainly some forms never get used, but they still have a place in the table. All of these verb forms and noun forms also qualify for a separate page, such as ayudaba, that links back to the lemma. So, if o dinosaur is a correct form in the declension of the lemma, then it can have its soft-redirect page. (But it should be moved to o dinosaur, without the exclamation.) —Stephen (Talk) 06:28, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I think that only applies for cases where the conjugated form remains a single word, though. For instance, we'd have an entry for the French first person future of voler, "volerai‎", but we wouldn't have the German first person future of fliegen, "werde fliegen", because it can be broken down as werde + fliegen. Similarly, in Spanish the first person past subjunctive of comer is "comiera" or "comiese", which we have entries for, but the rough English equivalent "would have eaten" is just would + have + eaten, which we don't and shouldn't have an entry for. We don't have o dinosaur in English, or o dog, o friends or even o God - instead, we just mention the vocative use at o, which in all likelihood is where a user would go first. Unless dinosaur is totally unique in Volapuk for taking o (which I highly doubt), there's no reason to have this entry. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:09, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. If "o ___" is normal in Volapük, then I think this is SOP and belongs at RFD; if "o dinosaur" is unique or irregular, then I think this does require attestation. We allow an entry for internacionalizabais, even though it seems to be unattested, because that is the vosotros imperfect of internacionalizar whether or not anyone's ever used it, but we don't allow an entry for habíais internacionalizado because it's SOP, and we wouldn't allow an entry for *internacionalicerais without actual evidence that the verb is irregular in that way. —RuakhTALK 15:45, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Surely ‘O dinosaur!’ is the vocative singular in English for dinosaur. Ƿidsiþ 06:33, 6 June 2012 (UTC) Also, according to Volapük, the language does not distinguish a vocative case – only nominative, genitive, dative and accusative. Ƿidsiþ 06:34, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

I found a book of Volapük which does describe "o" as indicating the vocative. Of course, that doesn't mean "o dinosaur" deserves an entry, any more than "o sister" does in English. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:33, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
@SGB: We never have SOP inflected forms! Of course we have monetur, but we don't have monitus sum! The very conjugation table at moneo treats the two as separate words and explains how to use them. In fact, the Latin first declension vocative works much the same way, being usually marked by an o. Any and all Volapük "vocatives" should be speedied, IMO. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:49, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm confused as to what exactly this is supposed to mean? Other than http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k68V_7mR6nk I can't think of any other plausible case for even putting these two words together, much less in a way that would be a set phrase worthy of a dictionary. Geschan (talk) 16:08, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

See w:Apostrophe (figure of speech). —RuakhTALK 16:45, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Note o dinosaurs! was created too. Equinox 17:12, 9 June 2012 (UTC)



(the latter in the sense of "Mankind; human beings as a group")

We have these marked as (uncountable) ===Noun===s. They seem to be more like (singular only) or ===Proper noun===s. After all, one cannot speak of more or less humanity the way one can more or less sugar or love; one speaks of more or less of humanity, like more of China or less of the Sun. The especially seem proper (to my lay eyes) in that they don't need a determiner/article. Thoughts?​—msh210 (talk) 05:12, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Not really, AFAICT. For example,
  • "Even more mankind makes pollution and waste." [2]
Yes, it's uncommon, but clearly such usage exists. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:21, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I can't tell what that sentence means in that passage. I have no reason to think it means "Even more of the group of humans makes...". Maybe someone more astute than I knows for certain.​—msh210 (talk) 06:06, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree with your analysis, msh210. —RuakhTALK 12:34, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it looks like there's a comma missing after "more" in that quote. Still, someone could say "More mankind means more waste", though it would sound better with "of" Chuck Entz (talk) 14:07, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
@msh210: I think that so much mankind has trouble with countability/uncountability that we could find many implausible-seeming usage. That is one reason why I so like the feature of {{en-noun}} that allows one to show whether countability or uncountability is present in the majority of uses of a given header, while acknowledging that the other is also present in the wild. DCDuring TALK 14:14, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
@ChuckE: I don't think that the comma reading is necessarily correct. It just looks like what I used to call a mistake. DCDuring TALK 14:14, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Granted, the book appears to be from some crazy doomsday ecocult, so there's a good chance they didn't spend much on copyediting before publishing it. The problem is that there's a lot more of that kind of usage. Take a look:
  • "More and more mankind will discover that we have to turn to poetry to interpret life for us, to console us, to sustain us. Without poetry our science will appear incomplete..."[3]
I stand by my original statement: it's uncommon, even proscribed, but present. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:43, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I parse "More and more mankind will discover" as "More and more [often,] mankind will discover" rather than "More and more [members of] mankind will discover". I agree with msh210 about how to {{label}} the sense; if unambiguous use as an uncountable noun can be found, that usage can be explained in usage notes. - -sche (discuss) 17:47, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

So, (singular only) ==noun===, or ===Proper noun===? Ruakh? -sche? Anyone?​—msh210 (talk) 16:07, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

heartbreaker - 2

My Mac OS X has a much better definition: "1 a person who is very attractive but who is irresponsible in emotional relationships. 2 a story or event that causes overwhelming distress." Our current definition is a bit too general. Can we rewrite ours to incorporate both discrete senses? ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:57, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

One can be a heartbreaker without being irresponsible, no? Mglovesfun (talk) 15:32, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Just read our definition; yes I think we need at least one more definition, saying "that tennis match was a heartbreaker" and "she is a heartbreaker" are different definitions. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:34, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

帅 - Chinese needs help

The entry uses the Template:hide box template to hide dialectical pronunciations and so they cannot be seen. Can someone familiar with Chinese put these in the correct places so they are visible? --BB12 (talk) 08:18, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

By coincidence, I found the setting that enables that box to be viewed, but still, I don't think those pronunciations should be in a hidden box. --BB12 (talk) 08:22, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
The reason for collapsed boxes is so that side information doesn't swamp the entry. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:58, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
That entry also has "†" before many of its senses. Is that formatting copied from another dictionary, which should be changed to {{obsolete}} or {{context|no longer in use}}? - -sche (discuss) 18:35, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
@MK, I'm not talking about the collapsable boxes, but the use of the hide box template. If you look at the source, you'll see a section that begins {{hide box|Dialectal pronunciations|align=left|, and that copy does not appear when in viewing mode. --BB12 (talk) 23:39, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Er, {{hide box}} displays as a collapsible box to me, and I assume it does for everyone. Is there some setting that is making it display differently for you? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:38, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for responding to my idiocy :) --BB12 (talk) 01:17, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
You can make it up to me by getting the new LDL draft out quickly XD --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:43, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
hahahaha. Walked myself into that one.... --BB12 (talk) 02:07, 8 June 2012 (UTC)



Should the main (short name) pages be moved to The Bahamas and The Gambia respectively, that's what wikipedia does (news motivation)? For the ones for which it's optional (e.g. Congo) I think it's fine to have the lemma not have the article. --Bequw τ 11:52, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

So, would we then define Gambia as:
  1. Found in the name The Gambia.
  2. Attributive form of The Gambia.
    • 2008, [] , page 89:
      They had both been active in Gambia politics since the 1940s when Faye founded the Bathurst section of the West African Youth League and []
  3. Alternative form of The Gambia
    • 2005, [] , page 31:
      My interest in Gambia stems from living there for 2 years and working as a teacher in the rural areas at a nonformal educational institution []
 ? —RuakhTALK 13:39, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
google books:"the bahamas" -intitle:bahamas shows that the Bahamas is much more common than The Bahamas. I think therefore that our main entry should be Bahamas, with The Bahamas either a hard redirect or a soft one (defined as {{form of|official spelling|[[Bahamas|the Bahamas]]}} perhaps). Either way, a usage notes at Bahamas would seem to be in order.​—msh210 (talk) 16:01, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Most of bgc seems to refer to Gambia as Gambia: compare google books:"to the gambia" -intitle:gambia to google books:"to gambia" -intitle:gambia. Thus, I think that we should have a main entry at Gambia with, just as I suggested for the Bahamas, a soft or hard redirect from The Gambia.​—msh210 (talk) 16:01, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
I spent most of my life speaking about the Gambia and the Ukraine, and now I'm trying to unlearn it. If anything, Gambia & Co. ought to have usage notes explaining the definite article's place in the country's name. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:02, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
We could use head=The Gambia in {{en-proper noun}}. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 18:07, 7 June 2012 (UTC)


"(countable) A person employed to help in the maintenance of a house."

I have thought of this as a collective noun, not used in the plural. I would not say: "advertise for or hire a help." Would other native/near native speakers use "a" with this or use it in the plural? DCDuring TALK 11:54, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd consider it a collective noun too, but I did find some uses of "hired helps":
1836, Richard Weston, A visit to the United States and Canada in 1833, page 178-9:
I was often much entertained sitting at Mr Telford's table of an evening at supper ; he sat at the head, his hired helps, male and female, to the number of upwards of a dozen, sitting on separate sides at the same board, and helping themselves out of the same dish.
1870, “Emigration and Nova Scotia”, in The Field, volume 1, number 3, page 242:
The farmer is at the mercy of his hired helps ; they run rusty and leave him just at the very time he is most in need of their services, and he is often forced, at a heavy pecuniary loss, to suspend operations.
2009, Colin James Isbister, How to be a Lousy Christian in 12 Easy Lesson, page 120:
Even my father's servants are better off than me. I'll go home and beg him to allow me to work as a hired help.
It sounds odd to me, but it does seem to be a fairly established use, with hits in both the singular and plural from the 19th century right through the present day. Probably should be (countable or uncountable). Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:12, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
I checked "hired helps" in COCA, BNC, and the Corpus of Historical American English ("COHA"). It is not in the first two ("hired help" is abundant.), but appears twice in COHA (1852, 1914). Comparing "hired help" and "hired helps" at Google Ngram shows ratios of 500:1, far exceeding normal singular-to-plural ratios. Checking the recent (1999-2008) instances at google books shows most of the hits to be of "hired, helps" or "hired help's", in republications or quotations of older works, in works by non-native speakers, and in works by historians (who may be influenced by the writings of the time they study). The sole News hit for "hired helps" was in "Hero 2 Hired [an NGO] helps servicemembers look for jobs". In contrast, there were 286 hits for "hired help".
Our treatment seems misleading to me. I think the "countable" tag should be removed and an indication of occasional and historical use as countable noun be relegated to a usage note. DCDuring TALK 14:38, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
I think that's a good idea. - -sche (discuss) 07:45, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd be more inclined to allow both countable and uncountable, since the definition is "a person". The OED has lots of cites:

1645 Mass. Col. Rec. II. 139 Such of his servants and helps as have been employed about ye attendance of ye court. 1742 W. Ellis Mod. Husbandman Aug. i. 2 Next to them [sc. hired servants] we should be provided with auxiliary Helps. 1807 C. W. Janson Stranger in Amer. 87, I am Mr ——'s help. I'd have you know‥that I am no sarvant. 1815 Massachusetts Spy 23 Aug., Our lady and gentleman ‘hired helps’ do not understand who is meant when their master is inquired for. 1818 H. B. Fearon Sketches Amer. 80 Servants, let me here observe, are called ‘helps’. If you call a servant by that name they leave you without notice. 1824 Examiner 200/2 The hiring of ‘a help’, anglicè a servant,—a word rejected in America. 1830 J. Galt Lawrie Todd III. vii. v. 49 At this moment‥the help, or maiden-servant, came. 1838 J. F. Cooper Amer. Democrat 122 Those who aid their masters in the toil may be deemed ‘helps’, but they who perform all the labor do not assist‥but they do it themselves. 1861 Thackeray Four Georges i. 26 Fourteen postilions; nineteen ostlers; thirteen helps. 1883 New Eng. Jrnl. Educ. 17 54 The Boston ‘help’ reads Dante while she prepares the succulent pork and beans. a1899 Mod. Advertisements., Wanted, Lady Help. Wanted, Two superior domestic helps to undertake the duties of cook and housemaid. Wanted, young girl, as useful help. Mother's Help wanted immediately, to assist with two children and housework. 1899 Westm. Gaz. 4 Aug. 2/3 Judge: What is a ‘help’? Plaintiff: Well, she's a cook-housemaid-barmaid. 1949 ‘J. Tey’ Brat Farrar xi. 84 Lana, their ‘help’‥‘obliged’ only because her ‘boy friend’ worked in the stables. 1971 Woman 13 Feb. 13/2, I gave Mrs. Candy, the daily help, a suit for her daughter.

... though I agree that most of them are older. Perhaps the countable sense is dated.
Are senses 1 and 2 for the noun really distinct? I would combine them. Dbfirs 08:45, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I've change it to "chiefly uncountable" and added a usage note. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:37, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I've broadened the sense beyond households. My objections are addressed. Have new problems been introduced? DCDuring TALK 14:06, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I've adjusted the usage note because the countable form cannot be obsolete if it was used in Hansard in 1948 and subsequently by Carol Thatcher (daughter of former UK Prime Minister, quoted in Ottawa Citizen on March 3rd, 1982). Also last year by Patricia Wilson in her internet-published novel: Intangible Dream. I'm sure I can find some more recent cites if anyone insists that they've never heard it. Dbfirs 16:55, 9 June 2012 (UTC)


In the second etymology, the headword line and inflection table disagree. One has fabra, the other has fabera. Which one is correct? —CodeCat 15:42, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

  • The inflection table was wrongly coded. Corrected. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:03, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
    I deleted all the incorrect inflected forms. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:23, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
    Not all of them... I deleted the rest now. —CodeCat 16:34, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
    Thanks. (I should've known; I messed up last time this happened too. I should've looked at the diff instead of guessing.) --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:55, 8 June 2012 (UTC)



What are these? As far as I know, ś isn't a letter of Serbo-Croatian, and ć definitely isn't a Cyrillic letter at all. —Angr 22:52, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

I have never seriously studied Serbo-Croation, but this is evidently a side-effect of the great S-C merger. I believe this form occurs in Montenegrin, which joined Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and I'm sure others in that infamous meltingpot. Welcome to the Balkan Wars! --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:13, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it Montenegrin. The letter с́ is a problem, since it is not provided in Unicode (yet). It can be written с́ (Cyrillic с with an acute accent), сј, or ć (Roman letter). I suppose that evenually Unicode will add the proper letter in Cyrillic. —Stephen (Talk) 09:19, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
On that basis, I've tagged them both {{Montenegro}}, but it would be good if we came to some sort of agreement on how to render "ś" in Cyrillic. Using Latin ć is bad not only because it mixes Latin with Cyrillic, but because the exact same letter is used in Latin Serbo-Croatian to represent a different sound, which is confusing. In the absence of a precombined character, I suppose we should use "с́" (Cyrillic с with an acute accent). ćутра uses Latin ć as well. —Angr 10:09, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
There isn’t a law anywhere that tells any country or people what letters they must use for their language. Unicode offers what it offers, but for a number of reasons not every language uses what Unicode suggests. The accent needed for the Cyrillic с is not available on Cyrillic keyboards and not many people are able to insert it. The letter that was originally used for Montenegrin Cyrillic was the Roman one, and it seems to be the spelling that most users use. I don’t think anybody who reads it or writes it gets confused because it came from a Roman font. Some languages that use Cyrillic have been using one or more Roman letters for a long time. The Unicode versions are brand new and are not accepted by the speakers of every language just because a software programmer tells them they must.
Note also that the accented uppercase С́ does not look acceptable in most fonts. —Stephen (Talk) 10:46, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Lowercase "с́" doesn't look right on my computer (Firefox 12, Windows 7, standard Wiktionary skin) either. The accent is drifting too high and too far right. Do the combining accents work properly with Cyrillic? (The accent on е̏ in ćе̏вер is wrong too). Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:45, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
@Smurrayinchester: Same here. —RuakhTALK 22:42, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Cyrillic с with the combining accent is the way to write that in Unicode. Since Unicode 3.0 in 2000, no more characters that can be composed as base characters with combining accents will be encoded. This is so that any program written since Unicode 3.0 can properly identify characters that are the same, whether or not they are composed or decomposed. There is complete support in most systems for combining accents working perfectly with Cyrillic; the issue merely depends on an OpenType (or similar advanced font format) font that properly identifies where to attach accents.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:59, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
But in Serbo-Croatian this letter is not a Cyrillic c with an accent, but with a diacritic. It was not meant to mark a specific tone but a different pronunciation. If Latin ć were Latin c with a combining accent it could be decomposed to c and the stress mark, but I don't believe it was supposed to be so. It is a letter per se. A palatalized t, therefore a letter denoting one specific sound. Such things were designed in the early creation of Serbo-Croatian alphabet. Anglicization of this letter in English language media which either lack this specific grapheme, or its editorship don't want to bother with it, is a different matter. Only if you are treating the German ö, or better yet Spanish ñ as letters with accents, then Latin ć could be regarded as a Latin c with an accent. --BiblbroX дискашн 22:11, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
@BiblbroX: Yes, that's the same thing same thing. In English, the term accent (or accent mark) is frequently applied to any diacritic at all, as well as to diacritic-like marks that are technically considered to be part of a letter. Unicode does specify that ñ is equivalent to n plus . —RuakhTALK 22:42, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Ok, then. I won't make anymore fuss `bout this. Just one remark: I understand that neither accent nor accent mark mention this usage as a general diacritic mark. The only relevant definition reads: A mark or character used in writing, in order to indicate the place of the spoken accent, or to indicate the nature or quality of the vowel marked. Perhaps both entries could use some updating. Regards, --BiblbroX дискашн 23:32, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

What's wrong with the accent on е̏ in ćе̏вер? It shares the same tone as sever and sjever i.e. север and сјевер since all three are cognate. As for the letters, they are newly introduced in the Montenegrin to represent soft [ʃ]. See w:Montenegrin language. I am not sure about their IPA representation. WP reads it is [ç] (w:Voiceless palatal fricative), but śesti suggests it is [ɕ] (w:Voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant). If I understand correctly the latter entry was created by a Serbo-Croatian speaker from Montenegro, but apart from the info on WP my ear also tells me it's more close to [ç] than [ɕ]. Concerning the representation of the letter, it should be the Cyrillic с with a diacritic, but I believe the Montenegrin websites themselves are using the Latin version of it, that is ć - the Latin c with a diacritic. --BiblbroX дискашн 14:20, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Oh, sorry, I didn't mean the accent was the wrong accent, I meant it wasn't displaying right on my computer. It hangs to the right of the letter rather than over the middle. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:57, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I guess the key is just tagging these with Montenegro and realizing that the fact that nobody's storming the gates and demanding we use sj or ш or something is a good thing. I'm rather pessimistic about this, but after seeing how much material (like translations) we still have as Croatian or Bosnian, I begin to suspect that it will never be fully fixed around here. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:22, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I once started "fixing" these translations by unifying them under umbrella term of Serbo-Croatian, but then almost immediately encountered one of those angry anti-serbocroatianists (or how should I call them) so I stopped realizing that those entries might still serve some purpose since they link to corresponding wiktionaries and data there could be useful at some point. --BiblbroX дискашн 22:11, 9 June 2012 (UTC)


I have been hearing usage of this verb that is an extension of this term into realms I did not associate with the word. I have inserted usexes for the two kinds of usage (differentiated by type of object) that I am familiar with and added three citations of the extended usage. I would like to specify the meaning better than our current definition, if necessary, adding a sense, but I am having trouble with it. Help is welcome. DCDuring TALK 12:50, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Is it just "To apply selectivity and taste to."? DCDuring TALK 13:15, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
That sounds more or less right - it's the context I hear it in most often, actually - although it's specifically in terms of producing a collection of things. Users of sites like tumblr and Pinterest are often described as "currating" when they make their blogs. Smurrayinchester (talk) 20:44, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I added ", as a collection of fashion items or web pages.". Do you know how long has the term been used in this way, outside the realms of art and museums? It seems relatively new to me (< five years). DCDuring TALK 21:39, 12 June 2012 (UTC)


I have split the etymology, as I think it is different between the goblin creature (from Old English) and the sea creature (from Latin orca? makes more sense and is what W1913 has). If that's wrong, though, feel free to revert. Equinox 13:24, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

I expanded the second etymology. Is it worth noting that ogre is closely related? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:01, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
Yep. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:12, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

the trash and the garbage

I added these recently. I think they are idiomatic, as a trash can would never before refer to as trash without "the" occurring before it, one can say "throw it in the trash" for "throw it in the trash can", but one doesn't say *"there is an empty trash in the kitchen" for "there is an empty trash can in the kitchen" or *"they sell trashes at that store" for "they sell trash cans at that store". Shoof (talk) 04:42, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

The "the garbage" entry has been deleted without much of an explanation. It seems reasonable to put this under "garbage" and note that it has to take "the," though I see that the man is an entry. --BB12 (talk) 05:42, 12 June 2012 (UTC
We don't have an entry for the cat as in 'I gave my leftovers to the cat'. Mglovesfun (talk) 08:33, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Re-enter as redirects, following the practice of most of those other online references that appear at OneLook.
The man appears in other online dictionaries with the meanings we give it. The trash does not. If one is not a linguist familiar with the extensive, confusing, inconclusive, and possibly irrelevant literature on idiomaticity, one might just think about why online lexicographers don't find this idiomatic. Urban Dictionary has a slang sense of the trash which might be includable. DCDuring TALK 11:05, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Is "the trash" really a synonym of "trash can"? I think it's just talking about the pile of rubbish inside the bin. I mean, I could say the same about soup - "throw it in the soup" and "throw it in the soup pot" are synonyms, "they sell soups" and "they sell soup pots" are not. Similarly, "the laundry"/"the laundry basket", "the compost"/"the compost heap" and "the recycling"/"the recycling bin". Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:14, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Consider take out the trash, which doesn't mean take out the trash can. —RuakhTALK 12:26, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
(Also, I note we already have "A container into which things are discarded" as a definition of trash). Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:31, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
@DCDuring, we don't need the redirects as the search function picks out trash and garbage as the first two results respectively. No different to the cat, the dog, the hat, etc. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:32, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
@MG: Some users seem utterly mystified by links, let alone the search page. What's the resource consumption for redirects?
@Ruakh: The fairly common collocation "put it in the trash/garbage" suggests that it might mean container. That the term is used when the container is empty is even more suggestive. DCDuring TALK 14:12, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
It's more that people will need to learn to use the search function to use this site. If you can use Google, you can use Wiktionary. I consider mollycoddling an obstacle to learning. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:22, 12 June 2012 (UTC)


In one source I found, this verb is actually considered to be two distinct verbs that fell together. One is from PIE *streyg- (to stroke, to rub) (*stri-n-g- is an n-infix variety) and is related to strike and stroke. The other is from PIE *streng- (to tighten) and is related to string. I'm not sure how far this falling-together had gone in Latin, so I don't know if there are any traces of the two distinct conjugations of these verbs (I would expect two different past participles, maybe strictus and strinctus?). But even so, the current entry may be missing some senses. Does anyone know more about this? —CodeCat 18:43, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

*Strinctus would make sense, but I can't find any evidence that it actually existed. In fact, I don't think I see anything remaining in the Latin that would suggest that. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:19, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
It may also be strenctus, or maybe strengitus or stringitus? I don't know under what conditions e would become i in Latin. The main difference between the two conjugations, if there are any traces of a distinction at all, ought to be that one alternates between string- and strig-/stric- and always has i, and the other may be string- or streng- and always has n. —CodeCat 19:25, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
None of those look right to me, but stranger things have happened in Old Latin (cf. fero). I'm afraid I probably can't help much, because all my resources are geared towards classical literature and poetry, not PIE etymology. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:34, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Well maybe you could still help. If there are two etymologies then there also ought to be two distinct senses. Are there any missing senses for this verb relating closer to 'stroke, rub' rather than the currently given sense? —CodeCat 19:41, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I am looking at a source which says that Latin stringo comes from two distinct PIE roots: however, the two PIE roots are identical in form. They are *streig- (i.e. *streyg-) "to rub, tear, cut" (> Latin stringō, -ere, strīnxī, strictum "to strip, draw a weapon"; English strike) and *streig- "to tighten, tie together" (> Latin stringō, -ere, strīnxī, strictus "to tie, lace"; "tight"; Dutch strikken). Both verbs appear to be conjugated the same way. Coincidentally, the form *streig- lends itself to at least one additional root, which means "to stop", but that is beside the point for this discussion. Hope this helps. Leasnam (talk) 21:07, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Additionally, this particular source links English string to neither of the above, but rather to a PIE *strang-/*streng-/*strenk- "rope, cord; to tighten" and relates it to Latin strangulare instead...Leasnam (talk) 21:11, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think they can be identical in this case. The n of *streng- has to be part of the root because it appears in several derived nouns and adjectives such as 'string'. The n-infix in PIE only appears in verbs, so if it appears anywhere else, it can't be an n-infix but must be part of the root. The etymology of 'strikken' is not certain according to Philippa's etymological dictionary, and is even somewhat doubtful for Proto-Germanic because it only appears in German and Dutch. 'strangulare' is a Greek loanword, and presumably derives from the zero grade *strn̥g-. —CodeCat 21:15, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
That's odd. So no mention of Old Frisian strik "rope, cord" (possibly borrowed maybe?); Middle Low German stri(c)k/stricken, in addition to Old Dutch and OHG forms from PGmc *strikkiz "rope"? Leasnam (talk) 21:52, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
No, but I suppose those count too then, unless they are loanwords from the others. That is the hard part of such words with limited spread; it's very possible that the terms got loaned, but because of the limited spread we have no way to tell. —CodeCat 21:56, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't see a thing along those lines. Every possible derived form that I checked also only fit the sense related to narrowness or compression (granted, strix has some weird stuff, but the only relevant def supports our current def for stringo). There's just no trace I can see of any merger. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:28, 12 June 2012 (UTC)


I've just created this article, and I'm not quite sure whether it makes sense. In German, "Spendierhosen" (literally "generosity trousers") are a metaphorical representation of the feeling of generosity - you can put on your Spendierhosen, take off your Spendierhosen, etc, so it didn't make sense to separate entries for each of the attestable variants. Unfortunately, on its own the article seems a bit weird. Spendierhosen doesn't literally mean "sense of generosity", it represents it. You can wear Spendierhosen but you can't wear generosity; conversely one's sense of generosity can grow or fade, but Spendierhosen can't. What's the best way of explaining this in the entry without it becoming too cumbersome? (In English we have a similar issue with words like "kid gloves". We redirect this to "handle with kid gloves" at the moment, but to be honest that seems wrong to me - you can put on and take off kid gloves too, or even use them on their own, as in the In The Loop quote "You know me, Malc. Kid gloves, but made of real kids".) Smurrayinchester (talk) 20:33, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Aren't there similar uses of the English term hat? Put on one's "giving hat" strikes me as one possible (albeit odd) gloss, where hat reads vaguely similarly to the German Hosen (trousers), as a metaphor for a role. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:52, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • There seems to be a whole class of figures of speech where an abstraction is vested in a concrete object: "put on one's thinking cap", "open a can of whoop-ass", "someone beat you in the face with an ugly stick", "wearing many different hats"/"putting on my [...] hat", probably also "putting on one's dancing shoes", "using the veto pen" (of a US president), "wielding a budgetary ax", etc. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:43, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I've made some adjustments. Specifically, I: (1) changed to a non-gloss definition using your exact phrasing above ("a metaphorical representation of the feeling of generosity"), since this sense doesn't seem well-suited to a regular glossy translation; (2) incorporated the literal translation into the definition, since this is an active metaphor, whose literal meaning affects the choice of surrounding words (namely tragen); and (3) added a literal translation of the example sentence in addition to the idiomatic one. Please take a look. —RuakhTALK 21:12, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh, that's a pretty good way of doing it. I like it. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:17, 13 June 2012 (UTC)


It's common in dictionaries to use the word person in definitions. For example, spouse says: "A person's husband or wife." As I understand it, "person" means an entity who is sentient or considered sentient or person-like. So a space alien qualifies for this meaning of "person," and an animal such as a pet often qualifies as well. In fantasy and children's books in particular, inanimate objects can be sentient and qualify as a "person."

The first definition of person says: "A single human being; an individual" but the definition of individual does not help in this regard. The nearest relevant meaning for this in the OED is: " A human being, and related senses," which does not seem to help. I see that while "spouse" does not have "person" in the OED, the word "officer" uses it. This absence has always seemed odd to me.

Is it reasonable to add this meaning to the definitions? --BB12 (talk) 03:39, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Probably; I'm sure the "sentient being" sense could be cited with quotes like, "dogs are people too." However, it might be better to expand the first sense at person instead of writing a new one. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:01, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I disagree with the last part of your comment; "person" needs to have a sense that indicates its use as a synonym of human — think of quotations like "dogs are not people"! Refer also to #race and the following section, #people, above. - -sche (discuss) 06:18, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree. And tellingly, google books:"between dogs and people" gets thousands of hits, whereas google books:"between dogs and other people" gets a big fat zero. (On the Web, google:"between dogs and other people" does get three hits, but examination of the context shows that each one means " [] and people other than the dogs' owners", not " [] and people other than the dogs".) So even if some people claim to believe that dogs are "people", no English-speaker really believes such a thing. —RuakhTALK 06:37, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure to what extent you are agreeing, but driver has "3. A person who drives a motorized vehicle such as a car or a bus. 4. A person who drives some other vehicle." If not dogs, monkeys can surely drive "other vehicles." Rather than changing all instances of "person," I think it makes sense to add a new definition. Are sub-definitions allowed such as 1a, 1b? --BB12 (talk) 09:01, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I disagree... :/ It wouldn't be easier, but I do think it would be more sensible to change "A person who..." to "One who..." where necessary (in [[driver]], [[teacher]], etc), rather than add a new "{{context|in dictionary definitions}}"(!) sense to [[person]] to account for anthropocentric dictionarians' failure to realise that monkeys can be drivers, too. The evidence for such a sense would be conjecture: because monkeys can drive certain vehicles, and a dictionary defines "driver" as "a person who drives", you conjecture that the dictionary thinks of, and intends to include, monkeys as people... but it's just as plausible that the dictionary neglectfully, or even consciously, doesn't think of them as drivers. - -sche (discuss) 11:01, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Of course that would be better, and I'm not trying to make up for other definitions in the dictionary, but it remains a fact that I feel sure that I can cite this, and that you have expressed that it's not the same sense.
@Ruakh, humans are strange, strange beings, and if you can think of a effective way to write a usage note that can explain the contradiction, I will be impressed. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:20, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
@-sche. That makes sense. --BB12 (talk) 16:16, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
So how should the definition for one be modified? It currently says: "Any person (applying to people in general)." --BB12 (talk) 16:21, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
@BB: I would expand our "indefinite pronoun" sense to something more like what dictionary.com has, "a[ny] person or thing of a number or kind indicated or understood: one of the Elizabethan poets" (or one of the monkeys, one of the brown dogs, one who drives, etc). I am also reminded of our way of defining [[modifier]], [[masher]] etc. : "One who, or that which,...". - -sche (discuss) 21:39, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: I'm not convinced that "dogs are people, too" supports a different sense of "people". Consider that "dogs are humans" is also attested:
"Even dogs are humans, although they sleep their animal sleep — small humans with thick fur, quick tails, and human tongues. Even worms are kinds of small, very wriggly and unpleasant humans."
"In America, Uncle Isaiah, dogs are humans."
- -sche (discuss) 21:39, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I would go for something like "any person, entity or thing" to include space aliens and animals. --BB12 (talk) 21:47, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I wonder if the legal sense of "person" is relevant here. In certain circumstances, "person" can mean anything capable of carrying out premeditated actions - a human, a company, a city, a government. Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:55, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Certainly people can refer to elves: "All elves pledged their loyalty to her court, though many lived their entire lives without ever paying their respects to her in person." "Falstaff did a very good job at cleaning the Wood Elf; the person they saw before them was among the most beautiful women any of them had ever seen" "Well, there the Elf gave his banquet. Now the guest was no less a person than Rapp, King of the Gnomes; ..." as well as other non-human species, like the insectoid Thranx: "The thranx are not insects. They're people, just like you and me, and they're supposed to be very smart." Or angels: "Usually, the celestial ... can tell that the Archangel of Stone shielded the information personally." and "In person, [Archangel] David’s a nice guy, with a lot of the Cherub still in him" (In Nomine: Superiors 1). One of the major themes of science fiction is that all of us are people, no matter what, so I can come up with many cites for this.
I'm not sure people really means "humans". If I were religious, I might say that people are those creatures with souls. If elves and klingons and thranx showed up, I think most humans would accept that they were people, and those that didn't wouldn't be saying the neutral statement that they aren't human; they would be objecting elves and klingons and thranx having rights. google books:"God is not a person" and google books:"God is a person" make it look like this is a live active question, whereas God is not human is a pretty uncontroversial statement.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:26, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
[4] is pretty clear; dogs aren't people because they can't talk or think. Not because they aren't hairless bipeds.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:49, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I am always careful to write "one who..." rather than "a person who...", precisely because I believe that "one" covers any creature whereas "person" is usually only a human. A "bus driver" or "hockey player" could easily be an animal or a teapot in a Disney cartoon. "One" works; "person" might not. Equinox 22:09, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
How would you define one? Currently, it doesn't cover animals and teapots. --BB12 (talk) 23:32, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I suppose I'd want it to encompass anything sentient (or depicted as sentient). Chambers has "somebody; anybody"; unless you are needlessly pedantic about the nature of a body, that's good enough. Equinox 23:45, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Not that I disagree, but somebody and anybody are defined in terms of people, so that still does not solve the problem. --BB12 (talk) 00:00, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, interestingly they are both defined using the word "person" in Chambers too. Dunno, I give up. Equinox 00:03, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I have added a sense to [[one]], per this discussion. I have tentatively added it as a separate sense, because I began to wonder if "driver: one who drives" was grammatically distinct from the "any person" sense, "one mustn't drive drunk or one will be arrested". What do you think? For one thing, one/you can substitute "you" into the second sense ("you mustn't drive drunk") but not the first ("driver: you who drive" has a different meaning). I have also been persuaded that we should add a new sense to [[person]] to account for the designation of elves as people (something which came up in a previous Tea Room discussion, which I linked to above). - -sche (discuss) 01:18, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Very nice! --BB12 (talk) 21:23, 15 June 2012 (UTC)


We currently define a "corniche" as "A road built alongside a sea, especially one cut into a cliff." and "A seaside esplanade or promenade." A user points out that roads along the Nile are also corniches — in fact, according to Wikipedia, our definition is incorrect and the primary meaning of "corniche" is "A road built along a ledge", which only sometimes overlooks the sea, and at other times overlooks a river. Should we keep either or both of the current senses as separate senses when we add the broader sense of "A road built along a ledge" which may or may not be a seaside esplanade, or can we regard them as unsuccessful (incomplete) attempts at the broad sense? - -sche (discuss) 21:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

  • The one along the coast of the French riviera was the original (capitalised). The OED defines the word as "any coastal road with panoramic views" (derived from that original). SemperBlotto (talk) 21:17, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I have changed the definition accordingly. - -sche (discuss) 04:57, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

go to bed

I've seen that this was nominated for deletion once. It is idiomatic, in that animals can be said to go to bed even though they aren't physically sleeping on a bed. It means to fall asleep, regardless of whether or not it's on a bed. Boxieman (talk) 01:58, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

That is why it was kept, as you can clearly see. The discussion is closed. If you want to see new discussions, they're at WT:RFD. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:07, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
That was arguably an erroneous decision. Definition of uncountable bed (the place of sleep, time of going to sleep, sleep) would be consistent with many uses of the word:
I take a drink before bed. (time)
I put the child to bed. (place}
I got to bed around two AM. (place)
It's time to go to bed. (place, sleep)
Get ready for bed, boys. (sleep)
He went there straight from bed. (place, sleep?)
Get into bed.
Bed is looking good to me now. (place, sleep)
The children tried to avoid bed. (place, sleep)
As Ruakh had observed this use of bed is curious, not seeming to accept any of the determiners that uncountable nouns usually take (eg, much).
It looks to me that we didn't tackle the unusual grammar of bed, instead preferring to claim that go to bed is a lexical item. DCDuring TALK 03:10, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
If you were a foreigner, you would be glad to see at least one example of idiomatic usage of "bed", no need to show all variations based on the additional meaning, "to go to bed" is the most common and is included in many bilingual dictionaries. The decision wasn't erroneous. It's a dictionary and we want to make it useful. --Anatoli (обсудить) 03:32, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Additionally, "go to bed" is idiomatic because with normal grammar, it would be "go to a/the bed." While "go to bed" can mean only to lie down on a bed for the purpose of sleeping (at the end of the day), "go to a bed" does not have that meaning at all. --BB12 (talk) 05:23, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Not really. One says "go to school", "go to parliament", "go to work", "go to hospital", "go to prison", etc. Should we have individual entries for those? Seems debatable. It just so happens that "bed" here also has an uncountable sense. ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:41, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure about whether "uncountable" is accurate for these senses or usages, though I think your main point stands. DCDuring TALK 12:04, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
An observation: in Scottish English the construction is different and uses personal adjectives: ‘I'm going to my bed’, ‘Are you still in your bed?’, ‘It's time to go to our beds’ etc. Ƿidsiþ 05:31, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like it deserves an entry! It would never occur to me that that formulation is possible (or even grammatical). --BB12 (talk) 05:37, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
It hasn't occurred to the lexicographers at AHD and MW2, MW3, MWOnline that it was entry-worthy. But what do they know? DCDuring TALK 06:57, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, also, finding out that something is missing in another dictionary is not a signal that this dictionary should not have it. The reverse may be interpreted as also true but I trust my intuition as a learner of various languages and don't insist on keeping just for the sake of keeping or feeling sorry for my translations. --Anatoli (обсудить) 07:03, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
On balance, I agree with DCD that the entry is a bit tenuous. I can see isolating to bed as a prepositional phrase (the OED recognises it as such), but one can retire to bed, head to bed, come to bed, and many other verbs. Ƿidsiþ 07:22, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
For such a common collocation, it is a good indication that professional lexicographers do not think it an idiom. I doubt that the OED would have it, either, preferring to use the collocations to tease out additional meanings of bed. The definitions that we have for the non-idioms involving the uncountable senses of bed are not well worded. I hope the translations actually capture the true meanings.
And now it's time for me to go back to bed. I only got up from bed to report a power outage, now cured. I think there are many redlinks for such collocations involving uncountable senses of bed. BTW, these senses of bed seem to resist modification by adjectives. The only instance at COCA of a modifier able to insert itself between a preposition and uncountable sleep was from Rolling Stone: "I'm not partying. All I'm doing is trying to get out of fucking bed." For a topically related further demonstration of the strength of this kind of intensifier and a good laugh, especially for parents, I must further recommend this from YouTube. DCDuring TALK 07:45, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I would like to know what the many other verbs are. Come, go, head and retire all have the same meaning, though "come" is from a different person's viewpoint. It may be that "to bed" would suffice with a usage note saying that verbs of coming and going (plus retire) are used with this idiom. --BB12 (talk) 18:11, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Searching COCA for [v*] to bed.[n*] gives "go", "get", "put", "come", "send", "confine", "be", "return", "take", "retire", "wear", "head", "bring", "carry", "order", "help", and many others. So, verbs of coming, going, sending, taking, bringing, commanding, and assisting. Plus "wearing". —RuakhTALK 19:11, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
‘With verbs of motion’...? Ƿidsiþ 19:28, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for that collection of verbs, Ruakh. I am to bed sounds a little odd to me, but in any case, it surely means go to bed. Put to bed has an idiomatic meaning even if to bed is made an entry. Get is such a complex verb that it would probably merit note somewhere, and retire similarly seems worthy of note (it's not a word I had thought possible).
As to a definition of to bed, I'm not sure. in bed for the purpose of sleep seems to be the common meaning, with confine being an exception (due to illness). Perhaps backing up to DCDuring's suggestion of just using bed with notes on these verbs would be best. --BB12 (talk) 19:40, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Re: "I am to bed": No, more like " [] wearing the same clothes she had put on yesterday morning, not having been to bed yet [] ". Plus, of course, lots of sexual hits; e.g., "They've probably all been to bed with him." But of course, people do say, "I'm off to bed". —RuakhTALK 19:55, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
@BenB: At the word level, the "uncountable" senses of bed are remarkable for not readily accepting determiners or adjectives. Mostly they seem to occur in phrases headed by prepositions, but a good number of them: to, into, onto; before; after; for; out of; from; by. I suppose we could have entries for each PP. By my reckoning there can't be more than three of these senses, usually one or two, of bed for each preposition. I doubt that there are too many senses of the prepositions involved either. I'm not sure that adding verbs improves anything other than our compliance with the dictates of the newish religion of linguistic "chunking". DCDuring TALK 20:00, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
This rejection of attribution is a good reason to use "to bed" or the entire verbal phrase. I don't think fucking is exceptional because that works as an infix in words (at least three syllables immediately prior to the stress as in absofuckinglutely). I think either the bare bed or with the pp to bed would work, but since the average user is more likely to look up bed, I think going with bed and redirecting from to bed might be the best solution overall. That would solve the preposition issue as well (and I think the prepositions could be added as collocations). --BB12 (talk) 21:34, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I think we are in a position to put this discussion to bed. We have the senses at bed. We can have either redirects to [[bed]] or entries for some or all of the prepositional phrases that we don't have: in bed, to bed, into bed, out of bed, before bed, for bed, from bed. Others are even less common: after bed, onto bed, and by bed. DCDuring TALK 22:11, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Re: "remarkable for not readily accepting determiners or adjectives": Though they're rather like proper nouns, in that they'll pick up both at once: google books:"to a well-deserved bed", "to a much-deserved bed", "to his much-needed bed", etc. (Compare "the great Gatsby", "the unsinkable Molly Brown", etc.) —RuakhTALK 22:24, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I am not too surprised that they are few and that they are a little ambiguous as to whether a countable sense or an "uncountable" one is intended. I didn't find anything in CGEL about this. DCDuring TALK 00:26, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
That might be grammatical. Compare "I ate [∅] breakfast," "I ate a well-deserved/light breakfast." --BB12 (talk) 00:35, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
@BB: FWIW (at the risk of veering off-topic), I would find "I ate a breakfast once. It was a breakfast in bed." to be grammatical, if uttered by a perennial late-riser who usually missed that meal. - -sche (discuss) 01:31, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand this grammar much, but I think it applies to "bed," too. Compare: Speaker A: "I was so happy to go to bed finally!" Speaker B (a cowboy in the Wild, Wild West): "I slept in a bed once." --BB12 (talk) 01:55, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
My comment doesn't make much sense, sorry. --BB12 (talk) 02:52, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly what your "this" is referring to, but have you read the blue box at the bottom of page 409? —RuakhTALK 01:09, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
@Ruakh: Exactly, thanks. It seems I am ever-deeper in your debt. I would have hoped that bed or in bed would have appeared in CGEL's lexical index, since it is mentioned as an example. My lack of formal training makes it hard for me to pick the right headings.
One important implication of what CGEL says is that I should replace the label "uncountable" with a more user-friendly version of "as a bare noun". I had been putting uncountable in quotes because it didn't seem quite right. It turns out to be quite wrong. As I analyze it, it is possible for a noun to have a sense that cannot be determined(!) to be either countable nor uncountable because it does not accept an article or determiner that would so indicate and has a sense distinct from the countable or uncountable senses. So only a subset of bare-noun senses, those unique to bare-noun usage, could be in this small class of noun senses that are neither. DCDuring TALK 02:41, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I worked with this a bit on my commute yesterday (public transportation- no lives were endangered...). I think a missing piece of the puzzle is partial metonymy: there are several place words that won't take determiners, and they can mostly be summarized as "the place where one x-es". I'm referring to bed (where one sleeps/has sex/recuperates), school (where one learns), work (where one works), church/temple/synagogue (where one worships), jail (where one...um...is in jail), hospital (UK) (where one is sick), table(UK) (where one eats). Home is particularly interesting, because it won't take any prepositions when it's the destination, and only a few otherwise(go home, be home, come home, stay home, leave home, but: at home, from home). There's a sort of stative quality to these, and they tend to have metaphorical uses: "I felt perfectly at home", "during the remodeling, they went to school in a church","last night, I went to bed on the sofa".
You can talk (in a strictly limited way) about getting to and from there, and what you do while there, but not about them as physical objects: you can drive home, but you can't walk into home. You can jump into bed, but you can't jump on bed. You can walk to school, but you can't walk to jail. Especially of interest are the limitations on "entering" and "exiting" them. The only way you can do anything physical with them is to act on a part of them with the fact that they're part of it only implied: "I went home and knocked on the door", but not: "I knocked on the door to home". "I adjusted the pillow in bed", but not: "I adjusted the pillow to bed". "I made a hole in the floor in jail", but not "I made a hole in the floor of jail". If you add a determiner, they become normal nouns: "I sat on bed" doesn't work, but "I sat on the/my bed" does.
There are also some cases where "the" doesn't seem be really a determiner at times (or at least there's a set phrase): "go to the store/bank/cleaners/etc.". "The hospital" in US usage acts very much like "hospital" in UK usage, but also like "the hospital" in UK usage: "I was in the hospital for three days with pneumonia", but also: "I was in the hospital visiting a patient"
I'm not sure exactly how to translate this into how we treat it in our dictionary, but it seems to be relevant somehow. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:02, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Your reflections and the page in CGEL that Ruakh directed us to should be helpful. The first thing I would like to do is determine whether there is some empirical support for the "uncountable" tag. In the prototypical usage we are discussing there is no determiner that helps mark uncountability or countability. I think there is some related usage seemingly in the same sense (?"too much bed/jail/church/school") that may help. (I'm going to stick to the examples that occur in US English, because I need the full assistance of native-speaker intuition.)
Perhaps a context note: "usually as a bare noun in prepositional phrases". Also, we could list all of those that CGEL has in something like Appendix:Nouns with distinct meaning when used without determiners or something more felicitous. Of course, we should add other nouns with the same characteristics as we notice them. DCDuring TALK 12:21, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm reasonably satisfied that the "sleep" and "place of sleep/rest" senses are uncountable. I'm not sure about the "time" sense, if indeed it is a distinct sense. DCDuring TALK 12:51, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Lock redux

Lock has a Tea Room tag on it. I see a conversation at Wiktionary:Tea_room/2010/January#lock.

The conversation is:

"With his hands locked behind his back". Is this just a transitive counterpart of the first sense of lock, "(intransitive) To become fastened in place : If you put the brakes on too hard, the wheels will lock", or is it a more specialized sense, meaning to dovetail or intertwine or something?​—msh210 18:35, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

At lock at OneLook Dictionary Search I found that most unabridged dictionaries have many more than 3 senses for lock#Verb. I think for each distinguishable transitive sense of the verb, there are potentially two distinct semantic aspects: (trans) I locked the door. => (intrans 1) The door locked behind me. + (intrans 2) The main door locked with a key, but she couldn't find it. (is capable of locking or being locked)
This would also apply to the interlacing/intertwining sense that you identify, though the intrans-2 aspect seems likely rare and possibly not worth mentioning. (We locked arms. Our arms locked.
It would also apply to a any kind of physical locking as if by lock or to virtual locking, with the same question as to the value of the "capable of locking" aspect.
I don't know whether there are other transitive or intransitive "aspects" of the transitive senses. For example, there might be a distinction to be noted between locking a particular opening and locking an entire enclosure.
MW has a verb sense having to do with transiting the locks of a canal and an investment sense I didn't understand.
BTW, an interesting usage is to be seen in "By the time he got there, the mongrel and his prize bitch had already locked." DCDuring TALK 19:44, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

AFAIK English has only three transitive/intransitive pairs: raise/rise, fell/fall and lay/lie. "The sun rose" is intransitive and "The sun risen above the horizon" is also intransitive. Therefore, it looks like "hands locked behind his back" is intransitive. Can someone confirm this addresses the issue so we can close this? --BB12 (talk) 07:06, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Sit/set also comes to mind. These all seem have umlaut or dissimilation in common, from a presumed earlier stage of the language where there was a causative suffix starting with a j/y sound, and, in fact, the pairs are better described as causative/not causative than as transitive/intransitive. Either way, pairs without spelling changes seem rather routine: "the destroyer sank the sub; it sank quickly", "I locked the door", vs. "the door locked behind me". In this case, it could be preceded by something like either of the following: "my hands locked behind me in the customary stance, without my even thinking about it" and "I locked my hands behind me". Thus, transitivity would seem to be ambiguous. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:54, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
As for the question at hand, Proto-Germanic *lukanan looks looks suspiciously like just *lukan with an infinitive ending, therefore apparently a verb derived from the noun. I'm not sure this merits considering them the same derivation, though, as one would for an infinitive vs. a present-tense form. For that matter, I'm not even sure for infinitives vs. participles, which are arguably both verb forms. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:13, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
(ec) Yes, a common way of forming causatives in Proto-Indo-European was to take the o-grade of the root and add the suffix -eye-/-eyo-. That -y- is the Germanic -j- that caused umlaut; since the root was in the o-grade in PIE, and since o became a in Germanic, the vowel that got umlauted in Old English was a, which was umlauted to e. There are a few other examples that are obscure because they've drifted away from each other semantically: drench was originally the causative of drink, and singe was originally the causative of sing. Modern German has some distinct pairs that have merged in English, like aufwachen "wake up (intr.)"/aufwecken "wake up (tr.)", hangen "hang (intr.)"/hängen "hang (tr.)", and sinken "sink (intr.)"/senken "sink (tr.)". —Angr 23:19, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I think I was off on the wrong track. Is the use of "lock" in "his hands locked behind his back" the same as "his hands locked"? My feeling is no. In "his hands locked behind his back," I think "locked" is an adjective that just looks like a past participle. --BB12 (talk) 19:39, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Sometimes past participles are used in passive ways, and I think "his hands locked behind his back" is one such instance. As such, the expanded verb phrase that could be used as a complete utterance would be "his hands were locked". Alternately, using the reciprocal instead of the passive, "his hands locked together" would work. (Then again, perhaps I'm misundertanding the sample phrase.) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 21:05, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
That seems like a reasonable solution. Do you think "hands locked behind me" is essentially the same as "the door locked with a key"? If so, I say remove the tag. --BB12 (talk) 21:22, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Achromatic redux

Achromatic has a Tea Room tag on it. The conversation is at Wiktionary:Tea_room/2008/September#achromatic and says, 'The current definition for sense 5, "being achromatic in subject" is rather self-referential. I think that it means, "dull, uninspiring, grey", but I'm not certain. The etymology is also in need of some attention. Thryduulf 00:54, 15 September 2008 (UTC).'

The OED concurs with dull. Is that acceptable to close this? --BB12 (talk) 07:11, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

I would go with the more literal "colorless" (forgot to sign earlier) Chuck Entz (talk) 22:17, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
The sentence (not very good) is: "The lecture was achromatic, the speaker used politics to suppress the weight of his/her subject." Would "colorless, uninteresting" work? --BB12 (talk) 21:19, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
"being achromatic in subject", ha, that is a rather poor def. There already is a literal sense ("without colour"), so I prefer BB's proposal to a second "colorless" sense. "Uninteresting, dull, colorless"? "Dull" refers to an optical phenomenon, too, so I would put "uninteresting" first in the definition, to make clear that optical dullness or colour are not what is referred to. - -sche (discuss) 22:06, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I was thinking in terms of changing "dull" to "colorless" in Thrydulf's phrase, but wasn't very clear. Your version would be fine, also. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:22, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I've been looking for an example, but cannot find one. Here is where I left off. I found two citations that I think mean unbiased: [5] and [6]. --BB12 (talk) 19:29, 16 June 2012 (UTC)



Both of these entries have two etymologies and two PoSs. The basis for this is that the evolution of the terms was apparently slackline#Noun => slacklining#Noun (by suffixation) => slackline#Verb (by back-formation) => slacklining#Verb (by inflection).

Is this excessive?

As this pattern of derivation (-ing and -ed denominal forms preceding the formation of a corresponding verb) is probably very common, it would probably apply to many, many entries which do not show it. Is it worth showing this excruciating diachronic detail when it is in the distant past? DCDuring TALK 14:59, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Yes, this excessive, and no, they shouldn't have separate etymology sections. I doubt either the suffixation or the back-formation occurred in the distant past, though. —Angr 15:44, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It seems ludicrously pedantic to list the two possible derivations under separate etymologies as if they were different words derived from different languages. No other dictionary does this (for similar words -- very few dictionaries have "slackline"). I suggest that we mention both possibilities under the one etymology. Dbfirs 15:51, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I've been bold and merged the etymologies, making a note that the verb slackline is a back-formation from slacklining. —Angr 16:55, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that looks much better. Dbfirs 08:18, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

To bridle that in thilk

Hello. Sorry for my bad English, I am French speaking. I want to know what will say :

Aristotle also
Whom that the queen of Greec so
Hath bridled that in thilk

from John Gower ? (I must write it in French...) Thank you in advance, --Égoïté (talk) 08:00, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Well you're missing a bit of the line there, and it doesn't make sense to end in ‘thilk’. What Gower actually says is I syh there Aristotle also, Whom that the queene of Grece so Hath bridled, that in thilke time Sche made him such a Silogime, That he foryat al his logique. This is a complicated translation from Middle English for you! What does it mean? Roughly, ‘I also saw Aristotle there, whom the Queen of Greece had bridled, such that at that time she played such a trick on him that he forgot all his logic.’ The passage is part of a long list of men who have been conquered by women in Gower's poem, and the image is of the philosopher bridled like a horse by this woman (although I'm not entirely sure who this Queen of Greece was exactly...the story is not familiar to me). Some of the tricky words: syh, a past-tense of see; thilk (this/that); and silogime, an old spelling of syllogism, which used to have a secondary meaning of ‘trick, artifice’. Good luck! Ƿidsiþ 08:26, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Marvellous ! I understand. So in French : J'y ai vu aussi Aristote que la reine de Grèce a bridé, lui jouant à cette époque un tel mauvais tour qu'il en oublia toute sa logique.
May I ask you the sense of practique in
There was no art of his practique
Through which it might be excluded
That he ne was fully concluded
To love, and did his obeisance.
I think translate so : Il n'y avait aucune étude de sa pratique qui permette d'exclure qu'il ne soit pleinement décidé à aimer, et lui rendre hommage. Thank in advance, --Égoïté (talk) 09:46, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, someone gives on the fr.WP a modern version. See, please, here - search on the word Aristotle. Is this translation in modern English good for you ? --Égoïté (talk) 09:58, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that looks good although it's not very modern English -- a rather old-fashioned translation. Ƿidsiþ 18:38, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much. My translation in French is : J'y ai vu aussi Aristote que la reine de Grèce a bridé comme un cheval de telle sorte qu'elle lui joua en ce temps un si mauvais tour qu'il en oublia toute sa logique. Aucune compétence dans l'apprentissage de sa pratique ne permettait d'exclure qu'il ne soit pleinement décidé à aimer, et à lui obéir.. --Égoïté (talk) 12:16, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

frais#French (noun)

The headword line says "frais m (plural frais)", but isn't the word for "cost, charge" simply always plural in French (a plurale tantum)? Shouldn't it say "frais m pl" instead? —Angr 15:10, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes. See the version on French Wiktionary. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:24, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Hmm, but the version on French Wiktionary gives the example sentence "Le frais de taxation fît bondir Martin", which is clearly singular. —Angr 15:32, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
      • And google books:"le frais est" gets two thousand hits, so the singular does exist. Looks like someone needs to correct fr.Wikt. - -sche (discuss) 21:42, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
      • One of those "when does the mistake stop being a mistake?" cases. Doesn't help that the word is spelled with an -s that would probably not be dropped in the singular (unlike with english pease). Circeus (talk) 05:35, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
By my count, the ratio of "le frais" to "les frais" on GBC is 1:32. Perhaps a usage note describing the singular would suffice. - -sche (discuss) 06:20, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Historically, it is a plural form (originally, the plural of Old French frait). So I think we should mark it up as such, with perhaps a usage note per -sche's suggestion to note the existence of the singular. Ƿidsiþ 06:29, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
There are others possibilities to translate. Search "frais" on this dictionary. Friendly, --Égoïté (talk) 08:50, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Cqui (talk) On the google search, use of "le frais de"/"les frais de" is more efficient, you usually talk about fees or cost indicating what they are about just after... I have the feeling that singular use is more cannadian that European. A search for "le frais de" on google.ca gives more than 40 000 hits. Other use of "frais" as a noun are short for air frais like in "Prendre le frais" or a wind, a breeze of beaufort force 7 un "Grand frais" like in the common forecast "Avis de grand frais" --10:02, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I added a note on the fr.wiktionary entry : [7]. Dakdada (talk) 11:20, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your help. I've edited our entry [[frais]] to present it as a plurale tantum, and made a similar usage note about its occasional use as a singular. —Angr 20:55, 19 June 2012 (UTC)


These are a group of islands mentioned in Moby Dick, wich User:David R. Ingham equated with the Prince Edward Islands. I can't tell if "Crozetts" is indeed an obsolete name for the islands, or if the Prince Edwards Islands are just interpreted as the inspiration for Melville's Crozetts. Other citations of "Crozetts" might help clear things up. - -sche (discuss) 20:53, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Looks like an alternative spelling of Crozets to me. Different islands, but not far from the Prince Edward Islands. —Angr 20:56, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh, that makes sense. :) - -sche (discuss) 21:37, 17 June 2012 (UTC)


In baseball, what is nubbing?

Doesn't mean anything to me, I watched Major League Baseball for about ten years! I'll try and find some citations. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:30, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
It seems to mean to hit the ball weakly, I see to think a nubber is a weakly hit ball, usually "a little nubber". Mglovesfun (talk) 17:35, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
In fact we already have nubber! Mglovesfun (talk) 17:42, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
For the baseball sense, which came first: nub#Verb or nubber#Noun? I doubt that nubber came from nub, at least not directly. DCDuring TALK 18:19, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
I have no idea, I was asking myself the same thing. Could well be a separate etymology to our current, confusing one ("Either directly from Low German, or from knub, from a Low German word"). Mglovesfun (talk) 09:24, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

in bed

Related to #go to bed. There have been two wordings of the non-sexual sense: "While on a bed." and "Lying in bed" with the following usage example:

Reading in bed and breakfasting in bed are two of my three favorite activities.

The first gloss seems wrong. If I sit on my bed in the middle of the day to tie my shoes, I am not in bed. And, of course, if my laundry is spread on my bed, it is not in bed.

But the second gloss is off too. If I lie down fully clothed on top of the bed and take a nap, I would not use the expression either. OTOH, if I sleep in my bed without a sheet or other covering (but not in my street clothes ?), then I am in bed. And, if, as in the usage example, I am sitting up to read or eat breakfast (ie, not lying down), then I am still in bed.

Saying this is SoP (which it may be) does not resolve the definition problem, but transfers it to bed.

CGEL refers to this kind of use of bed as relating to bed as a "frame" of an everyday activity. Bed is a kind of metonymy for that frame. I found that I needed three senses for bed to permit substitutable definitions for "sleep" and for the spatial and temporal uses of bed. And even so, I am not happy that the senses cover the usage. Usage example seem much more constructive than the definitions. Would a non-gloss definition be better? Would a hand-waving definition like the UK sense of hospital be adequate? Does anyone have any ideas or preferences for this? There are a large number of words that have this or a similar kind of usage, both commonly (school, lunch, class, dawn) and less commonly (in country, without leave, in session, in barracks), so a generalizable approach would be useful. DCDuring TALK 17:46, 18 June 2012 (UTC)


I feel like I did a shoddy job on this - massive etymology, semi-helpful user notes, and it isn't really a "common misspelling". The reason I brought it here instead of RFC is that I'd like some opinions on how much information we should even give, assuming that we should cover it in the first place. Note also w:medireview. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:30, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Ah, this is exactly like another word we had once, which was purely an artefact of some automatic system. I think it got deleted in the end. Anyone remember what that was? Equinox 08:57, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
It was some form of façade. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:06, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Talk:faccedilade Equinox 09:14, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Both are interesting instances of a new "word"-formation process, not unrelated to pwn. Human error and misconstruction seem to be fairly common participants in word formation. A programmer's error would seem to count. After all, artifacts of manuscript production and printing have crept into the language, haven't they? Aren't some hapax legomena from Shakespeare thought to be printer's misspellings?
I don't think this is common enough to be a "common" misspelling, though we have no criteria. I would think we would need a spelling to be either absolutely abundant or abundant relative to the accepted spelling. How abundant I don't know. DCDuring TALK 10:56, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure it counts as a misspelling at all. No-one has ever written medireview thinking that was a legitimate term for the Middle Ages - it's an artefact of computer processing, not unlike the OCR errors that plague Google Books. The appendix approach used at faccedilade seems like a good way of covering this, but having a full entry for this seems to imply that someone might be expected to understand and use this "word". Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:25, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm all: quoting

Looking at the entry all, there's a sense that's only hinted at there, but which is lately raising the blood pressure of proscriptivists thoughout the US: I'm referring to the use of "I'm all", "she's all", etc. to introduce quoted speech.

We have an example under the first adverbial sense ("intensifier"): 'She was all, “Whatever.”' Having heard exchanges like 'She's all, "he said he was going to ask her out", and I'm all, "really?", and she's all, "uh-huh", and I'm all, "No way!"', however, I think don't think "intensifier" begins to cover it. I'm not sure, though, how we handle such things.

Opinions? Advice? Projectiles? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:27, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

All is not the only word used like this. Like (particle), fourth sense, comes to mind. Maybe hey and well are useful models, too. Also quote should be, but isn't. DCDuring TALK 03:43, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Maybe they each indicate a different degree of literalness or accuracy, quote / unquote being the most literal, unmatched quote a bit less, all much less, and like least of all. DCDuring TALK 03:52, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it would be hard to cite, but my instinctive understanding of "like" and "all" is that they don't necessarily introduce quoted speech, they introduce paraphrased and abridged speech, where the general sentiment expressed is more important than the literal facts. A Google search for "teacher was like no way" finds a lot of hits where it's unlikely that the teacher literally said "no way", and "teacher was like fuck that" gets quite a few hits too, even though I doubt any teacher literally said "fuck that" in the classroom. "teacher was like now" finds a few hits that seem to be quoted text ("the other day at yoga class the teacher was like "now come on your chin" and i started laughing my ass off"), but mostly it is the non-literal meaning that seems to predominate. For "teacher was all now" there does seem, from a very unscientific scan, to be more literal quotation than for like, though without knowing what the teacher actually said, there's no way to know how literal the quotes are. Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:22, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I have the general impression that all seems to have implications that the discussion being reported had an emotional charge in itself or an emotional impact on the reporter. Also, it can only (?) be applied in this sense to sentences or larger units, whereas like can be applied to individual words and phrases. DCDuring TALK 13:29, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Also all like and go. And all of these can introduce non-speech as well; I can say, "so X is all", and then shake my head like crazy, and provided I'm talking to someone who can actually see my gesture, I will likely have conveyed that X shook his/her head like crazy. —RuakhTALK 20:47, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

without more

(current redlink) I see this phrase in legal opinions and other law writing some. Does it mean more than its SOP? If so, what does it mean?​—msh210 (talk) 19:47, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Looks SoP to me, i.e. "with nothing further", "without anything more". I just found "mere carnal intercourse, without more" (contrasted with a promise of future marriage). Equinox 19:52, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
The OED has it, but as an obsolete phrase meaning "without further ado", no citations beyond the 17th century. Not sure if this is the same as what you're talking about. Ƿidsiþ 19:57, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I could see some use of it, like the OED sense in some circumstances, as a formulaic phrase, meeting CFI under some reasonable combination of Pawley justifications. But it seems to be a fused-head construction with the missing head being context-dependent. Without anything further is another variant of Equinox's synonyms in a legal context. DCDuring TALK 22:11, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm thinking of things like "It is a commonplace of constitutional law and practice that if treaties are to affect private rights they cannot do so without more, and that only legislation can affect such rights." and "A regulation or decision addressed to a member state will not be regarded as being of direct and individual concern unless it applies, without more, to the private party and unless the identity and individuality of the applicants are such that they must be treated as if they had been singled out for operation of the decision." and "The scheme of the Act is that the former provisions are, without more, to have full effect in the United Kingdom." (all three of which are from [8]) and "A specific charge, I think, is one that without more fastens on ascertained and definite property or property capable of being ascertained and defined; a floating charge, on the other hand, is ambulatory and shifting in its nature [] ." (from [9]). That last one may be SOP, but I'm really not sure; and there are many other similar hits. The others don't seem to be, I don't think, and I'm not sure what the phrase means there.​—msh210 (talk) 17:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I have heard John Sexton pronounce this something like /wɪðɑwt ˈmɔɹej/. Of course, a sample size of 1 doesn't prove anything, no matter who it is.​—msh210 (talk) 17:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Those examples seem to mean something like "per se, in and of itself/themselves, in the absence of further action/legislation". But that pronunciation is fascinating; it seems to suggest that it's the Latin mōre ((without) custom, usage, wont, rule), but that doesn't fit the examples very well. Maybe it was originally Latin, but influence from the regular English more has affected/broadened its meaning? —RuakhTALK 18:40, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Or maybe it's just hypercorrection on Sexton's part. At any rate, I see we're missing a meaning from [[more] which is pronounced [mɔɹeɪ], namely the backformed singular of [[mores]]. —Angr 18:49, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I suspect it may be hypercorrection, yeah. And I guess you're right, Ruakh, as to the meaning of the phrase in those examples, which would make it SOP. Never mind, then, I suppose.​—msh210 (talk) 20:39, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't seem SOP to me; given the meanings of the component words and several examples of its use, we can divine its approximate meaning, but that just means it's possible to write a dictionary entry, not that it's unnecessary to. And I'm certain that, even if Sexton's pronunciation is a hypercorrection, it's not one that he applies to all occurrences of the word more. If it's specific to the phrase without more, then that is very strong evidence that he perceives the phrase as a distinct idiom. —RuakhTALK 11:46, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah! I've found a citation which I think may be in which I heard Sexton pronounce it that way. "And, of course, today's decision does not mean that all incidents of government which import of the religious are therefore, and without more, banned by the strictures of the Establishment Clause."[10] FWIW.​—msh210 (talk) 20:54, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
That seems fairly clear to be an anaphora with the same referent as therefore. DCDuring TALK 21:04, 25 June 2012 (UTC)


Hello. I am searching for the meaning of this word that you can find in the Forme of Cury (book of recepts from the 14th century) and for the translating in French. Thank you for your answers. --Égoïté (talk) 10:31, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

  • It looks like it could be from a combination of coriandre and carvi (the main ingredients of the sauce) - or whatever the equivalent words were in Old French. SemperBlotto (talk)
    • Thank you verey, very much ! --Égoïté (talk) 11:11, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

brick, stone

I can't help noticing we have adjective senses which seem to be noun senses. A stone wall and a brick wall, are these adjectival or mere the noun used uncountably? Mglovesfun (talk) 13:27, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Unless there is evidence of gradability or comparability (eg, "That wall is very stone|brick."), the senses are duplicative of the noun senses and constitute attributive use of the noun. There might also be some way of detecting some use after a copula that reflected a sense not in the noun, but not for the two frinstances you've given, IMHO. DCDuring TALK 14:08, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that criterium really holds in this case. In Dutch, the word stenen is unmistakably an adjective, but it's not gradable and it can't be used in a predicate either (*Die muur is stenen is generally wrong, although it did still occur like that in Middle Dutch), so it is restricted only to a modifying position like the English word: De stenen muur "The stone wall". So if a Dutch word could fail your 'adjective test' yet still be an adjective, the same could conceivably happen for an English word. Also, I don't think it would be wrong in English to say That wall is stone, which does not mean that the wall is a stone, but rather that it's made out of stone (an adjectival sense!). —CodeCat 14:41, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It is excellent English to say "That wall is stone|brick". But not all words appearing in predicate position are adjectives.
  1. English makes semantic distinctions among "That wall is the stone (that we had seen in the quarry)", "That wall is a (single, really big) stone" and "That wall is (made of) stone". The same bare-noun usage appears in "The front of the house was done in stone."
  2. I have no idea what, if any, tests might work for universal grammar or Dutch grammar. I am only interested in tests for English grammar. Perhaps this kind of discussion should be on an "About English" project page.
  3. Not only can most mass nouns be used in this way, but words reflecting method or style of construction, composition, or design can as well. ("That house is frame.")
  4. Semantic criteria alone, such as the grammar of a gloss, are slender reeds on which to rely for grammatical determinations. In any event, the gloss of "made of X" (grammatically, participle + PP, functioning as a predicate) on which you seem to base your assertion only works for predicate use and not for attributive use. (For a related case of the irrelevance of the grammar of glosses: Many English prepositions can be glossed as present participles. That does not make them verbs, verb forms, or present participles.)
  5. What dictionaries show brick or stone as adjectives?
I hope I haven't blundered in some way in this. I am very concerned with eliminating needless duplication of semantic information between adjective and noun PoS sections (and between adverb and adjective PoS sections for prepositional phrases, as well as other cases). English has plenty of undeniable instances of PoS conversion without adding all the questionable cases. BTW, I do think we need more instances of varied common grammar in usage examples, eg, attributive use of nouns, use of nouns as objects of prepositions). DCDuring TALK 15:58, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps another argument comes from COALMINE: a stone house is something very different from a stonehouse, which shows that the morpheme 'stone' has distinct senses depending on the spacing. That is not the usual situation for compounds, so I argue that stone house is not a compound but a noun phrase. —CodeCat 16:28, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
And to clarify, even though stonehouse could also be spelled stone house, there are actually two ways to pronounce it: /ˈstoʊnhaʊs/ "house that has something to do with stones" and /ˌstoʊnˈhaʊs/ "house made of stone". The first intonation pattern is consistent with that of a compound, and it is also the intonation that the Dutch compound stenenhuis has (with the same meaning). On the other hand, the second intonation pattern is that of a noun-adjective phrase, just like the Dutch equivalent stenen huis. Compare also green house /ˌgɹiːnˈhaʊs/ invalid IPA characters (g), replace g with ɡ "house that is green" and greenhouse /ˈgɹiːnhaʊs/ invalid IPA characters (g), replace g with ɡ "house that has something to do with greens (i.e. plants)". I would say this is very strong evidence that the sense of stone meaning "made of stone" is syntactically an adjective. —CodeCat 12:07, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I look forward to seeing what the attestable meaning of stonehouse might be. My expectation is that it could be a definition reference (the Stone (family) house), a proper name (capitalized), a conversion of a proper name, a building used to process stone, or a building that contains a (large) grinding stone, not merely a house/building made of stone. DCDuring TALK 12:51, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't have any attestable meaning, but like most compounds, its most likely meaning is transparent and predictable. —CodeCat 14:12, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
But then what bearing does it have on the question of the PoS we should show for stone when used attributively.
I would think that, 1., the straightforward application of basic "rules" of interpretation of such collocations, 2., the lack of any other adjective-like behavior of stone, and 3., the benefits of having a single location for the meanings of stone (almost all available for use attributively) combine to argue against an adjective PoS. DCDuring TALK 14:27, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

lūpa as translation for lip

Latvian lūpa was listed as a Latvian translation to be checked under lip. It works fine for the basic meaning 'lip'; but for the meaning 'something on the body that looks like a lip', there is a split. You can use Latvian lūpa to refer to the vaginal labia (usually as kaunuma lūpa, lit. 'genital lips'), but as far as I know not to refer to the edge of a wound (the latter strikes me as a very English, or at least Germanic, use of the word 'lip'; perhaps 'vaginal labia', which is much more widespread, should be listed as a meaning independent from 'wound lips', etc.?). So lūpa works in one case (vaginal labia) but not in another case (wound lips). For that meaning, can it still be listed as a translation, or should it be left out of the translation table altogether? If I simply add it, I'm afraid the casual reader will assume that lūpa is used in all cases, when in fact (as far as I know) it isn't. --Pereru (talk) 14:29, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Maybe we should split up defn. 2 into "labium of the vulva" (not actually the vagina, right? I'm afraid female genitalia are a closed book to me) and "edge of a wound". Are there any other parts of the body beside the mouth lips, the vulva's labia, and the edges of wounds that are called "lips"? —Angr 15:27, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Is "edge of a wound" even a distinct sense? I think that it and "the rim of an open container" are just two subcases of a general "edge of an opening" sense that we're missing (see google books:"the lip of the"). For that matter, perhaps the same could be said of the "labia" subsense; I'm not sure. —RuakhTALK 15:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be better just to add a gloss to the translation like ('female genitalia')? Unless you think it's really an independent sense in English (or etymologically distinct as a translation from labia) Chuck Entz (talk) 15:45, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I thought about the possibility of adding a gloss/qualifier, but then it occurred to me that it's probably not just Latvian that uses the word for "lip" metaphorically to mean labium but does not use it for the edge of a wound. I suspect there are a lot of languages that do the same thing. That's why I suggested splitting the definition. —Angr 16:57, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

British Sign Language glossary

Courtesy of Dan Goodman on the American Dialect Society, 119 physics words have been translated to British Sign Language: "Obscure physics words get sign language equivalents". --BB12 (talk) 02:30, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Interesting. Alas, it's top-down (translation by fiat) rather than in use.​—msh210 (talk) 05:59, 25 June 2012 (UTC)


The last two definitions are not very clear. Aggregate has many meanings, and "a batch of things that go together" is rather vague. 03:20, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

This looks like an attempt to cover "the whole schmeer" (="the whole ball of wax" = "the whole kit and kaboodle" = "the whole shooting match", the whole megillah, etc.) which is a Yiddishism that's made its way into regular US English.
Note that I spelled it differently- we need {{alternative spelling of}} entries for schmeer, shmeer, and shmear- if not others. I suspect that the phrase is idiomatic enough for us to create an entry for it and move those senses there.
As for etymology, I suspect there's a connotation to schmear of filth (German terms like Schmiergeld and Schmierpapier are suggestive of it), so it might be equivalent to "all that crap", but that's just a guess. Chuck Entz (talk)

kindergarten, nursery school and preschool

Is there a difference between these three? I thought there was. There are indeed different Wikipedia pages for kindergarten and preschool. But we list these three as synonyms of each other. ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:09, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

There are differences. First, it depends on the country. In UK, a nursery school is what Americans call kindergarten, with certified, degreed teachers. In the U.S., kindergarten is the part of the formal system of education and it immediately precedes grade one. Kindergartners are five years old, first-graders are six. In the U.S., nursery school and preschool are optional programs and not part of the educational system, but are essentially babysitting programs, and the "teachers" do not need degrees. There is no requirement to attend preschool or nursery school before enrolling in kindergarten.
Nursery schools are day-care facilities that have trained staff, and they accept children from six weeks of age through age five, and usually offer some form of preliminary education.
Preschool is similar to nursery school, except that enrollment is limited to three- and four-year-olds. Children that have attended either nursery school or preschool, or both, usually have an easier time when they reach kindergarten, and are much more likely to pass kindergarten successfully. —Stephen (Talk) 07:04, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll just add that there's also nursery, which (among its other meanings) refers in the States to a specific grade of preschool, namely the one three years before 1st grade, so for three-year-olds. The year after that is pre-kindergarten or pre-K, followed by kindergarten. (These names are used e.g. in a preschool attached to an elementary school.) (However, in some U.S. schools — I suspect it may be, specifically, east-coast Jewish schools — the four-year-old grade is called kindergarten rather than pre-kindergarten, and the five-year-old grade is Pre-1A (or pre-1A) rather than kindergarten.)​—msh210 (talk) 07:20, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
When referring to a Japanese 幼稚園, any of these terms is used because the 幼稚園 encompasses all of those ages. See w:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Japan#School_grades, where it shows children aged three to six attending 幼稚園. --BB12 (talk) 21:08, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
That is oversimplifying it. ja:w:保育園#.E6.A6.82.E8.A6.81 says that 保育所, a redirect from 保育園, is stipulated by law as being for children from the moment of birth until elementary school (and older in special cases). The two systems simply do not match and so the terms do not match. As Liliana points out below, this problem exists at least in Germany as well, so the definitions of these words should be crafted so they can be flexible while indicating there are slight differences among the terms. --BB12 (talk) 19:45, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah, thank you Ben, I had misunderstood your previous post to mean that 幼稚園 was equivalent to both preschool / nursery school and kindergarten. I agree, the two systems do not match. And now that I look at 幼稚園, I believe that entry might need tweaking. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:15, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

In Germany, Kindergarten is where three-year old children go and stay until they're six or seven. Vorschule is a separate concept where five-year old children go to get prepared for elementary school, however Wikipedia says that the Vorschule has been abolished in Germany (it was very obscure even while it existed). -- Liliana 19:35, 26 June 2012 (UTC)


I rolled back this edit because I'm very familiar with usage like "you had ought to go", but had I ought to do that? "Had ought to" as I'm familiar with it is often just an emphatic present tense. Is "ought" also used as a past participle? - -sche (discuss) 04:38, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

It can be, but as a past participle of owe (archaic, dialectal). Hits in Books for constructions like "have/has ought to [verb]" seem to be constructions of this, as is the emphatic use above (= you had owed to go). I don't believe ought can be the past participle of itself (?) Leasnam (talk) 15:50, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Of course. Fine. This is a defective modal verb, and as such should not have an inflection template. -- ALGRIF talk 16:37, 27 June 2012 (UTC)


Sense 3 of this Latvian word refers (if my sources -- a couple of paper dictionaries plus an online one -- are to be trusted) to a "small sharp ribbed protuberance/stud (? which is better?) at the bottom of a horseshoe to increase traction and prevent slipping", which reminded me of cleats on shoes. But is it possible in English to speak of a 'horseshoe cleat'? Would this work as a translation for radze? Clearly my English isn't enough here -- I don't have the faintest idea. I couldn't find any google examples, so I wondered what you guys who are native speakers of English would think of it. --Pereru (talk) 14:33, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

See calk and w:caulkin.​—msh210 (talk) 17:33, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! That's exactly what I needed to know. --Pereru (talk) 17:46, 27 June 2012 (UTC)


  • Merriam-Webster.com has "a sound like that of rain falling in large drops" as a definition for spat.
  • AHD online has "A spattering sound, as of raindrops" and also "(informal) A slap or smack".
  • Collins online has "(rare) a slap or smack"
  • OED online has "A smart blow, smack, or slap. Also fig." and "A sharp, smacking sound".

The above are under the same etymology as the "quarrel" sense.

  • OED online also has, under another etymology, "A small splash of something" ("Spats of mud" is in a citation there).

We have no sense comparable to any of these.

I'm not sure what to make of the collection at [[citations:spat]] (which, n.b., was collected by searching only for "a spat of").

Any input would be appreciated.​—msh210 (talk) 21:20, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

I can read the 1998, 2001, 2003, and 2010 citations as spate. Your search would find such misspellings (by my lights), if that's what they are. DCDuring TALK 23:36, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I can read them that way, too, but the dictionaries cited above seem to think there's a distinct spat (perhaps influenced by spate? No idea).​—msh210 (talk) 18:48, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
The two (three with "spate" sense) would hard to cite but can so many lemmings be wrong, especially when one is the OED? DCDuring TALK 19:01, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

right of way

In which sense should "way" be taken ? As a "road" or "path from one place to another"?—This comment was unsigned.

I imagine it could be either. It may have originally had the first, more literal meaning (the right to travel over a road) but then have acquired other senses. —CodeCat 00:47, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. —This comment was unsigned.
Our entry shows a few senses of right of way, which show that various senses for way might be appropriate depending on the particular sense of the entire phrase that is intended. DCDuring TALK 02:17, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


There are a lot of verb senses but I can't really make sense of what they are supposed to mean... I think they need example sentences, and maybe they should be cleaned up some too. Could someone have a look please? —CodeCat 00:44, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Ruakh had inserted some usage examples. I have consulted Century and MWOnline and cannot make sense of three of the senses, one of which MW calls archaic. I have provided no usage examples for those. I have added transitive and intransitive tags for all, even, in a fit of overconfidence, the two I don't really get and for which MW offers no guidance. I have added usage examples for those I think I understand and added a sense, which Century had, which might encompass the two senses I don't understand. HTH. I moved one of Ruakh's usage (with over) examples to sense 1 from the sense whose definiens includes over.
Please ask more of this kind of question whenever an entry seems poor. DCDuring TALK 02:55, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Can 3 be deleted? It seems to be adequately covered by 1. --BB12 (talk) 07:01, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


Interesting... "(slang) nudity, particular bare breasts."... does it have to be breasts I wonder? ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:46, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Sounds odd. Whenever I've heard it, "Showing some skin" always means stopping short of actual nudity. It's the sort of phrase leering newspaper editors use about women in bikinis, and I don't think I've ever heard it used to refer to someone showing parts that society might consider indecent. Smurrayinchester (talk) 18:37, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd have to agree. Skin in this context refers pretty literally to "skin" - this is of course synonymous with nudity, since humans' skin is mostly hidden by clothing, so uncovered skin can be considered "nude" and nudity of course involves skin. But I would not consider breasts to be included in this specific definition, never mind "particular[ly]". The quotation "Let me see some skin" is also not one I'd expect to be used to encourage a woman to expose her breasts. If the definition remains, the typo "particular bare breasts" should at least be fixed. -- 20:48, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

aeroplankton analogs

A few observations: the plural of plankton is planktons (as in, different bodies of water will contain different planktons) but the plural of aeroplankton is listed as itself. Shouldn't it also end with 's'? Also, shouldn't there be definitions for aeroplankter and aeroplankters (individual organisms)? I can't find any refs online but it's analogical reasoning. (Please forgive my fascination with floating spiders.) Duga3 (talk) 02:44, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

The answers to your questions mostly hinge on usage: we're a descriptive dictionary, so we describe terms as they're actually used rather than how the could be used. If people write aeroplankter, then we should create an entry for it, otherwise, we shouldn't. Likewise, the plural should be what people use, not what makes sense from similar words (though we should mark whether it's considered to be incorrect English with usage notes and context labels such as {{context|proscribed}}) in the case of the plural, though, the plural being the same as the singular may be an attempt to indicate that it's normally uncountable. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:11, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
"Aeroplanktons" is very rare, but attested; the phrase "aeroplankton are" is also attested. It probably is appropriate to format both entries identically: usually uncountable, but sometimes pluralised with -s. - -sche (discuss) 03:54, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice! I've searched up all those terms in several websites, including dictionaries and search engines. I can't find anything though. If I have a chance, I'll drop by a library this weekend and see if I can find any published usages of the words, in which case I suppose I could make entries for them.Duga3 (talk) 02:16, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you could also research epiplankton, nanoplankton, phytoplankton, zooplankton and probably many more. The words seem to be mainly used as both singular and plural (along with "plankton"), but if you can find cites for respective populations in different environments, then do go ahead with the entries. Is "plankters" a more common plural than "planktons"? Dbfirs 08:15, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
It wouldn't matter, because they have completely different meanings! 'Plankters' is equivalent to the singular 'Plankton'. It's admittedly confusing, but I've done enough marine biology in my day to get so used to it that I get annoyed when the terms are misused. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 09:25, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I wasn't intending to suggest an exclusive choice between plurals. "Plankters" refers to multiple individuals, and, as you say, is almost equivalent to saying "plankton are ...", though I imagine a larger group (not distinguished as individuals) when the the word "plankton" is used. (And "planktons" should be reserved for reference to different populations, of course.) Dbfirs 08:56, 2 July 2012 (UTC)


The translations given at the adverb sense don't match the senses listed. I'm not sure which would be more worth keeping, the translation senses or the current senses. Of course keeping the translation senses would allow us to keep the translations themselves so it's a bit more convenient. —CodeCat 16:27, 30 June 2012 (UTC)


"An academic grade given by certain institutions." That ought to be D- because is a typographical dash, not a minus sign. Agree? Equinox 22:58, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Yep (and C−‎, etc). Should it also be a {{non-gloss definition}}? - -sche (discuss) 23:02, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
But is exactly a minus sign; I mean, the official name of that codepoint is "MINUS SIGN", which I think is pretty unambiguous. Maybe you're confusing it with (EN DASH)? —RuakhTALK 23:26, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Touché. - -sche (discuss) 00:24, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I was. I'm used to the "ASCII" minus, which I suppose is meant to be a hyphen? Equinox 00:26, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
ASCII - is a single character for both hyphen and minus (Unicodified as "HYPHEN-MINUS"); since Unicode views hyphen and minus as separate characters, and there's no way to extricate either from that ASCII character, it provides a separate hyphen - (HYPHEN) and a separate minus (MINUS SIGN). (Actually, several separate hyphens and separate minus signs, because Unicode thinks codepoints are potato chips.) —RuakhTALK 01:01, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Striking.​—msh210 (talk) 17:35, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

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